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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 anyone been scammed by a US Army Captain Surgeon on a Peace Corp stationed in Yemen, from Houston, Texas’s. Claims to have no one in the world to call his family, according to him he has been in Yemen 5 years he goes by Zick R. Magrado... please let me know ASAP thanks

I created a TikTok account for fun, this person Kelvin Oscar added me and started to send me messages, saying he is an Orthopedic working in Syria and that he is a widow and his parents died, we messaged a lot, he called me on video chat a couple of times, every time I looked pre-recorded as he moved and talked too fast, then said that he is working in Syria at the military hospital and that his accounts are frozen and that because of the pandemic that he needs to pay the company to move his valuables out of there, he asked if they can send it here, I always refused, finally I said okay at the post office and I'll pick up there, now theres a a fee of $1,200 for delivery, which he claims he can't pay, so I looked him up on TiTok and he also had another account under Kelvinoscar 20 and oscar_red52, so he was so persistant with the money and so I did the reverse image search and found the real person who is not from Canada but from Brazil! and all the pictures and videos this scammer sent are all from that page under a different name, also briefly looked on google and came across this site where apparently he has done this before!

Hi I meet a guy in Facebook and he ask me to talk by hangouts, it been more that 3 weeks and I had been texting with his daughter, he says is a civil ingineer in Houston texas his says his name is Harrison George, and now asked for money for a projects, had any of you heart about this before, please let me know

On match.com, I met someone who says that he is a pharmaceutical scientist for USAID. Says he went to Stanford and then UNC chapel Hill. He is from Jamaica. He lost his wife 6 years ago to cancer. I cannot find any digital footprint on him and the driver's license that he even screen grabbed and sent to me I suspect is a fake I found the same numbers on other license. He's going under the name Paul Davidson and says he's from Blacksburg Virginia that he came over to the United States at 16. Here's the tricky part We are in the same profession, I'm sure that I'm really am what I say I am, but he has not asked me for any money or set up any scenario where he would need money as a matter of fact he's told me that he would take care of me. He's already said that he loves me and it's been about two and a half months and I started pointing out some differences like the address on the license does not have his name on it and there's just so many little discrepancies that make me wonder. He did ask me what I knew about Bitcoin but that was the end of that. It's so strange because something seems so believable and now I'm kind of questioning my own sanity that is a scam artist or is he not some of the things he said and done I just can't believe someone would be so cruel. His mom has gotten sick on ce and I help support him emotionally through that. The thing that is very suspicious to me is that he uses Google voice for his phone and so the connection is always janky also he claims that he cannot download Google Duo or WhatsApp so that we can video chat. We'd have chatted over Skype and it's him but there's I was an issue with Skype freezing and so it's more trouble than it's worth. He's a handsome guy he even showed me a picture of his deceased wife who he referred to as his ex-wife for a long time even when the dating profile he checked the never been married box when there is indeed a widower box. I asked for proof thinking he would screen grab an obituary and he sent me a link to forever missed which had a write-up with a lot of grammatical errors in it about this woman who was his wife Jennifer and one part of it had her name spelled with one N, But later in the paragraph it was two Ns. something tell me to revisit it and I went to the beginning of the site and I saw that the site was actually set up a few days ago which was right after I asked him for proof so he's gotten angry and said maybe he's just not for me because he's tired of me doubting him and that whole thing and it really got to me because I found myself falling for this guy. So now don't know if he's gaslighting me or if I'm just crazy. does anyone know anything about this situation or has anyone had this encounter? Please help

Words with Friends - played it for years with my girlfriends then one day I was inundated with requests from men who I didn't know. I was lonely and overwhelmed and love- starved and had no idea that there were people out there who could destroy me financially while I was playing scrabble. I bought the lies hook line and sinker. Ladies look out for Scott John and Michael Roland - the names they use but not their real names. I still believe sometimes they are real. They are not real! They are thieves. They don't love anyone. They are pirates! I almost lost my home. The turning point for me was receiving a threat on my life and my son's life. Today I found emails from both of them. I have changed my phone number many times. I block them and they come back. They don't love - they try to kill our spirits and take our money. I am a disabled veteran with a disabled husband and disabled son. They don't care. And if you read something that sounds like love copy and paste it into Google and you'll see that it came from somewhere else. They didn't write it. They don't work on oil rigs or they don't live where they tell us. They don't have children who need surgery or big machines that broke down.
That's all I can offer. Except I am going to spend the next 4 years of my life paying back all the money I borrowed to send to them. Listen to the people at the FTC. I wish I had.

