The Midlands’ worst romance scams laid bare as police issue Valentine’s Day warning | #DatingScams | #LoveScams | #RomanceScans

It’s meant to be the most romantic day of the year – but all-too-often those looking for love are left with their hearts and wallets broken at the hands of cruel romance fraudsters. Con artists go to to great lengths to woo their targets and can spend weeks or even months working gaining their trust – with the goal of swindling them out of their hard-earned cash.

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has revealed that almost £92 million was lost nationwide to romance fraud in the last financial year. Fraudsters often operate on online sites, including social media and dating apps, zoning in on those in search of genuine relationships.

Staffordshire Police said a vulnerable woman in her 70s was recently fleeced of £1,500 over a six-month period. In addition to sending cash directly to the fraudster for flights and other expenses’, several direct debits left her account without her knowledge and went to the scammer.

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Below are some of the worst romance scam cases to come out of the Midlands in recent years, including heartbreaking accounts from victims. There also some top tips from police about how to spot a potential romance fraudster- and what to do if you fall foul of a scam.

Conman faked ‘banking issues’ to swindle £300k from ‘lovers’

Cieran McNamara(Image: Cheshire Constabulary)

This serial conman preyed on well-to-do women, making them believe he was looking for love before fleecing them out of thousands. Cieran McNamara hunted his victims in luxury golf clubs, hotels and restaurant and then used the cash he pocketed from them to entice and trap his next target.

The 37-year-old claimed to be a successful businessman with a high-value property portfolio and would show women photographs of himself at mansions in London and Cheshire, along with snaps of him travelling first class across the world. McNamara would also shower his victims with gifts, weekends away and expensive meals.

But after splashing his ill-gotten gains, and convincing the women he loved them, McNamara would create a fake crisis and claim he was having banking issues and needed to borrow money. He’d promise to repay them as soon as possible, turning on the women if they questioned his motives and blaming them for doubting him.

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