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Crime

EPS is highlighting the risks of finding love online

Published

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.

Crime

Lac La Biche RCMP investigate armed robbery

Published

on

August 21, 2019

On Aug. 14, 2019 at approximately 11:50 p.m., Lac La Biche RCMP responded to a report of an armed robbery at the Pelican Hotel in Plamondon, Alberta.

Two suspect males entered the hotel with what was believed to be a firearm and demanded money. The suspects then fled in a truck with an undisclosed amount of money. No one was injured.

The male suspects are described as:

Suspect 1 – mask, grey and black hoodie, black pants, white shoes

Suspect 2 – white undershirt, black pants, sunglasses, black shoes, baseball hat, tattoo right forearm

The truck was later located abandoned in Calling Lake and was previously reported stolen from Vilna.

Lac La Biche RCMP are asking the public’s assistance in identifying the suspects in the attached photo’s.

Please contact Lac La Biche RCMP at 780-404-2500 or your local police if you have any information in relation to this incident or identifying those responsible. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS), online at www.P3Tips.com or by using the “P3 Tips” app available through the Apple App or Google Play Store.”

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Alberta

The old paving scam is back – don’t fall for it

Published

on

August 19, 2019

 

Alberta RCMP warns property owners of paving contractor scams

Edmonton—This summer, the Alberta RCMP has received reports of several incidents involving paving scams in Western Alberta. Travelling companies, posing as legitimate contractors, offer paving or sometimes roof sealing services typically to senior citizens in rural communities. These individuals have been known to provide few details of their identity and utilize non-descript vehicles rarely bearing commercial logos.

The Alberta RCMP urges property owners to beware of out-of-town companies offering such services. The contractors claim to have leftover asphalt from previous jobs and promise to provide quality services. However, the product used is believed to be cold, recycled asphalt or a gravel and oil mixture with no lasting properties. This results in the asphalt falling apart once it is driven on. By that time, these fraudsters are long gone, disappearing with their payment before the customer realizes they have been scammed.

We would like to remind residents to exercise caution when retaining contractor services and if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.

Residents should be weary of any contractors who:

  • Come to your door saying they are working in the area offering a deal for leftover asphalt
  • Drive vehicles bearing no business names or logos
  • Pressure you into making a quick decision or refuse to take “no” for an answer
  • Ask for a down payment to buy materials
  • Refuse to give you a written quote with their business name, physical address and outlining the services they will provide prior to completing the work

Here a few tips to avoid falling prey to scammers:

  • Before agreeing to contract a person who comes to your door, get names of their previous customers and verify that they were satisfied with the work
  • Do some research on the company with either the Better Business Bureau in Alberta, with the Consumer Investigations Unit, with your local Rural Crime Watch or on social media site
  • Make sure to obtain a written quote from the contractor that includes the full business name, full address, phone number, GST number and provincial and municipal license numbers, if applicable
  • Ensure the quote you receive gives details such as the quantity and specifies the quality of materials being offered
  • Obtain quotes from local supplier as a form of comparison

The Alberta RCMP is working with the Alberta Consumer Investigation Unit (CIU) to counter this trend. If you or anyone you know have any information on these companies, please contact the Consumer Investigations Unit – North (north of Ponoka) at 587-985-4735 or the Consumer Investigations Unit – South (south of Ponoka) at 403-803-8229.

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