Richmond RCMP warns of escalating online romance and investment scams

Richmond, Public Alert

2024-03-26 09:15 PDT

Richmond RCMP is alerting the public to a significant rise in sophisticated online scams, combining romance and investment schemes to defraud residents of millions. These scams, often involving cryptocurrencies, have already cost Richmond residents over $16.64 million in reported losses since 2023.

In 2023, Richmond RCMP’s Economic Crime Unit, part of Richmond Organized Crime Unit, received 87 reports of such scams, with victims reporting total losses of approximately $16.17 million. The trend continues in 2024, with 12 reported cases from January to March alone, amounting to losses of $477,820. Due to the nature of these scams, it is believed that the actual number of victims may be higher, as cases may go unreported due to embarrassment or fear.

These long con scams involve perpetrators grooming victims over weeks or months. Victims are lured through dating websites, social media, and even text messages, often under the guise of a mistaken identity. Over time, scammers, using fake yet compelling profiles, build a relationship with their targets, eventually convincing them to invest in fraudulent opportunities.

This method, commonly referred to as pig butchering, sees victims being fattened with false promises of profit, only to be financially slaughtered when they are left with nothing. Scammers may show false returns on small initial investments to entice further spending, leading victims down a path of financial ruin.

Richmond RCMP urges residents to exercise caution online. Be skeptical of unsolicited contacts, especially from overly attractive profiles or strangers professing romantic interest. Never send money or share financial information with someone you’ve not met in person. Before making any investments, particularly in cryptocurrency, seek advice from trusted, independent sources.If you suspect you’ve been a victim of an online romance or investment scam:

  1. Preserve all communication and transaction records.
  2. Report the incident immediately to your bank, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, and Richmond RCMP at our non-emergency line: 604-278-1212.

Education and awareness are our best defences against these scams. For more information on how to protect yourself from online scams, please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.

Richmond RCMP is committed to the safety and security of our community. Together, we can combat these predatory scams and protect our community from significant financial harm.

Richmond RCMP warns of escalating online romance and investment scams

Released by

Cpl. Dennis Hwang
Media Relations Officer
Richmond RCMP
11411 No. 5 Road, Richmond, BC V7A 4E8
Office: 604-207-5189

Email: richmond_media@rcmp-grc.gc.ca
Website: richmond.rcmp.ca

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