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Romance scams will cost you

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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

yes they use Amazon ,I tunes Googleplay, and stream,

I think it's strange to meet people this way in the first place. People always met in person before the internet. And yet I know happily married people who met this way. I think the more scams that come up, the fewer people will meet this way.

I have been getting these adult sites every day. I put them in my spam. I know they're a fraud. At the end of each day I have as much as 53 in my spam. I tried to unsubscribe but that cause a worse problem. I have no idea how to ride these people. Some actually believe I have a Facebook account. Of which I don't.

Spdate is one that sends me over really nasty things. I hope someone coming help, but people all say they receive the same junk and just put them in spam....

Is there a way to block emails on your email server? If there is, you can set blocks on these things and they will be dumped into your email's trash setting automatically and you won't have to look at them again.

I’m happily married, and not on dating sites, but many online scammers use the same techniques. The unsubscribe button is one of the worst things to click. It often is just a tool that they use to verify that yours is an active email address. Clicking it tells them there’s a live person on the other end to harass, then they really focus their scamming efforts on you. They often have multiple email addresses or other websites that they then inundate your inbox from with hundreds of messages from sites you’ve never even visited and on it goes. I never hit unsubscribe anymore.

Always ask them to live cam so that you can see who your really talking with if they refuse they are fake plain and simple

Skype or similar video calls are not reliable means to verify identity either, with various filters, if someone slightly resembles a person, such as a celebrity, they could pass themselves off as said person. I have a relative, very vulnerable widow, who is being scammed by someone claiming to be Kenny Chesney. Hasn't asked for money, or so she says but she truly believes this is him.

Hi my sister is also being scammed by someone purporting to be Kenny Chesney. She has left her husband and 2 kids and was expecting to be picked up from our local airport this weekend. Guess what.. trouble with the plane. I have reported it to the police in the UK. As far as I know she hasn't parted with any cash.

There is one I’ve been chatting with said he was divorced with a daughter , said he was in the Army . The real one is in military , I knew what was going on , first military personal will not contact you to be a friend they have families friends and a lot of people in their lives . After a while he stared answering wrong or a lot of misspelling words , said he was out on patrol and dropped his phone and broke screen no money to get it fixed could I put a iTunes card in my account and then my acct. number so he could get his hands on what I don’t even have . I told him no so dropped that . Then just yesterday he wanted to reconnect , but his phone wasn’t working yet , ok how in the hell did he get in contact with me , I deleted everything and blocked him . I really feel bad for the real military person ID he used . And hope nothing bad happened to him when it wasn’t his fault . The thing that really bugs me the most I’ve meet some terrific men on Facebook and then some slime balls and some honest to goodness Military .

He sounds similar to one that used to talk to me

Sounds the same as mine... I've simply been keeping him occupied so that's a tiny bit less time he has for someone who may not k is the basics or think to google... Pretty standard script. Makes me mad too... How to let military know? How to let the person who's pics have been stolen know?

I used google image and found the military person picture in the photo. It was a long shot but the fake person put a picture of a real vet that has a legitimate place to help them play baseball. I PM him on his facebook account with the legitimate vet and he said that was him in the picture and his photos where stolen years ago in Iraq. He gets people talking to him at least 3-4 times a week about scams. He said people in the military do not need money sent to them ever.

This is especially the case with senior citizens, dating sites are breeding grounds for criminals. My mom got fleeced before she passed away and they had convinced her that her sons were out to control her (instead of help her); she had Dementia that was not diagnosed in time and they took her to the cleaners. Beware of these scams for senior citizens, if you catch them early you may be able to save your loved one.

I was hit hard two years ago. Tried sending to FTC, but nothing came of it. Also sent info tomZFBI, nothing there either. I feel this guy not only a scammer but involved as a money man for terrorists. Have photos, numerous emails. If anything’s involved in money laundering. I even called the FBI in Washington and was told they don’t have the staff to handle all the scam complaints. I am a retired lady and was hit very hard. I kept all phone numbers too. Just can’t get any help.

