Romance or Dating Scam
In 2011, Romance scams emerged as highest grossing scam, with over 12 million in losses reported by Canadians. This scam has also lead to incidents of suicide in cases where victims have lost their life saving and have been emotionally destroyed.
• Romance scams will continue to have a profound impact on Canadians and cause severe financial loss in 2013.
• These scams have proliferated with the increase use of social media – social networking sites and dating sites. These sites are most common with scams that require a level of trust between the victim and the fraudster.
• In the Romance scam the fraudsters have demonstrated that they are willing to develop the relationship over extended periods of time. This increases the trust level between the victim and fraudster and will result in higher dollar losses. This also results in a negative social impact on the victim as they have developed emotional and psychological attachment to the fraudster.
• Generally, Romance scams involve the victim and the fraudster meeting through a social networking site. The fraudster will gain the trust of the victim through displays of affection. While the fraudster is usually located in a distant country, eventually wanting to meet the victim in person. It is at this time the fraudster will advise they can’t afford to travel and will seek assistance from the victim in covering travel cost. Other variations include the fraudster presenting situations of emergency/ urgency, such as a sick family member, and seeking financial assistance from the victim for various costs.
• Some incidents have also occurred at the local level and involved the victims actually meeting the suspects to go out on dates and meeting at the victim residence. These cases are creating concerns for personal safety. For example, in one incident the victim reported having her wallet and some jewellery stolen from home.
• Distressed citizen worried about a loved one
• Talking about good friend or loved one in another country that is coming to visit or needs help.
• Mentions Western Union or MoneyGram
• Frequenting the bank more often
• Making unusual withdrawals both in amounts and frequency.
• Making multiple withdrawals ranging from $500‐ $3000 in Cash.
• Making large dollar wire transfers to countries in Africa, Asia or Eastern Europe
To contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (1-888-495-8501) to report it.
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Fraud: Recognize it. Report it. Stop it.