Known Canadian Victims Have Lost Millions of Dollars
ORILLIA, ON, March 19, 2014 /CNW/ - Fraud committed through romance and
dating scams continue to rise according to members of the Ontario
Provincial Police (OPP) Anti-Rackets Branch.
The criminals seek their potential victims online, generally single or
recently unattached people. Usually this 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'
ends, usually without ever meeting in person.
According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), in 2013 there were 1,728 complaints from Canada of romance fraud - a year-over-year increase of nearly 300.
Of those complaints, 1,149 victims - often female - were identified and their combined financial losses
exceeded $15.6 million - more than any other identified financial loss due to fraud.
Although police say all types of fraud are under-reported, the romance
scam is also an emotional roller coaster. Therefore, a victim is
dealing with severe financial hardship and the personal embarrassment
and torment after realizing they have been taken advantage of.
Tips to Avoid Being a Victim of a Romance / Dating Scam include:
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
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 police service or Crime Stoppers at
FRAUD…Recognize it…Report it…Stop it.
"The impact of romance fraud, personally and financially, is staggering
- and is unfortunately trending upwards. Only give out your personal
information where it is absolutely necessary and when you trust the
person with whom you are dealing."
- Deputy Commissioner Scott TOD, OPP Investigations and Organized Crime
"Like any scam, use your computer or wireless device to your advantage
and educate yourself. Those who use social media and dating websites
need to ensure their personal and financial security before committing
money to someone in the online world they think they can trust."
-- Detective Inspector Paul BEESLEY, OPP Anti-Rackets Branch
OPP - March is Fraud Prevention Month
OPP Official YouTube Crime Prevention Video - Romance Fraud
Ontario Ministry of Consumer Services (video link) - Romance Fraud
Financial Consumer Agency of Canada - Online Fraud
MEDIA NOTE: This is the third of four weekly OPP media releases on various criminal
activities as part of Fraud Prevention Month.
SOURCE: Ontario Provincial Police
For further information:
Detective Constable Ted Schendera
OPP Anti-Rackets Branch