Tips vs. romance scams

Romance is in the air, but sometimes, that air isn’t sweet.

Romance scams are one of the largest causes of fraud losses in Canada, with 1,928 reports of romance scams totaling over $64 million dollars in 2021 alone. That’s more than double from 2020 with just under $29 million in losses.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is warning Canadians that scammers are using isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage. Often in romance scams, a scammer convinces a victim to enter a virtual, online relationship. As trust and affection develop, the scammer uses emotional leverage to request money or cryptocurrency, gifts, investments, or may even send money to the victim to build further trust or engage the victim as a money mule. Like the old song should say, looking for love in all the wrong places… can be expensive.

The Anti-Fraud Centre has some helpful tips that would raise a red flag and may lead to a romance scam:

  • When a person you’ve never met professes their love for you
  • If the person wants to move to a more private mode of communication
  • If the person always has an excuse not to meet in person
  • If you receive poorly or oddly written message, maybe even addressed to the wrong name
  • If the person claims to live nearby, but is working ‘overseas’
  • If the person acts distressed or angry to guilt you into sending money
  • If the person discourages you from discussing the relationship with friends or family, or attempts to isolate you from those that might be suspicious of the relationship

If you believe that you or a loved one are being targeted by scam or fraud, report the activity to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. If you or someone you know are receiving threatening messages, contact your local police. It is recommended that your report all fraud or attempted fraud occurrences to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or through its website, www.antifraudcentre.ca.

Thursday | March 3, 08:01 AM
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