With Valentine’s Day approaching and easy access to the internet, searching online for a partner or friend seems like the perfect way to meet your match. But how do you know whether a person is genuine or if it’s all a scam?
Scam offenders create fake profiles that are designed to appeal and appear trustworthy, perhaps their occupation is Doctor, Sergeant or another high-ranking member of society. They will show great affection for you in a short period of time, they may even suggest that you move your relationship away from the website or app to private text messaging or e-mail. They will also claim to be travelling overseas or working somewhere remote.
Scam offenders do everything they can to express love and gain trust. They might share secrets or send gifts. Constant contact is no problem for a scam offender, they may engage with you several times a day. They might even plan a trip to visit, but that trip never eventuates. The longer the relationship lasts the more they have earned your trust and may ask you to send photos or videos of yourself.
Once the scam offender has gained your trust they will indicate that there is a crisis, the most common being a medical emergency. They’ll ask you to transfer money to them to help get them out of their situation. Once you’ve transferred the funds, they’ll keep inventing reasons why they need assistance and ask you to send more and more funds.
Scammers prey on vulnerable people looking for relationships, they do not discriminate when it comes to age or nationality and they do not care about your welfare. It’s important that you recognise the red flags of a relationship scam so that you don’t become a Valentine’s Day victim.
What are some red flags to look out for?
- The relationship is moving VERY fast.
- They have an excuse not to meet in person or over video.
- They ask that you leave the website.
- They ask you to send photos of yourself, sometimes of an explicit nature.
- Informing you of an ‘emergency’ and then requesting financial assistance.
- Emails contain bad grammar, spelling, and stories that don’t add up.
- The relationship and person seems ‘too good to be true’.
If you think that you or your family member may have become the victim of a scam contact 0800 ASK BNZ (275 269) or + 64 4 470 9021 as soon as possible.
For further Romance scam resources visit these websites: