Gardai are warning the public about romance fraud.
It comes after an Irish bank account was used to deceive twelve people across Europe.
The fraud took place via online dating websites from offenders with well-prepared stories designed to deceive.
Gardai from the National Economic Crime Bureau identified the holder of an account here.
In one year, 46 suspicious credits were made.
And it involved 11 females and one male from different people from Europe – all of whom have been victims of romance fraud.
The total amount credited to the account was nearly €110,000.
The holder of this account was arrested last month, and the investigation continues.
Meanwhile, Superintendent Michael Cryan said so far this year, the public have reported more than €800,000 being stolen from them in scams.
The advice from GNECB to any person on a dating site or in communication with a person they never met over social media is as follows:
1. Use reputable dating sites and use their messaging service. Do not move to social media or texting too quickly. Be especially wary of unsolicited links or approaches or suggested likes.
2. Be careful what you share on social media and online dating websites. Do not reveal your full name or home address. Protect your identity.
3. Be wary of anyone asking lots of questions about you but not revealing much about themselves. They will come across as being the ideal person. They will like what you like. Their interests will mirror yours. If you like classical 18th century French Poetry, then so will they. They family situation will mirror yours. They will want what you want. They want you to provide live videos but they can’t / won’t. Watch out for snippets of conversation which are out of sync with previous chats. These fraudsters are engaging with multiple victims at the same time, following scripts prepared for them and they can get mixed up on occasions as to which victim they are talking to.
4. Never send money or give your bank details to somebody you have never met, no matter how much you believe and trust them. Do not download apps like AnyDesk at their behest or allow them control over your device
5. Do not send them money or pay for medical bills, purchase flights, or VISAs, pay customs fees or make any payment for them to come to visit you.
6. Do not invest your money in any ‘opportunities’ offered by them or anyone whom you only ‘met’ online. Always seek independent financial and legal advice first.
7. Remember individuals can pretend to be anyone they want to be online. You can google an image to see if it comes up on several sites or profiles.
8. Never provide copies of your personal documents such as passports or driving licences.
9. Never make arrangements or travel to meet them unless you are sure of their identity. Make sure you confide in someone and ensure that the person is aware you are confiding in someone else.
10. Save copies of correspondence with him.
11. Don’t be embarrassed about reporting it to Gardaí, you are not alone. These are professional fraudsters who use social engineering tactics over protracted periods of time
12. If you think you have fallen victim, contact your bank immediately. The quicker you act the better chance of recouping any lost funds