When you're tricked into sending money to someone you've met online

Romance scams

What is a romance scam?

Romance fraud occurs when you think you’ve met the perfect partner online, but it's a criminal using a fake profile.

They will build a relationship over time to make you believe you are in a loving and caring relationship. Once they’ve gained your trust, they ask for money using a variety of emotive reasons.

These criminals will steal your money and leave you broken-hearted.

Warning signs that it might be a scam

Scammers will usually find you on social media, dating or gaming apps and websites. They’re good at making you feel special, so you believe the relationship is real. 

 Things to look for

  • They express strong feelings for you quickly and the relationship moves fast.
  • They'll try to move the conversation off the social media platform or website you met on.
  • You're asked to keep your relationship private from friends and family.
  • There's always an excuse why they can’t meet in person or show themselves on camera. They may say they live overseas and they can’t video chat because of poor wi-fi signal.
  • When they ask for financial help, it will be a time-critical emergency. The reason will be something that pulls at the heartstrings. They may get defensive or angry if you don't do what they ask.

How to protect yourself

  • Speak to friends or family to get advice.
  • Stop and think, is this person who they say they are? Could their profile image be fake? A reverse image search can find photos that are from somewhere else.
  • If you’ve never met someone in person, do not send them money. Don't allow them access to your accounts/devices or take out a loan for them in your name. 
  • Criminals will ask you to lie to the bank about any payment requests. If you’re told to lie to the bank, it’s a scam.

Think you’ve been scammed?

If you think you’ve been a victim of a romance scam, don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed - you're not alone.

It’s important that you let us know what has happened as quickly as possible.