And the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre thinks only a small percentage of victims tell anyone what’s happened to them.
Behind the flowery words and promises of love, an investigation by CTV’s W5 and the Star has discovered, are criminal gangs, many in West Africa, running dozens of cons at once.“What we’re dealing with is organized crime,” says Daniel Williams of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. For the one person that contacts us about it, there are 15 who have not, and 30 who will be scammed in future.”This is how it works: A man or woman — both are at risk — signs on to a dating website. study, “at a very early stage the scammer declares their love for the victim,” and asks that they move off the dating website and onto another form of communication, such as instant messenger or private email. According to the University of Leicester study, and interviews with experts here in Canada, there are commonalities.
Ellen was retired, living a comfortable life in a nice home in British Columbia.
In the driveway was a luxury car, and her house was paid for.
“Some wait nine months before making their approach.” Why?
“Because they have hundreds, if not thousands, of people on the go.
How could a mature, self-sufficient woman send such a huge sum of money to someone she never even met?
She reported the loss to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and is now their biggest recorded victim of so-called romance fraud — a new take on the Nigerian email scam.
Meet them for less when you sign up using the best dating offers.
Because they have so much money coming in, they can wait.”The reason for the request probably meshes with the story: their passport has been lost, or their child needs a doctor, or there’s some other emergency.
It can start with a few hundred dollars, or a thousand. “He said, ‘It’s not a game.’ And what was the excuse?
His picture was that of a somewhat handsome, balding middle-aged man. She says she travelled to London and Madrid to meet people who “Dave” said would get her money back and each time came home with a diminished bank balance.
As Ellen and “Dave” chatted online and occasionally on the phone, she says she told her he was of Swedish descent and was living in Los Angeles. Ellen says she sent the first few thousand to help “Dave” out – and the rest followed as an attempt to get back the money she’d lost.“It was, ‘You’ve already sent me this money — how am I supposed to pay you back if we don’t go to the next step? “And at one point I said, ‘If this keeps up, I’m going to be bankrupt.’ ”Even Ellen is at a loss to explain how an adult, who says she had accumulated a tidy nest egg by growing an inheritance through canny property purchases, could be taken in by the fraudsters.“It’s like I was living in a fog,” Ellen says.