“It often starts with a message on social media from a stranger who asks for a small sum of money. This is just the first step and over time, the scammer will ask for larger and larger sums,” say Amalia Krantz, fraud expert at Nordea.
According to the police, there are some common methods, for instance when a scammer pretends to be a UN soldier in a war zone, or stuck on an oil rig or a famous person. The scammer often sends well-written and almost poetic messages, promising love and a life together. After a while the scammer needs money. Sometimes they claim it’s for medicines stuck in customs, or that their bank has temporarily frozen their accounts, or that a family member is in financial difficulties. They may only ask for small sums initially, but the amounts will grow bigger over time.
“Romance fraud is an awful crime and there is a lot of shame associated with it. The victim is often both financially and emotionally devastated. Love is one of the strongest feelings we have, and sometimes the emotional damage is more difficult to come to terms with.”