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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:

 

Scam Tags:  Romance Scams

Comments

Please please please contact me.
Please, I think I've been scammed out of thousands!!!!!!
He said he needed bits for welding, described his job, sent me a copy of his contract with a company in California sound e

What is your riggers name. Mine is an oil engineer trying now to get off of a rig. I have fallen in love with this man. He is from Denmark. Very well off.

Hi Zara,
Did his email address contain exceeding grace? Same here, stated broken drill bit's, sent copy of Awarded 24 millions Shell Oil Contract.... I Contacted Shell Oil, they confirmed that I was dealing with a fraudster.

Could we connect? I believe someone I know is talking to the same man.

What’s his name

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

What was his first or last name if you can share may be same guy talking to me

I am also talking to guy who completed a job in HK but was in wreck on way to airport and is still there but needs money for better food to eat. What was your guys name. The guy I am talking to has first name of Jackson.

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.

I have tried to get him to show me a recent picture. Deleted him from WhatsApp and he called me back from a cell phone. I have talked with him since April and now I have been told he needs money to come home. Pay for a stolen weapon. I am not sending my money over there. To date his real Facebook has been deleted.

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@

He is a scammer. Trust me

I'm currently talking to someone who claims to be in the Gaza strip working for the NSA! How stupid do they think we are!

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 think we are talking with the same guy.wife died in accident and has a daughter name kate.presently in ghana dealing with his inheritance and badly need money because he was holdup by hoodlums in ghana.his name is daniel dailey but now i saw the other name is frank.oh my

Be careful this sounds like the same man that scammed me. Wife died in car accident. Daughter emailed me very friendly. He also told she thinks of me as her mother. I learned if you haven't met them in person it's a scam. Don't send money.

This sure sounds like the guy I was talking with for quite some time. He came up with all kinds of stories and also sent me photos of the rings he bought for me when he was coming to Canada. What a bunch of lies!!!! Don't trust any man you meet on a Dating Site ever!!!!!

grrrandma, I think we are being scammed by the same person, he sent me an email by markharisson 39@ and his daughter sophiechris 21@ . His daughter is living with a nanny and going to boarding school, lost his parents in a car crash, sent gorgeous pics of himself and his daughter who is has african american features. When his "daughter" emailed me she was calling me mom too. He has spoken with me on hangouts and tells me he loves me, called me "wife" and wanted me to be a beneficiary to his company's retirement, and a parcel was to be delivered to address, even showed me a picture of the briefcase. I had my attorney talk with him and confirmed with me he is a scammer, because he requested the beneficiary form, but was never given to his fax or email. He went by the name of "Mark Harisson." Unfortunately I gave out my cell phone number, and have given my phone company double security access to information. He had asked for various gift cards. He even said his daughter had a school trip to Nigeria and gotten sick and could not reach the doctors and needed to pay the doctors and was unable to because he was in another country.

My friend is talking to someone named Werber Robinson. Daughter is in boarding school and has a nanny. He tells her he’s coming home in November. He has not asked for a dime but did ask her to go into his bank account and do some kind of money transfer because he said he was going to sell ammunition for the army?! It was like a million dollars. She is totally in love with this dude but I know it can’t be real I just want to have all the proof and I don’t want to see her heart broken WHAT DONI DO

I’ve been talking to sounds like the same man by the name Patrick Wendall

I think you and I have been victims of the same scammer. He refers to his daughter as our Daughter. When he is connected with me on hangout, she is also connected. When he is not she is not. I think I am his actual victim. He told me he was based in Afghanistan, now he is based in Nigeria since September I guess. The only way for him to be connected with me is me sending him steam cards every month. I have a picture of his daughter she is supposed to be 5 years old He asked me to send him money to pay for her school fees. Yesterday I wanted to send him a package for Xmas, but he said he has to pay to get the package from a post office outside the base in Nigeria. I am so confused and ashamed of myself, right now. But I think we are dealing with the same scammer. I have a picture of him and his daughter. Can you help me, please? I am so confused I live in Europe.

Hi. I met a man similar on pof. Same story. Skyped me with weird video but can't hear voice so he sends texts. Got me to meet the daughter on Skype. Same deal word for word. Asked to call me Mum on first conversation. Is the name James?

