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'Love should not cost a thing,' Romance scams netted $65M last year

Provincial police are using this Valentine's Day to remind the public about romantic scams that trick individuals out of their money, noting "love should not cost a thing."

According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, romance frauds amounted to nearly $65 million in 2021.

"In Romance Scams, fraudsters gain the trust of the victim by carrying on a relationship over a period of time," police stated in a release issued Monday.

They say that in many cases, con artists will claim to be professional business people or military personnel travelling or stationed abroad.

"Once trust is gained, fraudsters begin to ask for financial assistance for reasons like urgent situations," police say.

According to police, the 'urgent situations' may include needing money for a sick family member, a return to the country, plane tickets, and/or lawyer fees.


Police say to pay attention to red flags, including:

  • An individual who always makes excuses why they can't meet or doesn't show up for planned meetings;
  • A fast-moving relationship where an individual you've never met in person professes love;
  • A person who claims to live close but is working overseas.

"This is a setup for the fraudster to provide you with many reasons to ask for money," police say.


Police say the best way to protect oneself from becoming a victim of a romance scam is never to send money or share personal and financial information.

Additionally, police say never to send intimate photos or videos because "they can be used to blackmail you."

Police say it's best to verify someone you've met online by researching the name provided and other details.

"Do a reverse image search of photos to see if they appear on the web or someone else's online profile," they add.

Finally, they say to never invest in a new business venture or cryptocurrency. "This is a scam," OPP state.


Anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of a fraud or knows someone who may be a victim should contact their police service to report the crime.

Alternatively, frauds can be reported to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online or by calling 1-888-495-8501, even if there was no financial loss. Top Stories

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