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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!

Where did he say he is from? Someone connected with me on Fitbit and we moved over to Hangouts. We've been talking for 2 months before he asked for money.

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.

I think this is same Person supposed to be a military assigned in agfhanistan, sent a message request in Messenger His photo on FB OS posing in Front of helicopter. He comes with a sad story both parents died when he was Young and wife died 6 yrs ago leaving him a Son who is Washington Was super sweet and always messaging. profess Love for me despite not talking or video calling. I let him go on with it Until he asked for money Bec he said his Son seriously sick with kidney problem and is confined at George Washington unversity hospital That is when I suspected this is a Fraud. Sent me where to send money which is a person. Not the hospital
I never sent money.

I have had the same issue with someone claiming to be in Turkey and the officers have taken ask of his machinery and equipment and even his workers, said they violated the covid restrictions wants 15,000.00 LoL

I am the same. A guy saying he was stationed in turkey. Wanted money after 3 weeks of talking.. Goes by the name james..

That’s what exactly I am going through.., he has a daughter.. his wife died.. no family and he ask me for sending him money cards ext I wonder if this the same guy he text me on IG then hangouts and now he move to Viber??? I have photos of him I wish share with you girls

I too and my mother harassed by widower, project manager, with a daughter, late 40s he looks like could be fake pics.

I met a guy on Facebook his profile says that he's in Afghanistan a fighter pilot Blackhawk pilot his name is Raymond Marsh he needed $1,000 to get a shipment send to me send it up in Georgia he sent pictures documents the shipment they wrote me on email any need of $5,000 to get it shipped to my address he says that he is real Raymond Marsh

Hi what’s his daughters name? The guy I was talking to said his name was James mabry. He’s a black guy with nice muscles and tattoos .

did you have a picture of this man?

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

Exactly same with me

I have had the same thing. He had one son in private school , his name William greorge I’m Kabul Afghanistan, for a peace mission. Sent me photos. Very nice looking man. Very built with tattoos on shoulders. He even sent me a picture ID to Match. With I. Two weeks he asked for $ 300.00. He said he is divorced. His wife cheated on him with best friend. To say the least. I did not give him money!!

OMG im talking to a rely nice guy now. He says hevis in the army will retire soon, has a son 15 and his wife left him for someone else. He calls me twice a week from were ever he is.ask me to marry him when he gets home.im a widow and this was my first time getting on a getting on a dating sight. He tells u whatvu want to hear. He gave. Me his ssn. Says he is on a secret mission over seas. Please contact me see if its the same guy.

Raymond says he has a daughter sent me a picture of Visa said his wife passed away four years ago had asked for money I said I was broke he wrote back money doesn't matter if he loses the package sent he still in love with me this is weird he sent me flowers candy an bear I believe this guy is living in a double life he says he's from Albuquerque New Mexico but his profile says he's from Oklahoma

Hey I’m talkin with a person very similar to the message I just read. I’m wondering if it could be the same person

U can't join the military at 40 years old either

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.

Really

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 am in contact with a guy Raymond Lundstorm, from Sweden, in Kabul Afghanistan. Says his mom has Alzheimer's and has a full time nurse in Jacksonville GA. I have his cell & he gave me his home address- asked for steam gift cards - red Flag of course. I posted all about him earlier on here and want to see if anyone can help - not sure when my post will be on here.
Please help !

Would you like to exchange notes / pictures ?

I would love to share information
How do we do this - cab we exchange emails in private ?

Leo Carter Hildreth, retired from military, in antique business and needs $$ to help pay for goods, claims he had to re enlist in order to pay for his debt and needs 10,000 for a Liberty Pass, claims he's in Bangor , Maine at the military base and is on special assignment, needs to have $$ wired (or bit coin) to military account, also gave me a ""secret special command" email address to the "man in charge" who will give me the account # for the money (hahah).. US_defense_department@ . Be careful Ladies as this idiot is very persistent.

Hi I am May Valencia,now I cannot sleep bcus of that scammer military,I read ur message almost same that they are doing to me, now they are block mailing me,I need anyone help now,now they will use my ID to make problems to me,they want to send box to me inside of it money he told me worth 115000 dollars,
when I know the amount I said I cannot accept it big amount he want me to send to his bank account,he told me he is working U.S military in Afghanistan,now they are asking me money 700bd for shipping,and now they are black mailing me if I will not send money they will show my identity ID to the police .. .now I’m to much worried.. .plsss I need help.. .

This sounds like a scam. If they say you must pay to accept a package, but it is not your package, and you did not order the package, it is usually a scam. They might pretend to be a "Customs Official" or say they will call the police. You can stop talking to the scammers. They want to scare you and take your money. You can block a scammer and ignore him. 