Read the signs and warnings in this article. Never, never, never send money to someone you cannot touch and see in person. Even then, heed all caution before giving money to anyone!

wish there was more protection for the elderly. these scams are as clear as day. i have no clue why anyone would even bother, but loneliness is loneliness and these scum bags fill a void. unfortunately it is very costly and many old people die broke falling for this nonsense. keep in touch with your loved ones and worse comes to worse destroy their laptops. get them outside or to social functions so they can meet actual people! online stuff is a big sespool.

Anyone talking to a US Army soldier in Libya who goes by the name Fredrick Kahn? Said he lost his parents at 12 and was raised by his uncle. He is on his second deployment but returning to the states in late February 2019. He sent his "box" as he calls it to me for safe keeping. It evidently contains his personal effects. When it arrived in the states on Monday this week, I received a call that it would be delivered by a local company and that I needed to pay $2,100 for it (state taxes). I refused, of course, and told Fredrick (via WhatsApp, but met on Hinge or Bumble). He acted shocked and upset and said it was all paid for. Then, he asked if I would secure his box (pay the taxes) and the money is in the box to pay me back. I refused and told him he was scamming. We've been talking for a month and he really romanced me...now he's gone silent after telling me that I upset him.

Great job, keep up the good work

Try reporting your case to your local police department. I am in the process of doing just that (phone report only at this point). So far, the county police have been helpful and are taking the matter very seriously. My next step is to file a written report (not yet accomplished).

Christmas Eve for scammers. Not sure what to say. These articles / stories are weekly and people won't wake up. Dating sights are a big sespool for scammers. And if you are a lonely senior on a pension prepared to get love from every corner of the world. Itunes gift cards, bitcoin, money transfers. People should know better, but as long as the money is flowing overseas the scammers won't stop. Please try to stay connected to your loved ones young and old and don't let them fall for this foolishness.

My friend got involved with an on-liner at a senior website. He was in another town, in the antique business, had to travel a lot. He supposedly went to Kenya and got in a car accident. Was put in a coma for medical reasons but could not have surgery until $15,000 was sent to the doctor because he came from the U.S. and had no medical coverage in Kenya. Of course his wallet had been lost in the accident. So the doctor contacts my friend then the son and both need her to send the money. She does it because she doesn't want anyone to be suffering without someone to help them. Then a month later he is better and on his way to Dubai on a ticket she bought him to come back to the U.S. and he gets arrested for illegally transporting Ivory that supposedly he had no idea it was illegal to do and yet he is an antique dealer? I can't dissuade her from continuing this web relationship because he is her boyfriend and he wants her to marry him. If this sounds familiar please try to help anyone you know, to not get involved in a mess like this.

These scammers can also get to you by joining closed groups on Facebook or forum discussions.

I had a guy saying he was a widower and has a daughter. He said his company headquarters is UNAMA military. He made me fall in love with him too. I read this articles and he got me good as well. I would get emails saying that money will be refunded once officer gets in to State but guess what......he never gets to state. I won't EVER fall for this again. Then people sell ur info in the black market and call you saying they with the FTC and wanting you to send more money for whatever reason they say .DONT FALL FOR IT ! Cut your losses and move on !!!

Please could someone advise, I think a family member is being scammed. although as yet he hasn't asked for money.
He calls himself David Larry anf is an engineer in the US Army, he is all sweet talk with her and after a week asked her to marry him!
I told her she is insane but she is not listening. she showed me is pictures and he has on a military uniform and its a full lenth shot of quite a handsome man aged 48. he says he's a widow with one son stephen who is 14. he lost his wife in the 2011 Japan earthquake.
what I don't get is he sent her a video clip and she said it was him but he couldn't talk to her it's not permitted he said.
I have tried googling his picture in the scam pictures but can't see him online, oh I almost forgot she said he contacted her initially on twitter then he moved her on to hangouts. never even heard of hangouts. how on earth do I convince her? she says they are madly in love and are getting married and buy a house together.

Army site has various articles on scams. .mil Honestly, I'm thinking the scammers share a standard script.

