A local gay man has warned readers to be wary after he was nearly conned by scammers on an online dating site twice last month.
Felix joined Match.com as he was looking for a serious relationship and had found men on gay-specific sites were generally just looking for sex.
In April he was contacted by “William” who claimed to be a Melbourne photographer in London to organise his mother’s funeral.
William later said he’d arranged to go via Sydney on his way back so they could meet.
But the day before he was to return William claimed to be having trouble covering duties on his mother’s estate, suggesting Felix lend him £1000 to “strengthen the foundation of their relationship”.
When Felix suggested he get a bank loan or credit card advance instead, William apologised, claiming he would see Felix in Sydney. William never arrived.
Two weeks later Felix was contacted by “Eric”, who claimed to live in Coburg in Melbourne.
Less trusting this time and knowing Coburg, Felix asked Eric about landmarks he’d made up. When Eric claimed to know these, Felix revealed he knew he was a scammer, and received a barrage of abuse in response.
Felix reported both users to Match.com, but as both deleted their profiles after receiving his email — something Felix said is a sign to watch out for — little can be done.
As a result of his experiences, Felix said he will no longer use dating websites.
Felix encouraged people to Google details a suspicious person gives you but warned that some people create fake websites to back up their stories.
Be wary of people who give you phone numbers with extra digits as these can be numbers that make it appear you are calling a different country from you the one you’re actually calling. Check time zones and times emails are sent match up with where a person says they are.
And be wary of users who tell you they love you very quickly after contacting you.
A spokeswoman for Match.com told Sydney Star Observer they were committed to creating a safe and enjoyable environment for users of the website.
“We have a dedicated customer care and security team who investigate reports of inappropriate behaviour and will remove anyone who may compromise the Match.com experience,” she said.
The ACCC maintains a Scamwatch website with tips on how to avoid getting scammed and where victims can make reports.
The ACCC recommends contacting your financial institution as soon as possible after realising you’ve become a victim to block access or suspend your account. In some cases, transactions may be reversed and money returned.

© Star Observer 2017 | For the latest in lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans* and intersex (LGBTI) news in Australia, be sure to visit starobserver.com.au daily. You can also read our latest magazines or Join us on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.