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Faking it — scammers’ tricks to steal your heart and money

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Image of cupid and heartNot everyone using online dating sites is looking for love. Scammers create fake online profiles using photos of other people — even stolen pictures of real military personnel. They profess their love quickly. And they tug at your heartstrings with made-up stories about how they need money — for emergencies, hospital bills, or travel. Why all of the tricks? They’re looking to steal your money.

As if all that isn’t bad enough, romance scammers are now involving their victims in online bank fraud. Here’s how it works: The scammers set up dating profiles to meet potential victims. After they form a “relationship,” they come up with reasons to ask their love interest to set up a new bank account. The scammers transfer stolen money into the new account, and then tell their victims to wire the money out of the country. Victims think they’re just helping out their soulmate, never realizing they’re aiding and abetting a crime.  

Here are some warning signs that an online love interest might be a fake. They ask you to:

  • chat off of the dating site immediately, using personal email, text, or phone
  • wire money using Western Union or Money Gram
  • set up a new bank account

Did you know you can do an image search of your love interest’s photo in your favorite search engine? If you do an image search and the person’s photo appears under several different names, you’re probably dealing with a scammer. And if the person’s online profile disappears a few days after they meet you, that’s another tip-off.

Here’s the real deal: Don’t send money to someone you met online — for any reason. If your online sweetheart asks for money, you can expect it’s a scam.

Unfortunately, online dating scams are all too common. There may be tens of thousands of victims, and only a small fraction report it to the FTC. If this happens to you, please report it at ftc.gov/complaint — click on Scams and Rip-Offs, then select Romance Scams.

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit
Scam Tags:  Romance Scams

Comments

Anyone heard of Greg Darlington? He's from Oregon, works as contract chef overseas. Last year he was in Lisbon and this year, works for Caspian Oil in Qatar.

I've been scammed i was talking to woman on Hangout she keeps saying she needed money for medicine and was hungry should I can I help you with no more money she said she was going to report me I did nothing wrong but help should I be scared they say they were going to make me lose my job and my house.i did nothing wrong there demanding money or else

OMG. This dude just became my hard and fast words with friends - friend. Exact story of being widowed, 14 year old son, in US Army as orthopedic surgeon. My photo includes my awesome boyfriend. He is phishing in the wrong pond! He has only been playing words with friends for a month. Poor scores. He is a surgeon. He should be excellent at words with friends. LOL

I really need help with a situation and If anyone can help with some insight, I'd truly appreciate it.
A little more than 2 years ago I met a girl on Facebook from Nigeria. I know Nigeria is one of the core places for scams. I pretty much gave her a hard time thinking that maybe she's just a catfish or a scammer. And of course she's been very persistent. I decided to give her an opportunity to prove herself. We've had alot of conversations and even video chat consistently, mostly thru Whatsapp, Facebook, and Instagram. She seems to be a real person. She's sent pictures of herself and her family and has told me alot of stories. Of course we've discussed my original feeling of thinking that maybe she's a scammer and she claims she's not of course. However somethings just feel right to me. She's claims to be a student in medical school. She has shown me a couple of her study books and she speaks some of the medical language, so I can say that maybe that's true. But she claims to always need money to help pay for rent and school. I've sent some money at times because she seems honest. However she claims not to work but she always seems to be dressed very nicely in her photos and often goes to small outings mostly with, family I believe. It's really hard to tell if she's a scammer or not. I've read all about romance scams so it makes it very difficult. I don't know much about Nigerian culture but she claims that she really Loves me wants to marry me. And she really wants me to come visit her as soon as possible. She's also supposed to be finishing Medical school as a doctor in May or June. I've tried to look up any information about her online but I cannot find anything other than the Facebook page and Instagram. I'm not naive to understanding that this may not be real. But I really do care for her. I just want to be sure that she is who she says that she is. I hope someone could shed some light for me. Thank You.

Hey I'm wondering if anyone has had an experience of this with a guy named Sam webb and a girl named katie?

