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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:

 

Tagged with: imposter, online dating, scam

Comments

Your info was a big help

My brother has women scamming him all the time wanting $100 so they can come see him. They want it on an Amazon card. He is lonely and vulnerable so he sends it to them. Now he is in a financial mess. There has got to be some way to stop these predators.

They absolutely will. Really, they'll ask for anything they think the mark will go for. The worst of them (and, sadly, the most successful) will try to find the mark's "weakness." Music lover? iTunes gift card. Early tech adopter? They might try something like Bitcoin. That's part of the point of the grooming: to find the mark's soft spots.

I know a online dater thst i met online she says she in lagos Nigeria. I have been giving her money we talked on the phone for a small time in all i giving her gify card and wired money money gram disallowed ther service and wouldnt reveal the reason the pics are pretty but she doesnt sends them wxactly what i asked and usees her belief to be readon im sure im being scammed she wants money to come here i have dailed myself esteem ridiculously and hope i could awaken or wisen up from this foolish nonsensense .

I have been chatting with a very handsome man widower, son in boarding school in Canada, love letters that will melt your heart, all the right words, he needed money for UN vacation . All the right words, love and want to be with me.. He wants this now, telling me to get Amazon card or Apple card, he got mad because I didn't do what he said, I told him this relationship is ending and why in a long chat. He has a lovely voice. Yes, they know how to manipulate you.

is the phone number 1-289-278-2809

YES they do I have spent so much on those cards I can't tell you how much I just didn't think about it till I started reading about gift card scams

They ask for Amazon cards, then ask you to put money on it. Don't do it.

Thank you for this information.

yes they use Amazon ,I tunes Googleplay, and stream,

I think it's strange to meet people this way in the first place. People always met in person before the internet. And yet I know happily married people who met this way. I think the more scams that come up, the fewer people will meet this way.

I have been getting these adult sites every day. I put them in my spam. I know they're a fraud. At the end of each day I have as much as 53 in my spam. I tried to unsubscribe but that cause a worse problem. I have no idea how to ride these people. Some actually believe I have a Facebook account. Of which I don't.

Spdate is one that sends me over really nasty things. I hope someone coming help, but people all say they receive the same junk and just put them in spam....

Is there a way to block emails on your email server? If there is, you can set blocks on these things and they will be dumped into your email's trash setting automatically and you won't have to look at them again.

I’m happily married, and not on dating sites, but many online scammers use the same techniques. The unsubscribe button is one of the worst things to click. It often is just a tool that they use to verify that yours is an active email address. Clicking it tells them there’s a live person on the other end to harass, then they really focus their scamming efforts on you. They often have multiple email addresses or other websites that they then inundate your inbox from with hundreds of messages from sites you’ve never even visited and on it goes. I never hit unsubscribe anymore.

Always ask them to live cam so that you can see who your really talking with if they refuse they are fake plain and simple

Skype or similar video calls are not reliable means to verify identity either, with various filters, if someone slightly resembles a person, such as a celebrity, they could pass themselves off as said person. I have a relative, very vulnerable widow, who is being scammed by someone claiming to be Kenny Chesney. Hasn't asked for money, or so she says but she truly believes this is him.

Hi my sister is also being scammed by someone purporting to be Kenny Chesney. She has left her husband and 2 kids and was expecting to be picked up from our local airport this weekend. Guess what.. trouble with the plane. I have reported it to the police in the UK. As far as I know she hasn't parted with any cash.

There is one I’ve been chatting with said he was divorced with a daughter , said he was in the Army . The real one is in military , I knew what was going on , first military personal will not contact you to be a friend they have families friends and a lot of people in their lives . After a while he stared answering wrong or a lot of misspelling words , said he was out on patrol and dropped his phone and broke screen no money to get it fixed could I put a iTunes card in my account and then my acct. number so he could get his hands on what I don’t even have . I told him no so dropped that . Then just yesterday he wanted to reconnect , but his phone wasn’t working yet , ok how in the hell did he get in contact with me , I deleted everything and blocked him . I really feel bad for the real military person ID he used . And hope nothing bad happened to him when it wasn’t his fault . The thing that really bugs me the most I’ve meet some terrific men on Facebook and then some slime balls and some honest to goodness Military .

