In the lead up to Valentines Day, Authorities are warning locals that the number of scammers using dating apps is on the rise and they’re looking for more than just your love.
Throughout 2020, 65 Canberrans reported being stung by a dating or romance scam, collectively loosing more than $460,000.
Minister for Consumer Affairs, Shane Rattenbury warned Canberrans to beware of scammers seeking to steal their heart and money.
“People need to be aware that online dating websites are not the only method of contact romance scammers use to con their victims, and that there are some simple warning signs to watch out for.”
“There has been a growing trend for romance scammers to use apps like Google Hangouts, or online games such as Words with Friends to scam people who may not have been looking for an online relationship,” Minister Rattenbury said.
While the number of reported romance scams in the ACT did drop slightly from 2019, Nationally reports are on the rise.
In 2020 more than 3,600 Australians were caught out through romance scams with losses totaling more than $37 million.
The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission Deputy Chair, Delia Rickard said there’s a few things to remember when dating online.
“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,” Ms Rickard said.
Scammers may 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.
“Remember that you are in control and if you start to feel pressured by someone, stop communicating with them,” Ms Rickard said.
Anyone who thinks they may have been the victim of a scam should contact their bank and make a report on the ACCC’s scamwatch website.