WESTMORELAND COUNTY (KDKA) — Police say an online scammer stole $45,000 from a local woman who thought she was talking to a man from Denmark.

“It’s called a cupid scam,” trooper Stephen Limani said.

An online scammer reached out to a Loyalhanna woman and developed an online romance.

“That’s basically what happened in this case,” Limani said. “The guy made this woman fall in love with him through messaging and phone calls.”

Using WhatsApp, a private messaging app, the alleged thief claimed to be from Denmark and asked for money for his daughter’s educational needs.

At first, the victim was happy to help.

(Photo Credit: Nicole Ford/KDKA)

The suspect wanted the money in the form of gift cards.

The victim spent $45,000 in gift cards and then realized something was wrong.

“She started to confront him about these things and by that time, he took down his social media and was unable to contact him,” Limani said.

Broke and broken-hearted, the victim contacted state police, who say these kinds of crimes are hard to solve and harder for the victims to get anything back.

“These types of investigations are some of the most difficult because they’re out of the country,” Limani said. “It’s so difficult to try and prosecute someone.”

Click here for more information on gift card scams.