A SEA captain with suspicious motives has set a course for Ireland – and the public needs to be on the lookout to ensure they don’t fall foul of his fishy scheme.
Gardai are urging people to stay vigilant following reports of a romance fraudster posing as a fake “Sea captain” to scam unsuspecting victims out of thousands.
While scams of this kind are, unfortunately, relatively commonplace online, in recent weeks Irish police have become aware of several cases involving people from the Emerald Isle.
According to Sergeant Ber Leetch, Crime Prevention Office at Henry Street Garda Station, one woman in Limerick was duped into sending a fraudster cash.
“A lady in her early 40s received a friend request from a gentleman, and she accepted it,” he said.
“He claimed to be a sea captain and to make a long story short a romantic on-line relationship began. They spoke frequently by phone and he sent a number of photos.”
“After about three weeks he asked for her address so that she could receive a package on his behalf, as he was at sea and unable to receive same. The lady agreed.”
Sergeant Leetch explained that the woman went on to receive “a number of emails regarding the delivery of this package, and, in one (email), money was requested for delivery cost; unfortunately, the lady paid this cost”.
“Not long after the ‘sea captain’ disappeared and with him a large amount of money, which had been taken from the lady’s bank account.”
The scenario is one familiar to police across the world – in October 2018, an Australian woman handed over $10,000 to a scammer posing as a real-life Danish sea captain who, it was later revealed, was actually gay in real life.
In a separate but similar scam, a woman discovered her bank account had been emptied after embarking on a romantic online relationship with a man.
The woman loaned the man money.
When it came time to pay her back, the man asked for her details.
However, the woman was subsequently horrified to discover that her account had been emptied of all available funds and had been left overdrawn”.
Scams of this kind has been reported by police across the world.
“There were a number of incidents internationally, so much so that the real sea captain whose identity these scammers stole had to issue a warning on social media and even he warned people not to send money to strangers,” Sgt Leetch explained.
“I cannot stress enough how important it is to make sure you know exactly who you are providing your bank details to otherwise you might as well be standing on the street and handing out your cash to complete strangers,” she added.
In October 2018, an Australian woman was duped out of $10,000 in a similar scam after her fraudster conned her with pictures of a real-life Danish sea captain.