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One of the techniques Polowek has identified is something she calls “love bombing” where victims are smothered with displays of affection, charm and flattery.
And the scammers carefully tailor their e-mails to play to the victims’ values and interests.
Although they never met in person, Rosanna and Marc e-mailed and spoke on the phone for months.
Marc said he was planning to move to Hamilton, Ontario from Florida and he wanted Rosanna to be part of his new life in Canada.
“Well the fact of the matter is that it didn’t matter what I said, by way of obstruction or, or refusal, he worked his way around.
And in the end, I was going to the bank and sending him the money” she said. But money transfer documents provided to W5, eventually showed hundreds of thousands of dollars being sent to Singapore, England, Spain and, eventually, Nigeria.
“I was mortified.” Rosanna told W5’s Sandie Rinaldo. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, romance fraud is the number one scam in Canada in terms of dollars lost.What followed was an elaborate scheme that saw her send fraudsters more than one million dollars. “First of all he said he was a one woman man and he wanted me to stop communications on Match.com, but go to his e-mail,” recalled Ellen in an interview with W5.Ellen planned to meet her friend in Los Angeles but within 24-hours of her booking a ticket, Dave responded that he was busy and couldn’t make the meeting. He was expecting a large inheritance but needed help and Ellen, believing she would eventually be repaid, began sending it.On the surface dating websites appear to be the answer.Anyone can go online, set up a profile and start surfing the web for someone interesting.