RCMP Romance Scam Bulletin: February 2018
A Romance Scam involves any individual with false romantic intentions toward a victim in order to gain their trust and affection for the purpose of obtaining the victim’s money or access to their bank accounts or credit cards. In some cases, the suspect will even attempt to get the victim to commit fraud on their behalf – as a money mule (accepting, then transferring money or goods) often unknowingly. Most romance scams begin via social media sites or online dating sites.
- 1066 complaints filed in 2017
- 70% of the complaints were by people aged 40-70
- $17M+ in reported losses in 2017
How can I protect myself or loved one?
- Be suspicious of someone you haven’t met in person who professes their love
- Be wary when someone you met on social media quickly wants to move to private mode ie email, text
- If you try to set up an in person meeting, be suspicious if they alway have an excuse to not meet
- If you actually set up a meeting, tell family or friends when and where you are going and meet in a local, public place
- Do not share personal or financial information with anyone you meet online
- Never send intimate photos or video of yourself. Could be used as blackmail
- Be cautious of a person who says they live close to you but is working overseas
- Never send money for any reason. Scammer will profess emergency or distress to make you feel guilty but DO NOT send money
- Never accept money. This is usually a form of money laundering and is a criminal offence
- If you suspect a loved one is being scammed, explain your concerns and help them get out of the situation
- Do an image search of the admirer to see if it is a stock or someone else’s photo
- Look for inconsistencies in online profile vs what they tell you
- Watch for poorly written or vague messages
- If you have transferred money, stop the transaction if possible.
- If you did send money, report it to the financial institution
- Gather all information pertaining to the situation, including scammer’s profile name, how contacted, social media screenshots, email, etc and contact local police
- File a report with CAFC toll-free 1-888-495-8501 or www.antifraudcentre.ca
- Notify the site provider where you made contact
- Notify neighbours, friends and family of the scam
Meeting new People online? PROTECT YOURSELF!
- Typical Victim: Aged 50-69, 60% women
- How They Meet: Social networking, Online forums
- Scams Stats: 1066 scams reported in 2017, only about 5% of all victims report to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
Additional guidelines can be found at:
Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre: www.antifraudcentre.ca
Get Cyber Safe: www.getcybersafe.gc.ca
Competition Bureau (Little Black Book of Scams) www.competitionbureau.gc.ca