New Zealand Residents See Sharp Increase in Online Dating Fraud

Aug 14, 2012 15:54:42Posted by John Skorick, MyAKA Founder & CEO

New Zealand Residents See Sharp Increase in Online Dating Fraud

The online dating world has provided millions of people a place to find love, and many couples have been successful in doing so. However, there are some horror stories as well, and they commonly involve online dating scams. This is a problem across the globe, especially in New Zealand. According to TVNZ, online dating scams make up nearly two-thirds of all fraud cases involving the internet in this country.

NetSafe, a record-keeping company that logs scams and cyber incidents, found that a total of $982,000 was lost due to online fraud in 1,500 different cases over the last 12 months. When it came to online dating, the amount of money lost nearly doubled since the previous 12-month period and now amounts to $674,000, the media outlet reports.

The scams usually involve women who are asked to send large sums of money to various countries. Many people are not reporting these incidents right way, and this is likely due to the fact that they are embarrassed about falling victim to these scams, the New Zealand Herald reports. In one incident, a woman dished out $250,000 to someone whom she thought she loved.

According to Fox Business, these trends are nothing new, especially in the United States. However, there are some warning signs to look out for. Online criminals often target women between the ages of 45 to 60, as this demographic is often seen as the most vulnerable. More often than not, the scammers are from foreign countries, but do not allude to this right away. They usually claim that something financially or medically devastating has occurred after the criminal has developed a relationship with the victim - such as an injury or being stuck in a foreign country that requires a lot of money right away. If the victim decides to send this money, there is a great chance they will not hear from their online companion again, and their money is gone for good. This can take a toll both financially and emotionally on the victim.

"As well as suffering financial losses, many people are struggling to deal with the emotional turmoil and stress caused by online break-ins to their email and social networking accounts," NetSafe executive director Martin Cocker told the news source.