Published online at GlobalTVEdmonton.com on January 12, 2011.
Linda Hoang, Global News: Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Scammers stealing hearts and cash
It’s taking online dating to a whole new level and it’s another addition to the growing list of online romance scams.
People are stealing the names and photos of real soldiers and using them to lure women into sending cash.
The scammer connects with an unsuspecting woman on Internet dating websites, sweet talking for weeks before asking if the woman can help him apply for leave.
That includes filling out fake documents and paying thousands of dollars in fees.
Which is something an Edmonton woman started doing, before realizing her romance was a lie.
But she’s not alone. The “Sympathetic Soldier” scheme is so common that the U.S. Army even issued a public warning last year.
“The suspects will actually target people who are vulnerable so maybe someone whose recently divorced or widowed, they may be lonely,” said Patrycia Thenu with the Edmonton Police Service. “People have lost thousands of dollars.”
Police are warning women to be aware of this romance scam and to never wire money.