Irish Americans who believe they have fallen for someone with Irish connections online are being warned by the U.S. Department of State that it may be a scam.
Many are falling for hard luck stories involving the person they are in contact with claiming that they have been victims of crime in Ireland. The Sunday Business Post in Ireland reported that U.S. citizens are falling victim in large numbers to the Internet scam.
Irish American romantics might think they are forming a relationship with someone with a similar background, only to have them demand money.
Officials could not be certain if these scammers were based in Ireland of whether they are simply taking advantage of the tradition which the Irish have for settling in the United States.
The official warning to American citizens from the bureau of consular affairs said: “The one [scam] we see most frequently is someone claiming to have been a victim of crime while visiting Ireland, who needs assistance with medical expenses because of the crime and/or subsistence assistance.”
Like most of these honey-trap scams the con artists use a stolen photograph to entice the victims. The Department of State describe the photos as “someone attractive enough to elicit a response, but not so attractive as to draw undue attention.’’
It said, “Once contact is made, these criminals spend months developing a ‘relationship’ that the U.S. citizen believes is legitimate.
‘Once ‘overseas’, he/she will contact the U.S. citizen claiming some problem has come up - perhaps a destroyed laptop, critically-ill friend, or personal financial disaster . . . it’s all fiction."
Unfortunately because the scam was conducted across international borders, the chances of recovering lost money are virtually zero.