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Sometimes these relationships are built over phone and text messages, by sending photos and gifts, and by going to great lengths to earn their target's trust.

In one recent case reported by the RCMP's Financial Crimes Unit, a victim was slowly convinced over a seven year online 'relationship' to drain her personal savings, and it was only when she had nothing left that her 'suitor' disappeared.

In other cases, the fraudster gets back in touch with their victim and apologizes for tricking them, and then tries to regain trust by claiming they developed genuine feelings.

The bottom line: if you've been victimized, cut off all contact and don't re-engage. In 2017, Canadians reported losing .6-million to romance scams – and while that's a big number, the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre estimates only about 5 per cent of victims report being defrauded, citing embarrassment and shame at being tricked as reasons for not reporting fraud.

He was very positive, and I felt a real connection there.” As the romance progressed, Charlie confessed to some problems of his own.

“There can’t be a man this horrible, to do what he did to me,” she told FBI investigators.

READ: Fraud prevention: Too good to be true offers usually are When you hear 'romance scam' you might automatically think of dating sites.

 (Russian fraudsters are also heavily involved in romance scams, according to ) The victims are educated, computer-savvy and emotionally vulnerable, the agency adds.Every day, millions of people around the world go online looking for love.Whether it's on dating apps or social media platforms, people meet and fall in love online all the time.According to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) to increased feelings of isolation, making many Canadians easy targets for fraudsters.Being defrauded is an awful experience for the victim, particularly when it feels like a romantic betrayal.

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