If you or someone you know has begun a relationship with a person overseas after meeting on an internet dating or social networking website, and that person requests money, it will likely be a fraud.
Don’t be fooled by claims the cash is needed to help out in an emergency situation or to pay for an airfare to come to WA.
Beware we have often heard of stories where a victim tells the fraudster the game is up, they then become in a danger zone where they will be targeted by a secondary scam.
Bogus stories have included:
- offers of scam compensation from law enforcement or government agencies even though no such scheme exists
- a supposed doctor calling to alert a fraud victim that the scammer had attempted suicide and needed medical bills paying or he would not survive;
- a woman contacting a fraud victim to explain she is the scammer’s wife and he beats her but she wants to leave and needs money to do so; and
- claims made to a fraud victim that the scammer is facing jail unless more money is sent.
What to do if you have been scammed
- Stop sending any money immediately
- Seek help from WA ScamNet or other service providers - see our Help for Victims page.
- Block thier profile or email address - You may need to change your email.
- Run a virus scanner through your device (computer, phone., etc)
- Report them to WA ScamNet.
Remember, these scammers are very clever, many smart people have fallen prey to their well crafted tricks. it is important to seek help and support.
WA ScamNet’s top tips to avoid relationship fraud:
- Do not respond to out-of-the-blue social media messages from strangers requesting romance, such as a friend request on Facebook.
- Be on your guard if someone you meet on an online dating site asks you to take the conversation over to email or instant messaging.
- Be wary of overseas-based singles especially if they confess their love for you after a short amount of time or want to know about your financial status.
- Remember that just because someone shares personal photos does not mean the pictures are of them – scammers often steal other people’s photos.
- Don’t be fooled into thinking that talking to somebody on the phone means you know them and that they are who they say there are.
- Be concerned if a person refuses to chat real-time via a webcam and be mindful that even Skype is not scammer proof – watch out for pre-recorded videos.
- Alarm bells should ring if someone you do not know personally (have met face-to-face) requests money, particularly by a wire transfer service such as Western Union or even direct bank transfers, which could be going to an account set up with a stolen identity.
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