• Sat. Jun 3rd, 2023

Internet scams: Aussies warned of love scams this Valentine’s Day

ByGurinderbir Singh

Feb 14, 2023

This Valentine’s Day, Aussies are warned not to fall for something that may seem too good to be true, with dating scams on the rise.

In 2022, more than $38m was lost to dating and romance scams across the country, with as much as $12m lost in NSW alone.

NSW Fair Trading commissioner Natasha Mann said people who let their guard down when dating might end up with more than a broken heart.

“Con artists are becoming more cunning and evolving using online games and websites to contact victims and build an emotional connection,” Ms Mann said.

“People looking for love through online dating agencies should also be sure to read the site’s fine print.

“Make sure you read and understand the terms and conditions of contracts before you sign so you know what you are paying for and don’t let the promise of love play on your emotions.”

The majority of scams took place on social media networks and mobile apps, accounting for more than 1700 reports from across Australia last year.

Scammers may often profess their affection quickly to influence their victims before then asking for money for a multitude of elaborate reasons such as illness, business troubles or family emergencies.

Across Australia, last year there were 792 reports of social networking scams, 55 love scams in person and 63 over the phone.

In South Australia, $2.5m was lost to scams.

SA Consumer and Business Affairs Minister Andrea Michaels said consumers could take steps to protect themselves against love scammers.

“Looking for love online can be tough, especially when scammers are ready to prey on people when they’re at their most vulnerable,” Ms Michaels said.

“But there are steps people can take to protect themselves from romance scammers, such as running a reverse-image search to confirm someone’s identity and always being wary of requests for money.

“Never share your bank account or credit card details with, or transfer money to, someone you haven’t met in person.

“It also pays to be mindful about how much personal information you share on social networking sites and through online dating sites or apps. Scammers can use your information and pictures to target you with a scam or even create a false identity.”

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