Scammers may attempt to lure their victims overseas, putting you in dangerous situations that can have tragic consequences. It is rare to recover money sent this way. They will tell you they need your money to cover administrative fees or taxes. They often claim to be from Australia or another western country, but travelling or working overseas. Scamwatch strongly recommends you do not travel overseas to meet someone you have never met before. Be wary of requests for money. Their messages are often poorly written, vague and escalate quickly from introduction to love. Please include details of the scam contact you received, for example, email or screenshot. If you think you have been scammed, report it to the website, app, or social media site where the scammer first approached you. They may also ask you to send pictures or videos of yourself, possibly of an intimate nature. 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.
Online dating and romance scams cheat Australians out of millions every year. Be very careful about how much personal information you share on social network sites. Always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam, particularly if the warning signs listed above appear. Regardless of how you are scammed, you could end up losing a lot of money. You might even be asked to accept money into your bank account and then transfer it to someone else. Never agree to transfer money for someone else. This helps us to warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible. Dating and romance scammers will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time, and will suggest you move the relationship away from the website to a more private channel, such as phone, email or instant messaging. 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. Warning - the above scenarios are very likely to be forms of money laundering which is a criminal offence. They often claim to be from Australia or another western country, but travelling or working overseas. 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. Spread the word to your friends and family to protect them. They will tell you they need your money to cover administrative fees or taxes. 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. 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. Their messages are often poorly written, vague and escalate quickly from introduction to love. They may also ask you to send pictures or videos of yourself, possibly of an intimate nature. Alternatively they may ask you to buy the goods yourself and send them somewhere. Scamwatch strongly recommends you do not travel overseas to meet someone you have never met before. You can use image search services such as Google or TinEye. If you agree to meet a prospective partner in person, tell family and friends where you are going. We encourage you to report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page. 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. If you met on a dating site they will try and move you away from the site and communicate via chat or email. Often the scammer will pretend to need the money for some sort of personal emergency.
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