When it comes to romance scams, there’s more than a broken heart on the line.
According to the OPP’s anti-rackets branch, the scams — which involve a scammer who pretends to be romantically interested in the victim in order to get access to their bank accounts or credit cards — saw 250 victims lose $6.2 million in Ontario in 2017.
However, due to the emotional impact and personal embarrassment, OPP say most romance scams aren’t reported to police.
“Criminals use the romance scam to find potential victims online, generally single or recently unattached people of all ages,” the OPP said. “Usually this form of mass marketing fraud occurs through singles and dating-related ‘meet’ websites, social media platforms, or e-mail blasts.
Seniors are particularly vulnerable to romance scams, OPP said.
The OPP offered the following tips to protect against romance scams:
Don’t send out any personal information when chatting with someone online, or via email.
Check the person’s name, company name, and addresses used.
Never send money, or give personal credit card or bank account details to anyone you do not know and trust.?
Check website addresses carefully — scammers often sent up fake websites with addresses that are very similar to legitimate dating websites.