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Romeo scammers net $23m from dating victims

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With Valentine’s Day around the corner, the consumer watchdog is warning people to be careful when searching for romance after scammers netted $23 million from love-struck Australians last year.

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More than 2600 Australians reported being duped, with nearly a quarter of the dating and romance scams originating on social media.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chair Delia Rickard said the reported losses were the “tip of the iceberg”, with many people reluctant to admit they had fallen for a scam.

“Scammers are experts at preying on peoples weaknesses and will spend months and even years grooming victims and lowering their defences,” Rickard said.

“Inevitably, the fraudster will spin a tall tale about why they suddenly need your financial help, ranging from medical emergencies to failed business ventures to needing to rebook flights to visit you.”

Rickard said once people realise their admirer is a criminal, the emotional consequences can be devastating.

People who reported the highest number of scams were aged between 45 and 54, while the 55 to 64 age group lost the most money.

ACCC SCAMWATCH TIPS

AAP

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