Derry woman loses thousands in online romance scam

Thu, 17/10/2019 - 12:44 -- Editor

Vigilance is being urged after a woman from the North West lost more than £20,000 in an online romance scam. 

The report was made to police on Tuesday (15th October).

It was reported that the Londonderry woman met the man, who claimed to be a soldier, online and after a period of time he asked her for money claiming his account was frozen.

The conman subsequently persuaded the woman to give him her online banking details, which he used to send money to various individuals. The fraudster also persuaded the woman to give him other personal details so he could obtain further money from her. 

In total, the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, lost just over £20,500. Enquiries are continuing to establish what, if any of this money, can be recovered.

Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: "No matter how big or small the amount of money is that a victim loses, every loss is felt by those targeted. However, this scam, where a victim has been swindled out of a significant amount of money, shows why it’s so important for people to be vigilant. This woman trusted this man who unfortunately was only after one thing – her money. That is devastating for her. 

"If anything, this is a stark reminder of why it is so important for families to have conversations with their loved ones about scams.”

Chief Superintendent Walls added: “We continue to receive reports of fraud on a regular basis, for example, as recently as Tuesday (15th October) we had a report of a person being contacted by people claiming to represent HMRC and telling them they owed money. Thankfully no money was lost. 

“When it comes to scams, our message is simple – never ever disclose your personal or banking details to anyone over the phone or online, no matter how convincing they sound to you. 

"Never disclose them to any unauthorised person or allow anyone access to them via your computer.

“If you are concerned by unsolicited calls, emails or letters then please report it to Action Fraud via their website www.actionfraud.police.uk or by phoning 0300 123 2040, or call police on the non-emergency number 101.” 

For further advice and information visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/scamwiseni or the ScamwiseNI Facebook page @scamwiseni