Brad Cooper, in his 70s, veteran now contractor from New York and has a friend Brian (don't know last name) who is 41 also from NY, but is currently working as a contractor in Georgia for the next year. Has a 17-year-old son. He divorced his wife after catching her cheating "red handed." Brian also has a friend named Frank.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Does anyone know a Chinese man by the name of Tony Yee

I know Tony Yee. Can you please tell me what you know about him and I will tell you what I know

I know Tony Yee. Can you please tell me what you know and I will tell you about him

I want to know if any of you know about Tony Yee. Can you please let me know. Thank you

Was almost scammed by someone who claimed to be an Orthopedic surgeon with the UN, originally from Portland, Oregon. Widowed with a daughter in boarding school in the UK. Wife died during child birth. Parents had also passed away. Shared that he wanted to relocate to my country and was looking forward to meeting me. He looked really charming in the photo he sent. Was quick to profess his attraction and love, and I was naive enough to fall in love even though there were some red flags - grammatical errors (for someone supposedly so educated), hiding his LinkIn profile after we moved the conversation to whatsapp, not wanting me to tell my friends about this 'relationship', repeated love messages that were copied and pasted (exact phrasing), not sharing very much about himself. He did come across as a Godly man and someone with all the qualities I was looking for. He even shared that the one thing he cannot forgive is dishonesty and lies (yah, right). I must say that it felt very real, which means he is a very skillful scammer. 3 weeks later, he asked me to wire money to the 'matron' of his daughter because she had fallen ill and needed some money. That was the final red flag. I asked about his work and when his contract would end. That was when he said his contract was ending soon and he was entitled to a vacation but had not been because he needed a wife/trusted relative to apply for his vacation which I found out is a trick that scammers use. It was a painful lesson but I knew that the right thing to do was to walk away, block him on whatsapp without incurring any financial loss. You should walk away too, before it is too late. It is painful but time will heal. We deserve better than this.

Wow looks funny that there are so many comments and complains from female users related men scammers. Me is male and victim of several scams online outgoing from Africa, Asia as Philippiens , Thailand etc. female scammers

Does anyone know Jeff Martens? Claims to be in Turkey working on a cargo ship overseeing products from China. The usual from what I'm reading here. Charming, in love, marriage, wife died, son a missionary in S. America, he's taking care of granddaughter. Can never call or video me for security reasons. I'm expecting FedEx delivery today with a very large check to deposit in my account so he can pay his bills. He's incredibly persistent and knows I have absolutely nothing. I've been on the fence with this for several months.

Yes, we are all so stupid. But probably not as stupid as I am. I sent money to someone claiming to be Jimmy Page. You would not believe how "believable" this person was. I kept asking the right questions but I guess I didn't push hard enough. It had lasted for months. How could I fall for such a thing!? I wish there were a way to expose this person and to let the real JP know what someone is doing to his name and rep.

I may be scammed by alexia Mc Kenzie asking for miponey multiple times wanting to be girlfriend

Hi,
maybe someone can help me.
I'm german (sorry for my bad english) and I got a privat message on Twitter from a guy named Ronald Penn. He says he lives in California but at the moment he's in iraq on a a peace missionary with the army. He says hids wife and son died in a car accident and he feels so bad that he's thinking about killing himself. He said what would help is me sending him money via paypal so the mission could buy gifts (he wants shampoo, Vodka etc) for him. The paypal adress I'm supposed to use is Lindatrix99@ After all I've read here it sounds very fishy to me, what should I do?

DON'T send him money. PLEASE ! Sounds like a complete scam. Don't do it. I'm giving my scammer a hard time. Why can't he give me his home address in NH. The address on his Michigan drivers license is a commercial address. He is pulling away and I'm the bad guy. Excellent at what he is doing. Let's be smarter than these guys ladies and gentlemen. Don't buy into their love bombing. I know I did but I won't be sending a dime. BUT TIME IS MONEY. They are wasting our time. Toni, don't send anything to Ronald Penn.

Has anyone talked to someone named "Steven Gerald" 49yrs. Engineer. From Jersey in Eygpt. 14 yr old son. Widowed. Wife died.

