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Is it true love, or is it a scam?
Quesnel RCMP Sergeant Clay Kronebusch is cautioning the public to be aware of romance scams when entering relationships online.
“Every year the RCMP receives reports of various online and telephone scams that see people cheated out of their hard earned money. Romance scams are common among those scams.”
Kronebush says these scams involve individuals who use false romantic intentions toward a victim in order to gain their trust and affection for the sole purpose of getting the victim to send them money.
“Often the perpetrator will meet the victim online through social media or online dating sites and build a relationship over weeks, months, or even years. Typically, the perpetrator’s claim to be from another province, or even another country. They will eventually start asking for money for various things such as: funds to come visit, pay off debts, medical bills, customs or insurance fees to have property released at the border, family assistance and many other reasons.”
Kronebusch says the victims send them money, they will continue to ask for more, while making various excuses as to why they need the money.
He says they’ll often promise to meet the victims and then fail to show up, making excuses that they ran into problems and need more money.
Kronebusch says more and more people are going online to find friendship and relationships.
He says you should never send money to someone without first verifying who it is you’re communicating with.
Red flags to look for:
- When someone you haven’t met in person professes their love to you;
- If the person wants to quickly move to a private or different mode of communication (email, text, Whatsapp, Google Hangouts etc.);
- If they always have an excuse not to meet in person;
- If you receive poorly/oddly written messages, sometimes even addressing you by the wrong name;
- If the individual claims to live close to you but is working overseas;
- If they act distressed or angry to guilt you into sending money;
- If the individual discourages you from discussing them or their situation with your friends and family (attempting to isolate you from those who may be suspicious of the relationship).
-Files by George Henderson, My Cariboo Now
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