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And the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre thinks only a small percentage of victims tell anyone what’s happened to them.
Behind the flowery words and promises of love, an investigation by CTV’s W5 and the Star has discovered, are criminal gangs, many in West Africa, running dozens of cons at once.“What we’re dealing with is organized crime,” says Daniel Williams of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. For the one person that contacts us about it, there are 15 who have not, and 30 who will be scammed in future.”This is how it works: A man or woman — both are at risk — signs on to a dating website. study, “at a very early stage the scammer declares their love for the victim,” and asks that they move off the dating website and onto another form of communication, such as instant messenger or private email. According to the University of Leicester study, and interviews with experts here in Canada, there are commonalities.
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.
“They want to know who you’re looking for because that’s who they become.”Then comes the ask.
“Some are asking for money within two weeks,” Williams says.
“Some wait nine months before making their approach.” Why?
“Because they have hundreds, if not thousands, of people on the go.
Ellen was retired, living a comfortable life in a nice home in British Columbia.