The RCMP reports that 972 victims collectively lost more than $19 million to apparent romance scams in Canada last year.
The federal police agency reported that perpetrators of these swindles use fake profiles on social media and dating apps to “gain the trust of their victims over a period of time before stealing an average of $28,000 per victim.”
The RCMP is warning online daters to be vigilant for various red flags — such as requests for money — to prevent being duped.
“Never trust anyone you have not met in person, who is quick to profess their love, or who claims to live nearby but is working overseas,” the RCMP said in a statement. “These are all telltale signs the person on the other end may not be who they claim.”
The agency also advised people to “be wary of requests for personal or financial information, intimate photos or video that can later be used for blackmail, or for help transferring or holding funds, which may lead to…being unknowingly involved in a much larger fraud scheme.”