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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

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A man contacted me yesterday on Instagram Said he had been working in Yemen as orthopaedic surgeon was sent there by United Nations, a widow for 4 years with 14 year old son, said his wife died in a car crash

A man contacted me yesterday on Instagram Said he had been working in Yemen as orthopaedic surgeon was sent there by United Nations, a widow for 4 years with 14 year old son, said his wife died in a car crash

I was message by my guy on Instagram. He says he is an orthopedic surgeon from Denmark living in California. He is widowed, no children. He works for MSF and is currently in Yemen. He always asked if I ate. He’s very romantic and charming. Says the right thing, claims to love me after 3 weeks of chats. I want to believe he is genuine but I’m skeptical. He asked for an iTunes gift card which I did buy.

He's scamming you and it starts off with a card and then will keep asking for more. Quit while you are ahead. The one I'm chatting with says beautiful things and ask if I ate. Calls me babe, my queen. He loves me only after a month and I will be his wife. It's all a scam so you can send more money. Please stop before he gets more money out of you.

I also met a guy at catholic date site. I live outside of the United States. He said his wife died of cancer 3 years ago and that he has a 7 years old son He calim to be 43 years old. The picture at the dating site was of a very handsome white male, black hair, green eyes, he also send other pictures and we talk by video call 3 times but I'm not sure if it was him because the video calls were very short and the image was freezing a lot. He said he was born at New York and that he was an electrical engineer working independently. He's accent sounded strange not very fluid english. He was supposedly working at a project at Istambul and then he told me he flew to Pert Australia for another job. The scam was about a freight charge, he told me he bought some presents for me at istambul and that right after he finish the next job at Pert he will come to visit me. And since he was flying to Perth he send me the gifts and some clothes he bought for him self as well before living for Pert. He told me that I had to contact the courrier company and he gave me and email, I told him I needed a tracking number in order to be able to track the package, but he refused to give it to me. He said I have to write them and take care of the tracking since he was going to be at a ship with limited access to internet, and he also refused to send the receipt the parcel company gave him, he incisted that the parcel company wanted me to send them an email and that they'll give me the information if I send my drivers licence photo as prouf of my identity. Which is very weird, but I did send the email and they send me back and URL to their web page to track the package with a tracking number. But I look it up in Google and this web page can not be found by Google, you can only access the page by typing the url address. The next day the fake parcel company send and email and then call me from a UK number and told me that the package weight more than he said when we drop the package at the parcel office in Istambul and they ask me to send payment for the extra weight. I told them I was not paying the money and I told them to talk to him. After 2 days of back and forth conversations with him and the fake courrier person He was very upset and told me to send and email instructing them to delivery the package to a person of his trust at New York, and he said that this person was going to pay the extra charge. I did not even want to send that email for this change of delivery because I was not the one sending any package, and he got really mad, he threatened me and told me he had my information. At the end I send the mail telling the parcel company to contact this other person he wanted, and the contact stop there. I did not send any money but I'm pretty sure this was a scam attempt. Please be alert, he uses God and faith to trick you.

Recently I talked with a guy name Scott Khalifa, Turkey background, he said was a doctor, Wound Care Specialist, in Wichita Falls, Texas but on Facebook shows Houston Texas. He kept messaging me day and night through Whatsapp by calling me queen, baby....On Facebook, his posted his and his son's photo, they are so beautiful. I asked for vidoe call, he said OK but always couldn't see clear his face, seemed I was talking with a photo not a real person then cut off within 5 seconds. Today, he said he would be sent to Iraq for 3 months and left his son in US with a nanny. I realize he is a scammer soon, because I couldn't check his profile in any hospital's websites and story of being sent to Iraq was so ridiculous. Before he will ask me for money, I decided to block him!!!

I was chatted up by a guy called "Frank M." on Scrabble Go couple of days ago. Nice picture. First he sent some very modest messages, then wanted to continue on Hangouts where he started to flood me with messages calling me "my dear" and sending me "kisses". Pretended to be an "emergency surgeon" from Los Angeles, working for the UN in the "war zone" in Kabul / Afghanistan. Salary of 30.000$ per month, but he has no access to it. Said he is a widower for three years with a 15-year old son called James who is in a boarding school while his father is in Afghanistan (from autumn 2018 to autumn 2021, even during the current pandemic in California - poor kid!!!). During his service he has no opportunity to travel home to visit his son, but his "4 bedroom twin house" is well taken care of in the meantime. Asked me if I was looking for a husband without knowing my age or having seen a picture of me. This was so weird! And he completely ignored my questions about Kabul (How is the climate? How is the landscape?)
At that point I confronted him with a link to this website and asked him to send me some proof that he is a real person. There was one more message "Are you well?" and now... silence.
I am pretty sure by now that this was scamming, only he did not get very far ;-)

Kurt Davis and Mathew Lawreance are ones to watch out for too. I thankfully haven't lost any money yet as I'm always weary of people on the internet, and they will make you feel like the bad person once you start questioning them.

