Someone has asked me for money for airline tickets or other travel expenses, is this a scam?
This sounds like a common scam. You should never send money to anyone you meet online. Scammers often promise to visit you, then pocket any money you send them. Don't send money for plane tickets, visas, customs fees or any other travel expenses the scammer claims to have. They may send you copies of their passport, tickets or visa to 'prove' they are coming to visit you - don't believe these stories. Scammers often have access to authentic-looking fake documents.
They claim to be in the military and say they need money for a leave pass - what should I do?
This is another common scam and you should never send money. Scammers claiming to be members of the military, stationed overseas, will often say they need your money to pay for a leave pass or some other expense so they can visit you. This is just an excuse to get you to pay money.
I've been asked to pay money to a charity, support a business opportunity, or to access a lottery prize - is this a scam?
Scammers will often tell you that money you send them will go to a charity or will be used to support a business venture. This might be anything from oil exploration, to gold mining, gemstone sales and more. The scammer might also tell you they can access some kind of treasure or inheritance and say that the need money to recover it, resolve legal issues or get a valuable item through customs. You should not send money. Charities don't solicit donations through dating websites and any stories about great riches are just a ploy to get you to make a scammer rich.
I've been told I need to send money because of an emergency - is this a scam?
A medical, legal or other emergency is a common excuse used by scammers to get at your money. To create a sense of emergency, scammers will often tell you that:
- they or a relative, often a child, is sick or injured (often in a car accident or hit and run) and needs money for medical treatment
- they have been robbed or lost their wallet, or can't cash their travellers cheques, and need money to pay living expenses, a hotel bill or the police
- they have been arrested or detained by immigration authorities and need money for bribes, visa or customs fees
- they have been kidnapped and need your help to pay the ransom.
These stories are designed to make you feel as if the situation is desperate and to get you to send money without thinking. However, you should never send money to anyone you meet online.
My online dating partner says they can't continue chatting with me unless I send money - what should I do?
You should never send money. Scammers will often claim they need you to send them money or they won't be able to communicate with you in the future. They may say that they need money to access the internet, to purchase a webcam or computer, to pay for a translation service or other living expenses.
I've been asked to transfer money for my online dating partner, or cash money orders - should I do it?
Scammers might ask you to transfer money because they are unable to do so themselves. You should never agree to transfer money for someone else - this may be money laundering, which is a criminal offence. This may also be an attempt to get you to provide personal information for identity theft.
Scammers often promise to send money orders and will ask you to cash the orders and wire the money back. The money orders are likely to be fake and after sending money to the scammer, you could find yourself being pursued by the bank for payment.
You should never respond to a request for money, personal information or banking details, regardless of the reason given.
I'm being asked for personal details
Scammers might not just ask you for money. They may also ask you to provide personal details, such as your name and address, birth date, bank account or credit card numbers, and sometimes family details, intimate photographs and videos, and use this information to steal your identity or attempt to blackmail you.
Other things to look out for
Scammers also often build scenarios around:
- being stationed abroad as an oil worker, or aid worker
- needing money to resolve a crisis such as a relative (or themselves) being robbed, arrested or becoming sick
Also see this fictional story of How a scam might play out »
Remember: you should never send money to anyone you meet online.
Read more on Dating Safely:
- Dating Safely - Introduction
- Your protection & security
- Before you meet
- The first date
- Identifying a scam
- Scammer examples
- How a scam might play out
- Suspect a scam?