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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

My Mother notified my husband and I today she has been scammed over the last two years by a romance scammer. Over 100k. She is filing bankruptcy, she is 76. She gave her bank info directly to him and has been wiring money all over the world. We have tried and tried talking to her over the past two years but she was stubborn to the fact that it put a wedge between us because she saw our warnings as trying to control her. Now she is broke. I am devastated but I hate to say she did this to herself. His name on Facebook and Hangouts in Roy Garret O'Brien or some combo of that. Anyone run across him? Supposedly from Switzerland.

Met Harrison Fisher in a online dating website, he's a single father and in the air force station in Yemen. Sounds familiar?

Similar story but his name is Jason Adams single father of a 12yrs old boy. Do you have pictures?

Our mom is currently being scammed by oil rig scammers calling themselves “Danny Roberts“. At the beginning (as soon as we found out) we thought we convinced her to see it was fake. But these people are too crafty and know how to circumvent all logic. We have shown her incontrovertible proof photos that it’s fake. But she let “him” convince her that the picture is further proof of how rich and important “he” is. —-although, why does he need her money if he is rich??? Anyway, you don’t have to be dumb to get caught up. Just emotional. Sad. It’s ruined our relationships with her, because for 6 months we have tried every tactic (pleading, begging, being nice, angry, yelling crying, etc) to get through to her and she won’t listen.

Anyone know a guy in Turkey that goes by Thomas or Brainerd Thomson, possibly goes by Dennis or David and has a German accent?
He told me he’s in Istanbul working as an engineer on a contract. Wife deceased, daughter lives with her grandmother first in Texas then changed to Arizona.
He scammed me out of over $47,000.00. The weird thing is that he pays some of my bills which won’t benefit him in any way. Guilt?
Still, he puts money on my credit cards and I buy gift cards with some, keep the rest. Says that is the only way he can get money since his wallet was stolen. I’m still not sure what he is all about. Why give me any money at all? And why can’t he get money from his accounts in the states which I know he has?
I’m kind of hanging on because I’m hoping I can figure out some way to get my money back.

He might be paying your credit card bill with stolen money or bad checks. If he pays with a bad check, the payment will get reversed and you'll still owe a credit card bill.

If he pays your credit card bill and you buy things to send him, but the charges get reversed later, you'll have more debt.

If he already took $47,000, he may trying to get more money or gifts from you.

Has anyone been in contact with a guy who calls himself Shane witcher

I need help! My mother in law has been scammed many of times but now I think this one is a "Romance Scammer" on Words With Friends. This one is an Independent Drilling Contractor , widow , 15 yr old son stays with Nanny plus older kids, lives in Houston TX, just left for the Indiana Ocean.... Says when he gets back he is going to retire he is going to open his buisness and wants her to be with him. Does it sound like a scammer?

Yes, for sure. My guy who went my Mark Williams told me the same thing. He had a 17 yr old daughter. The picture he used was of a white haired man in black/ blue shirt. He said he would come to me and start his own business. Maybe a bakery.
Please get out of the conversation!

My mom has been hit with the same story. He is rich, working in Russia on an oil rig. Widowed, one son back in Italy being taken care of by a nanny. I have made her swear on my life that she wont send him a dime.

A recently widowed friend who is about 60 years old was playing online bingo and made a friend James Brown. Brown gets her to buy a car for his company and he'll pick it when comes to town. She picks up the car and'signs' for it. Her car is in a lot for sale. She figures out Brown is a scammer and is stuck with the car she can not afford. Meanwhile she friends another guy Thomas playing online bingo, who says he loves her and she says he will pay for the car. My friend has been calling and texting Thomas for about 8 months and had never met. Thomas is supposed to love her but he is from Brazil and has no accent. He works in Turkey, lives in New York and also has an 18 year old daughter that my friend has talked to on the phone. They were supposed to meet two weeks ago but she has quit talking to me. Thomas told her not to tell any friends or family for a year because of how the way met would be scrutinized. I can not figure out what the scan is here but I am certain that it is not legitimate. Please help me if you can think of what the scam could be or if you recognize these names.

Did your friend pay for the car with her own money? Or did "James Brown" send money to her bank account so she could buy the car? Some scammers ask people to receive and transfer stolen money. Did "James Brown" send her money and ask her to buy the car with that money?

If your friend changes her mind about the car and decides it's too expensive to keep right now, she could talk to the dealer. 

The 18 year old daughter is probably his wife.

Has anyone been scammed by a person called Richard Garnett. He’s scamming a friend of my need help to stop him. He picks up money out of New Jersey post office. And has convinced them that he love his prey. Any help is appreciated.

I had a problem on words with friends too. A guy made an off color comment. I had to go to a lot of trouble to get him kicked off there. They were not very helpful.

Why do they want to go to hangouts rather than Instagram? Is there a web site to check them out?
Every one I’ve tried wants money. This is so scary.

Has anyone dealt with someone who goes by the name Heinrich Gerhard? He is supposedly an engineer who has been working in Africa for the last year or so. I think he is scamming my mom.

