31 Manitobans victims to online ‘romance scams’ in 2018, says Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

Music and Play is putting together a youth virtual musical amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Getty Images

It might not be love – it might be a scam.

As Valentine’s Day approaches, RCMP are urging caution for people looking for love on the romantic holiday.  Scammers “love” to go online and extort people on dating sites with so-called “romance scams,” they said.

In 2018, some 760 victims in Canada reported losses of more than $22.5 million to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, surpassing all other types of fraud.

In Manitoba, 42 scams were reported, with 31 victims and a total loss of $812,007.

Source: Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
Source: Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Source: Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

Scammers are known to get to know a person online, work to gain their trust, then extract significant amounts of money from their victims. RCMP said that the more trust the scammer gains, the more the victim often loses.

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The RCMP provided a list of tips to avoid falling prey to these romance scams:

  • Be skeptical when chatting with an individual who claims to live nearby but is currently overseas for work (this can be a set-up to ask for money later).
  • Be suspicious if they refuse or continuously cancel video chats and in person meetings.
  • Be wary when someone you’ve never met in person professes their love.
  • Scammers may also ask for help covering the cost of an emergency situation, such as a sick family member. Protect yourself by never, under any circumstances, sending money for any reason.

RCMP said that people looking for that special someone are a favourite target of scammers because they can be more emotionally vulnerable than people in relationships.

READ MORE: Sexy plants, ‘horn-y’ talk and mating ritual dance-off part of Manitoba Museum’s Valentines Day

Click to play video: 'Valentine’s Day love and relationship tips with Cheryl Hiebert' Valentine’s Day love and relationship tips with Cheryl Hiebert
Valentine’s Day love and relationship tips with Cheryl Hiebert – Feb 12, 2019

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