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Online love asking for money? It’s a scam.

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While plenty of successful relationships begin online, scammers also use online dating sites, apps, and chat rooms to trick you into sending them money. These imposters create fake profiles to build online relationships, and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love. Some even make wedding plans before disappearing with the money. It’s a big problem: reports to the FBI about online romance scams tripled between 2012 and 2016, and imposter scams were among the top reports to the Federal Trade Commission for both the general population and the military community.

These scams can take a military angle with imposters stealing servicemembers’ photos to create phony profiles. They might claim to be servicemembers who can’t get into their accounts overseas or who need money fast. The first sign of a scam is an online love interest who asks for money. But the Army’s Criminal Investigative Service (CIS) says that the military doesn’t charge servicemembers to go on leave, get married, communicate with their family, go online, or feed and house themselves on deployment. We have also heard of scammers re-using servicemembers’ photos again and again, so it can be helpful to do some online research on the love interest’s name, photos, and details to check the story out.

If an online love interest asks you for money:

  • Slow down and talk to someone you trust. These scammers want to rush you, often professing love right away; or pressuring you to move your conversation off the dating site.
  • Never wire money, put money on a gift card or cash reload card, or send cash to an online love interest. You won’t get it back.
  • If you sent money to a scammer, contact the company you used to send the money (wire transfer service, gift card company, or cash reload card company) and tell them it was a fraudulent transaction. Ask to have the transaction reversed if possible.
  • Report your experience to the dating site and to the FTC.

For Military Consumer Month, share this video to help military consumers steer clear of online romance scams.

 

 

Comments

My sister=in-law fell into the Military Romance scam through Facebook and was bilked for over $8,000.00 until we realized what was happening. I asked her for a photo of her new online love and when it arrived it was a photo of a retired military man that apparently they use over and over again. By the way...all this took place in Spain! So there are no boundaries with these scammers.

I also feel as if I have fell victim of an online romance scam from Afganistan. He is a very smooth talker. Got me to go to hangouts and talk better. He has got 6,000.00 from me to be returned home to the United States because he has been deployed to Syria soon. He is a widow (which I am too) and has a son in London in school. He has a home in Chicago Il. and is waiting for me to send him 10,000.00 more for his return home. He sent me a picture of him standing in front of his helicopter he flies. His FB profile matches everything he has told me. I guess I'm out 6,000.00 I didn't have to send him to begin with. I also told him I have been to the bank for a loan of the 10,000.00 and have not been approved yet. I was curious about a military Liberty Pass. No such thing. I have an e-mail from the UN that I have been corresponding with copied and pasted the article. I also send the article to his e-mail address. I questioned the 1st 3,000.00 I sent because I did a search on the address and it was a residential address and picture of a home. The lady I was sending the money had never lived there. The next 3,000.00 went to another state completely and different name. They were getting the money to the UN for him. He is a Sergeant First Class in the army in Kabul Afghanistan and a helicopter pilot. Anyone else out there had any dealings with anyone like this? James Curtis

Peaches212 Everything you talked about almost matches the guy I’m talking to now. This man goes by James Williams. His birthday is December 15th and he said he is 46yrs old. He lives in California and is in the Army and has been for 6yrs. He claims he’s in Kabul Afghanistan. He said he has a son who lives with his aunt in New York. He also said his wife was killed on her birthday when a car hit her 2 years ago. I met him through Facebook and he claims he’s a widow. He is a very smooth talker and he’s very persistent. He asked me last week if I would send him $100 and I told him I couldn’t and just a couple of days ago he asked me who I bank with. I asked him why he needs to know? He said he’s getting his pay soon and wanted to deposit it into my account. I haven’t gotten back to him yet. No man who is in the service is going to ask a single mom for money and he’s not going to ask for bank info.

These stories almost match what I’m going through now. I wonder if it’s the same guy?? He contacted me through Fitbit and told me to use google chat that it was much better. Upon chatting there he told me he is 47, his name is Christian, he is a surgeon for the us army and is in Afghanistan. His wife died of leukemia 5 years ago and that he has a son living with his aunt in the states. Now his son is very sick and he needs money for surgery. Can I please send the aunt 3500 for the doctor to perform surgery? This has been the craziest story and I have said many many times to “him” that this is a hoax and he isn’t real he’s just wanting my money. Then he tries calling and wants to come visit! Stories sound so much alike!

