January 10, 2018 10:26am
Police in St. Thomas are asking for help in the search for two suspects after a woman was cheated out of $30,000 in an online scam.
The Toronto-area man and woman are wanted on charges of fraud. Police say the victim was lured into an online relationship and then asked for large sums of money, which she sent.
“The romance or love scammers prey on emotionally vulnerable people over internet dating sites,” St. Thomas police said in a statement issued Wednesday. “Scammers make several connections with different people and spend all their days communicating online usually showering their victims with attention and messages of affection. Once a victim believes they are actually in a relationship, empty promises of a long happy life are the hook to bait the victim. But there is always a catch. The scammer will need money, lots of it, usually for some personal emergency. A sick family member, a bad business deal, travel expenses, the list goes on.”
According to police, these scams often originate overseas. However, the investigation into this incident led investigators to the Toronto area.
“In this particular case, the scam was not sophisticated and did not cross continents making it easier for police to actually track down the suspects and lay a charge. This is the exception to the rule, many of these scammers are based out of Nigeria or Russia making it almost impossible to authorities to track them,” police said.
Police have obtained arrested warrants for 26-year-old Katelyn Smith and 23-year-old Aizeyosabor Osazuwa.
Anyone with any information is asked to call St. Thomas Police at 519-631-1224 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS.