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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 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..

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.

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

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

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

I tried that. What do you type in?

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.

My sister is being scammed by a Joshua Williams who claims to be in the military. He says he’s from Florida. She sends him 25 dollars a week in iTunes cards for his phone bill! We had he ask him what branch he was and he didn’t know! We convinced her not to send money and he has her crying all day now! Please help!,

May I ask where in Florida he says he is from and also what name he is using. I have a guy that I believe is trying to scam me. I’m trying to see if it’s possibly the same person. He even gave me a Florida cell phone number.

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

hey are u willing to contact me,i believe we have both been scammed by the same person

I was to. His name was James Rodriguez. I knew something was up. But thank God I didn't send no money. I feel so dumb.

I didn't send him any money but he attempted to get money from me. James Rodriguez SGT. We might be talking about the same person?

I'm after some information about a James Rodrigues he has been trying to get money from me he's been telling he's in Syria but works for us army and told me he loves me etc does anybody have a picture cos I do

And is using many photo I am familiar to me.
The story also sounds very familiar to me.
Do you have any chat with him to show, so that I can compare mine with yours.

I think I was scam by the same person. Sgt James Rodriguez. I would like to see his photo.

Can you contact me. I think it is the same person.

Are you able to provide a picture of this person I think I might be dealing with this same person now

I think I’m being scammed by a James Rodriguez who claims to be an Engineer on an oil rig

I think I am being scammed by a guy who said he was a petroleum engineer / rig manager on an oil rig in Saudi Arabia / Dubai. After 7 months of texting and talking he asked me for money. He said his name was Javi / Jordi. Do you have a photo?

same story, different name - robert cohn bradley...

My mom is being scammed by a dude like that. I'd like to see a pic to know if it's the same dude

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 have been talking to a guy on Instagram who said he was in the US Army his Username is Leslierichy007. We moved to chatting in Hangouts - luckily I’m very cautious online so I set up a brand new email address using my Instagram user name. The very next day he asked me for a $50 iTunes card. I looked into this as I was very suspicious about this. Lots of sites said he would be a scammer. I really want to report him and get that profile shut down as most of his followers are women,

Lala- I think I am being scammed too. I have been talking to the guy that's a Captain in the Army from Instagram. We use hangouts as well. Said he couldn't use voice or video from Afghanistan or he would get into a lot of trouble. I want to believe him as I have fallen in love with him. He just ask me to buy an itunes gift card so he could continue talking to me. Said that he used it to purchase internet service. I think I am being duped. How can I find out if he is real or not.

He can't use an iTunes card to buy internet service. That is not true.

The only place to use an iTunes card is at the iTunes store, to buy online music, apps or books.

I believe we're being scammed by the same person...he said his name is Robert Johnson n stationed in Iraq. We're on hangouts now, he wants me to get him a itune card or ANY credit or gift card so he can continue to talk to me cuz his internet connections have been cut off n having to use a friends WiFi. He's very sexy n did video chat once but got disconnected immediately, he said it was a poor connection there. He sent lots of pictures n 1 video, but he said he can't send any now cuz military won't allow it.
He says he wants to meet me n move to where I'm at n claims he's deeply in love with me n wants to get married

Can we share their pic here? I am being scammed too by a guy I met on Instagram and he asked me to go to hangouts. He claims he is a general surgeon working for the united nations in Afghanistan. He asked me to apply for his vacation and sent me the phony looking fabricated letter from the UN. I know it is not real. Everytime I question him he gets frustrated and says why do you always doubt me my love? He also sent me his id which I can also tell is fake. He has video called me from Hangouts, but I think it is prerecorded because it never has sound and he doesn't waive back or anything. He says his name is Dr. Mike William, but I also found the same picture of him on linked in with a different name. If we can post or share pics maybe that would cancel out a few of us. I havent sent any money, nor will I, I just want him to get caught and stopped.

Do u have a pic?

Can you please send me a picture of this person cause he has asked for iTunes cards as well an wants me to send money to a account in NY 3500 to leave Syria same name dr Micheal Williams please

Please do u have a picture of Mike Williams that I've talking to on hangouts he has being asking for iTunes cards for internet service he says hes in Syria on that hes with UNICEF a doctor Micheal s Williams I meet him on face book please reply back

What’s his name? I had same with a James Proctor on LinkedIn. Army Captain in Syria.

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