Those looking for a love connection on dating websites may want to hold on to their wallets, the RCMP say.
This year, 56 people in the province have been victims of romance scams, the RCMP report. Thirty-two of them are from Central Alberta from communities like Red Deer, Innisfail, Ponoka, Sylvan Lake, Camrose, Rimbey, and Stettler.
Sgt. Jack Poitras, from the RCMP K Division media relations group said the largest-sum romance scam in the province involving close to $600,000 was reported in Central Alberta.
He said, generally in such cases, it’s hard to trace the suspect after the money has been transferred.
“By the time you transfer the money, they disappear and nobody sees them again,” he said.
Fraudsters tell the victims how infatuated they are, and often, they don’t meet the victims, said Poitras.
Some of the reasoning behind the need for the money are a family emergency or personal health.
RCMP warns of red flags like claiming to be from your area but living or travelling abroad, expressing strong feelings in a short period, saying they can’t meet in person due to a tragic event, making plans to meet but coming up with excuses at the last minute and asking for financial help.
Poitras said some of the people you may be dealing with are professional scammers with a knowledge of organized crime.
“So they are sophisticated in techniques and some are single people just trying to get money,” he said.
Alberta RCMP want to educate the public to exercise caution when looking for love online.