Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via datingWEBSITES
, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details.
Dating and romance scams often take place throughONLINE DATING
Scammers typically create fake online profiles designed to lure you in. 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 theWEBSITE
Scammers will go to great lengths to gain your interest and trust, such as showering you with loving words, sharing ‘personal information’ and even sending you gifts. They may take months to build what may feel like the romance of a lifetime and may even pretendTO BOOK FLIGHTS
Once they have gained your trust and your defences are down, they will ask you (either subtly or directly) for money, gifts or your bankingCREDIT CARD
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 immediateMEDICAL
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 yourBANK ACCOUNT
Sometimes the scammer will tell you about a large amount of money or gold they need to transfer out of their country, and offer you a share of it. They will tell you they need your money to cover administrative fees or taxes.
Dating and romance scammers can also pose a risk to your personal safety as they are often part of international criminal networks. 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
- You meet someone online and after just a few contacts they profess strong feelings for you, and ask to chat with you privately. If you met on anDATING SITE
they will try and move you away from the site and communicate via chat or email.
- Their profile on the internet datingWEBSITE
or their Facebook page is not consistent with what they tell you. For example, their profile picture looks different to their description of themselves, or they say they are university educated but their English is poor.
- After gainingYOUR
trust – often waiting weeks, months or even years – they tell you an elaborate story and ask forMONEY , gifts or yourBANK ACCOUNT /credit card details.
- Their messages are often poorly written, vague and may even address you by the wrong name.
- If you don’tSEND MONEY
straight away, their messages and calls become more desperate, persistent or direct. If you do send money, they continue to ask you to send more.
- They don’t keep their promises and always have an excuse for why they can’t travel to meet you and why they always need more money.
- Always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam, particularly if the warning signs listed above appear. Try to remove the emotion from your decision making no matter how caring or persistent the ‘prospective partner’ is.
- Do an image search ofYOUR
admirer to help determine if they really are who they say they are. You can use image search services such as Google(link is external) or TinEye(link is external).
- Be alert to things like spelling and grammar mistakes, inconsistencies in their stories and others signs that it’s a scam like their camera never working if you want to Skype each other.
- Be cautious when sharing personal pictures or videos with prospective partners, especially if you’ve never met them before. Scammers are known to blackmail theirTARGETS
using compromising material.
- If youAGREE
to meet a prospective partner in person, tell family and friends where you are going. Scamwatch strongly recommends you do not travel overseas to meet someone you have never met before. Consider carefully the advice onwww.smarttraveller.gov.au(link is external) before making any plans.
- Be wary of requests for money. Never send money or giveCREDIT CARD
details, online account details, or copies of important personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
- Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-frontPAYMENT
via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency. It is rare to recover money sent this way.
- Do not agree to transfer money for someone else: money laundering is a criminal offence.
- Be very careful about how much personal information you share onSOCIAL NETWORK
sites. Scammers can use your information and pictures to create a fake identity or to target you with a scam.
If you think you have been scammed, report it to theWEBSITE
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.
Spread the word to your friends and family toPROTECT