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

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Many ask to be my friend on Facebook, I click on “about” to get more info, all their friends or responses are of a different race, a dead giveaway that this profile has been hacked using his photos and some geographic information but it’s not him at all. I report each one to FB and they thank me, but I think FB is overwhelmed now as there are so many. Just do a little detective work yourself, always assume no man is going to ask a stranger for money. About 2 years ago a good looking man living as a doctor in Afghanistan wanted to be my friend, for days he lured me into chatting via Hangouts and I realized in less than a week he was calling me dear, wanting to know what I was doing, etc. then said he was in a dilemma because he couldn’t get his credit card or money but needed someone to call a certain #, I refused to do it and he got pretty annoyed that I wasn’t obeying his commands. That was the last of him as he knew I caught on that he was a hoax! Amazing, women don’t just use common sense, I think vulnerable women are lonely and very naive. Been there done that, delete after reporting is the best thing. Even on dating sights, it’s just not safe anymore because we tell too much on a profile!

No disrespect to you but please, do NOT put women down because of their mistake.

Remember, you made the SAME MISTAKE AS THEY DID, IT IS JUST, YOU FINALLY LEARNED YOU LESSON!!!!

SO, PLEASE, ALLOW THEM TO LEARN THEIR MISTAKE, TOO!!!

I'm too old and too happily married to be caught up in these sorts of things, but it seems to me, reading these various posts, some sound advice for meeting real, live, bona fide romance prospects would be to joint a Meetup Group in your city or vicinity. They've got them on every interest under the sun - just Google meetup groups. Option number 2: a community college continuing education class (language, sailing, dancing, real estate, etc). Both venues great for making friends and more-than-friends. I think online dating has become a minefield of scams.

This just happened to me and I am not embarrassed to tell people (in fact, I'm alerting everyone I know) because "he"/"they" were that good! They are master manipulators and I caution anyone communicating with someone who has a 321 area code. He said he was from FL (relocated to RI where I live) and while that is the area code for Cape Canaveral, it also is for SAT/COM phones, as I found out. During the two phone conversations I had with him, it was clearly an overseas call. Everything was very believable and real, there weren't really any red flags and it ended quickly when I pressed to meet him in person. I was shocked when this "successful man" who'd just returned home from a business trip to NY, asked me to go to Walmart to get him an iTunes card, and text him the 16 digit code on the back. (The local police said they could hack into my method of payment if it was a cc or bank account). I told him I couldn't understand why he needed me to do this since the last photo he'd sent showed him in front of a Mac computer where iTunes are readily available... That ended our fictional 3 week relationship. He also had asked me to complete a questionaire which I now realize gives them more information on how people think and they will use it in the future. I didn't question it, he filled out the same and I liked his responses. I've actually worked as a "professional match maker" and questionaires are common so that didn't bother me. He did say he was a widower, his wife died of lung cancer 5 years ago and he was finally ready to date again because he deserved love again, etc. So of course the stories pull at the heart strings. (He also had a "significant relationship" with God and wanted to find "one woman"; he would not be dating others during the time he got to know me). He sent many photos and what bothers me is that some were of him and his 14 year old son. I realize that the man/boy in the photos are not connected to the person I was in contact with and they are in fact victims and have no idea their photos are being used in this manner... The police told me that my photo is no doubt being used somewhere in the world as well (thank god I only sent him one!) but not to worry, they pull photos from social media and it's easy to do. I invested my time and my emotions but thankfully not my money. We all want to find that special someone but I would caution ignoring anything that seems too good to be true!

Elle, sounds as if we came across the same scammer... Wow, incredible! He asked me for $4560 to complete his contract to his lawyer. He has sent me so many lovely email which I have printed. He was a widower his wife died of lung cancer, his son lives with his mother etc... I didn’t fall for this creep. Thank God! I truly hope you didn’t either.

BEWARE!!!! THESE SCAMMERS ALWAYS, ALWAYS ENDS UP BEING A WIDOWER AND LEFT WITH KIDS TO RAISE - RED FLAG!!!!!!

