ACCC deputy chairwoman Delia Rickard said investigators will today go undercover to comb through 100 websites to see if they are operating above board."We're looking to see whether they're clear and transparent for consumers in terms of costs, in terms of cancellation rights, and whether they're providing a safe environment in terms of protecting people from scams," Ms Rickard said.The watchdog launched the Scam Disruption Project last month to help protect the Australian community from relationship scammers.In 2012 the ACCC issued dating and romance voluntary guidelines that were developed collaboratively with an industry working group to help dating websites and their users respond to scams.
If you try two different dating sites it's kind of like being in two different bars at the same time."The ACCC is telling people to visit the Scam Watch website for tips on how to protect yourself or to report any suspect activity on dating sites.Ms Rickard said many people came into contact with scammers through dating websites."A lot of these sites are set up for Christian groups or particular groups which again add to that level of trust."We think there's a real responsibility on the sites to warn people about what the tell-tale signs of scammers are and also to do the behind the scenes work to keep the scammers off the sites.I did try once earlier to verify that he was staying there and I hadn't had any luck so I tried again and I was able to verify there was no one there by that name."So at that point I was obviously very concerned and contacted a friend, who said 'no, it is a scam', and put me in the direction of contacting the authorities."Devastation, I think it's not what's in your mind, it's what's in your stomach.You just feel obviously very ill, very devastated, betrayed."The scammer hiding behind Gary's profile was arrested earlier this year in Nigeria.