The newest, most different occurrence I've come across: I've talking to a guy I met on Instagram for a couple of months, he asked me to take the conversation to Hangouts. He claimed he is cryptotrader/real estate investor/entrepreneur. Has become very wealthy off of his trading endeavors. Recently just went to China for a huge contract he was bidding for. I asked for a video chat since one of the other guys I mentioned just got a rig job in China as well. He claimed he had phone issues and was unable to do a video. He got upset with me when I asked if he was really who he said he is and he could send me a selfie of him on the job site. (never got).

Then a couple of days later, we are chatting back as normal. He hits me with a question. He and his colleagues found money buried "on the ground". They didn't tell anyone and he locked his portion ( a whopping 1.5 mil) in a security box. He asked me what I would have done with it. I told him I would have turned it over to the authorities for too many unknown variables.

He states he gave it to a UN diplomat who loaded it onto a UN cargo plane to get it out of China and if I would contact this person to get receipt of the box. I immediately and continually declined and asked if his mother could do it for him. He then said "how do you expect me to send such an amount to my mom?" like you don't trust your mom, but you'll trust a practical stranger and the same way you wanted me to take receipt of the package (duh). Sketchy!!!

I have a concern and proceeding cautiously. I have been communicating with an "Italian" who has been living in the states and is in the oil industry (pipeline engineer). He is very charming, "loves me" and calls me ALL the pet names. He is now in Dubai on a construction project and I have only met him on Skype - just before he left as I didn't really believe he was who he was in pictures. He was that guy, but audio was a problem and I could not hear him. I've been communicating by text and phone. He has asked me to help transfer a large amount of money as he was having trouble doing this oversees. I did that, but now after researching and reading - I am really worried. Thoughts?

Anyone run across an Italian gent named Jeff who resides in CA? Very romantic, affectionate, and attentive in conversations. After meeting on Match and establishing contact, he immediately won a contract and had to run off to work on a road project in Dubai. It seems like it is beginning to take on all the characteristics of a classic con as he is moving toward a melding of financial resources while he is overseas(he's quite wealthy of course). Red flags are waving.

Similar situation here. Met this guy on Hinge app, gorgeous 41 year old man originally from Madrid but living in California the last 6 years. We have not video chatted yet as he is currently stuck in the Philippines on a military base and the internet service is bad. Orthopedic surgeon, divorced with a 7 year old son. Has not asked for money or anything (yet). Has send photos of himself, his son and his dog. Have been very suspicious since the beginning. Says his name is Juan.

I've heard from multiple men on my facebook page saying they were looking up an old friend and somehow found me...want me to accept their friend request...typically engineers or orthopedic surgeons on peacekeeping missions abroad , wife has died, child lives elsewhere in boarding school...yadda yadda...WHY do they all have the same story, is what I am asking? They cannot find another creative way of trying to scam us? I DEFINITELY would not send money but honestly I block them before they can even ask. All very sad how people waste their time!

Beware of a Travis Gary. Says he lives in Canada and works as an engineer on contract to Chevron in oil rigs in Lithuania. Always wanting money for various reasons like broken parts on oil rig, flights for staff. Says all this worry causes him health problems. Is very charming and says he in in love and will meet you when travel restrictions go back to normal. Chevron have no record of this name. Do not give him money!!

I know some women who are victimize by the name Jeffrey Rissler from Altoona PA .A lot of dollars they given to this guy he said he's a military too.I want to help this girl's .But they scared to report.

I may have talked to him as well. Light brown hair, light brown eyed, white, handsome? Says he has a son named Justin ?

Did you know Steve Pacheco and Jeffrey Rissler? Claim they are military.Same story .

Has anybody had contact with a Jeff Walter. Working as a Petroleum Engineer in Shanghai?

Was anyone contacted by a military Orthopedic Surgeon Paul Walton, MD. In Somalia?

