A SCAMMER defrauded a victim of over $400,000 in the space of a year and a half without even having contact with them.
Police in Norfolk County, Ontario, have launched an investigation into the so-called “romance scam” that started in June 2022 on Facebook.
The victim who is a Simcoe resident was contacted on the social media platform by the alleged scammer and an “online relationship” was established, according to the Norfolk County OPP.
The fraud was reported and the subsequent investigation was launched on January 22 by the police, OPP Financial Crime Services, and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
The victim handed over the majority of the money to the unidentified Facebook user in the form of Apple gift cards.
“Throughout their interaction, the individual suspected to be the perpetrator made multiple appeals for financial support, predominantly in the form of Apple gift cards, citing the need for assistance in both business ventures and personal emergencies,” the police said.
Commonly in romance scams, a fake online profile will be established which is then used to contact vulnerable people.
A trusting relationship will be established and excuses will be made for not meeting in person and more scenarios will be given as to why more money is needed quickly.
“Once a connection is established, the scammer often exploits the victim’s emotions to manipulate them into sending money or providing personal information,” according to police.
“It is disheartening to see the devastating impact on individuals in our community,” Const. Andrew Gamble told The Spectator via email.
The investigation found that the two spoke online and over the phone, but “direct contact was never established,” Gamble said.
“In the interest of preserving the investigation’s integrity, other details will not be disclosed.”
The red flags of romance scams include the use of fake social media profiles, requests for urgent financial assistance via any means, and refusal to meet in person.
Those who wish to learn more about scams are urged to contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
“The impact of fraud is serious, affecting seniors, marginalized individuals, and everyone in between,” Gamble said.
“Remember, knowledge is power, and being prepared is key to prevention.
“Understanding various frauds and scams can go a long way in keeping our community resilient.”
Those with any information related to the ongoing investigation by the Norfolk County OPP crime unity are urged to contact the police at 1-888-310-1122.
The U.S. Sun has contacted Apple for comment.
Norfolk County OPP gave The U.S. Sun the following statement:
“The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Norfolk County Detachment is urging the public to familiarize themselves with different scams, particularly those related to romance.
“At approximately 3:37 p.m. on Monday, January 22, 2024, the Norfolk County OPP Detachment conducted an investigation into a reported fraud at an address in Simcoe, Norfolk County.
“The investigation revealed that between June 2022 and January 2024, the victim, who had developed an online relationship with an unidentified individual on Facebook, was defrauded of more than
“Throughout their interaction, the individual suspected to be the perpetrator made multiple appeals for financial support, predominantly in the form of Apple gift cards, citing the need for
assistance in both business ventures and personal emergencies.
“A romance scam is a type of online fraud where individuals use fake identities and build romantic relationships with victims through online platforms, social media, or dating websites.
“The scammer typically creates a convincing profile, often using stolen photos and a fabricated backstory, to gain the trust of the victim.
“Once a connection is established, the scammer often exploits the victim’s emotions to manipulate them into sending money or providing personal information.”