Online dating scams costing Oz millions every year

Last Updated: Sun, Dec 09, 2012 12:32 hrs

Australians have lost almost 10 million dollars to online dating scams over the first six months of this year, it has been revealed.

According to the latest data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, 4900 people have lost almost 52 million dollars since 2009, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The introduction by the ACCC of voluntary guidelines for dating websites in February this year has failed to control the problem, with the number of complaints continuing to rise.

Online dating scams had a conversion rate of more than 50 percent - meaning that more than half of people targeted on romance websites end up losing money, often to international syndicates.

Most gangs use a variation of the same scam to deceive those seeking romance online.

"Scammers spend time grooming their victims with techniques such as professing their emotional commitment or love and sharing false personal stories," an ACCC spokeswoman said.

The victims may be specifically targeted and vulnerable when making their personal details readily available," she said.

Once the scammers gain victim's trust, they organise a meeting before claiming a last-minute death, sickness or accident and ask for financial details or transfer of money via a wiring service.

The new guidelines launched by the ACCC on Valentine's Day this year told website operators to check the profile pictures and IP addresses of all new members. (ANI)

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