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Because the victims believe they are in a real relationship, they haven’t just lost their money: they’ve also lost a boyfriend or girlfriend, and the future that person had promised them.

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And then she joined an online dating site, hoping to find some companionship.Instead of romance, Ellen says she lost her life savings, and more — over

And then she joined an online dating site, hoping to find some companionship.

Instead of romance, Ellen says she lost her life savings, and more — over $1.3 million — seemingly taken by an online scam where villains prey on people looking for their perfect partner. COMWhy your online lover might look like Stephen Harper Ellen’s is a story that is hard to believe, and even more difficult to comprehend.

Because they have so much money coming in, they can wait.”The reason for the request probably meshes with the story: their passport has been lost, or their child needs a doctor, or there’s some other emergency.

It can start with a few hundred dollars, or a thousand. “He said, ‘It’s not a game.’ And what was the excuse?

Sites like christianmingle.com, JDate, e-harmony and warn up front that you shouldn’t send anyone money, “especially overseas or by wire transfer,” and they ask for site users to report any approaches to them.

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And then she joined an online dating site, hoping to find some companionship.Instead of romance, Ellen says she lost her life savings, and more — over $1.3 million — seemingly taken by an online scam where villains prey on people looking for their perfect partner. COMWhy your online lover might look like Stephen Harper Ellen’s is a story that is hard to believe, and even more difficult to comprehend.Because they have so much money coming in, they can wait.”The reason for the request probably meshes with the story: their passport has been lost, or their child needs a doctor, or there’s some other emergency.It can start with a few hundred dollars, or a thousand. “He said, ‘It’s not a game.’ And what was the excuse?Sites like christianmingle.com, JDate, e-harmony and warn up front that you shouldn’t send anyone money, “especially overseas or by wire transfer,” and they ask for site users to report any approaches to them.

.3 million — seemingly taken by an online scam where villains prey on people looking for their perfect partner. COMWhy your online lover might look like Stephen Harper Ellen’s is a story that is hard to believe, and even more difficult to comprehend.Because they have so much money coming in, they can wait.”The reason for the request probably meshes with the story: their passport has been lost, or their child needs a doctor, or there’s some other emergency.It can start with a few hundred dollars, or a thousand. “He said, ‘It’s not a game.’ And what was the excuse?Sites like christianmingle.com, JDate, e-harmony and warn up front that you shouldn’t send anyone money, “especially overseas or by wire transfer,” and they ask for site users to report any approaches to them.

Asked for comment on the issue of romance scams, officials said in a statement that the company has “an extensive fraud management team comprised of certified fraud examiners, analysts and technologists who police all entry points for fraud” and reviews users who meet a “basic threshold of risk.”“Although we take extensive safety and security measures with activity that happens on our site and we respond immediately when we are alerted of issues, we are not capable of policing what happens once our members move beyond our features and begin exchanging information or meeting in person,” the statement says.

People familiar with romance frauds say that it’s generally not one person running a scam — so someone like “Dave” was probably several different people.

(“When we hear consumers say, ‘he’ or ‘she,’ we say it’s not a man. “It’s a dozen people working the keyboard.”)Many romance frauds end before the losses run as high as Ellen says hers was, but that doesn’t mean they are less significant, and not just in financial terms.

And the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre thinks only a small percentage of victims tell anyone what’s happened to them.

Behind the flowery words and promises of love, an investigation by CTV’s W5 and the Star has discovered, are criminal gangs, many in West Africa, running dozens of cons at once.“What we’re dealing with is organized crime,” says Daniel Williams of the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. For the one person that contacts us about it, there are 15 who have not, and 30 who will be scammed in future.”This is how it works: A man or woman — both are at risk — signs on to a dating website. study, “at a very early stage the scammer declares their love for the victim,” and asks that they move off the dating website and onto another form of communication, such as instant messenger or private email. According to the University of Leicester study, and interviews with experts here in Canada, there are commonalities.

How could a mature, self-sufficient woman send such a huge sum of money to someone she never even met?