Online Dating Scams – ‘What’s love got to do with it?’
Everyone wants to be loved and have that special someone in their life, but when looking for love online, it’s important to have your scammer radar on full alert to protect your heart.
Being a victim of dating or romance scams is not only painful on the victim’s heart strings, but often affects their bank accounts too. In 2013, more than 2,700 Australians were affected and over $25 million dollars was reported lost, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. So it’s important to stay scammer safe and not be fooled because dating and romance scams cost Australians millions every year.
Scammers are cunning, often creating fake profiles on legitimate dating websites to lure in new victims. Once initiating contact, they will try and move the victim from the dating website to other forms of communication such as email or instant messaging.
Scammers often build these relationships over weeks, months and even years, and often express strong emotions over a short period of time.
Once the scammer believes they have the victim hooked, they will often ask for money for various reasons, it might be needing money for flights so that they can visit the victim, or needing money because they injured themselves and need help paying the medical bills or they could suddenly have a sick relative or child that needs urgent care that has financial implications.
So it’s important to always be aware online, because these scammers not only hurt their victims financially, they also hurt them emotionally too. That’s why it’s important to be careful to not only protect your heart online, but also your bank account.
Here are some tips for staying safe when looking for love online:
- Beware if someone asks to communicate with you outside of the initial dating website where you met
- Don’t share your personal banking details, PIN, or credit card details with someone you don’t know or trust.
- Don’t trust a person who starts making plans for marriage, children or tells you they love you in the initial stages of a relationship.
- Be wary of a person who can only come online at certain times of the day or evening, or who suddenly disappears during conversations. They might already be in a relationship and avoiding being caught talking to you.
- NEVER send money to someone you have met online. Alarm bells should ring when anyone requests payment via wire transfer, money order or international funds transfer.
For more information visit SCAMwatch to find out how scams work, how to protect yourself and what to do if you’ve been scammed: www.scamwatch.gov.au
Have you had a good or bad experience with online dating? Share your experience in the comments below!