Australians losing millions to romance scams

Australians losing millions to romance scams

ANZ has released a warning to watch out for deception this Valentine’s Day, as Australians are losing millions of dollars to romance scams, with men and Aussies over 55 most likely to be the targets.

The ANZ scams unit, established in mid-2017, conducted 119 investigations into financial fraud. In the first six months alone, they reviewed customer scams amounting to $3.7 million.

Men were found to be the most likely target of romance scams, however women were losing more money to scammers, and “appear to stay involved with the scammers for longer periods”, according to a report by ANZ. There is $2.24 million lost by women to scammers currently under investigation.

The report also found that Australians over the age of 55 were the most vulnerable to romance scams.

ANZ Managing Director of Retail Distribution, Catriona Noble, said that Valentine’s Day is one of the “busiest times for online romance scammers”.

“A friend request on Facebook or a message on a dating site from a stranger might be the start of a romance scam, so it’s absolutely vital to recognise the signs.

“Scammers typically use a false identity to capture your interest and build an emotional connection by revealing personal information, sending gifts or promising to visit – this is commonly known as catfishing.

“Once they’ve gained your trust, they’ll ask for money either directly or more subtly, for example by telling you they have a sick relative who needs money for treatment.

“It’s important to realise that anyone can be a potential target for scammers,” said Ms Noble.

How to protect yourself from a romance scam:

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has provided these top tips for scam protection:

  • Never provide financial details or send funds to someone you’ve met online.
  • Scammers particularly look for money orders, wire transfers or international funds transfer as it’s rare to recover money sent this way.
  • Be alert to things like spelling and grammar mistakes, inconsistencies in their stories and other signs, like a camera never working if you want to Skype each other.
  • Be cautious when sharing personal pictures or videos with prospective partners, especially if you’ve never met them before. Scammers are known to blackmail targets using compromising material.
  • Be very wary if you are moved off a dating website as scammers prefer to correspond through private emails or phone to avoid detection.

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Fact Checked -

This article was reviewed by Property & Personal Finance Writer Nick Bendel before it was published as part of RateCity's Fact Check process.

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You can wire money to an Australian bank account either through your own bank or by using a money transfer company such as Western Union or MoneyGram. Either way, you’ll need the other person’s name, BSB number and account number. If you use a money transfer company, you might also need to provide the recipient’s address for large payments.

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Transferring money from PayPal to an Australian bank account is simple. Just follow these three steps:

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The money will take three to seven business days to reach your bank account.

Once you’ve made the transfer request, it can’t be withdrawn.

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Transferring money to another bank is often called a bank transfer, and it can be done a few different ways.

Customers generally need three pieces of information to transfer money to another bank account. Customers need the account name, BSB and account number of the account they wish to transfer money to.

One way of transferring money to another bank account is in a branch with the help of a staff member; they will often give you a receipt as well as confirmation of the transfer.

Transfers can be also made via internet banking and phone banking.

Some banks also allow customers to make transfers via partnered ATMs, especially if the account is with the same bank.

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The basic information you need to deposit money into a third-party bank account is:

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A garnishee notice is issued by the government agency (such as Centrelink or the ATO) to a third party that holds money for you or owes you money.

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