I have had contact w Paul Walter or Walters thru Words w Friends. He claims to be an ortho surgeon in Somalia. Has a son and wife died during still birth. He’s about to ask for something...he sent me a msg thru Words that he needs to ask me for something...watch out. He’s definitely a scammer. Poor English, can’t answer questions about medicine, weather in Denver or Somalia...

I'm in Vietnam and my neighbor has two on the hook at the same time. One says he's working construction in Yemen She has been talking to him for a year. In the beginning he asked he to set up a bank account here so he could send his funds that are stuck in Oman. He has given the same story, single dad two girls has sent her video of him with them before he left the US to work etc etc. Name is Joquiem, the kids are writing her emails. The funny thing is he hasn't tried or mentioned money again yet. These people are playing the long game.
The second guy says he has a 1.3 million $ contract here in Vietnam but has been stuck offshore in Malaysia for 4 months. He told her he couldn't access his account and asked if she would try and sent all the details to transfer money for him for flights. I did it for her and it was a Swiss account with 3.7 million in it. I transfered 4,500 $ for him to an account here in VN. which was a little strange but I didn't think a lot about it until afterwards now I'm a little concerned that it was done from my IP address. He told her yesterday he was in quarantine and couldn't access his account and asked her to send him 1500 $, at this point it was too much. If you are wealthy you have people to deal with this stuff for you and don't rely on strangers. I don't know how he had access to the Swiss account but I am a bit concerned and feel pretty stupid for making the transfer for him. I don't know what the angle is but rich people are not rich by giving their account details out to strangers .

This happened to my son who is in the Army. What are some resources to go after the person ie type of attorney, criminal charges ?? She is a real person, living in the U.S, found her parents.

Has anyone run into these names1:
Natan Antoni, Humphrey Lucas, David Roland?

Yes as a matter of fact Natan is in my hangouts right now. What is the deal with him? I need to know fast

Why are they all orthopedic surgeons that’s weird I had a scammer said he was from Texas went to work on oil rig and his machine broke the pic was a copy of one published in2006 what idiots I kept him going for three months he wanted me to do his banking I said no never he never gave up trying I was able to go back to work so just told him about himself and sent the pic from the news clip with the day and deleted the app met him on scrabble now I have a guy texted me on face book suppose to be a surgeon for the in same thing wife an parents dead daughter in boarding school in uk he sent me a pic of his daughter and their dog I found the same pic on another site not his daughter really

My mom's been in love with a man from India for 4 years now. He claims he is a good guy with money and a good job. He actually doesn't ask anything money related. They video called once in a blue moon and i have seen him myself on video call but what really doesn't seem right is sometimes he disappears for weeks on end. Then he finally shows up and the cycle repeats all over again. He says he wants to meet her in person but he says he can't come to America so she has to go to him in India. Has anyone else dealt with this sort of thing? I need some help protecting my mom.

Anybody been scammed by "Mark Sency", "Stephen Townsend?"

I don’t know what to do he’s noticing I’m not responding so much . I said I was back at work and couldn’t

My friend met a guy on Scrabble game named Miller S. His picture is fake. He has multiple Scrabble accts. Same name just diff pics of same guy. Says he is from San Francisco, wife died from ovarian cancer, father died, mother met some guy and is living in South America. First he wanted her to send him money because his luggage got lost and he couldn’t get home from China. Then he was going to meet her when he got back and pay her back. So she sends him money thru BitCoin. When he was coming to meet her he was in a wreck on the way to airport and is in a coma. His friend mike contacted her to let her know Miller S was in accident and it was all her fault cause he was coming to see her. He may end up having amnesia. Anyone else talk to this Miller guy?? There is nothing about him on the Internet

My friend was recently contacted by an orthopedic surgeon from Doctors without borders Yemen via Facebook and Skype. He claimed his name was Richard W. Crowder. She was deeply attracted by his profile photos especially the one in surgical gown and requested a video chat but was recommended to postpone. After reading the shared experiences posted here, I wondered if he was one of the scammers as too good to be true. He has nearly perfect profile and sounded very patient but writing skills were not consistent, at least not like someone with years of education and from a hometown in England. I am not sure how to help her but will check if anybody here knows this person. She is very naive with pure soul. God bless her not to be hurt.

