Love hurts: Alleged ‘romance scam’ costs Norfolk resident more than $200,000

An online relationship left a Norfolk County resident in tears — and out a lot of money — in what police are calling a “romance scam.”

Police said the victim met the alleged scammer online in November 2021. Over the course of several emails and phone calls, their relationship deepened to the point that the scammer convinced the victim to send money to help with several “emergencies.”

By the time the victim went to police on Monday to report what was happening, they had transferred more than $200,000 to the scammer.

The fraud was sophisticated, said Norfolk County OPP Const. Ed Sanchuk, in that the scammer presented information about their background and employment history to add credibility to their story and convince the victim to buy into the fraud.

“Knowledge is power,” Sanchuk said, urging residents not to give out personal information, including financial details, to strangers over the phone or internet, especially on dating websites.

Before committing any time or money to what could be a scam, get advice from trusted friends and family, he added.

“It’s not always easy to spot scams, and new ones are invented every day,” Sanchuk said, directing residents to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to learn how to recognize potential scams and avoid falling victim.

J.P. Antonacci, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator