Suspects arrested in ‘Romeo’ scam probe

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GARDAÍ have made three arrests – the first ever in Ireland – for on-line romance fraud on foot of complaints from Limerick women.

Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Ber Leetch confirmed that the arrests were made last week during search operations in West Dublin and Navan as part of an investigation into on line ‘romance” and investment fraud.

“In one romance fraud case being investigated in Limerick, the victim was convinced to transfer large sums of cash to accounts in Ireland, Turkey, Dubai and Vietnam,” Sgt Leech said.

“This happened over a nine month period after the victim met with a fraudster through an on-line dating site. Suspects of this type of fraud have never been arrested in Ireland before.

“The belief was that criminal groups engaged in this activity were operating from outside Ireland. It is now thought that large numbers of injured parties from Ireland and all over the world will be identified from computers and devices seized during the searches.”

‘Romeo’ scammers use fake profiles on dating sites and connect with people who are online looking for love and friendship.

In many instances, they invent a family or personal health crisis or pretend that a sure-fire investment opportunity has arisen in order to get bank account details.

“If you were a victim of romance or investment fraud or know somebody that was, please report the incidents to your local Garda Station,” Sgt Leetch added.