Has an online love interest asked you for money?

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Looking to start a new relationship? For some, that may mean meeting a new love interest online. Word to the wise: sometimes it’s best to lead with your head and not your heart.

Millions of Americans use dating sites, social networking sites, and chat rooms to meet people. And many forge successful relationships. But scammers also use these sites to meet potential victims. They create fake profiles to build online relationships, and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love.

The Federal Trade Commission receives thousands of reports each year about romance scammers who create fake online relationships only to steal their victims’ money.

Unfortunately, an online love interest who asks for money is almost certainly a scam artist.

The FTC’s new infographic, developed with the American Bankers Association Foundation, lists common signs of online dating scams and what to do if someone you meet online asks you for money.

Below are some tips to identify a real romance versus a scammer cruising for a target.

Online Dating Scams. Has an online love interest asked you for money? That's a scam. Scammers know millions of people use online dating sites. They are there, too, hiding behind fake profiles. Signs of a scam: Professes love quickly. Claims to be from the U.S., but is overseas for business or military service. Asks for money, and lures you off the dating site. Claims to need money — for emergencies, hospital bills, or travel. Plans to visit, but can’t because of an emergency. $220 million lost in 2016. $56 million lost in 2012. Reports to the FBI tripled over 5 years (4,476 reports in 2012; 14,546 reports in 2016) What to do: Slow down — and talk to someone you trust. Don’t let a scammer rush you. Never wire money, put money on a gift or cash reload card, or send cash to an online love interest. You won’t get it back. Contact your bank right away if you think you’ve sent money to a scammer. Report your experience to: • The online dating site • Federal Trade Commission: ftc.gov/complaint • Federal Bureau of Investigation: ic3.gov. Learn more at ftc.gov/imposters and aba.com/engagement

Please share this information with others. Victims may be embarrassed to talk about their experiences, but you can help. A simple phone call, email or text, saying “Look what I just found” and sharing this information may make a difference in someone else’s life.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

It would be great if these could be generated in an easily printed format. I work at a credit union - and have member's falling for these types of scams regularly. This would be nice to get in their hands.

We have a pdf of the infographic that you can print and share.  Thank you.

The man who scammed me money three years ago, contact me again, he said he was sorry and will repay the money to me. Of course, I know he is lying, what should I do? My case was reported to police three years ago, but finally closed file by police for further investigation impossible.

If you were scammed by someone, and you get a call about a refund, that call is probably also a scam. Don’t give the person any personal or financial information.

I have text msg saying they from western union and FTC FROM PHENOX ARAZONA FROM FBI I WAS TO CONTACT THEM OR MEET THEM AT THE AIRPORT

I was scammed by a guy calling himself Peter Kaua Sullivan, my fiance. I met him on Match.com and he scammed me all my savings over 2 years period from Western Union, Moneygram, Walmart to Walmart, ITunes cards. Just as you all said he was stuck abroad, his son had cancer and he owed taxes to Istanbul, Turkish government for job done there. He also had the money forwarded from Kenya or so he said. I was at the airport waiting for him to arrive several times and he never showed. he had an excuse each time of an emergency.

I had almost the same exact thing. His name was Mathew McCleary that was from Australia but talked with a Spanish accent. He was coming to see me but his crude oil shipment wouldn't ship because he had to pay insurance. Supposedly he all ready paid 37K. He was telling me he was in Istanbul Turkey. He needed 4710K.I told him repeatedly I had no money. He tried to make me feel guilty because I couldnt send the money.

I was talking to someone on Plenty of Fish. He had a European accent and told me he was from Sofia, Bulgaria. We spoke for a long time and he told me he was on a ship heading to Australia for business in shipping. That’s fine and he never did ask me for money, just an iTunes card. Eventually he did ask if I would accept a check that a client owed him. I said no due to scams. I did think about it and said I would accept the check but I would not deposit it in my account. He didn’t like that but too bad.

I went to the bank and asked them to check if it was legit. First of all, why would someone ask a stranger to accept a $4000 check? I can steal it! The check was deposited to a new account just for that purpose. The following day the bank told me the check was fake. I also requested copies of the check. I was able to contact the supposed sender that lives I Maryland. He was an elderly man who told me that he and his wife had identity issues and he never heard of the third party bank the check was cut from. The bank was legit, just not his bank.