Elle, sounds as if we came across the same scammer... Wow, incredible! He asked me for $4560 to complete his contract to his lawyer. He has sent me so many lovely email which I have printed. He was a widower his wife died of lung cancer, his son lives with his mother etc... I didn’t fall for this creep. Thank God! I truly hope you didn’t either.

Scammers share your info with other Scammers to suck out what they can from you.

Yes I lost 7.500 euro to help a romance scammer like a stupid i never knew this problem so he has obtained all he asked from me telling he was very in love with me I cannot think about this thing now

Hi, I clearly understands exactly where you are coming from. I have lost thousands of dollars to an online love, hard life lesson learned!!!!!

My Sister committed suicide after being scammed out of her savings. I can't imagine the shame and desperation she felt. My only solice is knowing scammers have a special place waiting for them to spend eternity

What if someone is asking you to register a name for a business in your name? Is this a scammer?

Yes , absolutely. It can land you in soooo much trouble . Avoid itc

I lost my money to fraudsters, but did not receive a letter from Western Union. I think I told you this when you posted about western union. I try with a registered letter to the address specified by you.Hoffe my letter will also accept. Thank you

If you want to ask for money back from Western Union, you must file a claim on the claim website. A registered letter is not a claim. 

You must file a claim by May 31, 2018. 

Go to FTC.gov/WU to start filing a claim. Click the orange button near the top of the page. Then click again at the next page. You will be connected to the claim website.

Very pertinent...I believe this is happening to me right now...I've had misgivings, but now I'm pretty sure after reading this! Thank you!

they feed on the feeling of shame associated with being scammed

Getting scammed right now, I think. Thank you for the pertinent article...

One scammer got me from LinkedIn. They are everywhere obviously and become more trickier.

More wide spread warnings about these scams would help a detected colon in a local newspaper and local TV channels

I WHOLE-HEARTEDLY, COMPLETELY AGREE!!!!!

My instagram acct is private yet I receive follow request , generally refuse but recently I accepted one from a guy called Logan, a widower!! They all seem to be widowers , with 2 kids. I told him from start I was not looking for romance, even then the hints would go on and in les than two weeks his kids needed to go on excursion, he was stuck on an oul rig , his contract was not paid,,, etc. He did not ask outright but signs werecthere so that was enough for me. Unfollow , remove , block ,,,

think I am being scammed - better to be safe than sorry I guess. Profedd love, then told me widower, 2 sons, is looking for that one woman, close relationship with God. Works Offshore. Petroleum engineer - has asked for small amount of money. I have none to send, thank goodness. He sent roses and a diamond ring.

YES, ABSOLUTELY, IT'S A SCAMMED!!!

THEY ARE ALWAYS A WIDOWER, AN ENGINEER AND COMES WITH KIDS AND BEGGING FOR MONEY!!!!

I was a victim of a scammer from Facebook in 2013. If they come across as too sweet, profess love too quickly, are widowed, business men, wife died from cancer of some sort, one child, not much information on their profile, then it is too good to be true. Their location changes fast. They are from the States but are going to another country to work on contract. In my case, Malaysia. Everything is going smoothly for a few days and then all the sob stories start. Taxes on the land have to be paid, they forgot their credit card, son in the States met in a serious accident, then they had a fall, passport expired, tractors not working, pleas for help all the time, they are going to be arrested because their passport has expired and on and on and on. This scammer went by the name Mike Smith, within a week changed it to Mike Smith William. Location changed also from UK to Portland, Oregon. I got suspicious. He had facts to bolster my suspicions. Played upon my sympathy, destroyed me financially, emotionally, I got sick. My son got suspicious and deleted him and questioned me. I was defiant. Now anyone who sends me a friend request if I think they are fake, I automatically delete them. Have had two others try to latch on to me after but I wasn't blind. One revealed himself eventually from Nigeria. Neither got a dime from me. I deleted them. I got burnt but it will never happen to me again. A real good man will never think to ask a woman for money.

I have a friend who has been involved with "Mark" for over 6 months now. She has sent thousands to him; he comes up with excuses as to why he can't meet her. He's supposed to be working out of Dubai, but was to go to Hawaii with her in Nov. Of course, he was in a car accident and he's STILL in the hospital as of this date!! (Yeah, right!!) They were to cruise in Australia the end of Dec. and that never happened. This doesn't seem to phase her one bit! She keeps sending $$$! :-( We have talked to her and explained that he is a scam (her second one at that!) but she refuses to believe us..even after reading that all the things he's saying and doing are huge red flags!! What can we do to save her from herself???!!! Help!!

