WATCH ABOVE: A 20-year-old lost thousands of savings to a man linked to at least two other fraud cases in Saskatchewan. Global’s Jill Croteau reports.
CALGARY – A 20-year-old Calgary woman is warning others who use online dating services after she says she was scammed out of nearly $6,000.
Rose Turner (not her real name) said she met a man on Tinder, an online dating app, about a month ago. She said his named appeared as Sean Goodman, and they had a brief relationship.
“I looked at his photo, looked at his bio, and he seemed like a nice guy,” she said. “He told me all his family—his mom and dad and brother and sister—died in a car accident that was when he was in England, and he moved here over the past two years.“
Global News has since learned his real name is Darian Blondeau.
According to Rose, Blondeau convinced her he was desperate for money to pay vet bills for his beloved dog. She trusted him and lent him $5,800—money that was intended to pay for her upcoming nursing courses.
“I felt bad, I wanted to help and do as much as I could because he was all alone around here,” she said. “He told me his dog was at the vet and he had cancer and needed surgery.”
Turner said Blondeau told her he was only short $300, and she offered to lend him that amount.
“He said the deposit was a thousand dollars…he said he would have the money back by payday, and that never happened,” she said. “He told me his bank said (which doesn’t make sense now) is to send more money and it’ll help speed up the transfer back into my account.”
Turner said he was good at manipulating her, making her feel guilty about not trusting him.
Calgary Police Staff Sgt. Kristie Verheul said these types of scams happen all the time, and that many people fall for such tactics.
“They believe what these offenders are saying to them,” said Verheul. “They believe they love them, that the relationship is there, and victims go so far as to lose houses and lifetime savings to these types of offences…It tugs at your heart strings and it’s why we look into them.”
Global News contacted Blondeau Friday, who said he’s being harassed by people claiming he’s a scam artist. He said the allegations are lies. He insisted he’s never been on Tinder, doesn’t know the woman making these allegations, and has never heard of the name Darian Blondeau. He said he’s a married man with two children.
Global News contacted two other victims of Blondeau, who confirmed the photo used on the “Sean Goodman” Tinder profile (above) was the man they knew as Blondeau.
Turner is now being forced to take a semester off school until she can get her finances in order. She’s also filed a formal complaint to police.
“Most of that money was for school,” she said. “I just feel like betrayed and like he took away part of my future.”
Blondeau has also been charged with fraud in Saskatchewan after complaints into two private vehicle sales in March and April.
In Alberta, 135 victims lost about $2,176,000 to what the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre calls “online romance scams” last year—and you can see the increase in lost funds over the last five years in the graphic below:
Here are some tips from the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and the BBB of Southern Alberta to avoid becoming a victim:
Anti-fraud experts emphasize you should never send money, even if you feel close to the person you’ve been talking to.
If you think you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online through the website at http://www.antifraudcentre.ca.
© 2015 Shaw Media