With the rise of online dating comes a potential for a rise in online-dating-related scams.
In 2019, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre received 972 complaints related to romance scams, which included 682 victims who lost over $19 million to scammers pretending to be in love with the victims.
Scammers would use fake profiles on social media and popular dating apps to gain the trust of their victims and then fleece them for an average of $28,000 per victim.
In order to avoid being taken advantage of, the RCMP is urging those using online dating services to be suspicious of requests for money from other users and to refrain from trusting people they have yet to meet in person.
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Users are also strongly encouraged to avoid sending personal or financial information as well as intimate photos and videos, as they can be used for blackmail, or to help with transferring or holding funds.
Anyone who believes they may be involved in a romance scam is encouraged to:
- Stop all contact with the potential scammer.
- Contact your financial institution to halt any outstanding payments.
- Report it to your local police and include as much information as possible.
- File a report with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) through their confidential online reporting system or by calling 1-888-495-8501.