Online dating sites often get laughed at by people in any sort of relationship, but they’re big business — and a big source of scams. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has received more than 1600 reports of relationship scams this year, with a claimed value of $17 million. To try and reduce that, it has developed a draft code of conduct for sites to follow.
Picture by Aidan Sally
As the ACCC explains, the sites themselves aren’t usually the source of the scam, but merely the mechanism through which dodgy types prey on the vulnerable:
These scams typically involve a genuine user of a dating website being contacted by a potential admirer who is a scammer in disguise. After forming a relationship with the victim, the scammer plays on emotional triggers to get the victim to provide money, gifts or personal details.
The regulations cover three key areas: systems the sites use to prevent dodgy profiles, warnings to consumers, and mechanisms for complaining. Ultimately, I’m not sure any of these measures will stop a lovesick fool being parted with the contents of their wallet. What do you think?