As Valentine’s Day approaches, Red Deer RCMP are warning the public to beware of internet Romance Scams. In Romance Scams, a victim connects with someone online – usually through a legitimate dating website. The victim and the scammer begin an online relationship, which the scammer tends to push into a whirlwind romance full of promises and claims of love. They may even send flowers or small gifts at first to gain trust, which have usually been purchased with a stolen credit card. Then the scammer begins to tell tales of hardship and ask for money. These predators will come back again and again until they have taken all the money they can from their victim. At that point, the scammer drops all communication, leaving the victim hurt, confused and out a lot of money.
Tips to Avoid Internet Romance Scams:
· Scammers create fake profiles on legitimate dating websites – don’t feel a false sense of security just because you’re using a popular, legitimate dating website.
· Never send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.
· Don’t give out any personal information in an email or when chatting online.
Indicators someone you know may be involved with a romance scammer:
· They speak of being worried about a loved one
· They talk about a good friend or loved one in another country who is coming to visit or needs help
· They mention using a money transfer service
· They frequent the bank more often
· They are making unusual withdrawals, both in amounts and frequency
· They are making multiple withdrawals ranging from $500‐ $3000 in cash
· They are making large dollar wire transfers to countries in Africa, Asia or Eastern Europe
If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of an Internet Romance Scam or any other type of fraud please contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre 1-888-495-8501 or http://www.antifraudcentre.ca. Recognize it, report it, and stop it.
If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1.800.222.8477 or report it online at www.tipsubmit.com.