Fall for love, not scams this Valentine’s Day

Protect your heart and your bank account by heeding the warnings from the Financial and Cyber Crime Group and be on the lookout for romance scams.

According to ScamWatch data, romance scams cost Queenslanders an estimated $4.9 million last year.

Romance scams are one of the most popular forms of fraud in Queensland, with almost 1,000 scams reported to police last year alone.

Scammers take advantage of victims through social media platforms, gaming sites and dating sites, particularly around romantic times of year, when people may be feeling vulnerable and looking for connection.

They hide behind fake profiles and identities and express strong feelings quickly to make their victims feel special and to gain their trust.

In many instances, scammers will then manufacture an emergency situation which an amount of money can fix and request the sum from the victim while promising to pay it back.

Scammers don’t discriminate, they will target anyone they can. If you can catch on early, you’ll save your heart (and your wallet) a lot of pain.

Detective Superintendent Craig McGrath from the Financial and Cyber Crime Group said there has been a noticeable increase, with most victims falling in the age bracket of 18-years-old and 88-years-old.

“In the last 12 months we have seen an increase in romance scams with more victims being talked into investments scams and making payments via cryptocurrency,” Detective Superintendent McGrath said.

“Some romance scams involve victims being romanced over several months, and in one particular matter, a Brisbane victim was scammed of $2.6 million, over several months.

“It takes a lot of courage and vulnerability to put yourself out there to fall in love, but that’s exactly what romance scammers take advantage of.

“No matter how strong you think your connection with someone online is, never send them money, card or bank details.

“By staying vigilant and following these tips, you can protect yourself from Valentine’s Day scams and enjoy a safe and enjoyable celebration. It’s okay to fall in love, just don’t fall for a scam.”

What to look out for:

  • Scammers will try to move conversations offsite to other areas like WhatsApp.
  • They always have an excuse for not meeting in person or showing themselves on camera.
  • Their online profile doesn’t match what they are telling you.
  • They discuss money, investments or cryptocurrency, and try to get you to invest.
  • They ask for personal photos or information to use against you in future.

How to spot a fake profile:

  • Scammers usually have photos that look too professional and share very little personal information.
  • They may have no connection to other social media accounts or few comments, likes or shares on their account from other people.

Steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • If your online connection asks you for money, cease contact with them immediately and seek support.
  • Never send money, card or bank details, or identity documents like your passport.
  • Never agree to transfer money for someone else. This is money laundering and being involved is a criminal offence.
  • Never assume a person that you’ve met online is who they say they are. Always check the person out by taking things slowly, asking lots of questions and watching for things that don’t add up.
  • You can also search for the scammer’s name along with the word ‘scam’ and look for website or information online to see if they appear in any romance scam results.
  • Be careful what you share online and never send intimate pictures of yourself or anyone else as scammers can use the information or photos you give them as blackmail against yourself or try and target your family and friends.


If you have information for police, contact Policelink by providing information using the online suspicious activity form 24hrs per day at www.police.qld.gov.au/reporting.

Report crime information anonymously via Crime Stoppers. Call 1800 333 000 or report online at www.crimestoppersqld.com.au.

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