DUBLIN, Ireland - An increasing number of vulnerable Irish people are being romanced by online fraudsters who are scamming their victims.
Gardai are stepping up investigations into what they term romance and investment fraud.
Search operations on Monday carried out by Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) officers in Dublin and Navan have resulted in three arrests.
"These arrests are a culmination of investigations into a complaints of suspected romance and investment fraud," Gardai said in a statement released on Tuesday.
"It's understood one of the victims in the case was convinced to transfer large sums of cash to accounts in Ireland, Turkey, Dubai and Vietnam over a nine month period, having met with fraudsters online via a dating site," the statement added.
The three men arrested are being detained at garda stations in West Dublin.
"This is a novel investigation as the senders of such emails have never been arrested in Ireland before. To date, the belief would always have been that criminal groups engaged in this activity are operating from outside this jurisdiction. This investigation shows that this is not always the case. It is anticipated that numerous injured parties from all over the world will now be identified. We would encourage other victims of this type of fraud to report incidents to local garda," Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan (GNECB) said Tuesday.