LEEDS – Members of the Leeds County Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police want to remind the public to be cautious in relation to online romance scams.
Potential victims of all ages are found online using the romance scam, appealing to your romantic and compassionate side. The focus tends to be directed at the single population but anyone can be a victim. Usually this form of fraud occurs through dating websites (popular and fake sites), social media platforms, or e-mail blasts. The fraudsters will go to great lengths to charm their victims without ever meeting them in person. Once a person’s guard is down they will ask for money, sometimes claiming they have a sick family member or perhaps a critical situation in which they require money.
Leeds OPP have some tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of the Romance Scam.
• Never send money or provide financial details on a dating website.
• Trust your instincts and keep your guard up.
• A request to send money to a foreign country or to someone 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. Educate yourself. Check the person’s name, the company name, and the addresses used.
• Check website addresses carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with addresses that are very similar to legitimate dating websites.
If you or someone you know suspect they’ve been a victim of the Romance Scam, contact your local police service. You can also file a complaint through the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.