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Canadians lose millions of dollars through romance scams
Published Wednesday, February 14, 2018 7:41PM CST
Thousands of Canadians are constantly learning “the one” isn’t who they think.
According to the Canadian Antifraud Centre, more than 17,000 Canadians filed complaints — which totalled $17.6 million in losses — about online dating fraud last year.
“They’re skilled at research and they’re skilled at acting because they make you believe they love you,” Karen Smith, CEO of Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan, said.
The Better Business Bureau of Saskatchewan says romance scammers typically come from Nigeria.
Romance fraud is the second most popular type of fraud in Canada, behind investment fraud, according to Saskatoon police’s economic crime unit.
AJ Chevli, a Saskatoon police sergeant, says romance scammers are quick to move the conversation to email. They are typically on a business trip and claim to be a single parent.
Chevli said the scam can also work the other way — where people want to send you money.
“So essentially you’re involved in a type of money laundering, and moving that money forward on someone else’s behalf is also illegal,” Chevli said.
Chevli said a majority of romance scam victims are middle-aged women.
Police advise not sending money to people you’ve never met in-person.