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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

Befriended me on FB and message me thru messenger for 3 weeks then let me transfer to hangout. I think I'm also talking to a scammer man. I have his photos but don't know how to post here to warn others. Really good in expressing himself but then after a month, he's already asking me to send money for his daughter but uses 2 different names to send the money to. Now he's asking me to send money $3,500 to pay his attorney for documents so that his funds will be transferred to me.

A very good looking man in Army. Fell in love within 3 days after talking for 7 to 8 days wanted me to send $3500.00 to him to fly home. He was protecting Syria. I went along with him telling him l would send. Then l typed him a text telling him l was not an idiot !! And l was not sending a dime to him . He is in a Army Suit with the name James on it. Beware !!

There is a man who has now somehow given me reason to feel so guilty I dont send this money. He has over 11,000$ now. Hes scary and I contacted the FBI and local services. I inderstand the money is lost and I feel stupid- but the point now is he also is in the Army. ‘Sweetman123...’ (any derivitive), has his son, and as a single father. I caught onto and a half months ago when his birthday was fake. I went online to been verified and his phone number popped up and everything you said was real so I get for leaving him. But then things kept not adding up and not matching been verified. So now I am lost, sad, and had just left a 17 year relationship. So, I was very very naïve and you can imagine more heartbroken than ever. I have pictures and am eilling to help with anyone- help!

Was it James Krueger?

No James pierce

GOOD FOR YOU!!!!! HE IS A FAKE!!!! AN IMPOSTER!!!!!

Look here that mans is an old man. Born in the ancient tjmes

I am talking to a man who has beautifully swept me. Asked for leave in army to be with me but didn’t have enough for ticket and asked for money said when he gets home he will get into his fidelity and pay me back. He has sent me pics of him with his mates group pics and some from home and 2 short videos am I getting scammed?

The US Army published an article and list of warning signs about online romance scammers who pretend to be soldiers. The  article says that Soldiers are not charged money so that the Soldier can go on leave.

yes you are being scamed - been there done that - hes never coming don't send 1 more dime

I’m not sure if it’s the same guy or not. He does have dimples in the picture he posted and is fairly attractive.This one called himself Michael Millier. Also wore an Army suit. Single father. Sent pics of kid who does look like him.Claims to be a widow. Did not ask for money but an iphone.Claims to be German but doesn’t have an accent.I also told him he was a scammer.!

What else did this guy look like because it sounds like what happened too me and I have been scammed out of a lot of money because of this I failed for it he was Charming and had the dimples and cute but totally lied to me and now I am scared because I think he is trying to pose as an investigator now to scare me saying he is sending Someone to my house and I have to pay them to clear my name I don't know what to do I already blocked them and reported to the money gram service and the websites and everything but I am still feel so stupid and scared

Can you share a picture of this guy please?

Don't worry about the threat of being investigated. That's just another scam tactic.

Can you describe how he looks more does he wear a 1 phorm shirt and have an American flag tattoo? Please help

My fake army guy had dimples too. His name Steven Todd.

Is his name James Barr are sometimes go by Nalari Benjamin he tried to scam me for 1500 so his son could have surgery he was in a bad car accident but I checked into it and there was no little boy that was injured and he said that he was in Crocker City Missouri then he wanted me to fly the little boy here so I can get in medical treatment because he was in Syri just be careful and don't fall for any of this so sorry..

Dimples I'm sorry that this is going on can you tell me what this guy looks like because I am talking to this guy name James Johnson and he is very , very handsome as well I meet him on Instagram and then wanted me to go to hangout been talking to him for like two months now has a sick son wife dead of cancer mother in a retirement home asking me for money but I'm not the one and he will never get it . Do you think he is the same guy ??

I have a James Roberts I met in POF. Claimed wife died cancer, daughter died I car accident raising grandson. Mom and son in tennessee. Had a lot of pictures, but would never video. Now says deployed in Kabul

This sounds the same as mine the romance went very fast , he knew just what to say said he was in the air Force , his name was James have a picture but not in uniform,I feel for him very fast after about 3 weeks something went wrong when he was getting ready to come home and retire. Then here it came he ask me for help with lawyer fees 5,000 dollars. I've been alone so long, but I guess that is what they pray on and I'm a good Christian woman .I don't understand all this

I noticed that I have begun to receive Friend Requests from people I do not know and who do not appear to be associated with anyone I know. I thought these to be curious and was also suspicious of them, so I denied them.
Interesting that your article indicates that often these are people who claim to be from the US but are living overseas, such as in military service. One of the invites showed pictures of a man in various aspects of military duty, but his profile says he is not working and is living in Afganistan. These were red flags. Another invite was similar, but allegedly living in the US. I am glad you posted these warnings. Thank you.

Limit your friend requests to friends of friends. That will really cut down on that crap.

