Toronto Star Tuesdays: When online dating, fall for love, not scams

This can be a lonely time of year for a lot of peopleespecially singles.

But no matter how badly you want to partner up, for those who use online dating sites to forge connections with potential mates, it’s important to give your head more credence than your heart. 

In other words: if the person you’re communicating with online seems too good to be true, they probably are.

In 2015, Canadians were bilked out of close to $17 million from online dating scammers. And those are just the reported scams.

Scammers attempt to earn the love and trust of their online targets before asking them to send money for seemingly legitimate reasons – a plane ticket or a family emergency, for example.

According to Borke Obada-Obieh, a graduate student in Computer Science at Carleton University studying security precautions taken by online daters, Canada is ranked the 7th country most susceptible to online dating scams. 

Desire to find an emotional connection with someone could make (dating site users) easily vulnerable to scamming,” she says.

We’re a nation of Eleanor Rigbys with money. This makes us sitting ducks to romance scammers.

According to Obada-Obieh’s findingsscammers reach out to people of all ages, but their targets seem to skew female.

Wende Wood, 47, has been approached by would-be online dating scammers at least five times. The Calgary-based woman lived in Toronto for 17 years. It was here where she was targeted by a man who claimed to be “Larry,” a Romanian-Canadian from Toronto who strung her along for nearly four months. 

Read the rest of the article here.