Exploring romance fraud victimisation in an Australian context

Date and Time: 15/4/21, 2pm-3pm Sydney Time

Recording: https://webcast.csiro.au/#/videos/062f2249-0803-43ba-86c8-b46333766758


Guest speaker: Associate Professor Cassandra Cross, CSCRC, Queensland University of Technology

Dr Cassandra Cross is a Senior Research Fellow, Cybersecurity Cooperative Research Centre. She also holds an Associate Professor position in the School of Justice, Queensland University of Technology. Previously, she worked as a research/policy officer with the Queensland Police Service, where she commenced research on the topic of online fraud. In 2011, she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to examine the prevention and support of online fraud victims worldwide. Since taking up her position at QUT in 2012, she has continued her research into fraud, publishing extensively across the policing, prevention, and victim support aspects, as well as securing over AUD$1.3 million in grant funding. She is co-author (with Professor Mark Button) of the book “Cyber frauds, scams and their victims” published by Routledge in 2017.


In 2019, Australians reported over $634 million lost to fraud, up from $489 million in 2018. This amount has continued to rise for more than a decade. Business email compromise (BEC) fraud was the highest category of financial loss for the first time, totalling $132 million, followed by investment and romance fraud at $126 million and $83 million respectively.

This presentation explores what is currently known about fraud victimisation. In particular, it focuses on romance fraud, whereby an offender uses the legitimate guise of a relationship in order to deceive the victim and gain a financial advantage. Drawing on over 3,000 reports from those targeted by romance fraud to Scamwatch (Australian online reporting portal for fraud) during July 2018- July 2019 (inclusive), this presentation will detail several different aspects of what can be learnt about romance fraud, from both a victim and an offender’s perspective. It concludes by highlighting some key recommendations for improving the current response to, and prevention of, romance fraud in Australia.