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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

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.

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 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?

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...

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.

It is the same guy if he has an accent from Spain or Mexico still looking to get out of Indonesia claiming he needs $9000 to wire his money back to the states. He always calls me now no stop. I tell him I need $10,000 he backs off.

It could be the same guy because his accent was difficult to pinpoint, but he can understand Spanish very well.

I had only been emailing with a so called Sebastian Santiago for a few days while he professed his love...etc. Sent pictures until I said I would like to see a picture of you holding a piece of paper with something written on it. A day later, it was the same man in the picture and he was holding a sign that said I love you and my name on it! He was very smooth, even sent me flowers & a teddy bear, not that I wanted one. Now thinking...any red flags? Yes, one email he said his daughter was named Cierra, the next day, he said Tabitha. He didn't even know he filled in the blank. The best part is ladies, I caught on when he sent a picture of himself in his underwear. What???? I don't want that!!?? We haven't even met yet!! So when he thought it was time to share his car was robbed and the cops came & his ID , bank card was missing, he would then ask for money so he could book his business trip, then come visit me for our first date.
Caught him, I told him I worked in a bank for 9 years! Even though they had to freeze his accounts, go in show your passport, which he had at home, and the manager will go through a process to help you.
I blocked his cell phone - let him know via email, my heart was a little bruised, however, his behavior is cruel and unacceptable.
It hurts when your heart gets involved and you wonder what just happened, I am a happy person, just open to meeting someone this time in my life.
Peace to all of you.

Check on fb under mark collins he is wearing a white shirt balding hairline, good looking, he has pictures in Hollywood and New York. He has one picture wearing a red shirt sitting on a the couch looks like in a hotel lobby. I know he’s not this person he might just using this. I read on another site about mark collins he’s a Nigerian based in Malaysia and he scammed other ladies too. He is an engineer working on oil/gas pipeline in Malaysia, he is widowed for 5 yrs. and have a son in a boarding school, he’s from Sydney but he’s been residing in Scotland, he’s parents are all dead and he supports orphanages . in 2 weeks he professed his love and wants to marry you. He calls me everyday, he has a british accent, has a beautiful voice. We talk on WhatsApp for almost 2 months then he ask for money wants the money to be sent via rhia in malaysia through another person and he even have another lady to talk to me to convince me that he will be kick out in the hotel if l will not help him pay his hotel bills . I did not give l don’t have money at all

I have just been contacted on Instagram by a mark collins. I think this may be the same person. Its only been 2 days that I have been talking to him. He goes by mark_collins111 he has a picture of a young guy with a white shirt on. I talk to these scammers everyday its pathetic. I will never give them a cent. The first time I ran into one was on instagram and we moved over to hangouts he said he was a Dr on deployment to Libya. He used Dr. Fernando Gomes Pintos pictures. We talked for months at least 3 times a day. He said he was living in Germany before his deployment and he was coming to get me and marry me. After months of talking he told me that the Libyan Government had paid him 1.5 million dollars in cash and he wanted me to accept a lockbox with the cash. I would have to pay the delivery fee. It just so happen my Son told me about catfish schemes and in reading about it I found out about scammers. The guy I had been corresponding with was a scammer. I caught him and I told him he was a scammer. Come to find out he was from Nigeria and he was a scammer. My heart was broken but my pocket was not. I have run into so many of these people on Instagram. I now can spot them when they first start talking. They use broken English and can't spell a bit. be careful when you run into one of these.

Hi! I have encountered the same. I am not sure if we’re on the same guy. He keeps on asking me money every month. Can you describe him physically? I mean the photos that he has been sending to you.

Do you have picture of him did his dm you frist

I met this guy on match, quit similar to your, just story change a little, he said he is British born, moved to Denmark, then came to US with parents. When I asked where he works, he said he works for nobody, he owns his construction company. He used the name Carl Mork. I google it, none found in Butler, NJ I can't find his name anywhere and didn't match, anyway his story was really convincing that he bit at Las vegas, for $35,000,000 construction foster housing, that needs to build in Dubai from United Arab Emirate. Yes he sent me the certificate of the bite, look so real, at first I thought it was real, then when he said he has to go to Dubai to claim the money, he got stuck there because he has to pay a competent attorney to get the paper work done, he short of $10,000, he said he didn't ask me for help but he was indicated if I can help. I don't have money I just paid my contractor the deposit to paint my house. He asked me how much I made, I told him I told I need take home paid $6500 per month for living that is why I work so hard. Yesterday he sent me roses plant that was delivered to my door, he is trying to get me help him for $5000 that he already got $5000 from friends. Numbers of things that I looked up on the website that didn't match, can't find his name with his contact. He has accent of Spanish that he told me he was from British and Denmark. Hmm Something is wrong. I didn't send him money yet. I just found this site and read a lot of ladies comments. Not a chance I would send him money. I believe he invested on me he will get big return. You know I am not young anymore, when money is gone I have to work really hard to get it back. His stories can change from really convincing, the thing is not money it is the feeling hurt that he gave you all the good things that you wnt to hear. Thank you for all the posting that make others awared of what is going on the dating sits.

Hi i just wanted to know, maybe we were both talking to the same person, a mixed polish and english living in UK with different accent.
He said he is an structural engr. Is there anyway we could post their pics to warn others..

Did this person mention the patriots certification act as part of their scam

What did you hear about the guy in Indonesia? Because I believe I’m being scammed by the same guy

I am talking to a guy named Michael Keith who is in a hotel room in Dubai waiting to figure out how to get money for a new building contract. He is a structural engineer. I almost don't want to know . . . he talks so sweet to me. The amount went from $10,000 to $8,000 to $3,000, and this morning it was down to $1000. He doesn't want to stress his poor mother anymore by asking her for it. I have really nice pictures that do not come up on a reverse search, and his wife left him, and he has a daughter . . . so detailed in everything. Just makes me sick, but I have not sent anything. His English is broken yet he lives in Glasgow, Scotland. I hope you write back.

Please stop communicating with this beast. He will only steal from you and discard you. If he has an accent, you've actually never seen him only pictures, he's a scammer and a very good one. Says he's an engineer, from England, doing business in Indonesia and stranded, need money. Very convincing, pleads and begs for help. The number he is using is 116281517812959 an Indonesian number. Please ladies beware. Stay away from him.

What name did the guy use if you dont mind me asking. I have a friend who is talking with a guy and he wants money from her.

Winbell what was this guy's name ? And was he in Nigeria ? This sounds familiar to the same guy talking to my sister. Thanks

I’m talking to guy with similar story name Samuel

Is he from Ghana or Nigeria ?

Is the guy you’re talking to Samuel Manske? An engineer doing work in Nigeria?

GRIFFIN SMITH is a fake he will say is in Nigeria special Mission, needs money for Food and hygiene products and iTunes to communicate.

There are a lot of these scams. Me and a friend got caught up just like u did.

how do you add a photo by my phone of a potential scamer

I tried that. What do you type in?

Hello I’m from Nepal
Two weeks ago I met one woman in Facebook and she is from USA and she is military and she found lots of money she trying to send me all money already I deposit 655US dollars and again she told me I need to send 5770 pounds how can I do report please help me

What's her email address

I need my cash as soon as possibleBecause I have a Lotta calling coming from you which is I don’t know when I need money

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