Norfolk Senior Loses Over $200,000 in Romance Scam

Police say a senior from Norfolk sent over $200,000 to someone they had met online dating over a two year period.

NORFOLK COUNTY - A senior citizen from Norfolk County has lost over $200,000 after falling victim to a romance scam. 

Police were contacted by an employee at a local bank about a fraud on Wednesday afternoon. It was determined that a client from the bank had been defrauded of approximately $200,000. The victim had sent the money to a person they had met online through a dating web site. While corresponding, several emails were exchanged with details of the suspect's history and employment status.

Through the course of this correspondence, a request for funds was made by the suspect after claiming that several emergencies occurred and requested to borrow money. Between July 2018, and January of 2020, the victim forwarded approximately $200,000.

Single or recently unattached people - often females - are among the growing number of vulnerable population to be victimized by criminals through fraudulent means. Usually this occurs through contact online via e-mail blasts, social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc…) or singles and dating-related 'meet' websites. Among the more prevalent schemes are money transfers via Romance or Dating Scams. In some cases, prolonged interaction with individuals has cost some victims tens/hundreds of thousands of dollars before the relationship ends - usually after the culprit gets what they want.

Always get independent advice - from family members, a trusted friend or advisor -- if any offers involve money, personal information, time or commitment.

Tips to Avoid Being a Victim of a Romance / Dating Scam

- Check website addresses carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with very similar addresses to legitimate dating websites. Make sure you only use legitimate and reputable dating websites.

- Never send money, or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust. A request to send money to a foreign country (using Western Union or MoneyGram) to this person you have never personally met should be a red flag.

- Don't give out any personal information in an email or when you are chatting online. Like any scam, use your computer to your advantage. Educate yourself. Check the person's name, the company name the addresses used, and ask yourself, "Would this be normal?"

- Ask yourself - "Would someone I have never met really declare their love for me after only a few letters or emails?"

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