The Alberta RCMP is warning online daters to be on the look out for scams.
“There’s definitely been an increase over the last few years of reports of the incidents. One of the reasons we want to let the public know about this, is to be leery of the scams and as well to report them to us so we’re aware it’s going on,” says Sergeant Jack Poitras.
Some red flags to watch out for according to police include a person claiming to be from your area but is living or travelling abroad; someone expressing strong feelings for you after very little time; if they say they can’t meet in person due to a tragic event; if they make plans to meet but then coming up with excuses at the last minute; and someone asking for financial help.
Since the beginning of this year, police say 56 individuals have reported being victims of romance scams in Alberta, accounting for a total net loss of over $3.6 million. However, police say the crime does go under-reported.
“A lot of time people they get caught up on a website and thought they had feelings for these people and then they feel maybe they’ve let themselves down, rather than they’ve been had. We just want to let people know this is going on. It is normal to have these professional scam artists out there, so don’t feel ashamed or that you’ve done something wrong,” says Poitras.
People are urged to report these crimes to either the local police or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501. The police are also reminding people to never send money to people they’ve met online.