April 3, 2015 –
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) Federal and Serious Organized Crime Division is warning Canadian online daters to be alert to romance scams. According to the RCMP, romance scams “have a profound impact on Canadians and cause severe financial loss.”
A 74-year old woman was recently scammed out of $4,500 when she fell victim to a romance scam. Here’s the process the scammer used to gain her trust:
1) He contacted her on an online dating service.
2) After some quick exchanges, they traded cell phone numbers.
3) They talked on the phone, where the woman was told that he owned an antique business and even provided a link to the Website.
4) After fostering the relationship and gaining her trust, the man told the woman he was about to get $750,000 in an antique deal, but was required to first pay the $4,500 storage fee. He even sent the woman a certification of the value of all the antiques.
5) The woman agreed to pay the fee and wired the money to a bank in Kenya.
6) When he asked her for more money ($17,000), she sensed it might be a scam and ceased communication.
SEE ALSO: Romance Scam Victims
Online Dating Magazine reminds readers that scammers are very tenacious and convincing. They have been known to use email, phone, and even convincingly faked Webcam footage during “live chats” to fool their victims and gain their trust. They will produce fake Websites, fake certificates, etc. in an effort to make you believe they are legitimate. Once a person sends money, they are hit up for more.
“Never send money to someone you met online,” says Joe Tracy, Publisher of Online Dating Magazine. “These scammers specialize in making you trust them. They will foster a relationship with you and then use that against you to get you to drop your guard. And that’s why these scams are so successful.”
According to the RCMP:
“Due to the intensity of the ongoing perceived intimacy, and the gradual trust which has been built, the deception may involve several transactions, often totaling upwards of tens of thousands of dollars. In many cases those transactions far exceed the person’s means. Simply put, many victims cannot afford it. Worse yet, when confronted with reality, the victim often defends the fraudster’s character and refuses to accept that the relationship is an illusion. The embarrassment and shame felt by every victim adds to the fraudster’s ability to deceive others, as victims are extremely reluctant to report their losses to law enforcement.”
Romance scams cost victims hundreds of millions of dollars a year worldwide. And because of public embarrassment, some scams go unreported.Romance scams cost victims hundreds of millions of dollars a year worldwide. Click To Tweet
Scammers frequent online dating sites in search of their victims. However, they have also been known to use social media and chatrooms. If you have been a victim of a romance scam or think you are being scammed, you are asked to report it to your local authorities.