romance scams canada

Romance scams in Canada robbed victims of $19 million last year

Canadian officials are reminding people to be cautious after romance scams cost people in Canada a whopping $19 million last year.

Closely related to "catfishing," romance scammers create a fake identity online to gain the affection of a victim. The scammer then asks for money, which the victim unwittingly sends.

According to Better Business Bureau, romance scams are the third riskiest scam in Canada.

Even more shockingly, for Canadian victims aged 55-64, it's the riskiest scam overall.

Statistically, women are more likely to fall for a romance scam than men — although any person experiencing "feelings of loneliness" runs a higher risk of falling for a romance scammer.

In 2019, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre received 972 complaints related to romance scams.

It's believed that "Kelly" — a divorced mother of two in Toronto, who goes by a false name to remain anonymous — is the victim of Canada's biggest romance scam, giving close to $2 million to her scammer.

As a result of these shocking numbers, Canada has stepped up its efforts to create awareness around romance scammers over the past year.

Last March, the Canadian Competition Bureau even released a short clip with an oddly adorable dog graphic warning Canadians to exercise caution when they meet "someone special online."

The video says, "Scammers look like charmers on real dating sites until they start asking you for money or financial details."

"Remember: never send money or personal information to anyone on a dating site. And be sure to trust your instincts, read the fine print and ask a lot of questions."

Lead photo by

Jake Dela Concepcion

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