Valentine’s day online scam warning
Australians looking for love could be left nursing a broken heart and an empty bank balance if they fail to spot the signs of an online romance scam.
Minister for Fair Trading Eleni Petinos urged people to remain vigilant with data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission revealing lonely Australians lost a massive $56 million to dating and romance scammers last year.
“Valentine's Day has proven to be a busy time for dating apps as singles go swiping, meaning scammers are also hard at work targeting lonely hearts across digital platforms including social networks, dating sites and instant-messaging apps,” Ms Petinos said.
“Not only was the 2021 figure a record, it was up 44 per cent from $38.9 million in 2020."
Ms Petinos said there were a number of steps people could take to protect themselves against scammers.
This included doing quick online checks such as an image search to find out if the profile photo of their romantic interest is legitimate.
"People looking for love are encouraged to communicate within an app, where there are greater protections for users," Ms Petinos said.
"Dating apps can then remove the profile of anyone reported to be a potential scammer. This will benefit others on the app who are also in contact with that person.
"Don’t transfer money to, or share bank account details with, someone you haven’t met in person. When it comes to love, it is important to listen to your head as well as your heart.”
People who have fallen victim to identity theft should contact ID Support NSW online or by calling 1800 001 040, while people can report scams to the ACCC by visiting the Scamwatch website.
For more information about romance scams, visit the Scamwatch website.