If the person you’ve met online is too good to be true, they probably are.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s ScamWatch urged Australians to be mindful of scammers this Valentine’s Day.
ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said in 2017, Australians lost $9.7 million to dating and romance scams on social media.
In Tasmania, $719,812 was lost with 63 victims being impacted.
“While [Valentine’s Day is] a happy day for many, for some it can be quite lonely and isolating,” Ms Rickard said.
“Social media has overtaken online dating sites as the most common way for dating and romance scammers to contact potential victims.
“If you’re going on social media, a dating site or app to find a potential Mr or Ms Right, it’s important to keep your guard up to a scammer’s advances,” she said.
The ScamWatch website stated that scammers often create fake online profiles designed to lure in victims, and they often use a fictional name or take on the identity of real, trusted people – this is referred to as ‘catfishing’.
Australians are urged by ScamWatch to follow some tips to protect themselves online:
- Use a Google Image search to check profile pictures are genuine.
- If the person you are interested in is overseas, or cannot meet right now, this is cause for suspicion.
- Be mindful when people profess strong feelings early on – scammers want you to fall in love with them so that they can abuse your feelings.
- Do not give money to someone you have only met online.
- Do not share intimate pictures or use webcams in an intimate setting, as scammers often use this to blackmail their victims.
For more advice about avoiding these scams, visit ScamWatch.