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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

I understand exactly how you feel. My dad has been having an online affair with a woman who claims to live near him but for some unknown reason she is stuck in China with no money to get home because she lent all her money to other people who now owe her. My dad had stupidly opened a bank account for her, gave her all of his personal info and next thing I know my mom is talking about someone trying to charge $10,000 to their credit card. So not realizing that she is a scammer, her next idea is to have her friends that owe her money to take out credit cards using some fake names and use the my dads address for where to send the bill to....Two different credit cards were used and when he asks her what happened she says she didn't know they were fake and these were real people that owed her money. After this my dad still thinks she is in China with no way to get home. She has been there supposedly almost 8 months now with no money for even food for the past 3 months...so everyday she emails him honey cant you just send me like $200 so i can get food. Her latest scam is sending him more fake credit cards to pay for a few hundred dollars on an iTunes gift card. Thankfully he keeps telling her he cannot help her at all financially since he got screwed over twice. She still does not stop, every few days since he told her no she still emails baby please honey do this for me i promise your wife won't find out. I love my dad to death and a part of me really wants to have a serious talk with him but the way I found out about this was about 8 months ago he asked me to look at something on his computer and I noticed in his email something saying I love you baby so much to some unknown woman. I probably should have asked at the time, what is this? But since then I have been going and reading the sent messages because he deletes the inbox emails and that's how I found all this. Technically I only know all this cuz I invaded his privacy and I just can't seem to bring myself to tell him I know. My mom found out about the first two attempts and told him she was going to divorce him if he didn't stop talking to her. Yet he still does, believing that she will come home from China and they can see each other secretly. Sorry for the book reply but I am so frustrated with this and this is the only way to get it out for right now. So just know I know exactly how disappointed you and your son must feel.

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.

i was a victim too to the same case you are describing. my God, i lost so much money as well.

Can you say the guys name? The same thing happened to me but I didn't fall for it. This guy's name is Steven Morales. When I found out who he really was he blocked me.

Wao the same thing happened to me. I was talking with a guy on Hangouts and after few months he asked me for my phone number and address so he can send me a package with some cash he found while in a mission in Syria and he also wanted to send a ring as a proof of his love for me, but right there something told me that this isn’t right! So I knew he was a scammer and I let him know that he picked up the wrong woman to scam and I blocked him. I would never give anyone my personal information or send money to someone that I have never met. Not me!

it's unfortunate that I couldn't read this site a month ago when I also fell into the same trap. those scammers are really professional artists and the one i encountered conspires with another so-called courier company. I have lost much money and really sad about it. never trust anyone offline.

I feel stupid. I have been chatting with a guy name Antony choosen do you know anything about him

I feel stupid. I have been chatting with a guy name Steven Armstrong do you know anything about him always asking for money says in Africa.

Oh my Gosh, the same thing happened to me. Was his name Nicholas J Townsend? The so called diplomat was David Geary and he was stuck in Italy with the pkg. I sent him money like a jerk. I lost money too.

Do you have a name? Someone is trying to do this to me as well

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.

I was scammed out of $33k by a guy calling himself Casey Oliver. He found me on Instagram and we moved our convos over to hangouts. He claimed to be a 1st class Sargent in the Army serving in Afghanistan. His wife died from lung cancer and has an 8 year old daughter. I fell hard for him. The only proof I had was the pics he sent me. He was restricted from video chats, phone calls, and taking selfies. He needed the money to release his luggage from holding and once the luggage was released he can retire. He claimed that all his investments were in that luggage, over $600k worth.
He claimed to love me right away and at first I was skeptical about it but he was definitely good at manipulating me and got the money. Now I’m looking at bankruptcy and losing everything I’ve worked so hard to get after my divorce!! I feel like the stupidest person ever!! I hope he gets what he deserves!!

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 think I'm being scammed by someone who calls himself Michael William,says he is a sergeant in dutch army.

I have met a Michael williams from Ohio, an engineer working in the uk. Just wondering if the same person

Hey that is the same guy that has been trying to get me to send him money for his vacation letter. He says he is Mike William.. a General Surgeon for the UN. From London and his wife died in a car accident three years ago.

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.

Two days ago I was in the same situation I was scammed they said I must send R8000 then I started to be worried and realised that this is a scam from now on I don't talk to anyone on FB inbox. I have learnt a lesson

I live in Tucson, Arizona and I have been on the Bravo Base and VOP Alpha Team page and neither seem legit. They continuously ask people for gift cards and supplies. I have heard numerious versions which all end up with Veterans in the hospital after injesting expired food or the unsanitary conditions of the camp. Rodents are infesting the camp and no one, not the civilian or military is willing to intervene. Please don’t give them your hard earned money, it’s not going to the vets, it’s going to the Methed up Command. Yours, Allie

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.

Anyone recognize the name Steve Arthur as he uses that name. Says he works for the United Nations, is a doctor, wealthy and madly in love with me. Wants to come back to bus to marry me, his adorable queen, says he's in Yemen but I traced his call to Ghana. I've sent him money for his son, iTune cards, hold chain, now he has a box full of money he wants to send to me. I had to send money to a diplomat for storage in Heathrow airport in England. He sends pics of himself but I haven't seen it on any websites. He wants more money to get home and I had to borrow. Has 2 kids in US in boarding school anyone know him?

