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NI woman loses £20,500 in ‘online romance scam’

Police are investigating an online romance scam that cost a woman from NI more than £20,500. Credit: PA

A Londonderry woman has lost just over £20,500 in an online romance scam carried out by a conman claiming to be a soldier.

Details about the fraudster were reported to police earlier this week.

It is understood the victim met the man online and, after a period of time, he asked her for money – claiming his account had been frozen.

The conman persuaded the woman to give him her online banking details, which he used to send money to various individuals.

He also persuaded her to give him other personal details so he could obtain more money from her.

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.

– PSNI Chief Superintendent Simon Walls

Police say enquiries are continuing to establish how much, if any, of the money can be recovered.

PSNI 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.”

He added: “We continue to receive reports of fraud on a regular basis.

“For example, as recently as Tuesday, 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.”

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