Northern Ireland

Romance scam: NI woman loses £300,000 online

A woman holding a credit card and typing on a laptop keyboard Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The PSNI believes people are often too embarrassed to report romance scams

A woman from Northern Ireland has lost £300,000 in what police have described as an "online romance scam".

Police said it happened after the woman was befriended by a man on social media three years ago and "a relationship developed".

They said the woman was asked to pay the scammer money "so his children could be educated in England".

She was also asked for money for investments in Ghana and in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Ch Supt Simon Walls said the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) was investigating the fraud, which has had "a devastating impact on the victim".

The woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, sent a total of £300,000 to different accounts at the man's request.

Image caption PSNI Ch Supt Simon Walls says detectives are investigating the fraud

Mr Walls said it was "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 that a victim loses every loss is felt by those targeted," he added.

"Sadly we received another report recently where a similar amount of money was lost in a scam."

He added that the PSNI believes people are often "too embarrassed" to report that they have been scammed in romance frauds.

"I urge anyone who has been a victim to report it to us," he said.

"Romance scammers don't prey on a specific gender, sexuality, race or age.

"They target everyone - just don't let it be you."

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