It may seem too good to be true, and it just might be. The OPP is warning romantics in Muskoka who are looking for love online to be careful who they connect with.

During the month of March, officials are joining police forces Canada-wide to help prevent people becoming victims of fraud.

Referred to as the “Romance Scam” by the OPP, criminals are targeting single, recently widowed or separated people through social media, dating-related ‘meet’ websites, or through e-mail. According to officials, the Romance Scam has cost tens of thousands of dollars for victims before the ‘relationship’ suddenly ends, usually without ever meeting in person. It’s being said by the OPP that seniors are at the highest risk to be scammed.

Romance scams have been reported to cause financial loss and emotional embarrassment.  The OPP is saying because people are ashamed of their decision to give money to their newfound companion, victims tend to never report such an incident to police.

Here are a few things the OPP is reminding you to be mindful of when seeking relationships online:

  • First, ask yourself – ‘Would someone I have never met, really declare their love for me after only a few letters or emails?’ If the answer is no, report it to police.
  • Don’t give out any personal information in an email or when you are chatting online. Educate yourself. Check the person’s name, the company name, and the addresses used.
  • Never send money, or give personal credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust. A request to send money to a foreign country or to someone you have never personally met should be a red flag.
  • Check website addresses carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with addresses that are very similar to legitimate dating websites.

It was reported that the Romance Scam generated 352 complaints and caused 250 victims to lose $6.2 million in Ontario alone in 2017.