‘Swipe left’ on suspiciously perfect lovers to avoid heartbreak Valentine’s Day

Australian Greens

The ACT Government is encouraging Canberrans to stay vigilant on dating apps this Valentines Day and make sure they don’t get caught out by a scam.

Minister for Consumer Affairs, Shane Rattenbury said Canberrans should be careful not get their heart broken by scam this Valentine’s Day.

Last year Canberrans lost more than $359,000 to dating and romance scams, with 84 reports made to ScamWatch between January 2023 and November 2023.

Nationally, Australians reported losses of more than $33 million, with more than 3400 reports of dating scams made in the same period.

“As Valentine’s Day approaches, I’m urging Canberrans not to get their heart broken by a scam,” Minister Rattenbury said.

“Not everyone online is Prince Charming or Cinderella. Some are like the wicked step-scammers, ready to pounce on unsuspecting hearts and bank accounts.

“As scams are becoming more sophisticated, it can get difficult to tell if you’re falling head over heels for the right reason.

“Scammers can go to great lengths to convince you a relationship is real in the hope of taking money from you.”

According to ScamWatch, signs of a dating or romance scam may include:

  • The individual expressing strong feelings quickly and the relationship moving fast.
  • If chatting through social media or an online dating service, encouragement to move the conversation offsite (for example, to WhatsApp).
  • Encouragement to keep the relationship secret.
  • The individual claiming they can’t meet in person.
  • The individual’s online profile not matching what they tell you about themselves.
  • Being asked for personal photos, videos or information that may be used against you in the future.
  • Discussion about money and investments (and offers to assist you with this).
  • The individual getting desperate or angry if you don’t do what they ask.

There are several ways Canberrans can protect themselves against scammers, including:

  • Being wary of anyone online who asks for money.
  • Not sharing your banking or credit card details with someone you’ve never met in person.
  • Reverse image searching online profile pictures.
  • Being mindful of the amount of personal information shared online.
  • Arranging to meet in person or via video (and, if agreeing to meet someone in person, alerting family and friends in advance).

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