Warning over WhatsApp scam: ‘Don’t respond’ | #whatsapp | #lovescams | #phonescams

If you’ve been contacted by a stranger on WhatsApp, it could be a scam. (Source: Getty)

If you’ve received a WhatsApp message from a stranger trying to befriend you, it’s probably a scam.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch is warning Aussies about WhatsApp messages from people who claim they are travelling in Australia and want to get to know you.

“It’s likely a romance scam, don’t respond or provide personal information. Ignore, block, and report to Scamwatch,” Scamwatch said.

Scammers will often try to take advantage of people who are looking for romantic partners and may create fake online profiles to catfish their potential victim.

Romance scammers will usually profess their love or strong emotions for you in a short space of time and will try to gain your trust. But once they have, they will often ask you for money, gifts, your bank or credit card details or ask you to invest money.

Aussies lost more than $40 million to dating and romance scams last year, according to Scamwatch. This year alone, there have already been more than 1,000 reports of romance scams with more than $9 million lost.

People aged between 35 and 44 made the highest number of reports last year, followed by those aged 65 plus. The 65+ age group reported the biggest money losses, followed by the 55 to 64 age bracket.

Warning signs

The ACCC shared the warning signs to watch out for:

  • They can’t meet in person

  • They try to evoke empathy, such as being divorced or widowed

  • They need help with a crisis, such as money for illness, injury, travel or a family emergency

  • They say they are financially stable but ask for money

  • They ask you to invest money

The ACCC has urged people to stop, think and protect themselves. If something feels wrong, contact your bank and report scams to Scamwatch.

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