BC woman says she paid for flight, got taken in romance scam – BC News | #socialmedia


Left standing at airport

Chris Campbell / Burnaby Now – | Story: 347557

A Burnaby woman says she has always wanted to find that one person and fall in love – and she thought she had done this back in 2019 with “Terry” – a guy who turned out to be a work of fiction by a heartless scammer.

“We spoke online and on the phone for months because he said he lived in Chicago,” said Mary.

“Things kept building and building as we shared so much about ourselves, or so I thought. He was everything I ever wanted. But he said money was tight and how he really wanted to meet me and how it wasn’t possible. He said he had some money coming to him in a few months, but I didn’t want to wait. He laid out the bait and hooked me. I paid for his flight, but he didn’t show. I mean I sent him the money and he claimed he booked a flight. He even told me a flight number. I stood there like a fool at the airport wondering what had happened. I never heard from him again.”

Surrey RCMP say they have received reports from 29 people who have been the victim of online romance scams between January and August 2021, losing a total of $1,362,269.

During that same period, 213 victims across the Lower Mainland lost $22,463,510.

A romance scam involves any individual who uses false romantic intentions toward a victim, in order to gain their trust and affection with the goal of getting the victim’s money, according to RCMP, noting that many romance scams begin over social media or online dating sites.

A common trend among reports of the scam in Surrey included victims who were befriended online and, over time, convinced to invest funds into fraudulent schemes by sending money via bitcoin accounts.

When the victim becomes aware of the fraud, communication with the victim was cut off, RCMP said.

Police offer some tips to avoid becoming a victim of an online romance scam:

  • Do not send money
  • If your new online partner is already asking you for money to get their car fixed so they can come visit you, it’s a red flag.
  • Beware of people who fall in love quickly
  • If within the first few exchanges, the person seems to be pushing the relationship forward at a rapid pace without having even met you, it is a sign of catfishing.
  • Be cautious of people hiding their identity
  • If they seem serious, but strictly want to keep to written communication or phone calls (or, similarly, they frequently discuss meeting in-person but repeatedly have circumstances pop up to prevent them from doing so), there is a good chance they are hiding their identity.

More information on online romance scams and how to protect yourself can be found on the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website.

– With files from Kirsten Clarke, Glacier Media



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