Toronto widow loses home and life savings to fraud, Crime-prevention advice provided
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 11:14 AM
Financial Crimes: 416-808-7300
Toronto Police Service Financial Crimes is currently investigating a case involving a Toronto widow who was defrauded of her life savings and possessions.
The victim, a former City of Toronto employee, was initially defrauded of approximately $40,000 through a romance scam, in which the fraud suspect(s) used the internet to develop an apparent long-term relationship with the victim and were able to convince her to assist them with a series of falsified financial issues. In this case, the suspect(s) were also able to convince the victim to sell her condominium and use the proceeds of the sale in pursuit of an alleged court-ordered "compensation" of $22 million, issued by the Nigerian courts.
Using the assumed identities of real persons employed by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United Nations, the suspect(s) convinced the victim that she could claim a court award if she sent money to them to cover various fees, taxes and bribes of local officials in Nigeria. The scheme was a complex and lengthy one, involving fake news releases confirming the award and taking place over a period of seven years. In pursuit of her alleged "compensation," the victim was ultimately defrauded of an additional $400,000.
TPS Financial Crimes is reminding members of the public to be extremely cautious when communicating over the internet with strangers, particularly when being solicited for money, regardless of how sincere the request may seem.
If you believe you have been victimized through fraud, contact your local police service to report it. Members of the public are reminded that legitimate law enforcement rarely contacts individuals through social media or the internet and never solicits any kind of payment of fees for services rendered.
TPS Financial Crimes wishes to remind people of the resources available to them to help identify fraud scams. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is available for victims or persons targeted by Fraudsters to report the incident online or by phone at 1-888-495-8501. Victims of fraud should also report the incident to their local police service.
Anyone with information, questions or concerns is asked to contact Detective Alan Spratt of Toronto Police Financial Crimes-Mass Marketing Section at 416-808-7300, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-TIPS (8477), online at www.222tips.com, or text TOR and your message to CRIMES (274637). Download the free Crime Stoppers Mobile App on iTunes, Google Play or Blackberry App World.
Please download the Toronto Police Service Mobile App for iOS or Android.
For more news, visit TPSnews.ca.
Constable Jenifferjit Sidhu, Corporate Communications, for Detective Sergeant Ian Nichol, Financial Crimes