Police are urging those caught up in romance scams to come forward and not be ashamed that they’ve been duped.
An older man who’d recently lost his wife had transferred $150,000 to scammers and was in the process of handing over another $80,000 before police from the Commercial and Electronic Crime Branch intervened, working with his bank to reverse the transaction.
Investigators say while it is embarrassing, online dating sites have been found to harbor scammers who will take advantage of those looking for love, and reporting it will hopefully mean others won’t also become victims.
“Unfortunately this is not an isolated matter – we are seeing increased scam activity, and romance and dating scams are particularly cruel. said Detective Inspector Rob Papworth from the SA Police Commercial and Electronic Crime Branch
“Unfortunately modern technology has seen a rise in opportunities for scammers to prey on lonely hearts looking for love.
“Typically the scammers initiate contact on online dating sites then quickly move conversations off site onto private chat, email and video channels.”
“Education is the community’s best weapon against this form of international organised crime, and I ask everyone to talk to family members, their friends and colleagues as well as professional to help protect them from these offenders.”