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APP Fraud and Scam Compensation

Romance Scam Compensation:
Claim Refunds for Authorised Push Payment (APP) Fraud

Quick Guide

  • Romance Scams are on the rise. Scammers gain the trust of their victims online through social media and dating apps like Tinder, then persuade them to send money.
  • Banks have a duty to protect their customers from Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud. In some cases, if you have lost out to fraud then TLW can help claim a refund from the bank.
  • Our specialist team works on a no-win no fee basis, you pay us nothing if your compensation claim is unsuccessful.

Have you lost money due to a romance scam or fraud?

You may be entitled to compensation if your bank did not do enough to protect you.

Regrettably, we cannot assist if:

  • You transferred your money to the scam before July 2019.
  • You transferred money using a bank which is not UK based.

Romance fraud & scams

Many of us have been unlucky in love at some point in our lives, but no one expects to lose a large amount of money to someone you thought you trusted. Unfortunately, the number of those who are unknowingly being scammed on dating or matchmaking apps is increasing.

If you have lost out to romance scammers, TLW Solicitors may be able to help you claim a refund and help with the reimbursement of losses.

Start Your Compensation Claim Online

or call us on 0800 169 5925

The Netflix documentary ‘The Tinder Swindler’ gave a detailed insight (and warning) into how romance scams work – where people meet online, and build a seemingly trusting, romantic relationship, only to result in urgent or repeated requests for money.

Romance fraud is a type of Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud, where the scam victim authorises a bank transfer of money to the other person’s account.

The scammer is a master of manipulation, transferring the money quickly to another account, often overseas, and then disappearing. When victims realise they have been scammed, it is often too late, making it very difficult to get their money back.

A romance scammer can target anyone on a dating app (such as Tinder, Match, Bumble, or Hinge) or through social media (such as Facebook, Instagram or Tik Tok), regardless of age, gender or sexual orientation, but generally, victims tend to be older people, who may be vulnerable or isolated.

The scammer will initially contact someone via a dating app, but then move communication off the app to messaging or email. Spotting a scammer can be difficult. They usually appear to be very interested in the other person, asking lots of questions, but may not be so forthcoming about themselves, yet they will be quick to provide reassurance about their identity, for example providing a copy of their passport or driver’s licence.

Often the victims feel flattered and believe a mutual bond exists between them. If you trust someone, you’d be happy to help them out. Right? Then questions like this start to be asked by the scammer – “My salary is due on Monday, can you lend me some money until the weekend?” But you’ve never met this person face-to-face, your goodwill is being taken advantage of, and they have no intention of ever paying you back.

There are a number of red flags to look out for, so you can protect yourself from fraudulent romance scams:

  • Fraudulent online dating profiles – their profile might have very few images, they may work or live in another country and there may be limited profile information.
  • Being asked to move to another form of messaging, away from the app – means they avoid any safety checks the app has in place.
  • Lots of flattery and early declarations of love – this is a manipulation technique and preys on vulnerable people. This is also known as ‘love bombing’.
  • Avoiding video chat – if their profile images are fake, they will not want to appear on camera, live chat or FaceTime.
  • Apparent legitimate confirmation of their identity at an early stage of the relationship, including providing a copy of their passport, driver’s licence or other official documents.
  • Requests to send money to someone you’ve never met in person, particularly if you’ve only recently met them through an online dating app. These requests may come with a sense of urgency – unplanned travel, medical assistance, paying off debt, or an investment opportunity.
  • Requests to open a bank account, take out a loan or make an investment on the other person’s behalf.
  • Requests to share your personal identification documents such as your passport or driving licence.

If you are the victim of a romance scam, it is important to put any embarrassment aside and contact your bank and Action Fraud, the National Fraud and Cyber Crime Reporting Centre. If you have lost money, then that may lead to a criminal investigation by the police.

Banks should conduct an investigation and try to recover the money from the receiving bank. But, given that most scammers quickly move the money on, it is usually not possible to get a refund.

There have been some important recent decisions made by the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) about push payment fraud and the banks’ responsibility to their customers. FOS is an independent body set up to settle disputes between financial institutions and their customers. If you disagree with the bank’s investigations following a romance fraud, you can take your case to FOS and they will carry out their own investigation.