I too was caught up in Twitter chats with a UN peace keeping SGT who after chatting for 2 weeks asked me to chat more via hangout, she said her parents died when she was 16, lost her child at birth and separated from husband because he cheated on her. She then went on to say via hangout that she had $1.5 million US dollars and wanted to send to my address via consignment and would give me 40% after receiving. She never asked for bank details but still raised alarm bells and stopped talking to her, was I right to stop?

I have almost the same thing happening to me, This guy message me thought Ingram and now were chatting on Whats app. I have try to video chat but, his phone drops the calls. He claims that his phone isn't working due to a buming that happened while patorling, He has send me picture of himself and have said he is Syria in the army. He has also ask for money that his bank card isn't working that it has been deactivate, and is asking for card and money for me to send to him thought some money exchange ATM. He talk about a son, and that his been in the Army for 15 years and that he is a widow. He is very charming, caring, and thoughtful. But, I see it all a scam. He talk about retiring from the Army this summer and wants to married me, after just knowing me for a month, lol. But, in all reality it isn't funny how, can the government not stop this. Please let me where can I check to see if this is real or just a scam. Which I guess I know what my is.

This sounds like this might be happening to me as well. Would anybody be able to tell me or show a picture of what this guy looks like? I'm sure that there are more people doing this and just one man. But I'm wondering this person's ethnicity and what he looks like.

Hi I have been chat with this guy that I meet online same story and I should know better and after 2 weeks chat he's ask me to get him Amazon card so he can use it to exchange data so we can keep in touch. Is this true? or a scam

It is scam, the same happened to me and I have a new friend in same direction please don’t money nor gift cards nor give bank information

Me too ,he don't want to use a Viber messenger or Skype because of his nature of work .he was introduced himself as architectural engineer in Scotland. He said he was a widow w/out having a child.he was said his not an Internet person.he was promised he was meet me and still always delaying flight,and his transaction not yet finish until he ask for my help that I will send money for him because the company didn't release the money of his late father until he was pay the penalty. I realized after the dating site give always a safety tips if not sending money to The person that never meet in person.ive lost money $4,000aud.sad experience that I've dream to have a life time partner but it ended into a scamm victim

Peaches212. This truly breaks my heart. I met someone on Instagram that goes by the name of Logan Preppy. He says that he is in the Navy and is incredibly gorgeous. He is currently in Libya on a "peace keeping" mission (or so he says). He says the most beautiful things to me but refuses to face time or make a phone call because he doesn't want to blow his cover. He has been asking me to purchase steam cards for him and is aslo asking for my credit card information so he can"deposit" money into my account. He says that he is an only child and that both of his parents died in a terrible accident. He also says he will be coming to see me this month and that he wants to start his new life with me. I know that he's a fraud and I want end all communication with him but I'm not sure how. So many pictures have been sent back and forth between us and I'm afraid he will use my information to get back at me. Is there a number I can call to report him? I'm so hurt and upset by this fake person. Hope to hear back from you. Thanks

Do u have a picture of him!? I think we talking to same person he asked me about amazon card for his son.... as he is away with military and can do nothing for his son?

I got the same thing, a man standing in front of a helicopter, widowed with a son in boarding school. Saw my FB profile on line and knew I was special. He "fell in love", deployed to Iraq, has a contract with the UN and was to come home in 3 months. After two weeks of chatting on hangouts, he claimed his unit was attacked, 5 were killed and he was one of 8 who survived and was given permission to "break his contract" with the UN. The UN is demanding 10,000 to break the contract and come home. He promises to pay me back as soon as he gets home. His money is "frozen" so the Taliban cannot steal it. I have no money so he wants me to go to the bank and borrow it. To whom can we report this. He is on FB as Ray Gratz. anyone check and see if it is the same picture. To whom can we report this and stop it? Please he, or they need to be stopped. When he asked for money I deleted all his conversations. Now I wish I had them so I could show them to the FBI.

