Crime Stoppers Central Okanagan is sounding the alarm over an online romance scam in which the fraudster poses as an Oscar-nominated actor.
The scammer, pretending to be Jeremy Renner, engage with a woman on socia media and promise to come visit them, the organization said in a Facebook post.
The impersonator then makes up reasons they need money, such as for flights or passport fees.
Renner is best known for his roles in The Hurt Locker (2008), The Town (2010) and The Avengers series.
Crime Stoppers says Renner himself has posted multiple times online about people pretending to be him online.
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Dear fans, please do NOT engage with any fakes on social media asking for money or anything else for that matter . Only visit official blue checked sites on social media and my app for contests or offers that never ask for MONEY!!! #fakessuck #dangerousinternet #whensocialmediagoeswrong #shameonscammers #notohackers #notofakes #TWITTER #instagram
Crime Stoppers has a few tips for people to avoid being scammed:
- Be suspicious when someone you haven’t met in person professes their love to you. Ask yourself – would someone I’ve never met really declare their love after only a few emails?
- Never send intimate photos or videos of yourself. The scammer may try to use these to blackmail you into sending money.
- Be wary when someone you meet on social media wants to quickly move to a private mode of communication (email, text).
- If you did send money or share financial information, report it to the financial institution used e.g. your bank, Western Union, MoneyGram.
- Gather all information pertaining to the situation, including the scammer’s profile name, how you made contact, social media screenshots, emails, etc. and contact your local police.
Victims are also encouraged to file their case with the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.
According to the centre, Canadians lost around $22.5 million to romance scams in 2018.