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Romance fraud warning as €7m stolen over five years

People have been urged to beware of romance scams and criminals who are seeking to take advantage of the increased popularity of dating apps this St Valentine’s Day.

More than €7 million has been stolen from the victims of romance fraud in the past five years, according to gardaí.

The majority of the 245 victims that have come forward since 2020 were female, and their average loss was €28,500.

The highest reported loss was a woman who had over €450,000 stolen in 18 transactions, while a man had more than €380,000 taken.

The criminals often use someone else’s photos to create a fake profile on a dating app or website.

Victims will quickly be encouraged to move to a messaging app or email before the requests for money begin.

Scammers will sometimes even repay initial requests to establish trust with their victims.

Once a victim starts asking questions or it becomes apparent the money has been stolen, the criminal will cut ties and block them.

An Garda Síochána advises people to use reputable dating sites and to carry out Google reverse image searches on potential partners’ pictures to make sure they are genuine.

People are also urged to never send money or give bank details to someone you meet online.

Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau has implored people who believe they are a victim of a romance scam to contact any garda station.

Article Source – Romance fraud warning as €7m stolen over five years – RTE

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