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What is a romance scam?

A dating or romance scam is where scammers gain your trust by pretending to have strong feelings for you and then asking you for money, your personal details or to transport money or goods for them.

How they contact you*

You are most likely to receive this type of scam via social networking, mobile applications, internet or email. They are likely to be on dating apps.

How they contact you* % How they contact you* %

Social networking

32.3%

In person

1.9%

Mobile applications

22.4%

Phone

1.9%

Internet

17.9%

Not applicable

0.9%

Email

16.1%

Mail

0.6%

Text message

6.0%

Fax

0.3%

What they're after

Romance and dating scammers are generally after your money, however they may also be after your personal information for identity theft or to unwittingly carry out illegal activities such as money laundering.


Signs this may be a scam

They try and move the conversation immediately to another messaging platform like WhatsApp.

Be wary. Consider the possibility this may be a scam.

The person expresses strong feelings for you or love after a relatively short period of time.

Be wary. Do an internet search of the person. If there is an image on the site you can do an image search through Google or TinEye.

They ask you for money, access to your banking or your personal details to help them out.

Do not pay money or give personal details to someone you have not met in person. Avoid emotions in financial decisions.

They ask you to transfer money or deliver goods or packages.

Do not do this. They may be asking you to carry out illegal activities like money laundering or transporting illegal goods.


Who should I contact and examples of scams

Mr Smith met Maureen online - she lives overseas. Although they never met face to face, within 4 months they were engaged.
 

Maureen indicated she was involved in a serious accident and needed money for her medical bills. Mr Smith completed 10 transfers totalling $320k. Once Maureen knew she had successfully taken all of Mr Smith’s life savings she ceased all contact with him.
 

Mr Smith started to realise this didn’t feel right so he spoke to his bank in an attempt recover his funds. Unfortunately, time is of the essence and Maureen had already withdrawn all the funds in cash and therefore in this case the funds were unrecoverable.

Latest Scams

To stay in the loop, and stay protected, check out our list of the latest phishing scams impersonating Westpac.
 

Report a scam

If you receive any suspicious calls, emails or SMS messages, or notice unusual activity on your account, it’s important that you let us know.
 

Security Wellbeing Check

To help keep you up to date with the latest security features, we’ve introduced the Security Wellbeing Check. Found in the Westpac App, it checks your Westpac settings and suggests how you can improve the security of your banking facilities.

Things you should know

Delivery method percentages are based on the number of reports from 1 January 2020 to 31 August 2020. The data is sourced from the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) scam watch website and is based on reports provided to the ACCC by web form and over the phone.
 

** Examples are based on one or more real scam reports received by Westpac. For privacy purposes real names have not been used.