Beware the romance fraudster.
That’s the warning from Gardaí ahead of Valentine’s weekend, as it is revealed that 70% of romance fraud victims are women.
An Garda Síochána are asking members of the public to be vigilant as incidences of romance scams rose by 86% in 2021.
Frightening case studies include a 41-year-old female who was contacted by a male claiming to be a well-known musician. She became romantically involved online and was defrauded of over €26,000.
In another case, a 65-year-old female contacted Gardaí to report that she lost €35,000 as a result of meeting a male through social media.
“Throughout their online relationship she was convinced to purchase stream cards and send the codes directly onto her male friend, subsequently she then transferred money to various accounts in Malaysia.” said a Garda spokesperson.
Three tricks to look out for…
Fraudsters may try to get their victims to send them money using the following excuses:
• To cover the cost of travelling to see the victim
• For emergency medical expenses for the scammer or a family member — typically a child
• A business opportunity which would allow them to live together comfortably
Gardaí advise those looking for love to only use trusted dating websites, never share personal details or agree to send or receive money. They also warn daters to think twice before using a webcam and always trust your instincts.
If you believe that you are a victim of a romance scam, or think your identity or personal information has been compromised, contact any Garda Station and report the crime.