I’m pretty much thinking I have one same

Hi,
Can somebody help me please ????
A friend of mine is being catfished by someone pretending to live in Croatia and saying he's famous in his country. Same story : he was blocked in London and needed money. He had hospitalbills from his ill daughter etc.
My friend really believes it's real and has paid him twice. Over 3000 EUR.
When I explain her its a fantasy world she's living in, she's gets mad. I can't push too much, because else, she says, our friendship will be over. So I don't have more details on who this catfish is.. Anybody who recognizes this story : someone famous from Croatia ??? Thank you

sounds the same modus as the scammer who contacted me. He's "from Britain" but works as a military nurse in the US. His daughter is sick in Spain, and because of COVID and because of the banks are closed and he "has not processed his father's account for wire transfer," he needed to borrow money from me. When I pointed out that his modus is of romance scammer, he got furious. why would he even ask me to send it to other accounts instead of his if he is a scammer. When I pretended to have no money, he slowly lessened his messages. He appeared convincing because he would be consistent with the time in TExas, which was 23 hours away from mine. He sticks true to his storyline. However, his glaring ungrammitcal structure is unforgivable for someone who is British. When he called, his fake British accent is noticeable. But when asked for a video chat, he would say that he needed to buy a new phone albeit his selfies used both cameras (the front and back ) of his phone. Your friend might be convinced because he also sends pictures and videos. I was just lucky that I followed by gut feel. Go ask your friend for a picture and have it checked at tineye.com.

So I decided to play along and let him keep messaging me so I can take it to the cops or someone. He told me he got information from his commanding officer where to send the money. He told me it was the UN. I got the address and routing number. It is Capitol One in MD. This guy or these guys think we are all stupid.
If I had not found the people on this site I would not have realized how prevalent this was. I hope law enforcement catches these guys

Has anyone ever heard of a Ted James or a James Ted? He is in Kabul, Afghanistan. He needs money for to update his computer.

I have a guys suppose from sweden and working as a Major in afghanistan ..it as been 2 weeks and he as ask me 2 days ago for itunes card ..he ask me 2 of 100$ and then he said only one is fine in what we are living right now ..lot a like all go you ...Thank you I almost got cut

I am in contact with a Raymond Lundstorm, he states he is in Kabul, Afghanistan and he is a special agent with the Green berets. I met him on IG & the conversation quickly moved to WhatsApp. I talk to him a few times a week - no video calls due to " Security." States he moved from Stockholm, Sweden. His mother & him left there b/c of an abusive relationship with his dad. Mom is being cared for by a nurse 24/7 due to Alzheimer's. He asked for steam cards. I tried to do a reverse google image , I am not very good on the computer. On IG his name is iamrayliam. His picture is on there & of course he is very handsome, states he was a model for a friend that does tattoos. I have several pictures of him. I need help. I'm falling for him.

I was scammed by a Richard Enzo Duvan who posed as a representative of Kames Capital Investment International of Edinburgh, Scotland. In researching, I discovered he had used the same "lingo" on a woman in Michigan.

OMG the guy I’m chatting with is “supposedly “ on a rig in Edinburgh Scotland as a Marine Biologist,He goes by the name John P., gorgeous, hot, great body, I have received several pictures even when requesting 1 specific, however his recent request was for bolts on a machine on this rig for a total of $2,550.00!!! I said are you crazy? I don’t have that kind of money!! He then says I’ll pay you back, right!!! Then I’m like your on a rig they should be paying for it, He then says I’m an independent contractor so I pay for my own stuff, I then say sorry but you will have to ask a Family Member which he then says I have no one but my Daughter, oh yeah, in the beginning mentioned His Wife passed a Couple years ago from Ovarian Cancer....

You can use Google Images to search for a photo to see who it actually belongs to. Most have no idea that their photo is being used for nefarious purposes.

