Those spurred on by Valentine’s Day to look for love online are being warned about tell-tale signs their potential partner is really a scammer.
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The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment’s Consumer Protection manager Mark Hollingsworth said scammers spend significant time and effort convincing their victims they are also looking for love.
“Once the scammer has a hold, tales about needing financial help will follow. The reasons for needing the financial help vary as scammers are adept at tailoring the lie to suit their target. It could be a medical emergency, a family problem, a legal obligation they need to meet, an employment issue, or even a business opportunity. The list is endless,” Mr Hollingsworth said.
“Often times, the skilled emotional manipulation means the scammer doesn’t even have to ask for money, but the victim is so invested in what is ultimately a fake relationship that they offer it up willingly.”
He encouraged friends and family to not be afraid of having a difficult conversation with a person they care about if they believe they were falling victim to a romance scam.
Last year, New Zealanders reported losing $1.3 million to romance scams.
Consumer Protection offered the following signs to be wary of: