What are romance scams?
Dating and romance scammers create fake profiles on real dating websites and social media platforms often using images and photos of identities they have stolen from other people.
Romance scammers will use their fake profile to try and enter online relationships in order to obtain money.
What is a romance scam?
Australians lost more than forty million dollars to romance scams in 2022. Romance scams happen when a scammer builds a close relationship with a victim online and convinces them to transfer money or participate in unusual financial activity.
Here are the key warning signs to watch out for:
- A love interest who won’t meet in person;
- Inconsistencies in information they’ve shared;
- Reluctance to talk about themselves;
- Attempts to move contact off social media and onto a private app or to the phone.
Once romance scammers have a connection with a victim, they will ask to borrow money, or try to coax a victim into an investment opportunity.
- Never give money to someone you don’t know, even if they promise they’ll pay it back. Funds you transfer voluntarily most likely cannot be recovered or reimbursed if it turns out to be a scam.
- If you think someone might be a scammer, reverse image search their photos using Google Lens to see if they’re being used elsewhere online. This is often a sign that the profile they are using is fake and a red flag that they are not who they say they are.
- Talk to friends and family about any online love interest, and listen if they people you trust voice any concerns about the relationship or your safety.
If you think you’ve been scammed, contact your bank immediately. Visit bendigobank.com.au/security for more information and how to get help.
How to spot a scam
Met someone online? Initial warning signs that things may not be what they seem include:
- Their online profile and what they tell you about themselves doesn’t seem to add up;
- Initial over the top, intense declarations of love to create a false sense of trust and understanding;
- A change in tone – from affectionate at the beginning to desperate or threatening if you don't agree to their requests;
- Poorly written, erratic or vague messages;
- They always have a good excuse for not showing themselves on camera or not meeting you in person;
- They promise to visit you or fly you to where they are only to break that promise later;
- They ask for you to send money directly or subtly.
How to protect yourself
- Never share your personal information (like passwords, PINs, one-time passcodes (OTP), card number/s, etc.).
- Never send money or provide your personal financial details to someone you have only ever met online.
- Be wary about communicating with a person outside a dating website if you’ve only had a few conversations with them on that platform.
- Be careful about sharing photos of yourself with a person you’ve only recently met online as scammers regularly seek to use photos for criminal purposes.
- If you are unsure about someone you have met online, you can complete an image search via Google.
Let us know ASAP if you think you have been the victim of a scam
Things to remember
- Never provide your 6-digit e-banking security code to anyone - in person, over the phone or online even if they claim to work for your bank and have personal information about you.
- Never provide a caller with remote access to your computer.
- We will never ask you for your e-banking PIN, e-banking password or 6-digit e-banking security code.
- We will never ask you to login to e-banking via a link sent in an SMS or sent in an email.
- We may call from time to time and ask to verify your identity by asking for your verbal password. However, we will never ask you for any PIN, password or security code relating to your e-banking. If you feel uncomfortable, you can always verify our branch contact details on our website and call us back.
If you need help or more information
If you have clicked on any suspicious links and entered your e-banking details:
If you have received a suspicious SMS message claiming to be from us, you can forward it to 0429 557 997 for investigation.
Please note you will not receive a personal response from 0429 557 997.
If you have received any suspicious emails, you can forward them to us via email.
Please note you will not receive a personal email response from us.