You may want to show her some comments that other people have posted on this blog about their experiences. Or, you could show her some information from the FBI. The FBI has articles on its website about romance scammers. The articles list warning signs of a scam.

It's useful to let people know they are sending money to a criminal. People who send money to someone they meet online might not realize that at first. When they understand that they are helping a criminal by giving him money, it can change their perspective.

I am ending a scam "relationship" in which I truly believed him. I'm out several hundreds of dollars in iTunes cards,for his cell phone. I learned that ITunes can't be used for phones!

EASIER SAID THAN DONE, BUT DON'T FEEL SO BAD BECAUSE I DID THE SAME THING!!!! I LOST THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS, GOT LOANS IN MY NAME TO HELP HIM OUT, HE WAS SUPPOSED TO PAY ME BACK AND I HAVE NOT SEEN A CENT OF IT. I AM NOT FILING FOR BANKRUPTCY!!! I HAVE LEARNED A HARD LIFE LESSON, NOT TO FALL EMOTIONALLY IN LOVE WITH A MAN, I HAVE NOT MET FACE TO FACE AND FORMED A RELATIONSHIP, SOMEONE WHO LIVES HERE IN MY HOMETOWN, NOT IN ANOTHER COUNTRY, AND NEVER SEES HIM, NOT KNOWING WHO YOU ARE EMOTIONALLY FALLING FOR AND BEING LIED TOO!!!!!

CORRECTION, AS I HAVE LEARNED FROM READING OTHER ARTICLES... IT'S NOT SCAM RELATIONSHIP, IT IS CALLED... "CON-RELATIONSHIP!!!!! WE HAVE ALL BEEN CONNED BY A SCAMMER!!!!!!!

Bridgett is there anyway possible to verify a shipping of Gold Bars for. James Hudson in Dubai. I have been helping him with shipping costs and I am so scared that now it’s been a scam. The shipping company is Flagstarexpress express. I know they have several locations in Dubai. New York . Please help me. You can reach me at
My name is Ruby and I have sent a lot of money. I just want confirmation that’s all nothing else. Please help me.

You can contact the Attorney General in New York to ask about the business. You could ask the person you're talking to for more information about the business. You can stop sending money and block communication.

If you gave personal information or your bank or credit card information to someone and you're worried it isn't safe, you can protect yourself. Contact your bank and credit card company and ask how to protect your accounts. Read these warning signs of identity theft and if you notice clues that someone is mis-using your information, report that at IdentityTheft.gov

This idiot scammed my not so bright cousin out of thousands. She lost everything including her life because she did not have money for her medication. SHE SENT IT ALL TO HIM! He brother let her live in a house of his rent free so she would have some money for groceries.

I was scammed out of over $38,000 first off he hacked a friend of mine's Facebook page and I believe he was my friend I even asked him a personal question which he answered! I was then led to believe that he (my friend) got a grant from this person and he wanted to know if I wanted to try and see if I could get one after many questions and the verification I decided to try it $1,950 into that I realized the guy was a scammer and I blocked him, my friend had since disappeared off Facebook totally .
A couple months later I decided I wanted to give the guy another piece of my mind and I unblocked him and sent him a message and he messaged back thanking me stating that he had changed that I had changed him somehow and that he was trying to redeem himself. I didn't believe him but after talking with him for a while and by that I mean about 2 months I decided to give him a chance to prove himself and allowed him to pay one of my credit cards off that I had maxed out for him and for over a month and a half the payment was good I then started believing him and his story he told me he had told his dad about me and everything I asked him if he was a spoiled little rich boy and he said yes and that his dad had grounded him and took away his car only he wasn't so young he was about my age I believed him and started helping him to the tune of 38 plus thousand dollars then the reversals started coming every payment he made has been reversed my cards have been shut down my bank accounts being shut down yes my heart got broke and yes my life is screwed up yes I'm mad and I want everybody to know this guy was good he even told me his real name even sent me a copy of his driver's license he started out as James Weer and ended up as Hodge West Polochak. He has a Google number therefore it's not traceable even has a Google email that says it's not good but yet I've emailed it

If you used a wire transfer business to send money to the scammer, you could report him. Call the Western Union Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492 or the MoneyGram Customer Care Center at 1‑800‑926‑9400. You could report him to Facebook. 

