Love is in air… but always beware


Westpac is urging Australians to be vigilant against a likely uptick in romance related scam activity this Valentine’s Day.

According to Westpac data, romance scams rose 55 per cent in 2023, ranking among the top three scam types causing financial losses, along with investment and business email compromise scams.

Westpac’s Head of Fraud, Ben Young, says fraudsters are becoming even more tech savvy in luring and exploiting unsuspecting customers.

“Scammers are using a variety of methods to create false web personas on dating and messaging apps, including deepfake technology,” said Mr Young.

“It can often be difficult for people to escape the clutches of these scammers because they may have developed strong feelings towards their deceiver.”

This type of scam has led to millions of dollars of financial losses for Australians.

“Romance fraudsters go to great measures to prey on their victims by professing intense feelings, also known as ‘love bombing’, and lulling everyday Australians into sending large amounts of money their way,” Mr Young added.

“Current data trends also show that romance scams more often impact older Australians, with those in the 61-75 age group making up the majority of victims.”

/Public Release. View in full here.