25/06/2019

NI Woman Scammed Out Of £300k

A woman from Northern Ireland who fell victim to an online romance scam has been swindled out of more than £300,000.

The fraudulent activity took place over the course of three years after the woman was befriended by a man on Facebook. Three months into their online relationship, the scammer requested payments for various reasons, including to educate his children in England and for investments in both Ghana and Dubai. Believing the man's stories, the woman sent the £300k to different accounts at his request.

Enquiries are ongoing into this incident, which Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said has left the victim devastated.

He commented: "Sadly, this report where a life changing amount of money has been lost is a stark example of how scammers don't care about the long lasting impact their devious and despicable actions have on their victims.

"We receive reports of fraud on a regular basis and, no matter how big or small the amount of money is that a victim loses, every loss is felt by those targeted. However, this is one of the bigger scams where a victim has been swindled out of such a significant amount of money. Sadly we received another report recently where a similar amount of money was lost in a scam."

Chief Superintendent Walls added that romance scams are significantly under reported, often due to the embarrassment felt by victims.
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He added: "No matter what type of scam it is, and the different methods employed, the one common element is that scammers will go to great lengths to trick people and take advantage of their vulnerability and good faith. 

"Romance scammers don't prey on a specific gender, sexuality, race or age. They target everyone; just don't let it be you. Don't let yourself become a statistic. Protect yourself if you want to use the internet in search of love or companionship. Start off with a reputable website. Look out for someone asking lots of questions, but not giving any detail about themselves. Don't ever hand over any money. Never let anyone you don't know or trust transfer money into your bank account."

Chief Superintendent Walls is appealing to the public to be on their guard and not to let themselves become a statistic. He said: "There is no end to the methods fraudsters will use to dupe people into giving them money. Tricksters know all the scams and will often communicate with victims in a convincing manner. Guarding your personal and banking details is essential. Never ever disclose them to any unauthorised person or allow anyone access to them via your computer."

Anyone who has suspicions about unsolicited phone calls or online activity can report it using the Action Fraud website or by calling 0300 123 2040 or police on the non-emergency number 101.



(JG/CM)

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