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New online dating scam costing Aussies millions

  • February 12 2021
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New online dating scam costing Aussies millions

By Cameron Micallef
February 12 2021

Australians lost roughly $37 million to new romance scams last year, with scammers turning to dating apps to lure victims into investment scams. 

New online dating scam costing Aussies millions

New online dating scam costing Aussies millions

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  • February 12 2021
  • Share

Australians lost roughly $37 million to new romance scams last year, with scammers turning to dating apps to lure victims into investment scams. 

New online dating scam costing Aussies millions

As Australians get set to spend an estimated $1.1 billion this Valentine’s Day, the ACCC has urged caution, with scammers switching to popular dating apps. 

The ACCC has warned of a new technique called romance baiting, whereby scammers meet people on dating apps before moving the conversation to an encrypted chat site. After a few weeks of developing a relationship, the scammer then encourage the victim to participate in an investment opportunity. 

Last year, Scamwatch received over 400 reports of romance baiting scams costing over $15.2 million, and the majority involved cryptocurrency investment scams.

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“Don’t take financial advice from someone you met on an app, and never give financial or personal details to someone you’ve only met online,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

Scammers often encourage victims to initially transfer a small amount of money to prove how easy the investment is. Victims will be told to top up their accounts to increase their profits, but when they run out of money to transfer, the scammer will cease all communication. 

Scammers may also use a technique called ‘love bombing’, where they contact the victim several times a day professing their feelings for them. 

The victim starts to develop feelings in return, making them more likely to participate in the investment scam.

“If you match with someone on a dating app, get to know them in the app as you have more protections than if you move to a different chat site,” Ms Rickard said. 

“Remember that you are in control, and if you start to feel pressured by someone, stop communicating with them.” 

The ACCC is encouraging Aussies on dating platforms to report scammers so the profile can be removed. 

“You can also do an internet search with the name or photo of your love interest or some of the phrases they have used to help identify if it is a scam.”

Ms Rickard also urged anyone who has been a victim of a scam to contact their bank as soon as possible and to contact the platform on which they were scammed. 

New online dating scam costing Aussies millions
New online dating scam costing Aussies millions
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About the author

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Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

About the author

author image
Cameron Micallef

Cameron is a journalist for Momentum Media's nestegg and Smart Property Investment. He enjoys giving Aussies practical financial tips and tricks to help grow their wealth and achieve financial independence. As a self-confessed finance nerd, Cameron enjoys chatting with industry experts and commentators to leverage their insights to grow your portfolio.

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