The Love Club is part of a working committee of Australian owned and operated dating websites that work with the ACCC and other governmental bodies to protect people using online dating platforms.
The following examples were collated by the committee in conjunction with advice from Federal & State Police and are based on many years of experience in identifying scams.
- Did you know that scammers will often tell you they need money for medical treatment, be it for themselves, a sick relative or child?
- Scammers sometimes take a long time to build a relationship with you—never send money to anyone you meet online, no matter how long you have been chatting with them.
- A common tactic for scammers is to ask for money for flights, visas or other expenses and promise that they will come and visit you—don’t be fooled.
- Some scammers will tell you that they are in the military and need money for a leave pass so they can visit you. This is a scam because you don’t pay for leave passes.
- Sometimes a scammer’s description will not match their profile picture—be cautious and look carefully.
- It is not a coincidence that the scammer’s computer camera or Skype connection never seem to work.
- Scammers may claim to be recently widowed to gain your trust, sympathy and money!
- Sometimes scammers ask for a small amount of money and will pay it back. They may also send small gifts. These are just tactics to gain your trust.’
- If anyone asks you for personal details such as banking details or credit card numbers, don’t send them.’
- You should exercise caution wherever someone you meet online claims that they are stationed overseas as an oil worker, aid worker, as part of a peacekeeping force or other job. Scammers will often use this excuse and ask you to send money because of some crisis, like being robbed or becoming sick.
- Needing money for a plane ticket or travel expenses to visit you is a common story used by scammers. They might ask you for money for a ticket, visa or immigration fees. They may instead send you a ‘genuine’ copy of their visa or plane ticket but then tell you they need money for an unexpected expense. Don’t be fooled¬—scammers often have access to high quality fake documents.
- Scammers don’t just ask you for money. They may also ask you to provide personal details, such as your name and address, bank account or credit card numbers and use this information to steal your identity.
- Scammers might ask you to transfer money for them through your account, telling you it is because they are unable to transfer the money themselves. You should never give out personal financial information to anyone you meet online because of the risk of identity theft. Transferring money may also involve you in money laundering, a serious crime, and expose you to criminal prosecution.
- If you are asked to cash money orders for someone you meet online, you should not do it. Scammers often promise to send their victim money orders and ask the victim to cash the orders and wire the money back. However, the money orders are fake, so after sending money to the scammer, the victim finds themselves pursued by the bank for the value.
- Been offered a big payout by someone you met online? Scammers will use all kinds of stories to get you to send money to them. They might tell you that the money will go to a charity, or be invested in a business like oil exploration or gold mining. Alternatively, they may promise that paying money will allow you to access a lottery prize, a long lost inheritance or treasure, like a cache of gemstones. What are the chances that you will find both true love and millions of dollars online? Don’t respond to these offers.’
- A popular story for scammers is to claim to be a soldier, stationed overseas and to say they need you to send money for their expenses—often so they can purchase a leave pass to visit you. Don’t be fooled—you should never send money to anyone you meet online.
- When a scammer asks you to send money, they will usually come up with a whole series of excuses for why they need more. For example, a scammer who asks you for money for plane tickets may then tell you they need more money for customs fees and an exit visa and then tell you they have been arrested at the airport and need even more money to recover their possessions. You should never send money to anyone you meet online.
- Be careful of sharing your personal information, such as your full name, address, birth date, family details or intimate photographs and videos with people you meet online. These may be used by scammers for the purposes of identity theft or blackmail.
- Scammers may also ask you to send pictures or videos of yourself, possibly of an intimate nature. They may use these later to try and blackmail you by threatening to send them to your friends, family or employer.
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