I called the sender of the check and told him it cleared but I was keeping the money. Then after much fighting, I took pictures of the check that the bank had stamped and told him it was fake and that I spoke to his client that never had an account at that bank. Anyway he denied all and had accused me of stealing his money! What nerve!

I had the exact same thing. Girl first asked for small amount to get her i tunes subscription but i didnt gave after sometime she stopped talking to me

Me also was talking to a girl i met in meetme she said she was an e6 sergeant in syria her name was Catherine hannisick after 3 days of talking she ask for itunes card and I brought it after she started to ask for more so i blocked her on hangouts we never spoke on phone only email and hangouts this went on for almost 5 months i send her about 1.500 dollars when I started to ask for proof she just told me she was going to give me space i feel so stupid i also set her up made up an email and Netflix account gave it to her and when she sign in it was in Nigeria she claimed her friend stole it and gave it to someone

I got in touch with Catherine hannisick again through meet me app is where she always be she claiming that she love me and wants to marry me she said her commander said he will pay for half her plane ticket and she needed to come up with the other half of 1200 dollars then she said if i could pay the whole amount so she wont have to pay him back she also said that the commander will call me can anyone help me i dont think a person on a mission in the army have that much time to be texting and on dating app i send this person 1500 already i ask her for proof because she will say she have nothing to eat because the camp was attack she would send me an image of pasta from the internet i felt so stupid omg can anyone please help me what should i do

Block her ASAP. Do not send her anything.

I have a similar experience with a girl who said she is Mandy Bender, sent me a friend request on Facebook, I was curious why a beautiful girl like you should contact me, anyway she got me a hangouts site which suppose to be private and we chatted for 3 days and I had a inkling I was being scammed as she asked me to get a I tunes voucher, I played dumb and made out I couldn't get one, then she started asking me about money so I said I was in debt, the big thing was asking for my address which I declined, so I knew she was a scammer, she told me I was the best thing that has happened to her, she kept telling how much she loved me and I was the only person for her.
I have now blocked her and good riddance. Facebook need to do something about these persons.

I just had a similar experience on Instagram. A guy named Kurt McMahon sent me a friend request. Then started professing his love for me (too quickly). He was a legal us citizen, lives in LA, Beverly Hills, has a son named Oliver. That his lost his wife 2 years ago in a car accident. He was looking for love again and was convinced I was the one, the search was over (lol). He even wanted to meet up with me.Then started asking for iTunes cards to upload some files online for a project he had at work, a contract that was gonna help him gain lot of money. He claimed he couldn’t use his credit card bc he had not had time to renew it (he thought I was that stupid to believe that). Then he switched to Amazon cards ($50-100) claiming that he would buy stuff for me. When I told him I didn’t have money he would ask to get him just a $25 iTunes or Amazon card instead. I knew he was lying all along. The day (which was October 16) he supposedly on his way to meet up with me, he texted saying he needed a $100 Amazon card to buy stuff for his son Oliver, it was urgent. I was communicating with him tru hangouts app. I went bck to his Instagram page it said user not found. That was yesterday October 16, 2018. Watch out out there y’all!
I told him countless time even from start that I he was a fraud, a fake! Told him that yesterday before blocking him on Instagram and deleting him on hangouts. Instagram needs to do sth about these persons too!!!!!

I finally caught this person Catherine hannisick she or he was a scammer i should of know better this person was taking pictures from facebook and instagram somehow got into her private account im so mad that i fell for this all the signs were there but i was feeling alone and she was nice in the beginning but now i know i tried the plenty of fish app it’s garbage also u have same scammers trying to lure u into hangouts saying the same stories about being in the army or some sad story im still thinking about reporting this i have all our conversation and pictures saved on my computer even when I tried to stop talking she would say she try to hurt herself which of course was all bs what bothers me the most is that these are heartless people just after people money

Mathew MacCleary was scamming both you and me simultaneously. Your name isn't Alana is it because he once called me that by mistake. Australian citizen, deceased wife Laura, Pentecostal, grew up in Brazil ..sound familiar?