My mother in-law is being scammed by a Bryan Williams. Says he is a contractor for Exxon working on an oil rig in Aruba where it’s always cold and windy, one of many red flags. There was a Bryan williams wo was a big wig at Exxon in 2003 and went to prison for embezzlement and tax evasion. He always asks for amazon gift cards. She has sent him 30 at 100 bucks each. He tells her he needs 10k to get a “box” out of Mexican customs that contains close to a million dollars and retirement papers. Once he retires he plans they will live together and see the world. She has wrapped large amount of cash in bubble wrap and sent it to this “company, Provisions Security Company” a mexican customs Company”. She has sent 2 payments of 3000.00 cash, wrapped in bubble wrap, one by fed ex, once by regular mail, each to a different address here in the states, Florida and Texas. I have told my mother in law about these scams and she’s in love so she thinks I’m lying. Now she wants to sell her house and put all her money with his. I texted this person myself pretending to be a widowed 62 year old woman. Within 20 minutes I had him wanting to send him money. He wanted an amazon card to start. I said sure, send me 100.00 and I’ll send a card. He got very irritated. Said he didn’t want to talk to me, I wasn’t open minded enough for him. I show her my evidence and she still won’t believe us. Says we aren’t letting her live her life. When she looses everything to this moron I won’t feel responsible and sure won’t be moving her into my home.

Does anyone recognize this guy? He is an ‘engineer’ working in Turkey and he put all his money into this big job and one of his expensive machines broke down and his job is stalled until he can get it repaired and he needs $13 ,000 or so.
He has already gotten $1,500 In gift cards from my sister and she thinks he’s going to send twice that back to her.

Oh, and he loves her and can’t wait til he can fly here and marry her.

She still believes he’s real and I need to convince her it’s a scam

Yes sounds very very like the one that contacted me

Dr Greg Martins... scrabble! American Orthopaedic surgeon in the Yemen, widowed and two daughters being looked after by nuns in Germany!! Spelt the state he was from in the US wrong which aroused my suspicion immediately. Insisting I use hangout which I don’t and suddenly loves me and not even seen a picture... almost fun to provoke. Beware ladies I have heard horror stories about people parting with money... why would you really?

It started june 2 ND. Plenty of Fish. Usual army stories. Pictures were great. Said his wife and child died in an accident.
OH he charmed me. What he texted about seemed so real. Spoke numerous times daily. Once texted for 6 hrs. I fell deep into this really deep everyone said be careful. Received one selfie no calls. Security. reasons.
Yesterday was the question. I hate asking but I'm running out of data. Please can you send $100. I refused. He was OK said he was sorry. Said he couldn't wait till the 5th he'd be home from Jordan. But I started with what I saw online.
Yes he got angry. Said he'd call in 2 hours. The first phone call. He did. I listened nothing bad. But he had the accent. I asked he said he was in the Army 30 yrs. In France for 8. I'm sorry I didn't tell you.
Well, it went south. Said he was going to block me because I went too far. We were on Whatsapp. That was yesterday
the 19. I'm devastated. I knew but never wanted to believe.
We would talk about when he got off the plane how would we react.. He was so sincere. Have I eaten, how's Charlie today, did you sleep well, and conversation was amazing. 3-4 times a day.
So here I am and I don't know what to do. I'm waiting but I know he's not real.
Today Siri chimed in said he had a new number.
Stupid lonely me.

I have been talking and have video chat with a guy that claims he is Rubi Puckett from Washington DC working on a ship in the Mediterranean Sea. Since he has left the ship he is not wanting to fly on a commercial plane. Has had money wired to my bank account and I Zelle the funds to a TAM. He has a son named Dennis who is in a boarding school in Atlanta GA. My bank has frozen my account now. I paid to look up his pictures on catfish and found several this morning. I had looked up his picture before and nothing came back. Yes I was scammed and now I am in a financial bind. I am posting this so if anyone else see this post that they know that they are being scammed by this man. There was over 18,000 wired into my account from other ladies.

