PARKSVILLE -- Oceanside RCMP are issuing a warning to people living in the Parksville-Qualicum Beach area after two residents came forward saying they were victims of online scams totalling $85,000.

Oceanside RCMP Cpl. Jesse Foreman says a 55-year-old woman and a 68-year-old man lost $55,000 and $30,000, respectively, to people they thought they had a connection with after meeting through online dating.

"Basically, you meet someone online, you get to know them, and then the 'ask for money' happens and that's when people need to be very guarded about what's going on," said Foreman.

Neither victim had met the scammer(s) in person and when they did ask to meet, the individuals vanished. Police say the crimes were hard and expensive lessons to endure.

"Know who you're sending money to," said Foreman. "That's not possible online so if you haven't had a face-to-face with somebody, be very guarded about giving away any money or information like that."

Foreman believes there could well be other victims in the community who may be reluctant to come forward. He also says alert staff members at wire transfer companies in Parksville likely prevented more people from becoming victims.

"Staff at those locations were very good about saying, ‘Wow, hold on a minute, let's talk about this before you do it,’" said Foreman. "(They avoided) that person from being scammed so we were quite happy to hear that."

Foreman is asking any other potential victims to contact the Oceanside RCMP station at 250-248-6111.