Gardaí issue warning over online romance fraud as hundreds duped by scammers | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

Valentine’s Day is the most widely celebrated day of love there is, but this love has been used maliciously against thousands of smitten Irish people as Gardaí issue a warning about online “romance scammers”.

The warning comes after An Garda Síochána announced that over €7 million has been stolen from victims of online romance scams since 2020, with tens of thousands of euro robbed at a time.

The rise in the popularity of dating apps such as Tinder, Hinge and Bumble has created fertile ground for romance fraud to take place as hopeless romantics put their trust in a last throw-of-the-dice attempt at meeting Mr or Ms Perfect.

Read More: Dublin’s Top 10 restaurants for couples and singletons to dine this Valentine’s Day

Gardaí warn that scammers prey on their victims by setting up fake profiles on dating apps using another person’s photos – usually an exceptionally attractive individual – and matching with their victims.

When this happens, they will initiate conversation and groom victims over time into becoming willing participants in the scam by extracting money from them based on the false premise of love.

Their fake profile normally depicts a respectable individual with a responsible job but who conveniently can never take part in a video call or phone call with the victim, and is often based overseas and therefore cannot meet up in person.

The jobs typically used as cover include offshore oil rig workers, aid workers, humanitarian doctors or soldiers in a war-torn country.

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National Cyber Security