You are here

Romance scams will cost you

Share this page

It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air. You may think you spend a lot on flowers or chocolate, but losing money in a romance scam would cost you even more. Last year, people reported losing $143 million to romance scams – a higher total than for any other type of scam reported to the FTC. And, according to a new FTC Data Spotlight, reports of romance scams are on the rise.

What do we mean by romance scams? We’re not talking about the person you thought was “the one” but ended up being a dud. We’re talking about people you meet online, who lavish you with attention … and then ask for money. Usually they want the money by wire transfer or gift card. They might claim they need it for a medical emergency or to come visit you. Then they take your money, but there’s no surgery and no trip.

Romance scammers are hard at work wooing people on dating apps and social media. They may lift photos to create an attractive profile or even steal the identity of a real person. Just like with real romances, it may take them some time to gain your trust, but the scammer’s payoff can be big. Last year, people reported a median loss of $2,600 from romance scams.

How can you avoid romance scams?

  • Never send money or gifts to a sweetheart you haven’t met in person.
  • Take it slowly. Ask questions and look for inconsistent answers. Check the person’s photo using your search engine’s “search by image” feature. If the same picture shows up with a different name, that’s a red flag.
  • Talk to someone about this new love interest. And pay attention if your friends or family are concerned.
  • If you suspect a romance scam, cut off contact right away. Then, report to the scam to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. Notify the dating site where you met the scammer, too.

For more information, read Online Dating Scams or watch this video:

Tagged with: imposter, online dating, scam

Comments

Just playing Words with Friends, this guy starts a conversation. I was suspicious right away. After a bit he says he is a widower with 3 kids. He messed up big. Next he says he has 2 kids, just barely making it. I told him he was a moron.

that seems to be the big story or that they are divorced with children. For a while, i was getting a number of messages via social media. Most of them claimed to be men in the military or doctors working abroad. It's crazy the lengths people go to scam others. I even had someone request an iTunes gift card so their sick daughter could sell it to go to the hospital.

Ladies/Gentlemen all I can say be very careful of these internet romance. Especially those International ones. I met one on tagged from Cyprus, Turkey. He was white man first then after 8 months I found out he was an African. They all scammer and I fall victim and lost Thousands of USD. Be careful of all those dating Apps. When I found out he was an African I still talk to him because he shows like he was loving and caring but he was a real scammer. He scam me for 3 yrs but I have learned my lessons. Hes Still scamming women in the USA so you all be careful. Hes not bad looking, speak with a soft voice and only call u baby. Easily get mad and always want large sum of money. He cries at all times and said he have High Blood Pressure. I start curse him out when I really realized that hes nothing but a scammer to supply him self and his families. I was gathering so much evidence on him and he don't know all what I found out. So I'm going to start work with the FBI and EFCC in Africa to get him. So please be careful of these International romance scammers.

Hi your story sounds very similar to mine and the person is also from Cyprus but sounds like an African man. Do you mind emailing me to compare evidence?

Just received message yesterday from a scammer (we’ve been playing a couple of games about a week or two), I read about on here recently, Orthopedic Surgeon, widowed 6 years ago, son Owen @ boarding school in Boston.. wants to get to know me.. goes by Frank Williams.
Well I mentioned him to someone else whose been trying to scam me, told him don’t worry I deleted him (this other guy asked me?’s, that I avoided answering), but today when I went back to game to update/look at my profile information because I have been playing for several years, I had to look up Mr. Williams because he stopped the 2 games we were playing on the board. Wondering if he and the other scammer are one and the same?
Only difference is the other guy divorced his wife 6 years ago and he has a 12 year old daughter @ boarding school in Texas!

and they are only children whose parents died and no family, you are their only friend they can rely on.

New development, he’s madly in love with me and wants me to write to the UN to release him to come home for vacation. He sent me exactly what he needed the email to say. I never sent the email but yesterday I received a reply from them telling me how much money to pay at particular locations so he can return to the USA to come marry me. Then I received a document that looks real but when I zoomed in, it’s dated 2017 and signed by the UN Secretary from that time frame!
What should I do with it? Who can I turn it into! He urgently wants me to pay the money that I have repeatedly told him I do not have!
H E L P!!!

Whatvis the name of that person can you tell me I think my friend and you are talking only one person . Do you have a picture of him?

