Romance scam: Derry woman conned out of £20k

Hearts on a laptop keyboard Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Police believe people are often too embarrassed to report romance scams

A Londonderry woman has been conned out of £20,500 by an online romance scammer.

Police said the man claimed to be a soldier and asked her for money, claiming his account was frozen.

Officers said they are working to try to recover some of the money.

It is the latest in a number of scams which have seen women from Northern Ireland lose hundreds of thousands of pounds to romance scammers online.

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

Police said a while after the conman first met the woman online he asked her for her online banking details, which he used to send money to a number of people.

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

Ch Supt Simon Wells of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) 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.

"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."

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