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Beware of romance scams, police nab scammer who took $200k over three years

Be careful to whom you send money, say police.

The warning after a 29-year-old man, Brodie Brooks, was arrested by Saanich Police for swindling dozens of people out of a total nearing $200,000 through dating apps over three years.

“He would seek individuals who, through deception and false information, provided him with financial assistance with the promise of him paying them back,” say Saanich police in a media release. “Over the next three years, he continued this scheme and would limit contact with the victims once they asked for the money back.”

He now faces 16 charges related to the scam, including fraud, false pretence, and impersonating a peace officer. Brooks’ charges were sworn in court and he was released on an order with several conditions.

The incident prompted Saanich Constable Markus Anastasiades to encourage you to never send money to anyone you haven’t met in person.

“This person was highly manipulative and deceptive in his scheme,” says Anastasiades. “While each case is unique, we encourage people never to send money to anyone they have only communicated with online or by phone.”

Police say to avoid scams, you should end a conversation should funds be requested.

“To gain your money, they say their funds are locked, they were in an accident, they have medical bills, have to pay government fees, have to pay a lawyer, have to pay their outstanding mortgage,” warn police about scammers’ tactics.

They say if you’re approached, you should notify the platform that you’re using about the person, and avoid sending any sensitive information or intimate photos to anyone you’ve just met.

Police say it’s important to talk about this type of scam with people who could fall prey.

“Be proactive,” say police. “Tell family, friends, co-workers and neighbours about your experience to warn them about romance scams.”

If you have any information related to the Brooks case, you’re asked to contact the Saanich Police Department’s Major Crime Unit at [email protected]

 

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