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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

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.

What is his/her name. I think I am dealing with one right now. Not sure.

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!!!!!!!

Yes iTunes can be used for phones iphones. Apple makes them honey

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.

Hi Ruby, Being scammed is a hard thing to come to terms with. There's a part of us that want to believe in the person. I didn't listen to my friends and family and have lost so much. I also wanted confirmation, an address, hospital bills, etc. and I never saw any. These people suck you in so deep that it's hard to get out of and they lead you to believe that you will get it all back. Please don't be afraid it is a scam just stop sending money and help if it goes against your heart. I put this in God's hands and pray for Divine Justice, Forgiveness, and Salvation for everyone.

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. 

Thanks Bridget Small. I am new to this blog. I have recently sent $2800.00 to one individual to help another individual, both located in South Africa. The wire transfer was from one US bank to another US bank. Should I report this to both US banks. I have learned new information about these individuals that doesn’t add up and I believed I have been scammed. Please advise.

Yes, you could contact both banks and explain what happened. You can also report to the FTC at www.FTC.gov/Complaint. The information you give the FTC goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

Exact same thing happened on Facebook, this person must have stolen information from a person from my hometown, same thing , asked me to send friend request after telling me she got a 250000.00 grant. SCAMMERS

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.

Once the money is gone the likelihood of its retrieval even with WU is unlikely. You may want to report it to help shut down the ring. I surrender all of this in God's hands and pray that you receive miracles out of this experience! God bless you!

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.

Find out his address and then check it out.

Hi I’m not sure if I’ve betn scammed but I’m reading so these stories snd it’s scarey I met a guy on
FILIP IVAN FROM TAGGED SITE anyone hear of him from DesPlains IL PLEASE LET ME KNOW TY

Me too

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

Yes, call a private investigator and for a small fee it's worth it to find out the trust before you waste your time and your money getting scammed. I've done it multiple times to weed out the fakes.

Hi I’m so confused right now I’m talking to someone who says he’s in the U.S. Army thought o this is fake said he’s lost his master card I offered to help him and he refused saying I don’t need your money can you please tell me how I can find out if he’s fake or not best wishes

Can you please post the name of the PI you use? I have contacted several and they seem to want 1200-2600USD per trace. That is too much for me when I am pretty certain my ex is being scammed. But at this point it is almost just like a "you left me, a good wife with good job, and your two young kids for somebody that doesn't exist." And never mind she told him to give up rights to his children because he did not need to be paying child support because she was going to make him wealthy enough to have the judge give him custody of our children and then take my house and business....right..mshaking in my shoes here...lmao

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

I understand what you mean. I have had a similar experience. You still want to stay open because you thought you will listening to your heart. The name is probably phony as well as his email. I place this whole thing in God's hands and I ask that the truth come forward and you be blessed with profound healing and miracles! God bless you!

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.

This sounds like the scammer I dealt with. He too had a security box in some other country. Was in Afghanistan. Couldn't phone or video call. Robbed me of thousands of dollars. Ruined me. He goes by name Tony Freeman from Dallas Texas working for US Army special forces. Have pictures of him participating in Mollys 5k run in Virginia along with his wife or girlfriend and another couple. He did a video call only ones with me therefore I know the pictures are his. Now he disappeared because I don't send him iTunes cards and apparently he can't connect according to him which is a lie. I wish I had read these comments earlier.

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