I met guy on pofish, says he's civil servant, age 56,7, lost his wife in car car crash, then he wanted to go on Skype, l asked him to go whatapp, its better. Ut no we, started chatting on, Skype. We chatted, about normal things, he's says in Lebanon miltuary army, an that he's major, be home end of June. Got boy of 11 John in boarding school. Not bad looking, serval pic, so l started to chat, he asked me alot about myself, what colours l liked, food, what car did l have, etc. This was only two wks, at the most, sent me lovely texts, because all we done, wanted gift cards from Amaxon, l got those, he want to send photos of them, which l did. Gave me E, mail address, later in time he asked for money, his son needed for boarding school care taker, that where my money will go to him. For John. So l went on war remissions, got all details from this guy, sent it. No one would furge a E, Mail, can they. I went on Skype to see if his retured a message, but found he's blocked me on it. I don't no what do next. Its says on Skype that lm blocked through organisation, would that be the Army, an that he's coming home. Got photos if need to see them. Thanks for your time. I don't want my bane meanaged. Plse.

I have been speaking with a Dr in Iraq,he is apperantly from Quebec. Has a son Alex I'm boording school. Asked for Google card,then money for the fee for his flight. Handsome man,sent pics of him. His name is Brandon.

I've been talking to a guy in the military. He's NEVER asked me for anything. But he promises to take leave and come see me. He says he's a pilot. He has sent me several pictures supposedly of himself. Very nice looking man. Says his name is John Dave. Has anyone else come across him?

A man started chatting to me after starting a game on words It started as "hi" then he was telling me he was widowed with a 10 year old grandson to take care of and that he worked as a driller for an oil company. Then he added me on Facebook. He said he was going on an 8 week contract to the Persian gulf and while there a machine leaked causing an explosion and he need thousands of dollars to repair it. He said he'd managed to get most if it but was $3,000 short and could I send him some money and he'd pay me back once his loan came through. He was very persistent and alarm bells started ringing so I approached him with my fears and he said he was insulted that I doubted him but then I googled people who work on oil rigs and this site came up. I had no intention of sending him money but there are people that will get sucked in and it's really scary to think there are scammers out there on a simple thing like a word game.
Please be careful and stay safe!

l found out who was scamming me by doing a reverse photo lookup. Ladies this guy is good he lives in states works for navy and using many names and pics some are current he says he 36 mother divorced 1 boy 12 from TX stuck in Ukraine liar. He will sweet talk u sweetie, honey,baby, heartbeat, be there for u. Once he gets u he will make excuses why he needs money he isn't poor.uses all kinds names on lindkien. States he dr navy un. He is 29 lives in California he not going to get away with this there may be other people involved. Don't us any personal information, bitcoin,money gram, gift cards nothing he will try every thing to hook u. He very cute but a idiot who going to be in trouble soon. Please don't fall for anyone who Contacts u Instagram, whats app,no chats. He trying to keep private then deletes Instagram starts another. Main one uses Mike Donalds in army he is in navy and just bought a house with money he has scammed. BE AWARE Nobody died,he far from starving.

As I was pretty suspicious about 2 guys who insisted on following me on instagram, who couldn't reply properly to the questions I asked them, I looked them up: Williams Leonardo and Mason Logan: and here I found them, among your amazing comments: thank you so much, and beware women all over!

Met a guy on the dating site. Very handsome and we liked the same things. After a week of texting online, we started texting on the phone. He told me he had a Gulfstream Jet and he was a pilot. He was wealthy and wanted to travel the world. That was more then I saw in his profile and we continued to talk. He was trying to sell his business and had to go to Japan to complete everything. After a week there. he contacted me daily, he said funds from the states were being transferred to him to an offshore account and needed a contact in the states to work with the bank. He gave my name. I received a text from the District Courts and Bank in the states that a large sum of money was being send to his account and they needed to put my name on it to transfer the money. They even sent me an acc't # and password to get into the bank to follow the transfer. Then I get a message that before the funds would be released for use, there were court cost to be paid. So at the urgent need for the money, I was convinced to send a check to the Clerk of Courts in Indiana. Stupid..I did. This was $5000. Then I get another message that the insurance had to be paid on the $1.5 million that was $48000. Well that's where it stopped. I blocked all accounts and have reported them to the FBI, local police, my bank. You never know. I watched youtube on romance scams and it is bad. Check it out.

