Like a romance novel gone wrong, one of the latest scams in Salmon Arm involves love, money and fraud.
Salmon Arm RCMP are warning residents of a scam that begins with a phone call, an email or a contact on a dating site.
The scammer strikes up a relationship and builds trust with the intended victim.
At some point, the scammer begins to ask for money. Sometimes the first transfer is small, sometimes the amounts gradually grow larger. But not always. Police say the story can change from person to person and call to call.
In some cases, the scammer convinces the victim that he or she needs money to travel to Canada to marry the victim. Sometimes the money is purported to be needed to get the scammer out of some kind of legal trouble, sometimes it’s to address a medical issue.
The scams can take months to develop and the victim often has no idea they are being scammed. In some cases, the victim will not believe the police because the scammer has convinced them that he loves them.
Police report the scams have been on the rise as the pandemic has forced everyone inside their homes. People who may be lonely or vulnerable are at a higher risk of falling prey to the smooth-talking scammer who is willing to listen and make them feel loved.
“In times like these we urge everyone to reach out to family and friends in a safe way and make sure everyone has contact and does not feel alone,” emphasized Salmon Arm RCMP in a news release.
Police offer the following tips.
• Do research, check facts and do not send money out of feelings of guilt, love or fear to people you have not personally met.
• If someone you trust is telling you that they think you are being scammed but you don’t believe them, then call the local police. Don’t live in denial.
• Stop sending money, gift cards, cheques or Bitcoin. Believe your friends, family and the local police.