Hi I met the same man he cam to me on Twitter too and asked me to marry him after a week, he then asked me to receive a package from a company calling themselves activeoceansfreight. They contacted me and asked me to pay £2,000.00 to which I told David I haven't got that kind of money, the company then said because I'm disabled it's only £1,000.00 I told them £100.00 per month I also got a couple of video calles from their person David.t.larry, but couldn't see his face fully, when I did actually see it, he had his uniform on and was in an office so I believed him, he then told me about his son who is in boarding school in Egypt?? Needing a mother's guidance I talked to someone calling himself Stephen brown not Stephen Larry which confused me, he asked me as it was his birthday for a phone iphonex a d man United tshirt, I told his father he said well I'm sure you can manage to do this one little thing for his happiness, all this was going on for a while then a family man hot his picture on scamners blog n the photos he sent me were on scammers blog , I didn't know what to do, in all I paid £850.00 of which I'll never get back, he sent me flowers recently as he said he was planning our wedding, I was stunned by all this, planning our wedding without me, and then when I got a tracking number for this so called package all I could see was my name and address on a piece of paper no package, all this has since been reported to the police n sent off to the FBI n CID. It's still under investigation. Dont let her carry on with this man as hes fake. Like everything he promises are fake.

My friend and another friend have both been romanced by David Larry, in US Army with a child. He is a typical scammer and will stop at nothing to win over the one he is swindling out of money. Its so disheartening how this POS keeps getting away with it.

I’ve been in a romance scam for almost 4 months. Oct 2018 - January 2019. I really do not to get in details. Please if you cannot Skype or see the person physically you are being scam.. It’s as simply as that... Do not believe a person that says that they love you and wants to marry you without meeting... Please Listen to your family... You’re setting yourself up for more pain.. block him or her... This is what they do for a living.. Go out meet people in person...

I had an online conversation with a guy who pretended to be a US Army guy so it was just an innocent conversation but then he started asking me personal questions like what do I look for in a man, etc, and I told him I had only continued with light conversation. Then he sends all this why do you hurt my feelings etc, etc, etc, blah blah blah. I took a closer look at his photo and the hat looked like it was photoshopped, plus major prison tats. It was stupid and I blocked him. I think women et hooked in because after you pour your heart you are pissed off that it's a scam so they pursue it to make a point. Nobody likes to be "had". Cut your losses and join a book club or something.

I was on Zoosk a dating site where i met a guy who said he was from Tasmania and about to go to Kula Lumpur to work ..i believed him ..
He then said his wallet was stolen and then i told him contact the Australian Embassy and his bank ..
He said his bank blocked him..and he had no money to pay for hotel ..
He then helped me sell my carravan then before i knew it all the money i had been given for my caravan he had now
He opened up paPayPal accounts in my mame ..and used my name to open other accounts ..
I did ask for his passport he did show me it looked real ..it wasnt
He also made lots of excuses about his web camera too ..now he said he needed solicitor ..thats where the rest of my $170000 went he had other womens cards where i deposited the money ..i really thought he was legit ..sadly he was a fraud ..i have reported him
I hope they catch him ..

Who did you report complaint to? I need to file a report. Thanks for information.

Scammer/Frauds name
Kyle Gerain
Beware ...

Tell why this men that everyone is stupid. A guy name aaron scott work for world health organization. He said his wife die and his two kids live with a nanny. Both parents were dead .and had a brother. While i was texting him i was also was doing my on investigation. Becuase about couple months ago this gorgeous man started the same thing. Yes it is a pattern. Well the guy i talked to name Aaron Scott , was looking for love i played along becuase i know that he was fixing to drop the i need money to get my phone fixed. Make a long story short . He to go to China for work but he only took 130 dollars with him. Them he wanted money to eat on. Send me 50 dollars i said becuase i have no money it got down to 20.dollar. . The whole time mine asking him to send me a picture the picture he sent was a guy in a suit. I got to looking at that picture and he must have not notice but that in the picture had handcuffs on. Well you know how it ended .He was a catfish that didn't get his bait.

