Dating and romance scams cost Australians millions every year and can ruin individuals and families.
How the scam works:
Dating and romance scammers create fake profiles on legitimate dating websites, mobile apps or social media platforms like Facebook using photos and identities often stolen from other people. They use these profiles to try to enter into a relationship with you that can run for months or even years, just so they can get a hold of your money. The scammer will ask for money to help with illness, injury, travel costs or a family crisis. They are heartless and will lie to you to take advantage of your better nature.
Scammers will usually be overseas and have an excuse for why they are there, such as being on military service, working as an engineer or caring for a friend or relative. They are never who they say they are and some cunning scammers may even send small gifts. This is only part of their grand plan to get even more money out of you later.
- Never send money or give your personal details to someone you have only met online.
- Watch out if an online admirer asks to communicate outside the dating website or social media platform after only a few 'contacts' or conversations - it could be a scammer.
- Do an image search of your admirer to help determine if they really are who they say they are. You can use image search services such as Google or TinEye.
- Be cautious when sharing intimate pictres or videos online. Scammers are known to blackmail their targets using pictures or video of you that you dont want anyone else to see.