Shirley Ballas needs little introduction. The dancer, dance teacher and current Strictly Come Dancing judge is a beloved household name. But of course, her fame doesn’t make her immune from feelings that we all get such as loneliness and isolation. Having admitted to feeling lonely during lockdown, we teamed Shirley up with Nationwide for a campaign to raise awareness of romance scams which target vulnerable, lonely people.

Nationwide is the world’s largest building society and at The Celebrity Sauce Co. we’ve been happy to help them on a number of their recent campaigns. This one focussed on romance scams and how criminals build an online relationship with the victim. Then, after gaining trust ask for money for things such as medical fees for a relative or to flee a country. Think Netflix’s Tinder Swindler.

Following research that found that 82% of people admit to having feelings of loneliness or social isolation with 82% of us spending prolonged periods of time alone, it was an important campaign for Nationwide to launch.

To ensure the research findings and information around romance fraud were heard by many, Nationwide engaged in a broadcast day alongside Shirley who worked as the celebrity spokesperson for the campaign.

During the radio interviews Shirley bravely shared her personal experiences of loneliness and sought to capture the attention of listeners urging them to be careful when it comes to seeking relationships online. She was also joined by Nationwide’s Head of Fraud Ed Fisher who gave further insight into the signs to look out for and where to get more information and support.

Here are some key signs the pair shared to listeners:

Real photo or too good to be true? Romance scammers often provide photos that may have been stolen from many places online, whether that be from professional websites, or from another person’s social media profiles.

Attentive or controlling? Scammers may establish constant contact, encouraging you to keep the relationship secret and get you to communicate with them outside the dating site, such as email, phone or instant messaging.

Besotted or obsessive? They are likely to fall in love with you very quickly and declare strong feelings for you after a few conversations.

Generic or endearing? Scammers often use scripts and are in contact with more than one victim at a time. They may avoid using your name and instead use generic terms of endearment like ‘honey’, ‘babe’ or ‘angel’.

Consistency or flaws in the language and story: Their profile on the internet dating website or social media page may include spelling and grammatical mistakes and not be consistent with what they tell you.

Available or remote? Many avoid meeting in person and have a variety of reasons as to why they can’t meet, such as working abroad and being unable to travel. They may also refuse to even show themselves over video.

Financially stable or in crisis? At some point they will introduce a crisis that means you need to help them financially, such as needing help with medical fees, an ill relative, paying for materials or tools for their business, travel expenses, or avoid persecution. It may even mean you become complicit in their fraud.

Being on the TV of homes across the country, Shirley was instantly recognisable to listeners and was able to engage them on a highly important topic. Her personal experiences and feelings of loneliness made the campaign partnership ‘human’ and allowed listeners to really trust and listen to what Shirley had to say.

Another successful partnership? We think it was a TEN!



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