(NORFOLK COUNTY, ON) – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Norfolk County detachment is urging everyone to familiarize themselves with various scams including the Romance and Dating Scam.

On Thursday, November 9, 2017 at approximately 12:28 p.m., police were contacted by a member of the public, reporting that they established an online relationship over the internet with a male after meeting them through a social media website. While corresponding, several emails were exchanged with details of the suspect’s history and employment status.

Through the course of this correspondence, a request for funds was made by the suspect after claiming that several emergencies occurred. During conversations, the male indicated that he wanted to make the victim his next of kin so that he could send her one million dollars however she would have to pay the taxes on the money so that it could be transferred.

Several transactions then took place, where funds were forwarded between the dates of July 2017 to Thursday, November 9, 2017, totalling approximately $220,000 dollars.

Single or recently unattached people – often females – are among the growing number of vulnerable population to be victimized by criminals through fraudulent means. Usually, this occurs through contact online via e-mail blasts, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc…) or singles and dating-related ‘meet’ websites. Among the more prevalent schemes are money transfers via Romance or Dating Scams. In some cases, prolonged interaction with individuals has cost some victims tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars before the relationship ends – usually after the culprit gets what they want.

Knowledge is power. All consumers – regardless of age and gender – can take basic steps to better protect themselves from becoming victims of fraud, such as never giving out personal information over the phone, the internet or through social media/dating websites.

Always get independent advice – from family members, a trusted friend or advisor — if any offers involve money, personal information, time or commitment.

Tips to Avoid Being a Victim of a Romance / Dating Scam

• Check website addresses carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with very similar addresses to legitimate dating websites. Make sure you only use legitimate and reputable dating websites.

• Never send money, or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust. A request to send money to a foreign country (using Western Union or MoneyGram) to this person you have never personally met should be a red flag.

• Don’t give out any personal information in an email or when you are chatting online. Like any scam, use your computer to your advantage. Educate yourself. Check the person’s name, the company name the addresses used, and ask yourself, “Would this be normal?”

• Ask yourself – “Would someone I have never met really declare their love for me after only a few letters or emails?”

“It’s not always easy to spot scams, and new ones are invented every day.

Knowledge is power. If you want to stay on top of scams, inform yourself on how to recognize the various types of scams and protect your personal information by visiting law enforcement organizations’ websites, such as OPP.ca, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (www.antifraudcentre.ca) or other reputable organizations.” states Detective Sergeant, Lisa Lambert, Norfolk County OPP Crime Unit.

For more information on fraud, call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or http://www.antifraudcentre.ca.

FRAUD – RECOGNIZE IT….REPORT IT….STOP IT….