Yess Orthopaedic surgeon in yemen for peace keeping mission thay have NATO logo also hope i wud posted more photos but the chat deleted when i blocked him,but i have one photoes of his u know he says surgen but pictures he send is of handosme guy who is dentist ,so illitrste people but a good scammer

I received a FB request from a Louis Flare. His pictures were that of Brian Etemad, ESQ. [see Instragram]. He then confessed this is not him and says his real name is Nicholas Greto. He says he is a widow and has a 7 year old daughter. He claims he works as a Resp. Therapy in Russia. He has sent me pictures and his uniform top says Holy Name Medical Center. That facility is located in NJ. He sent pictures of himself and his daughter. He then asked for a AMX Gift Card to be sent his "house" in Florida . He then became agitated when he asked me to send it through my phone, and I said no. He is very handsome and believable .

Supposedly a Greek neurosurgeon is working at a Yemen base. He has 3 years left there and it has gotten bad, and is asking for me to help him get leave. At first, he asked for a game card, then to do bitcoin (learn from his coworker), which I stated that I couldn’t help him due to lack of $. Now, he’s consistently been asking for me to apply for his leave to help him come to the US. 1) to escape what’s happening in Yemen, 2) to meet me. Now, he’s telling me it’s an emergency and wants my full name and address to send me his atm card. I’ve been very careful and haven’t sent him any $ or any of my personal info. But he has gotten a couple of pics. I’ve chatted on the phone but have not verified that he is the person in his pics. Wondering if anyone has encountered a Daniel

I’ve met a man they my game chat.. His name is Harun my heart says it is real but my mind says maybe not.. He has never asked for money. I am going to meet him he sends pictures and texts all day.. even some of his family and such.. My question has anyone had it be real and not fake?

I have numerous contacts from men via Fitbit. They all have the same story, they are a widower, they have a child in boarding school in the US, they either work on an oil rig or for the UN in Yemen. They start off by saying they are lonely then within a couple of conversations on hangouts they are proclaiming their undying love for me. One even pretended his kids were emailing me. They start off by asking for an amazon, i tunes or steam card and when I refuse they get angry. One also pretended to be flying to China (no destination airport on the fake tickets) and another that he had been paid by shell into a UK account and wanted me to get the money. The clues are always in the poor English and the inconsistancies in their stories

I'm playing a word game. This guys picture has a celebrities face on his. Plus on Instagram I got another guy with a celebrities face . They want to talk on hangouts. The first one .I told him if I'm not asking for money I sure as heck ain't giving you money . But he still wants to talk ...Don't they have a quota? After 30 days you can't get what you want so you move on?

The 'United Nations Orthopedic Surgeon' scam is also active on Twitter. Name: Mayer Willson. In email: James (Roland) Mayer Willson (also spelled Wilson). Details: works in Iraq, daughter (12) and son (7) who stay in Turkey, widower: his wife died in a car crash in 2017. Asked for gift card after a few days in Hangouts. After I refused politely and asked for proof he first came back what proof I needed. He apparently didn't like my response. Received some bad language messages.

Have any of You dealt with a Dr. Todd Williams from San Diego now in Somalea for 16 Months.

He claims to be at sea on cargo ship, gets paid and end of contract. Claims name is Connor Miller, but admits using anglicized name. Claims dad from UAE, parents killed in plane crash, wife dead. Has 2 daughters and building home in Phoenix. Anyone heard these lines?

I’ve been talking to a guy from Hinge goes by the name of Robert Williams. Claims he is in Norway on a contract with Nextgentel, uses number +1 (412) 903-9291. His mother is Australian but died when he was 3 and his dad lived in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania where he was born. He claims he lived in Albania for 12 years. He has sent me photos and I have spoken to him in WhatsApp but he refuse to video chat. He is turning 40 in December. Has anyone else come across him?

Thank you, Queen. I found this page and your comment for a fact check on a fishy guy I matched on Hinge. Said his name was Micheal Lewis, born on 3/02/1974 at 7.04AM. Manchester born and bred to an Australian mom. 5G project developer. Couldn't do video chats because he was on a ship. The whole thing was simply odd and fishy. Thanks again for proving my intuition right.

Yes, I think I’ve met the same person. Same story, but was using the name John Taylor.