OMG I have the same situation as well, but it's not the same guy... The guy I am chatting was Chris Leung, claims his wife died from cancer and has two kids and a nanny is watching him while he is on a special mission in Kabul, Afghanistan. He is really sweet and talked on Instagram for a while then he told me to go and download the app Hangouts and I did. We talked for three weeks. Soon he asked me to marry him and I told him not yet we haven't met each other and slow down. He kept convincing me so then I agreed to him. Then he said I would have to write a letter to UN for an emergency leave which I also did, and UN replied back saying that I need to choose the months of duration that I choose for him to stay with me and pay for the fee. I choose 3 months and paid over $2,000 and then after they have confirmed the payment that I sent to them. After a day or two I received another email from UN saying there is another fee of $12,450 for his flight and expenses. I was shocked then I contacted him through Hangouts and told him the situation. Then he was like I can't access my accounts here and just trust him saying all these things to me. But then I have relatives that serves in the Army too so I had asked them questions about my situation. They told everything that they can do and can't do. I am currently still chatting with me and he keeps telling me to trust him, which I don't anymore because my cousins they all told me already too. What should I do???

I would block him and delete the app
The sooner you do it the better
I am trying to find out the identification of my scammer just for my own curiosity , I am not going to do anything with the information I find out. I still have my app with our conversations .I did an image search and found the person he is using the pictures saying its him He wants steam cards. Military personal do have access to their money

This commit re Michael,Beckons he has tried to scam me we meet on another date site he says he is a qualified oil fixer he is in Afghanistan very calming very romantic I feel in love with he says he needs a vocation and am then he demands via his Agent at the finger is £261 he trys to manipulate you please beware he says he has a son aged 31 and that his wife has passed away around five years ago please dont give him anything. Janet

I have a friend that met a guy in Instagram, he goes by the name Wu_jongwilliams, he told her to download an app call hangout so he can text her thru there he’s name in that account is Wu jong Costa. He told her the same story that he’s deploy in Syria on a mission, that he’s wife die 3 yrs from cancer and he’s parents are dead and that he has no siblings, but he has a 5 yr old son that’s currently on the army academy under the care of the government cuz he have no one to take care of the child. they been txting almost a month in a half. He said he loves her and he will want to married her. She told him she’s pregnant by another guy that left her and he reply to her that he will be responsible for her and the unborn child so, he ask her to write a emergency paternity leave letter which she did, and had to chose from 3 options to pay for “A replacement soldier expenses to replace him on the mission” She chose option A which is $2000 to cover him for 4 moths leave, she did wireless the money thru her bank. Now she’s currently working on stopping the transaction. Your story sound similar to her it sounds to good to be true. I hope it’s not too late and you do get your money back.

Yes , I am going through the same deal.
Kabul Afghanistan and says he is a staff sergeant named George Matthew Smith.
He’s taken me for 1000$ I m upset but it could be worse as I have read.
I m going to the police tomorrow.
I m very hurt and disappointed in myself.
I got caught up talking to him while being in lock down from covid. I believed in him totally.

Yes. I have been in the same situation, except that I’ve wired very large amounts over and over and gotten nowhere. I need to know how to retrieve everything. This guy I’ve finally did a google image search and he’s gone by a different name from his UN claimed you be doctor. Even in LinkedIn!
He lost his wife, parents, has a 10years old son living in Italy cared for by a friend, his residence is in Finland, he’s currently in Valenzuela serving as a medical doctor. Requested me to send an e-mail for his Leave. The consultant sent me an e-mail from some kind of a cruise site and called it private as they cannot use anything that ties directly to the UN. He said he can’t touch funds while in there and the consultant will wire me his vacation money once he gets approval for leave and that he actually leaves...guess what? Now there’s this Covid-19 that requires a cost for a private jet. Thereafter, a request for more funds to cover his medical clearance.
What a downfall for me...it’s been 11 months and he’s promised he exits this July 2020. I asked him why all of these process as what has he been doing before he’s met me? He’s speechless, and of course claimed that he’s never had to go through this process before. The consultant claims there’s a new head that had fined him for insubordination but will not identify.
I am out of money...hurt, looking for someone to truly help me with filing or prosecute these people. Please please someone....

Omg I thought i was the only person being scammed . I too over nover believed this man ..In fact since October 2019 . I helped him with his passport pd the tax cuz he said he needed to pay to leave Canada .I did all that And i cant blame this COVID .. Its me . I dont know how much ive sent and its really embarresing to talk to anyone about this .. But I did report him to the FTC ..I have his ssn passport number n name ..They have told me it probably is fake. . I have had sleepless nites tell him he has no heart is just interested in my money .. I just like him decided to tell him lies too ..I told him I have no more and if he continues I will block him ..He has said he will always find me n i believe hes a dangerous mind . Please if anything ? Dont live with the stress. . stress can kill ..Contact the FTC COMMISSION and anything u know report him ...asap
Good luck n stay safe
No man is worth are money ..
Say no more n live with peace

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.

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