The Romance Scam not only breaks hearts - it cleans out bank accounts.

Crime 100By Staff

March 13, 2018

BURLINGTON, ON

 

Another resident of Halton has become the latest victim of what is known as the “Romance Scam”.

Police are urging victims of this crime to come forward and recognize they are not alone. Even the most experienced people can be manipulated by these professionals.

Recently a woman approached the Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) and reported a loss in excess of $1.2 million as a result of this scam.

Valentine heartsThe location of the suspect remains unknown at this time, and according to investigators, he could be anywhere in the world. “The money is all gone, sent through various means to the U.S.A. and Europe.

The suspect is a professional fraudster operating as part of a network of criminals, all with the same intent; to relieve someone of their hard earned money. They know how to manipulate, and unfortunately, they are highly skilled at what they do,” says Detective Mark Underwood of the HRPS Regional Fraud Unit.

In a typical Romance Scam, the relationship will start with an anonymous connection, usually through a dating website or application. Often, the perpetrator of the scam claims that their ability to meet in person is limited, due to travel, overseas business or military deployment.

The suspect will then present a problem that needs to be solved with a small loan of money; e.g. a lost passport or a failing business deal. The perpetrator may then claim that they want to meet the victim in person but that they cannot do so unless the problem is solved, or until they are back in the country. They may state that there is an opportunity to make lots of money on a chance deal, contingent on a small investment with a guaranteed return.

The Halton Regional Police Service offers the following tips for residents:

• Never send money to someone you have never met. Legitimate businesses and business associates do not need to secure financing from random strangers.

• Check your facts, and do your research. Often, the fraudsters will introduce a lawyer, in the hopes it brings legitimacy to a financial transaction. Use the internet to verify that people and businesses actually exist.

• If in doubt, seek some help. A sober second look at a situation from a trusted outsider who has not been manipulated by a potential fraudster can provide clarity and make the difference.

The best weapon against this crime is awareness. When people understand how these scams work, they will be less likely to be victimized.

When it comes to fraud, victims can help other victims by speaking out. The Halton Regional Police Service encourages victim to let people know what happened to stop it happening to others.

A safe, secure, confidential place to call with information that will keep our streets safe.

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Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Detective Mark Underwood of the Regional Fraud Unit at 905-825-4747 ext. 8738.

Tips can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers “See something? Hear something? Know something? Contact Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or through the web at www.haltoncrimestoppers.ca.

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1 comment to The Romance Scam not only breaks hearts – it cleans out bank accounts.

  • steve

    Wow. Lonely people, elderly people, with perhaps, diminished mental capacity. So many targets. How is it possible that someone can be duped out of so much money? Do they have no family? I can see very sophisticated, and hands on con men, or woman, romancing someone in real life, but online?? I’m astonished.

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