Crime Stoppers Central Okanagan is sounding the alarm over an online romance scam involving an impersonator posing as actor Jeremy Renner.
In a statement, the organization said the scam involves a promise from the impersonator to visit the victim after talking to them on social media. After contact is made, the impersonator makes up reasons for why they need money to visit the person — including excuses like money for airfare or passport fees.
Despite the recent circulation of the scams in the Okanagan, Renner has been posting online for some time about people falsely impersonating him online.
Crime Stoppers has a few tips for people to avoid being scammed:
- Be suspicious when someone you haven’t met in person professes their love to you. Ask yourself –would someone I’ve never met really declare their love after only a few emails?
- Never send intimate photos or videos of yourself. The scammer may try to use these to blackmail you into sending money.
- Be wary when someone you meet on social media wants to quickly move to a private mode of communication (email, text).
- If you did send money or share financial information, report it to the financial institution used e.g. your bank, Western Union, MoneyGram.
- Gather all information pertaining to the situation, including the scammer’s profile name, how you made contact, social media screenshots, emails, etc. and contact your local police.
According to the centre, Canadian lost around $22.5 million to romance scams in 2018.