Gardaí warn of Irish Tinder Swindler scams as cases rise by 86%
They are warning the public.
Valentine's Day is only around the corner and the Gardaí are warning members of the public to be vigilant when it comes to romance fraud.
Incidents of romance scams rose by 86% in 2021, and while it happens all year round and not just at Valentine's Day, Gardaí are still urging everyone to be aware.
More than 70% of romance fraud victims are women, and in light of Netflix's The Tinder Swindler, Gardaí have issued the way fraudsters may try to get their victims to send money.
The excuses they use may include: To cover the cost of travelling to see the victim, for emergency medical expenses for the scammer or a family member — typically a child or a business opportunity which would allow them to live together comfortably.
There is also an increasing link between romance fraud and investment fraud, with scammers asking victims to invest in a fraudulent scheme or business.
Members of the public are being advised that there are huge risks involved in investing in cryptocurrencies and not to share any money with someone they meet through online websites or apps, ot get legal advice beforehand if you do wish to invest.
An Garda Síochána are currently working closely with Europol to put a stop to romance scams, targeting organised crime gangs and monitoring dating sites.
What are the signs to look out for?
An Garda Síochána say you should:
• Try to move communications away from dating websites. They suggest that you move to instant messaging, text or phone calls instead.
• Ask a lot of personal questions.
• Avoid answering personal questions about themselves. The details that they do tell you seem made up or do not reflect reality. For instance, they may say that they are university educated, but their spelling and grammar is poor.
• Try to establish a bond quickly. For example, they may give you an endearing pet name e.g. baby, darling, etc.
• Ask for financial help. They may tell you about money problems in the hope that you will offer to help.
• Ask you to invest in a fraudulent scheme or business.
• Never meet you in person. They will present obstacles and may go as far as making arrangements and cancelling them at the last minute. They may promise to want to see you but offer excuses which delay this, such as financial troubles.
What can you do to prevent this from happening to you?
• Use trusted dating websites
• Do not share personal details
• Do not send or receive money
• Think twice before using your webcam
• Trust your instincts
If you think you've been a victim of a romance scam or your identity and personal information has been compromised, please contact any Garda Station and report the crime.