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A woman residing in Nanaimo was ready to quit her job and move to Florida with the man of her dreams before realizing she had been caught in an online romance scam that cost her 15 thousand dollars.
According to Kamloops RCMP, it all began when 67-year-old Mary (not her real name) received a Facebook message in January 2017 from a male who went by the name of Kevin Rand.
Rand told Mary that he was a high-ranking officer in the United States Armed Forces stationed in Turkey.
As time went on, their conversations over Facebook and email became increasingly personal. Within two months time, Rand had begun to profess his love for Mary and eventually asked her to marry him. Mary said she felt the same way towards him and soon they began to make plans to move to Homestead Florida following his return from Turkey.
However, events took a turn for the worst in April when Mary received an email from Rand containing bad news. In the email, Rand said a friend’s wife needed emergency surgery and he asked Mary if she could help pay for the operation. Mary quickly went to her local chartered bank and withdrew what she could and wired it to Rand.
But it didn’t stop there. Rand then upped the ante and told Mary that he had recently purchased gold but it was tied up in customs. To have it released, Rand was required to pay thousands of dollars in taxes. Rand told Mary that, once the taxes on the gold were paid, he would sell it and the money would be used to help relocate to Florida. Without hesitation, Mary wired more money to Rand.
Days after the transaction, Kevin Rand disappeared from her Facebook friends list.
“He said he loved me and wanted to marry me. Why wouldn't I send him money,” said Mary.
According to the Nanaimo RCMP, online romance scams of this sort are common and have been carried out hundreds of other times worldwide. On this occasion, the scam resulted in not only heartbreak but also Mary now having to work longer than expected to make up for the lost money.
“This didn't have to happen. Mary was planning on retiring soon but realizes now she will need to continue working to recoup from her financial loss,” said Constable Gary O'Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP.
The RCMP is reminding people to do their homework and research whenever a stranger messages them asking for something - whether it be a relationship or money.
A simple google search would have revealed the Kevin Rand she was in contact with to be a fake person.
For information on how to detect romance scams and other frauds, click here