Online dating is pretty much the go-to when you’re single and looking for love, but as a result, romance scams are on the rise. In 2020 alone, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre reported Canadians lost over $18.5 million to scammers pretending to be in love. So let’s talk about it. I joined BT Toronto's Devo Brown and relationship expert, Jessica O’Reilly to discuss. Watch the segment here.
How do you know if you're facing a potential romance scam?
Fraudsters used to prey on seniors, but now they target the masses. Keep in mind this is a full time job for scammers around the world – they work hard to study your profile, build a relationship with fake pictures and conversations that they feel will appeal to you
Only 5% of victims report Romance Scams. Usually the fraudster will say they want to meet and then there’s some type of issue like they've lost their job, a family member is deathly ill, there is some documentation that’s needed for them to travel, etc. Essentially, a sob story behind a request for money. It almost always starts small – they need a couple of hundred dollars for an emergency, they want to see if their victim will bite. Then, they go in with more and more emergency requests or, promises to meet, but funds need to be sent in advance first.
Other red flags include:
- Requests for agreeing to transfer money or goods in general
- Investing in a business or cryptocurrency
- Sending intimate photos that are then used as an attempt to blackmail you
(personally or at your workplace)
- Request for personal financial information that can then be used to commit
identity theft against you (apply for loans or credit in your name without your
consent or knowledge)