Watch Out! An Internet Romance can Bleed Your Bank Account Dry!

by Tanya Thomas on Sep 6 2008 9:07 AM

Romantic stories- real/reel- must always have the customary “twist in the tale”. But in the virtual world, the mushy internet romances sometimes take a very ugly turn. Not just a broken heart, it could also bleed your bank account dry.

Take for instance the 45-year-old man who lost 20,000 dollars to someone he met online or even the 47-year-old woman who was left waiting at an airport. These real-life “romances gone sour” have led the Australian police to warn people not to be duped by Internet romance scams.

Queensland State Police Minister Judy Spence said that the cops are investigating the online romance scams in which people had been ripped off thousands of dollars.

"The male victim was fleeced of approximately 20,000 dollars through a scam which began when he met someone he believed was a potential female friend on an online personal site," quoted Spence, as saying.

"And the female victim lost thousands of dollars and was left waiting at the airport after she sent money to a man she met on a web-based matchfinder.

"Many other cases of romance scams are never reported by victims who are too embarrassed to contact authorities," she added.

Although internet-based romance has become a common phenomenon, Spence said that the requests for money or personal information should be dealt with extreme caution.

According to Detective Superintendent Brian Hay romance scams generally involved a love interest who claims to be of English or American heritage with links to a West African country, such as Nigeria or Ghana.

Once a relationship has begun they then ask for money to by an airline ticket to visit the victim, seal a business deal, pay for medical expenses after an accident, or to tide them over after a robbery or because of corrupt officials, he said.