(MUNICIPALITY OF GREY HIGHLANDS, ON) - Romance scams cause victims financial loss and emotional pain.
Grey County Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) urge residents to beware of fraudsters who use the Romance Scam as a way to find potential victims online.
On April 30, 2018, Grey County OPP received a call from a Grey Highlands resident reporting a fraud. The victim had sent $5000 in iTunes cards to a woman he had met on Instagram in January 2018 to help pay for her education. The woman requested another $11000 at which time he became suspicious and learned that he had been a victim of the Romance Scam.
Usually this form of mass marketing fraud occurs through singles and dating-related 'meet' websites, social media platforms, or e-mail blasts. In some cases, prolonged interaction with individuals has cost some victims tens of thousands of dollars before the 'relationship' suddenly ends, usually without ever meeting in person.
The OPP and its partners at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre have some tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of the Romance Scam.
First, 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.
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.
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 or to someone you have never personally met should be a red flag.
Check website addresses carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with addresses that are very similar to legitimate dating websites.
If you or someone you know suspect they've been a victim of the Romance Scam, contact your local police service. You can also file a complaint through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), or online at https://www.tipsubmit.com/start.htm