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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

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.

Has anyone heard of Greg Ford? Supposedly from UK?

I recently decided to try on-line dating. I wanted someone close to home just to go out and have a cup of coffee or see a movie. I went on two websites with high hopes. Some of the men that responded lived more than the 25 mils I specified in my profile. Most of the guys I met on there are very superficial but there was one guy named John Arvid that seemed nice.

We started communicating via e-mail and text messages right away and we both closed our dating website accounts.

About a week into our “relationship”, John sent me a dozen roses with a note that said, I can picture us spending the rest of our lives together. I thought oh boy, this guy is coming on really strong (red flag). Asking me where I lived (red flag), asking me all kinds of questions. I asked him questions in return and there were many discrepancies in his responses.

About a month of just shooting the breeze back and forth because I told him to chill out with the romantic stuff. He gave me his VISA card number and asked me to contact a guy in California for him since he left for Australia (supposedly) two days before we were supposed to meet face to face.

I said no, of course, because even I know wire fraud is a felony and I’ve never met John so, I can’t take his word for anything.

I confronted him about the wire fraud and blocked him. He got through on my Gmail account and professed that he didn’t know that doing that was a felony. Okay…. I’m thinking I’ll give you a pass on that. Not two days later he was telling me that the guy in California was having some problems processing VISA cards and would I front him the money and he would pay me back when he got back to Ohio next month with 20% interest. I still said no, it’s still wire fraud.

I have since blocked him on my phone and e-mail accounts.

Just wondering that if you are the victim of the online dating scam, would it be put yourself in a danger if you report it. Thank you, please advise!

This is all very helpful. I just was approached after a full game on words with friends by a man claiming to be ‘Daniel Palms.’ Similar story to some of these - on an oil rig offshore of Norway, 15yo son in boarding school back in the UK, parents both died. Said he was Irish (but had horrible English). I didn’t say anything about it, but he then offered that he’s half-German. I’ve traveled a lot and interacted with people speaking broken English in many different styles ... his seemed somewhat middle eastern. Blocked him completely a day after meeting him. This is the only solution, no use in trying to ‘prove’ these guys are scammers.

Help!!
My mom is “involved “ with someone posing as Lionel Richie!! She believes it’s him. I have tried to get her to stop but she will not!!! She listens to Lionel Richie music now all the time. He sent her a ring claiming it worth 3500.00. I took her to the pawn shop and she found out it’s only worth $10.00!
She still Believes HIM!! He said Darn it I will never trust a Chinese website again!! Now he has convinced her to pay 2500.00 to get his luggage supposedly being held in London shipped to her. He tried it for a long time and I kept telling her NO. But she did it anyway!! But the problem is she is staying with me currently for the Holidays. I was supposed to take her home soon. She got sick with UTI so we haven’t left. She tells me today that the damn luggage is coming to MY house now!!!!!!!! With instructions to Not open it!! What the Hell??????!!!! HELP!! I am fear for my safety. What in the heck could be in it. I am supposed to transport her home with that piece of luggage. I am afraid!!!
What should I do!?? Who can I get to help?
She said he was going to come to her house and pick up his luggage after I bring her home with it. I don’t want to transport it.
I already told her this was crazy and dangerous.
Anyone reply please if you have any information

I got a direct message from someone impersonating my favorite actor on Instagram, using his “private account.” Then he asked to chat on Skype because he’d shooting a movie overseas so we could still communicate. He promised me love and romance. I have sent almost $70,000 to him and I was so angry at myself for being so stupid. The worse thing was I borrowed the money from my father. He used reasons such as his bank account was frozen due to divorce proceedings, paying a new lawyer to speed up his divorce case, and the last one was his mother had to undergo a kidney surgery. My advice to people out there is never ever send money to people you’ve never met. I don’t want what happened to me happens to someone else. Until today, I’m still paying for my mistake...by paying my father back little by little.

Anybody been talking to a Dr. Anthony Wilson Ethan? He says he lives in New York but is a surgeon for the United Nations in Syria, and is currently stuck in turkey coming home. He says he has a 9 year old daughter also.

He is talking to me right now, he said he is in New York but will be traveling to Syria soon, I have the same doubts.

Yes I’ve heard of him, I’m chatting with him now. Said he’s stuck in Turkey at the moment. Did he tell you his daughters name by chance? He said he’s from New Jersey and he’s an orthopedic surgeon. Did you hear the same?

I have a friend who's chatting with him. Wilson claims to be
currently in Berlin. He was in Turkey and had escaped from Syria.
Do you have a picture of him?

