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Winkler Police are reminding residents to raise their warning flags when receiving requests for payment with gift or pre-paid cards, especially from people online.

In recent weeks police have received multiple reports of women being scammed by fraudsters they met online.

"When these potential fraudsters pull on your emotions by befriending you through email or by phone calls you want to trust them, it's natural human tendency... but unfortunately you just can't, you have to be vigilant," says Winkler Police Chief Ryan Hunt.

In one instance a female was involved with a male over the internet. The male requested that the female open several bank accounts at different banking institutions and send the newly acquired debit cards to the male. The male then proceeded to deposit a large sum of money into one of the bank accounts and requested the female transfer the money to the other newly opened accounts, which the female agreed to do. The money was then withdrawn from the accounts. The female was alerted by one of the banking institutions of the suspected fraudulent activity and she cancelled her accounts.

In another incident, a female reported that she similarly lost a large amount of money after being defrauded by a male she met online. The male initially requested the female purchase iTunes cards and forward him the card numbers so he could access the funds to pay his cellphone bill. Several days later, upon the male’s request, the female provided the male with all her banking information and sent him a large sum of cash. The male then began depositing cheques into the female’s account and requested that she e-transfer the funds to another account, which she agreed to do. Soon after, the male deposited another large cheque into the female’s account and requested she withdraw the money and deposit the funds into an account at another bank, however, the bank did not allow the female to withdraw the funds.

"If it's someone you've never met face-to-face and they're asking you to send them money with gift cards that's too big red flags right there," Hunt says.

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