Members from the Sault Ste Marie Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) would like to remind everyone that you have to do your homework prior to giving any personal information, money or sending prepaid ITunes cards to anyone. Every year thousands of Canadians are victimized and millions of dollars are lost through many forms of fraud.
The criminals seek potential victim’s online, generally single or recently unattached people. Usually this form of mass marketing fraud occurs through singles and dating-related ‘meet’ websites, social media platforms, or e-mail blasts. In some cases, prolonged interaction with individuals has cost some victims tens of thousands of dollars before the so-called ‘relationship’ ends, usually without ever meeting in person. Although 95 per cent of all types of fraud are not reported, romance scams cause victims severe financial hardship and personal embarrassment, which inhibits their decision to report the crime.
Tips to Avoid Being a Victim of a Romance / Dating Scam include:
- Don’t give out any personal information in an email or when you are chatting online.
- Educate yourself. Check the person’s name, the company name, and the addresses used
Ask yourself – ‘Would someone I have never met really declare their love for me after only a few letters or emails?’ If the answer is no, report it to police
- Never send money, or give personal credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust. A request to send money to a foreign country to someone you have never personally met should be a red flag
Checking website addresses carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with addresses that are very similar to legitimate dating websites
If you suspect you may be the victim of fraud or have been tricked into giving personal or financial information, contact your local OPP detachment at 1-888-310-1122, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or visit their website at: www.antifraudcentre.ca
FRAUD…Recognize it …Report it …Stop it.
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