Two arrested in Alicante municipality of Elche for operating a ‘Romance Scam’ netting €57,000

Image of the Guardia Civil arresting the alleged scammer. Credit: guardia civil

An Elche couple were arrested by the Guardia Civil after operating a ‘Romance Scam’ that netted an estimated €57,000.


As reported by the Guardia Civil in a statement on Monday, February 13, two individuals were arrested in the Alicante municipality of Elche within the framework of ‘Operation Romantics’. They were accused of operating a scam that netted them an estimated €57,000, using a type of cybercrime known as ‘Romance Scam’.

This scam consists of gaining the trust of the victim by faking a romantic relationship with her. Once the victim is convinced that the relationship is stable, the perpetrator begins to ask for money, promising to pay it back, which they never do.

Their operation was launched after receiving a complaint from a woman who believed that she could be the victim of a scam. As a result, officers from the Equipo@ of Alicante Guardia Civil began an investigation to clarify the facts.

The complainant informed the police that a little over a year ago she met a man through a well-known dating application. After a few days of maintaining contact through the app, they exchanged telephone numbers to chat in a more direct fashion.

After some time, the victim was convinced that they had a real sentimental relationship with this person. He proposed to meet in person but he always made excuses about work and personal problems and at the last moment he always invented some excuse to avoid their ever meeting.

To gain the victim’s trust, the fraudster told her that he belonged to the State Security Forces and Corps. He also insisted that he came from a wealthy family that owned a developer and construction company in the municipality of Elche.

He was also investing in a luxury home in a residential area of ​​Elche to move to live near it he claimed. Likewise, he told her his family history: that he had a teenage son with problems; that he also took care of her sick mother (going so far as to lie about her death); and that he was trying to build the family business, which one of his partners had brought to ruin.

It should be noted that the scammer came to meet his victim, pretending to be a relative of his. During this meeting, he told the victim all the problems he had with his son, his mother, and the family business, which added credibility to all the fantasies he had recounted during their long-distance conversations.

At one point, posing as her teenage son, the author contacted her via a text message and asked for financial help for his father. The victim was by now convinced that they were a couple She believed that in the near future they were going to start a family and that he really needed this help, so she began to lend him money.

Sometimes, he pretended that he was going to sell some property and that he could repay the accumulated debt. Unfortunately, a new problem always appeared, with which not only could he not repay what he owed her, but also a new economic need arose.

After an exhaustive study of all the evidence collected, the police officers were able to verify that the fictitious relationship lasted 14 months. They had exchanged an average of 350 messages a day for eight months and the victim had made transfers totalling €57,000.

They were also able to verify that, once the victim deposited the money, the scammer immediately withdrew it, taking the cash to launder it without leaving a trace.

As a result of the investigations, the home of the alleged perpetrator in the town of Guardamar del Segura was entered and searched. The officers proceeded to arrest a 39-year-old man – the material author – and a 39-year-old woman, his sentimental partner. She was fully aware of the facts, and who, in turn, profited from the benefits obtained from his criminal activity.

In the operation, the electronic devices used by the authors to commit the scam were intervened, which will be carefully analysed. The seizure of the bank accounts of which the detainees are holders has been requested.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at