He's on Instagram under the name of andrewsteve08. He's 46 with a 13 year old son named Jeffrey. He's a doctor working in Yemen Nato Military. From Los Angeles California. Wants you to continue the conversations on hangout. Wont answer any calls. Basically emotionally blackmails you so you feel sorry for him. Calls you dear, babe, honey and queen. Pretends you are married to him and wants you to tell him all your personal details. Wants to be a family with your kids even though you already have a husband. Wants to travel the world with you. Says he's a very jealous person. Wants you to fly to America to live with him and his son because he is lonely. And his first wife and 2 daughters died in a explosion. Talks about how stressed out he is seeing all these patients and he's so tired. Says he misses you and can't stop thinking about you.

His son is in boarding school back in the states with a maid looking after him.

Wants you to promise him you trust him. But he wants you to love him, be honest and loyal. Only interested in people with personality not looks.

Always asked if you have eaten. And says its because he cares about you.

Hi, this sounds really familiar. Did he say he’s a doctor?

Mine always asks if I've eaten

Ugh! Yes! Must be a script.

Says he lost a patient and is really upset.

Mine is Italian, he is in Germany as an Army doctor and he left his contract to go home, but they did not let him travel with his dog and then he had to put a lawyer because they do not let him give up his contract, first he told me $ 4000
to travel his dog and now it's $ 40,000 that he wants to transfer to my bank account to pay his lawyer! He is an attractive Ulisses and divine tattoos, I
He sent photos of his childhood, and of his daughter, and of his passport, he has a beautiful dog and in short nothing matches anywhere, is he a ghost in the U.S.A. and has been living here for 20 years??

He is a catfish impersonating Doctor Bradley. He says he loves pop and hip hop. Loves the song unbreakable from westlife.

And loves reading novel.

Says he has plans and wants to own a hospital. Says his birthday is Dec 11.

Says he's on leave from Yemen in Dec to April and is going back to the states. And its just him and his son.

Had a friend's request from Facebook from a "doctor" supposedly from New Zealand with a son. This "doctor" is on a contract with the Yemeni military. His "contract" is done in April, 2021. The son is supposedly living in New Zealand with his nephew.

He says he plays soccer and golf.

Says he drinks scotch, sings and plays the guitar.

I have a friend who has been talking to a guy who supposedly in Ohio for several months now. He says he is a construction engineer and works overseas quite frequently. Recently he had a cell phone sent to her and asked her to send it to a coworker friend in Nigeria. He had her set up a PayPal account and deposited money into it to cover the shipping cost and a little extra for her trouble. But I am worried that this is a scam. The When she first started talking to him, I suspected he was not who he said he was. She was upset that I questioned his intentions and pretty much told me to mind my own business. But I have this sick feeling he's going to try to take her for her money and she doesn't have much money.

Please try and get through to your friend.
This is definitely a scam!! Believe me I know, someone tried to get money from me but alarm bells were ringing very loudly.....they have a way of making you feel your so special but they only want money!!

Has anyone been in contact with a supposed Jewish man named Roy Alon Hunt who claims he is a diamond setter from Miami but working in China and Ghana buying diamonds and gold. Has a daughter that lives in the UK by the name of Millicent. He is always asking for money to complete his so called jobs and has no one else to ask. He can’t access his accounts in Miami because he forgot his account numbers and has to be there in person to get his money. For one year he has been begging for money.

Has anyone talked to a, Steven Sims? Says he lives in North Carolina. Had to go to Oman, Asia for a engineer job.

I think I might be getting scammed? His name is Jason, originally from Poland but works as petroleum engineer off coast of Alabama, wife killed 5 years ago, son died in car accident, he’s really smooth sending love songs and poems- Hasn’t asked for money yet though, sound familiar to anyone?

Used the name James but same story line. It’s a scam. They will be patient and play the long game just to hook you. Block him.

Same situation here. Orthopedic surgeon working with MSF/DWB. He’s also widowed and lives in California. Checked everywhere and he is not practicing anywhere. He apparently has a 15yr old daughter in boarding school. Started chatting on Twitter. He’s just asked for a favor. I’m shutting it all down right now. Scam artists.