I had a male he ask me be be his friend on messenger. He got right into my head and heart. Saying he loved me I was his queen and a mother to his son his name is James willam live in little rock USA he kept sending love messages saying he worked on the rigs as a driller. Then he started asking me to get him a stream. Card I said no then he ask me if I was well of for money and did I work I said no. He then ask me to buy him a new fone my baby boo. Again I said. He said to me baby have you got a credit I said no why do you want to no that for. He said baby I want to put some money in there for you I said don't have a credit card baby you must open one and message me with the details I said you would more likely to take it out. I said you are wasting your time I got no money. He knew I was a widow he went on my profile and seen it all. I said to him you don't mean any of those things you sent I told him he can't pull the wool over my eyes I said to him you are one big scammer on his profile he go foe single women divorce ones and widows x

My son warned and begged me not to reply to IG DM. Jim Womersley contacted me on IG, I did not reply for a few days. He has brown eyes and hair ( little gray at the temples) very charming and sweet, "have you eaten"..be safe out there. Called me darling, honey, dear, his queen. Lots of hearts, and "I love you", "I miss you so much" after 3 days. Said he loves God with all his heart. "Can you treat me like your king". He said he would be 48 years old December 24th, Self employed Engineer/Interior Decorator resides in Paterson New Jersey but was working in Frankfurt Germany for 2 weeks. He was born and raised in Sweden but left after his wife and baby passed during childbirth. His father passed when he was 21 in a auto crash. His mother passed in 2009. He was an only child. He hurried me to Google Hangouts after 2 days. We communicated through Hangouts for the rest of the week. Suddenly I didn't hear from him for a few days, I was worried and expressed that in messages to him. 3 days later I received a message "Honey I am so sorry to scare you" said he was robbed coming from the office. They stole his phone, passport, ATM card and cash. He said he was in pain from "beaten" they gave him. He said he loves me so much, I am his queen and please don't leave him. Said he would be stuck there until they "hopefully" recover his personal belongings. I wanted so badly to reach out to him but nothing add up. I did not respond, I knew what would follow. I've blocked him on IG and on Google Hangouts. He removed his IG account yesterday. I wanted so badly to believe he was real. I fell for the man he impersonated. Red flags I ignored was ...
IG profile was fairly new, only 15 post, He followed over 100 women, and had over 900 followers. I believe it was a fake account. Pics on his post shows him with another man (said his co-worker), Him and a little boy sticking out their tongues, Him in front of Universal Studios, and alot of positives quotes. He sent pictures of himself with London Bridge in the back ground wearing jeans and a dark jacket, also pictures where he appears to be sitting on a Airplane with a navy pillow. I am heartbroken, has anyone else been contacted by this impostor?

Hi, I read ur story. Its so similar to the experience I had. I talked to a guy not the same name but your experiences are. I too, ignored the red flags hoping the man was real. I should have challenged it earlier as it went on for months. Invest my emotions. However I can tell you, he said the same things. Love you so much, have you eaten, stay safe for me, sent me songs to listen to, sentiments that only now that I did my research, foind out were copied from the net. So I read a few things on these scammers. Their MO are similar, widowed, some with children, no children, have jobs overseas, their equipment broke, they need money and you're the only one that can help them, they lost their documents. If they are making all this money why are they asking.. let them minus the money out of their so called big pay. And they make it so believable I refused to give money (red flag)especially when he mentioned bitcoin transfer. I was the world to him but when I refused the second time. He ended it. Blocked me. So much for loving me. Right. After that I noticed he opened a few other profiles, different names, locations. They tend to use voice over apps... each profile has a different phone number. They are talking to multiple women a day. Patterns to look :for timing of calls , working overseas, want to come home to meet you, marry you etc. Some are bots. I too, Hurt, disappointed thinking of him etc but I had to come back to reality and thank GOD he gave me the clues I needed. These scammers use similar scripts to lure woman stories are changed a bit. I know ur hurting but be thankful you didnt lose your money. I also questioned why as we're intelligent woman but your emotions take over. Chalk it up as a learning experience. If too good to be true it not real. Ask for video calls, I will next time. You may recall always having had bad connections right...thats another flag. The distance as an excuse. Hope this may help you some how . Its amazing what you can read about them and they're good at what they do. Check out scammers online photos online, I saw two that actually reached out to me before this Eposiode. Stay safe and heal

