People in Cork are being warned to know how to recognise Romance Scams, not just on Valentines Day but all year round.
The warning comes after a man in Munster was almost duped out of a large sum of money by a fraudster with whom they had only ever communicated online.
Recently staff at an Ulster Bank branch in the province recognised the red flags of a typical Romance Scam after a customer came into the branch to send funds overseas.
Staff took a closer look at the customer’s account and spoke to the customer privately. They discovered that they were sending funds to a partner with whom they had only ever communicated online, who said they were in need of money. In such cases, the transfer is stopped and bank staff work to support the customer.
Ulster Bank’s Community Protection Advisor, Denise Cusack said: "Ulster Bank staff in Cork and around the country have been receiving ‘Friends Against Scams’ training in recent months so that they are in a position to help customers to avoid fraudsters and keep their money safe."
“Many people, particularly when it comes to Romance Scams, express fear because they have shared so many personal details with the perpetrator that they are worried for their safety. People can also feel embarrassed and vulnerable. We hope by talking about it and bringing these things into the open, people will feel more comfortable in speaking out and help others avoid these types of scams in the future.
Ms Cusack's advice for avoiding a Romance Scam are:
1) Be wary of requests for money and never send money or share personal information like account details or card details with someone you don’t know, trust or haven’t met in person.
2) Be cautious if someone immediately wants to get you off dating websites and on to private instant messaging.
3) Always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam, particularly if other warning signs appear. Try to remove the emotion from your decision making, no matter how caring or persistent the “prospective partner “ is.