September 11, 2013 8:57 pm

Lessons learned by seniors from online dating scams

REGINA – If you’re single and looking to mingle online, you’re not alone.

Millions of people are meeting their match through dating sites, including more and more seniors.

But with that, comes a few dangers when scammers are after more than just your heart.

“It starts with a wink or a flirt,” said Diane Thom, recalling her innocent beginnings with online dating.

Thom, a widower, connected with someone and their relationship moved quickly.

Then, there were warning signs.

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“Too many questions being asked,” Thom recalled. “I’d ask questions and I’d never get any answers, or I’d get an answer that didn’t fit the question.”

Thom received a call from the RCMP tipping her off that it was indeed a scammer, who soon asked for money.

She didn’t give in, but police say many others have.

In Regina, one person was defrauded of over $60,000.

It’s a lesson authorities want to pass on through a Senior Power Meeting focused on “online love”.

“People want to believe in love,” said Det.-Const. Anita Robinson of the Regina Police Service commercial crime unit. “They put themselves out online. Unfortunately, there are those who aren’t so honest that are going to take you for whatever they can get.”

In connecting with that special someone, police have a few things to watch out for.

“Love happens extremely fast, they start calling you (names like) honey, baby, husband, wife,” said Robinson. “They (want to) get married, live with you, move in together, or move to a different country.”

When there’s a red flag, you’re told to not be afraid of telling someone, or even call police, especially when money gets involved.

But even Thom, already targeted by scammers, hasn’t been scared into logging off yet.

“I feel I’m strong enough I can fight it.”

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