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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
    The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

    Don’t give scammers a valentine on Feb 14

    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice
    The Honourable Yvette D'Ath

    Sunday, February 11, 2018

    Don’t give scammers a valentine on Feb 14

    Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath is reminding Queenslanders to protect themselves from dating and romance scams leading up to Valentine’s Day.

    Australians lost $20.2 million in dating and romance scams in 2017, with most scammers targeting people on social media, email or websites.

    Queenslanders lost more than $3 million from dating and romance scams last year.

    “Victims of these types of scams suffer both financially and emotionally,” Mrs D’Ath said.

    “Scammers will often put a lot of effort into the scam and they may correspond with a victim for months or years to gain their trust.

    “Scammers have no conscience and will target people looking for love around Valentine’s Day knowing that people may be particularly vulnerable during this time.

    “It doesn’t matter how genuine or honest the person you are corresponding with online sounds, or how emotionally invested you become, you should never send money to a person you haven’t met in person.

    “Common scenarios scammers use to entice money out of victims include medical emergencies, veterinary treatments, legal problems or investment opportunities – whichever the scammer thinks the victim is the most likely to provide money for.”

    Some common scam characteristics include:

    • The person you are corresponding with may claim to be an Australian who is travelling, living or working overseas.
    • Quite quickly after ‘meeting’ online, the scammer will shower you in compliments and loving words.
    • The person may share personal information or stories to gain your trust.
    • The scammer may ask for intimate photos, videos, or personal information.
    • The scammer may discuss Skyping you or visiting you, but the plans will always fall through, with common excuses including poor internet, a broken web camera or cancelled flight.

    Australian consumer affairs regulators recommend the following:

    • Be open to the idea that scammers are prevalent online.
    • Be wary of anyone who asks you for money. This can happen within days, weeks or months of meeting someone online. Never transfer money via direct deposit, money order or international transfer. Never give money to someone you’ve never met in person.
    • Do a reverse image search of the person’s profile picture. You can do this via Google images by clicking on the camera icon on the desktop version of the site’s search bar. This can help you identify if the image has been taken from someone else or belongs to a few people with different names.
    • Be careful about the amount of personal information you share, particularly on dating profiles and social media, and avoid sharing compromising material like intimate photos, which scammers can use to blackmail you.
    • Tell your family and friends about your new relationship – they can often identify if a scenario doesn’t seem genuine.
    • If you agree to meet someone in person, make sure you let your family and friends know where you will be going.
    • If you think you have been scammed and have provided your bank or credit card details, notify your financial institution immediately.

    Regulators want scams reported, to help avoid any future victims.

    More information on avoiding reporting scams is available on the Scamwatch website www.scamwatch.gov.au.

     

    Media contact: 0417 675 917

    Office of Fair Trading: 13 QGOV (13 74 68)