The Scam Disruption Project

The Australian Scam Awareness Network ran the scam disruption project for several years. It involved working with state and territory police and consumer affairs agencies to alert at-risk individuals to the possibility of being a victim of fraud and it was terminated in 2017.

They say that you might be dealing with a scammer if:

  • you’ve never met or seen the person: scammers will say anything to avoid a ‘face-to-face’ meeting, whether it be in person or over the internet via a video chat (e.g. their camera isn’t working)
  • they’re not who they appear to be: scammers steal photos and profiles from real people to create an appealing façade – always run a Google Image search to help determine if they are a scammer
  • you don’t know a lot about them: scammers are keen to get to know you as much as possible, but are often less forthcoming about themselves
  • they ask you for money: once the connection’s been made – be it as a friend, admirer, or business partner – scammers will eventually ask you to transfer money – often waiting weeks or months before doing so
  • they ask to chat with you privately: many online dating sites have systems in place to detect scammers so scammers will try and move the conversation away from the scrutiny of community platforms to a one-on-one interaction such as email or phone.

How to Spot a Fake Profile

When looking at a new dating profile, note anything unusual about their choice of:

  • photo
  • location
  • interests
  • language skills matched to background

Scammers often use fake photos they’ve found online, so run a Google Image search to check the authenticity of any photos provided.

How to Spot False Documents

Documents are easily faked. Some will look just like the real thing, but others might have warning signs, such as:

  • generic rather than personal greeting
  • names of organisations that don’t exist
  • poor quality presentation
  • poor quality grammar and spelling
  • overly official or forced language.

If you have any experiences with such scammers do let me know, by email.

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