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Romance frauds are the most lucrative scam in Canada.Over the past four years, Canadians have reported losses of almost million to authorities.She was single, her kids were grown and had lives of their own. “I don’t like the idea of not being able to help somebody if I can.”Emails from “Dave” to Ellen, which she provided to the Star, use endearments like “baby,” “honey” and “sweetheart,” and end with “hugs, kisses and love.” Ellen says she wasn’t head-over-heels for him — which would make her different from many other victims of romance scams — and by the end of the con, she just wanted her money back.So Ellen — who agreed to speak to the Star only on condition of anonymity — says she signed up to So Ellen approached the idea of meeting up, and “Dave” seemed keen. She says she tried to send the first sum of 5 via Western Union, but the employee refused: “She said to me, ‘Do you know this person? I’m not sending it.’ ”Ellen found another way: by Money Gram.
She reported the loss to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and is now their biggest recorded victim of so-called romance fraud — a new take on the Nigerian email scam.
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He or she might be attracted by the photo someone posts: a pretty young woman, or a soldier in uniform. For men, the female scammer presents herself to her target as “young and vulnerable.”For women, the man-on-the-make may say he’s wealthy or of high status, like a businessman or top soldier.
Or someone might reach out and start the conversation. He may also have a touching backstory: widowed, “lost their wife in a tragic accident, and are sometimes left with a child to care for.” “They want to know who you’re looking for,” Williams says.