15/02/2019

Police Release Image Of Suspected Online Scammer

The PSNI has issued a fresh warning urging members of the public to be wary of online scammers posing as potential love interests.

Officers also released an image of a suspected fraudster who they believe has taken many identities in order to suck unsuspecting females into an "emotional minefield", and then rob them of their money.

"Do you know this man? Have you been speaking to him via Skype?," a spokesperson wrote on the PSNI's Magherafelt Facebook page.

"He's William Smith and is currently looking assistance, or is he Dr Eddie Adams? No, he's Mark Nelson or maybe he's Michael Cambry?"

Culprits have managed to trick multiple women into sending them thousands of pounds by building up a fake online relationship over a period of many months.

It comes only days after police issued a separate warning when two women lost a combined total of over £105,000 to similar fraudsters.

"It's a simple but effective scam," the spokesperson continued.
News Image
Most victims are contacted via Facebook, before being convinced its easier to chat using Skype. In most cases an actual video call takes place, serving to reassure the unsuspecting target, but it's often a recording according to police.

Many are plied with sob stories about being a general in the American army and sent multiple "poorly photoshopped" images of him in army uniform, before pleas for money set in.

MoneyGram is often used to transfer payments of around £800 at a time to avoid detection, based on promises to come and visit and repay the funds.

"Sounds so simple doesn't it? Yet we have dealt with ladies in this area who have sent thousands and thousands of pounds. Lost, never to be returned. Even when presented with all the evidence by us some victims still refuse to believe and continue to send money.

"Yes it's easy to mock but the scammers put hours and hours of work into brain washing and sucking people in, it could easily be your Mum, Sister, Aunt. The shame felt by the victim means it's often a son or daughter contacts us."

The PSNI appealed to the public to warn their family about such scams.



(JG/CM)

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