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Topics: 'Catfishing:' The phenomenon of. - Daily Mail Online

Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details.

Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact. They have even been known to telephone their victims as a first introduction. These scams are also known as ‘catfishing’.

Scammers typically create fake online profiles designed to lure you in. They may use a fictional name, or falsely take on the identities of real, trusted people such as military personnel, aid workers or professionals working abroad.

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Whether it's out of revenge, loneliness, curiosity or boredom, an emerging class of Internet predators cite dozens of reasons for scamming their way into romantic relationships with unsuspecting victims seeking love online.

By creating fake profiles on social networking sites, these predators trick people into thinking that they are someone else entirely. The fabricated life stories and photographs that they cobble together online often contain the experiences, friends, resumes and job titles that they wish were their own, providing a complete window into how these scammers want the world to see them - and how far they fall from those ideals.

The emergence of such elaborate social schemes online was brought to light in a shocking way in the 2010 documentary 'Catfish,' in which 28-year-old Nev Schulman fell in love with a gorgeous young woman's Facebook profile and her voice over the phone - both of which turned out to belong to a middle-aged wife and mother.

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Scammers are getting increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to get your money or personal details. Be alert and protect yourself from being scammed by following our tips.

Scams target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels across Australia. There's no one group of people who are more likely to become a victim of a scam. It's not only the naïve and gullible who fall victim; all of us may be vulnerable to a scam at some time.

Scams succeed because they look like the real thing and catch you off guard when you’re not expecting it. They also exploit your desire to be polite and respectful, as well as your generosity, compassion and good nature.

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'Catfishing:' The phenomenon of Internet scammers who fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into romantic relationships

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Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details.

Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact. They have even been known to telephone their victims as a first introduction. These scams are also known as ‘catfishing’.

Scammers typically create fake online profiles designed to lure you in. They may use a fictional name, or falsely take on the identities of real, trusted people such as military personnel, aid workers or professionals working abroad.