Dating and romance scammers will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time, and will suggest you move the relationship away from the website to a more private channel, such as phone, email or instant messaging. They often claim to be from Australia or another western country, 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 intimate nature. Often the scammer will pretend to need the money for some sort of personal emergency. For example, they may claim to have a severely ill family member who requires immediate medical attention such as an expensive operation, or they may claim financial hardship due to an unfortunate run of bad luck such as a failed business or mugging in the street.
The scammer may also claim they want to travel to visit you, but cannot afford it unless you are able to lend them money to cover flights or other travel expenses. Sometimes the scammer will send you valuable items such as laptop computers and mobile phones, and ask you to resend them somewhere. They will invent some reason why they need you to send the goods but this is just a way for them to cover up their criminal activity.
Alternatively they may ask you to buy the goods yourself and send them somewhere. You might even be asked to accept money into your bank account and then transfer it to someone else. Warning - the above scenarios are very likely to be forms of money laundering which is a criminal offence. Never agree to transfer money for someone else. Sometimes the scammer will tell you about a large amount of money or gold they need to transfer out of their country, and offer you a share of it.
They will tell you they need your money to cover administrative fees or taxes. Dating and romance scammers can also pose a risk to your personal safety as they are often part of international criminal networks. Scammers may attempt to lure their victims overseas, putting you in dangerous situations that can have tragic consequences.
Regardless of how you are scammed, you could end up losing a lot of money. Online dating and romance scams cheat Australians out of millions every year. The money you send to scammers is almost always impossible to recover and, in addition, you may feel long-lasting emotional betrayal at the hands of someone you thought loved you. If you think you have been scammed, report it to the website, app, or social media site where the scammer first approached you.
If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately. We encourage you to report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page. Three in 10 U. But seeking romantic bliss online can have a major downside: Cyberspace is full of scammers eager to take advantage of lonely hearts. The con works something like this: You post a dating profile and up pops a promising match — good-looking, smart, funny and personable.
This potential mate claims to live in another part of the country or to be abroad for business or a military deployment. But he or she seems smitten and eager to get to know you better, and suggests you move your relationship to a private channel like email or a chat app. Sign up for Watchdog Alerts for more tips on avoiding scams. Over weeks or months you feel yourself growing closer.
You make plans to meet in person, but for your new love something always comes up. Then you get an urgent request. He or she will promise to pay it back, but that will never happen. Phony suitors also seek marks on social media, reaching out to people they spot on Facebook or Instagram, and they are increasingly active. Romance scammers are smooth operators and can take their time to set their trap. Whether you have been personally affected by scams or fraud or are interested in learning more, the AARP Fraud Watch Network advocates on your behalf and equips you with the knowledge you need to feel more informed and confidently spot and avoid scams.
Impostor Scams. Grandparent Scam. Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams. You are leaving AARP. Please return to AARP. You'll start receiving the latest news, benefits, events, and programs related to AARP's mission to empower people to choose how they live as they age. You can also manage your communication preferences by updating your account at anytime.
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