There are an increasing number of decisions focusing on the banks’ duty of care to their customers, particularly with regard to carrying out due diligence checks on large or unusual payments where their customers are vulnerable such as the elderly or bereaved.

Tinder has been a popular online dating app for over 11 years. Unfortunately, in recent years, romance fraud has grown to record numbers with Tinder being the most popular platform for scammers. 429 scams were reported in the UK in 2022.

Tinder scam red flags:

  • The scammer’s Tinder profile is unverified, though bots and scammers can game verification.
  • Their main profile pictures look staged or ‘model-like’ and from professional shoots.
  • Lack of biography information.
  • The scammer may declare their love for you quickly, even before meeting in person, this is also known as ‘love bombing’.
  • To build trust and encourage you to provide personal documents, the scammer will often openly appear to provide details of their own passport, drivers licence etc, however, these are likely to be fake.
  • They may pretend to be working or travelling overseas, making it challenging to have regular video chats or meet in person.
  • They may ask for money or gifts, citing emergencies such as a hospital visit or an eviction notice for not paying rent and claim to need your help.
  • They may refuse to speak on the phone or have video chats, or their video quality may be poor, avoiding the victim’s realisation that they are not the person in their profile.
  • The scammer may provide vague or evasive answers to your questions or be inconsistent in their communication but will ask many questions about you.

It’s crucial to always use caution and trust your instincts when using dating apps like Tinder because, unfortunately, if something seems too good to be true, it may be a scam. Protect your personal information and never send money to someone you haven’t met in person. It is important to report any suspicious activity on Tinder immediately in order to protect yourself from potential scams.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of a romance scam on Tinder, please speak to us.

Bumble has been a popular dating app where women make the first move. Unfortunately, it is growing in popularity for scammers with a 60% increase in reported scams in the UK in 2022.

Bumble scam red flags:

  • There is no photo verification on the scammer’s Bumble profile, however it is still possible for them to become verified.
  • They have only one photo that looks staged or ‘model-like’.
  • They do not respond to prompts.
  • They share overly romantic feelings or gestures soon into the conversation.
  • They try and ‘prove’ their identity with passport, driving licence, which are often fake, in order to encourage you to share yours.
  • The scammers never make time to video chat or speak on the phone.
  • They ask for money, gifts or sensitive information.

Apply caution when speaking to people online when using dating apps like Bumble. Never reveal sensitive or personal information about yourself. Make sure to report any suspicious activity directly to Bumble to help take down scam profiles.

If you or anyone you know has sent money as a result of a romance scam on Bumble, please speak to us.

Hinge, launched in 2012, has, over its life cycle, tweaked and honed its unique selling point to be more than just a dating app for short term relationships and aims to foster deeper, more meaningful connections on the site, by giving users talking prompts and conversation starters. But its differentiation from other dating apps has, unfortunately, not stopped scammers from using the site to trick victims into parting with their hard-earned cash.

Four ways to avoid a Hinge romance scam:

  1. Never click on links sent to you via the app, these are likely ‘phishing sites’ used for collecting your personal information such as bank account and card details.
  2. Do your own background research: put the user’s name, phone number, photos (reverse image search) and any other information into a search to find out if there are any reports of the details being used to scam others on the app.
  3. Never send money, card details, gift cards or personal information to someone you have not met in person. They may seem like the perfect partner, but all that glitters is not gold, and they might not be who they say they are.
  4. If you can’t meet in person straight away, try to encourage video chats which may be the next best thing until you are able to speak face to face. If they aren’t who they claim to be in their picture, the likelihood is they won’t be too keen to video chat.

You should report any suspicious activity in the app directly to Hinge, but if you have unfortunately been the victim of a Hinge romance scam and have lost money, please speak to TLW Solicitors today.

Plenty of Fish is one of the longest standing online dating sites in the game and is consistently one of the most popular apps used by singles looking for love. And while there may be ‘plenty of fish in the sea’ there are also plenty of scammers, looking to prey on unsuspecting users of the popular app.

‘Catfishing’ is a term used when an individual pretends to be someone else online, using their pictures, and even their personal information, for (usually) underhand reasons such as starting an online relationship, or extorting blackmail. Romance scammers use catfishing tactics on Plenty of Fish to convince users to part with money – sometimes quite significant amounts.

