OPP: victim extorted over lewd photos as part of ‘romance scam’

FERGUS – Police are again reminding residents not to send money to people they meet online after a resident here was extorted of over $5,000 in a so-called “romance scam.”

On Oct. 15 Wellington County OPP officers received a report of fraud and extortion from a Fergus victim.

“The victim met the suspect online in April 2020 and the two developed a rapport,” police stated in a an Oct. 16 press release.

“The suspect gained the trust of the victim and later threatened to post intimate images of the victim online unless they sent him money.

“The victim sent cash transfers as well as gift cards to the suspect before contacting police.”

Police are offering the following advice to avoid such scams:

  • fraudsters want to develop a quick relationship; be suspicious when someone you have not met professes their love for you;
  • be wary when someone claims to be involved in a lucrative business but needs to borrow money for bills and expenses;
  • be cautious when chatting to an individual who claims to live close but works overseas;
  • do not cash any cheques or send the person any money for any reason whatsoever;
  • carefully consider who you’re sharing explicit videos and photographs with and do not perform explicit acts online; and
  • disable webcams or any camera connected to the internet when not in use, as hackers can get remote access and record you.

Anyone with any information about the above incident can contact the Wellington County OPP at 1-888-310-1122.

To remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or submit a tip on-line at www.csgw.tips. Tip providers may be eligible for a reward from Crime Stoppers of up to $2,000.

Victims of fraud can report it online to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre http://www.antifraudcentre.ca (or call 1-888-495-8501) or contact the OPP (1-888-310-1122).