Some dating scams online-Be aware.

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According to the ACCC, 2,620 Australians lost almost $23 million to romance scams last year.

Considering many people are reluctant to admit to being unlucky in love, this figure is likely much higher.

By using social media or online dating sites, would-be Romeos connect with their victims using either a fake profile, or by assuming the identity of someone trusted (think foreign aid workers, military, or overseas ex-pats.)

The scammer moves quickly, romantically suggesting the conversation is moved off the dating site, and onto another (less traceable) medium such as email or chat, and will spend months gaining your trust before requesting money.

This money is usually to handle a sudden family emergency, or recover from a unexpected run of financial bad luck.

To ensure you think with your head and not your heart:

  • Never provide your credit card details or transfer money, to someone you’ve met online.It’s almost impossible for the banks to step in and save the day (and your hip pocket) once you’ve wired money overseas, so be particularly suspicious if someone asks you to do so.Be mindful that money laundering is a criminal offence, so a broken heart won’t be your only woe if you accept and transfer money or packages for somebody else.
  • Run Google’s Reverse Image Search to match the photo you want verified with any similar pics on Google images. If the love of your life is using a stock photo, or has stolen someone’s profile pic, it will be matched with its original.
  • Be wary of the tell-tale signs – perhaps the person promises to Skype yet their webcam is always broken, or requests money to visit but can suddenly no longer travel.
  • Finally, if you think you have been scammed, report your experience to the website where the scammer first approached you and immediately cease contact. There are, after all, plenty more fish in the sea.


Henry Sapiecha

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