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By learning how to spot a scammer, you can protect yourself.
A relationship scam (classified as in the 2013 ACFT survey) is defined as a scam that may be conducted through legitimate or illegitimate dating or social networking websites and often takes the form of requiring a payment for each email sent and received by a potential match.
The only way to avoid an online romance scam is to be aware of their occurrences and also to know how to spot them before they begin.
The theme of the 2014 National Consumer Fraud Week is relationship scams and knowing who you are dealing with online, to help reduce the risk of victimisation from scams.
The scam artist then instructs the victim to send a deposit or full payment via wire transfer to initiate the "shipping" process.
To make the transaction seem more legitimate, the fraudster will ask the buyer to send money to a fake agent of a third party that claims to provide purchase protection.
The paper also highlighted instances where victims of romance scams had taken their own lives when discovering the fraud, or where the victims had been robbed and killed by scammers.
Due to the extent of victimisation being reported to the ACCC in 2012, the ACCC issued voluntary best practice guidelines for dating websites to prevent the proliferation of romance scams.
These findings were consistent with scam complaints made to the ACCC in 2012 (ACCC 2013).
Cross, Smith and Richards (2014) stressed the difficulty in assessing the impact of consumer fraud on victims, as some people may not realise they have been the victims of fraud or may feel embarrassed or upset and not wish to make a formal report.
A fraudster posts a nonexistent vehicle for sale to a website, typically a luxury or sports car, advertised for well below its market value.
The details of the vehicle, including photos and description, are typically lifted from sites such as Craigslist, Auto and
Thousands of dating sites now exist online and many people now use these sites as a welcome alternative to meeting someone in a bar or club.