As Stay Smart Online Week is now underway, it’s a timely reminder to limit the information you share online, especially if you’re looking for love.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer (ACCC) Scamwatch website, Australians have so far lost $14.8 million to dating scams in 2015.
Singles aged 45 and over make up 65 per cent of all reported dating scams.
The key stats are:
- financial losses total $14.834 million from 1755 reported cases
- more women report dating scams than men, with the unconfirmed split of 45 per cent (women) versus 15 per cent (men)
- email accounts for 27.6 per cent of scams, with internet close behind at 27.4 per cent and social media 21.8 per cent
- most scams were reported by those aged 45–55
- in 2014, $28 million was lost to 2497 reported dating scams
Friends and family can play a major role in protecting online daters, who are often targeted for their genuine desire to find love and who are persuaded to hand over money, expensive gifts and personal details.
A partner in Stay Smart Online Week, eHarmony offered the following from Grant Langston, an expert in online security;
“Though the majority of scammers are based in remote countries, they often target victims by creating fake profiles on legitimate internet dating services.
“They pretend to be attractive, eligible candidates seeking a match – and they can be uncannily convincing.
“Tech-savvy friends and family should help their parents or loved ones set up their dating profile and check from time-to-time to see how things are progressing, and monitor for any suspicious activity or behavior.
“Identity scams are now much, much more sophisticated. Not only are the scammers getting better at creating convincing online identities, but websites and social media are breeding grounds for fraudsters due to the sheer number of images and information available, as well as potential targets.”
Common scams targeting Australian online daters include:
- Phishing – encouraging a victim to click on an external link in a bid to gain access to personal information
- Financial fraud – asking a victim to send money or gifts to a foreign account or mailing address (to someone they have never met in person)
- Personal information – asking for personal identifying details putting a person at risk of identity theft.
For more details on how to stay safe online, visit Communications.gov.au