This Valentine’s Day (February 14), don’t open your heart up to scammers targeting vulnerable victims looking for love online.
Romance and dating scams are on the rise, with scammers using a broader range of communication methods to lure victims in, including social media, dating sites and even over the phone.
In 2022, 67 people reported to WA ScamNet losing $2,871,468 to romance and dating scams, with one individual losing $800,000 in May 2022.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Trish Blake said there are a number of protections that people can take to keep themselves safe online.
“A good step to take to protect your heart and your wallet, is to assume potential love interests are scammers to begin with,” Ms Blake said.
“You can do a reverse image search on profile images to check the person is who they say they are.
“Be wary of people who want to immediately move to a one-on-one conversation away from a dating app to text message, email or WhatsApp – this is a red flag.
“Finally, be suspicious of people you have grown close to who make up multiple excuses to not speak over the phone, video call or meet in person, and if they start asking for money for investments, travel or medical costs – block and report them straight away.
“If you have fallen in love with someone online, it’s important to remain vigilant and never transfer money, or give your bank account details to someone you haven’t met in person.”
If you have fallen victim to identity theft, contact IDCARE at www.idcare.org or call 1800 595 160. People who have been targeted by scams can lodge a report on the WA ScamNet website or call 1300 30 40 54.