Set you request to friends of friends. Mine are set high to keep idiots like that from pestering me.

same thing just happened to me..friend request on a private FB page..don't know how he managed to find me..messaged him to ask if we had friends/interests in common, said he was looking for a buddy and my name appeared..ha!..didn't know that when you message someone you are then connected to messenger..we texted for a couple of days and then he asked me to go to hangouts or whatsapp as it was "safer." sure enough next day his profile on FB was removed due to "spam" and "abusive content." we speak daily..very charming and good looking..swears on the Bible the pics are authentic..stationed in Afghanistan..blah blah blah..be home soon wants to get married, etc..goes by Frank Kelly

My mother fell for this after my Dad died. Was going on for seven years till she met a flesh and blood guy who gave her an ultimatum about it. She stopped. She still thinks she will get her money back at some point though! Can I send you the info I collected from her on this? His user name was Thomas/Tomas Burnett I have some of her receipts and emails with address.

You or your mom could report what happened at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. People who report can choose how much personal information to give. Thank you.

A guy saw me on Facebook and contacted me. It didn't take longer for 2 weeks before the word "money" came up. Because I am a city gal, I instantly knew what the deal was. And, coincidentally, the EXACT points mentioned above is what I encountered - instant love, dad former military guy whose estate was being settled in Singapore (of all places for an African American/though not impossible), etc. A word to t he wise. Needless to say, I gave him a good piece of my mind and it wasn't pretty.

"Because I am a city gal, I instantly knew what the deal was..." LOL.....well, I am a country gal, and golly gee, slap my thigh and can you give me an amen sistah, I instantly knew what the deal was too!! Just teasing.....at any rate, I deleted Facebook, Instagram, Twitter accounts - ESPECIALLY Facebook as EVEN WITH tighter parameters,such as accepting friend requests from only "friends of friends", well that doesn't do crap....all these guys need is some unsuspecting person to accept their friend request, and then they "get to know" that person's friends and well, there ya go. And ladies?? Use something other than your pretty faces and cleavages in your profile pics. Talk about making yourself a target right from the git-go!!! I have had a few instances of this kind of crap, but one guy was persistent enough that it scared me. No social media account is worth going through this crap.

It was just announced that someone in the city I live in lost $75,000 to one of these types of scams.

It's shameful what these scammers do to innocent people. They not only try to steal your money but break your heart as well.

You are susan because i was scammed and in love sent a invitation letter to nigeria dating a men name chike aneihe for almost year and sent money too but then i stop he got my invitation letter final from me and started to change on me my preacher friend here in usa but nigerian told me i was being scamm by him and that for me to give him chike number in nigeria he will call him for me to see is he married there he was with family which i know it but i was following my heart not my head but i reported him to us embassy in nigeria about my invitation letter i sent him to come over to usa he was waiting on me to send him more money for visa fee and airticket he will never get it he is a scammer player on facebook i think he has a wife here also in america with child but she cant make him citizen its takes america to do that they want you to fly to nigeria to marry them also online dating site its not good safe even if you can see them on video camera they wife which they say sister can be there too there husband wihich they call brother can be there too looking at you and you want know it true nigeria and ghana facebook instagram is a bunch of lies 419 scammers from africa targeting us to get america money to make them billionaires millionaires listening up ppl plz stop sending your money to nigeria love affairs they can convert our money over there like example $100 usa money converted in nigeria money call over there ngn are naira money will give them $36,000 in usa $200 dollars sent to nigeria will give them $76,000 in there money if you send $300 of america dollars to nigeria ghana will give them $100.000 naira dollars in there money if you send $3,000 usa money convert to nigeria money will give them $ 1000.000.000 million dollars in there money so you see where am getting at now we are the target for africa for pretenending to love you in a week really i love you so much thats all there saying how ask yourself that and i just met you in one day are mybe one week its a scammer they look at your profile on facebook if you got up your higher pay job thats who they target money igbo tribes there are handsome!! But charming and lies yorba tribes there are handsome and lies these two tribes dont reslly get along in nigeria both want money money money money thats all i would here from the fake pastors on there to romance its not worth a heart break let down but i do know as a christain as i am God Jehovah does get all crooks for you soon are later exspecailly you are a good hearted person too as myself is so i leave who ever read this be aware of this man on facebook and instantgram he is a player with wives in nigeria and america he thought i was gonna be a wife to take care of all his wives hmmm American plz wake up they uses us ! For pretend love google some of the websites mivies on youtube nigeria movies pretend love

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!!!!!!

Yes! It also seems like they’re always “engineers,” too.

