Love scam: Warning for people searching online for romance
It's Valentine's Day but that doesn't mean someone won't try to scam their way into your heart.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest warned people to be vigilant if seeking love online, after Australians in 2020 were conned out of $37 million through romance scams, a $9 million increase on the year before
"We Aussies are romantics at heart but as there's usually a spike in scams around Valentine's Day, you've got to use your head when it comes to online romances," Mr Provest said.
The NSW Government's new digital campaign highlights the dangers of online romance scams, including warning signs to be aware of, and simple steps consumers can take to stay safe this Valentine's Day.
"This campaign is about calling out the signs and signals that something could be off, before the scammer gets their hands on your dollars," Mr Provest said.
"Alarm bells should be ringing if the relationship seems to be moving too fast, for example if someone's telling you they love you after one conversation, or if their story seems a bit farfetched or unrealistic.
"Ultimately, if something feels a bit off, it probably is."
"The last thing anyone needs is a broken heart and an empty wallet this Valentine's Day."
When it comes to protecting yourself online:
•Be cautious when sharing personal pictures or videos, especially if you've never met the person before. Scammers are known to blackmail their targets using compromising material.
•If you agree to meet a prospective partner in person, tell family and friends where you are going.
•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.
•Resources such as Google reverse image search or TinEye are simple to use and available for free to check if your online match is using someone else's image.
For more information on online scams, visit www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/buying-products-and-services/scams.