Hello everybody, Do you know love website safe please? I Loved woman an online we was talking videos everyday almost for more 2 years a go, she said she's Sargent in U.S. military and she said she makes to me my papers to lives with her in U.S. I sent to her money also... just last week I see her pics. She was in Jail.. & she's liar about me. she's not Sargent in U.S. military. She's big liar..

I’m a victim of online romance scammer via Instagram. Because of his persistence, persuasiveness I was lured into sending him via WU $10,000 from October - November 2017. He told me due to working on ship he had no way to help his 15 year old son with school fees, good, clothes, etc in Nigeria school. May I file a claim to get my money back via WU refund process?

The FTC settlement with Western Union allows people to file a claim if they sent money to a scammer between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017If you sent money outside those dates, you are not eligible to file a claim.

Beware of a Army romance scammer names Adam Scott Sprain. I was seduced by this scammer beginning 1/26/18. His poorly photoshopped Army ID and suspicious FB profile were red flags, so I played along and he asked me to Western Union or Moneygram him $400 (to a friend of his commanders with the name Moreno Patrick Mofokeng) so he could come and visit me before his tour was over in 3 months. He said he would videochat me from the airport. I confirmed with a woman who had "liked" one of his Facebook pictures that he is a scammer and reported him to the FTC and the FBI and Facebook. SHe said she had sent him money and reported to Facebook but they hadn't taken down his profile yet. Every military person has a mailing address (APO) no mailing address? It's a scam.

How can you find a list of names for scammers? I met this person on a dating site and we have been talking on the phone for weeks. He went to to another country to work for two weeks but my head is telling me its a scam. But where he says he lives is very close to me.

Is there a way to run a background check? to tell if its a scam or not?

I meet someone Canadian living in London civil engineer went to Nigeria three week’s ago. We had arranged to meet up in London in March. The site he was working at doing rock blasting 4 people died. He said police told him to attend his embassy or pay compensation to the families which he told me had. He now has no cash to pay his hotel bill to get himself out. He asked to come off the dating site parents are dead. Pictures he sent look ok he even faced time me same person as pictures. Why do I still want to believe that we will meet in London and he will be real. The guys name is Michael J Carlos . Has anyone else met him

Guess what now because I have not transferred money radio silence. Please please anyone out there do not fall for this guy. He is white good looking. Could not believe he would do this to anyone

My problem is that I transferred money from his checking after he gave me all the info to send "tuition" to his kids school. After refusing several times. He was very convincing. But last night there were one too many red flags & I am doing the moneygram. What do I do with the money? I called the credit card & they can't reverse the payment. If I pay his bank back, then he decides he didn't authorize the transfer I am screwed.

Someone in the army says he's in Afghanistan. Asking for money in different ways. Pleading for me, I have not sent money. I'm still not sure of him. He says he has a security box in another country he needed my help to get by a letter. Not sure about it. I have been reaching him and can't find him. A little unsure.

Please do not send money! he is a scam artist. I learned that if service members need money they can get it where they are stationed.

please help me many poblem

Has anyone encountered a man by the name of James Hudson, Paul Hudson, James Guggisberg?

I come across these all the time, but they aren't doing it just on online dating sites. I have had them friend me on my Facebook messenger. I've never send any of my personal money, but I sure do got requests to pick money from western union under one name and resend it to the supposed friend/love interest through a different store or site using western union. I did it once and never will again. I watch for those who my show a picture in their profiles, but have absolutely nothing else listed even after you've friended them.

Seems most of the scammers are out for women. I am a male, relatively new FB user and have had two attempts by women trying to rip me off. Sounds like the same MO though. Oddly enough or maybe not I am a recent widower and they are good, almost had me, until the money (iTunes card) surfaced. Like to Whack all these soulless monsters.

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