Police are warning the public to be vigilant while dating online, after receiving complaints over the past month about a possible fraud scam.
"Suspects target their victims by creating fake profiles on legitimate Internet dating sites," Hamilton Police Services said in a statement.
Posing as an amorous suitor, the suspects attempt to develop a romantic relationship with the victim. If successful, the fraudsters claim to be in urgent need of money and ask their love-struck victims to wire funds — with the (empty) promise that the loan would be paid back.
In instances when the victims couldn't wire the requested amount, the suspects asked for them to deposit a cheque and wire the money over. The cheques bounce, police said, and victims are left on the hook for the money.
"It's a public alert to tell men and women who are using these sites to be aware of this type of fraud," said police spokesperson Debbie McGreal.
She didn't say how many victims had come forward, nor the dating websites where the interactions took place.
"Right now, it's to make the public aware of anything going on," she said of the warning.
"We're still investigating on this point."