Gardai say frauders are using dating apps and websites to target vulnerable people
GARDAI are warning members of the public to be aware of a so called 'romance' fraud as we approach Valentine’s Day tomorrow.
Last year, almost 200 cases of romance fraud were reported and gardai in Limerick and across the country are anxious to ensure there is no repeat this year.
"The victims were both male and female and from all age groups. The average amount of money lost was in excess of €20,000. The Covid-19 Regulations and travel restrictions have resulted in reduced social gatherings and as a result is generating opportunities for fraudsters to engage in online romance fraud," said a garda spokersperson.
According to gardai, romance fraud is enabled via online dating sites or other social media by fraudsters who will provide the victims with well-prepared stories designed to deceive.
"The victims develop online relationships with the fraudsters, who use fake identities, photographs and life stories. Inevitably, the fraudster will ask their victim for money. The fraudster will continue to ask for money until the victim has no more money to give or realise they are being deceived. This crime often leaves vulnerable people with a feeling of hurt and mistrust in addition to their financial loss," added the spokesperson who said that criminals have also begun targeting people with learning difficulties.