Valentine’s Day is coming up, and ‘tis the season where scammers rake in large amounts of money from romance scams.
In 2023, Australians lost a staggering $30 million to dating and romance scams. With deepfake technology becoming more sophisticated,
Thus, the Australian Banking Association (ABA) is cautioning individuals – single or not – to be extra vigilant this Valentine’s Day and avoid falling victim to fraudulent scams.
“Scammers play the part and prey on people’s emotions,” says Anna Bligh, CEO of ABA.
“They may not be the happy ever after Prince or Princess they claim to be.”
If you’re not sure whether or not the handsome, flirty beau you’re talking to on Hinge is a swindler, here are a few tips to identify possible red flags.
#1: If it’s too good to be true…
… it probably is. That man or woman you’re talking to on Tinder who looks like they should be on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar? Unfortunately, they could likely be a scammer or impersonator.
Dating app or social media profiles with limited or inconsistent personal information are red flags are signs that an account might not be genuine.
#2: Pushy, clingy, needy?
Lovebombing can be overwhelming to deal with. If the stranger you’re talking to online declares their infinite, undying love for you within days or weeks of chatting, it might be a sign that they’re seeking for something more sinister.
A lengthy Bloomberg feature on a crypto scammer’s operation also details some fairly obvious warning signs from these scammers. They typically begin with asking whether or not you invest to ‘bait’ the victim. They would then slowly promote an “investment scheme”, and push for you to contribute your funds to the “scheme”.
In other words, trust your instinct.
#3: Payment via crypto?
If your potential lover is asking for payment via crypto – run, honey.
In 2023, crypto criminals stole a total of US$1.7 billion (AU$2.6 billion) from various fraudulent activities. As many crypto transfers are anonymous and difficult to trace, scammers would often ask for money via crypto.
Crypto romance scams
Romance scams are on the rise, and it’s important to stay alert to avoid becoming a target of cheats and grifters.
“Never share financial information or send money to someone you haven’t met in person and report suspicious activity if you think you have been targeted,” explains Bligh.
This Valentine’s Day, trust no one! 😉