Police alert public about romance, sextortion, job scams after reports: SSP

News release – South Simcoe Police Service

The South Simcoe Police Service is sharing the following fraud alerts after receiving reports of these scams circulating in our communities.

Romance Scam

A woman foiled a romance scammer by calling police instead of handing over cash after talking to a man through an online dating app. The suspect claimed to be out of the country on business and asked the woman to receive a delivery on his behalf. She agreed but when the “shipping company” demanded thousands of dollars in fees to release the package from customs, she confronted the suspect and contacted the police. No money was lost. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre says to look out for these red flags and be suspicious:

  • when someone you haven’t met in person professes their love to you
  • if the person wants to quickly move to a private or different mode of communication (email, text, Whatsapp, Google Hangouts etc.)
  • if they always have an excuse not to meet in person
  • if you receive poorly/oddly written messages, sometimes even addressing you by the wrong name
  • if the individual claims to live close to you but is working overseas
  • if they act distressed or angry to guilt you into sending money
  • if the individual discourages you from discussing them or their situation with your friends and family (attempting to isolate you from those who may be suspicious of the relationship

Sextortion Scam

A man lost several hundred dollars after falling victim to a sextortion scam. Financial sextortion is a form of blackmail that involves someone online threatening to send a sexual image or video of you to other people if you do not pay them.

It is a crime where anyone, including children, can be victimized through their phones, gaming consoles and computers. Cybertip.ca currently receives an average of 50 sextortion reports per week. If someone is threatening to share your nude image or video, there is help and steps that you can take according to Cybertip:

  • Stop all communication with the offender
  • Contact police, and in the case of young victims, reach out to a trusted adult, and report to cybertip.ca. You won’t be in trouble with law enforcement and you are not the one to blame in this situation. By reporting it, you can help to make it stop
  • Do not comply with any threats.  Do not send money or more images
  • Deactivate, but do not delete your social media account or images
  • Save a copy of any images you sent, and take screenshots of the messages and the person’s profile including username
  • Trust your instincts, practice caution when communicating online
  • Never share intimate photos online

Job Scam

A woman lost hundreds of dollars after responding to an online job ad for a virtual assistant. She went through an interview process and was accepted for the role. After starting with the company, the victim was sent a cheque to deposit in her account and asked to purchase Apple gift cards. She sent the cards to the employer and then was asked to repeat the purchase after receiving another cheque. The victim contacted the bank and learned the cheques were counterfeit.

Scammers target and take advantage of people looking for a job. Police are making the public aware of the risks and are urging job seekers to research potential employers. Please remember that any request to buy gift cards is a red flag.

Banner image – file photo – Barrie 360