An Garda Síochána have issued a 'romance fraud' warning ahead of the most romantic day of the year.
Romance fraud, which is sometimes referred to as 'catfishing', is fraud that is enabled via online dating sites or other social media by fraudsters who will provide the victims with well-prepared stories designed to deceive.
The victims develop online relationships with the fraudsters, who use fake identities, photographs and life stories.
Inevitably, the fraudster will ask their victim for money.
This crime often leaves vulnerable people with a feeling of hurt and mistrust in addition to their financial loss.
In 2019 75 cases of apparent romance fraud were reported to Gardaí.
The victims were both male and female and the total losses suffered were in excess of €1,000,000.
In one case an Irish victim developed a relationship with a male on a dating website. He gained her trust and she sent him €62,000 over a period of time.
In another case, a victim linked up with a female in an on-line chat room and ended up sending her €50,000.