Don’t let love blind you to romance fraud, an under-reported scam that not only breaks hearts but bank balances too …
omance fraud cases reported to ECC Ireland involve vulnerable consumers conned out of money by scammers promising marriage. One consumer was scammed out of €37,000.
Romance fraud is a lesser known but very serious form of scam. It tends to be under-reported because people are embarrassed and don’t know where to go with their complaints.
It is particularly devastating for the victim as scammers devote considerable time to building a trusting relationship, often promising marriage, only to later manipulate them into handing over cash. Scammers often target vulnerable people through dating websites, message boards or even social media sites such as Facebook.
Be cautious if your love interest suddenly starts making requests for money to cover hospital bills, Visa expenses, flights, or another crisis of some sort. If you suspect fraud then report the matter as soon as possible to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau.
Learn more about how to identify and avoid romance scam:
Learn more here: garda.ie/en/crime/fraud/am-i-a-victim-of-a-romance-scam-.html
Read more about the telltale signs of a romance scam here: aviva.ie/about-and-support/fraud-prevention/romance-scams/
Romance fraud in the news:
- A vulnerable Irish man was befriended by a woman on Facebook. The woman promised marriage and the man sent her money. He then received an email from a person alleging to be the woman’s solicitor telling him that an account has been set up for him to receive $6 million from his ‘wife’. He was urged to contact the paying bank for the fund transfer. The scam was exposed by the man’s carer who also reported the matter to the Gardai.
- An Irish woman was contacted by a person claiming to be a US soldier serving in Afghanistan. The woman paid €37,000 to help the soldier leave the unit and pay for a replacement. The money was sent to a person in Dublin who claimed to be a UN legal practitioner. The victim was then urged to raise a further €20,000 by taking a loan out against her house or to borrow money in some other way. The woman was told that this was the only way they could marry and that he would refund the money. After realising this was a scam, the woman did not pay the extra money and the matter was reported to the US authorities and to the Gardai.