March 9, 2018 12:13 pm

How to avoid romance scams? Set boundaries, recognize red flags: matchmaker

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Anybody looking for a serious relationship will never ask you for money.

That advice from professional matchmaker Mimi Lauzon, as warnings pop up from police about various online dating scams in Metro Vancouver.

New Westminster Police have issued a warning about a local resident who was connecting with someone using a fake identity.

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After several months, the resident sent the scammer $70,000 overseas to support “his business.”

READ MORE: ‘Romance fraudster’ dated victims and stole their money, RCMP say

Elsewhere, a Maple Ridge man is accused of dating his victims for months to develop a deep romantic bond, then convincing them to sign up for credit cards and lines of credit which are promptly drained.

Lauzon says the only time you and somebody you’re dating should have financial discussions is when you’re ready to take your relationship to the next level, like moving in together.

And she advises that people in that position seek support by talking to friends and family.

READ MORE: Dating services are most complained about business in B.C.: Better Business Bureau

“If somebody is asking you for money too early on, that’s a red flag on many levels. Sometimes when you have been dating someone for a little while, you’re in that little romantic haze and especially if you’ve taken the relationship to a physical level.”

Another sign that someone might be in it for the wrong reasons? Lauzon says watch out for anyone who won’t meet you face to face.

“Anybody that’s really looking for a relationship and looking for something real and just looking for love, they’re going to want to meet you, talk to you, they’re not going to want to be messaging forever.”

She says it’s important to have dating boundaries and to walk away from anyone who doesn’t feel right.

READ MORE: ‘Why does such a man exist?’ Victim scammed out of thousands by romance fraudster speaks out

“Just be very clear about how you want to date, and you can be empowered in that way to kind of lead the date as you would like it to be. Don’t meet where you’re not comfortable, meet somewhere where it’s familiar and safe for you,” she said.

Other red flags she says you should keep in mind: watch out for people who don’t have social media, date locally, and love yourself enough to walk away from anyone who doesn’t feel right or doesn’t meet your minimum requirements.

Lauzon says singles get scammed more than you think, but people don’t talk about it because of shame and fear of judgement.

“That lack of self-confidence or the limiting belief that there aren’t enough men out there really make us invest in the wrong people, and at the end of the day, that’s part of the problem.”

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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