Avoiding Dating Site Scams
The following information is provided for the safety of our users in accordance with the ACCC Best Practice Guidelines for Online Dating Sites.
What is a dating scam?
On a dating site, a scammer is someone who builds a relationship with you, pretending to be a legitimate user of a dating site, and then uses fraudulent claims to defraud you. Scammers will ask you for money, personal or financial information, or try to redirect you to sites that require payment or download malicious software onto your computer.
Scams of this sort can be very sophisticated and scammers will go to great lengths to build a relationship with you, spending a lot of time communicating with you and perhaps even telling you they love you and sending you gifts.
The key rule is that you should never send money to anyone you meet online and should reconsider your relationship with anyone who asks you for money or who you otherwise suspect may be a scammer.
Scammers will often ask you to send money via a wire transfer service and you will usually be unable to recover money sent this way. You should also never share personal information, such as bank account or credit card details, as you risk falling victim to fraud and identity theft.
How can I spot a scammer?
Any of the following behaviours should raise concerns that the person you are interacting with is a scammer:
- they claim to be travelling or stationed overseas, even if it is temporary or for work
- they ask you to send them money or provide your personal or financial details
- they ask you to transfer money via a wire transfer service
- they ask you to send larger amounts via a bank transfer
- they quickly profess strong feelings or love for you
- they are vague about their interests, or what they want in a partner and not particular about how old their partner might be
- their computer camera or Skype connection never seem to work
- they do not answer your questions or their responses are formulaic, nonsensical or repetitive
- their profile is at odds with their story, or their communications with you display poor spelling or grammar.
You should carefully consider your relationship with anyone who asks you to move communications with them away from the dating site onto email, instant messaging, the phone, VoIP or some other medium after only a few contacts. Scammers will often ask you to do this so that you will be communicating only with them, are more likely to reveal personal information and you will not receive safety warnings.
You should never respond to a request for money, personal information or banking details, no matter the reason given.
Do an image search of your admirer to help determine if they really are who they say they are. You can use image search services such as Google or TinEye. These searches will often show instances of other people being scammed using the same photo or reveal that the image you have been given is a picture of someone else.
Google search some of the phrases in emails they have sent you. Often you will finnd their declarations of love have been used over and over again by scammers.