Is Australia’s obsession with online dating driving up the number of romance scams?

SEMrush online dating study

Online marketing data provider, SEMrush has conducted a study into whether the extraordinary popularity of online dating in Australia is driving up the rate of romance and dating scams targeting Australians. With Australia in third position behind only the USA and the UK, with 4.5 per cent of global online dating traffic coming from here, Australia is really punching above its weight considering the population is considerably lower than both of those countries. Australia has 24.77 million people, compared with the USA at 326.7 million and the UK with 66.5 million, according to World Population Review.

Online Dating Traffic by Countries - May 2018

USA

62.86%

UK

7.34%

Australia

4.5%

Canada

2.3%

Netherlands

2.0%

France

1.73%

Germany

1.64%

India

1.63%

Brazil

1.41%

China

1.11%

Scammers are taking advantage of Australians looking for romantic partners, targeting them via dating apps and websites and then moving communications to social media, voice calls and email. They pretend to be prospective companions and play on emotional triggers to get vulnerable Australians to send money, gifts and share their personal details.

According to the ACCC’s Scamwatch the amount lost to this type of scam was $20,530,578 in 2017 with the number of reports at 3,763. From January to May this year, the amount lost to reported romance scams has already reached $9,950,502 with the number of reports at 1,605.

“Sadly it is believed that the reported amounts are just the tip of the iceberg, with victims often too ashamed to report their losses. We hope by raising the awareness of the concerns of Australians around this awful practice of romance scamming, we will help to prevent it happening,” said Olga Andrienko, Global Marketing Director, SEMrush.

SEMrush identified the leading brands in the Australian online dating scene, in terms of both their web traffic and online search volumes. Plenty of Fish, RSVP and Tinder have led the way for Australians in terms of traffic volumes, followed by Zoosk, Oasis Active and eHarmony over the past year to May 2018.

Australian Traffic Volumes to online dating sites  - May 2017 to May 2018

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The report found that as the interest in online dating rose in Australia, so did the concerns over online dating scams, with a sharp rise in March this year for Google searches about this topic.

Online dating scam searches by month - May 2017 to March 2018

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"The data we found suggests that Tinder is one of the most searched for online dating services, even if it is not the one with the most traffic," continued Olga Andrienko. "Predictably, the one being searched for most often is leading in searches including related keywords. This graph shows that people are concerned and are trying to find out if they are safe using any online dating websites."

Top searches relating to online dating brands and scams - May 2018

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About SEMrush
SEMrush is a trusted data provider on search volume, website traffic and digital trends. Comprised of over 30 tools and collecting search data for 140 countries, SEMrush provides SEO, PPC and content marketing solutions for in-house marketing teams and agencies that work with clients in any industry. See Semrush.com

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