Gardai are warning the public about “romance scams” doing the rounds on dating websites.
Gardai say scammers are targeting lonely and vulnerable people during the pandemic to defraud them of their money.
The fraudsters will build a rapport with the victim over a period of time, then fabricate a scenario where they need money sent to them.
Gardai explain that the scammers are taking advantage of the current pandemic circumstances to exploit people’s loneliness while they’re self-isolating.
Cyber security expert and CEO of BH consulting, Brian Honan, explains how the scams unfold:
“Criminals will befriend people online typically through social media sites, especially dating websites. They’re looking for people who are alone and vulnerable and they’ll establish a relationship with that person.
“Then over a period of time, they create a rapport…then start asking for money from the individuals. The requests can range from asking for money for flights to come visit them or they may say they have a sick relative in need of treatment.”
Mr Honan urged people to be wary of people who request money on social media or through emails:
“If they start asking for money that should set off alarm bells and you should be very cautious about it. Likewise with any emails that come in to you looking for you to click on links or demanding payments, you should contact your financial institution directly rather than responding to the emails.”