By Laura Parsons, CNN • Updated 3rd April 2017
Toronto is alleged to have been a victim of romance scams worth millions of dollars.
As The Globe and Mail reports, a woman posing as a man on Facebook was targeted by a love scam “potentially worth $28 million.”
It’s a far cry from the “bananas” holiday photos of “sloppy boyfriends” the newspaper says the scammers were apparently after.
The largest Canadian dating scam, reported to the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) by concerned friends of the user is the case of Shannon Livingston, who is in her mid-30s and from Ontario.
Livingston contacted a lot of her friends and family — the “heartbroken” loved ones of young Canadian girls who went missing — and circulated the story on Facebook, the newspaper says.
” ‘I was on Craiglist online and it was a little girl,’ she posted,” it quotes a young person as saying, adding that the next one would be from Iowa.
She claimed to have friends in the U.S. military in China and that she would provide military secrets to the Chinese government.
She listed events he might be going to and told her sister she was heading to Taiwan in a month, the newspaper reports.
Livingston even had fake women’s names and photos to make the two females look like the missing girls.
“Shannon kept it together because she was trying to tell these friends of hers, ‘Please, my prayers, my hopes are that they come home alive,'” the newspaper quotes another young person as saying.
Although Livingston and her posts proved to be conclusively fake, they apparently hooked people like University of Toronto senior Ryan Lin.
He downloaded applications for special visas from Livingston to go on an exchange program in China.
Lin was also transferred to a room and board on Livingston’s Isle of Lions cruise ship where she was traveling alone.
“Since she wasn’t where she said she was at the end of the cruise, he was happy because she was coming back to him,” the Globe and Mail quotes Lin’s father as saying.
Lin is now suing Livingston.
Toronto law firm Belkin Buck Consultants, which represents the Langtons, tells CNN that the case was brought to a hearing in Ontario on Tuesday.
The firm would not comment further to CNN.
“The nice thing about the engagement is that it keeps it in the press,” the paper quotes Livingston’s father Rob as saying.
“The nice thing about Valentine’s Day is it enables him to have a conversation with his son.”