The romantic marketing suits at UK bank Natwest have chosen to mark Valentine's Day by carrying out a psychological experiment that demonstrates how easily crooks can extract valuable personal information by exploiting our amorous desires.
The bank teamed up with behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings to insert a couple of plants into a real-life speed dating event. The actors manipulated love-hungry members of the public into handing over a trove of information, including the names of pets, mothers' maiden names and the towns in which people were born.
The 'Romance Scam' is common in the UK, although it is mostly carried out online, with thieves setting up fake profiles and gaining victims' trust in order to find out personal information that can be used to steal their identities.
Jane Howard, MD, personal banking, NatWest, says: "In order to protect yourself from falling victim to a scam, people should remain vigilant when browsing online or receiving an out of the blue phone call. Take Five and don’t act straight away. Listen to your instincts and don’t be pressured into making a payment."