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Don’t fall for a fake cupid this Valentine’s Day  

Don’t fall for a fake cupid this Valentine’s Day  

13 February 2024

Love is in the air, but so are scammers looking to exploit the season of hearts and flowers.  

As Valentine’s Day approaches, the Australian Banking Association (ABA) urges everyone to be extra cautious and scam-proof their heart from romance scams and other fraudulent schemes. 

“Scammers play the part and prey on people’s emotions,” ABA CEO Anna Bligh said.  

“These digital Romeos and Juliets have highly sophisticated teams behind them crafting captivating online profiles and showering potential victims with compliments and promises of forever.”  

“They may not be the happy ever after Prince or Princess they claim to be.” 

Data from the National Anti-Scam Centre shows Australians lost over $30 million to dating and romance scams in 2023. Romance scammers often target individuals who are seeking companionship and once trust is established, they begin to concoct elaborate stories requiring financial ‘assistance’ or investment schemes, before draining their victim of their hard-earned money. Often, these scammers will continue to find excuses as to why they can’t talk to the victim in person, hiding behind a fraudulent profile or fake identity.   

Warning signs to look out for:  

  • too good to be true profiles with limited information or inconsistent details 
  • rapid declarations of love within days or weeks of meeting 
  • reluctance to video chat or meet in person 
  • urgent financial requests, often accompanied with emotional stories, promising returns and tight deadlines 
  • pressure to use unconventional payment methods such as gift cards, cryptocurrency, and money transfers.  

“In the digital age, romance scams have become increasingly sophisticated, and individuals must be proactive in safeguarding themselves from potential threats,” Ms Bligh said.  

“Trust your instincts. If something feels off or too good to be true, it probably is. “Never share financial information or send money to someone you haven’t met in person and report suspicious activity if you think you have been targeted.” said Ms Bligh.  

“Stay safe this Valentine’s Day.”  

For more information and resources on how to avoid scams, please visit https://www.ausbanking.org.au/for-customers/scams/  

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