Has anyone been talking to a Collins from Nigeria? Singer and barber?

Does he have a daughter. Does he send you sweet messages every morning and call you in the evening. A real charmer. Mine is named David Andre but he sounds like your “future husband”

Boy I have one for the records! The guy I was playing WWF with is from Texas, but works on an oil rig in Italy. He wanted me to accept a parcel package from him in the amount of $480,000.00 He sent me a picture of the money in a suitcase. Said his company (which I researched and is real) paid him an 8 month contract in CASH! He's very worried someone on the rig will steal it! Gave me a name of an express company that would deliver to me, I'd have to sign for it, and he insisted I give him my address! I said put it in the bank, then he says his bank is on "restriction" yeah.... what??? His story was his wife died while giving birth to their first and only child. Says he believes in God and that we were meant to be together! Stated that while at work in the middle of the ocean their company lost electricity and internet access. which could be right, as he didn't speak with me in a weeks time. Now he wants me to send him an Amazon gift card so that he can have internet access so that we can continue to play on WWF! I've had several "hits" on that game, all with similar stories! He was very convincing and super romantic and told me he would marry me when he gets back in two months. I've already told him I'm married! Boy they are some kind of smooth talkers out there! All please be aware, they don't care for you, just your money! I didn't lose any, but wish this would stop!

I quit online dating sites more than 8 years ago because I could see the infiltration of scammers then. Yes, they said they worked for the military or some other contracting company and couldn't tell me what exactly they did because of security clearances, blah, blah, blah. They stole profile pictures from legit dating profiles and created elaborate profiles. The problem was more than one scammer would respond to my emails - one wrote English very well, another one did not, so it was easy to spot the inconsistencies. When I said I also was military, then the story changed and they made a correction - but this did not jive with the written profile. It is funny when you think about it. The sad part is they wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't lucrative for them to do so. It has gotten so bad that on some sites the scammers are trying scam other scammers. Whatever you decide to do, don't give any money, gift card, wire/transfer funds, or provide any credit card or banking information to anyone on a dating site, period. Don't waste your precious time on these losers. Remember this, if anyone says they "love" you after two emails or phone calls, drop them like a hot potato and move on.

Paul Martin aka godly man
No money exchanged. Met on Facebook. Asked to move to hangouts
Widowed. Couldn’t save wife and daughter one son. Doctor in Yemen on two year contract With un/NATO. Falling in love after a couple days. Deleted him. Also has another name at top of Facebook. Says was given to him by colleagues when stationed in Syria means good heart
Sounds to good to be true so trustedninstinks

Has anybody has any contact with a so call Dr Robert Wilson
connected with me on Instagram, wife died 5 years ago has a 15 year old daughter he works in the Sudan for the UN I Got very suspicious when he said he loved me and wanted to marry me just after a few conversations he told me to speak to him on hangouts , I HAVE BLOCKED HIM

I believe my sister is being scammed. Because the man is facetiming with her often, she thinks it is the real thing. Are there situations where this face to face contact occurs?

Did you get any responses about your sister being scammed?

He didnt ask for money just a leave to come visit

Can you find out how the people are is I am still in contact with them?

My Mom has been scammed this year by 2 guys (thinking same dude). I was able to show her the first one was a scammer and she stop communication. Then another one contact her except this has now told her the “truth” that he’s actually in the mafia and she can’t leave now. I’m telling her it’s all intimidation tactics to make her keep giving him money. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m ready to throw in the towel, I’m tired already. She’s my Mom but I just wish I can close my eyes and make the problem disappear. This will sound awful and hurts me but I’m at the point where I’m over it and want to turn my back on her . I don’t need this stress right now.

Hello every one,
Can you imagine that they (scammers) have got to Russian social networks? I've been 'attacked' twice: by a military man who wanted to adopt a child (in the spring), and by a widower with a 15-year-old son. We've just started communicating. I do not think the person (with two names: one used in Odnoklassniki (a Russian site, and the other used in Hangouts) is able to deceive me. To tell the truth, i don't know why i allow to involve me in it. But the person is talking nonsence and seems to be a little aggressive. Many details provided by him are similar to those I've read in the previous comments.

I have a guy online who wants to pay my cell phone bill. He actually wants me to get a new phone or let him pay my current phone bill. I don't trust this. He said, he does not want my bank account information. We talk frequently on global voice. He's supposed to be in Illinois. He wants me to come to Illinois. He also says he's coming here to see me. I told him I will not do anything until we meet. Is there any scams like this out there???

One year of contacts. J. Scott. Petroleum Engineer/IC on rig. Cannot leave. Light hair, light eyes. 60. In his photo, he has a scar by his eyebrow. Lost 20k+ to this man. The loss of money is not as painful as the loss of my dignity.

Was his name Jarry Scott

Common scam: scammer is a widow with one child and no family. He is going to work in another country for a while or has already been in another country and will be back soon. When its time to come home...trouble. They ask for money or gift cards of some kind. RUN!!!

