Valentine’s Day warning: The love scams you should know about

In our lead up to Valentine’s Day, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released an important warning about online

In our lead up to Valentine’s Day, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has released an important warning about online dating scams. Love scams particularly target single older women, but fortunately there are ways to identity them.

According to the ACCC, Australians lost nearly $23 million to online dating scams last year alone. Victims not only suffered from the initial fall-out of sending money to a stranger overseas, but dealt with long-term financial consequences.

“We hear people who borrow against their house and end up losing their home, people who access their super, people who borrow from friends and family and never able to pay them back, leading to a huge breakdown in relations”, Delia Rickard from the ACCC explained.

Victims like 62-year-old Jan Marshall are often left “devastated, all alone, broke (and) usually in debt”. Ms Marshall fell in love with a scammer pretending to be a British engineer online. She sent him money from her own savings and super accounts, totalling around $260 000.

“I was not allowed to take money out of that fund. I have to pay tax on that money at the rate of 46.5 per cent, so I’ve ended up with an additional bill of over $75,000,” Ms Marshall told the Brisbane Times. “I can never pay that money”.

Very few victims ever recoup their financial losses. Most online dating scams target women aged 45 and over, so there are important signs to watch out for when it comes to identifying a loverat. Scamwatch advises the following warning signs:

– If you meet someone online and after just a few contacts they profess strong feelings for you, and ask to chat with you privately.

– If you met on an dating site they will try and move you away from the site and communicate via chat or email.

– Their profile on the internet dating website or their Facebook page is not consistent with what they tell you. For example, their profile picture looks different to their description of themselves, or they say they are university educated but their English is poor.

– After gaining your trust (often waiting weeks, months or even years) they tell you an elaborate story and ask for money, gifts or your bank account/credit card details.

– Their messages are often poorly written, vague and may even address you by the wrong name.

– If you don’t send money straight away, their messages and calls become more desperate, persistent or direct. If you do send money, they continue to ask you to send more.

– They don’t keep their promises and always have an excuse for why they can’t travel to meet you and why they always need more money.

Scamwatch advises women to “always consider the possibility” that an online approach may be a scam. “Try to remove the emotion from your decision making no matter how caring or persistent the prospective partner is”, Scamwatch adds.

Have you fallen victim to an online dating scam? Do you know someone who has? Or do you think Australians should know better by now?


  2. I would spot it immediately, since I have no love interests at all apart from my bird, my son and starts at 60’s, I would be thinking what is this strange bloke contacting me for ?

    • Well said Libbi, however I guess for some people living alone it is not an option, therefore will try anything. This is exactly what happened to a friend of mine even though we warned her, she was desperate to find love and within 3 months she was engaged to the mongrel. She just wouldn’t listen, she thought we were all jealous of her.

    • That’s what I would think Libbi! Most blokes go for younger women,and I have no illusions about myself,there’s no way I’d fall for it,I’d smell a rat immediately,but how they fall for the money trick I cannot understand!

    • Too true Libbi. I call it my BS detector and it would go into overdrive if a man started telling me he loved me without even seeing me. Even then I’d know it was rubbish.

    • I agree. I have had a couple of instances on this site where men have come on to me. In curiousity I checked out their pages and they are always new pages. I suspect that it is the same person. What people forget is that you cannot even be sure of the sex of the person trying to contact you. I immediately blocked these 2 men. Have had nothing for a couple of months now so hopefully he has moved on to someone else. I just hope that they do what I did.

  3. Exactly Libbi Elliot! I get many friend requests when I haven’t ever heard of the person. I have looked them up, everytime they are overseas and have nothing in their profile.

  4. I do not friend anyone without having checked with my family and friends. Have had many hits but NOWAY!!! These scumbags prey on lonely people.

  5. I have had several scams from “gentlemen” who propose truelove after a few messages and quite the good lord who has found such a perfect woman! Really!!
    It is so obvious and FB is great for checking profiles which are usually empty! Even a lonely vulnerable person should be able to tell.

  6. I think vulnerability is the key word here .
    Date sites are full of lies and deceit so just be aware of this should you enter into it .

  7. Patricia, when you join a dating site you are often very lonely. These men are usually very clever in the way they go about things. They can start by “oh I left my wallet at home can you pay tonight” very innocent, no! Calculated, but the lonely often don’t realise.

    • The alarm bells would go off straight away for me. There would be no return date. But again, that’s the pessamist in me.

    • I agree, know of relationships that went on for years before the con artist actually asked for money though.

    • I struck this with a woman I met online, she used to go to dinner 7 nights a week with a different man she met online only the night I went with her the waiter wised me up to her so I made an excuse that I had left my wallet in the car and went outside and hit the road and left her with the bill. I must admit it was a good thing she had going and must have saved her heaps on food.

  8. I find it hard to believe that this still happens. Are people really so desperate that they fall for this after all the warnings that have been given. Loneliness is a curse, I know, but keep your thinking hat on and don’t send money to anyone. And as for those date sites – well, I’ve been on a couple – if the men seeking women can’t be bothered to put up their photo then why should I bother to respond – and don’t some blokes know how to present themselves? Sorry fellas, but you let yourselves down, in my estimation. Take care ladies.

    • And why do young good looking guys want to get to know someone much older and in their profile want someone younger.

    • I found it hard to meet local women on dating sites as most of those in the 55+ bracket wanted to meet 30-40 year old men.

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