@Mexixo49 would you mind sharing photos of him? Or at least describe what he looks like?

tall dark handsome says is a Captain in Mexico Border. born and brought up in Houston TEAXS

If it is who I think it is, he also uses the name James Arthur and says he has one son,Alex, in boarding school in Texas. Other than that his story to me is identical to yours..

Sounds like the guy trying to get ITUNES cards out of me. Dr. on a cruise line. Has a 15 year old son. Widowed lives in FL. Went by Jayden Martins Sparks. I google everything he is a ghost. He is an older man, every handsome. He should be stopped. I didn't sent him anything, but I know there are women that will

I've been scammed by a guy claims to be in hospital in Afghanistan and was hurt in a bus accident going to the airport. He claims he loves me and wants to be with me forever. He needs money to get home because the flight home was increased in price. I've already sent him $1600 for flight and at least $1000 more in iTunes cards to communicate with me. I never talked to him on phone even though he calls me,we communicate by Hangouts. Is this definitely a scammer? His name is Roger Carpenter and claims to be an engineer with the government and a captain in the Army. Beware of him

Anyone scammed by Matt Daniels. Photo of him in a khaki uniform standing in a kitchen?

Is photo of MattDaniels left arm colorful tattoos? Could be an older photo with no tattoo? Probably same half Italian, half American Orthopedic Surgeon that’s trying to scam me. Please reply. Thanks

Same one with colorful tattoos. One photo with cat and one photo with dog. Orthopedic Surgeon Doctor working for Military on contract. Exactly the same

Someone I know has been talking with a Matt Daniels the past few months, and he fits this description perfectly. How has he been scamming people? Has he asked anyone for personal info or money?

I have been emailing a Matt Daniels orthopedic Surgeon sent to Syriah, wants to send me $ to My acct to send to his son in Military school??? Pics have Tattoos met on POF he did facetime me looked real enough. says he wants to send 10.000 to my acct that I can send his son???

I've been talking with someone by the same name and profession. Hasn't asked for anything as of yet. I'm not sure how to handle. I wish there was a way to exchange more information.

Would love more ingredients, I feel like I'm in this situation now

Be on the lookout for a Sgt. Daniel Jason Cooper supposed to be in the U.S Army stationed in Chad and supposedly His MOS is CID 40 Years Old with a Son who's 6 Years Old and supposedly very sick with life threatening illness. He played the heartstrings and sympathy card about his son boy did I fall for his crap, but I did my own investigation . These scammed are linked here in the U.S too Don't let them fool you! I have everything I need to nail him to the wall along with his accomplices. I hope they all pay for what they've done.

I was about to be scammed when I realized what was going on I confronted the person, he was pretending to be a Army Captain based in France, when i did my research all is wrong and english is hilarious. Ive contacted and warned the real person or so at least I thought its the real person but he blocked me. Why would I get blocked unless he is a fake one as well correct?

So I Have been on this website for a couple of years, and so far nothing but scammers, from military to so called contractors. Sometimes I wished the FTC would pay me money for every scam! My latest one called himself Nathaniel Brown, supposed to be from Arizona, but is doing a million dollar contract in Cyprus! So after talking to him for a while, he asked me if I could get him 3 MacBook Air with everything, because his card was compromised. And then he wanted me to send them to a coworker named Ozay Seydali in Nicosia Cyprus. Told him right out I am not going to be scammed, he got upset and called me several names. I am pretty sure , he is talking to someone else already. Be careful, Ladies!

Sounds like my friend's "Danish contractor" who just landed a 3 million dollar deal in Cypress but needs utube cards to talk to her or some sort of nonsense. First asked for $50.00 card. Then another amount..because his card was compromised..needed to work on contract proposal..speaks with Danish accent..says he knows 6 languages. She has Skyped with him. He's in oil Riggs offshore I believe. I referred her to this site..has a daughter in boarding school- 16 years old. His wife died when she was 8. That's the story!

do you have a photo of the Cyprus scammer you can post? A friend is involved with a guy who is in Cyprus - hasn't met him yet.

I think I have just been scammed by this person. His name is Bruno Desi claims to be a petroleum engineer. He has a 6 year old daughter and has been a widow since she was 2. Asked me to access his bank account to wire money to a vendor for supplies. His account was locked because of a foreign IP address trying to access his account then he begs me to pay for the supplies until he returns from the sea. I googled him and found his LinkedIn account, business website all seem to be in order. Then he got held by customs on his way to the US by customs for traveling with the money that he was paid for his job, over 200,000 € that was not declared and is asking for me to pay for an attorney.

Do you have a pic of this man? I have a few pics to share and compare

Did you ever get into his bank account on his behalf??? Mine give me login information and everything in wiring instructions then I went in wired money from his account to his vendors and it was millions of dollars ... now he is saying because I logged in from somewhere different then where he was that the bank closed his account ... I don’t know how hard it is to fake the web page that looks just like a bank account seems difficult to me ... he apparently can’t leave to straighten things out with the bank because he’s on an oil rig in the middle of the ocean and the bank is in the UK ... I’m so heartbroken

Is it Metro bank? My case is similar to this but I did not access to his bank account. I just happened to help him placed order of material and forwarded wire confirmation because he had issues pulling his email due to poor internet connection on the rig.

He probably had you clearing out someone else's account. Had you do it so it could not be traced to him. It seems a common theme that these scammers involve their victims in money laundering and some victims have been prosecuted after "helping " their new fictitious friend. I have been doing alot of research as I have a family member being taken advantage of.

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