In the beginning of December I was on Facebook and received a message from someone named Hubert Williams. I checked his Facebook book. Very handsome, Middle Eastern man. Salt and pepper hair one of those short beards. Said he wanted for us to get to know each other. Said he was a Canadian civilian orthopedic surgeon in the Kabul, Afghanistan combat zone for 2 1/2 years. Widower for 5 years. Two sons - 14 and 10. From Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. We conversed for several weeks Skype. Kept telling me how he wanted to leave the zone be with his sons and start a new life with me but the commanding officer would not allow it. Asked me to write a letter. I refused. He then pretended to write the letter an a day later told me he was told he could leave but would have to pay for a Liberty Card (does not exist). He said no one could use their own money in Kabul. Started asking me to help him to get out of Kabul. I told him I would find out if that demand was legal. He started accusing me of not believing him. I did check with Canadian military attorneys and found out it was all a lie which I already suspected it was. Everything he claimed was the truth was a lie. Everything! He then sent me a scathing email saying I was a liar, cruel, and that I fooled him. Tugged at the heart strings with everything he had. Today I spoke to a soldier who is now with the FBI. He said I was absolutely correct in not sending money. This was a scam. So I messaged this man today told him about the fact that I knew it was all a scam. Mentioned my soldier/FBI friend and immediately this Hubert was no longer available on Messenger. I feel badly for the man in the photos. Probably does not know that he and his children are part of this scheme. Looking back now dome of the pictures were off to. Some items were blurred out but I figured out what they were. Beware if this man. DO NOT SEND HIM MONEY under any circumstances. I am glad I did not!

Anyone know James Whyte? age 51, uses match.com

Ive been talking to a guy called Brian Roberts based in Afganistan and I met him on a scrabble application. We ve been talking on hangout and he hasnt asked me for money. We are just talking.....still hes saying I love you and I met him 2 days ago. I find the wrong thing strange.....I have photos

This is happening to me right now. I feel like such a fool. Im humiliated. I cant explain the feelings of depression and embarrassment i am going through right now.

There is a guy named George Washington in my chat and he keeps on popping up. I keep on removing him.

Talking to a guy named Frank off match. Took his profile off immediately after we started to email offsite. Says widower 1 son who lives in Poland with only grandchild. buys and exports exotic cars, cruise ships parts. Profile showed 1 city and he says lives in another, Columbus OH. pics come up with nothing. anyone else similar story.

HI
I am talking to a guy who I really did fall in love with.... met on dating site .. did go off quickly... no kids no mention of a wife... I did sent him chatr top up pin ...he is an engineer on ship in Timor Sea working for shell... all are ligit as I have checked just cannot find his name... He uses a chatr phone and he did send a photo and he did go on skype to video call when I asked him .. I actually did not go on just looked at him. Did ask me for money for equipment but I did not do it and I did say good bye on text but he texts me and emails me still. I told him I would not send him any money so this one is tough... as he said some analogy that things change so hmmm...I may just keep talking until something else comes along or we meet. Richard is his name... I will put his photo on somewhere.

Richard shield?

I've talking to a man named Richard, who says is from Turkey, working in Germany on a pipeline! He wanted me to help pay for pipes, as he was robbed. He has an inactive account on IG and FB

I'm texting a man who says he's a surgeon and works for UN. I've had romance scammers in my life before so I did a background check on his email address and name. There is no information coming up on the address and it seems he doesn't exist when I looked up his name. Could he block anyone in finding out information about him? Or should I accept that he's a scammer or a catfish?

I met this guy name " Scott Howard" he says he is an orthopedic nurse, lives in Nevada , Missouri. Told me that he was married for 7 years and they have an 8 year old son. And that he have been divorce for 2 years ,because she cheated on him. After a week he was saying that he was in love with me , and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. I told that one of my coworker said he was a catfish he got so mad at me. Now he came to me on this dating app called BLK. After that he told me that he closed his account because i was that one for him. Ok. After a week he asked if I closed my account yet I go no why would I. So this is where things start getting very interesting , He said his job was sending him to Turkey I forgot what part. Said he was going to gone for a few weeks I go really , after a few days " he was there" he reach out to me saying that he needed help and could i get him a $100 Visa card. I said no. Words went back and forth. He stop talking to me for alike a week. Now a week later he is leaving Turkey, Here is the funny part now he is stuck in Germany. I asked why are you in Germany. He told me he was buying gold and for me not to tell anyone. WOW all I could say. Basically he said he had to pay his lawyer for some paperwork. a few days or a week later he said he needed my help again I go what now Scott. He asked if I would give him $1892.00 to get back home, Ah hell no I'm not and why would I give my money and I don't know you. He said but I love you and I need to get home. How am I to get home. I said the same way you got there. But i called him out on a few thing I noticed. All his pictures he had no mask on, all his pictures looked cropped the back ground of all his pictures where blurry. Now I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer but with this covid-19 your not wearing a mask ok so I questioned him. He said Oh I wanted to you see my smile only for you because I love you. So ladies I never gave him money I told him that I was going to report him for trying to scam females out of money, FYI: he is on Skype under HOWARD HOWARD watch out ladies please I paid attention to all the signs.

