Nanaimo senior loses nearly $100K in online dating scam

Police are warning online love-seekers to be careful after a Nanaimo, B.C., senior lost almost $100,000 in an online dating scam.

RCMP say woman met a man online who claimed to be a civil engineer working in China

Police say a woman in Nanaimo, B.C., lost almost $100,000 in an online dating scam.

Police are warning online love-seekers to be careful after a Nanaimo, B.C., senior lost almost $100,000 in an online dating scam.

Nanaimo RCMP say the woman met a man calling himself Jonathan Lucron in late 2016 on Match.com, an online dating site, while looking for companionship in the wake of her husband's death.

Const. Gary O'Brien said the man claimed to be a civil engineer working in China and started telling the woman he needed money for various reasons.

"She didn't hesitate, because she thought she had found someone to share her last years with," O'Brien said.

"She sent thousands of dollars to various accounts, wired them across the globe."

Eventually, Lucron told the woman he would be travelling to a nearby city to propose to her on New Year's Eve. O'Brien said that when he never showed up, the woman realized she had been scammed and contacted police.

Senior women frequently targeted

O'Brien said scams like this are common and scammers frequently target older single women, who tend to be less experienced with computers and the internet.

"If you do a simple Google search and you punch in 'dating scam', the civil engineer scam will come up hundreds of times," O'Brien said.

Police are protecting the identity of the woman, but O'Brien said she is between the age of 65 and 75.

O'Brien said police have been unable to find Lucron, but even if they do, he said cases like this are almost impossible to prosecute, as the woman gave Lucron the money willingly.

O'Brien advised online daters to be aware of the potential for scams, especially if someone you've never met in person starts asking for money.

"In 99 per cent of the cases, it will be an absolute fraud, and you should delete and stop having any contact with that person," he said.

With files from Farrah Merali.

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