Territorians searching for love during COVID-19 can find cupid is a crook

An average of one Territorian a week has their heart broken by online scammers.
An average of one Territorian a week has their heart broken by online scammers.

North Territorians searching for love have been warned cupid might be a crook.

The NT Police Cybercrime Unit issued a warning today for Territorians to be aware of online romance scams.

Finding a partner in the NT is already a challenge and not just because of its remoteness - nationally there are more women than men, in the Territory there are more men than women.

The broken hearts club is rising by at least one a week in the NT since COVID-19 restrictions began earlier this year and stopped face-to-face encounters in their tracks.

Some victims of these latest scams have lost large amounts of money.

Some have become further victims of 'sextortion' from sharing intimate photographs.

Others have become unwilling participants in the dealing of proceeds of crime.

"The offenders are often not who they say they are and look to use a person's trust and loneliness to progress the relationship at an accelerated rate," Senior Constable Joel Smith from the NT Cybercrime Unit said.

"As a result of the relationships, some victims have been asked to provide the offenders with their bank account details or even give them access to their online banking; from here the offenders come up with an elaborate hoax as to why they are putting money into their account.

"They will then ask the victim to transfer the money to them usually using an international money transfer service; as a result of this the victim becomes an unwilling participants in dealing with proceeds of crime as the money placed into their account is obtained fraudulently."

The clear advice is not to share intimate photos or banking details with strangers.

Be careful of who you are meeting on social platforms that you do not know.

If you believe you have become a victim of an online romance scam, report the matter at www.cyber.gov.au