Relationship or romance fraud: how to prevent becoming a victim

Supported By:

Net Patrol International Inc.  Data Investigation and Forensic Services
Bankruptcy and Insolvency Trustees

Cases concerning escort frauds, workplace extortions, and internet-relationship fraud are called ‘Relationship’ or ‘Romance Frauds’. It is a term for frauds perpetrated in the relationship context. Scammers in these fraud cases are masters of manipulation, tricking you into giving away your love, your money and even your whole life.

For example the case where an escort convinces a disabled man she loves him. The fraudster is very charming. She gets the vulnerable victim to believe she carries his baby and that she wants to marry him. He provides her with more than 800,000 dollars during their involvement of almost a year. 

“Over time the escort came to learn that the disabled man was the beneficiary of an inheritance. She advised him that she came from an abusive past and wanted to leave the escort industry.” – Norman J. Groot, fraud recovery lawyer

But a day before their wedding, the escort’s sister informs him that his fiancé had died in a car accident. The alleged death turned out to be part of a scheme. The escort and her drug dealer boyfriend used the disabled man’s money to pay for their own wedding, and to purchase ocean front property in Jamaica.

“A jury convicted the escort and she received a 4 ½ year prison sentence. A warrant remains outstanding for her Jamaican drug dealer husband.” – Norman J. Groot, fraud recovery lawyer

Romance frauds are the most lucrative scam in Canada. In four years time, Canadians have reported losses of almost $50 million to authorities. That probably is only a small percentage of victims that tell what has happened to them. Increasingly people become a victim of internet-relationship fraud: anonymous scammers getting strangers to pay them by cyber extortion and blackmailing.

There is an American organization, LoveFraud, which has been operating for some time by providing assistance to victims of relationship frauds. How should you avoid being a victim of relationship fraud?

  1. Never post details about yourself on public websites, such as your full name, date of birth, addresses, etc.
  2. Do not respond to requests to send money from someone you do not know or trust.
  3. Report people that ask for financial details and trust your instincts.

To learn more about these frauds, check out our ‘Relationship fraud’-page.