Peel – Peel Regional Police Crime Prevention Services would like to recognize March as “Fraud Prevention Month”, and also to remind the public about an online scam referred to as the “Love Scam” or “Romance Scam”.
People who use social networking, and/or dating sites, need to be aware of this scam.
Fraudsters (scammers) utilize these sites by providing fake profiles and pretending to be successful professionals working overseas. They present themselves as loving, caring individuals, with no family ties, in search of “someone special”. The scammer asks a lot of questions and, using this information, pretends to be exactly what the victim is looking for. They may provide fake photos of themselves in order to convince the victim they exist.
Once they have established an on-line relationship with the victim, the scammer starts making pleas for financial assistance. The pleas usually begin as simple requests, such as cashing a cheque on their behalf and forwarding them the money. They often quote economic situations in their countries as the reason for having no money accessible to them. The victim believes that the scammer is financially established and they will be reimbursed for the funds.
Here are some questions to ask yourself if you believe you may be a target of a “Romance Scam”:
- Does the person you are conversing with seem too good to be true? The soul-mate you have always been dreaming of?
- Have they professed their love quickly, and without meeting you?
- Do they claim to be a well-paid professional from the USA or Canada working overseas?
- Have they asked you for cash or to receive money for them?
- Do they suggest that they will visit soon, but then something prevents you from meeting?
Often, victims targeted by this scam are middle-aged, recently divorced or widowed. Victims often feel embarrassed, and are reluctant to report their loss to friends, family or the police.
For other crime prevention strategies, please contact Sergeant Brad Rutz at (905) 453-2121, ext. 4020.
To learn more about this type of scam, and other fraud scams, please visit the Canadian Anti-fraud Centre website at www.antifraudcentre.ca.
For media inquiries, please contact the on-duty Media Relations Officer at (905) 453-2121, ext. 4027.
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