Scamwatch strongly recommends you do not travel overseas to meet someone you have never met before. More reports from new victims of the same scam are still coming in. We encourage you to report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page. 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. That was indeed the case. Dating and romance scammers will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time, and will suggest you move the relationship away from the website to a more private channel, such as phone, email or instant messaging. They often claim to be from Australia or another western country, but travelling or working overseas. If you agree to meet a prospective partner in person, tell family and friends where you are going. Naturally, a true friend would not leave her new date out in the cold. It is rare to recover money sent this way.
Spread the word to your friends and family to protect them. It could restrict their future use of financial services, including mortgages. The exact size of the network is not known. At this stage, victims will be hard to convince that this is fraud and will simply pay up. Some victims find they have become embroiled in shady practices such as money laundering. 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. Always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam, particularly if the warning signs listed above appear. They have been lured into this criminal activity by all kinds of stories told by a crook who posed as the love of their lives. Warning - the above scenarios are very likely to be forms of money laundering which is a criminal offence. The two exchange personal details on the dating site and continue their conversation on other platforms, on Facebook or on Skype. Alternatively they may ask you to buy the goods yourself and send them somewhere. Scammers may attempt to lure their victims overseas, putting you in dangerous situations that can have tragic consequences. Soon they receive flattering messages from a charming foreigner with an unusual profession. A bank may, for instance, share details of the activity with other banks, meaning they may no longer be able to open a bank account in the Netherlands. Scammers can use your information and pictures to create a fake identity or to target you with a scam. Report fraud to us between Have you been scammed? Scamwatch strongly recommends you do not travel overseas to meet someone you have never met before. You can use image search services such as Google or TinEye. The realisation that they have fallen for the lies of a scammer generally comes as a major shock to dating fraud victims. The impact is often significant, both emotionally and financially. Often the scammer will pretend to need the money for some sort of personal emergency. For example, they may claim to have a severely ill family member who requires immediate medical attention such as an expensive operation, or they may claim financial hardship due to an unfortunate run of bad luck such as a failed business or mugging in the street. We encourage you to report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page. Fixed pattern This persuasion effort usually follows a fixed pattern: Sometimes the scammer will send you valuable items such as laptop computers and mobile phones, and ask you to resend them somewhere. After several weeks or months, they have created a bond.
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