Saanich police are hoping to help residents avoid romance scams by revealing the most common red fags. (Pixabay)

Don’t be blinded by love: Saanich police warn of online dating red flags

Canadians lost about $25 million to romance scams in 2018

In honour of Valentine’s Day, Saanich police are warning residents about the risks associated with looking for love online.

While dating apps and sites are part of many couples’ meet-cute stories, authorities are warning they also provide cybercriminals with a platform.

Police have been warning Greater Victoria residents of the numerous fraud attempts in the area lately – from Bitcoin scams to fake sweepstakes. While most people are wary of suspicious phone calls and emails, many Canadians are unaware than romance scams are the most common, said Const. Markus Anastasiades of the Saanich Police Department.

READ ALSO: Valentine’s Day rooted in Pagan, Roman and Christian traditions

He noted Canadians lost almost $25 million in romance scams in 2018. Scammers can easily create fake profiles, get to know their victims and build a false sense of trust before asking for money.

According to the Government of Canada, there are several signs that someone may be after your money, not your heart. For example, if the person always has an excuse for why they can’t meet in person or begins asking for help with emergency expenses, they may be running a scam.

READ ALSO: QUIZ: How much do you know about love and romance?

To avoid becoming a victim of a romance scam, dating site users are encouraged to be on the lookout for red flags, Anastasiades said. Be wary of people who refuse to meet in person, keep asking to move the conversation off the site or app, say “I love you” too quickly or ask for money.

Never send money or personal information to people from an online dating site, Anastasiades emphasized.

He added police aren’t saying people should stop looking for love online, but rather that they should be wary and understand the risks. He also recommended residents talk to family and friends about their online dating habits as they can often spot red flags that may have been overlooked.

READ ALSO: Cherry blossoms bloom for Valentine’s Day

Anyone who encounters a romance scam is asked to report it to police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Anastasiades noted only about five per cent of victims report online dating frauds which authorities assume is out of embarrassment, but he hopes more people come forward.

“It can happen to anyone looking for love,” he said, noting that victims shouldn’t feel ashamed.

Reporting won’t always get the money back, but it can help police track trends and prevent others from falling victim.

For more information, visit the Government of Canada’s Get Cyber Safe website at getcybersafe.ca.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

CyberfraudPoliceSaanich Police DepartmentScams

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Saanich Peninsula Branch of Royal Canadian Legion leaves North Saanich after 90 years

Branch will temporarily operate out of SHOAL Centre for Seniors

Police watchdog looking for witnesses to arrests in Victoria’s inner harbour

One male left injured after arrests near Red Fish Blue Fish

Speaker ‘will not tolerate illegal activity’ on B.C. legislature grounds, says chief of staff

Chief of staff to the B.C. speaker Alan Mullen says situation with demonstrators appears ‘fluid’

City frustrated as truck lodged under bridge one week after Victoria installs new signage

Dozens of trucks and buses have hit the E&N Rail bridge on Hereward Road

Clothing, jewelry, purses: RCMP ask court about disposal of evidence in Robert Pickton case

Pickton was sentenced to life with no chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of six women

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Wet’suwet’en herreditary chiefs meet with provincial, federal ministers

Neither party speaking on the groundwork laid for tomorrow’s talks

MPs to examine privacy implications of facial-recognition technology used by RCMP

The MPs will look at how the technology affects the privacy, security and safety of children

Dates back to 2009: Calgary police lay charges in fraud involving semi-trucks

Three people from Calgary are facing charges that include fraud over $5,000

Comox 442 Squadron carries out two sea rescue missions north of Vancouver Island

Submitted by Lt. Alexandra Hejduk Special to Black Press 442 Transport and… Continue reading

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Discussions with provincial and federal governments expected to start later today

Most Read