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Tips to avoid relationship fraud

Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details.

Don't fall victim to their clever tricks.  Follow a few simple 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 a dating website asks you to take the conversation over to email or instant messaging.

  • Be wary of anyone who confesses their love for you after a short amount of time and has a sudden crisis where they need your financial assistance. We like this video from America:


  • 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.

  • Know that scammers will bring other fake personalities into the scenario – they may have a fake Facebook profile and people who you think are their relatives or friends might Facebook friend request you.

  • Remember it is easy to edit photographs or documents to use within a scam. A photographed sign can be edited to say your name, the writing on a scanned cheque can be altered, fake certificates or airline tickets can be created; it’s cheap and easy.

  • Be mindful that scammers may present various fictional scenarios e.g. an urgent need for money for medical treatment involving contact from a fake doctor, or investment opportunities where they introduce fake lawyer(s), customs or tax experts into the equation, who require fees.

  • Alarm bells should ring if someone you do not know personally (through face-to-face meeting) 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.

  • Seek advice from trusted family or friends if you are being asked by an online friend to send money overseas.

  • Before travelling to meet on an online friend overseas be 100% sure the journey is safe – check with police and register with smartraveller.gov.au.

To talk to a WA ScamNet officer, call 1300 304 054..