Queenslanders looking for love are being warned to be wary of online scammers intent on emptying their bank balances and breaking their hearts this Valentine’s Day.
Scamwatch data reveals Queenslanders suffered losses of over $6.7 million last year through dating and romance scams.
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Shannon Fentiman said sadly unscrupulous scammers continue to operate online, taking advantage of often vulnerable people who are seeking love and romance.
“It’s not just ‘love’ that’s in the air around Valentine’s Day, scammers are busy targeting Queenslanders looking for love.
“I urge any Queenslander who is looking for love and companionship online to take all steps to protect themselves against scammers and rip-off merchants.
“These include making online checks such as image searches to determine if the profile photo of their romantic interest is legitimate, and always communicate only within the app on which they found their potential partner.”
In 2021 in Queensland over 52,000 scams totalling more than $58 million were reported to Scamwatch.
Minister Fentiman said scammers are becoming very sophisticated in their operations and are using a broad range of digital platforms to target victims, including social networks, instant-messaging apps, text messages and email.
“I remind Queenslanders that a simple conversation can help stop a friend, a loved one, a colleague, or even yourself from falling victim to a similar scam,” she said.
“We need people talking, sharing their stories, and raising awareness about scams.
“Breaking down the stigmas associated with being scammed is especially important so we can stop scams from happening in the first place, or help people get out of a scam sooner.
“Scams are rife, and most people have encountered them in one form or another,” Ms Fentiman said.
Anyone who believes they have fallen victim to a scam can contact the Office of Fair Trading or report the matter to the police via ReportCyber www.cyber.gov.au/report and to Scamwatch via www.scamwatch.gov.au.
Information on scams, including tips on how to protect yourself against scams can be found on the Office of Fair Trading website.