How does a romance scam happen?

A fraudster creates a fake social media or online dating profile and reaches out to you. They develop a relationship with you solely through online communication and always avoid meeting face to face. The fraudster shares invented tales of hardship, such as needing life-saving surgery or having legal troubles, and they'll ask you for money to help them. After they receive your money, the fraudster will either continue creating stories for more money or will cut off all contact with you.

Signs of a romance scam

  • The fraudster tends to communicate in a very reassuring manner to get you to trust them
  • The fraudster quickly professes their love for you and avoids face-to-face interactions
  • Their online profile is a new account that lacks much of an online presence
  • The fraudster claims they need financial assistance for emergency situations
  • You may be called by the wrong name, as the fraudster interacts with several targets at the same time

Stay safe with our tips

  • Don't feel pressured or rushed to send money to someone you've met online. Only send money to people you’re familiar with and have met in person.
  • Never share your personal or financial information with anyone, especially online. Fraudsters will try to get this data to get money. 
  • When developing a connection with people online, investigate their profiles and online presence to find out if they're who they claim to be.
  • Search Google Images to see if their profile picture appears on the internet under another name.

Explore more about romance scams

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre Opens in a new window.

Report fraud when it happens and track the latest data on fraud happening in Canada. 

The Little Black Book of Scams Opens in a new window.

Download the Canadian Competition Bureau's guide to scams in 8 different languages.

Canadian Bankers Association Opens in a new window.

Read about the latest news and trends in fraud awareness and prevention.