A warning has been sent out by the banking group TSB of a scam that is catching out over 60 adults in the UK every week.

Romance scams have claimed over 7,000 victims in the last three years, stealing over £65m from people in the process.

Currently, the banking sector records 64 cases a week of this in the UK, with 51-65-year-olds accounting for 46% of that money lost.

TSB says that scammers spend time building trust with their targets before requesting money.

It found that the average relationship – between the first and last payment made – lasts 53 days.

Central Fife Times: Romance scammers can take time to build up a connection with a potential victimRomance scammers can take time to build up a connection with a potential victim (Image: PA)

In around 60% of cases scammers simply demand financial help for bills or daily living costs, 21% say they are stuck abroad and need help getting home, and 8% receive money to book trips to visit their 'partners' but of course never come.

TSB is urging the public to remain vigilant on all platforms and highlights Facebook and Instagram as the main offenders - as scammers create fake profiles with ease.

TSB advice on avoiding romance scams

  • Remain vigilant on dating sites and don’t give personal information away to someone you’ve never met in person.
  • Get friendly, impartial advice about your online connection from someone close by, who can help you spot holes in a dating site user’s story that you hadn’t thought of yourself
  • If the conversation turns to money, then it’s time to stop
  • Fraudsters concoct elaborate and emotive stories to lure people in; so be suspicious of people accounting for their absence or trying to paint an intricate picture of their working life
  • Take your time. No matter how good the individual sounds online, it could all be false – don’t get caught up in a story you can’t validate

Paul Davis, Director of Fraud Prevention, TSB, said: “The best way of beating romance scammers is by talking to friends and family about the relationships you’re in – if you’re ever asked to send money then it’s time to stop. 

“Social media and tech firms need to step up to better protect those seeking relationships on their platforms.”