Valentine’s Day a boon for online scammers
“Scammers are experts at preying on people’s vulnerabilities, particularly around sentimental times of the year,” says ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard.
The warning comes after a 13.6 per cent rise in reports last year to take the total number to 2770.
Scammers are exp ugg uk erts at gaining trust, spending months and years building relationships with targets before spinning elaborate tales of hardship and demanding money, Ms Rickard said.
Others lure victims into sending racy photographs and videos and then blackmail them.
About two in every five love scammers manage to extract money from their targets, making them among the most successful con artists in the business, Ms Rickar ugg uk d added.
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More than 400 people told the ACCC they had lost at least $10,000 in 2013, with 64 saying ugg uk their losses exceeded $100,000.
Demands for money, especially via wire transfers, should ring immediate alarm bells, Ms Rickard said.
“It is almost impossible to trace and it is rare to recover money sent this way.”
ACCC’s tips to avoid love scams:
Never share personal information with anyone you don’t trust.
Be wary of online admirers who want to communicate outside of a dating website, for ugg uk example by phone or email. They could be trying to avoid detection.