Omg! This is identical to what im dealing with! He claims to be a doctor in Yemen with the Unitednations. He wants me to send him $2750.00 for the UN so he can get his vacation or leave. He will not take no for a answer. He says to me "do you want me to die here? Please please help me i dont want to die. I want to come to the US and marry you baby please help me. I am going to die here. What about ken who will take care of ken? I absolutely dont have money like this by far! He calls me, and the conversations take place on hangouts! He has sent me pictures of himself and also does video chats. He says he is from Egypt, he didvslip up the other day and said Turkey then denied he ever said Turkey! Im so interested to know if Dr SAMUEL VEIDER IS THE ONE THATS SCAMMING YOU ALSO. He gets very angry if i mention him as a scammer! Please comment... HE SAYS HES IN YEMEN. FROM EGYPT, LIVES IN MIAMI FLORIDA, HIS SO CALLED DECEASED WIFE IS FROM SPAIN, HIS SONS NAME IS KEN, ALMOST 15 YRS OLD, HE SENT ME A PICTURE AND THE KID HAS BLACK ALL OVER HIS FACE. HE IS SAYING HE WANTS ME TO BE HIS NEW MOM! I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR BACK..

Has anyone had any contact from a girl in Davao City Philipines, she hadnt ask for anything substantial yet but i have doubts she is legit and a couple red flags have appeared like her facebook profile disappeared and opened under something else and she wants all conversations in whattsapp now!!!

I am scammer free as of a few minutes ago. He is in the Military. He is not but the picture he is using is a real Staff Sgt, in the military. He was a facebook for one day. Stephen Towns is the name he used. On the uniform it read MidKiff James. From NC now stationed in Kabul Afg. widowed has 2 children living in Spain with their nanny, wants to marry me. Ask for Itune card, wanted me to pick up money to send to Nigeria for his friend that got stationed there. Now wants money for a flight to come here to be with me. I heard that (do you want me to die here) since December 2018. He sounds like the same scammer. Get rid of him. Good luck Carollee

I also have been communicating with a so called doctor in Yemen who now has a need for cash. Similar background information. I'm wondering if all is same person.

Ok so I’ve been talking to this guy that I met on Facebook ..he sent me a message via Facebook messenger he gos by the name Scott Jeffery Alan or Jeffery (Scott) Alan he says he is a is military pilot Air Force Im assuming when we met he was in Yemen parents died in car accident a while back has no family is on secret mission but says Hes back in Libya never asked me for money but I offered to get him k tunes card due to his account being inactive and his phone doesn’t have international service and a local forgein I tunes card won’t wor since he’s from New York west New Jersey New York to be exact

New development, he’s madly in love with me and wants me to write to the UN to release him to come home for vacation. He sent me exactly what he needed the email to say. I never sent the email but yesterday I received a reply from them telling me how much money to pay at particular locations so he can return to the USA to come marry me. Then I received a document that looks real but when I zoomed in, it’s dated 2017 and signed by the UN Secretary from that time frame!
What should I do with it? Who can I turn it into! He urgently wants me to pay the money that I have repeatedly told him I do not have!
H E L P!!!

This sounds like an Antonio Rodriguez. He claims to be an orthopedic surgeon in the army, widowed, 13 year old going to school in Turkey. First he was running out of minutes and could I get a gift card that he could use for minutes. Then calm for a couple of weeks. Then said he was on a mission, got shot and was awarded money by the Iranian Govt, 2.5 million to be sent to me because it was unsafe with Isis. Then it was their camp had been discovered and shot up but he escaped and needed 700 to get him out ASAP. Now luckily I kept saying no, and never sent him anything

Yeah, this orthopedic doctor in Africa telling me he lost wife to Cancer. this was on facebook and the page looked legit but I figured it out when he started asking for my email and ignored that I stated happily Married. His Name was Mark David. Googled and found this guy looked nothing like any Mark David and no one by that name an orthooedic doctor.

Had 3 week encounter with Dr Wilson Robert in Syria through UN and NATO. Wife died 5 yrs ago while on a business trip, has son 11 yrs old. Owen just had birthday April 26th and Wilson's bday is May 4th!!

Frank Williams is without a doubt a scam artist. Tried it with me but I love to investigate things...

I know what you mean. I met a guy online. He is in Afghanistan working. He is an orthopedic doctor. A widow with a daughter. He asked for an iTunes card to upgrade an Apple computer.

I probable talked to the same guy....an orthopedic doctor in Afghanistan working. A widow with a daughter. So far no money but I quit talking to him because he was 19 yrs. younger,,,,said age was not a problem, he was attracted to me!! Red flag.....stopped corresponding with him!