Mine said he was a civil engineer. Took about two months to finally get me to feel comfortable. I told him I was a widow. He told me he was also a widower. Lost his wife two years prior to childbirth, they both died. He was left with two young children five, and seven. Professed his love to me, marriage, be the mother to his two children. He has pictures of himself and his two kids on his social media pages.
I asked who takes care of the kids while you’re working, he says a nanny. Whenever I talk to him in the evening, I never heard the kids running around and playing. He always told me the kids are in their rooms play with their toys. That should’ve been a tip off to me right there. Then he Told me his Company got a bid for a big job. Said he paid for all the materials, set up the cargo plane information for shipping to Istanbul Turkey. The morning after he flew there, said that he had to take 50,000 to the airport so that the goods could be taken to the company. He called me that night told me he was heartbroken because with new Turkish laws he needed $18,000 tax fees more because he wasn’t a resident. He said that they would except $7000 to put a hold & secure the shipment. If not & if he didn’t pay in four days he would lose everything. He said he had a friend that he had done business with in the past that he was trying to contact & borrow the money from. Told me he got back to him and could only lend him $3000. He said that all he had with him was $2000. Then he asked is there anyway that I could send him $2000 and that he would pay it right back to me and that I could trust him. And I asked him right up front when he first started talking to me that I thought he was a scammer, we joked about it and got through it. I told him no I don’t have the money and he asked me why? (I told him when I met you I told you I didn’t have any money & if you’re trying to scam me you can stop contacting me). Then he asked me did I have any credit card and I said yeah and it’s almost maxed out ( I lies), he asked me by how much. I didn’t tell him and I asked him didn’t you bring any credit cards with you, he said no I didn’t and I feel so stupid about it. He said he would call me back in the morning when he figures things out. And then asked that I have anybody that I could borrow it from, and then he would promise to pay me back. First of all I’m not lending anybody any money, I don’t even lend family members money. Then I decided to go on this site and look at some of the comments and I am so glad that I didn’t fall for this. But the sad thing about it is I did fall for him. So people be aware !

Hi,

It sounds like we may have met the same guy. I am just figuring this out this morning as I sent him a Steam Card last night. He calls himself Peter and we met on POF. He told me his wife died in childbirth 3 years ago, but doesn't claim to have any other children. He has been so kind and romantic. Always asks about my day and whether I am stressed with work. He texts every morning and throughout the day and we talked by phone multiple times a day. He has sent me several pictures, and has salt/pepper hair (only a little gray), a beard and green eyes. We we supposed to meet right away, but he had to go to Nevada (where he says he grew up) due to his mom being sick. When he was due to come back this week he now has to go to Arizona for work. He claims to be a Contracting Engineer and also have an Interior Design firm.

I don't know how I could have been so dumb. I am realizing it now and it sucks. This man has professed his love so many times and made me feel loved and special. He hasn't asked for anything else yet, but after reading all of the threads here I am guessing it is coming. I feel so stupid.

I have similar experience. He found me on FB. I saw we have one mutual friend. He said his wife died 8byears ago and he had a hard life ever since....between losing his wife and his job. He has one son and his 17. His relatives are taking care of him because he is deployed in camp Lemmonier in Africa. This year he said will be his last in serving the country...he said his been in the army for 29 years. His the only surviving biological son of his late parents. He was so convincing....he spoke of God alot and quote the bible. He said so many right words....that his in love with me etc....this all started April 8 2018..then he told me of his busines plan aboit consignment and gold bars....that he needed an address to move ith boxes to US...I couldnt believe what I was hearing. I got cinfused because at that point I had feelungs with him. I told me I cant guve him my address or anyones address....sobtuen he apologuze for getting me involved. That he shouldn't have asked. So i orayed to God ro show me signs because I was so confused and heart broken. I couldn't accept and let him go....yesterday he told me his stressed out about tue dealing with hus consignment. He said the manager asked for $7800 dollars to cover shipping... Documents and sime othe carp. That he had his friends help him with sime money....he collecetd $4800 from them and is short of $2200 so if i can lend him that he will pay me back i told him i dont have that kind of money. I rold him i will het him the money if he sends me his recent photos and video of himself saying my name....he made up an excuse that he had sent me pictures and videos already. When it comes to money i dont lend people money....not even my close friend....not that amount....i will only lend up to twenty dollars.

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.

This is so eerily identical to a situation I just went through with a man claiming he made $750,000 a year. Said he was from Florida (we matched online in DC) and he used a 321 number. He refused to meet me unless I gave him passwords and told him how much money I had in my bank account. Ridiculous.

This scammer who you talk about tried to scam me but did not have no luck. I do feel so very sad for what everyone on here as gone through. The name of my scammer was Michael Austin. He said that he was in Aleppo Syria as a Neurologist. And that his wife died six years ago. He also said he had a 14 year old son in college and a27 year old in Afghanistan. That's when I started to realize this is a scam. He kept on emailing me and sending me messages on hangouts. Then he started asking me about applying to the UN for his vacation leave. I blocked him he still emails me but I do not reply to them. I do believe that a lot more should be done about.

You can report a scam to the FTC at FTC.gov/Complaint. The information you give will go into a secure database that law enforcement uses for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don’t go into the law enforcement database.

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?

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