O God, I just met Dr. Anthony Wilson Ethan who works at United Nation, and he is flying to Syria tomorrow...
Thank you for your post !

My ex has been talking to a Rogers Curtis. Similar deal, lives in CA, 2 kids, cardiologist stuck in Syria, needs a packet from the U.N. to get home?

This man called Dr Boult Graham lives in Florida say hes divorced have 2 girls works for the government hes in Afghanistan they gave him money an gold bars needs to sent it to me wonted money to send

I met a guy on Instagram who says he works offshore as an engineer in the Gulf of Mexico . He needs me to send money to the UN so he can go on vacation to come see me. Is this a scam??

I recently encountered a same situation from a young men name Timothy Cox in LinkedIn. The person was trying to use my Christain faith to believe he is god send. He also mentioned his Chinese wife is late. I suspected him to be a scam, he then accused me wrong and instantly blocked my LinkedIn. I asked him to come and meet my family and friends if he is genuine. He never responded. Initially he wanted to ask me on google hangout as well. Then when I was preaching to him the true word of God and then I said to him, he doesn’t care about my safety because there are scam messages at my new job, how could that be. Only him and my family knows. And he immediately blocks me from wechat. Right after he is gone, another men adds me on Instagram and his script is similar. He use the same term his wife is late and he has a son. I noticed the word late is a common word on their script.

Very concerned about my best girlfriend. She's very lonely and extremely gullible. She decided to join Elite Singles and a man named Erik with a British accent reached out to her. Very quickly, his profile disappeared from the dating website. Very shortly after texting and phone conversation, his daughter and granddaughter in the UK were hit by a car and his 5 yr old granddaughter (Helen) slipped into a coma. His wife died of lung cancer 7 yrs ago. His father and younger sister were killed in car accident. He's working on a "proposal" for a very sought after job and he believes that the contract will be his. Presently, he's a "workaholic" and traveling the Eastern US states to secure this "contract deal." He's staying in hotels, no address, NEVER FaceTime or Skype or video at ALL. Also, when she didn't hear from him for about a week, another guy with a British accent connected with her and he said his name was John. I told her that this is a set up for a scam. ALL of it doesn't make sense. She's only speaking to him for a few weeks AND more things happened to him than someone else in their lifetime. She doesn't want to listen to me!

Ladies, BEWARE!

Someone named Steve.wilkinson.blessed has been masquerading on the Words With Friends game to sound like a typical scam going around. He claims to be living abroad, a widower of 4 years to a wife with PKD, has a daughter of 16 also abroad...of course, nothing viably checkable...except that where he is "drilling for oil" isn't legit...and the story gets particularly fishy as he presses to get other ways to contact you, then drops you as a WWF player because he is too busy to play while "out of the country". Interestingly enough, the game says he has "too many games going" to add one more...yeah, I bet!! Just he careful, and NEVER find yourself wasting as much time as I did, nearly falling for his story!!!!

Has anyone spoke or texted with a Gilbert Martin? Think he is a scammer. In HK and a c. engineer working on roads.

I talked with a supposed doctor from Yemen Dr. Michael Smith he wanted out early receive a check and no way to cash it. Red Cross won’t fly him back to the states he wanted money to fly home. Wanted me to get a Walmart card and asked for my account numbers Anyone familiar with this one

Has anyone been scammed by a Christopher Scott from Maryland. He supposively works at World Food Program. He is German with a son in boarding school in France. Found me on Facebook then insisted I go on hangouts. Chatted for about two weeks, immediately professed Love. Then messaged wanting me to buy ITunes card. Did not do it, deleted app. Also looked up his gmail and it is not found.Now getting text messages on phone to click on saying I won stuff and wanting my info from an overseas number.

Has any had contact with Nelson Wood (widower) who claims is on Lazrus Island for 2 year contract and his daughter is in boarding school in UK?

Anyone heard of a Stefan Kristiansen? I feel as though the other shoe will drop at anytime. Hasn’t asked for money yet. Says he has inherited gold from his fathers estate. I’ve done due diligence photos don’t come up on internet. Neither does his name. Lives in US. But wants me to contact his attorney for him regarding the inheritance because he doesn’t understand what is required of him. Please help if you can.

