Romance scams also a risk for companies
Love can make people happy, energetic but also blind. In romance scams, fraudsters deceive their victims by gaining their trust to steal their money. These scams cannot only harm people but also endanger a company(‘s data or money). So make sure you know how to recognize a romance scam and how to reduce the risk.
Anyone can be a victim
Fraudsters operate in large fraud organisations using complex techniques. For these type of scams, they often target victims - both men and women - who are struggling in a relationship and/or are emotionally vulnerable. But also well-educated individuals have been known to fall for romance scams. So in general, it can affect anyone.
How romance scams can (also) harm companies
In a romance scam, a fraudster will try to build a relationship with a person over a long(er) period. When he gained enough trust from his victim, he makes up a sad story about why he is in urgent need of money. The victim's trust can be built so high, that they not only send their complete savings but also the all the money of the company they work for.
At ING, we have noticed that when somebody is a victim of a romance scam, it is really hard to make them see that they are being scammed. That is because they have emotionally and financially invested in the relationship. Fraudsters are very convincing and they know their victims extremely well after months and months of communication, seduction and courting.
How to recognize romance scams
First of all, never fully trust a stranger that you have not met face-to-face. Be extremely aware when a person starts asking for money, even if you have met him. Realize that fraudsters are always looking for ways to steal your (company’s) money.
Reduce the risks and impact
To reduce the risk and impact of romance scams, you can take the following steps:
- Be careful of what you post online about yourself
- Use reputable websites when dating (although keep in mind that scammers are on these as well)
- If you develop a relationship online:
- Research the person’s photo and profile
- If a person seems too good to be true, they probably are
- Beware if you are asked for inappropriate photos
- Beware if you are asked for financial information
- Do not send money to people you meet online and have never met in person
- Be suspicious if the person fails to show up for multiple attempts to meet and always has an excuse
Are you a victim of a romance scam?
In case your think you are victim of a romance scam, always inform the police. Explain the story to them and do not feel ashamed to do so. Victims are often reluctant to report the crime because they are embarrassed and feel humiliated. Do not feel ashamed: these fraudsters operate in large fraud organisations using complex techniques to fool their victims. Keep in mind these scams have the potential to fool anyone.
Report fraudulent e-mails and websites to email@example.com.
Find out more
- About security and fraud prevention
- The importance of the four-eye principle for transactions
- How to reduce spoofing fraud risk