The name is mine! His name and information is completely different, but could be the same guy. I've been corresponding with him since early August--off and on--but have been suspicious. He tried asking me for an I-tunes card once. I refused. Pretty much the same M.O., but with different facts--his name is Mark Destenay, from Berlin, Germany, working on a rig in Gulf of Mexico. I have not given him ANY money, but it's come up several times, in a very general way. He talked about wanting to deposit money into MY account--which sent up red flags because I thought if he actually asked me, he'd want my account information. We used phone, texting, and Hangouts!
STAY CLEAR!!!

I'm usually pretty good on judging ppl. But I got scammed to. He has my Address... I don't know what to do... Please help

Hi, my “suitor” knows my address also and where i work. Has anyone given you a response. My guy is good. He is an off shore oil driller. Knows all the lingo and parts of the job. Was in LA but now in Malaysia. Plans to marry me , Only after a few weeks . Only child, parents dead, told me he was 50, now it is 53. Has a daughter. Ex wife cheated on him with best friend- thats my true story Best part. “His” photos were stolen from Instagram, so when i did a reverse search... yeah well . The photos are 10 years old. And on multiple scammer warning sights. Now his camera is “broke” cant send any photos. Is a independent contractor. Got me off dating site first day. Very attentive. Calls me at certain times of day, pretty much same everyday.
Says born and raised in la and Sweden. But no vital statistics records found.
Is there anyone out there with similar story?

Exactly the same story, made me feel guilty for refusing to buy iTunes cards, wife died, son, lives in LA, flew to Malaysia, sent pics of the gold he was buying! Declared undying love for me, going to whisk me away.... These people must think us women are stupid & desperate! ... I'm glad I've read all these stories , I don't feel on my own with these feelings now,

It happened to me too...said his wife died in childbirth and the baby died too! Said he was a doctor working in Gaza but from Miami. Pictures were gorgeous! Then he said he needed $7,500 for a Bitcoin Deal! That’s when I used the reverse image app ...put his picture in and found out he had stolen a Doctor in Berlin’s photos and used a fake name! I busted him and he swore at me! I reported him and contacted the real doctor in Berlin to warn him what was happening! DO NOT TRUST ANY man online who appears to be “too good to be true”!!!

I obviously was tricked in a similar way. Girl’s name is Kareen Wood. Asks for Steam cards now for the third time. That finally made me question her story.
She claims to live locally but comes up with endless excuses for not being able to meet. Works in a coffee shop without name, lives with her female friend, her parents died in a car accident when she was little and she also fell in love with me rather quickly.
I hope others will learn from these posts before they are taken advantage of.

OMG; so I am corresponding with a guy right now on Instagram who has professed his love; wants to marry me and be the mother to his child. He claims to be on an oil rig on the Mediterrean and needs to upload project files. No one else can help him. He also is saying he needs data on his phone to keep texting me. He can't use Facetime because of CCTV all around.
I know; am I stupid you are thinking.
This guy is putting in the time chatting and his photos well he is gorgeous of course.
I haven't given him anything; but it's killing me. I really fell for him and kept trying to convince myself it was real.

I went through a very similar situation. Mechanical engineer, single dad, only child, dad deceased, lived all over the world, and working offshore. Quickly fell "in love" with me, stated he needed financial help. I felt foolish, falling for this person. How did your situation end?

Did he say that he is from taiwan and work offshore in johor bahru south china sea?

I am also talking to a guy stuck on a oil rig...lost his wife 5 years ago to car accident and wants me to mother his 2 kids and he first wanted me to send him a thousand dollars, I told him no way....he got mad...told him to bad...then after a couple of weeks he then started asking for a iTunes card....this is crazy...I feel he might be a scammer..

Amazing looking guy contacted me on POF after about 24 hours (over 3 days)of chatting on Hangouts trying to convince me to visit him on his oil rig in the North Sea (apparently wives and fiancées can go for 2 days) He will pay for everything - i just need to contact his 'Agency' to confirm dates. Agency then requests $1000 for me to undergo Safety and Assurance Control. I refuse saying I do not have this amount of money. He says he will give me the money back in cash when i reach the rig He asks me to reschedule for later when money is available. Obviously there has been much more content to the conversation - a 5 year old daughter in the USA, him having worked all over the world, him being in love with me, him promising to spend Christmas together, dead parents, no siblings ............ I have not and will not part with any money but am currently playing things out to save some other, maybe more gullible lady. I'm not sure where he actually is, but he knows a lot about oil drilling and professes to be half Turkish and half Scottish. Wish I knew how to find where the photos came from :)

what did he look like

Funny you should ask. That was another reason I was suspicious. The pictures he sent without my asking, were of a really good-looking "older male-model" type---too good to be true!

