‘Romance scam’ leaves Simcoe resident out more than $400,000

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Love hurt a Simcoe resident to the tune of more than $400,000 in what police are calling a “romance scam.”

According to Norfolk County OPP, the victim met the alleged fraudster on Facebook in June 2022 and struck up an “online relationship.”

Over the next year and a half, the would-be romantic partner bled their victim for more than $400,000, mainly in the form of Apple gift cards.

The victim was compelled to make the payments by stories of personal emergencies and appeals for help with business ventures, police say.

That follows a classic pattern of romance scams, where the scammer makes a fake profile and established a trusting relationship with the victim before inventing reasons they need money immediately, while finding any excuse not to meet in person.

“It is disheartening to see the devastating impact on individuals in our community,” Const. Andrew Gamble told the Spectator in an email.

In this latest scam, the two spoke online and over the phone, but “direct contact was never established,” Gamble said.

“In the interest of preserving the investigation’s integrity, other details will not be disclosed,” he said.

Norfolk police opened a fraud investigation on Jan. 22, in collaboration with OPP Financial Crime Services and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, who can lend investigators their expertise on frauds of this nature, Gamble said.

Through police, the victim declined to be interviewed for this story.

“The impact of fraud is serious, affecting seniors, marginalized individuals, and everyone in between,” Gamble said.

“Remember, knowledge is power, and being prepared is key to prevention. Understanding various frauds and scams can go a long way in keeping our community resilient.”

This article was originally sourced from www.pentictonherald.ca