Hello, Anyone come across a guy named "Yannick" originally from Finland. Very handsome. Could be in Michigan or NH. Civil Engineer/Project Manager for large construction sites all around the world. Very tall man. Thick accent. Dark hair. Found him on a dating website for BBW's.

I have been getting messages from someone claiming to be William Levy. He sends me messages on Hangouts. Has anyone else had this experience?

I was talking to a guy name mark levy don't know if it is the same person I blocked him kept asking for stem cards then moved to itune cards then he needed money to get home his bank account was frozen talked over a year on whatsapp

Hi has anyone heard of a Jesse Trent? From Copenhagen but living in Belfast. Logistics manager currently working in Turkey? Hot but not so super hot as to make you suspicious straight away. Dead wife and 2 small children that live with him. Sound familiar to anyone? Im pretty sure its a scam and i keep giving him the opportunity to ask me for something but it looks like he's playing the long game....

I am talking to a guy that is from Texas but is currently in the Army/Marines in Iraq. He professed his love for me about three weeks to a month after we started talking. His name is Jordan Firm and I would like to know if he is a scam or is he the real thing. Please reply back to this comment.

I’ve been talking with a guy by the name of Nance Roderick who says he is in London. Just got done with big project but needs to pay taxes before he can leave the country to come back to the USA. Is stranded there due to he lose his wallet before he left to work on project and had to freeze his account. Just asked me to open a Greendot account for him but under my name.

His story is his wife and daughter died in tragic auto accident. Went to London for his last big construction project that was to last 10 weeks but has turned into 6 months. Retiring after this and wants to begin a new life with me. Lost his wallet just before he left the USA to go to London, put a freeze on his account, now can’t access his money to pay off taxes.

Anyone in an online relationship with a civil engineer named Liam that just doesn't seem right? We met on Match, and almost immediately he went to the Philippines on a 5 week project. He has been there 2 weeks and when a piece of equipment broke down I wired $4500. He didn't ask for it directly but I asked if he was going to be ok financially since he was having to pay for things up front and getting paid on completion of the project...he then said he could really use my help with the money to rent the new equipment. He sends me selfies whenever I ask for them and they haven't shown up on Google image search. He says he is Czech, has lived in the US for 8 years, was married for 20 years but his wife died of cancer 4 years ago, and that he hasn't dated since then. I have a teen daughter and am trying to be cautious. He definitely says all the right things but at the same time he also checks the boxes for a scammer. We have not video chatted, he says he has never done that and won't do it because he wants our first time we see each other to be our first meeting in person. He is 50, very handsome and fit, very short dark hair with a little gray, close cropped beard, thick brows. I just would really welcome some advice here. Thanks!

Has anybody heard a name Anthony Blöchlinger origin from France but lives in Switzerland. We have been talking for almost two mont, i have fallen forhin, handsome says he is 50 and working for Tissot Watches company in Geneva. He went to Ghana 29.12 because his father got heart attack. I advised him to fly over and he supposedly withdrew money out of bank in Accra Ghana for his father’s surgery when he was attacked and all his money and passport and credit cards were stolen from him. He today asked money 100 eur from me for his father’s funeral. I asked him to ask colleagues but he said he can’t. I wanted to video call him but he got upset so i told my don about it, he wrote to him after what he blocked me in WhatsApp and in Instagram.

Thank you so much for posting your message!This man sent me a private message a week ago on IG.We started “talking” even though it was my first time ever to engage in conversation with a complete stranger online.He wanted to switch to Whatsup but I declined.Later he changed his IG profile to private.And already after few days I had a bad feeling about him.I had the impression that there is more than one person writing to me,so I blocked him.But then unblocked him again but still it didn’t feel right so I started searching internet and found your comment and confronted him and he just stopped writing.I deleted the whole conversation and blocked him,this time forever.But at least it took me only one week to waste my time and I’ve got a lesson to never do this again.Thank you once again!

