Queensland (QLD) police have charged three people for alleged love scams, which caused three men a loss of almost $500,000 (US$318,462).
The alleged crime, which took place between June 2022 and February 2023, involved two women in their 50s and 20s, respectively and a man in his 50s.
Detectives from the local Cains Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) are asking the public for help and further assistance.
Two men in their 70s allegedly engaged in what they thought was a dating service by responding to a personal advertisement.
From there, a woman in her 50s, who claimed to be a widow, told the men that she needed a large sum of money to get out of a work contract.
Consequently, one man from the Toowoomba area lost $42,000 while the second man from the Cassowary Coast region lost a total of $343,500, and the third man in his 50s from Western Australia lost $111,000, reaching a total loss of $496,578.
After the loss, the first victim consulted with his friend, who told him it could be a scam, reported the matter to ReportCyber before it was referred to QLD Police in February 2023, while the second victim reported the matter to Cains Police Station in March 2023 after his so-called dating partner became no longer reachable.
Police have charged a 52-year-old Benowa woman with five counts of fraud and one count each of receiving tainted property, holding tainting property and contravening an order about access to information stored electronically, while a 29-year-old Benowa woman has been charged with five counts of fraud.
In the meantime, a 52-year-old Mermaid Beach man was taken into custody after he presented himself to the Broadbeach Police Station.
Their matters are expected to be heard before the Southport Magistrates Court on September 18 and October 3, respectively.
Anyone Can Be a Victim: Elderly People in Particular
While the investigations into the alleged fraudulent dating service are ongoing, anyone can be a victim of scams that seek to trick people into handing over one’s money or one’s personal details.
While text messaging continues to be the most common delivery method for scams, producing 46,240 reports in May 2023, phone conversations constitute the highest financial loss, with more than 12 million in April alone and a total loss of $41 million up to May 2023.
Detective Sergeant Matthew Hogan of the Far North High-Risk Investigations Team in QLD encourages people to come forward and report scams.
To defraud any person is horrible, but to specifically seek out mature people who may be vulnerable, it’s cruel, and QPS will investigate all matters until alleged offenders are before the court and support is provided to those victims,” Detective Sergent Matthew Hogan said.
If you are not okay and need help, you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
If you believe you are a victim of a scam, immediately notify your financial institution and then report the matter to ReportCyber.