Saanich police are hoping to help residents avoid romance scams by revealing the most common red fags. (Pixabay)

Don’t be blinded by love: Saanich police warn of online dating red flags

Canadians lost about $25 million to romance scams in 2018

In honour of Valentine’s Day, Saanich police are warning residents about the risks associated with looking for love online.

While dating apps and sites are part of many couples’ meet-cute stories, authorities are warning they also provide cybercriminals with a platform.

Police have been warning Greater Victoria residents of the numerous fraud attempts in the area lately – from Bitcoin scams to fake sweepstakes. While most people are wary of suspicious phone calls and emails, many Canadians are unaware than romance scams are the most common, said Const. Markus Anastasiades of the Saanich Police Department.

READ ALSO: Valentine’s Day rooted in Pagan, Roman and Christian traditions

He noted Canadians lost almost $25 million in romance scams in 2018. Scammers can easily create fake profiles, get to know their victims and build a false sense of trust before asking for money.

According to the Government of Canada, there are several signs that someone may be after your money, not your heart. For example, if the person always has an excuse for why they can’t meet in person or begins asking for help with emergency expenses, they may be running a scam.

READ ALSO: QUIZ: How much do you know about love and romance?

To avoid becoming a victim of a romance scam, dating site users are encouraged to be on the lookout for red flags, Anastasiades said. Be wary of people who refuse to meet in person, keep asking to move the conversation off the site or app, say “I love you” too quickly or ask for money.

Never send money or personal information to people from an online dating site, Anastasiades emphasized.

He added police aren’t saying people should stop looking for love online, but rather that they should be wary and understand the risks. He also recommended residents talk to family and friends about their online dating habits as they can often spot red flags that may have been overlooked.

READ ALSO: Cherry blossoms bloom for Valentine’s Day

Anyone who encounters a romance scam is asked to report it to police and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Anastasiades noted only about five per cent of victims report online dating frauds which authorities assume is out of embarrassment, but he hopes more people come forward.

“It can happen to anyone looking for love,” he said, noting that victims shouldn’t feel ashamed.

Reporting won’t always get the money back, but it can help police track trends and prevent others from falling victim.

For more information, visit the Government of Canada’s Get Cyber Safe website at getcybersafe.ca.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

CyberfraudPoliceSaanich Police DepartmentScams

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Michelle Obama: In Conversation in Victoria, March 31

Former First Lady hosted by Victoria Chamber for moderated event at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre

Victoria veteren receives the National Order of the Legion of Honour

Lorne Frame was pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War

Saanich homeowner creates petition to abolish unrelated occupancy limits

Unrelated occupancy limits give rise to duelling petitions

Saanich fire station to receive green remodel after more than 40 years

New facility to feature solar panels, space for more emergency vehicles

South Vancouver Island B.C. Hydro Customers without power

Due to high winds nearly 3,900 B.C. Hydro customer will be out of power

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

Massive early-morning blaze destroys Vancouver Island home

Firefighters from three departments called in to battle fire at unoccupied residence

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

VIDEO: Wounded Warrior Run leaves Port Hardy on eight-day trek down Vancouver island

The team’s fundraising goal this year is $250,000, which is double last year’s goal.

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Most Read