Be Aware – Who says romance is dead!
14 February 2019 by Susanne Grimwade
We all know St Valentine’s Day has long been celebrated as a day of romance.
The most popular theory about Valentine’s Day’s origin is that Emperor Claudius II didn’t want Roman men to marry during wartime. Bishop Valentine went against his wishes and performed secret weddings. For this, Valentine was jailed and executed. While in jail he wrote a note to the jailor’s daughter signing it “from your Valentine”.
Around a billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year and based on retail statistics 3% of pet owners will give a gift to their pets on this day. It will also come as no surprise according to online dating website Match.com the busiest time for new subscriptions for online dating is between 26th December and Valentine’s Day.
With the increase in online dating so has the number of incidents of so-called “romance scams”. This is where scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details. They set up fake profiles and typically use respected identities such as Dr’s or military personnel and move the conversation to other social media channels. Very quickly individuals mistakenly believe they are in a relationship and once trust is gained are often duped into sending often large sums of money abroad never to be seen again.
Over the last two weeks, two ladies in Northern Ireland fell victims to a romance scam and between them lost more than £100,000. In both cases, the woman were tricked by fraudsters having been befriended by two men online who conned them into sending substantial sums of money.
The first case resulted in a lady sending £65,000 to a man claiming to be in the US military. The lady was told in a series of exchanges he had been detained by authorities in Africa in a bid to get her to hand over money.
In the second case, a man claimed he was a US engineer who had requested money for projects and she sent him a payment of £40,000.
Whilst there is no escaping the commercialisation of Valentine’s Day with even retailer Pound Land selling……. you guessed it an engagement ring for £1.00 care should be taken so as not to fall victim in taking everything online at face value.
Happy Valentine’s Day x