How do you use google to put a photo in ? I tried and I was unable to. I was scammed out of a lot of money which I’ll never get back. I reported it to the IRS, FTC and FBI. But I now have debt I am paying for b/c of it. I feel like a total fool. But I kept all of our emails, texts, transactions - his so called mugging where money I sent was taken and his wrist were slit. He was good, I very stupid. I only wish there was something I could do to protect others from him on the dating websites or in general

TO Winbell - I have copied and pasted emails, posts, pictures, messenger texts, voice mail message with voice and I have them available if FTC or any law enforcement agency wants them. I have fake documents, plane ticket, field trip forms, hospital invoice and United Kingdom contact and bank address and account number. I did a background and a reverse phone number and found a second name - maybe he is the scammer with several aliases and other phone numbers - and the Facebook picture and the Facebook name are all fake along with the kids' names and their emails.. I was very fortunate that MoneyGram had been watching and indicated to me there had been some fraud in the area(?) and called me to verify that I knew the requester and the receiver .. ----I had to say no, I couldn't lie. I had never met either one so I was able to get refund of £1000. Oh, the man was gorgeous, his voice was intriguing and he had the most flattering things to say. As lonely divorcees or widows, we are perfect prey. He was so conniving. Be skeptical and don't get wound up - cause it hurts emotionally, too.

Was his name either John Hoffman or George Gianlugi? Met him on POF and says he works for skyview Investments international and on Linkedin as Gianlugi but john Hoffman works for Capvest Capital international investments...I have a photo I recieved 2 letters identicle different names from him and saw a prayer for November where his mother in Italy and he was talking to me in Jan. when she passed in Hamburg

I have been scammed from George Gianlugi. He says he works at Skyview.
I have been speaking to him since 11/2017
Its been a roller coaster of emotion and monies.

Curious as to what your outcome was. My step-daughter was talking to a Steve Hoffman with the same story!! Worked for Capvest Capital--his mom was Italian and just passed in Hamburg in late Feb!!!!!! He then quit his job as a fund manager for Capvest and then went to Dubai to meet some oil investors and then wanted to start up his own investment company. But since he still worked for Capvest until his resignation was accepted, he couldn't have his name on the new company. Wanted my step-daughter to send him her full name and address
and then his commission would be paid thru her to him. She said NO as she was just waiting for something to happen. He then told her he would buy her a mercedes!!!! Sure he was going to need more info from her, but it didn't go any further. And I'm sure most of the emails are simply form letters to be used with however many women he is using at the same time.

I have been conversing with this guy says his name is Fred Amato. He worked at capvest. He had a large number of shares and went to Dubai to sell and meet with other investors. He sold his share and put them in my name. He quit his job at capvest to start his own company. His mom has just died but they are supposedly from Greece. I think it’s probably the same guy. I just happened to run across this site. The amount of shares has changed. The amount of money has changed. The dates keep changing. He actually called me this morning and wanted to know if I planned on abandoning him. Now I’m very nervous after reading your post. He’s told me many times how much he loves me and he wants to get married. Haven’t know him for that long. I wish I could attach a picture. Please let me know. Thanks

I just had the same scam performed on me from a woman from eHarmony who said that her name was Liliana N. Pisano. Had that same story but I did send full name and address but just sent them an email with your story so I am hoping that this scam can finally stop. Never met the woman and was going on 35+days of just emails, videos (never said my name) and pictures.

Did she say she worked for capvest in Boise, Idaho? And lived in Murietta on Washington street?

I have been contacted by a James Lorris that says he works for Common-Wealth Investment International and he was currently located in Kentucky. He was sent to LA, then on to Australia while there his mother passed in New Zealand. From her funeral he then went on to Dubai to work with an investor. He says he is starting his own investment company and wants to use my name because he hasn’t resigned from his company yet. I will be considered an investor, he would be the fund manager and all he needs is my legal name and address and he will be plugged in to this wonderful deal. Oh yeah, he wants to resign as fund manager for his company because he travels so much and he wants to start a relationship with me. He is a widower and has a daughter in med school in London. He professed his love for me really fast because he is so lonely. He says he was born in Greece and his father was a US Marine. He has a very nice voice with possibly a European accent and he writes very eloquently. He had called me several times and the number has come up as an Australian international code, and then with a UAE international code. Can an international code be spoofed? Anyone run across this man or this description?

WOW. I wish I had read this before I fell for a man who contacted me on March.com. This description is exactly the same for the man who contacted me. The ONLY difference is his name. The name he gave me was Austin Adrian. EVERYTHING else was exactly the same as this person describes. Fortunately I read this before I wired him any money.

