A Norfolk County resident was defrauded out of more than $200,000, Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) say.
According to police, the victim had been exchanging several emails and phone calls with the suspect between November 2021 and January 2023 after establishing an online relationship.
After establishing a relationship, the victim received details of the suspect’s history and employment status, police say.
During the course of the interactions between the two, multiple requests were made for funds after the suspect claimed that they were having several emergencies and needed money.
Police said the resident reported the fraud on Monday.
Police are reminding people to protect themselves from fraud by not giving out personal information over the phone, internet, social media or dating websites.
They suggest getting independent advice from family members, a trusted friend or advisor if any offers involve money, personal information, time or commitment.
Other residents have fallen victims of romance scams in the past, with a pattern of victims losing $200,000 to fake relationships. A senior citizen from Norfolk was the victim of a romance scam in 2020 and another victim was hit by the scam in February 2022.
Tips to avoid being a victim of a romance / dating scam
Police have shared the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of a romance and dating scam:
- Check website addresses carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with very similar addresses to legitimate dating websites. Make sure you only use legitimate and reputable dating websites.
- Never send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust. A request to send money to a foreign country using e-transfers or a money transfer service to a person you have never personally met should be a red flag.
- Don’t give out any personal information in an email or when you are chatting online. Like any scam, use your computer to your advantage. Educate yourself, check the person’s name, the company name the addresses used and ask yourself, “Would this be normal?”
- Ask yourself, ‘Would someone I have never met really declare their love for me after only a few letters or emails or phone calls?’
- It’s not always easy to spot scams and new ones are invented every day.