The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission says dating and romance scams accounted for one-fifth of all losses reported to the scam watchdog last calendar year. While scammers took advantage of the usual platforms – including Facebook and other dating sites – a troubling new trend emerged. Apps like Google Hangouts or online games such as Words with Friends and Scrabble were used to try and con their victims. Romance and dating scams work with scammers attempting to make their target fall for a persona they have created. While not common, there have been instances where the scammer meets in person and requests money. People can report a scam to the ACCC through Scamwatch, which offers further information on how to protect yourself from scams.
Current scams in Australia and how to avoid them
However, just as government and businesses embrace the internet to improve their services, so the market expands to host new generations of cyber-enabled crimes. Finally, the chapter considers some basic measures to build the online confidence and consumer awareness of all Australians, and particularly those aged 55 plus. These benefits are not achieved, however, without exposing participants to an ever diversifying range of online threats and risks.
Get in touch with IDCare – Australia and New Zealand’s counselling and support service to assist Australians impacted by scams, identify theft and cyber-crimes.
Beverley Hadgraft writes this article exclusively for Australian Seniors, to delve into this important modern issue. Chyrel Muzic had fainted again. Her boss took her aside. Chyrel had to quit. The reason? She was being duped by a romance scammer.
Police make arrests over $6m cyber scam ring
Out of a total scams in that cost Australians AU$ million. scams, and AU$83 million lost to dating and romance scams.
Renting, buying and selling property, building and renovating, owners corporations, retirement villages. Refunds, returns, repairs, warranties, energy products and services, online shopping, contracts, advertising. Buying and selling new and used cars, pricing, cooling-off period, warranties, leasing, trade-ins, auctions. Apply for, renew, update and cancel a licence or registration, lodge an annual statement, legal responsibilities.
Register, update, manage, or search for an incorporated association, fundraiser, or patriotic fund. Forms and publications, legislation, languages, scams, Koori, and disability resources, advice in a disaster. Video transcript: Romance scam Word, 31KB. Romance or dating scams can be devastating — financially and emotionally.
People who have been scammed have lost their life savings to someone they loved and trusted, and found themselves in serious financial debt. After approaching you on legitimate dating websites, the scammer quickly moves the relationship to personal email, phone calls or instant messaging. The scammer builds an online relationship with you, often over weeks, months or years. They may go to great lengths to gain your trust and affection, often speaking to you on the phone, and sending flowers or gifts.
Once the relationship is established, the scammer will make up a story about needing money, often to do with illness or injury with a family member, or to pay for a business investment. Another story is that they are having trouble cashing a cheque where they are.
Report international scams online!
Australians with money and time to burn in Covid lockdown are losing money to get-rich-quick scams. The financial uncertainty triggered by the coronavirus crisis has particularly tempted investors into cryptocurrency scams, said ASIC executive director Warren Day. The ultra-low interest environment may also be driving everyday Australians into riskier behaviour than they otherwise would.
The corporate regulator warned Australians to watch for scams that have fake endorsements from celebrities or authorities, including ASIC itself. Other suspicious signs include promises of high returns without mentioning risks, persistent requests for investments despite no returns, and payments requested into multiple or changing accounts.
Online Dating Scams Australia. Their goal is to gain your trust, steal your information or identity, and drain your bank accounts. Catfishing is.
Not everyone using online dating sites is looking for love. Scammers create fake online profiles using photos of other people — even stolen pictures of real military personnel. They profess their love quickly. And they tug at your heartstrings with made-up stories about how they need money — for emergencies, hospital bills, or travel. Why all of the tricks? The scammers transfer stolen money into the new account, and then tell their victims to wire the money out of the country.
Here are some warning signs that an online love interest might be a fake. They ask you to:. Unfortunately, online dating scams are all too common. There may be tens of thousands of victims, and only a small fraction report it to the FTC. If this happens to you, please report it at ftc.
Love hurts: Online dating scams are Australia’s top financial fraud
See also: Cybersecurity warning: These scammers are looking for a way into your email accounts. In , phishing was the most common method for scamming, with 25, reports. Most were Ponzi schemes, with no real cryptocurrency involved,” the report explained. The highest overall loss was experienced by those aged , and the age bracket reporting the most scams were aged 65 and above, followed by those aged Phone remains the main avenue for scamming, with 69, reports; followed by email with 40, reports; text message with 27, reports; and “the internet” was the scam method for 11, reports.
See also: Australian government introduces new telco regulations to fight phone scams.
Online romance scams are among the common scams that the Department of Home Affairs of Australia warns against.
Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details. Dating and romance scams may also use email to make contact and they have even been known to telephone their victims as a first introduction. Scammers will often create very realistic profiles online, and will share information to seem quite legitimate.
They are likely to target over 45s who are looking for relationships and are in a comfortable financial position. Scammers will aim to gain your trust and friendship, and will then seek an opportunity to ask for assistance to pay for flights, medical bills etc. Consumer Affairs regulators are urging consumers to stay vigilant online, particularly while engaging with international persons.
Follow these simple tips to help recognise a scammer:. Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact. If you would like to be alerted of the latest scams in WA, please add your name and email address in the boxes below and click the red button to subscribe:.
Fake social media profiles Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact. If you would like to be alerted of the latest scams in WA, please add your name and email address in the boxes below and click the red button to subscribe: Name.
