Fraudsters continue to scam people into sending them money through romance scams. The people behind these types of scams can be very convincing, and it can be easy to mistake them for a legitimate love interest. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, these scams have cost Canadians more than $90 million since 2012. Check out our top 5 red flags for romance scams and stay wise to the fraudsters behind them.
Dating and romance scams usually take place through online dating websites. Scammers have also been known to use social media for the same purpose. You may find yourself in communication with someone who appears to be pursuing a romantic relationship with you, but soon you may begin to notice some of these red flags. Here is what you should watch out for:
Seems too good to be true.
The scammer might have a few glamorous pictures of themselves and may paint a picture of a glitzy lifestyle or career. If you’re suspicious, you may be interested in visiting a website that offers instructions on how to identify fake/stolen pictures.
Relentless messaging with vague or irrelevant information on a lesser-known dating site.
According to the Little Black Book of Scams, some dating and romance scams operate using illegitimate dating websites that charge you for each message sent or received. The scammer will try to keep the conversation flowing to receive more money from the barrage of messages being exchanged. Try to use legitimate and reputable dating websites to avoid this type of scam.
The relationship is moving very fast.
The scammer is working hard to develop trust, and in doing so is trying their best to convince you that they are head-over-heels in love. Be wary of someone that is expressing strong feelings very early on and, as flattering as it may be, keep a cool head and trust your gut. It’s also worth mentioning that some romance scammers are in it for the long game and will attempt to gain trust for months. They may even send flowers or small gifts and may work the angle of a friendship-type relationship.
They have excuse after excuse to not meet in person or video chat.
This could mean they are using a fake picture and are not who they say they are.
They ask for money.
This is the ultimate red flag. These scammers will use creative tactics to convince you to send them money. Sometimes they will claim that a loved one is very ill and needs money to pay for medical bills, or phone bills (to continue chatting with you), or travel expenses to come see you (if they claim to live far away). Never send money or give away your personal or financial information to someone you have never met.
While Consumer Protection BC is responsible for regulating certain industries and oversees specific consumer protection laws in the province, we do not have any authority when it comes to scams or fraud. If you have lost money to a romance scam, report it to your local police and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.
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