Montreal

Victims of Quebec dating scam cheated out of $2.3M, police say

Police say the scammers, alleged to have international ties, were targeting vulnerable people — many of them seniors —  through dating sites and social media. 

Investigators allege scammers made 'the victim fall in love with them,' then took their money

The scammers were able to manipulate and steal more than $2.3 million from about 50 victims in the Montreal, Quebec City and Outaouais regions, according to the Sûreté du Québec. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Quebec provincial police have targeted more than a dozen people in connection with a dating scam they say has been operating in the province for several years. 

Police say the scammers, alleged to have international ties, were targeting vulnerable people — many of them seniors —  through dating sites and social media. 

They were able to manipulate and steal more than $2.3 million from about 50 victims in the Montreal, Quebec City, and Outaouais regions, according to the Sûreté du Québec.

"They make the victim fall in love with them, so they have a relationship — a false relationship," said SQ spokesperson Catherine Bernard.

Then, she said, they would ask victims to send money for various false reasons, such as needing to come back to Canada, or because they are sick. 

Nine arrests were made on Tuesday, and three of the accused appeared in the Quebec City courthouse by video conference to face fraud-related charges. Police say they will meet with six other suspects in relation to fraud. 

Police are also targeting individuals in the Ivory Coast in connection with the case.

The first victim made a police complaint at some point in 2019.

Anyone who may have been a victim in the case is asked to contact their local police station.

The investigation was carried out in collaboration with Revenu Québec, the Canada Revenue Agency, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada and Ivory Coast police authorities. 

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