I've noticed the same thing on Words with Friends. They are more interested in chatting than in playing, and they very quickly think I am 'special' and want to get to know me better. English grammar is usually very awkward, and though they are American, they nearly always to be from one state, living in another state, but currently working overseas somewhere. I've had they ask me to chat on HangOut or What's App, both of which are International chat sites. Recently, one started right up front telling me he had a short-term financial problem and needed a load. When I told him I didn't have money to send him, the told me the beauty of it was that it only involved gift cards! BIG RED FLAG!! I told him NO!, reported him to WWF and resigned the game. I noticed he was gone from the game and from FaceBook within a matter of a minute or two!
Another common thread is that they are with the US Military, or are a doctor with a UN Peace-Keeping mission, usually somewhere in the Middle East. And they are always widowed or divorced, with young kids.

I too have had conversations with someone who is a widower & has three grandchildren. He needed money to get more access to phone or computer capabilities? Gets very mad when I mentioned being a scammer. Professes his love, we’ll have a new life when he returns from Sea?? Met on hangouts??

I was talking to a guy called Tyler Bailey and he also was sweet talking me after a couple of weeks he wanted money for he’s apps updates I met him on hangout he said he is in the military scammer

App updates ? For an engineering job ? Sounds similar to this guy I met

Bet I met the same man but he was a widower with money. Not looking for love just campanionship and help with his 2 children.

Did he call himself Mark and say he was an orthopaedic surgeon in Yemen? If so he wa s asking me way too many personal questions in the chat on Lexulous, so I told him he was too nosey.

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 did the same thing. And he was a bit miffed when I told him I was on to him all along. Very naughty! Hahaha In response, I said that I was sorry that he had to do this for a living because it was in direct opposition to the teaching of God. Then I blessed him and his family.

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 ???

That’s what I’m interested in knowing too. Lost a lot of money to a scammer recently.

Got scammed last year and this year from same guy claiming to be a doctor from the USA but working in turkey and now in Germany .. His English is good . Very charming , sweet talks and knows how to make something so real ... When he gets what he wants he will stop texting and talking .

Zoey350Z. I'm sorry to hear of this. I came to this site looking for advice to get my mother to quit sending money to a scammer. She has nothing left and still looking for ways to send him money. I do not know what to do. We have shown her how it works, how his photos are all over the internet, showed her other stories with the same exact scam (I'm in Malaysia, an engineer, can't get out of the country) and she's been doing this now for a couple years. The police say they can't do anything because she's sending it of her own free will. She won't quit. It's all about him.

This sounds exactly like the guy I have been chatting with who is stuck in Malaysia. What name is he going by?

I'm sorry to hear of your story, Zoey. I just found out myself that I got scammed from someone I encountered on dating site called OurTime.com. The scammer goes by the name of Frederick Boyd. He said he is from Houston, TX and told me he has a teenage daughter who attends school in Geneva, Switzerland. He said he divorced his wife in 2011 as she was into drugs and alcohol, and that she dies in 2013. I fell for the scam as I was trying to get back the money I loaned him. He as well started off by asking me to buy ITune cards after him and his daughter went to South Africa on a business trip. He supposedly is a contract engineer who is self employed and 62 years old born 11/29/1956. Well, after that more stories followed. While in South Africa his daughter got sick from contaminated water, and ended up taking her to the hospital. He demanded help to pay for the hospital bill so his daughter could be released. After that he was attacked while in South Africa, and $1800 was stolen from him, and asked to have me replace the funds. After that needed more money to pay for the legal fees after family from an employee on his job got injured. He said he had to look for a good lawyer while in South Africa. Than, when he finally made it home to Texas, more money was needed to pay $10,000 as an allowance to enter the country as he had someone get on the phone notifying me that he is being detained at the Dallas airport. Now I know it was phony. He than told me he was a Swiss citizen. He than needed his passport renewed at the cost of $8200. While all this was going on I was waiting to get paid, and getting upset as I was not getting paid but racking up debt while trying to help this jerk raise the money he needed so I can get paid. What I have learned and read is that these scammers do this for living, and entice the victim into believing their scenario to coax the victim into their little scheme while attempting to gain money. I also paid the price about $80,000 in losses while have some debt. This jerk stopped contacting me on 8/13/2018. I knew something was up as I checked the Dallas and Houston airports, and no person by this name in Customs. I checked and sent a copy of the his Swiss passport to the Swiss Embassy in Atlanta, GA, and I was than told that it was a fake, and a bad one. Than reality hit me, and what I did to myself trying to get back my money. I cried, and got angry. Now I can't communicate to this dumb jerk as the phone is off, and the texting done with, and his gmail account is down. So, I want to tell everyone who reads this that to be cautious. I did report this to the FBI Crime Bureau where you fill out the form with every detail you have. I also contacted OurTime.com and reported him. They are having their security check on this. I also notified the Federal Trade Commission in Illinois where I reside. I still feel shaken by what happened. I just retired from my job at 59 and now have to find work again. I think if we all stay together and notify one another, and authorities than maybe we can try to get these criminals caught. I did read recently that several Nigerian men were arrested after being found to scam over millions of dollars from women. So it can be done. Let's stick together, and pass on as much information as we can. Everyone stay safe, and God Bless.

