ONLINE ROMANCE scammers are preying on lockdown loneliness to exploit victims across Europe a top Ireland-based fraud watchdog has warned.
FRAUDSmart, an Ireland-based fraud watchdog, has warned that lockdown measures has led ruthless online romance scammers to exploit widespread loneliness to prey on their victims. In some cases, people have been defrauded of over €50,000 according to the watchdog.
Niamh Davenport, head of the anti-fraud department of Banking and Payments Federation Ireland, told RTE that “fraudsters are preying on people’s isolation and vulnerability as a result of the restrictions we are experiencing”.
“By using dating apps or sites, the fraudsters’ objective is to gain trust and build up a relationship and emotional connection with their victims,” said Davenport, “They will often devote months to this process, after which time they will create a sense of urgency in order to ask their victim for money or indeed in many cases have the victim offer them money”.
Those using dating apps or sites, which have rocketed in popularity during the pandemic, have been warned to remain extra vigilant of scammers. “It can be a devastating experience for people who get caught up in these types of scams and oftentimes they are too embarrassed to report the crime,” said Davenport.
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