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.

Thanks i already did block her but i had to find out who it was so I contacted her again and we talk for a bit finally got her to video call she was black she didn’t think that it will show her i got a picture of her which i can just file a police report for impersonating another person and fraud she still says she is in the army which I highly doubt after all this she have the nerve to ask for a 10 amazon card unbelievable what a lowlife scum reya4catherine and still using Catherinehannisick she have the nerve to ask me to remove my review so she can use that person identity again because she thought i was weak and willing to do what she ask these people have no heart whatsoever they just want to use people looking for romance to get rich by the way this person was so horrible looking and dirty to think all this suffering for that lowlife scumbag

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!!!!!

Sounds like same guy that did same to me. Claimed he needed money that his bank account had been frozen in the USA. Said he was working in the Gulf of Mexico. He showed me a video and didn't have an accent but talked on phone couldn't hardly understand him because of his speech. Its very similar to what happened to me. He wanted money said I was his lovely wife and his wife died in car accident. But I fell for his scam but sent no money

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

Anyone who knows this Sandra2017 she's very good at convincing you she is real.

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”!!!

Hi. I suspect foul play with a guy, very good looking, pastor-like, tall, who went from Dallas, Tx to Malaysia as a supposed contractor. His wife died at childbirth, baby too. Has supposedly a daughter studying in London, England. East European accent, well-read, highly intelligent, sensual. His name is Eiswerth Peter on a profile he had and then erased, on Facebook. After 2 days in Malaysia, he was "mugged" and robbed of all his belongings, passport, credit cards, the works. He is insisting because of our "LOVE" I'd have to help him, send money again after I already sent it... He said I am his wife on the second chat.

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.

I got the same story and he want i recieve his money for his business because he in army now . And he was ask me iTunes card . And he sent to me $200 because i said i need that

Same exact story except born in Greece, lives in San Antonio, working in China Sea and stranded in China.. all other info the same down to the camera on his phone being broken.. I can’t figure out how to look up His pictures though, wish FTC would create a place on here where we can compare them! I currently have about $9000, $4000 from a fake check the rest from borrowed funds from family and a credit card account I opened for him! Hate myself for falling for this guy!

Hi
Think we’ve met same guy very similar story, his name in Harry josh Wells . But wife cheated but is now dead.
Again he wants to marry me etc etc , has an issue as his bank account has been blocked and he has to get home to meet with his bank manager. Asked me for £2000, the amount had altered since. I have refused saying I don’t transfer money into other people’s account. I’ve called him scammer as he wouldn’t send me docs to carry out s due diligence check.

They guy I was in contact with could be your guys brother! Mine has his own business, but the website has so many grammatical errors. He told me his parents were dead, only child, had a son that an elderly family member was raising. Sent me a copy of a "contract" for a job overseas that looked like a blind hamster wrote it. Needed large sum of money to get there. No , no, and no!!! It was all about money. Even had other women he was hustling send money to me, then me send it to someone else. Shut that down in a hurry. Every time I asked him a question about something that didn't sound right, he would ignore me. Found out recently, that he had.been in Nigeria all along. Called him on that, and he didn't like it. Haven't heard from him in almost a week.... probably because I told him I was broke, and that I busted him.
Prob embarrassed. Going to check these other web sites, and see if he stalking them, too. What a big dummy he is...and I almost was!!

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?

Hi Ella, is his name jeonghung? He said he is from taiwan working offshore in south china sea johor bahru?? Beware of the guy in instagram, his name jeonghung, his profile pic is with his son wearing black shirt which is same shirt with his son too.

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 :)

this guy is not coming to spend Christmas with you - hes living off us USA women - staying in hotel and making up stories to get money from us - he plays head games and plays with out emotions he needs to reported - send him no money hes never coming He likes to turn things around to make us feel guilty and feel sorry for him - he thinks hes always in the right and innocent

My guy is on Instagram as Edmond Potter but then told me in chat that his first name is Thomas. Wanted to talk on WhatsApp. 463-222-2074. He is 53, his wife Mary died 7 years ago in tragic accident. Son named Smith is 15 and in a boarding school in NY. He was born in Romania, grew up in Houston TX. Dad was a communist it teacher and mom was a hospital aide. Works on an Oil rig in the north sea, Denmark. Credit card is frozen and he needs $2500 to get home to see me and his son for Christmas. Calls me his wife... blah blah blah

Don't do it they are frauds.. I just went through this finally called him on it he professes his love to me asked me to marry him said he was a Dr. Same stories you're all saying it's a scam... I called him out on it told him he was a fraud and boy did his tone change he called me all kinds of names because I refuse to buy him a $ 500. 00 Google play card. It's a game for them easy money if you fall for it don’t become their victims!! They prey off women and girls prey off men!! Don't be a victim!!! Report them They guy who tried to scam me went by Jurgen Klaus said he was a Dr. And lived in N. Carolina was a widower with 2 daughters and very handsome.. Don't fall for their lies!!!

I am talking with a guy supposed name is Jordan in Cyprus in Mediterranean Sea contract driller been living in States for 3 years originally from Liverpool UK. Lost wife has one child and his mum only. Gets angry and blames me because of his financial troubles. I feel stupid because I sent him money by WesternUnion to a different person than him because he was on rig and couldn’t leave it so his boss would pick it up and bring to him because he needed to pay his workers Then it was several situations he would try to get me to send to him. Finally he realized I wasn’t and said he wasn’t going to speak to me anymore. I have reported him to the proper authorities found out his photos he was sending me wasn’t even him totally stolen photos he was using.

This is the same story I got from a guy calling himself Peter Kaua and he said he grew up in Brazil and has lived in Los Angeles, CA and now lives in Northampton, MA. Emailed me after 9 months threatening me about saying lies to the bank's fraud department and if I want my money back I should keep quiet.

Did he say he had a 6 year old daughter and his wife died of cancer because I’m experiencing the same thing with a guy who says he’s American, lives in Australia and works for a crude oil company.

This sounds very familiar and I have been chatting with someone similar but says he works for United Nations

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

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