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Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for up-front payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency, like Bitcoin. Feel free to use the links below if you want to jump ahead in the article. They may take months to build what may feel like the romance of a lifetime and may even pretend to book flights to visit you, but never actually come. Scamwatch strongly recommends you do not travel overseas to meet someone you have never met before.
Warning - the above scenarios are very likely to be forms of money laundering which is a criminal offence. Never agree to transfer money for someone else.
Their messages are often poorly written, vague and escalate quickly from introduction to love. The money you send to scammers is almost always impossible to recover and, in addition, you may feel long-lasting emotional betrayal at the hands of someone you thought loved you. It is rare to recover money sent this way.
Often the scammer will pretend to need the money for some sort of personal emergency. You could try to prove they are who they say they are by making a game of it. They will tell you they need your money to cover administrative fees or taxes. They may also ask you to send pictures or videos of yourself, possibly of an intimate nature.
This helps us to warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible. However, this is their reasoning for why you should send them money. Spread the word to your friends and family to protect them. If you agree to meet a prospective partner in person, dating three months and no kiss goodbye tell family and friends where you are going. Scammers are known to blackmail their targets using compromising material.
Be wary of requests for money. Scammers may attempt to lure their victims overseas, putting you in dangerous situations that can have tragic consequences. They often claim to be from Australia or another western country, but travelling or working overseas.
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They will invent some reason why they need you to send the goods but this is just a way for them to cover up their criminal activity. You might even be asked to accept money into your bank account and then transfer it to someone else. Regardless of how you are scammed, you could end up losing a lot of money.
Sometimes the scammer will send you valuable items such as laptop computers and mobile phones, and ask you to resend them somewhere. Scammers can use your information and pictures to create a fake identity or to target you with a scam.