The $28 Million Trap: Online Love Scams Across Every Australian State

There's a reason spammers keep sending out emails pretending to be looking for love — it's a massively profitable scam. How profitable? New figures suggest Australians are being sucked in to the tune of at least $28 million a year.

Couple picture from Shutterstock

The numbers are based on scams reported to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). Last year, the commission received reports of 2497 Australians who had been targeted by scams, and 1032 who had lost money. 81 of those individuals had lost more than $100,000. The figures are likely to be a serious underestimate, as many people will be too embarrassed to report a scam in the first place.

Here's a more detailed breakdown of figures by state. Disturbingly, at least 40 per cent of scam attempts are successful.

State Amount Lost Contacts Losses <$10K Lost >$10k Lost >$100K Lost >$500K Lost Rate
NSW $8 911 557 656 263 162 101 23 5 40.1%
VIC $6 811 791 496 228 134 94 22 0 46.0%
QLD $5 780 010 544 234 147 87 16 2 43.0%
WA $2 241 817 266 96 59 37 7 0 36.1%
ACT $1 182 520 68 31 19 12 5 0 45.6%
SA $801 848 142 50 39 11 1 0 35.2%
TAS $328 425 68 23 17 6 1 0 33.8%
NT $101 485 23 10 7 3 0 0 43.5%
Overseas $1 624 309 219 91 71 20 5 0 41.6%
Not Supplied $120 800 15 6 4 2 1 0 40.0%
Total $27 904 562 2 497 1 032 659 373 81 7 41.3%

So how can you avoid these scams? The ACCC offers four useful basic tips:

  • Never send money to someone you've met online, or provide them with details of your bank accounts.
  • Use Google Image Search to check photos of anyone you've met online — scammers will often steal photos from other sources and reuse them.
  • If you're using an online dating site, be suspicious if someone asks to move the conversation to private email.
  • Don't share intimate photos — they could be used to blackmail you.

ACCC


Comments

    I knew a guy who did online dating. He was quite impressed how quickly women from the Philippines and the Ukraine fell madly in love with him. He never gave them money when a family tragedy occured because he knows how the Internet works and he knew the women most likely never existed but he did like the attention no less.....

    I suspect the 40% figure is misleading. As much as people hate to report when they get scammed, they're still more likely to report something when they lose money than when they see straight through it.

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