It was by no means the first time Alex had been contacted by young women through the site, but a sharp and savvy internet user, Alex typically caught them out first, often toying with the would-be scammers by asking them tough questions and making it clear he was aware of their intentions. In the process, he gave her access to his ID details. Fortunately, Alex saw the warning signs and refused to share his bank details and, suspecting that he was being groomed as a mule for money launderers, he contacted the police. In past years, dating scammers have targeted people through online dating sites. Regardless of the medium though, the scams are usually run the same way and come with multiple warning signs that daters can watch for to stay safe. If someone seems like a scammer, a great way to check is by running their profile picture through a reverse image search, like Google Images or Tineye.
Current scams in Australia and how to avoid them
Check out this video about how to spot and protect yourself from romance scams. Then share it with your friends. But there are steps you can take — and then tell someone about. So watch the video, learn more , and pass it on.
Romance fraud is now the biggest of all scams operating in Australia, “Dating scams are the scams that trouble us the most,” says ACCC.
Australians lost millions to online romance scammers last year, with heartless con artists increasingly targeting non-dating websites and apps including Facebook, Instagram and Words with Friends. More than a third Victims lost the most money on Facebook, which accounted for 7. Women were hit with the majority Scammers seek to make their target fall in love with the persona they have created and quickly profess their love for the victim, the ACCC said.
Although less common, there have also been instances of scammers meeting their victim in person and requesting money. There are a number of precautions people can take to protect themselves themselves and reduce the risk of falling victim to an online dating scam. In , the majority of losses occurred via bank transfer, totalling People who think they may have provided their banking details to a scammer should contact their bank or financial institution as soon as possible.
In addition to the loss of money, shame and heartbreak, dating scam victims have also been used as pawns in criminal plots. In , Sydney grandmother Maria Exposto was sentenced to death by a Malaysian court for drug trafficking, after being duped into carrying drugs by her online boyfriend.
‘Cat and mouse’: Romance scams a $28.6m problem and growing
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 signs 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 email to make contact.
Dating scammers have also turned to other websites such as Google Hangouts. Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.
They target the lonely and the loveless and they sometimes make big money out of it. Romance fraud is now the biggest of all scams operating in Australia, in terms of dollar value, according to Scamwatch figures from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission ACCC. But despite the high risk, it’s on the increase. Of these, victims lost money. The victims can become so depressed that they want to kill themselves, because they feel so stupid.
And Land notes that many victims are often too embarrassed to report the crime and any financial loss, so actual scam amounts are higher than official figures. Worst of all, blackmail or ‘sextortion’ reports numbered last year. These are cases where scammers threaten to or do publicly release sexually compromising images of victims unless they pay money. New research co-authored by Land on the psychology of computer-based online dating shows that the risks are no deterrent.
Her team’s survey of registered online daters accessed through the Amazon Mechanical Turk site shows most users have a false sense of security. The study explores whether daters use online protection methods such as reporting and heeding warnings to shield themselves against scams. Based on their coping and threat appraisals and attitude, the results show it’s their attitude to the use of protection methods that is the overriding factor.
Be wary of those romance scams
More and more fraudsters are trying to scam people out of their hard-earned money. They’re always coming up with new ways of doing so including scams on the phone, online dating scams, phishing emails and much more. Scammers often offer a product or service that seems too good to be true or call you asking for your personal information such as PINs or account details. It is impossible to list all scams currently being used as there are so many and then, so many variations to the original scam.
However some examples of current scams in Australia are:.
Australians reported almost 4, dating and romance scams in , with losses of more than $ million, and that is thought to be just the.
A scammer requests fees upfront or personal information in return for goods, services, money or rewards that they never supply. Scammers invent convincing and seemingly genuine reasons for requesting payment, such as to cover fees or taxes. These scams are commonly mass-marketed with scammers sending them out to thousands of people all over the world at the same time, usually by mail or email. An email, letter or text message from an overseas lottery or sweepstakes company arrives from out of nowhere.
It says you have won a lot of money or fantastic prizes in a lottery or sweepstakes competition you did not enter. These scams try to trick you into giving money upfront or your personal details in order to receive the prize. Scammers typically claim that you need to pay fees or taxes before your winnings or prize can be released. They use these profiles to try to enter into a relationship with you so they can get a hold of your money and personal details.
What’s the nature of your enquiry?
