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Thanks to online dating scams, each year thousands of Americans who are searching for love end up with nothing but a broken heart and an empty wallet. While online dating and social media sites have become increasingly popular tools to find love and friendship, they've unfortunately also become popular tools for fraudsters known as romance scammers. These con artists create fake profiles to lure in victims, establish romantic relationships and eventually, extort money. According to the Better Business Bureau, victims in the U. Older users, in particular, are more often targeted by this type of scam — and most don't realize they are a victim until it is too late. We also have information about how to report a dating scammer if you or someone you love has fallen victim to one.
Online dating and romance scams
Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, 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. How this scam works Warning s Protect yourself Have you been scammed? More information. Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or to make contact. They have even been known to telephone their victims as a first introduction. Scammers typically create fake online profiles deed to lure you in.
Romance scams in what you need to know plus online dating scam statistics
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, or instant messaging.
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.
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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 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. 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.
What you need to know about romance scams
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 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.
Break up with online romance scams
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 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. 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, or screenshot. We also provide guidance on protecting yourself from scams and where to get help.
Phishing Phishing scams are attempts by scammers to trick you into giving out your personal information such as your bank s, passwords and credit card s. Identity theft is a type of fraud that involves using someone else's identity to steal money or gain other benefits. These scams offer you the false promise of an inheritance to trick you into parting with your money or sharing your bank or credit card details.
Nigerian scams involve someone overseas offering you a share in a large sum of money or a payment on the condition you help them to transfer money out of their country. While these scams originated in Nigeria, they now come from all over the world. Breadcrumb Home Types of scams Listen.
Phishing scams are attempts by scammers to trick you into giving out your personal information such as your bank s, passwords and credit card s. Identity theft.
Inheritance scams. Nigerian scams. Romance baiting scams on the rise.