Sounds like my story only mine had a son...

Sounds just like my guy. What was his name and where was he from?

Sounds very familiar,he friend requested on Facebook and said how he lost his wife,son , daughter in law and granddaughter in an accident.Had a son in boarding school! Didn't take me long to block "Micheal Jespersen" when he started to ask for money. Said he works for bisso marine.

I have had only bad experiences with Christian dating sites. Met foreign speaking men professing their undying love and then asking for money or even iTunes cards. Sorry to hear your sad stories but at least I know I am not alone. Of course I did not comply with their requests. Better luck to all.

Oh my I am talking to a guy on an oil rig in Ghana I’m about to send money to I would give anything to know for sure that he is real we’ve been talking for over a year and yes twice he was coming to meet me both times something happened. Someone help me please

don't send him any money hes conning you - he sitting in a hotel in Ghana getting women to support him - hes never leaving Ghana he a catfish

everytime hes coming to you something happens - example his visa expired, hes thrown in jail and detained, he's sick has a fever, hes robbed, or he gets arrested for not paying medical bill - there is no medical bills in Ghana and you always send money to his driver am I right? stay clear from him and report him

No one deployed overseas in a hot spot should be using a dating site. Violating security protocols. My would be scammer asked me to let his bank wire his money into my account to save it from being confiscated. At least I recognized that as a variant of the Nigerian scam. Wish they could be caught half as easily as they seem to catch their would be victims.

I also met this gentleman on the TAGG website, who calls himself Johnson Smith. He is in the United States Marine Corp,deployed to Egypt. We chatted for a little while, and he suggested a different website (Whats App) to continue talking. We talked for about two days, before he gave me the story about bad food over there, and he needed money to buy American food, and it was expensive. He asked me to send him $700...which I have not done. First he said send it Western Union,then he said no, send it through Money Gram. This should not be happening. I decided to Google scams, and found this site.

This is the same individual that tried to scam me just recently on hi5 he uses the name “Johnson s”. He asked me to add him on what’s up app and he gave me the same story about bad food in Egypt and he was deployed in Egypt. He tried to ask me money $300-$100 for him to buy American food . He said he works for us marines and he wanted me to send him money through money gram. I had deleted my hi5 and tagged accounts for my safety and to let other know so this does not happen to them!

Oh my God. Someone posing as a hot white girl named Linda did the same thing. She says she was in love with me and said that both she and her mom had lost their home in America and had to go live in Gauna where her mom was born, but she wanted to come back and live in the US with me and needed $300 to help pay for her plane ticket to come back to the US.

I have been talking to the same girl Linda S Parker living in Accra Ghana has taken over $5,400 from me and I'm sure it's the same girl long black hair very pretty and very large breasted it is what it is it just ended like 2 weeks ago so it looks like you're the next victim

Did you send it?475-328-2202

Do you have pictures of this low life?

Her name is Linda Parker and she has gotten rich from this game

Can you send me a pic of her, I think she's trying to scam me 559-977-3695 too

For sure ,she is a scammer.

She was thrown out of the United States for not having a valid passport and being an illegal immigrant and she got more than upal she got a bunch of us

Sounds like a girl named Alice.

This guy called Peter Yandle said hi to me on my Instagram. He said he was from the the states but having business in the UK. He’s oil investor and is working in an oil rig offshore. We soon changed to talk on WhatsApp. About a month later, he said he made a private deal and got millions of dollars. He wanted to send it to me because it was easier for him to do some investments in China. Anyway the so-called private courier company informed me that the ‘package ‘ was on hold by Turkish custom. I paid 1,850 via Western Union and then just as I expected, ‘they’ said I had to pay another 7,750 to have the package released. This guy is still luring me to do the second payment and keeps saying things to make me feel quilty... After reading so many comments about the experiences the victims shared here, I finally understand I am scammed! How stupid I am !

I have talked to this Johnson guy. I blocked him after about three days. He asked for money because he was sick from bad food. Right??? Blocked

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