17 February 2016

Australian lonely hearts defrauded of $22.7 million in 2015

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In the lead up to Valentine's Day, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission warned the online dating community to watch out for any love interest asking them for money. 

The ACCC reported 2,620 Australians reported losing almost $23 million to dating and romance scams in 2015. 

"Romance scams continue to cause significant emotional and financial harm to the community. We know these figures are only the tip of the iceberg as many victims are reluctant to admit to friends, family or authorities they fell for a scam," ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said. 

"Scammers are experts at preying on people's weaknesses and will spend months and even years grooming victims and lowering their defences. Inevitably, the fraudster will spin a tall tale about why they suddenly need your financial help, ranging from medical emergencies to failed business ventures to needing to rebook flights to visit you."

"Once victims realise their admirer is actually a criminal, the emotional consequences are devastating. This is why disrupting relationship scams continues to be a priority for the ACCC," Ms Rickard said. 

Image supplied by scamwatch.gov.au 

The ACCC's Scam Disruption Project has sent over 6,000 letters asking individuals who sent money to high risk jurisdictions to reconsidering sending money offshore. 75 per cent of those who received these letters ceased sending money for at least six weeks.

"Nearly one quarter of reported romance scams originate on social media, particularly on Facebook," Ms Rickard continued. "The ACCC is looking to work with social media platforms to keep romance scammers off their sites and to help users recognise when they are being scammed." 

Press Release: $22.7 million lost to dating scams in 2015

As the world moves increasing into an online environment, the importance of understanding how to protect yourself from unscrupulous people determined to take advantage of you has never been more important. 

Akolade is pleased to announce the 5th Annual Australian Fraud Summit 2016 returns to Sydney in May 2016. With international guests, expert discussions from leaders in both the private and public sectors, and the latest insights into preventing, detecting and investing fraud, Akolade's 5th Annual Australian Fraud Summit 2015 is the one fraud event in Australia you can't miss in 2016. 

Registrations are now open, For further information on the conference, topics or speakers, please click here.

Mike Cullen has recently returned to Akolade after a period as the conference producer for one of Australia's leading economic think tanks. Mike began working in the conference industry in 2007 after looking for a career change from the high pressured world of inbound customer service. Mike has worked for some of the most well-known conference and media companies in the B2B space and in his spare time is working on his first novel in a planned Epic Fantasy trilogy. Mike’s first published work will be the short story Seeds of Eden, in the Sproutlings Anthology scheduled for release in March 2016.

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