Dating and romance scams are usually conducted through online dating sites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact. They are even known for calling the victim the first introduction.
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Scammers often create fake online profiles designed to lure you in. They may use fictitious names or pretend to be real people, such as military personnel, aid workers, or professionals working abroad.
Dating and dating scammers will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time and will suggest that you move your relationship from the website to more private channels, such as phone calls, emails, or instant messages. They often claim to be from Australia or other Western countries, but travel or work overseas. The scammer will spare no effort to win your interest and trust, such as confessing to you, sharing "personal information", and even giving you gifts. It may take months for them to establish a relationship that feels like a lifetime, and they may even pretend to book a flight ticket to see you, but it never actually passes away.
Once they gain your trust and your defenses go down, they will (smartly or directly) ask you for money, gifts or your bank/credit card details. They may also ask you to send photos or videos of yourself, which may be private.
Scammers usually pretend that they need money to deal with some kind of personal emergency. For example, they may claim that a seriously ill family member needs immediate medical attention, such as expensive surgery, or they may claim financial hardship due to unfortunate bad luck (such as business failure or street robbery). Scammers may also claim that they want to visit you on a business trip but cannot afford it unless you can lend them money to pay for air tickets or other travel expenses.
Sometimes, scammers will send you valuables such as laptops and mobile phones and ask you to resend them somewhere. They will fabricate some reasons why you need to send the goods, but this is just a way for them to cover up criminal activities. Or they might ask you to buy the product yourself and send it somewhere. You may even be asked to deposit money into your bank account and then transfer it to someone else.
Dating and romance scammers may also pose a threat to your personal safety, as they are usually part of an international criminal network. Scammers may try to lure victims overseas, putting you in a dangerous situation that may have tragic consequences.
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No matter how you are deceived, you may end up losing a lot of money. Online dating and romance scams deceive millions of Australians every year. The money you send to scammers is almost always irrecoverable, and you may feel a lasting emotional betrayal in the hands of someone you think loves you.
Never send money to someone you haven't met.
Always consider the possibility that this method may be a scam, especially when the warning signs listed above appear. No matter how caring or persistent the "potential partner" is, try to remove emotions from your decision-making.
Do images search of your admirers to help determine if they are really who they say they are? You can use image search services such as Google. Be wary of spelling and grammatical errors, inconsistencies in the story, and other signs that this is a scam. For example, if you want to talk to each other via video, their cameras will never work.
Disagree to transfer money for others: Money laundering is a criminal offense. Be very careful about how much personal information you share on social networking sites. Scammers can use your information and pictures to create false identities or target fraud.
Spread this news to your friends and family to protect them.
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