I have caught out two guys Recently one on tic toc and one on LinkedIn hilarious when you know the pattern - one tried the gift card idea - the other one well he was deleted and reported by me in 30 minutes honestly seeing more of the Doctors thing than the Defence widower these days lol they didn’t get a cent out of me Stay alert to them when they provide a CV with a sad story attached ‘oh lost my wife from breast cancer’ or ‘oh my best friend killed my wife‘ - I so laugh that they think they can get away with these stories it’s all fiction to draw you in

Have any of you dealt with a guy calling himself Williams Lucas or Peter Paul, supposedly an orthopedic surgeon on a 5-year contract serving with the UN in Cairo, Egypt, wife killed 4 years ago in a car crash, he was orphaned when he was a kid, he was raised in Madrid, Spain, he has a 15-year old daughter named Clara who is currently studying in England? I ask questions but he's very stingy with answers. I asked him to talk about his work, and all he said was orthopedics is bones and joints. (no kidding!) He has sent pictures, one of them he said was taken of him yesterday on his way to work -- BUT there were deciduous trees in the background, it looked pretty lush for Cairo, Egypt. I was chatting away with him and then caught myself -- he wants me to go to Madrid with him when he finishes his UN contract in 8 months. Yea, right -- go to another country with a stranger? I never expressed any concern to him about the finances for the trip; but he quickly says, "I know your concern but don't worry because I will make all the arrangements and will pay all the expenses. All you need to bring is your international passport." (aren't ALL passports international???). We've been chatting for one week, and already he loves me, and dodges some of my questions, so I thought things started smelling fishy and gave myself a reality check and found all of these posts here. A lot of these other stories are sounding AWFULLY familiar! So I was right to be suspicious of this guy. He just texted me again, in Hangouts, so I'll string him along a while to see how long it takes him to start asking for more from me. His gmail address is: williamslucas570. Sound familiar to anyone? Thanks to everyone who posted their experiences here -- it's very helpful.

Hi I'm in England and has a few men contact me using Instagram claiming to be doctors
One of them said he grew up in Germany and graduated from school and then was a doctor in US
But said he only some a few words of German, I have family in Germany including a sister in law who teaches modern languages and I knew he was lying
Even when I told him using specific information about the German school system he persisted with his lies
I told him he was a liar and blocked him

The guy that I'm talking to says that he is an engineer and his job is deep-sea oil drilling. He says he has a daughter (12) , widowed and a elderly sick father. He is very handsome with silver/dark hair. He says that he is an American but he has an accent since he was raised in Thai & France.

Has anyone been scammed by Derek Maxwell or Daniel Maxwell I think he uses both names or Byron Markus. I haven’t given them money but they are asking and trying the guilt tactic. Derek/Daniel supposedly has to sons one boarding school in Australia. Byron supposedly has a son who is in Texas attending school.

Anyone come across a US soldier divorced with 12 year old daughter Sophia who is on deployment in Afghanistan....goes by name Jack Hopper Robinson?? I really really want to believe it’s for real as we’ve been messaging over 2 months now....he hadn’t asked me for money. He’s declaring undying love & is adamant t he will fly over to the U.K. to visit me as soon as he gets back...apparently in next 6 wks or so

This guy on Words messaged me...small talk. Conversation is great. Widowed, wife died during childbirth. Has 3yr old daughter. Claims to live in Anaheim, CA but born in Switzerland. Said he came to U.S. at age 17. Freelance Telecommunications Engineer. Has sent me pictures, which I've reversed searched on Google but nothing comes up. We messaged on Words for over a week and exchanged #s thereafter. Asked me about Hangouts once but I refused to download app. He didn't insist and has been texting me everyday. He's pretty consistent...I still think he's a scammer! Anyone heard a similar story??

Most these scams or on Whatsapp and live in Cyprus. All the stories I have read are just like I was seeing from a guy in Cyprus. I got on and blocked him and reported him.

Anyone meet a Jeffery Brown from Federal Way, WA? Architect with an adopted son, biological son and daughter. Huge contract in Dubai recently. Wife died in car crash 4 years ago. Says he is a believer.

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