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“If someone asks to borrow money from you having never met you, you should refuse to do so, no matter what sob story they give.”The same applies to giving out any credit card or account details online.“This is the case even if you feel you have grown close to someone via email and phone,” adds Neate.The victim is then contacted and informed that the act has been recorded and will be posted on a social media site unless money is transferred.“Consumers must be aware that anything they do on the internet can be recorded and used for malevolent purposes,” warns Peter Barnes, director of global investigations at Western Union.“The sad fact is that if your money can’t be recalled by your bank or money-transfer agency, there’s very little you can do to get it back.
Scammers may claim financial hardship due to an unfortunate run of bad luck, such as a failed business or a mugging in the street.
On occasions, the story may be even more elaborate, with criminals conning victims into paying for educational courses or qualifications to support a visa application.
With this type of scam, victims can end up repeatedly sending money until they become suspicious.
In that time, many thousands of pounds may have changed hands.
Some individuals are being tricked into parting with vast sums of money by fraudsters posing as military personnel based overseas who claim they require funds for flights home or to supplement their income before they are paid.
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Some fraudulent suitors will befriend and flirt with their victim in conversation on an online dating chatroom, and then suggest the conversation should move to a social media site.