First it was the grandparent scam and now dating scams have also robbed Canadians of millions. Local OPP says last year, over 11-hundred victims lost about 15-million dollars combined. The scammer targets single victims online through dating websites, emails or social media. These interactions can last a long time, as victims continue to send money to help the scammer get out of trouble. The victim usually never meets the criminal. Police are asking you to never send your personal info or money to anyone you don’t know. Here’s some tips from police to avoid being a victim of a romance or dating scam:
· Checking website addresses carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with very similar addresses to legitimate dating websites.
· Never send money, or give personal credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust. A request to send money to a foreign country to someone you have never personally met should be a red flag.
· Don’t give out any personal information in an email or when you are chatting online. Educate yourself. Check the person’s name, the company name, and the addresses used.
· Ask yourself – ‘Would someone I have never met really declare their love for me after only a few letters or emails?’ If the answer is no,report it to police.
If you suspect you or someone you know has been a victim of romance fraud, or if you have already sent funds, don’t be embarrassed – you’re not alone. Contact your local detachment or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS).