Scammers’ victims are not alone

Have you discovered that you’ve fallen for a scam?

And in retrospect, did the whole thing seem so obvious that you’re terribly embarrassed that you fell for it at all?

Indeed, you’re probably so embarrassed that you haven’t reported to police.

That’s what the scam artist is counting on: he or she is betting that, even if you figure out that you’ve been the victim of fraud, you’ll feel so downright stupid that you’ll let them get away with it… so they can go ahead and nail someone else.

The embarrassment card is especially effective in so-called "romance" scams.

And the RCMP note that, if you’ve been had, you’re not alone – far from it. In fact, you have more company than you probably realize… because of the embarrassment.

It all seems so harmless at first: a brief introduction between strangers, likely initiated via Facebook or through an online dating site. Communication begins. Frequency of messaging increases. Conversations are intense. Photos are shared. Feelings develop. A relationship forms… The ruses are deliberate, calculated money schemes created by experienced fraudsters to get as much money as possible, usually from lonely adults. These people know what they are doing.

The cultivation of a relationship can take months, often building through flowers and small gifts, before the hints begin that all is not well.

At some point, an imagined trust is established, and requests for money begin.

The lines go something like this: "I’m desperate… It’s just this once… I will pay you back."

It may be embarrassing to realize that you’ve been had… but it should be even more embarrassing to realize that you’re letting someone get away with it, and that you’ve effectively – if unwittingly – financed the fraudsters’ next project.

March is Fraud Prevention Month, and the RCMP want people to be wary – and to be aware that, the police are on their side and want to stop the victimization. Glacier Media