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Don’t let scammers steal your heart and your money

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With Valentine's Day just around the corner, this is a timely reminder to be aware of online dating scams and romance rorts. Romance scammers target those who are lonely and vulnerable; their intricate web of deceit is designed to steal hearts and empty bank accounts. These actions often result in hard-working Australians losing their life savings, superannuation or even their home.

How scammers operate

Scammers know what buttons to push to make victims feel loved and connected. They typically lure in victims with fake online profiles that can appear trustworthy, and will even assume the identities of real people, from aid workers to military veterans. Often claiming to be travelling or working overseas, these scammers are eager to express strong emotions, sharing ‘personal information’ or promising to visit at a future date. Once trust is established, the scammer will often ask for money or banking details to help with a personal emergency.

Here are tips to help you respond to romance scammers

  1. DO NOT SHARE personal information with someone you haven’t met. From banking details to the most intimate photos which can be used for blackmail.
  2. Run an image search on your would-be suitor. Google or TinEye searches can often find real identities.
  3. Look for glitches in detail. For example; spelling mistakes, inconsistent stories, or never being available for a Skype or Facetime call.
  4. If you agree to meet, let family and friends know. Always meet in a public place in daylight hours. Travelling overseas to meet an admirer is fraught with risk and not advised. 

If you believe you are caught in a romance scam and have provided your banking details, contact us immediately on 13 24 40 and also make a report to Scamwatch.