Romance scams cost Canadians more than $22.5 million in 2018, which is more than any other type of fraud in terms of money lost, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC). However, it is estimated that only five percent of victims actually file reports.
What is a romance scam?
In romance scams, people you meet online ask for money or banking information. Often, they use phony dating profiles, and may use your data to steal your identity, apply for credit cards, or threaten to expose personal facts or photos unless they’re paid.
Here are 9 tips to help protect yourself
Don’t share your personal information through the messaging feature on a dating site, texting or emails. Do it in person if you decide to meet a date.
Don’t share intimate images through an online dating site. Remember, anything shared electronically is stored indefinitely, long after a relationship may end.
Check people out using search engines. Search for the person’s name, together with the word “scam” and do an image search for photos they share. Fraudsters are clever, but often lazy, using the same messages and images.
Don’t send money to anyone you meet through an online dating site or app.
Don’t share your banking information, purchase tickets or make travel arrangements for dates.
Beware a “match” who avoids meeting in person.
Be aware that scammers and cyber criminals will be trolling even reputable dating sites.
Never visit dating sites on public, unprotected Wi-Fi networks. Install a VPN and disable GPS tracking when using dating apps to make it more difficult to identify your location.
Use strong passwords and multi-factor identification when available.