He allegedly thought he would be meeting 'Bree', a 13-year-old Brisbane schoolgirl, and her mother for sex.
Instead, a 55-year-old man from Campbell in the ACT, who cannot be named for legal reasons, arrived in Queensland to be greeted by detectives from the State Crime Operations Command Task Force Argos.
The man's arrest has prompted police to warn single mothers about the dangers of internet dating.
Police allege the man tried to arrange a meeting between a Brisbane woman and her teenage daughter for sex through an online chat room.
Investigators had created an online profile of a single mother with a child as "bait" in an effort to lure child sex offenders and potential child sex offenders who groom the mother in order to reach their children.
Investigators launched the operation in response to the disturbing trend, which targets vulnerable single mothers.
Between September 18 and October 18, investigators allege the man used a chat service to gauge interest and coordinate a meeting.
When he allegedly thought he was chatting to Bree's mother, he was actually communicating with detectives from the special task force Argos. He was arrested late yesterday when he arrived for the alleged meeting in Taringa and charged with using the internet to procure children under the age of 16.
Dressed in the blue shirt and suit he was arrested in, the man sat hunched in the dock, while his defence lawyer Robert Burns applied for bail. The Brisbane Magistrates Court was told he had no criminal history.
Bail was not opposed and the man was released to return to the ACT.
He was ordered to return to Queensland for his next court mention on November 26.
Small in stature, the man shook as he left the Brisbane watch house with his lawyer, and having removed his glasses before exiting, attempted to use his jacket to cover his head.
He did not speak to the media and looked panicked as he became trapped between a wall and a media circle as he attempted to walk towards Roma Street.
In a separate media conference, Task Force Argos head Inspector John Rouse said paedophiles were increasingly targeting single mothers as a way of meeting children.
He said there had been at least two cases late last year where a child sex offender had groomed a woman using an online dating site, then "gone onto the process of committing an offence against her child".
Inspector Rouse advised women who used internet dating sites and chat rooms to "make it about you" and not mention their "beautiful" children in their profile "because effectively, that's what they're looking for".