News Letter exposes international ‘love rat’

The PSNI has warned News Letter readers to be very wary about a suspicious advert which appeared in the paper calling for “a good woman to marry”.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 23rd May 2019, 8:15 am

The PSNI has warned News Letter readers to be very wary about a suspicious advert which appeared in the paper calling for “a good woman to marry”.

The large pink advert in Tuesday’s News Letter initially caused some mirth, sparking some amused discussion across the Province.

In it the advertiser said: “Looking for good woman to marry between ages of 47 to 79. I am 57-years-old, seeking nice lady between the ages of 47 and 79 with views to marriage. Only sincere persons, please email a biography with recent photo to: [email protected]”.

The advert seems to have been published in a number of papers, including some in Australia

But when the News Letter decided to find out more, the story took a sinister turn. An internet search of the email address revealed that this was not a lonely Tyrone bachelor, but rather part of a global story which has seen the advert in publications as diverse as The Spectator, The Chichester Observer and various newspapers across Australia.

On one blog an anonymous woman said she was fooled by the scammer’s story, that he was working as a UN orthopaedic surgeon in Syria with a 14-year-old daughter. She added: “Yes, I lost $5500...”.

Online romance fraudsters typically gain the victim’s trust over a period of weeks before revealing a financial ‘crisis’ and begging for help.

The advertiser also supplied the News Letter with another email address. However, the Department of Industry in Western Australia has warned that this was used in newspaper adverts which looked like a potential money laundering scam with links to Ghana.

PSNI Chief Supt Simon Walls said: “We have been made aware of a suspicious romantic advertisement which appeared in [Tuesday’s] News Letter. We are looking into the matter and if required, will take appropriate action.

“Romance or dating scams can occur when people use fake identities to con their way into people’s affections to get personal details or money from people. Dating adverts can be genuine but I’d urge the public to be wary that when you are communicating with an individual via email or the internet, they may not be who they say they are.”

If in doubt, the public should not give out personal details and they should never send money, he said. Talk to family and friends if you are concerned, he added.