People Lost $13m To ‘Romance Scams’ Last Year

Friday February 13th, 2015

Posted at 1:00pm

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The OPP are sending out a warning this Valentines weekend to be on the lookout for online fraudsters engaged in ‘romance scams.’

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre in 2014 alone, Canadians lost $13,736,678.93 to this scam.

Police say that fraudsters steal photos online and use dating sites and social media to lure victims into sending money for various reasons. Fraudsters have shown their willingness to invest time into forming false relationships with unsuspecting victims in order to gain their trust and steal their money.

These perpetrators will send small enticing gifts to prove they are genuine. They will even express a desire to meet in person, even though they are usually a long distance away in another country. Having gained the victim’s trust, the perpetrators will ask for flight money to visit or claim to have a personal emergency in which they will ask the victim to send money!

Police offer these quick ways to avoid being victimized.

  • Be suspicious of anyone who professes their love to you quickly over the internet.
  • Never, under any circumstances, send money for any reason.
  • Be careful of suspects working overseas, as this provides numerous reasons for them to ask for money.
  • If you receive a “pay cheque” or any other means of payment from the suspect, who asks you to cash it and return the outstanding portion of the funds, don’t do it. It’s likely a counterfeit cheque and you’ll be responsible for any bank fees that result.

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