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COVID pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war lead to spike in romance scams

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The COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine war have offered felony gangs with contemporary fodder to dupe a rising variety of Australians with romance scams.

Australian authorities have warned individuals in opposition to sending cash abroad in response to reviews that some have been defrauded by felony gangs selling Russian romance scams.

Screengrabs from a Russian dating website promoted to Australians.

Screengrabs from a Russian relationship web site promoted to Australians. Credit:

Westpac knowledge exhibits that romance scams have almost doubled because the begin of the COVID-19 pandemic with greater than $18 million misplaced to them.

Westpac head of fraud Ben Young stated the financial institution had seen a spike in reported scams from prospects who had been tricked into sending cash to somebody posing as a love curiosity after spending extra of their time isolating and socialising on-line.

“Being physically separated from others can, unfortunately, make us more vulnerable to these scams, lacking an important sounding board to discuss deals, offers or relationships that might otherwise appear to be too good to be true,” Mr Young stated.

“Scammers are also becoming remarkably good at exploiting our emotional drivers, which is especially common in romance scams where a lot of time is invested in building a fake relationship or personal connection before asking for money.

“The criminals are not necessarily aligned to the situation in Russia or Ukraine, they are generally very opportunistic.”

Paul Haskell-Dowland, cybersecurity professional

“We’ve seen people of all ages impacted by scammers during the pandemic, most commonly being targeted through social media platforms and messaging apps, so it’s important for everyone to take care.”

Chris Sheehan, a monetary crime investigations government for NAB stated romance and friendship scams had been among the many prime 4 varieties reported by prospects.

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