Gardai urge the public to Beware of Romance Scams as Valentine’s Day Approaches
As Valentine’s Day nears, Gardai are asking members of the public to be vigilant of romance fraud as the number of romance scams rose by 86% in 2021.
More than 70% of romance fraud victims are women and can happen at any time of the year.
Many of these scammers 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
How do you spot a romance scammer?
Romance Fraudsters will:
• Try to move communications away from dating websites. They suggest that you move to instant messaging, text or phone calls instead.• Ask a lot of personal questions. • Avoid answering personal questions about themselves. The details that they do tell you seem made up or do not reflect reality. For instance, they may say that they are university educated, but their spelling and grammar is poor. • Try to establish a bond quickly. For example, they may give you an endearing pet name e.g. baby, darling, etc. • Ask for financial help. They may tell you about money problems in the hope that you will offer to help. • Ask you to invest in a fraudulent scheme or business. • Never meet you in person. They will present obstacles and may go as far as making arrangements and cancelling them at the last minute. They may promise to want to see you but offer excuses which delay this, such as financial troubles.
What can you do?
• Use trusted dating websites• Do not share personal details • Do not send or receive money • Think twice before using your webcam • Trust your instincts