Investigators with the York Regional Police Financial Crimes Unit would like to remind citizens to be wary of romance scams and online relationships after several victims lost more than $300,000.
York Regional Police has received three reports recently of frauds involving elements of romance scams which appear to be targeting victims in the Filipino community. In these incidents, the victims reported being befriended by a man on social media and engaging in frequent conversation. The man would then claim to require financial assistance for some type of crisis or personal or business matter. Once the victim sends an initial small amount of money the suspect increases requests and increases the amounts. Once large sums of money were obtained, the victim could no longer reach the suspect.
In these scams it is important to be aware that suspects will use a number of tactics and schemes to build trust and establish relationships with the victims. These relationships often progress very quickly to an emotional point, where the victim is so invested in the relationship they feel compelled to help when the suspect begins to ask for money.
York Regional Police is reminding citizens to be cautious and to confirm any suspicious calls, emails or social media correspondence they receive before providing any information. If a situation feels suspicious, trust your instincts. Do not be talked into providing personal information or payments by methods with which you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable. We encourage citizens to share fraud prevention tips with friends and family, especially seniors or newcomers to Canada, who are frequently the targeted victims of frauds and scams.
If you have been a victim of a fraud, and have lost money, report the incident promptly to the York Regional Police Financial Crimes Unit at 1-866-876-5423, ext. 6612. To report frauds where no money has been lost, contact the the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by calling 1-888-495-8501.