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 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.

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.

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..

As you know online dating can be risky and dangerous. Never give into the asking of money on any occasion.Save yourself time and aggravated tension.
Be safe.

I've been scammed by a love interest of over 10,000 before I realized it was a scam.

Me too. Don't beat yourself up......like I have a thousand times, over and over again. I'd love to be there when they have to answer to the Big Guy upstairs.

Ive been scammed by a military Sgt Rodriguez. Goes by different names but uses the same pictures and stories.

My sister was scammed out of $600 using Amazon cards by some claiming to be a Dennis William using Shawn Booth's pictures (2015 Bachelorette show bachelor). He promised to move her from PA to TN. My sister would not believe her family when we told her, "she was being scammed."

Not being a man of hefty mean, I have learned that if woman asks for anything more than your time and in person meeting, and willing to meet you half way, then you need to be weary of them.

Watch out for those couriers. The fake courier scam is massively abused in these.

To Sandi, I used the google images and the picture I was looking for was not there. does this mean he is a scammer or not....Thanks for your time and attention.

POF is INFECTED with scammers!!! 8 out of the 10 letters a day i get r Eastern European scammers. Their MO is always the same.Watch their grammar, and how English is a second language for them. Ask them lots of ?s as they get annoyed quite quickly. Google their names and phone numbers. The phone will be in a different state than they say they r in.They will have NO friends on FB. They will have NO digital footprint on the web as they make up or steal the names. One i ran into stole the id of a guy in Wisc for 3 years. I called the landline listed to let the real guy know that he should watch his financials as his id was being used. The scammer threatened my life. Do not tell them any personal info about yourself until u r positive its a real person here. Set up a fake email because they want your email to hack into your bank acct. You can spot them by the line of bs they throw at you. Anerican guys don't talk like that. Tell them the FtC is monitoring the site, watch how fast they disappear. Check the military base they say they r from, it ususaly doesn't exist.if u talk to them by phone it will be hard to understand them as their accents r thick. They don't understand American slang, so use it. They will ask for 1,000 Iphones to use at their work "site". They r always "independent contractors" or engineers. Pictures can be photo shopped. They do not answer direct questions when asked, but will bring the conversation back to you.Do NOT be afraid of calling them out!!! They hate being called scammers and will disappear vs trying to prove you wrong

When I had Instagram, I had several men pretending to be American Servicemen trying to talk to me. I noticed the broken English and overt sexism they used when messaging me and I know American men don't speak that way. I asked questions about things going on in the US currently and they had no clue what I was talking about. They said they were on humanitarian missions in Afghanistan and when I called them out on it, they called me terrible names. One of them I busted when I told him to send me a selfie as proof and he sent me a picture of a servicemen that wasn't a selfie. On his profile, he had several pictures of a soldier, but you could tell from talking to him that he clearly wasn't American. He claimed to be from Miami, FL.

I also was scammed in 2015 and did send money, but was called by my bank that the $$ I had put into an account was a "Fraud & Scam". Needles to say I stopped the 1 ck, and with the help of a Police Officer, I was able to get back the other ck.The guy who scammed me has 14 different names and is on Facebook with 3 of them.He was on Skype when I met him. Perhaps Facebook & Skype need to be fined like Western Union and is in the process of giving back some of the money.

my husband is in denial. he has been talkin to a woman from romaina she has him believing that she is in love with him. she managed to get into the discover bank system and pretended to work there. I have tried to tell him she is scamming him but he will not listen to me. he is giving up his wife and son for someone that is not even real. but his loss he should have better since then that to believe someone on the other side of the world.

I had the same thing happened with my husband. This girl who pretended as half Turkish initiated their meeting from LinkedIn. In 3 weeks time she had my husband believed that he is in loved with her and started asking for 5 grand!

I heard that people on O-k cupid take girls out to eat and when the meal is over, they say they left their wallet at home. So the girl ends of paying and the guy keeps looking for new girls and getting free meals over and over again.

I was scammed by someone on FB who friended me. We developed a relationship online. He said he was in Afganistan on a humanitarian mission and needed help getting a package back to the U.S. After awhile he hit me up for money to help get this package home through the use of a diplomat. Needless to say I believed him and lost a lot of money in the process.

Thank you as always for your very informative newsletter. Because of your newsletters, I have not been scammed and I pray that I am never scammed. I am 72 years old and I always urger the elderly to sign up for your newsletters. Thank you in advance for caring

I am getting a lot of women bothering me on Hangouts and messenger. they are always in guianna taking care of sick family members. I no sooner delete 10 ten more comes on

I was scammed by a man who goes by James Adams from Houston, Texas he claimed. Also uses name Thomas Smitherman.

How does one spoof a number? Why can't we stop spoofing?

I have been in the same boat as most of everyone on here. I too didn't want to believe it, but it finally sunk in. Yes, I have beaten myself up over it, now having to look into bankruptcy because I am in that much debt from everything that happened. Please anyone who thinks otherwise, read these comments that are being posted. They are telling you exactly what can happen if you fall for this type of scam. Protect yourself as much as possible.

Anyone who is chatting to Freedom on hangout? He ask money to someone I know, big amount and for supposed to be for airline ticket for emergency so he can go home in America. But I read here military doesn't charge members to go on leave, I suppose even emergency leave, right? I ask Freedom if he has SSN or FIN and he doesn't even know what are those, unbelievable.

I was speaking with a man for 3 week said me was in the military then start saying he was shot. And needed me to get him out. Ask me to write to a captain to help him get out. when I did they said they would but it would cost me money. When I asked how much it was 10,000euros. I contacted the US army criminal division website and reported it. But he will not stop messing with me. He even called my work place and told them stuff that almost got me fired.

I stay away from online data sites since I've heard that they don't really monitor who joins. Better to either meet someone in a social setting among people you know or have someone that you know and trust to set you up with someone that they know and trust. Don't be in too much of a rush to get hitch. It's safer that way.

About ten years ago I met this guy on Facebook from France (I don't recall his name now) but he expressed interest in me and I talked to him a bit. Eventually he started saying he loved me and that he owned a store in Paris and wanted to send me some merchandise which consisted of clothes and shoes. I agreed and I gave him my address and phone number so he could send the items. A couple of days after I received a shipment notice that looked legit, I got a phone call from an alleged customs agent in Malaysia that said the package was flagged and searched and the it contained cash money (Euros) which violated international law and for a 1000 dollar fine, they would send me the package. I contacted the guy on Facebook and he said that he had put money in the package and he would pay $500 and I had to pay the other half. He gave me the name and number of a person in a Middle Eastern country, not Malaysia where the call allegedly came from, and said I had to wire it there. Needless to say I didn't pay it since I realized I was being scammed. I didn't report it and now I realize I should have since these people have probably done this many times to many people. You have to be careful out there.

As many of you have put it, just invest a little time and asks questions, and the truth - or at least the lies, will be revealed. Be Smart.

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