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Victim defrauded of almost $1M in romance scam in Collingwood, Ont., area

A Collingwood and Blue Mountains OPP constable wouldn't release specific details of the case but did say the scammer contacted the victim online and spoke to them for a period of time to build trust. The Canadian Press file

OPP are investigating after a victim in the Collingwood, Ont., area was recently defrauded of almost $1 million in a romance scam.

Collingwood and Blue Mountains OPP Const. Martin Hachey wouldn’t release specific details of the case but did say the scammer contacted the victim online and spoke to them for a period of time to build trust.

Read more: ‘I want people to know so they can see the red flags’ — Ontario woman speaks out about romance scam

The situation ended with the victim sending almost $1 million to the scammer.

Following the scam, police are warning residents that cybercrimes are always happening no matter what is going on in the world.

“The top cybercrime remains the one referred to as the romance scam where the scammer contacts the victim via social network or dating sites and begins to gain the victim’s trust and affection over a matter of weeks or months,” police say.

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“Often the scammer will make up stories of being a member of the military, a doctor with an international organization or an employee of a well-known corporation.”

Read more: ‘Sextortion’ scam cases reported in Peterborough County, OPP say

Eventually, officers say, the scammer asks for money to come visit the victim, for travel expenses or family assistance — and the money is usually sent through a wire transfer, gift cards or, more commonly, through the use of cryptocurrency.

“Romance scammers use various online platforms and social media groups and have branched out from the use of dating sites, so be vigilant,” OPP say.

“Don’t send money — the scammer will make it seem like an emergency. They may even express distress or anger to make you feel guilty, but do not send money.”

Police say to also be cautious when someone claims they live close to you but are working abroad. They are also advising people against sharing personal or financial information with people they’ve just met online or through a video call.

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Kingston police say fraud cases in phone and romance scams have doubled – Jan 20, 2020

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