February 12, 2013, Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) . . . This Valentine’s Day, HRM Partners in Policing want potential lovebirds to be sure it is love, and not fraud, that is in the air.
Each year the RCMP/HRP Integrated Financial Crime Unit investigates a wide range of fraud-related complaints, including victims who have been defrauded thousands of dollars from people they met online through internet dating websites.
In some cases, relationships develop over an extended period of time. When the suspects feel they are able to manipulate their victims, they start asking them for either cash cheques, or to help them out financially with an “emergency.”
If you have been victimized, don’t let fear of embarrassment stop you from reporting an incident to police as secrecy works to the fraudster’s benefit.
Remember, if you meet someone either in person or online and it seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you choose to date online, police want you to keep the following security tips in mind so you don’t put more than your heart on the line:
• Never disclose personal information. • Never disclose credit card or banking information.• Do not provide your address under the guise of receiving gifts or flowers.• Should you decide to meet your online date in person, ensure your first meeting is in a public place and be sure to remain in a public place.• Make sure you tell a trusted friend or family member about your date, including who you are meeting, where and when. Be sure to check in with your friend after the meeting.• Stay sober and never leave your drink unattended.Whether you look for Mr. or Mrs. Right online is entirely a personal decision, and an increasingly popular option for many. HRM Partners in Policing hope these tips help you avoid finding Mr. or Mrs. Wrong.