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‘Tinder swindler’ blackmailed young Galway man over photos


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

‘Tinder swindler’ blackmailed young Galway man over photos

From the Galway City Tribune – A scammer who posed as a potential partner on a dating app obtained intimate images from a young Galway man and used them to blackmail and extort money from him.

The fraudster elicited the sexual images from the man under false pretences using a fake account on a popular dating website.

The images were then used to embarrass and blackmail the man into paying ransom money for the images to be returned or deleted.

This was just one recent example of romance fraud reported to Galway Gardaí in recent weeks.

It was relayed to the latest Galway City Joint Policing Committee meeting by Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Michael Walsh.

Official fraud figures showed that there were fewer than five romance frauds reported to Gardaí in the first nine months of this year.

But Sgt Walsh said that the issue was far more prevalent, and the official figures were low because people were too embarrassed to report it.

Sgt Walsh said that incidents of accommodation fraud had spiked in recent weeks too, as students returned to the city for the start of the semester.

There were 14 incidents of accommodation fraud so far this year, many of them reported in September when third level students returned to the city.

Overall, there were a total of 200 frauds recorded in the official Garda crime figures for Galway City up to the end of September.

Almost one third of them (65) were account takeover frauds. This is where cybercriminals gain access to a victim’s account login details and uses it to steal funds or information.

There were 42 incidents of deception reported, and 29 incidents of ‘card not present’ fraud of credit cards.

Sgt Walsh said that the scammers were getting more and more sophisticated. Previously, phone scams were being carried out by fraudsters with foreign accents. But now they had hired people with Irish, including Dublin accents, which makes them sound more genuine and authentic.

Sgt Walsh reiterated the advice that people should not give out their bank or personal details to anyone, including information such as mother’s maiden name, pet’s name, favourite colour, and other information that could be used as password security answers.
This article first appeared in the print edition of the Galway City Tribune, October 28. You can support our journalism by subscribing to the Galway City Tribune HERE. The print edition is in shops every Friday.

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