UPDATE: Through the course of the police investigation, the woman was able to recover more than $11,000 of the $27,000 that was taken from her. Police said because the incident was reported immediately and the money was not transferred outside of Canada, some of the transactions were reversed.
Previous story:Sometimes the pathway to love can come at a price.
For one North Vancouver woman her attempt at finding love came at a cost of $27,000 and a broken heart.
According to police, the woman developed a long-distance relationship with a man by using the website match.com. The man claimed to be living outside of Canada and needed $27,000 for help in paying legal fees for a construction contract.
The man promised to pay her back when he returned to Canada but instead, he took the money and ran.
North Vancouver Mounties said this type of scam is not new and that “tens of thousands of dollars are scammed from online daters each year.”
Not only is the woman nursing a broken heart but she is now suffering financial loss since these types of money transactions are hard to trace and prosecution is difficult, said North Vancouver RCMP Const. Brett Cunningham.
Police said online predators are using dating sites to fabricate photos, resumes, job titles and elaborate life stories in an attempt to gain the victim’s trust. Once the relationship is solid, the scammers will often ask for money.
Cunningham said there are ways to protect yourself from this type of scam.
“You need to ask yourself the important questions,” Cunningham said. “Why am I not able to meet them in person? Why do they refuse to talk via webcam? And more importantly, is this too good to be true?”
When dating online, police recommend following these security tips:
- Never disclose personal information.
- Never disclose credit card or banking information.
- Do not provide your address under the guise of receiving gifts.
- Should you decide to meet your online date in person, ensure your first meeting is in a public place.
- Make sure you tell a trusted friend or family member about your date, including who you are meeting, where and when.