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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.




your military scammer sounds just like the scammer i ran into. when i called him out on the scam he tried everything except for getting on skype to video chat. he vowed his undying love for me and he is who he say he is., he even sent me a bank account of his so called german mother bank account with a woman picture, that didn't match the picture of the lady in the picture with him. i couldn't verify that he was even in the miitary. i asked for a les (its like a paycheck stub for the military). he sent me a fake one and i knew it, so i went to a army recruiting office w/the fake les and they said if he was in Afghanistan, he would have oversea and hazardous pay and other extra pay other than his basic pay. The ssn on his les didn't match his dob or the state he says he was born in. He gave me a fake military id( i found the site where he got it from) and a fake les and a fake drivers license, it was so real i had to go to the dmv website, the state the drivers license was from and check to see if it was real. it wasn't!!! The site said the information was not a match in their system. Everything he gave me to prove his identity, i couldn't verify, and when i let him know this, he just kept saying he is real and someone who wants his money( cause he has a lot back home in the states) is hacking his information. I said really?! You must be a billionaire cause they took you right out of exists from the military and the state you say you lived in all your life. And they must have it in for your mom, dad and son because they aren't in the system either. I told him, he only exists on the net and no where else. I told him, i knew he was a African scamming women in the U.S., oh he got upset and said i have never ever been a black man or lived in the jungle!! i laughed!! He really thought the more he said he loved me and would never ever hurt me and that when he proves to me he is real i will owe him an apology( that i would believe him). I said, i would but you and i both know that, that day will never come. I never got my apology and i knew, i never would by the way he just kept on insisting he is the soldier in the picture. i finally told him Goodbye. I signed off all my chat sites.

This sounds exactly about the guythis sounds exactly about the guy that I'm chatting with everything was cool until he asked for me to send a Amazon card so he can't call me. Which didn't make sense to me because why do you need and Amazon card to call but you can text. I'm glad I wasn't fooled into doing it because I'm pretty sure that they have means of communication for the military to reach out to their family and loved ones.

This sounds exactly about the guythis sounds exactly about the guy that I'm chatting with everything was cool until he asked for me to send a Amazon card so he can't call me. Which didn't make sense to me because why do you need and Amazon card to call but you can text. I'm glad I wasn't fooled into doing it because I'm pretty sure that they have means of communication for the military to reach out to their family and loved ones. When I told him that I wasn't going to do it he told me okay and don't bother that's how I know he was trying to scam.

I'm just reading this scam and I think my mother has been scammed by the same person .. Do you by any chance have a picture of this so called 'Elvin Larsson'? Also did he mention he had kids? Which country is he from?

Sounds to be the same one except he said his name was Branden Hintz. I have photo if interested. He’s a structural engineer working in Kuwait and accidentally left his toolbox in taxi. Asked for $1,300 - I did not give him anything. He’s still protesting his love!

Looks like Branden is getting around a lot!!! Hes been professing his love to me for the last 2 weeks and told me he just had to go to Germany on a contract. I've been waiting for him to ask me for money thank you all for confirming this period I will post a picture if I can. Other people need to know.

I am on POF,CA and it is full of scammers. I met a small group I communicate with. I still don't give out my phone number. I have been approached 8x so far, another today. They are so obvious,same MO. The one today, AM a doctor. I saw that and it was enough. He was a doctor in Florida. I'm on the other side of states buddy. Always start with AM, he also had a photo of bills of money. I wanted to throw up. I reported him as I did the others. I hope us women are wising up. I still punish myself for being taken and its been 4 years now. I guess it's because I am still paying on it.

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.

What was the name he went by, I am sure I am connected to one and wish FTC would use me to reel him in I am sure he is just one of a million in his group. You can tell it is more than one based on text conversations. Some are very literate in the English language while others are not. The caller's voice is always the same person. This one is bold enough to ask for over $30000 after one month of conversation. I would like to know whose pictures he is using to warn him. I am going to try Google images to see if I can find the real person these pictures belong too.

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 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 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

Anyone know a highly ranked US Marine officer in Afghanistan called Kendrick Lovelace? Or one based in Kuwait or Syria called Johnny Buster?

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.

What does this guy look like? do you have a picture?

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

I had the exact same person do this to me. By the sounds of it it is definitely the same guy. He gave me the same story!

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..

I’m talking to one now who was supposed to be in the army and in Afghanistan. He was set to retire in October. It’s always been send funds for a replacement, then documents, the airfare. Finally supposedly made it to New York and was being held. Had to pay for time in New York then it was a few for this and a few for that. Said he is from the Houston area. Has a son who is in boarding school while he is away. His wife died four years ago. It’s just him and his son. Blah blah. Has no family. He goes by the name of Derek Shultz. He has sent many pictures. And they are personal pictures too. I have googled the images and nothing shows up. Hmmmm

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


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