There are a number of red flags that might indicate that the person you’re chatting to on Plenty of Fish might not be ‘the one’:

  • They look or seem too good to be true, possibly using pictures easily found with a Google search.
  • They have broad interests – this is a tactic to appeal to as wide an audience as possible on the app.
  • They’re moving very fast or ‘love bombing’ – this is when the individual you’re talking to starts to make grand professions of emotion or love and is usually used to ‘butter you up’ before they go on to ask for money or personal details.
  • They refuse to talk using video chat – their ‘camera is broken’ or they ‘don’t have face time’ are usually excuses designed to stop you from finding out they are not who they claim to be.
  • They constantly have to be overseas for ‘work’ for considerable amounts of time, this is a common theme with scammers.
  • They start asking for money – it usually starts small, to help settle a bill or pay a rent cheque, but often increases in value and frequency. Why are they asking you for money and not their friends or relatives?

Make sure to trust your instinct, and always let friends or family members know when you are online dating so that they can spot any changes in your behaviour that might be the result of being manipulated by a scammer. Always report any suspicious activity directly to Plenty of Fish so that they can investigate.

If you, a friend, or a family member have fallen victim to a Plenty of Fish romance scam and lost money, get in touch with TLW Solicitors today, as we may be able to secure compensation.

Our dedicated APP Fraud team has many years of experience in dealing with FOS and successfully claiming compensation for our clients.

We understand the time limits to be followed, the information needed and the claims and appeals processes. The team will also deal with any complex legal arguments and defences that the bank may raise. The combination of our experienced team and digital case management systems means that we proactively pursue your claim and aim to get the best possible results.

The specialist fraud team at TLW Solicitors are helping many clients recover refunds on a no-win, no-fee basis. If you have a claim, we will deal with your claim from start to finish, whilst keeping you up to date as the case progresses.

The steps in the claims process are:

  1. Submit your claim with us by completing either the online claim form, request a callback, telephone our office, or email us using the contact details provided.
  2. A member of the fraud team will discuss your claim with you and advise whether you may have a claim that we can deal with.  If we can assist you, we will send you our welcome pack which contains useful information on what to expect throughout your claim as well as details of what information we’ll need from you.
  3. You will be assigned a case handler. If following an initial assessment of your case we think you have a claim, we will be in touch to go through the next steps. If we don’t think you have a claim, we will provide our reasons why so that you may consider other options.
  4. Your case handler will ask for and review any additional documentation needed to progress your claim, this will include contacting the banks involved on your behalf. You will be kept up to date by email and phone calls if required.
  5. Depending on the circumstances of your case and due to a wide range of factors outside of our control, making a refund claim can take several months to complete – as your case progresses, we will try to give you as much information as possible about the likely timescales. We will continue to update you on your claim, and you will be able to contact your dedicated case handler if there are any issues or concerns.
  6. We work on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, which means that if your claim is unsuccessful, there will be no charge for the work we do.

Members of TLW Solicitors’ APP Fraud and romance scam team have been featured in a BBC One series, ‘Northern Justice’. Episodes from the programme show how TLW lawyers helped scam victims recover substantial compensation. Full details about the BBC series and how TLW successfully supported our clients can be found here.

We offer a free, no-obligation assessment of your case and will make a decision on whether or not to pursue your claim. If we take on your case, we operate on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, meaning you do not pay us anything if your refund claim is unsuccessful.

If you think that you, a friend or a relative has been the victim of a romance scam, please get in touch with our specialist team for a confidential, no-obligation conversation.

You can call us on 0800 169 5925, email info@tlwsolicitors.co.uk or complete either the make a claim online or callback forms below.

It is important to get advice as soon as possible as strict time limits can apply.

Meet Our Team

Meet Sarah, who heads up our experienced Romance Scam Claims team.

Sarah and her colleagues are on hand to help with your claim.

TLW Solicitors pledge to:

  • Always fight your corner.
  • Explain anything you don't understand.
  • Provide full transparency on our charges.
  • Never ask for any upfront payment.
  • Recover the best compensation we can.
  • Keep your personal information safe.
  • Respond quickly to any queries.