I got approached recently by a guy who claims to be US Military, who served in the US Army for 23 years, and currently a security contractor in Syria with United Nations. He claims his contract is 4 years and he still has 1 year and 5 months to go. He goes by the name David Mark on Instagram, 47 years old, wife died for leukemia 6 years ago and has a 19 year old daughter currently studying in the UK. He did ask for iTunes gift card for his daughter's birthday and I kept refusing. It did not make sense to me that a contractor making over 6 figures can't get a gift card. I don't know what he sounds like but in the 11 pictures I saw on his profile he is a white male. Also, his written English is pretty bad and that was a red flag to me from the beginning. Has anyone been approached by a guy with this story?

Were any of you given the user name and pass word of his bank account? I was, and he had over 2 million dollars on his account. He had me transfer funds to businesses he owned money to.

This has happened to me

I'm talking to this guy who said he owns his own cocoa beans company out of west palm beach fl. His wife died. He has a 3 yr old that a caregiver takes care of her. He sent me pics, we've talked on the phone and thru Skype, video chatted. The pics match to him from video chat. About 1 month into the conversation he tells me he landed a job with client to farm raw cocoa beans but in Ecuador. Ok. Then while he is there he tells me that his acct at bank of America can't be accessed so he is asking me for money which I gave. Then he tells me he needs plane ticket money, so I help. It's one excuse after another as to why he isnt here. He has a LinkedIn account which, is probably fake. He's so good looking. I met him on dating site. His profile said he was from my city but gave me a Florida #. When I question that he said he will be moving here soon.

Im tired of being black mailed. threatened, and contacted. How do i make it stop. I have emails, voicemails, threats. Can anyone help with getting fbi involved? Local cops wont help

You can block its phone number and e-mail on your smart phone. or just change your e-mail and phone number. No local cops do nothing. Call the FBI and ask them.

I think I am being scammed by a man named james William's. Claim he is doctor from Florida working for the un in Afghanistan. Says widower with 9 year old son. Wants me to write to un to get him home for vacation.

They are all from overseas claiming they are American. They are not and there are thousands and thousands of them stealing pictures and pretending to be the person they stole the picture from. Mine finally blocked me when he couldn’t get more money I stupidly gave him.

Women be aware. On facebook I meet a marine engineer. Michael David. He wants you to pay a fee for a box at universal Destination in New York. He uses his kids and tells you to email them. Michael say the box is worth $900.000. He sent pictures of the box it contained diamonds, gold documents?, lots of cash! and Jewelry. My question? Why would you put money in a box?? Not a bank? He is from Charlotte, North Carolina. His kids are in a boarding school. He said the last girl he had took off to Mexico and is hiding from him. She must be very scared of him. Please be careful of this man!! He has his kids brainwashed and program what to say to women.

I met a man Frank Collins who says he is an orthopedic surgeon working for the UN in Yemen. His wife was killed and he has no kids. Hasn’t asked for money yet. Very romantic and good looking.

There are no UN surgeons in Yemen.

Reading all of your comments, you all say this sounds like the man I've been talking because he, and you tell a similar story. Their not the same man. All scammers are experienced and use the same stories because vulnerable women fall for it. I can't stress this enough, NEVER, NEVER EVER SEND MONEY, ITUNES CARDS, STEAM CARDS, AMAZON CARD ANY KIND OF CARD, DO NOT GIVE OUT YOUR BANKING INFORMATION, DON'T DO WIRE TRANSFERS. DON'T SEND OR DO ANYTHING TO ANYONE MALE OR FEMALE THAT YOU DON'T KNOW. IT'S A SCAM. I DON'T CARE HOW MUCH THEY PROFESS THEIR LOVE FOR YOU, OR PROMISE THEIR COMING TO BE WITH YOU, DON'T SEND ANYTHING. YOU WILL NEVER SEE YOUR MONEY AGAIN. WITH CARDS LIKE ITUNES, THEY SAY THEY NEED IT TO ADD DATA TO THEIR PHONE, YOU CAN'T ADD DATA TO A PHONE WITH A CARD, ONLY YOUR PHONE CARRIER CAN ADD MINUTES AND MOST PLANS HAVE UNLIMITED EVERYTHING. IF YOUR NOT SURE GOOGLE IT. JUST GO TO GOOGLE AND ASK IT IN A QUESTION. LEARN HOW TO DO GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH. YOU GET THEM TO SEND YOU A PICTURE OF THEMSELVES. ONCE YOU LEARN GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH LOOK THEIR PICTURE UP IF IT COMES UP WITH MORE THAN ONE NAME, HE'S A SCAMMER. JUST REMEMBER DON'T SEND ANYTHING, NO MONEY CARDS NOTHING. NO MATTER HOW MUCH THEY SAY THEY LOVE YOU OR ARE COMING TO BE WITH YOU. IT'S A SCAM. JOIN A LOCAL DATING SITE IF YOU WANT TO MEET SOMEONE AND MAKE SURE TO MEET IN A PUBLIC PLACE. THAT'S YOUR BEST OPTION.

