In April 2017, police say they were notified of a suspected fraud, where the victim had sent $25,000 to the scammer.
After a lengthy investigation, officers identified Albert Gyamfi, from Edmonton, as the suspect. According to police, Gyamfi was also a suspect for similar frauds in other Ontario police jurisdictions.
Gyamfi was arrested in August and was charged with fraud over $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime, OPP say.
He’s set to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Orillia on Dec. 24.
Police say while arrests in romance scams are rare, the schemes are more common than people may think.
“In general terms, what they do is they say all the right things that people want to hear because people want that connection,” Orillia OPP Const. Martin Hill told Global News.
“All of a sudden these people are in love — or think they’re in love — and then they ask for a little bit of money, then a little bit more and then there’s a problem that they need something else for.”
Eventually, the scammer may make threats, Hill said, including violence or extortion.
According to the OPP, the Better Business Bureau claims that Canadians reported $22.5 million lost to the romance scam in 2018 but estimates that losses are 20 times that number since most victims don’t report the scheme.
Officers say people who believe they’ve been victims of fraud should contact the OPP or their local police service.