A lot of these "same" guys are working from a call room with the same script. It's a job, they leave at the end of their shift. Sometimes the feds can work with foreign gov't to stop this but most often not - the call room just moves. Beware of anyone that you don't know personally asking for money and even those that you do know be weary.

Do you have a picture of what he looks like and what is his first name

I had the same experience, met through words with friends. Widower with 1 kid. Had an amazing job, but needed emergency funds. Unreal.

Sounds similar to someone I have been chatting with who is pressuring me for money. Widow with 12 year old son.

Similar story, son in catholic boarding school in Texas.
Two day before we were supposed to meet he urgently needed 2,000 sent to bitcoin to pay for contacting licensed. If I didn’t send it he’d might lose a million dollar contract

I was playing boggle. A gentleman started chatting with me, then asked for my email. I have a couple, one that I specifically use for unknown people. We chatted via email and then he asked for my number. I didn't give it to him and tried to cut off contact, but he persisted and wore me down with his "kind" words. Within 3 weeks he said he was in love with me. Was supposed to come visit but last minute change, got a job in Hong Kong. Ok. Now he's in HK, calling me every night, every morning. Telling me about the job. Today, he has a problem with the job and he has $6k but needs $4k more. When does my bank open? I said I would help and then texted him, no. too many red flags. He said i am insulting his love for him. I am crushed.

. Emma i have a problem with a scaMmer. I am scared. On 24 april i start to talk with him. Donald Patrick but email adahydouglas on houngnuts app. Just send ME message. Was very credibile and tell ME to send 200 £ on western union and have 45 years i checked on google reversile photos and its scam.i give him detail from my Surcode and Account photos but i don't have money There. What i can make to be safe i talk also now with him. I don't speak a good english. Please help me with Information

also met a great guy on WWF...played the game for months suddenly he was in love with me and wanted me to get hangouts...i eventually relented and he also had me set up a hangout with his daughter...lost his wife and parents in auto crash....i chatted with both of them...they definitely seemed to be different people. she boosted his happiness since meeting me and called me mom with which i was very uncomfortable...watch out for scammers introducing you to other family members...seemed VERY credible until i spoke with him on the phone...very eastern african accent. said he adopted it to better communicate with his workers...he was doing civil engineering project in...you guessed it...nigeria. BE CAREFUL.

I just wanted to know if anyone has heard from a scammer who calls himself Jeffrey Witcher in Ghana . He is a supposed uniformed officer and I met him on PO F. He already insinuates I have to help him out. I have looked him up he is real but I am not sure. He was in Afghanistan. He told me he had many scammers steal his pictures and info and I checked there is about 20 different facebooks. I just want to make sure he is not one of the scammers.

Hi Molly, I believe you and I are engaged in conversations with the same person only mine is in Syria. I have seen the photos of Jeffrey Witcher and coincidentally they are the same photos. Mine too claims to have had his identity stolen by "intruders". I would love to compare notes but don't know how to get a hold of you without posting personal info on a public forum.

Yes, he is a scammer! Jeffery Whither from US, working as Civil Engineer in Turkey. Pretty much, same story! Be careful!

My mom may be speaking with the same person or someone with the same story..only he goes by Parker Walters, with the name Chris Walters on his email, and Chris Morgan on his Hangout. Same story, civil engineer stuck in Turkey because he owes over $50,000 in taxes. The email address he uses is Superchris 045@

OMG, I think we may have talked to the same person. What name did he use?

I think I have been talking to this guy too on Hangout. Same story....

What was the name of this guy. I think I am in contact with same guy. Wife died in auto crash 7 years ago. Bringing up daughter on his own. she spoke to me wants me to be her mum. Happy that I am making her daddy so happy. etc. Goes by name Raphael.

I have also been contacted on Facebook for friend request, unknown to me. Their profile is new and lacks information. Mine used someone else's pictures, even a video he doctored to seem he was taking to me. I knew from the start what he was but had fun jerking him along.

My rule is that if I don't know the person then they can not be my FB friend. Sure I only have 45 FB friends, but know them all. Delete all other requests.

You’re spot on Never a Sucker! My rule is this: Do not accept friend requests from anyone you wouldn’t at least speak to while you’re both shopping in the same store. This means that even people with whom I may have 155 mutual friends get declined on my FB page. If in doubt, I do not accept nor decline their request. I simply send the person a private message apologizing that I am having trouble remembering how we know each other and ask the person to remind me. 90% of the time, I never get a response. Interestingly, I’ve had people with whom I have several mutual friends get upset when I explain to them that I don’t accept requests from ANYONE whose existence I was not aware of prior to their Friend Request! Same thing on Instagram as well as Twitter.

