Dating & romance | Scamwatch
To help you get a better idea of what a romance scammer looks and sounds like, we've put together a few examples of how scammers speak. Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or. Friends and family of romance scam victims sometimes call on The scammers seem to delight in torturing their victims and seeing just how.
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.
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. 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.
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.
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. Warning - 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.
Examples of What Online Dating Scammers Say to Trick You
They will tell you they need your money to cover administrative fees or taxes. 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. If you met on a dating site they will try and move you away from the site and communicate via chat or email.
The scheme usually involves accomplices, such as an interpreter or a taxi driver, each of whom must be paid by the victim at an inflated price. After the victim has left, the merchandise is returned to the vendors and the pro-dater and their various accomplices take their respective cut of the take.
As the pro-dater is eager to date again, the next date is immediately set up with the next wealthy foreigner. A young woman will contact a victim and tell them of their plight: The woman will be unable to inherit the fortune until she gets married, the marriage being a prerequisite of the father, uncle or grandfather's will.
The scammer convinces their victim they are sincere until they are able to build up enough of a rapport to ask for thousands of dollars to help bring the gold into the victim's country. The scammer will offer to fly to the victim's country to prove they are a real person so the victim will send money for the flight.
However, the scammer never arrives. The victim will contact the scammer to ask what happened, and the scammer will provide an excuse such as not being able to get an exit visa, or an illness, theirs or a family member.
Scammers are very adept at knowing how to "play" their victims - sending love poems, sex games in emails, building up a "loving relationship" with many promises of "one day we will be married". Often photos of unknown African actresses will be used to lure the victim into believing they are talking to that person. Victims may be invited to travel to the scammer's country; in some cases the victims arrive with asked-for gift money for family members or bribes for corrupt officials, only to be beaten and robbed or murdered.
Scammers prefer to use the images, names and profiles of soldiers as this usually inspires confidence, trust and admiration in their female victims. These scammers tell their victims they are lonely, or supporting an orphanage with their own money, or needing financial assistance because they can not access their own money in a combat zone, etc.
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The money is always sent to a third party to be collected for the scammer. Sometimes the third party is real, sometimes fictitious. Funds sent by Western Union and MoneyGram do not have to be claimed by showing identification if the sender sends money using a secret pass phrase and response.