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He or she might be attracted by the photo someone posts: a pretty young woman, or a soldier in uniform. For men, the female scammer presents herself to her target as “young and vulnerable.”For women, the man-on-the-make may say he’s wealthy or of high status, like a businessman or top soldier.
Over the past four years, Canadians have reported losses of almost $50 million to authorities.Because they have so much money coming in, they can wait.”The reason for the request probably meshes with the story: their passport has been lost, or their child needs a doctor, or there’s some other emergency.It can start with a few hundred dollars, or a thousand. “He said, ‘It’s not a game.’ And what was the excuse?“I thought it would be fun just to banter back and forth with somebody,” she says. “I said, ‘If there was no chance of you coming to Canada, I’ll come to L. “He didn’t balk at that.” But when she booked her ticket, she says, things changed. Eventually, she says, “Dave” would give her bank account numbers and she would wire him — or people purporting to act for him — wire transfers for tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars, at a time.The man she says she met online called himself Dave Field. (Documentation provided by Ellen shows transfers of roughly $1.3 million, in U. dollars, euros and British pounds.)It appears the cash flowed out of Ellen’s investment account and into accounts in Hong Kong, Greece, Singapore — and directly to Lagos, Nigeria.Sites like christianmingle.com, JDate, e-harmony and warn up front that you shouldn’t send anyone money, “especially overseas or by wire transfer,” and they ask for site users to report any approaches to them.
Asked for comment on the issue of romance scams, officials said in a statement that the company has “an extensive fraud management team comprised of certified fraud examiners, analysts and technologists who police all entry points for fraud” and reviews users who meet a “basic threshold of risk.”“Although we take extensive safety and security measures with activity that happens on our site and we respond immediately when we are alerted of issues, we are not capable of policing what happens once our members move beyond our features and begin exchanging information or meeting in person,” the statement says.
“I just felt as though I was in a fog, for months and months on end.”Dr. to foster an intense romantic relationship, even though (it) may be entirely one-sided,” he says.“Ultimately, people enter Internet relationships with a sense of hope, and the hallmark from all hope is the belief that the end result will be positive.
Scott Haltzman, a Florida-based psychiatrist, says that simply being online and looking for love can leave people more vulnerable because they have gone public with their desire to make a connection.“This makes it easy for someone who wants to take advantage . This permits people to ignore potential pitfalls, particularly when the person who is scamming them continues to reassure (them) that there is nothing to worry about.”Ellen says her fog lifted when a male relative told her point-blank that she was being conned.
And the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre thinks only a small percentage of victims tell anyone what’s happened to them.
Behind the flowery words and promises of love, an investigation by CTV’s W5 and the Star has discovered, are criminal gangs, many in West Africa, running dozens of cons at once.“What we’re dealing with is organized crime,” says Daniel Williams of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. For the one person that contacts us about it, there are 15 who have not, and 30 who will be scammed in future.”This is how it works: A man or woman — both are at risk — signs on to a dating website. study, “at a very early stage the scammer declares their love for the victim,” and asks that they move off the dating website and onto another form of communication, such as instant messenger or private email. According to the University of Leicester study, and interviews with experts here in Canada, there are commonalities.
She ultimately reported a loss of $1.332 million to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, which compiles information and forwards it to law enforcement for investigation.