I was contacted by a man James Lorris as well, fund manager, located in England, had to go to Sydney, he got the message his mother, living in New Zealand, died so he had to fly to NZ, after the funeral he had to go to Dubai. Told the same story and asked for my name and address. He was born in Greece, father was in the army. His daughter studies in US, he is widower. He wants to resign as fund manager for his company because he travels so much and he wants to start a relationship with me. He says he is starting his own investment company and wants to use my name because he hasn’t resigned from his company yet. I will be considered an investor, all the same story.
He knows my legal name while we were emailing each other, but not my address. He called me a several times as well from sydney, NZ and UAE. After when I wanted to stop the contact he called me, oh, he was so sad, how could I even think he would able to cheat me. He loves me etc etc. If my answer is no didn't matter he would look for an other solution.We continued by Telegram(whatsapp), no loving emails anymore. And now his daughter in US is in hospital and she can't pay the bill, he can't send money from the UAE, have to wait till he is back home. So if I could please help him.
This must be the same man.

I have a friend who met a John Hoffman online . Says he has a business in Canada and New York. Says he is wealthy
Although he asked her to pick him up at the airport in Newark on this Saturday. She has never met him I. Person. This sounds dangerous to me

zm, i have a friend who we think is being scammed by someone named john hoffman he claims to be from canada and ceo of a company can i see the pic?

Hi- I think I have a friend falling for the same scam under a Paul shively. Says he lives in New York and does business in Canada. Can you please send me any information you might have on this situation? All we have are photos.

Was his name Martins Jayden Sparks!!! This one is very good. But he didn't get a cent from me, but he sure tried. He says he is a dr. and an engineer. So please if any ladies befriended him on Facebook or anywhere, quit!!! He wants ITUNES cards..

Susandon’t use, could u fill more on Francis Martinez, and the scam u when went through

Susan don't use, u wrote about a Dr Francis Martinez, would love more info, have been talking to him for a short times, is in Syria, has a daughter living with a nanny in Brazil, anymore info appreciated...

Is daughters name Gabriela

I am talking to Dr Martinez any more info would be great

I just put in my report of being scammed! I have a lot of information also I'm hoping someone will contact me soon because I want to delete everything I have but I also want to share it to help others and maybe catch the sob behind all this

Winbell - I forgot to say that I tried the reverse photo trick but the photo(s) that he used were not in any data base collection. SO there wasn't anything that came up. But remember the person who is talking to you with 'that' picture is not him..

My scammer’s pics and phone #’s and other information does not come up either, very sexy voice, promises are every woman’s dream, needs medical attention but already owes the hospital so needs $ to take trip to the city to reach the hospital, $ to pay for previous expenses plus new charges he’ll incur! Mad at me for not paying for him to return to the states, did I mention I paid for his $1700 plane ticket and the day before he was supposed to come home, someone stole his passport?!! How convenient?!! Now the hotel has thrown him out on the streets because he can’t pay his room, I offered to pay that by credit card too, they won’t accept it?!

Does this person happen to be in Indonesia? I heard of that guy

I was contacted by this guy too.
UK phone # though. But his screen shot showing he’s using Indonesia XL mobile network which he said he got stuck in this country, stranded and hungry...
I did not send him anything.

I was contacted by this guy too.
UK phone # though. But his screen shot showing he’s using Indonesia XL mobile network which he said he got stuck in this country, stranded and hungry...
I did not send him anything.

I think we have the same guy... he’s into investment and an engineer from Scotland but he has a construction contract in Malaysia ... he said he got stranded in Malaysia and run out of money cuz all his money which is with millions? Went to this construction ... he got stranded in Malaysia no money for hotel and taxi... l did not send him money... his name is mark collins

This sounds like the same person who scammed me out of a lot of money. He speaks with an accent and claims to be an engineer doing construction in Indonesia. Very charming, tells you everything you need to hear and more. Has a lot of patience. Called daily and professed to be in love. These are evil people who prey on unhappy women and take advantage of them. When I told him that he's fake he got upset and said that he's fed up of me humiliating and insulting him. Got angry with me. What a joke. Had me believing him for a while that he was real and not a fake.
Gradually the communication became infrequent because I wasn't giving him any more money. I want him to pay for what he's done. If not in this life then in the after life. He used the name tomasz Igor. Said he was Polish. Had a UK cell number. Met him on Facebook.

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