Don't fall Victim to Dating Scams

Every year, people fall victim to dating scams which robs them of their time, money and dignity just to name a few things. We have put together a guide of things to look out for to ensure that you can recognise the signs to avoid falling into the scammers trap.

We want your experience with us to be a positive and productive experience and for you to achieve a positive outcome from using our site, not to be conned or ripped off by scammers looking to make money out of people, not caring if their actions lead to misery and pain.

We know that there are people out there that their sole goal in life is to feed on that misery, and so we have created this article to inform you of some of the ways that these dating scams work and using this information, keep yourself out of the cross hairs of the dating scammers and hopefully, prevent you from becoming a target.

To this end, we have sourced some information from the Australian Government’s ACCC scamwatch site to make it easier to spot these dating scams. Please read this article and become informed.

If you do suspect a member is trying to scam you, please use this link to  contact us immediately; and we will look into it and deal with it by taking appropriate action. We will then contact you and advise on the action taken.

Dating & romance

Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details.

How this scam works

Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact. They have even been known to telephone their victims as a first introduction. These scams are also known as ‘catfishing’.

Fake Profiles

Dating Scammers will typically create fake online profiles designed to lure you in. They may use a fictional name, or falsely take on the identities of real, trusted people such as military personnel, aid workers or professionals working abroad.

Clues for spotting fake profiles. Click the image below to enlarge

Example to chat privately. Click the image below to enlarge


Beware of Quick Escalations in Relationships

Dating and romance scammers will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time, and will typically suggest you move the relationship away from the website to a more private channel, such as phone, email or instant messaging. They will often claim to be from Australia or another western country, but travelling or working overseas.

Gaining Your Trust

Scammers will go to great lengths to gain your interest and trust, such as showering you with loving words, sharing ‘personal information’ and even sending you gifts. They may take months to build what may feel like the romance of a lifetime and may even pretend to book flights to visit you, but never actually come.

Asking for Money or Gifts

Once they have gained your trust and your defences are down, they will ask you (either subtly or directly) for money, gifts or your banking/credit card details. They may also ask you to send pictures or videos of yourself, possibly of an intimate nature.

Often the scammer will pretend to need the money for some sort of personal emergency. For example, they may claim to have a severely ill family member who requires immediate medical attention such as an expensive operation, or they may claim financial hardship due to an unfortunate run of bad luck such as a failed business or mugging in the street.  The scammer may also claim they want to travel to visit you, but cannot afford it unless you are able to lend them money to cover flights or other travel expenses.

Sending Gifts or Asking to Deposit Money into your Bank Account

Sometimes the scammer will send you valuable items such as laptop computers and mobile phones, and ask you to resend them somewhere. They will invent some reason why they need you to send the goods but this is just a way for them to cover up their criminal activity.  Alternatively they may ask you to buy the goods yourself and send them somewhere. You might even be asked to accept money into your bank account and then transfer it to someone else.

Be Warned

The above scenarios are very likely to be forms of money laundering which is a criminal offence. Never agree to transfer money for someone else.

Sometimes the scammer will tell you about a large amount of money or gold they need to transfer out of their country, and offer you a share of it. They will tell you they need your money to cover administrative fees or taxes.

Personal Risk

Dating and romance scammers can also pose a risk to your personal safety as they are often part of international criminal networks. Scammers may attempt to lure their victims overseas, putting you in dangerous situations that can have tragic consequences.

Regardless of how you are scammed, you could end up losing a lot of money. Online dating and romance scams cheat Australians out of millions every year. The money you send to scammers is almost always impossible to recover and, in addition, you may feel long-lasting emotional betrayal at the hands of someone you thought loved you.

In Conclusion, to avoid becoming a victim to dating scams:

  1. Never send money to someone you haven’t met in person.
  2. Always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam, particularly if the warning signs listed above appear. Try to remove the emotion from your decision making no matter how caring or persistent the ‘prospective partner’ is.
  3. Do an image search of your admirer to help determine if they really are who they say they are. You can use image search services such as Google or TinEye.
  4. Be alert to things like spelling and grammar mistakes, inconsistencies in their stories and others signs that it’s a scam like their camera never working if you want to Skype each other.
  5. Be cautious when sharing personal pictures or videos with prospective partners, especially if you’ve never met them before. Scammers are known to blackmail their targets using compromising material.
  6. If you agree to meet a prospective partner in person, tell family and friends where you are going. Scamwatch strongly recommends you do not travel overseas to meet someone you have never met before. Consider carefully the advice on before making any plans.
  7. Be wary of requests for money. Never send money or give credit card details, online account details, or copies of important personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
  8. Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency, like Bitcoin. It is rare to recover money sent this way.
  9. Do not agree to transfer money for someone else: money laundering is a criminal offence.
  10. Be very careful about how much personal information you share on social network sites. Scammers can use your information and pictures to create a fake identity or to target you with a scam.

The article above has been sourced and produced here to help eCupid members to help identify and avoid becoming victims of scammers. As we said before, if you believe that you are being targeted by scammers, please contact us immediately.

New Report