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Limerick woman loses €35,000 in online romance fraud

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A LIMERICK woman lost €35,000 after falling victim to an online romance fraud. 

Romance Fraud is where a person believes that they have met their perfect romantic match online, but the other person is in fact a scammer using a fake profile to build the relationship.

The scammer draws the victim in and after a length of time they will mention money troubles and may ask the victim to send money. 

In January 2022 a lady in her 40s from Limerick used an online website called Connecting Singles and met a male who claimed to be from the USA. They chatted for months on WhatsApp exchanging photos and becoming an online couple.

During the “relationship”, the lady was told that this American man was having trouble funding his construction business.

The lady was asked to help him financially and in June 2022 the lady began buying bitcoin and sending it to him to an online wallet.

She sent over one hundred transactions and is now at a loss of €35,000. The American man has now disappeared along with her money.

Sergeant Ber Leetch, Crime Prevention Officer at Henry Street garda station said: "Scammers feed off other people but I want to thank this lady for coming forward and reporting this romance fraud, she gives me the opportunity to caution other people about what is going on in Limerick.

"Anybody who is involved in an online relationship only, this means that you have never met the other person, could be a victim of romance fraud.

"I would be very very suspicious if I did not get to meet them in person. Talk to somebody if you are concerned about somebody you have met online either a friend or a Garda.

"If somebody you have never met in person asks you for money, break off contact immediately".