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Dating and relationship scams

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Online dating apps or social networking sites have become an everyday way to meet that special someone. But instead of finding romance, some find a scammer trying to trick them into sending money.

Fraudsters create fake profiles, begin relationships with unsuspecting individuals and before long, profess strong feelings for them, despite never having met in person or on a video call.

Often the scammers will claim to be living or travelling outside Australia. A common tactic is to use another person’s real photo and information and then claim to be an active-duty soldier, oil rig worker, or a medic with an international organisation. Conversations are often quickly steered away from social networking or dating apps to private email or instant messaging apps so the fraudsters can avoid being tracked.

Suddenly the person has an emergency - often an unexpected medical or visa expense - and requests financial help from their new love. Payment is often requested by money transfer or gift cards, which means that they are almost impossible to track or to reclaim.

Sadly, these types of scams are all too common and cost Australians millions every year. If a family member or friend has fallen a victim to a romance scam, you can read more about supporting them on our Victims of Fraud webpage.

How to avoid relationship scams

  • Never send money to someone you haven’t met – no matter how strongly you may feel for them. Often these scams are linked to organised crime syndicates in the business of money laundering.
  • If the person you’re interested in doesn’t want to meet in person, ask them for video call. If they are who they say they are, they shouldn’t mind, and it is an opportunity for them to get to know the real you as well.
  • If you are talking to a person online but haven’t met them, conduct a ‘reverse’ image search by dragging images from their social media profiles into Google’s image search to see whether they appear in other places on the web. If they do, the images may not belong to the person you are speaking to.
  • Err on the side of caution when sharing personal or intimate photos with anyone you haven’t met as fraudsters can attempt to blackmail you using this information.
  • For any first meetings in person, always meet in a public place and tell a friend where you’re going.

If you have been targeted by a scam relating to your Qudos account, visit our webpage on Reporting Scams to find out who to contact.

  Disclaimer:

Qudos Mutual Limited trading as Qudos Bank ABN 53 087 650 557 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238 305. The information in this article is of a general nature and has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. Before acting on the information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances.