This Valentine’s Day Australians need to make sure they are spending money to celebrate their love rather than paying for an online dating and romance scam.  The reports have revealed that dating and romance scams are one of the most effective ways of conning people.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has warned Aussies to be alert on this Valentine’s Day. The warning mentioned about a range of dating and romance scammers using social media platforms. The scammers attract their targets online and keep looting them in the name of love.

“Reports of dating and romance scams increased by more than a third in 2016 and, sadly, the amount of money reported lost has also increased by about $3 million compared to 2015,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said. “Romance scammers are getting increasingly manipulative so if you are going online this Valentine’s Day to look for love, it’s absolutely vital that you’re able to recognize the warning signs. This is particularly the case when using dating websites or apps or if you’re contacted by someone you don’t know through social media.”

Rickard Wants Aussies to be Safe on Valentine’s Day

A cash amount of around $25 million has been scammed from 4100 people in 2016. The ACCC mentioned the figures obtained from its Scamwatch service department, thereby adding scams worth $1.8 million in January alone.  The ACCC also stated that Facebook is the most popular way of contacting the targets, especially those belonging to 45 and above age group. Rickard said that the profiles of the scammers seem to be normal as anyone else’s portfolio.

The deputy chair added that they are believed to steal identities of real people, mostly trustworthy group of people, including aid workers, military professionals, and others. Rickard also warned Aussies and has asked them to be alarmed during Valentine’s Day period. The ACCC personnel said that the Aussies who are interested in dating online must do proper research before they trust anyone.

“Scammers create very believable profiles, including stealing the identities of real, trusted people such as military personnel, aid workers or professionals working abroad,” she said. “If you meet someone who seems too good to be true, do some research to see if they’re the real deal.” This is a scammer’s end-game: to abuse your trust so they can steal your money. Don’t fall for their con – look after yourself when online and don’t be afraid to cut off contact if something doesn’t feel right to you,” Rickard added.

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