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The ethics of romance scams... what would you do?

Wednesday 4 March, 2020
by Anonymous

A system red flag has popped up... a customer has been depositing increasing funds to an offshore account. The amounts seem to have started small late last year but steadily increasing. 

They have all the hallmarks of a romance scam. You contact the customer to check that the payments are authorised by them. The customer is adamant the transactions are legitimate - that their new partner who they met online needs help with some medical bills and they will soon be meeting up in New York. The following day, $5k is is paid into that same account, which is a significant amount for this customer. 


A photo of Love and Money
A photo of love and money. Image supplied by Priscilla Du Preez, Unsplash

Here are some questions to start off your exploration of this dilemma.

  • What is your duty in this situation?
  • Are you aware of any international legal requirements? 
  • Who are you most accountable to?

We challenge you to create a healthy discussion with your colleagues and post a comment below. You could even encourage them to consider taking The Banking and Financial Services Oath!

Please share your ethical dilemmas with us - we can post them anonymously. You can email your dilemmas to 


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The Oath

  • Trust is the foundation of my profession.
  • I will serve all interests in good faith.
  • I will compete with honour.
  • I will pursue my ends with ethical restraint.
  • I will help create a sustainable future.
  • I will help create a more just society.
  • I will speak out against wrongdoing and support others who do the same.
  • I will accept responsibility for my actions.
  • In these and all other matters;
    My word is my bond.