He sounds similar to one that used to talk to me

Sounds the same as mine... I've simply been keeping him occupied so that's a tiny bit less time he has for someone who may not k is the basics or think to google... Pretty standard script. Makes me mad too... How to let military know? How to let the person who's pics have been stolen know?

I used google image and found the military person picture in the photo. It was a long shot but the fake person put a picture of a real vet that has a legitimate place to help them play baseball. I PM him on his facebook account with the legitimate vet and he said that was him in the picture and his photos where stolen years ago in Iraq. He gets people talking to him at least 3-4 times a week about scams. He said people in the military do not need money sent to them ever.

This is especially the case with senior citizens, dating sites are breeding grounds for criminals. My mom got fleeced before she passed away and they had convinced her that her sons were out to control her (instead of help her); she had Dementia that was not diagnosed in time and they took her to the cleaners. Beware of these scams for senior citizens, if you catch them early you may be able to save your loved one.

I was hit hard two years ago. Tried sending to FTC, but nothing came of it. Also sent info tomZFBI, nothing there either. I feel this guy not only a scammer but involved as a money man for terrorists. Have photos, numerous emails. If anything’s involved in money laundering. I even called the FBI in Washington and was told they don’t have the staff to handle all the scam complaints. I am a retired lady and was hit very hard. I kept all phone numbers too. Just can’t get any help.

Read the signs and warnings in this article. Never, never, never send money to someone you cannot touch and see in person. Even then, heed all caution before giving money to anyone!

wish there was more protection for the elderly. these scams are as clear as day. i have no clue why anyone would even bother, but loneliness is loneliness and these scum bags fill a void. unfortunately it is very costly and many old people die broke falling for this nonsense. keep in touch with your loved ones and worse comes to worse destroy their laptops. get them outside or to social functions so they can meet actual people! online stuff is a big sespool.

Anyone talking to a US Army soldier in Libya who goes by the name Fredrick Kahn? Said he lost his parents at 12 and was raised by his uncle. He is on his second deployment but returning to the states in late February 2019. He sent his "box" as he calls it to me for safe keeping. It evidently contains his personal effects. When it arrived in the states on Monday this week, I received a call that it would be delivered by a local company and that I needed to pay $2,100 for it (state taxes). I refused, of course, and told Fredrick (via WhatsApp, but met on Hinge or Bumble). He acted shocked and upset and said it was all paid for. Then, he asked if I would secure his box (pay the taxes) and the money is in the box to pay me back. I refused and told him he was scamming. We've been talking for a month and he really romanced me...now he's gone silent after telling me that I upset him.

Great job, keep up the good work

Try reporting your case to your local police department. I am in the process of doing just that (phone report only at this point). So far, the county police have been helpful and are taking the matter very seriously. My next step is to file a written report (not yet accomplished).

Christmas Eve for scammers. Not sure what to say. These articles / stories are weekly and people won't wake up. Dating sights are a big sespool for scammers. And if you are a lonely senior on a pension prepared to get love from every corner of the world. Itunes gift cards, bitcoin, money transfers. People should know better, but as long as the money is flowing overseas the scammers won't stop. Please try to stay connected to your loved ones young and old and don't let them fall for this foolishness.

My friend got involved with an on-liner at a senior website. He was in another town, in the antique business, had to travel a lot. He supposedly went to Kenya and got in a car accident. Was put in a coma for medical reasons but could not have surgery until $15,000 was sent to the doctor because he came from the U.S. and had no medical coverage in Kenya. Of course his wallet had been lost in the accident. So the doctor contacts my friend then the son and both need her to send the money. She does it because she doesn't want anyone to be suffering without someone to help them. Then a month later he is better and on his way to Dubai on a ticket she bought him to come back to the U.S. and he gets arrested for illegally transporting Ivory that supposedly he had no idea it was illegal to do and yet he is an antique dealer? I can't dissuade her from continuing this web relationship because he is her boyfriend and he wants her to marry him. If this sounds familiar please try to help anyone you know, to not get involved in a mess like this.

These scammers can also get to you by joining closed groups on Facebook or forum discussions.

