Here are common In Person Scams. They can also happen in other ways (such as over the Internet).
Romance or Catfishing
How it Happens: This is the most profitable scam and it can happen online or in person. It happens when you meet someone online and they claim to fall in love with you. In the United States in 2018, people reported losing $143 million to romance scams — a higher total than for any other type of scam reported to the FTC. The median reported loss was $2,600, and, for people over 70, it was $10,000.
Signs your romantic interest is really a scammer include:
- They get in some kind of trouble and need you to send them money. Often this happens more than once
- Their photo looks like it may be a stock photo
- They don’t live in the same country as you
W5 produced a series about the ‘Big Business of Romance Fraud’, which you can watch, HERE
Investment Scams and Pyramid Schemes
How it Happens: You are told about an investment opportunity that offers a great return on a short term investment. Or you are offered a chance to pay to join a money making venture. You make money by getting other people to join the venture. This latter is called a pyramid scheme and it is illegal in Canada. There are many legitimate opportunities where you can invest money. The RCMP suggests the following tips to prevent investment scams:
If you are feeling pressured to join an investment opportunity at a business meeting, it is likely a scam. Remember pressure and threats are a common factor in scams.
Do your homework, check with the Ontario Securities Commission to find out about your investment advisor.
Be cautious if you are being asked to wire a large amount of money to another country.
If the opportunity sounds too good to be true with a higher return than normal it is likely a scam.