With most people stuck at home and only have the internet for companionship, more and more individuals are falling for investment scams and romance scams. A woman from York region was targeted for a romance scam and she ended up putting thousands of dollars in a Bitcoin machine believing that she was sending the funds to her true love, a man she has not yet met in person.
Ignoring Red Flags Lead to No Good
Sgt. Andy Pattenden of York Police told CTV News Toronto that the victim felt that something was wrong each time that she was sending more money, but she was compelled to send more until she lost all her life savings.
York Regional Police shared that they’ve seen a spike in the cases of reported romance scams and suspect that people having to stay at home and isolate has a lot to do with it.
More people are vulnerable to romance scams now because scammers typically target victims via online means such as dating websites, e-mails, and social media. Pattenden added that COVID-19 and more time spent indoors are linked factors as to why there is a rise in cases.
Romance Scams are Anything But Romantic
Romance Scams are usually run out of internet boiler rooms by an individual or a group of people who are working on several possible victims at a time. They create trust and then proceed to confess their love for someone quite quickly and then invent a situation to justify asking their victim for money.
The fraud department shares that criminals behind romance scams are really good at creating a persona that can make someone fall in love with it. They carefully curate fake photos, make up a fake name, use fake contact information, and lure with a fake personality. Note that this is the same strategy used by investment scam artists, Pattenden adds.
Different Scams, Same Modus
The Credit Counselling Society of Toronto shared that more people are facing financial difficulty now as the CERB and related government assistance programs are ending just as interest deferment programs on mortgages and credit cards are ending as well. The schemes that are being used by investment scam artists and romance scam fraudsters usually involved opportunities that sound like something that cannot be passed up especially by someone who is having some financial difficulty.
What makes these scams particularly difficult solve for law enforcement is that they often ask that the money should be sent using cryptocurrency. Money that passes through any kind of cryptocurrency is near impossible to trace. It’s just gone.
Warning for Everyone
It is best to not reply to text messages and/or emails that promise money or those that are asking for your financial details or banking information. If you have friends or family who might need help, such situations can be discussed beforehand to have a way of proving that the person at the other end is the right person. You may share this article with family and friends who are largely alone during this pandemic to let them know about ongoing scams and prevent them from falling victim to fraud.
Do you know someone who might have been targeted for an investment scam or a romance scam? We can help them be more secure online with the use of our private investigation services. Contact us today to talk about what services we may be able to help you with fraud prevention.