2/8/2018 8:25:15 AM

A romance scam currently taking place is leading to heartache and empty bank accounts.

The scam typically involves a con artist ''romancing'' their intended victims through a social media site. Once they gain your trust and affection, they begin to ask for money, so you can ''be together''. The romance scam has quickly become a big money earner; Canadian victims lost more than $17 million dollars to this scam in 2017 according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC).

With Valentine's Day less than a week away, the South Bruce OPP is asking residents to protect yourself and help spread the word about the romance scam.

Tips to protect yourself from falling victim to a romance scam:

-Be suspicious when someone you haven't met in person professes their love to you. Why would someone you've never met declare their love after a few emails?

-Be wary when someone you meet on social media wants to quickly move to a private mode of communication, i.e. email, text.

-If trying to set up an in-person meeting, be suspicious if they always have an excuse not to meet.
-If you actually set up a meeting - tell family and friends when and where you're going; meet in a local, public place.
-Don't share personal or financial information with anyone you've only just met online or in person.
-Never send intimate photos or video of yourself. The scammer may try to use these to blackmail you into sending money.
-Be cautious when conversing with an individual that claims to live close to you but is "working overseas".
-Should you be asked to accept money (e-transfer, cheque) or goods (usually electronics) and then transfer/send elsewhere, no not accept to do this. This is usually a form of money laundering which is a criminal offence.

Anyone interested in more information on fraud can contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1 888 495 8501 or check online at


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