Two people arrested for the “Love Scam”

The scammers managed to get hold of a loot of 175,000 euros.

The Civil Guard, within the framework of operation “Fake Gold”, has arrested two people who are attributed with a scam of 175,000 euros, using a type of cybercrime known as “Romance Scam” or love scam. This scam consists of gaining the trust of the victim, faking a romantic relationship with them, in order to ask them for money.

The operation began following a complaint filed by a woman from Gata de Gorgos who had been the victim of a scam, triggering an exhaustive investigation to clarify the facts.

The complainant told the agents that she had met a man through a popular social network more than a year ago. After days of exchanging messages, they agreed to have a more direct conversation, which led the victim to believe that they were developing a genuine romantic relationship. The individual claimed to reside in the United States, which made it difficult to meet him in person.

To gain the victim’s trust, the scammer established a close relationship, making her believe in a genuine love bond. Subsequently, she requested financial help to recover a briefcase supposedly full of gold, acquired through a fictitious inheritance. The money borrowed would be used to cover fees and taxes related to the inheritance, while the scammer made it seem that the gold would be for the future of both of them as a couple.

After the first transfer, the criminal continued with the scam, achieving successive payments. Agents determined that the fictitious relationship lasted 14 months, during which daily messages were exchanged. The victim made transfers worth a total of more than €80,000, including selling properties and engaging with lenders to make payments.

Investigations revealed that once the victim made the transfers, the fraudster redistributed them among several bank accounts to launder the money, eliminating any trace of its origin.

In addition, it was discovered that eleven other victims in different towns in Spain, such as Roquetas de Mar (Almería), Lepe (Huelva), Valdemoro (Madrid), San Ildefonso (Segovia), Premià de Mar (Barcelona), Barbastro (Huesca), Pamplona (Navarra), Buñol (Valencia), Almoradí and Cocentaina, had fallen into the same modus operandi.

On September 26, in the city of Valencia, two alleged perpetrators were arrested, a man and a woman aged 33 and 66, who were charged with 12 crimes of fraud for a total value of 175,000. euros.

As part of the operation, a mobile phone device was seized and eight bank accounts of the detainees are being investigated. Likewise, the intervention of the bank accounts in the possession of the suspects has been requested.

The operation was carried out by the Team @ of the Alicante Civil Guard, under the direction of the Investigative Court No. 1 of Denia.

In the face of this type of scam, known as Romance Scam or Love Scam, the Civil Guard recommends the following: be wary of online relationships that move too quickly, verify people’s identities, refrain from sending money and notify family and friends about of these relationships.

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