I agree with you completely, we need a place to post everything that has happened to us so we can compare and hunt these people down.

I too was a victim only this one claimed he was a soldier in Afghanistan based in Kabul. He said that a friend of his referred him to ourtime.com he was deployed there from fort bliss. Has been there for 4 months in special operations unit with NATO. He went by the name of Stephen a Lewis said he was born in Italy Milan. I was Interested because I too have a son that just came home from the military that was station in fort bliss. So Icould relate to his loneliness. He said he had a daughter named Linda. 1 sister didn't give her name. His wife had died 5 years ago from cancer. He convinced me to give him my personal email so we can talk more privately, also asked for my phone number so we can chat via text cause it was better. He managed to convince me to go on hangout because we can chat better he wasn't good in typing on small text on his phone, plus we can video chat which never happened. He started asking questions about me my strengths
my weakness He said he was looking for someone he can trust he had been cheated on and just couldn't trust anybody anymore. He told me lots of personal things about his daughter, sister, and about himself. After he got my trust he tells has a secret he's been keeping to himself for a while, and needed to get off his chest. I was the only one he can trust, he said he had a flash drive which contain information about his superior that his life was In danger. If they find it, mine was too if they knew, I knew about the flash drive. Then he said he needed to send it to me to keep for him to keep him safe and me safe. He asked me for my address. I didn't give it. He told me that another soldier told him he's good friends with a diplomat and he can send it to me, but he needed money to send it. Of course I didn't fall for that, told him I did have any money. He was angry with me, but continued to keep in touch. Then Christmas eve he comes with another lie about the flash drive. This time he's going on a mission packed his bag, but because he was talking to me he left it behind by mistake another soldier found it and turned it in to his superior. When he came back he was called by his superior and questions were ask about what were the contents on the flash drive. He said he told him it was private pictures of me his fiancee lol. He said his superior didn't want to give it back unless he did a favor for him, help him buy his shares back then he would give it back. He asked if I would be his representative for the deal I said no to give me 3 reasons why I should boy did he get me I felt so sorry I fell for the con. He had me to co tact a lawyer his superior referred. I contact the so called lawyer who sent me some contracts which were phoney stupid me signed them as his rep. I got suspicious started asking questions he couldn't answer by now I knew it was a scam reported it to the dating site. I took other security measures to protect myself. This guy was good I mean very good spelling was excellent periods punctuation in the right place. Just what out never trust anyone saying there are a solder over seas.

I am in the same boat! I feel the exact same way! After 6 months of communicating with "sergeant allen hugo kirschner" I realized he had been doing this scam with others since at least 2012! I did a reverse image lookup and found he him on multiple dating sites. I thought I was smart and could pick up on this kind of b.s. but apparently not!

Hi. How did you do the image search? I tried google but only gave me general images like other people selfies or military

I have been a victim as well and know exactly how you feel. Does anyone ever get their money back?

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