The Cathaoirleach of Seanad Éireann has said he was “obviously horrified” at his image being stolen to swindle people on the dating app Tinder.
Photographs of Mark Daly, a Senator from Kerry, were used by scammers on Tinder as part of a plot to swindle women out of the equivalent of hundreds of thousands of euro, primarily in New Zealand.
According to a report in The Sunday Times, one woman sent more than €300,000 (NZ$500,000) to criminals, after becoming infatuated with the profile, which used the image of Mr Daly.
Mr Daly told The Irish Times on Sunday that he referred the matter to An Garda Síochána when this was brought to his attention.
“I am obviously horrified at the idea that unbeknown to me my image could be used in such awful activity especially where people have been defrauded. I am genuinely shocked that my picture could be taken and used like this,” he said.
“Unfortunately, I don’t know any more about how this happened at this moment but my hope is that the authorities will get to the bottom of this as soon as possible.”
The New Zealand website Stuff interviewed one woman who said that she became infatuated with an online picture that used several images of Mr Daly, but with a false name of Rodney Mullen.
A New Zealand Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick asked a parliamentary committee there to examine what she called the “egregious case” of the Tinder swindler scam.
“I strongly believe the committee and the public would benefit from hearing from our large banks, the ombudsman, the bankers’ association — if not also Consumer NZ, Netsafe and the New Zealand Police — on what current approaches are and where they may need updating,” she told Stuff.
Several other images of the Kerry Senator, stolen from his social media accounts, were also used by the fraudsters. Mr Daly was appointed Cathaoirleach of the Seanad in 2020.