I got an e mail from a friend saying she wanted to call me about a dillema....it turned out she met someone who claims to be a General in the Air Force sttioned in Afganistan. He wants to marry her but the catch is he needs to have a trunk of valuables shipped from Germany and it's going to cost approximately $25,000. She's already spent $3,500 on this scheme and she's looking to borrow more to get the trunk to the USA. I googled the man and he is legit so I can only assume someone has stolen is identity. She is calling me tomorrow to discuss and I am going to have to share my feelings about this scammer. I don't know how women can be so foolish as to fall for a scheme like this.

Has anybody run into a guy passing himself off as Stephen Taylor? Claims he's American, of Brazilian origin, trauma surgeon working for USAID in Afghanistan, has 14 yr old daughter in boarding school in Houston. He's a widower. My sister has recently been hooked up with this dude online. Has a thick accent, almost incomprehensible, and it doesn't sound Brazilian. Ring any bells?

I think I am being scammed. My story sins similar to everyone in the comments. The guy I'm talking to on hangouts is 45, supposedly an orthopedic surgeon working in Syria, for the UN. Has 3 kids, wife died after a divorce and his parents are dead too. He has an Instagram and linked in account. Please let me know if this sounds familiar

Hi
Has anyone had the scammer wish to meet them after months of conversing via hangouts or on phone?

I believe this is the same guy who started messaging me one words.....story is the same.

My guy, engineer on oil rig offshore from Scotland. Widower but has 12 year old daughter. Phone number from Dallas Texas. We have been chatting using Hangouts. One month professes love, commitment, almost fell for it. Then he asked for $8000 to replace drilling equipment so he could finish contract and get back to states. Goes by Jack S Michael. Very romantic, Spanish accent.

Has anyone ran across someone that goes by the name of Daniel vani. Apparently in the military in Syria. Wife was killed has a daughter in Atlanta.

My mom can’t seem to listen to me that this is a scam.

Help. I think i got scammed by this man. He said he's from Sabah, Malaysia but staying at Canada because his mother is Canadian. He's widowed and have a daughter. He said he work at construction company by the name Turner in Canada. I have his picture and video. Is someone experience the same thing?

It's very familiar, did he send you picture of him and then two of his daughter? I have pictures, we should compare them to see if same guy.

These guys are all over the place but always get to me on Words with Friends. I get a half dozen a week. A few years ago I got taken by two of them for around $1700 total after falling for their love words, being lonely after my husband died. I have learned the signs now, being born stateside but working on oil rigs or overseas, poor written English, falling "in love" with me, a total stranger. There are so many signs to be aware of and they get so angry and insulted when you call them out on their downfalls. Just don't fall for ANYONE you haven't met! Don't be foolish like me.

My mom is talking to someone who is acting just like these scammers. Widow, has daughter..after a few weeks wants to meet with his daughter. Texts nonstop. I told her about these scammers and be careful. She is defensive and thinks he is a real one. He has her address and sent her flowers and strawberries. It's scary. She won't listen to me.

Had someone tell me the same thing, then started asking for money after he lost his wallet, after being hit by a car when he had to travel to the UK just days after we started talking on the dating site. It quickly went to texting. These people work in groups. While supposedly at the hospital after being hit by a car, a nurse called me to notify me that he had been hit and said that he wanted me to know what was going on. I called that number back and it was not a hospital. I was disconnected. Second red flag! The first was when he mentioned traveling… another one, he likes to wear Tommy Hill figure clothing and his Photoshop skills on his photos are horrible! However, I have not been able to find the real man in the pictures. Has also had his mother called me to introduce herself. And he claims to live in the US but was raised in Hungary.

Anyone else come in contact with a James Kurt. Claims to be in the US Army special forces stationed in Syria. Son and wife killed in plane crash. Friend named Kelvin. Says he’s from Michigan ?

I play Words with Friends and so far I have met 4 surgeons with the UN! What are the odds! They play for a bit then they start the romance talk, can I have your phone number,your email etc. All I want to do is play a simple game with my friends. I no longer accept invites from men.

There are untold numbers of these men on Words with Friends. I have more than a dozen of them who are professing their undying love for me. They all purport to be widowers with kids. Most claim to be working on an oil rig somewhere. The less sophisticated scammers ask me for large amounts of money right away. I play along with them and pretend to follow their instructions, just long enough to completely frustrate them when they finally realize that I am not sending any money or anything else of value. The more sophisticated scammers play out the "romance" a bit longer before they start to ask for money.
It's crazy! If someone you don't already know on WwF says anything more than "nice play" or "I'm stuck with only vowels", you're about to be hit up by a scam.

Anyone had encountered someone named Isaac Carpenter, Air Force stationed in Yemen. Met via IG

I had one met on game. Went to hangouts. He was too funny. Said was miiitary in Syria top secret location so no video or voice calls. He aaid had 5 million dollars lol and of course no access to his account. Wanted me to send someone $7050 to transfer 800,000 to my account. Was supposed to give 50k to his 14 year old daughter for xmas me keep 350k and 400k for him so he have money for me to get things for him. Said wanted 10x100 ebay gift cards. Hes gone I blocked him real quit. Got nothing from me.

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