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RCMP warns of costly online romance scams



Between January and August 2021, 213 victims in the Lower Mainland lost $ 22,463,510.

Surrey RCMP are warning the public to beware of online romance scams, which they say have brought victims millions of dollars so far this year.

Surrey Mounties say they have received reports of 29 people who fell victim to online romance scams between January and August 2021, losing a total of $ 1,362,269.

During the same period, 213 victims in the Lower Mainland lost $ 22,463,510.

A romance scam involves anyone who uses false romantic intentions towards a victim, in order to gain their trust and affection for the purpose of obtaining the victim’s money, according to Surrey RCMP, noting that many romance scams start on social networks or online dating sites. .

A common trend among reports of the scam in Surrey included victims who befriended online and, over time, were convinced to invest funds in fraudulent schemes by sending money via bitcoin accounts.

When the victim became aware of the fraud, communication with the victim was cut off, the RCMP said.

Surrey Mounties also offers some tips on how to avoid falling victim to an online romance scam:

  • Do not send money
    If your new online partner is already asking you for money to have their car repaired so they can come visit you, that’s a red flag.
  • Beware of people who fall in love quickly
    If from the first exchanges, the person seems to be moving the relationship forward at a rapid pace without even having met you, it is a sign of cat fishing.
  • Beware of people who hide their identity
    If they seem serious, but want to strictly stick to written communication or phone calls (or, similarly, if they frequently discuss in-person dating but circumstances repeatedly arise that prevent them from do it), there is a good chance that they are hiding. their identity.

You can find more information about online romance scams and how to protect yourself on the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center website.