13 February 2024

Don’t get scammed when searching for love this Valentine’s Day

HSBC is warning customers to be extra vigilant this Valentine’s Day to make sure that their search for love doesn’t result in becoming a victim of fraud.

According to the National Anti-Scam Centre, last year criminals stole more than $40 million in fake investments from people in Australia through dating websites and social media1.

Jessica Power, Head of Wealth and Personal Banking, said “There are a number of red flags that people should look out for when looking for love online. Customers should familiarise themselves with these red flags to make sure that unscrupulous scammers don’t steal their heart or their hard-earned cash.”

Below is a list of red flags to be aware of this Valentine’s Day.

  1. Rapid emotional attachment: Be wary of relationships progressing too quickly online, especially if they push for personal information or financial support prematurely.
  2. Avoiding face-to-face meetings: Scammers often avoid in-person interactions; be cautious if your online connection consistently makes excuses to meet or delays face-to-face encounters.
  3. Requests for money: Scammers may fabricate emergencies or hardships to manipulate your emotions and solicit financial assistance. Never send money to someone you’ve only met online.
  4. Encourage you to lie to your bank: A scammer will often ask you to lie to your bank to give them a better chance of the payment not causing suspicion. Scammers will often coach their victim in how to respond to questions that may be asked. Do not lie to your bank when they ask about the payment, who it is going to, if you have met the person before or if you have been asked to lie. Telling the truth give the bank the best chance of protecting your money, and you receiving money back if you do end up being the victim of a scam.
  5. Inconsistencies in stories: Pay attention to inconsistencies in the information shared. Scammers may use different personas across different victims, with conflicting details.
  6. Refusal to video chat: Genuine individuals are typically open to video calls. If your online connection consistently avoids video interactions, it could be a red flag.
  7. High-pressure tactics: Scammers often use urgency or emotional manipulation to pressure victims into quick decisions. Take your time and remain skeptical of requests that seem overly urgent.
  8. Unrealistic photos: Be cautious if the person’s online photos appear overly polished or seem too good to be true. Scammers often use stolen images from other profiles.
  9. Guard personal information: Scammers will be after your information in addition to your money. Avoid sharing sensitive information, such as your address or financial details, with someone you’ve only met online.

HSBC Australia

In Australia, the HSBC Group offers an extensive range of financial services through a network of 29 branches and offices. These services include retail and commercial banking, trade finance, treasury and financial markets, payments and cash management and securities custody. Principal HSBC Group members operating in Australia include HSBC Bank Australia Limited (ABN 48 006 434 162 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 232595) and The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (ABN 65 117 925 970 and AFSL 301737).

HSBC Holdings plc

HSBC Holdings plc, the parent company of HSBC, is headquartered in London. HSBC serves customers worldwide from offices in 62 countries and territories. With assets of $3,021bn at 30 September 2023, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.

1Scam alert: Online dating and investment scams, February 2024

Media enquiries:

Jacqui Coleman
M: +61 409 171 004
E-mail: jacqui.coleman@hsbc.com.au