Online dating most popular fraud target in Canada

Online dating fraudPolice and anti-fraud agencies are warning about the increasing numbers of scammers using online dating sites as their main targets.

As dating websites become more popular, more people are starting legitimate relationships that way. A recent survey by the site eHarmony shows as much as a third of Americans married since 2005 had met online.

However, criminals are also finding more potential targets — posing under a fake identity and trying to earn trust before asking for money. Once it’s gone, money can be extremely hard to get back.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre said Canadians lost $17 million to online dating fraud in 2012. Over the last three years, they said Canadians have lost more money to these scams than any other kind of fraud, despite the number of victims barely registering in the top 10 when compared to other kinds.

Hundreds in Ontario and Quebec report fraud.

CBC News has heard from a few victims of such fraud, including an Ottawa woman in 2010 who lost $20,000 to a man who started out by asking her for loans, then moved on to opening credit card accounts in her name.

While that man eventually went to jail, the victim’s money was gone for good.

The anti-fraud centre said 269 Ontarians have reported online dating fraud so far this year, with 177 losing some money. That means 92 people caught on to the fraud before they lost anything.

In Quebec, 471 people have reported such fraud in 2013 — 319 of who were victims.

Category: Dating Scams

Leave a Reply