This lady keep on wanted money her e.mail is constance been

Watch out for a scammer named Solomon Wood or Harmon Wood who is on an oil rig out in the Atlantic ocean or Pacific ocean hes from Houston Texas [maybe] I don't think this is true butr he scammed me for over 2,000.00 along with max my credit cards

Hi this sounds like exact thing my mom is going through said he worked on oil rig widowed with 2 girls n all kinds of crap but said his name was Greg Anderson do u have any pics of ur guy????

This sounds a bit like the person who ‘friended’ me and went by the name Davidson Walters - I think. He said he was 56 years old, widowed and had a 15 year old daughter. He said he had a really big business contract to fix some oil riggings off the coast of Norway. He first wanted me to send him $500 to help get his child school supplies, as he did not leave enough money when he left. I told him I didn’t have money to send. A few weeks later he started begging me to send him money so he could buy the new part he needed to fix the rig he was working on. He kept saying he would pay me back as soon as he got back to the States. I never sent him money and stopped communicating with him. He has probably targeted someone else by now.

I was wondering if anyone has been contacted by scammers on Adult Friend Finder? My soon to be ex thinks a 34 year beautiful woman is interested in him, he is 59. She could be real but I since he has sent her money I don't think she is. She said she lived in GA but has gone to Ghana for her business. She has her own business in Import and Export of pineapples. He is going to be my ex but I don't want to see him get taken.

Up until a few days ago, I was talking to someone that I suspected as a scammer I met on AFF. We traded e-mails for a few weeks and it almost seemed convincing. Red flags were she wanted to hurry and get off the site and to e-mailing through our personal e-mails after one message on AFF. She confessed her love for me after three days of e-mailing. Another bad sign. She wanted me to send her money through Moneygram, Western Union, or Coinbase so she could fly here to spend her vacation with me. (she claims to live in the Philippines) She sent me a lot of pictures of her, her family, and a photo of her passport. The passport appeared legit. (I compared it with mine and it looked similar) However, she refused to video chat or text saying she lost her iPhone. I'm sure it happens but it was odd she would have a $1,000 iPhone considering how poor she claimed to be. I said she's been e-mailing me on a laptop or desktop so she could access Facebook video chat there. She ignored that request multiple times. She wouldn't even call. Whenever I expressed how I didn't trust her, she got really frustrated and angry. Speaking of Facebook, she put her profile up back in Oct. 2018 but she has zero friends. I quit talking to her or whoever it was. Seemed very shady to me. It's possible the person stole someone's identity and was portraying him/herself as that person.

My husband just got scammed by a woman in Ghana. Said she worked for UNICEF as a nurse. He fell for it all. They are good with getting to you emotionally. He has finally realized it's a scam after I left him. We are trying marriage counseling

A guy calls himself Chris Rome. I firefighter from Kansas. Windowed with 17 yo daughter in college in Fl that also takes care of a disabled aunt. This guy says his dad had investments in Dubai and he was trying to get the money, 27 million. Says he has to have a wife to get the money. That he loves me alone. Tripped and fell and broke his phone, can't take pics but can text. Wanted me to send him gift cards because he is bored, oh and his credit cards don't work outside the US! Then tells me he needs money to pay an attorney to get the paperwork done. Wants my banking info to wire me money! Yea right. His grammar isn't very good. I let him call me and he talks with a heavy accent. Been chatting with him for awhile now to see how far he will go. Time to cut him loose and turn him in!

I have been dealing with a guy name Chris Corcino who said he lives in Wichita Kansas, but he is in Yemen right now because he’s in the Marine Corps. He’s also a widow with seven-year-old son Alex ,our stories sound similar just a little different he has been asking for me to buy him a gift card from Google play and gift card from Walmart for food and send it to his friend who lives in North Carolina who is about to leave for his mission in Yemen. That sounds crazy to me so I didn’t send you shit. But he has been talking with me for a while now texting me through what’s app and since me pictures of him and his son together pictures of him at the military and the pictures look very legit. I hope he didn’t steal the pictures of guy. But he did sound like a fraud I tell him every time he asks money I’m broke as heck.

Has anyone been scammed by Richard Jones, supposedly a Sgt. in the army stationed in Afghanistan?

