Dating and romance scams cost Australians more than $21 million in 2011, with more than 2100 people reporting scammers to the ACCC.
To help combat the growing problem and support efforts by dating and romance websites, the ACCC recently launched voluntary guidelines for the industry.
The guidelines were developed by a working group comprising dating website operators and the ACCC.
‘Online dating is an increasingly common way for people to meet each other. However, the growing number of scammers undermining public trust in legitimate businesses is an area of concern to the ACCC,’ Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said.
‘These scams often involve a genuine user of a dating website being contacted by a potential admirer, who is actually a scammer in disguise.
‘After forming a relationship with the victim, the scammer plays on emotional triggers to get the victim to provide money, gifts or personal details.
‘Dating and romance website operators have taken significant steps to tackle the problem. The guidelines are intended to improve and support those measures and provide guidance on how to better protect users from scams.’