One woman initially delayed reporting the fraud to Gardaí as she was married.

Gardaí are advising people to beware of 'Romance Scams', following a surge of activity which has seen thousands taken from those duped. 

Victims of the scam believe they have met their perfect match online, only to find out that they are being scammed via the use of a fake profile. 

These fake accounts are set up with the aim of luring victims attention and eventually asking for money.

One Irish woman was showered with expensive gifts, including scarves and perfumery before she was asked to invest in her suitor’s business. Over a 13-month-period, the woman gave the romance fraudster €48,000. She initially delayed reporting the fraud to Gardaí as she was married.

The extent of these 'Romance Scams' are not fully known as many of the victims are too embarrassed to report the fraud to Gardaí.

Detective Inspector Catharina Gunne from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau warns:

"Romance 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.

In the beginning, the amount of money requested will often be small but increases as the scammer becomes more successful in building the ‘relationship’ and tricking the victim.”

Recently, a romance scam-artist in the west of Ireland was found guilty of taking nearly €19,000 from a victim. The perpetrator obtained money through deception over a five-month-period after meeting the victim through a dating website. 

For anyone who feels they could be being scammed, you can contact Gardaí here

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