Romantics across the state are reminded to open their hearts but not their bank accounts in the lead up to Valentine’s Day.
NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Natasha Mann said swindlers took advantage of people looking for love to the tune of more than $12 million in dating and romance scams across NSW in 2022, down from $16 million in 2021.
“People may be becoming more scam savvy but if you let your guard down you might end up with more than a broken heart,” Ms Mann said.
“People 65 and older lost the most money to scams last year but it is important to remember anyone can become a target.
“Con artists are becoming more cunning and evolving using online games and websites to contact victims and build an emotional connection.
“Once these financial Casanovas have won the hearts of their victims, they will often come up with an elaborate story about why they need financial help such as losing a credit card or being behind on rent.”
Ms Mann said if you are contacted by someone and are unsure if the conversation is legitimate you should ask a friend or family member for their opinion to help identify if the person is real.
“People looking for love through online dating agencies should also be sure to read the site’s fine print, with the most common complaints about genuine matchmaking websites in 2022 involving people understanding their rights and getting refunds,” Ms Mann said.
“Make sure you read and understand the terms and conditions of contracts before you sign so you know what you are paying for and don’t let the promise of love play on your emotions.
“Florists is another industry where complaints increase around Valentine’s Day. More than 230 floristry complaints have been made to NSW Fair Trading since 2021 with the most common issues being delivery delays, quality of items and flowers, and products not living up to expectations.
“If you are shopping for gifts, especially flowers, make sure you research the business and offerings before buying and be sure to order early so deliveries arrive on time.”