13 February 2020 21:25
GARDAÍ HAVE issued a warning to the public urging them to be vigilant of 'romance fraud' ahead of St Valentine's Day tomorrow. An Garda Síochána dealt with 75 cases of 'romance fraud' in 2019 alone--with victims losing over €1 million in total. A type of catfishing, romance fraud occurs online when a person sets up a fake account, gains the trust and begins an online relationship with the victim before tricking them into giving them money--often large amounts. "Inevitably, the fraudster will ask their victim for money," aspokesperson for Gardaí said. Gardaí released a statement describing the warning signs of romance fraud, which include: • The fraudster may ask you to communicate by instant messaging, text or phone calls rather than messaging through the dating website • The fraudster will start asking for money for various reasons, starting with low amounts: Gardaí went on to provide examples of Irish people who had been hurt and robbed by these types of online scams, such as one woman who sent a fraudster €62,000 in total after he gained her trust.
In a statement, Detective Chief Superintendent Pat Lordan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau provided some tips to prevent falling for these types of romance scams. Gardaí warn of 'romance fraud' ahead of Valentine's Day 75 cases of romance fraud were reported in 2019, resulting in losses suffered in excess of €1 million. For the uninitiated, romance fraud is a very real concern with 75 such cases reported to the Gardaí in 2019. This specific scam is enabled via online dating websites or other social media platforms by fraudsters who provide victims with well-prepared stories designed to deceive. The victims subsequently develop online relationships with individuals using fake identities, photographs and life stories.
In another case, a victim linked up with a woman in an online chatroom and ended up sending her €50,000. If you have been the victim of romance fraud, you are encouraged to report it in confidence at your local Garda Station. GARDAÍ are warning hopeless romantics to be aware of 'romance fraud' this Valentines Day, after an Irish woman was tricked into handing over €62,000 in an online scam. Gardái received 75 reports of romance fraud last year, with victims being conned out of more than €1 million. A garda spokesman has warned that fraudsters are using dating sites and social media to meet their victims and will then use fake identities, photographs and life stories to develop a relationship with them, before asking them for money.
Detective Chief Superintendent Pat Lordan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau warned love-seekers to "stop and think" if someone you are in an online relationship with asks you to send money. He continued, "Never share personal or banking details with unknown persons online, Never receive money from, or send money to persons unknown and think twice before using a webcam - intimate images can be used for blackmail." Romance fraud is when victims develop online relationships with con artists, who use fake ID, photos and life stories. The public is being asked to watch out for warning signs, such as the person asking to communicate by instant messaging or phone calls and asking for money for things like travel, moving expenses or medical bills. The fraudster will give reasons for never meeting in person or cancel planned dates. In one case a woman here developed a relationship with a man online who gained her trust and she sent him €62,000. That is the warning from gardaí after €1m was scammed from victims - men and women - caught up in romance fraud last year. In one case a woman lost €62,000 after she struck up a relationship with a man on a dating website and sent him varying sums of money over a period of time. Gardaí said 75 cases of romance fraud were reported in 2019. Romance fraud usually involves online dating sites or other social media being used by fraudsters who develop relationships with their victims using fake identities, photographs and life stories. The fraudsters will avoid personal questions, but will ask plenty and will ask their victims to only communicate by instant messaging, text or phone calls rather than through the dating website. Other warning signs include asking for money to be transferred to bank accounts abroad or via money transfer to agencies outside of Ireland. Detective Chief Superintendent Pat Lordan of the Garda National Economic Bureau said if someone is asked for money by someone they only know online they should stop and ask themselves "is this person real?" He also said people should never share personal details or banking details with someone they only know online and to think before using a webcam as images, particularly intimate ones, can be used for blackmail. He also encouraged anyone who believes they may have been a victim of romance fraud to report it to their local garda station. He said the "giveaway" is when they ask for money and when they pressurise people using words like "you will never meet me until you send this money."