What to say to a dating scammer

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It is a 'romance' between people who never meet, based purely on text messages, internet liaisons and phone calls.

Yet victims all too often are willing to give away thousands of dollars and risk facilitating a crime.

A senior Sunshine Coast police detective called it "blatant stupidity" for a 60-year-old woman from Nambour to become involved in a million online love scam.

But a counsellor who works with such victims on a daily basis said the scenario was "way more complex".

Ms Malet-Warden said studies suggested people were more trusting with online relationships than they would be face-to face.

"We are more trusting of online relationships because we are not seeing the non-verbal cues that might happen if we are sitting in front of somebody," she said.

There will be more hardships that only you can help alleviate with your financial gifts.

He may also send you checks to cash since he’s out of the country and can’t cash them himself, or he may ask you to forward him a package. You were targeted by criminals, probably based on personal information you uploaded on dating or social media sites.

So you send money..rest assured the requests won’t stop there.

These criminals—who also troll social media sites and chat rooms in search of romantic victims—usually claim to be Americans traveling or working abroad. While their most common targets are women over 40 who are divorced, widowed, and/or disabled, but every age group and demographic is at risk. You’re contacted online by someone who appears interested in you.

He or she may have a profile you can read or a picture that is e-mailed to you.

oxytocin levels rise in these cases, which increases our level of trust," she said.

An IDCARE study of 583 relationship scam cases reported from 2014 to 2108 across Australia and New Zealand revealed scammers used "specific and highly validating narrative to gently groom the victim into a loved-up state so powerful, they agree to part with money".

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