With Valentine’s day right around the corner, the RCMP is asking Canadians to exercise caution when trying to find that special someone online.
In 2018, more than 760 individuals in Canada fell victim to “romance scams” and as a result, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reported more than $22.5 million in losses.
Police explain that the scammers capitalize on the vulnerability of those looking for love or companionship, finding ways to extract significant amounts of money in the process.
Fraudsters will often use enticing profiles on well-known websites and platforms.
As they build trust over time, they’ll ask their victim for money for any number of reasons. Unfortunately, the more trust that the fraudster has gained, the more money they usually end up taking.
The RCMP have prepared the following tips to avoid falling prey to online romance scams:
- Be skeptical when chatting with an individual who claims to live nearby but is currently overseas for work (this can be a set up to ask for money later).
- Be suspicious if they refuse or continuously cancel video chats and in-person meetings.
- Be wary when someone you’ve never met in person professes their love.
- Scammers may also ask for help covering the cost of an emergency situation, such as a sick family member. Protect yourself by never, under any circumstances, sending money for any reason.
Anyone who believes they have been or are a victim to a scam is asked to contact their bank, report their local police, and file a report with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
Police also provided a statistics report of how many cases were reported, as well as how much money was lost.