Online scams are hardly a new thing. In fact, they’re becoming more advanced and more insidious. One example of this, especially around this time of year, is the romance scam — whereby scammers attempt to gain your trust as a friend or potential partner with the goal of getting their hands on your money.
Romance scams: hints and tips
Ahead of Valentine’s Day, NSW Fair Trading shared a post to Facebook asking people if they could recognise the signs a dating profile was a fake. The post caught our attention and we thought we’d share it here with you to see if you could spot the red flags, too.
Check it out below:
Later in the post, NSW Fair Trading shared that there were six things that suggest this profile is a fake, and potentially connected to a scam.
- The profile picture: It doesn’t look natural
- The location: It reads Sydney, QLD – ??
- Her eye colour is listed at blue; they’re brown
- The description: In our view, it doesn’t really give any real insight into who she is – it also reads a little robotic-like (irrespective of English skills, it simply comes off as odd).
- Age range is listed as 45 – 99
- Other specific details have been left as ‘open’
It also seems strange that she is seeking friensship, short term relationships, long term relationships and marriage.
The Australian Government has a heap of information on romance scams (here) and has shared that there are some key signs to look out for when it comes to these kinds of scams.
At first glance, it’s worth taking notice if their dating profile has any of the below:
- photos that look too professional
- very little personal information
- no connection to social media accounts
- few comments, likes or shares on their social media from other people
Scamwatch also highlights that the below are usually red flags for romance scams:
- They express strong feelings quickly and the relationship moves fast. You are made to feel special quickly.
- If you are chatting on your usual social media platform or an official dating service, they will quickly try and move the conversation offsite, for example to WhatsApp.
- Romance scammers will encourage secrecy and will influence you to only trust them. They may try to isolate you from your family and friends.
- There will always be an excuse why they can’t meet in person or show themselves on camera. They say they live overseas or somewhere remote, or their technology isn’t working.
In short, if your online match is asking for money or seeking to have you transfer money for them and you don’t know this person well, it’s a giant warning sign that this person is a scammer. It’s worth taking your time to get to know people, asking questions and ideally meeting with them in person (in a safe setting you’re comfortable with) to ensure your date is who they say they are. Also, Scamwatch suggests avoiding sending photos to online dates you don’t trust, and sense checking your situation with loved ones to make sure everything seems safe.
The Valentine’s Day season is intense enough as it is, we don’t need scams making peoples’ lives even more stressful, so be careful out there!
Lead Image Credit: iStock
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