Online dating scams top Australian financial fraud

May 18, 2015
Australians were tricked out of Aus$82 million in 2014, with online dating scams accounting for the biggest losses
Australians were tricked out of Aus$82 million in 2014, with online dating scams accounting for the biggest losses

Australians were tricked out of Aus$82 million (US$66 million) last year, with online dating scams accounting for the biggest losses, the competition regulator revealed on Monday.

More than 91,000 scam complaints were received in 2014, figures from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) showed.

While fell eight percent on the previous year, one tenth of those who reported being targetted were tricked out of more than Aus$10,000 and for 14 people, the losses exceeded Aus$500,000.

ACCC deputy chairman Delia Rickard said most people were reeled in by romance-based cons, with fraudsters making Aus$28 million by tricking people into sending money to a false admirer.

This was followed by get-rich-quick investment schemes, although the ACC said real losses were likely much higher than reported as many people may not realise they had been ripped off or were too embarrassed to admit it.

"There is a common misconception that scam victims are only the greedy and gullible," said Rickard.

"Anyone can fall victim to a scam and we are all vulnerable at some time in our lives to those unscrupulous individuals willing to take advantage of our better nature or simple mistakes."

Surprisingly, most of the reported frauds—53 percent—were solicited over the phone, via calls or text message, while 38 percent were online.

Still, Rickard warned that more and more scammers were using information found online to con people, not only going after their money but also their personal information.

"Increasingly, scammers are using gleaned from social media profiles to target victims for a fraudulent relationship or investment," she said.

"Scammers are constantly 'phishing' for your personal details such as your name, address and birthdate and this will only increase to as your personal data becomes more valuable to them."

Rickard urged people to "get smarter with your data and keep it out of the hands of ," although she warned the global nature of today's scams made it difficult to bring people to justice.

Explore further: Scammers fleece Australians out of $90 mln

Related Stories

Scammers fleece Australians out of $90 mln

June 17, 2013

Australians were fleeced out of more than Aus$93 million (US$90 million) last year by scammers, and officials on Monday said they believe it was just the tip of the iceberg.

Online dating scammers looking for money, not love

March 28, 2012

Online romance scams, a new form of cybercrime, is under-reported and increasing, and has victimized an estimated 230,000 people in England, costing them nearly $60 billion a year, according to an article in Cyberpsychology, ...

Recommended for you

Augmented reality takes 3-D printing to next level

February 20, 2018

Cornell researchers are taking 3-D printing and 3-D modeling to a new level by using augmented reality (AR) to allow designers to design in physical space while a robotic arm rapidly prints the work.

What do you get when you cross an airplane with a submarine?

February 15, 2018

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed the first unmanned, fixed-wing aircraft that is capable of traveling both through the air and under the water – transitioning repeatedly between sky and sea. ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.