HELP YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY DATE SAFELY ONLINE
Estimated reading time is 6 minutes. Do you have suspicions that a friend or family member is involved in a romance scam? Do you ever wonder why people fall for romance scams?
Australia · Revenue in the Online Dating segment is projected to reach US$35m in · Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR ).
A scammer requests fees upfront or personal information in return for goods, services, money or rewards that they never supply. Scammers invent convincing and seemingly genuine reasons for requesting payment, such as to cover fees or taxes. These scams are commonly mass-marketed with scammers sending them out to thousands of people all over the world at the same time, usually by mail or email. An email, letter or text message from an overseas lottery or sweepstakes company arrives from out of nowhere.
It says you have won a lot of money or fantastic prizes in a lottery or sweepstakes competition you did not enter. These scams try to trick you into giving money upfront or your personal details in order to receive the prize. Scammers typically claim that you need to pay fees or taxes before your winnings or prize can be released.
They use these profiles to try to enter into a relationship with you so they can get a hold of your money and personal details. The scammer will develop a strong rapport with you then ask for money to help cover costs associated with illness, injury, travel or a family crisis.
Romance scams expand to new platforms, costing victims $28m
Dating and romance scams made up around one-fifth of losses among all the scams reported to Scamwatch in Typically, in visa scams involving online romance, Australians are convinced into transferring money to individuals that they have met online. In one such victim story, an Australian met a person online that later asked him to invite her to Australia, paying for the expenses.
Later, being wrongfully informed that all her valuables were seized by the custom officials, the Australian was then coerced into sending more money for bribing the officials.
But the romance ended up costing her life savings. Picture: Supplied Source:Supplied. Ms Marshall had just moved from Brisbane to Melbourne and was looking for companionship when she signed up to Plenty of Fish, and within days she was contacted by a man who claimed to be a British engineer who was based in the US. The relationship soon progressed to emails and then phone calls — and within four weeks, the couple were engaged to marry.
Victims take on a lot of shame, which is supported by the amount of victim blaming out there. Ms Marshall tried to get information about the scammer from Plenty of Fish, but the website refused to pass on any details as it would be considered a breach of client privacy. But Western Union, which Ms Marshall had used to transfer the money to Dubai in , revealed it had actually gone to Nigeria, meaning the year-old was probably the victim of a Nigerian scamming ring.
Lonely Heart Scams
Not everyone you meet online is who they claim to be. Discover how to protect yourself against romance scams on social media, online dating websites or via email. Romance scammers set out to steal your heart in order to defraud you. They usually create fake online identities designed to lure you in. They may plead with you, asking for cash to help with a non-existent health, travel or family problem, or ask you to transfer assets into their name — using manipulative, psychologically controlling and deceitful tactics to get what they want.
Scammers are using new online platforms to take advantage of their victims, with dating and romance scams making up one fifth of losses across all scams reported to Scamwatch in Around Beyond traditional online dating websites, the highest losses were from romance scams originating on Instagram and Facebook. Conventional dating platforms, such as Tinder or Match.
A new trend emerging in was scammers increasingly turning to apps like Google Hangouts, or online games such as Words with Friends and Scrabble to con their victims. Scammers try to make their target fall in love with the persona they have created and quickly profess their love for the victim. While less common, there have also been instances of scammers meeting their victim in person and requesting money.
People who think they may have provided their banking details to a scammer should contact their bank or financial institution as soon as possible.
Internet scams are different methodologies of Fraud, facilitated by cybercriminals on the Internet. Scams can happen in a myriad of ways- via phishing emails, social media, SMS messages on your mobile phone, fake tech support phone calls, scareware and more. The main purpose of these types of scams can range from credit card theft, capturing user login and password credentials and even identity theft.
The top online scam today is Phishing. Internet thieves prey on unsuspecting users by sending out phishing emails. In these emails, a cybercriminal tries to trick you into believing you are logging into a trusted website that you normally do business with.
As we gear up to celebrate International Women’s Day in Australia, Scamwatch has already been alerted to reports of online dating and romance scams.
A few recent convictions demonstrate that some progress is being made in the never-ending battle against online scams, particularly those in which the scammers use social media to find their victims. Most of us think that fraudsters who con people out of money through online scams are based overseas, but a string of recent court cases shows that many are based in Australia. The year-old Sydney mother of four pleaded guilty to eleven fraud related offences after tricking seven victims into lending her money that she used for gambling, drugs and building a house.
Using a series of aliases, 15 phones and online dating services, she tricked men over six years into sending money, allegedly for sick relatives and funerals. She persuaded him to send her money on occasions, claiming she needed money to pursue her ex-husband for child maintenance and paying medical bills. Other frauds are more public, such as that of blogger Belle Gibson, who received a lot of publicity claiming she had beaten brain cancer through so-called natural treatments.
The court found that she had also lied about donating a large portion of her profits to charities. Gibson is yet to be penalised after the Federal Court found her guilty of misleading and unconscionable conduct under Australian Consumer Law. Justice Debra Mortimer ruled Gibson is prohibited from claiming — in connection with her wellness advice and products — that she was diagnosed with brain cancer and given four months to live, but rejected conventional treatment and healed herself through natural treatments.