Vernon (October 15, 2019) – Crime Stoppers Central Okanagan issued a warning on October 10 against a romance scam in British Columbia impersonating Avengers Star Jeremy Renner. The online romance scammer approaches women on social media sites with fraudulent accounts asking for money. The scheme is going on for more than two years. The Hollywood actor informed his followers on his official account about the scam using his name and advises them to be alert.
The romance fraud impersonating the Avengers star Jeremy Renner on social media struck in British Columbia. On October 10, Crime Stoppers Central Okanagan warned against the online scam using fake social media profiles of the famous actor.
The scammers set up phony social media profiles, with which they targeted women who are following the Hollywood star. With these fraudulent profiles, they contact women claiming this would be Renner’s private account and try to sweet-talk them into sending money. The scammers used various narratives. Crime Stoppers explained in their statement that the scammers posing as Renner would ‘made promises to come to the victims [sic] location and meet up with them but of course there is a hitch.’
After the fraudster had held out the prospect of meeting the victim, they asked for money using multiple excuses such as they need funds for airfare or passport fees, etc. The actor and Oscar-nominee is talked about as having a net worth of US$50 million, which makes the claim sound ridiculous. However, the scam is not new. Renner has already warned his followers on his Instagram account against this scam on September 18, 2017.
According to the statistics of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), 760 victims in Canada lost more than $22.5 million in connection with romance fraud in 2018. The Centre defines romance scams as ‘any individual with false romantic intentions toward a victim in order to gain their trust and affection for the purpose of obtaining the victim’s money or access to their bank accounts or credit cards. In some cases the suspect will even attempt to get the victim to commit fraud on their behalf, as a money mule (accepting, then transferring money or goods) often unknowingly. Most romance scams begin via social media sites or online dating sites.’
The CAFC recommends to be suspicious and wary when meeting an individual on social media and ‘[n]ever under any circumstance send money for any reason. The scammer will make it seem like an emergency, they may even express distress or anger to make you feel guilty but DO NOT send money.’
Anyone who thinks that they have been a victim of romance fraud, the CAFC recommends filing a report at 1-888-495-8501 or online www.antifraudcentre.ca. Furthermore, victims are encouraged to notify the dating website or social media site where they met the scammer. Scammers usually have more than one account.
Marina Burghard writes for Canadian Fraud News about fraud-related cases, whistleblower, jurisdiction, identity theft, consumer protection, etc. – essentially about scams and how to protect yourself against this kind of fraudulent criminal behavior. She holds a Master’s degree in Political Science where her interest in criminology grew. Besides fraud, Marina’s scientific interest lies in terrorism, extremism and how to deal with it as a society.