OPP issue warning after two Norfolk County residents scammed out of almost $80K

(BlackburnNews.com file photo)

Provincial police in Norfolk County are reminding the public to be vigilant after two residents recently fell victim to online fraud.

According to the OPP, two people lost nearly $80,000 combined and both incidents were reported to police on Saturday.

In the first case, investigators say the victim received misleading investment advice from a Facebook friend. As a result, the victim ended up sending around $41,000 in Bitcoin, American Express gift cards and iTunes gift cards. The victim later discovered the friend’s Facebook account had been compromised, which is when police say they were contacted about the scam.

The second incident police were notified about over the weekend, took place over the course of several months. Between April and October of this year, the victim lost approximately $38,000 in what OPP say was a romance scam.

Over the course of six months, several emails were exchanged between the victim and an alleged fraudster who worked to establish an online relationship with the victim. The suspect reportedly made several requests for funds from the victim to use to pay bail after claiming they were in jail in Mexico. The victim ended up sending the money in the form of Bitcoin, and iTunes cards.

“The Norfolk County OPP is asking you to verify any unsolicited contacts before you take any action. Sending money, gift cards or bitcoins to strangers is simply not worth the risk,” said Acting Sergeant Ed Sanchuk.

The OPP added requests to send money to a foreign country should almost always be met with a red flag. Police are advising the public to double-check website addresses carefully and to be mindful when receiving messages from anyone on any social media account.

More information about recent scams or fraud can be found on the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre’s website.