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EPS is highlighting the risks of finding love online



The victim of an online romance scam is sharing his story in hopes of preventing more people from being taken advantage of by scammers. Online romance scams are a lucrative business- in 2018, the Edmonton Police Service investigated 11 incidents of romance scams totaling an overall reported loss of $1,115,219.74.

Con was in the hospital when he received a message from a woman who said she had seen his dating profile. He was happy to have the company while he was confined to the hospital bed – even if it was just over the phone.


       Sample of images sent to portray the woman’s online profile

She said she was a United States citizen on an overseas contract as a computer civil engineer. She was a single mom; her son was nine-years-old. Eventually, she would say that she “fell in love with a guy from the internet”.

Months into their chats, the requests for money began; she said the camera on her phone was broken but she couldn’t afford to fix it, so she needed $600 to replace it. Con denied her request so she stopped contacting him, but months passed and they started talking again. She asked him for money once again, telling him she was relying on him to get her and her son to the States. So he gave what he could towards a new phone- $100. It wasn’t enough, so she stopped talking to him.

Nearly a year later, she asked him if he still loved her; the continued to talk for a couple of weeks and then she told him she was laid off and needed help. He told her to go to the U.S. Embassy for help, but she admitted that it was an illegal work contract. She needed to get home, but she didn’t have enough; she was a mere $1500 short.

The next day, ticket prices went up. He paid the difference. And then her son was diagnosed with malaria. Shortly after, they were in a collision and had hospital bills – she even sent x-rays. But she had money back home; she just needed help paying the hospital bills in order to be released from the hospital. Once she got home she would be able to pay him back. She even “proved” her financial state by sending a picture of her bank accounts in the U.S.A; she just couldn’t access them while overseas.

Sadly, Con’s dream of having a family was used against him by fraudsters. When one of his banks interfered and the Edmonton Police Service investigated his case, this romance scam came to $143,000.

When asked why he sent the money, he pauses… “Hope that it would be real. Having her and her kid. Money isn’t important. This is; having someone else in the house besides me.”


Protect Yourself 

It is important to remember that romance scammers do this for a living – it’s their job and it can be very profitable.

“It’s absolutely heartbreaking that these scammers are taking someone’s desire for happiness and using it against them,” Detective Linda Herczeg stated. “They commit all of their time into these scams because it’s their job and it’s lucrative.”

Websites and apps are constantly used for matchmaking, friendship building, and networking, but users should be aware of the potential risks.

Signs that a social media or dating profile user is a scammer

  • They ask you for money.
  • They profile you and tell you everything you want to hear.
  • They will find out what you are looking for in a relationship and create events that will play on your emotional to get you to send money – sick children, airline tickets to come be with you/marry you so you can be a family.
  • They groom you for as long as it takes (days, months, years) to get your money by being very attentive, lavishing you with attention, compliments and tell you that they love you. Usually they profess their love early in the relationship.
  • They are always available because it is usually a group of individuals that are sending you messages, working off a script.
  • The images of your “loved one” will be stolen off the internet.
  • Your “loved one” will rarely have a voice conversation with you or have a live conversation via FaceTime or Skype.
  • Your “loved one” will always have an excuse why they cannot meet you.
  • They will always find a reason for you to send them more money.


You can find more information on online scams and online dating safety tips on the EPS website.

The EPS reminds citizens that fraud prevention is continuous – we need to recognize it through continual education, report it, and stop it. We ask that you share this information with those in your life who may be a target for romance scams.

If you are a victim of any fraud, please contact the EPS at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile device.

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Police release composite sketch of suspect in groping incident




June 14, 2019

The Edmonton Police Service is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a male suspect in a groping incident.

On May 29, 2019 at approximately 10:25 a.m., a female in her 20s was standing on the side of the road at 162 Avenue and 131 Street when an unknown male approached her from behind, groped her and subsequently fled the scene in a 2013-2015 blue Honda Civic LX sedan.

The suspect is described as a male with light brown skin tone, approximately 5’8” with a stocky build. He was reportedly wearing a blue, short sleeved, collared shirt with dark blue jeans at the time of the assault.  

Police are releasing a composite sketch of the suspect in hopes that it will generate tips that will lead to his identity.

Anyone with information regarding the identity of the male is asked to contact the EPS at 780-423-4567or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online at

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Woman charged after lengthy series of B&Es into seniors’ residences




June 13, 2019

Downtown Division Special Projects Team has charged a woman in connection with a series of break and enters into seniors’ assisted living residences since October 2018.

Between October 2018 and May 2019, a total of 22 break and enter incidents targeting seniors’ living residences in Downtown Division, committed by a lone female suspect.  

During all the offences the suspect entered the residence unnoticed and would walk from floor to floor looking for unlocked suite doors to enter and would then proceed to steal valuables.

“The vast majority of the incidents occurred while residents were inside their suites,” says Const. Justin Miller, of Downtown Special Projects Team. “On one occasion a male complainant tried to physically prevent the accused from leaving his suite, knowing that she just stole from him, but the accused got away.  It’s fortunate he was unhurt.”

In another incident, the suspect was found inside the suite by the complainant and reportedly solicited a sexual act to distract him while she allegedly stole his wallet. In other instances, the suspect offered to help a complainant with her groceries, or posed as a new housekeeper.

Investigators were able to identify the suspect on May 9, 2019 and made an arrest on May 15, 2019.

Cynthia Verna Louise Hamelin, 48, has been charged with housebreaking and commit theft (x8), housebreaking with intent, theft of motor vehicle, theft under $5,000, housebreaking and commit threats, fraud under $5,000 (property), use of a stolen credit card, and possess stolen property under $5,000.

“The harsh reality is that seniors are being treated as easy targets,” says Const. Miller.  “Through my investigation I learned that the majority of the tenants left their suite doors unlocked, allowing for easy access. We want to remind residents to protect themselves by keeping their rooms secured and doors locked at all times.”

Additional charges are pending against the accused from another seven break-and-enter incidents. Investigators also believe there could be more complainants and are encouraging them to come forward by calling EPS at 780-423-4567.

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