I know him on Facebook by Agapitio Alfonso from Puerto Rico and practicing as a surgeon in Sudan. He asked me for $ 4,000 in Nike gift cards. He would send me a safety box with documents and $ 50,000.

I recently met a physician assistant stating his name was Joe Rad PA-C, lost his wife recently and had 2 children supposedly... and works for UNICEF south Africa. Said it costs 4500 for a vacation certificate and he got 3750 and needs me to send 750, does the un or UNICEF charge for emergency vacations?

If some one is is a marine engineer and is in the middle of sea do they have access to there bank account

My aunt is being scammed by a guy whos name is micheal he is a dr. He described it as childrens bone dr. He was on the kik app told her all the right things , tried to get her to move in less then a month of knowing him , bought him ebay cards and itunes cards. She had to run to the bank one day to get over her 200 limit ( yes we told her it was a Scammer) then she says oh he has to go to calico to get his dogs and he wants her to get a ticket , promises her abusive past is over from her ex and he is good and understands , never gave us last name but did show her a (im sure fake passport) he claims to be a orthopedic surgeon. If anyone has similar story would be helpful to try and prove this to her as she is packing to move with this dude ( even though im sure he will ask for money and doesnt live in our state )

Does anyone no a chris arthour, saying he in construction, and is in Turkey at the moment.

Anyone know a micheal he is in 50s as and a Dr a orthepedic surgeon working moslty on kids cases and he is on kik and what s app and asks for itunes and ebay cards and loans from your banks , oh but dobt worry yoh can move in and come swim at his pool and he will take you on trips , so get a passport and plan to go to Denver to get his cats! Then he will just stop talking to you after he gets some cash and leave you being and feeling dumb cause guess what Internet apps like kik and whatsapp always have "" good wholesome guys"

No last name sorry

Hi i have a friend that has been talk to a man for over a year who tells her he is a marine engineer and lost his wife and daughter, son andrew in bording school in Washington DC. She never spoke to him by phone, fb page deleted, they only talk through hangout. He lets his friend deposit mondy into her account and have her withdraw the next day. His namd is Jimmy Marks and on a oil rig in Qatur. He is dak skin, handsome with salt and pepper hair and beard

Guy online on Kik and Instagram
Fast friends seemed so good to be true
He was nice and charming and said he loved me right away then he asked me to move in 3 months after we met in July
His name is Michael he is a dr and orthopedic surgeon he lives in cali with five dogs but wants to move to Texas, He said he was 44 and born in December , he also said I should move in and not worry about a thing , at this point it was dating as he messaged me all the time , my mom said it was a scam and i held tight to he is a good guy and understands me and I am in the best relationship of my life , like im going to marry this guy and be happy forever. He even said he wanted kids and alot if them , I think he said 5 kids, then he needed help so he asked for a gift card and he would pay me back , he is a dr after all and so i sent him ebay cards so he would be able to buy this thing from his childhood and he acted stupid like he didnt know how to use a ebay card or ebay then it was itunes and then 10 more ebay cards. I was so dumb and I beleived him but now I see and think the horror this could have been so worst. Then he told me he was taking me on a trip and to get a passport which later a cop said is a tactic for trafficing and then he was going to take me to get his dogs in texas as he was out if state at the time and he had a house in my state , then he was coming to my thanksgiving and flying in and I was to pick him up, he never showed. I told my mom and she said he is a scammer, all those apps ki k and whatsapp have them and scammer try to get lonely people but I said there was no way, then he told me we would be together for christmas and get a real tree and be together and then he deleted his app , did not hear from him as I reflected I realized what happended and now im here. Out 1500 overall sad and depressed , and stupid. He never even gave a last name.

I have a friend who just told me that a "Mark Chad" from Charlotte, NC had to sell everything in order to work on a project for BP in Norway (on a ship). He needed money for internet, clothing, water, food, and equipment. This is still going on now. I believe my friend has been taken for about $100,000.00. I can hear reflections of some romantic conversations. Will update more soon.

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