I had a guy saying he was a widower and has a daughter. He said his company headquarters is UNAMA military. He made me fall in love with him too. I read this articles and he got me good as well. I would get emails saying that money will be refunded once officer gets in to State but guess what......he never gets to state. I won't EVER fall for this again. Then people sell ur info in the black market and call you saying they with the FTC and wanting you to send more money for whatever reason they say .DONT FALL FOR IT ! Cut your losses and move on !!!

Please could someone advise, I think a family member is being scammed. although as yet he hasn't asked for money.
He calls himself David Larry anf is an engineer in the US Army, he is all sweet talk with her and after a week asked her to marry him!
I told her she is insane but she is not listening. she showed me is pictures and he has on a military uniform and its a full lenth shot of quite a handsome man aged 48. he says he's a widow with one son stephen who is 14. he lost his wife in the 2011 Japan earthquake.
what I don't get is he sent her a video clip and she said it was him but he couldn't talk to her it's not permitted he said.
I have tried googling his picture in the scam pictures but can't see him online, oh I almost forgot she said he contacted her initially on twitter then he moved her on to hangouts. never even heard of hangouts. how on earth do I convince her? she says they are madly in love and are getting married and buy a house together.

Army site has various articles on scams. .mil Honestly, I'm thinking the scammers share a standard script.

Hi I met the same man he cam to me on Twitter too and asked me to marry him after a week, he then asked me to receive a package from a company calling themselves activeoceansfreight. They contacted me and asked me to pay £2,000.00 to which I told David I haven't got that kind of money, the company then said because I'm disabled it's only £1,000.00 I told them £100.00 per month I also got a couple of video calles from their person David.t.larry, but couldn't see his face fully, when I did actually see it, he had his uniform on and was in an office so I believed him, he then told me about his son who is in boarding school in Egypt?? Needing a mother's guidance I talked to someone calling himself Stephen brown not Stephen Larry which confused me, he asked me as it was his birthday for a phone iphonex a d man United tshirt, I told his father he said well I'm sure you can manage to do this one little thing for his happiness, all this was going on for a while then a family man hot his picture on scamners blog n the photos he sent me were on scammers blog , I didn't know what to do, in all I paid £850.00 of which I'll never get back, he sent me flowers recently as he said he was planning our wedding, I was stunned by all this, planning our wedding without me, and then when I got a tracking number for this so called package all I could see was my name and address on a piece of paper no package, all this has since been reported to the police n sent off to the FBI n CID. It's still under investigation. Dont let her carry on with this man as hes fake. Like everything he promises are fake.

My friend and another friend have both been romanced by David Larry, in US Army with a child. He is a typical scammer and will stop at nothing to win over the one he is swindling out of money. Its so disheartening how this POS keeps getting away with it.

I’ve been in a romance scam for almost 4 months. Oct 2018 - January 2019. I really do not to get in details. Please if you cannot Skype or see the person physically you are being scam.. It’s as simply as that... Do not believe a person that says that they love you and wants to marry you without meeting... Please Listen to your family... You’re setting yourself up for more pain.. block him or her... This is what they do for a living.. Go out meet people in person...

I had an online conversation with a guy who pretended to be a US Army guy so it was just an innocent conversation but then he started asking me personal questions like what do I look for in a man, etc, and I told him I had only continued with light conversation. Then he sends all this why do you hurt my feelings etc, etc, etc, blah blah blah. I took a closer look at his photo and the hat looked like it was photoshopped, plus major prison tats. It was stupid and I blocked him. I think women et hooked in because after you pour your heart you are pissed off that it's a scam so they pursue it to make a point. Nobody likes to be "had". Cut your losses and join a book club or something.

I was on Zoosk a dating site where i met a guy who said he was from Tasmania and about to go to Kula Lumpur to work ..i believed him ..
He then said his wallet was stolen and then i told him contact the Australian Embassy and his bank ..
He said his bank blocked him..and he had no money to pay for hotel ..
He then helped me sell my carravan then before i knew it all the money i had been given for my caravan he had now
He opened up paPayPal accounts in my mame ..and used my name to open other accounts ..
I did ask for his passport he did show me it looked real ..it wasnt
He also made lots of excuses about his web camera too ..now he said he needed solicitor ..thats where the rest of my $170000 went he had other womens cards where i deposited the money ..i really thought he was legit ..sadly he was a fraud ..i have reported him
I hope they catch him ..

