Something is in the air, and it isn’t love.
Police are again warning residents to be aware of so-called ‘romance scams’ that target unwitting people with bogus expressions of affection.
According to the OPP’s anti-rackets branch, this common crime is the cause of severe financial hardship and personal embarrassment for those duped by online fraudsters.
“Despite the cruelties involved and the emotional trauma sustained, it’s still important for victims of romance scams to report the crime,” said Deputy Comm. Rick Barnum, investigations and organized crime.
Criminals typically target single and recently unattached individuals through dating websites, social media and email.
Scammers frequently bilk victims out of thousands of dollars before ending the ‘relationship’.
Residents are advised never to give out personal information in an email or when chatting online.
Sending money or releasing personal credit card information and online account details to unknown individuals is also unwise, police said.
“All users of computers and the online world should educate themselves and use best practices to ensure their personal and financial security,” Barnum said.
Victims of romance scams are encouraged to contact their local police services, file a complaint through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or contact CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-8477.