My friend got hook up by a guy by the name of Lewis Michael. He said that he is in Norway on a contract with Nextgentel. He was born 1974 from Manchester, UK. Just arrived in Canada. He said he is on a ship laying 5G optical ocean cable from Norway to Sweden. The fact is that these two countries are connected by land. He sent to my friend buisness invoice worth of over 13 million of pay but the sum of the money is not correct. He asked my friend helped him transferred money from his account to purchase equipment. His equipment broke again so he asked my friend to do the same thing but with of transfer of money from my friend's account ($6986 USD), which my friend refused. Beware of this guy

I got chatting to an American man who said he was on a rig in the North Sea. After a couple of months he said me a copy of a letter which stated he had been paid £2.8 million into an offshore account which was closed. He asked me to open an account with Citibank so that the money could be transferred to me. The cost of opening the account was costing in excess of £3k and, the same again to activate the account. I declined as it didn't sound genuine to me. He then asked me to help pay his sons rent which was over £4k. He said his son went to school in London and, he was unable to send it from offshore. Needless to say I didn't send money. He then made me feel guilty by saying that I'd rather see his 16yr old son evicted

Tinder scammer. Claim from Canada, lives in Texas , civil engineer. Age 54 , then wanted me wire transfer his funds from a work contract by email. I did not do. These guys do not FaceTime, escuse after excuse, make you feel bad if you catch them they turn it around on you. Girls stay away tinder Tom Gerald university of Oxford.

The man I have been speaking with contacted me on telegram. I have been searching for him on the internet also however, I could not find him. He is single, no children but works with Doctors without boarder. Have anyone had any verbal communication with him.

I'm sorry to hear, out loud, there are so many awful people out there. Preying on vulnerable women and men. I would like to see some of these photos and am curious if some of you are talking to the same person. I have some pics to share from someone who I think is trying to do the same to me. I want to stop him if that's the case. I will make it my mission to put a stop to these awful people.

Gabriel Leonardo Switzerland, 58 yrs old, teenage daughter, then said Lives in Germany orthopedic surgeon with UN NATO, stationed in Yemen saving lives. Asked for my email and to use WhatsApp. Wanted to know who I am and where I live, work, hobbies .... I was bored and typed back. I told him messenger only and waive. He said he must have email since he works hard. I said add messenger to his cell phone. He said no cell phone. If you
Ok into his frequent visit on his two photo Facebook, you can see Nigerian sites and the URL he is using is under a different name. Response time proves he was using a translation package and he would not give a phone number to call — afraid of a country code giving up his true location? Anyway, a Real scam artist. He tried to get access to my computer so we could FaceTime. Do not trust anyone you do not see as a real friend or a friend of a friend. Not a good enough scammer for me to not see through. I wasted at least two hours of his/her time on messenger while I watched The Healer on Netflix. He ran like lightning when I mentioned Washington DC and I work with data privacy and security enforcement. Never trust anyone until you know them for a year or more. Do not judge the book by its cover. Fortunately, he did not get more than messenger time out of me. Prayers to those that have been or will be scammed like this. Facebook prompted me his message might be a scam. Thank you to Facebook for the message. Made me question the individual very hard. No time to waste in the future on someone not blood with me. Stay safe

I meant someone by the name of Michael Adams on Instagram. The back-and-forth was going on since April until the first week of October. The biggest deal for me was he was a Christian man. He knew the Bible. His story was his mother fled South Africa and she died at childbirth. The man and woman that she lived with in Jacksonville adopted him. Then goes on to say he was married and found out that his wife was cheating on him and the child they had was not his and at the same time found out about his adoption and moved to Texas. So we continued our conversations/texts until the first week of October. Always asking me for money to be deposited in his bitcoin account. Like an idiot recovering from two strokes fell in love with him. Don’t even want to say how much money I lost with the deposits I made to his BitCoin account and what Uber was charging me. Calling me his baby girl, darling mi amor and how much he loved me and wanting his parents to meet me. Wanted To have a future together and settle down. We weren’t getting any younger and he was going to help me with my recovery. So after my last deposit and my paid flight to Jacksonville to meet him for the first time and his parents, I spoke with him in the morning, he said he was on the phone with the doctor? I tried calling several times, texting and nothing. So I canceled my trip because there was no one I was meeting at the airport. Game over. The most hurtful experience I ever had!

I wanted to report the romance scam to the site on Instagram, they do not have a option for that. I picked the closest thing, ddried! There is no way to report this to them!

I meet a man online, his name ia Carter Jameswil. He said he is pediatric, works in Yemen, from Sweden. He said only can use Hangouts on there ,can't used video call too. Once day, he said he need to top up steam gift. I asked him, don't you have free calling if you use hangouts, he said no we can't. Is he scammer?

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