Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Watch Out For Dating Scam cost victims about $275,000 over the past three months

Police warn Edmonton women about dating scam
Richard Warnica
edmontonjournal.com

Dating scam
CREDIT: Ed Kaiser
Dating scam

EDMONTON - Edmonton police issued a warning Tuesday about an online dating scam that has cost local victims about $275,000 over the past three months.

The fraudsters pose online as successful American businessmen, said Det. Mark Johnson from the Edmonton Police Service Economic Crimes Section. They use fake profiles on dating websites to cultivate relationships with older, often divorced women whom they later pressure for money after claiming they have run into trouble while travelling in Nigeria or the United Kingdom.

"It appears to be the same group of scammers," Johnson said, adding there's little the EPS can do to crack down on them.

The fraudsters appear to be located in Nigeria, he said, and often use "patsies" to pick up their cash. Beyond contacting Interpol, which Edmonton police have already done, the only thing they can do is try to prevent other women from getting duped.

"I'm assuming they're targeting these women," Johnson said. "The people I've talked to are very trusting, honest people."

Johnson said the best advice is to never send money to someone you haven't met in person, under any circumstances.


© The Edmonton Journal 2009



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