Who did you report complaint to? I need to file a report. Thanks for information.

Scammer/Frauds name
Kyle Gerain
Beware ...

Tell why this men that everyone is stupid. A guy name aaron scott work for world health organization. He said his wife die and his two kids live with a nanny. Both parents were dead .and had a brother. While i was texting him i was also was doing my on investigation. Becuase about couple months ago this gorgeous man started the same thing. Yes it is a pattern. Well the guy i talked to name Aaron Scott , was looking for love i played along becuase i know that he was fixing to drop the i need money to get my phone fixed. Make a long story short . He to go to China for work but he only took 130 dollars with him. Them he wanted money to eat on. Send me 50 dollars i said becuase i have no money it got down to 20.dollar. . The whole time mine asking him to send me a picture the picture he sent was a guy in a suit. I got to looking at that picture and he must have not notice but that in the picture had handcuffs on. Well you know how it ended .He was a catfish that didn't get his bait.

A guy naming himself Kyle Gerain befriended me on a dating site Zoosk.,We chatted for a week or so , exchanged emails except I did not give him my real one, I made a new fake one just in case. Starts off nice & charming , sends me lovely pics of a very trendy dressed older guy with a cute puppy etc. I sent pics of me & unfortunately some of my life story but not my full name
Looks really well off. I explain I do not want any thing else but friendship. After a few emails & it felt like I was talking to 2 different people who both wrote in different styles. One with really well spoken grammar, the other with an uneducated accent style.Last email was really heavy with a virtual proposal & an Ed Sherrien song attached about getting married. I suddenly realised he was not the person I thought . But a scammer using someone else's photos. Beware of Kyle Gerain as is an imposter / scammer.

I also have had the same thing happen to me. I started chatting to a man named Kyle Gerain on Zoosk and then via email, claims to be widowed with one daughter living in California. He says he loves you very early into the chats as he has learn't so much about you through the messages and yet we had not even met at this stage. Sends a few pictures, well dressed good looking very trendy man in his 60's with a dog and he has quite a strong accent. Also sends a love song every day to you. Be wary of this man.

Hello Smart girl mee, I'm communicating at the moment with a Kyle Gerain from Zoosk who says he's from Jamaica but has lived in the States where his wife died of a heart attack. He's been living in Bondi Australia for some years since then and is currently working on a construction project in Kuala Lumpur. Same pics of a trendy older man with a cute puppy. His emails are filled with romance and I've asked him to write to me as a friend only. He's meant to return to Australia at the end of the month. Would you mind telling me what happened to make you believe he's a scammer using someone else's photos? Thank you in advance.

This lady keep on wanted money her e.mail is constance been

Watch out for a scammer named Solomon Wood or Harmon Wood who is on an oil rig out in the Atlantic ocean or Pacific ocean hes from Houston Texas [maybe] I don't think this is true butr he scammed me for over 2,000.00 along with max my credit cards

Hi this sounds like exact thing my mom is going through said he worked on oil rig widowed with 2 girls n all kinds of crap but said his name was Greg Anderson do u have any pics of ur guy????

This sounds a bit like the person who ‘friended’ me and went by the name Davidson Walters - I think. He said he was 56 years old, widowed and had a 15 year old daughter. He said he had a really big business contract to fix some oil riggings off the coast of Norway. He first wanted me to send him $500 to help get his child school supplies, as he did not leave enough money when he left. I told him I didn’t have money to send. A few weeks later he started begging me to send him money so he could buy the new part he needed to fix the rig he was working on. He kept saying he would pay me back as soon as he got back to the States. I never sent him money and stopped communicating with him. He has probably targeted someone else by now.

This sounds like a guy who was trying to scam me. The name he used was Allen Braisted. Claimed he was a millionaire and wanted to take care of me when he finished his job. First his daughter turned 16 and needed money for her birthday. I didn’t send it and he got mad. Very mad. Then came back after a week because a piece of equipment need to be replaced for 3,900 £ He sent me info on someone bank account and bank card. I still have this info if someone can relate I’ll happily share what I have. Guess he moved on because I haven’t heard back since I refused to send him money!!Also have photos and a fake award from Shell.

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