For the first time, the ACCC has used scam data from the big four banks, giving it a far broader base of data to track scam activity. Based on a Roy Morgan survey, the ACCC said scam victims are more likely to report financial losses to their bank than anywhere else, with only 13 per cent of people who lost money or personal information reporting the loss to the ACCC’s Scamwatch. Business email compromise scams involve targeted phishing and hacking of businesses. This is more than double the loss reported in and continuing a trend of scams booming.
The ACCC reported that while most scams remain fundamentally the same as in , many have adapted over time to use social media, new payment methods and online services to source new victims or legitimise their stories. Significant advances in technology over the past decade have contributed to the proliferation of scams affecting Australians.
In Australians reported romance scam losses of more than $28 million, to the ACCC’s Scamwatch. Australia’s consumer protection.
It can be surprisingly easy to fall prey to a romance scam — and has nothing to do with stupidity, an online fraud expert has warned. It is a ‘romance’ between people who never meet, based purely on text messages, internet liaisons and phone calls. Yet victims all too often are willing to give away thousands of dollars and risk facilitating a crime.
But a counsellor who works with such victims on a daily basis said the scenario was “way more complex”. Ms Malet-Warden said to prompt someone to fall in love with a scammer, the victim was first “seeded” with an idea. The fraud is called an “advanced feed fraud” as the victim gives money expecting to get it back and all sorts of false ID is provided to let the victim believe they will get the money back.
People are losing everything in these scams, from superannuation to life savings, and on top there is the loss of a person they believed was the love their life. Ms Malet-Warden said the victims were “happy to give because they are in love”. Ms Malet-Warden said scammers used the complex language of love to connect with their victims in the early stages of a process that regularly hooked smart, educated people.
When we speak to victims they say they’ve been connected, prolifically in the initial stages, using extremely validating language and we are all suckers for it,” she said. They’re incredibly supportive, they’re appealing, they’re flattering, they’re soothing.
Romance scams hit Tasmanians hard, ACCC figures show
To help protect those looking for love, Crime Stoppers encourages people to be on the lookout for signs that they are being scammed, and know how to stay safe when meeting someone new for the first time. While dating should be a fun and safe experience, important rules apply whether meeting someone online or in person for the first time.
It is important to trust your instincts and remember that if something sounds too good to be true it probably is, and never, ever get financially involved with someone you hardly know. Online dating sites are an increasingly popular option for many looking for love, but it is important to safeguard your privacy and anonymity. If you do get to that point where you want to share contact details, consider using a free email service provider such as Gmail, Yahoo!
Australians reported nearly online dating and romance scams in with more than a third resulting in a direct financial loss, according.
Dating and romance scams made up around one-fifth of losses among all the scams reported to Scamwatch in Typically, in visa scams involving online romance, Australians are convinced into transferring money to individuals that they have met online. In one such victim story, an Australian met a person online that later asked him to invite her to Australia, paying for the expenses. Later, being wrongfully informed that all her valuables were seized by the custom officials, the Australian was then coerced into sending more money for bribing the officials.
Eventually, the woman asked him to come to her country and assist her in leaving the country and moving to Australia with him. Many have been similarly duped. There have been reported incidents of the person being abducted on arrival and held for ransom. The ACCC suggests conducting an image search online — through TinEye or Google — to help establish whether the person that you have met online is indeed who they say they are.
Captain con: romance scam leaves WA woman in its wake
However, just as government and businesses embrace the internet to improve their services, so the market expands to host new generations of cyber-enabled crimes. Finally, the chapter considers some basic measures to build the online confidence and consumer awareness of all Australians, and particularly those aged 55 plus. These benefits are not achieved, however, without exposing participants to an ever diversifying range of online threats and risks.
As the cyber-world becomes increasingly embedded in every aspect of our lives, the opportunity for cyber enabled criminal groups and entrepreneurial actors also increases.
Several Australian citizens have been defrauded by bogus internet friendship, dating and marriage schemes purportedly operating mainly from Russia.
They have even been known to telephone their victims as a first romance. Clues for spotting fake romance. Format to chat privately. They may use a fictional name, or falsely take on the identities of real, trusted people such as military scams, aid workers or pictures working abroad. Dating and romance scammers will express strong emotions for you in a relatively free period of time, and will suggest you move the relationship away from the format to a more private channel, such as phone, email or instant messaging.
They often claim to be from Australia or another western scammer, 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 free nature. Often the scammer will pretend to need the money for some sort of personal emergency.