I’ve found that the best way to keep the “sketchy” folks out of your social media accounts is to use the highest security setting available. ALL accounts should require that YOU individually screen the follower/friend request, so you can accept or decline or your own terms.

The security on my Facebook account is so high that if you and I don’t have any mutual friends, you cannot even attempt to friend me. I friend not on Social Media introduced me to a friend of hers two states away. Because we had no mutual friends on FB, and we both use the same high security setting, neither of our accounts allowed us to become friends. I opted to remove my security settings long enough to “become FB friends.” Then, I was distracted and didn’t go back to FB until the next day. Within 12 hours, an man who fit the bill as a potential scammer sent me a friend request. I reported his request to FB as sketchy which automatically blocked him from my account.

Also, as a victim of ID fraud offline, I was given several tips (or orders really) by law enforcement as to how to keep my Social Media safer.
*Do Not include your birthday. That’s an identifying piece of info hard to find if it’s not on FB... even if only available for your friends to see.
*Do Not List your mother or her brothers or her parents as a “family member” unless you’re sure doing so will not make your mother’s maiden name available anywhere on FB.
*Don’t use any words or numbers in ANY password that could be found in your FB profile or even just a post or reply. Pics of your kid eating cupcakes at school for his bday... means you can NEVER use any variation of the numbers included in the birthday in passwords. Mentioning your grandchild, niece or even animal by name also put all of those off limits for ANY password.
*Finally, do not accept friend requests from anyone because you’re in so many of the same FB Groups, ie Nascar, GOT, Your Alma Mater, Mommy groups. Though seeing their name often on posts w/in the group may make them seem familiar, never forget they are just as much a stranger as anyone else!

I’ve been scammed out of about $200,000, lost all access to get a bank account, credit cards are out of the question!!! I’ve lost my dignity, self worth and truly wish I was dead!!! I’d rather lose my life than my integrity.
THERE NEEDS TO BE A PLACE TO POST THESE FRAUDS. HOW THEY DID IT KNON EMAIL ADDRESSES AND ANYTHING ELSE. ONE THAT DOESNT COST ANYTHING. There are tons of Americans who have lost everything to these thieves yet no one in the government seems to care. I will never trust another person ever again!!! Maybe a place where others got in the same situation, share our stories, and support. Plus maybe someone already knows of a site like this. But I’ve only run across paid sites that do nothing. HELP!!!

Zoey A lot of us were looking for love and got scammed and heart broken. But is there any way to get our money back that you have heard of ??? Does anybody know if we can get our money back from a romance scam ???

People dont people that they are psychopaths. They dont care about how devoted you end up, they keep their eye on the prize & you're not it. It's the money. They start "grooming" you the minute you say hi. They are undercover manipulators and they are good at it. Most people don't know that they are second, third or fourth generation fraudsters. They can also work in groups. They are trained also.

Do romance scammers use ask for gift cards for places like Amazon frequently??

Your info was a big help

My brother has women scamming him all the time wanting $100 so they can come see him. They want it on an Amazon card. He is lonely and vulnerable so he sends it to them. Now he is in a financial mess. There has got to be some way to stop these predators.

They absolutely will. Really, they'll ask for anything they think the mark will go for. The worst of them (and, sadly, the most successful) will try to find the mark's "weakness." Music lover? iTunes gift card. Early tech adopter? They might try something like Bitcoin. That's part of the point of the grooming: to find the mark's soft spots.

I know a online dater thst i met online she says she in lagos Nigeria. I have been giving her money we talked on the phone for a small time in all i giving her gify card and wired money money gram disallowed ther service and wouldnt reveal the reason the pics are pretty but she doesnt sends them wxactly what i asked and usees her belief to be readon im sure im being scammed she wants money to come here i have dailed myself esteem ridiculously and hope i could awaken or wisen up from this foolish nonsensense .

I have been chatting with a very handsome man widower, son in boarding school in Canada, love letters that will melt your heart, all the right words, he needed money for UN vacation . All the right words, love and want to be with me.. He wants this now, telling me to get Amazon card or Apple card, he got mad because I didn't do what he said, I told him this relationship is ending and why in a long chat. He has a lovely voice. Yes, they know how to manipulate you.

is the phone number 1-289-278-2809

YES they do I have spent so much on those cards I can't tell you how much I just didn't think about it till I started reading about gift card scams

Thank you for this information.

Pages

Leave a Comment