BBB warns about romance scams in BC | #datingscams | #lovescams | #facebookscams

She was contacted via Facebook, where the scammer claimed to have fallen in love with her, despite never having spoken to her

A Richmond woman is warning people to be wary of romance scammers online, after someone tried to dupe her into buying and transferring cryptocurrency.

Sydney Yuen wasn’t surprised back in December, when a stranger contacted her via Facebook, complimenting her on one of the many dishes she posts from time to time.

Yuen, who is in her 30s, said she’s in many social media groups and such interactions happen all the time.

But after only two days of exchanging messages with the stranger, there was already some red flags popping up.

“I went along with it to begin with. Although there’s no indication on my profile that I was single, I don’t have that on social media,” Yuen told the Richmond News, after reporting the scam to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

“He sent a video, claiming he was in this nice place enjoying a ballerina performance. I searched the place from the video and it appeared to be in Moscow.

“When I asked him about it, he claimed he was in San Francisco. He claimed many places look the same now. That was it for me.”

Yuen then decided to take the fraudster for a ride himself, stringing him along with the motive that “as long as he’s wasting time with me, maybe I’m keeping them away from someone else.

She said she kept him going for a month or so, into mid-January, letting him believe she was still on board, as he professed his love for her.

Yuen never reciprocated the sentiment, but asked for his address in California, so she could send him a card for Chinese New Years.

Not surprisingly, he refused.

“I was trying to get him to give away details of his whereabouts,” she added.

“I think he realized I was onto him and he stopped contacting me. That was a month ago.”

Yuen said the man, who claimed to be of Asian ethnicity, rarely talked directly about money.

“He would then subtly slide into the conversation that he has a family member who was a father figure to him, and that family has insider information about trading in London Gold.

“He claimed to use cryptocurrency to trade in gold to avoid taxes. By that time, I knew he was a scam artist.”

The BBB has witnessed a growth in romance scams in recent years, with 276 reports received last year, a 13% increase from 2020.

In 2022, the number of reported romance scam cases has already more than doubled in the first two months of the year when compared to the same period last year.

Victims were befriended and tricked into relationships with fraudsters whose sole aim was to get money and/ or credit card information from them.


To help you secure your online dating journey, BBB suggests you look for the red flags:

•        Too hot to be true. Scammers offer up good-looking photos and tales of financial success. Be honest with yourself, and if they seem too perfect or too good to be true, your alarm bells should ring.

•        In a hurry to get off the site. Catfishers will try very quickly to get you to move to communicate through email, messenger, or phone.

•        Moving fast. A catfisher will begin speaking of a future together and tell you they love you quickly. They often say they’ve never felt this way before.

•        Talk about trust. Catfishers will start manipulating you by talking about trust and its importance. This will often be a first step to asking you for money.

•        Don’t want to meet. Be wary of someone who always has an excuse to postpone meetings because they say they are travelling or live overseas or are in the military.

•        Suspect language. If the person you are communicating with claims to be from your hometown but has poor spelling or grammar, uses overly flowery language or uses phrases that don’t make sense, that’s a red flag.

•        Hard luck stories. Before moving on to asking you for money, the scammer may hint at financial troubles like heat being cut off or a stolen car or a sick relative, or they may share a sad story from their past (death of parents or spouse, etc.).


To protect yourself, consider the following tips:

•        Share with care: Think twice before posting any information about yourself and others online. Consider what your post reveals, who might read it and how it might affect you or others. Creating an alternate persona for online profiles is always good to limit personal information sharing.

•        Make your account private: Consider setting your online or social profiles to “private”. This setting will make it difficult for scammers to find and contact you. Conversely, a public profile will make it easy for scammers to learn about you through your posts.

•        Never send money or personal information during online dating. Do not send money or personal information that can be used for identity theft to someone you’ve never met in person. Never give someone your credit card information to book a ticket to visit you. Cut off contact if someone starts asking you for information like your credit card, bank, or government ID numbers.

•        Ask specific questions about details given in a profile. A scammer may stumble over remembering details or making a story fit.

•        Use reverse image research. Many scammers steal photos from the web to use in their profiles. You can do a reverse image lookup using a website like or to see if the photos on a profile are stolen from somewhere else. You can also search online for a profile name, email, or phone number to see what adds up and what doesn’t.

Report the romance scams to BBB Scam Tracker and protect others from being victimized by romance scams.

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