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Oz Lovers Scammed Out Of $28.6 Million

With Valentines Day just around the corner, Aussie lovers are looking to make the most of the romance-filled Hallmark holiday, alongside scammers looking to use online platforms to break banks, not hearts.

According to Scamwatch, 20% of all losses came from dating and romance scams, with almost 4,000 reported in 2019 at a total of $28.6 million.

At an average loss of $19,000, 37.5% of those that reported a scam became swindled lovers.

ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard has seen an increase in dating and romance scams, even ‘from people who did not originally seek an online relationship’.

‘No longer are dating websites the only contact method for dating and romance scams, with an increasing number of reports coming from these emerging websites and apps’.

‘Romance scams are particularly devastating because not only are there financial losses, but there is also an emotional toll for the victim, which can have lasting psychological impacts on people’.

Ms Rickard outlines a few simple steps to avoid being romantically scammed.

  • If you’re interacting with someone online, it’s important to be alert and consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam.
  • Don’t give out personal information, including your financial details, to anybody you haven’t met in person, no matter who they say they are and don’t share intimate photos or use webcams in an intimate setting.
  • Don’t agree to carry packages internationally or agree to transfer money for someone else as you may be inadvertently committing a crime.
  • If you become concerned by the conversation, such as if the person is asking for ‘favours’ or money, cease communication.

People who think they may have provided their banking details to a scammer should contact their bank or financial institution as soon as possible.

They can also report a scam to the ACCC through Scamwatch, which offers further information on where to get help, and how to protect yourself from scams.

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