Example to chat privately. They may use a fictional name, or falsely take on the identities of real, trusted people such as military personnel, aid workers or professionals working abroad. Dating and romance scammers will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time, and will suggest you move the relationship away from the website to a more private channel, such as phone, email or instant messaging.
Dating & romance | Scamwatch
They often claim to be from Australia or another western country, but travelling or working overseas. They may take months to build what may feel like the romance of a lifetime and may even pretend to book flights to visit you, but never actually come. They may also ask you to send pictures or videos of yourself, possibly of an intimate nature.
Often the scammer will pretend to need the money for some sort of personal emergency. For example, they may claim to have a severely ill family member who requires immediate medical attention such as an expensive operation, or they may claim financial hardship due to an unfortunate run of bad luck such as a failed business or mugging in the street. The scammer may also claim they want to travel to visit you, but cannot afford it unless you are able to lend them money to cover flights or other travel expenses.
Sometimes the scammer will send you valuable items such as laptop computers and mobile phones, and ask you to resend them somewhere. They will invent some reason why they need you to send the goods but this is just a way for them to cover up their criminal activity. Alternatively they may ask you to buy the goods yourself and send them somewhere. You might even be asked to accept money into your bank account and then transfer it to someone else. Warning - the above scenarios are very likely to be forms of money laundering which is a criminal offence.
Never agree to transfer money for someone else. They will tell you they need your money to cover administrative fees or taxes.
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- The common scam pattern;
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Scammers may attempt to lure their victims overseas, putting you in dangerous situations that can have tragic consequences. Regardless of how you are scammed, you could end up losing a lot of money.
Online dating fraud victim numbers at record high
Online dating and romance scams cheat Australians out of millions every year. The money you send to scammers is almost always impossible to recover and, in addition, you may feel long-lasting emotional betrayal at the hands of someone you thought loved you. If you think you have been scammed, report it to the website, app, or social media site where the scammer first approached you. If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
We encourage you to report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page. This helps us to warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible.
Please include details of the scam contact you received, for example, email or screenshot. We also provide guidance on protecting yourself from scams and where to get help. Scammers may go as far as sending fake documentation to corroborate their claims such as: Do not trust anyone behaving this way and report the member to match. Unfortunately, scammers will often use noble causes such as charities to get you to transfer money.
There are many reputable charity websites which are completely safe to transfer money to, however charities do not solicit donations through dating websites and so if you do not know the person well and they are asking for money, chances are they are working on a scam. Stay clear and report the member to match. Someone I have been messaging online has told be of a lucrative business idea, is this a scam? Never send money to people who propose business ventures or suggest sending money to help get you rich, especially if the offer requires urgent action for a limited time only.
The scenarios vary in details from inheritance money that needs to released, to gold mining in Africa, however the story is always the same. No matter how earnest or tempting the offer, never send money or financial information to anyone claiming to have a business idea you can cash in on.
Dating site scam victims lose £2,000 to fraudsters
These stories are cleverly formulated to make the scammer rich. Never send money to other members; however desperate the situation may seem. You could risk your details being used for identity theft or money laundering which is a criminal offence. The way they communicate and the sort of photos and information they use on their profile should help decipher if their interest is genuine.
Relationships and trust naturally happen over time, beware of anyone rushed declarations of affection. Requests for money or financial assistance are not acceptable. You should never send money to anyone you meet online; just as you would never give money to someone you recently met in a pub or cafe.
- How to spot a scammer!
- What is a scammer.
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For more information and advice on staying safe online, read our safety article. How soon should you message after a first date? If you have had an unpleasant experience with one of our members, or feel a profile should not be on the site, there are ways to report that person.