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Investigators from the Financial and Cyber Crime Group are reminding the community to stay vigilant to online romance scams, following a rise in complaints involving cryptocurrency-related fraud that start on online dating platforms.
Investigators have received over 70 complaints from victims over the last six months, with some Queensland victims losing hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Investment scams using online dating and cryptocurrency as hooks reflect how criminals, who are often part of organised crime groups based overseas, are adapting old scams to new technologies to target people worldwide.
The rise in online cryptocurrency scams was recently reported by the Australian Security and Investment Commission (ASIC) after they saw a 20 per cent increase in reported cryptocurrency scams from March to May 2020 compared to the same period last year.
In these scams, fraudsters typically create fake online profiles on dating sites or social media platforms to target potential victims. The scammer may mention an interest in cryptocurrency in their fake profile. They will often take time to build a connection with a victim before mentioning an investment opportunity in cryptocurrency.
While the scams may vary, all rely on similar well-used techniques to steal a victim’s money: emotional manipulation where the lure …
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