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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

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.

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.

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