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21st Feb 2024

Urgent warning issued after Lloyds Bank customer hit with scam that lost her thousands

Ryan Price

An 83 year old woman was scammed out of £20,000 in an online Scrabble game.

The British public are being told to be wary of fraudsters preying on vulnerable and elderly people on the internet.

The warning comes after a pensioner named Alice from Oldham was conned by a man she met while gaming online.

Alice, who had lost her husband a few years prior, befriended the man during a game of Scrabble. The man convinced Alice to move to an external platform to chat privately and from there, a romantic relationship developed.

Over the space of 18 months, the man persuaded Alice to send him up to £20,000, most of which came out of her pension fund.

Alice’s brother David, reported the scam to Greater Manchester Police as soon as he found out.

David told GMP: “I think if my wife and I hadn’t been there to help her, eventually they would have cleaned her out.”

“The scammers are very clever;” he added. “They target things like online scrabble because they know this is a place where they’ll find older women with a bit of money.”

A date report conducted buy Lloyds Bank revealed that the number of people falling victim to romance scams increased by a fifth (22 percent) in 2023, compared to 2022, with the overall average amount lost being £6,937.

The survey also revealed that those aged between 65 and 74 were the likeliest to lose large sums of money, giving romance scammers an average of £13,123.

Online fraudsters often look for commonalities with their victim. In Alice’s case, her scammer described himself as a widow like her, and claimed to be a Christian. These were traits that Alice latched on to and led to her developing the relationship further.

David hopes that his sister’s unfortunate story will raise awareness among older members of the public to be wary of who they open up to online.

Anyone who suspects that they may have fallen victim to an online scam, can contact Action Fraud to make a formal complaint.

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