Do you have a pic? Sounds like mine a bit...he is using the name Ryan quinn... sergeant major in Bagram Afghanistan...

Hi , I am very concerned for my ex . This young girl from Cameroon has him hook line and sinker. After communicating for only 2 weeks she is asking for money. She is 24 and he is 68 and he believes that she really loves him. She says she won't to marry him and have a baby to him him here in Australia. She is screaming poverty and saying that all her family lives are at risk due to the military in Cameroon. He is stupid enough to believe her and has sent her money. Has anyone had any dealings with her . The name she is using is Zerrine Mbah.

Started talking to Jason Blizson on words with friends. Immediately went from just chat to the love of his life. Next started calling to talk on phone.. strong accent. Then asked for $300 Amazon gift cards because his network was going down and he needed it to continue talking to me. I didn't have that amount to got him a $100 card. He immediately started belittling me about my "little money" and saying he was soon to get 25 Million from his contract as he was in the gulf of mexico on an oil rig and his contract was up the first of March. He convinced me to give him my Verizon acct log in as he was going to put my account in his company raffle draw for free gifts... what a mistake that was ! He immediately ordered 5 I-phones on my account! Fortunately Verizon caught it and sent an email to contact their fraud department. The order was cancelled.. but he accused me of actually receiving the phones and not sending them to him as his "workers" needed them!! Since that scheme did not work, he then asked me to "receive" the money from his contract on a domicilary account and actually had an email sent to me from the United Bank for Africa (based in Nigeria) with the form to be filled out and returned to A GMAIL account. I refused to send it. I have blocked his number and he continues to call from new phone numbers. He continues to text me and ask for more Amazon cards! This guy is so pushy and mean spirited. Doesn't even sound like the same guy I first talked to from words with friends. Obviously a big time SCAMMER !! Stay clear of this one !!!

I have a friend who recently got scammed by a man claiming to be "John" who had a son named "Dan". They met through the Bagel Meets Coffee website. "John" very quickly said many nice things to my friend and regretted that he wasn't able to meet her before he went to San Francisco for a big bid for a job. Surprise! They got the job and he had to fly to Italy. He would make $50M off of this job, but it wasn't the largest job he had. He wooed her by sharing about his "wife" (who he says died in a car accident) and how he was looking for a life parter. She did ask him to Skype, which he did once, but he couldn't Facetime because he had a Samsung phone. At one point he happened to claim that his bank account was having issues that could disrupt the entire job. (I shared with my friend that the only reason bank accounts are frozen is usually due to fraud). There were gaps in communication and things that didn't add up (like poetry being sent that she googled and realized it was copied). "John" strung her along for several weeks saying he was coming home this past week. He sent some flight information (not an itinerary with his name on it). She went last Friday to meet him at the airport - and he never showed. "Dan", the "son", claims he hasn't heard from his father either. My friend was devastated. She confessed to me that she had sent him money (which she was embarassed to share with me). He asked her to send him $3,000 for some machinery which he would pay back to her double when he returned. He first asked her to purchase it with Bitcoin and then, when she couldn't figure that out, he asked for it in cash. I know, I know, this should have been a warning to anyone, but when someone is telling you they want to marry you and has even put you in touch with their "son", it creates false trust and hope. He also said he needed an "app" to open the machinery and needed some itunes cards with the codes scratched off (I know, I know, it seems impossible that this wouldn't set off alarm bells but if you have not been a victim of fraud or understand the "industry" of this person, it seemed plausible I suppose. Of course my friend has heard nothing from this human being since the funds were sent. It is horrifying. I feel terrible as a friend saying anything supportive about him. It is a reminder how much we project onto situations. Online dating sites are dangerous places. Everyone should post widely about these scams so that any of their friends can be more aware.

I've tried to tell my story on this comments three times and it never gets published

Me too. Tried twice when it came to the person scamming my wife. Followed the required policies and nothing. Only thing posted was when I remembered to add this scammers phone number and to how it was registered.

Maxwell Graves of San Francisco is a scrammer on Facebook and Instagram preying on females

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