was befriended on IG 3 weeks ago. Thought I´d resond for once instead of deleting / ignoring them. A week ago he took down his IG account. Lavished with attention and guess what - he was brought up in an orphanage, his wife and family dies of cancer, he is all alone in this world. Works for the UN in Qatar, has a 13 year contract with no leave or time off etc etc. Pushed his affections so fast, talks about meeting, marriage, he can´t live without me etc etc bleurgh. Today he´s being sent to a war zone and thinks he might die very soon. He´s asked me to contact his bank barrister at a generic gmail account!!??!! to transfer to me his life savings of 5 million so I can pay the UN 1 million to sever his contract! He says his barrister is called Barr Hillary Clifford. He has written "kindly send your full name, home address phone number and my name to the bank barrister...." The name he uses is Dr Mark William. Phone number 1 972 591 7007. His English is not native speaker level, which was another red flag. Blocking him will give me so much pleasure! Take care ladies and look after yourselves!

A DAVID ROBBEN HAS BERN SCAMMING ME FOR MONTHS NOW. SAYS HE IS AN ORTHOPEDIC SURGEON FROM ARIZONA AND A WIDOWER. UNREAL. HORRIBLE. SAYS HE WAS IN SYRIA AND NOW WANTS MONEY TO COME HOME!! I DON'T THINK SO

My mother in law communicates with " Donald" who's an American living in Cyprus.." very wealthy" but his job has his checks inaccessible...hmmm..she does not believe me when I present the scammer idea

Please stop your mother in law. This is a similar scam that I fell for. They insert you into crisis by helping with their online bank account that eventually shuts down leaving them stranded in Cyprus needing to pay tax. Long Story.

Harry Thomas? Gary Shepherd, James G Dare?

Scammer found me on Words with Friends. Because it was not an online dating site, I thought the contact was probably innocent. Asked me to join him in hangout. Scammer's MO: Widower with 10-year-old daughter. Daughter lives in Miami Beach with nanny. Wife died four years ago. He said he was working on an old rig with no access to his checking account or credit card. Needs to spend months at sea to complete a contract. Depending on who was playing the role of "Bobby" that day (I believe the job rotated among several people), the messages would be long vows of eternal love and marriage. He/they would text me all day and late into the night. Even had his/their "daughter" texting me almost all day, every day. A different crisis every week.The "daughter" angle was what hooked me in. Requests for various cards in order to help "daughter". Sometimes the requests bordered on demanding. Finally, did a reverse photo search and found all the photos (about 4-5) that he sent me of "him" were actually photos of a different man living in L.A. And those same photo were being used by different scammers using different names. Now "James (Bobby) Roberto" is blocked from my Words with Friends and my email account. I deleted the hangout app altogether. In the last email I received, he was hinting at suicide because I had blocked him. Much of this I shared yesterday, but perhaps this will help someone else to avoid the mistakes and errors in judgment I made. I wish I had known about reverse image searching a month ago.

Our time dating site have 2 scammers Ethan Dickerson and Butleron Williams. Ethan posed as a construction engineer living in Dubai because he lost his wallet in a taxi and he is not allowed to leave until he pays his employees $5k. He post photos of his 13 years old son. His wife died of cancer. He would send you poems very romantic. He is looking to get married. He doesn't sleep around. He will insult you if u don't send him money. I have his photos. Butleron Williams is from Georgia but he is really from Netherlands. He is supposed rich due to his gold business. He is dying in a dead ship in the Scandinavian Ocean where Shell Oil and Gas company left him. He will ask you $20,000 to transfer $300,000 from his account to your which is scam also $1k-3,000 to open an account for u to transfer his money. All scam. He will tell u that he adore, cherish, love you for ever Angel. He uses a photo of a girl and a boy, both men are widowers. Both liars and scammers. I have their photos and I would like to post them.

Has any 1 got scammed by a guy named medoune Diouf. From Senegal. But now he lives in Morocco.. in Africa. Please. let me know. Thank. you

has anyone been targeted by a very good looking man on Instagram andie_moore3000? Says he lives in Birmingham Uk.......very suspicious

Does anyone know a man named Pedro Johnson from Columbus, Ohio? Middle Eastern , very fit?

I have information on bank accounts scammers gave me. Wish someone cared enough to check on this as they must’ve been running money through them. Maybe FBI?

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