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Ottawa Valley resident loses $50,000 in 'romance scam'

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Police in Pembroke are investigating after a resident lost more than $50,000 in a romance scam.

The victim entered into an online relationship and sent thousands of dollars over several months to a scammer in a foreign country, Upper Ottawa Valley OPP said in a news release.

“Romance Scams cause victims severe financial hardship and personal embarrassment, which, despite massive losses, often inhibits their decision to report the crime,” the news release said.

Such scams often happen through singles websites, social media platforms and email, police said. They can cost victims tens of thousands of dollars before they realize the ‘relationship’ is a scam. Seniors are among the most vulnerable.

Police gave the following tips to help people avoid falling victim to romance scams:

  • Don’t give out personal information in an email or when chatting online, and check the person’s name and addresses used
  • Ask yourself: “Would someone I have never met really declare their love for me after only a few letters or emails?” If the answer is no, report it to police.
  • Never send money or give personal banking and credit card information to anyone you don’t know, particularly someone in a foreign country whom you have never met
  • Check website addresses carefully

Anyone who’s been a victim of a scam should contact police or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-496-8501.

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