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Aussies warned of new scam that has cost us millions

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Police are warning members of the public to beware of “sob stories” with online romance scams on the rise.

The warning follows the arrest of a 27-year-old Thai woman who allegedly defrauded three men to the tune of $600,000 using fake identities.

NSW Police will allege in court she claimed she would invest the money on her victims’ behalf, but took the money for herself.

“If I hadn’t read it, I wouldn’t have believed it,” Financial Crimes Squad Commander Detective Superintendent Linda Howlett told Deborah Knight.

Australians have been scammed out of more than $66 million this year alone as perpetrators prey on the lonely and vulnerable, capitalising on the physical isolation caused by COVID-19.

Superintendent Howlett said victims should not feel embarrassed about reporting scams to the police.

She advised everyone to be cautious when interacting with strangers online, and look out for red flags such as “sob stories” and avoiding face-to-face interaction.

“Try and do a few Google searches on them … and be mindful of how much personal information you put on there on your sites, because … they’ll do their own homework.

“If the person seems too good to be true, they probably are.”

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Image: Getty