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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

I was attempted to get scammed by guy met on wwf. He was supposedly from Canada but had a business started by his dad in Greece and a son in boarding school in Minnesota. He wanted 800 because mom ill in Canada and needed a procedure. I told him no healthcare system would deny care for a dying person. I did not give him the money. His fake name was Paul Hamilton.

Met a guy online, multi photos and Skype match. Thoughts?

I am pretty sure I am being scammed by a second guy that started chatting with me on WWF. Wouldn’t give money to first guy and then I Day later of blocking first one new guy talks to me. Get a vibe he may be same guy maybe trying to get back at me. Both live in same place Canada, both are Catholic, divorced with one son in boarding school in US. Both had birthdays same month and is also my birthday month. I only gave second one 40.00 iTunes card but now wants 310 for new suit to visit me. He has tried wear me down but I refuse to send money to him.

They use Hangouts, Telegram and Whatsapp because they are encrypted and are harder to trace. Which makes it harder to find and prosecute them by law enforcement. They move off of Dating apps and Instagram and other such sites as quickly as possible and delete the profiles so that you cannot report them. Which would result in the number and email they used from being flagged and potentially blocked by legitimate sites. Thus ensuring they can continue to set up new accounts with different names over and over using same contact info.

They also tend to use Voip phone numbers that are legit US phone numbers so you believe their stories that they are American, Living in America ect. You can set up Voip numbers from any internet connection in the world, and request the home number from anywhere you want without ever even actually living there.

They request gift cards again because they are untraceable. They ask for your personal account information so they can steal all the personal data, photos ect to use you to scam other people. They are also doing this with the photos they ask you to send them.

They ask for your credit card, bank account , or paypal , or set up an account for them to use under the guise that they intend to send you money either to help you or to hold for them so they can steal your actual money and potentially your financial identity. They can also use this to launder money , which can end up with you serving real time. And owing taxes on money you never had.
I use Tineye to search for their photos. I have found several of them this way.

I am polite to anyone who does this. I decline all request with legitimate excuses. I continue to converse with them to see exactly how far they will go. And i screenshot everything. Pics, phone numbers, email addresses, different platforms they use, and the conversation. I screenshot everything from the beginning so it is not lost when they delete profiles. All so that i can report them as much as possible on all the scam sites and law enforcement.

I am even considering setting up a male profile to screen dating sites to make sure the scammers are not stealing my photos from the app, messages , or my legitimate social media to scam unsuspecting men. And so I can report and shut them down ,if my pics show up on any dating sites or apps.

I hope this helps someone out there. I promise to do my best to shut them down and i hope all of you out there do too.

I used Tineye yesterday and his pic came up 2 different times in 2017 and 2018 on 2 different sites but it was supposedly new suit he purchased in September 2019 and photo taken then after purchase. Busted I would say.

Recently mother was scammed and she deposited over 10k in bank account for scammer. First BOA branch would not accept . Scammer told her to go to another branch. The other BOA branch accepted but we found out they are holding the money. We were told that since it was a scam to file police report and they Seoul’s return the money since it was on hold. Police report was file as well as complaint with FTC. Now BOA says they will not release funds unless police calls. Police says they won’t call. We want to make sure that money does not get released and then BOA says it’s gone.

my mom has been Romance scammed for over a year by this guy, I have advised her that she is being scammed, but to no avail, she says I don't know what I am talking about. But I have convinced her finally to say that she would work with him in the scam, and now he has given her all his REAL info, what should I do...

I wish we could compare photos. My scammer is an orthopedic surgeon in Aleppo, Syria. He needs $65,000 to pay his demurrage fee so the UN will terminate his contract so he can come home here and marry me. He is working with a security company called Less-Way, out of Ghana, Africa. He needed itunes cards, cash, ( all sent to various businesses) verizon phones...yea, I wish we could compare photos.

I also have friend (orthopedic surgeon in Aleppo Syria—- suspected scamming with Lessway Security and Delivery Co.. Ghana,Africa.. Nothing works to be able to terminate Contract... was going to Ghana cancelled several flights. Ugh

I received a fb friend request. I knew write away he was a scam. He then messenger called me confessing to scamming women and hating himself. He spoke of the corrupt gov and few jobs. he didnt want any money. Share how they scam and hack acts and many love doing this but he cannot anymore. He regrets everything but doesn't know what to do to survive. he talked about human trafficking and cocaine trafficking. very sad but to share so much and wanting help to stop. But I am not marrying someone to help them.

My sister has contact with a Lampard Scott or Scoth born in Germany now lives in Ohio as a contract jeweler. He contacted her through facebook. He says his wife also died recently.He is now on an oil rig off of Mexico he says. He calls her every morning and she calls him every evening. This has been going for about 4 months just after her husband died. He is supposedly going to come for a visit. I'm worried about my sister.

I understand why you are worried. If I had a dime for every oil rig worker who had contacted me, I'd be filthy rich.

My aunt was in contact with this person a year ago as well. He played with her emotions. She was lost without her husband and all he wanted was to gain her trust. We wanted to believe it was real but nothing made sense until it was too late. He got her to send him money “to get him a flight” over several transactions. Then before she knew it her account was drained. Unfortunately for her the bank couldn’t do anything they could do. There was no real trace of him. Please be careful.

Absolutely true! This is on going . I know the script very well. Just do not give information that they can use and never send money. Instagram I delete all request they are all fake profiles.

Anita MacAlister has received 620 in 8 days from. my ex he won't listen thinking it's true love only talks on hang outs she's 20 hrs away from us in Texas I look her name up and don't find nada she dont have no accounts but hang outs and I believe that's because it's set you can't track ppl

My guy was William Anderson. Very handsome by picture. Used a well known international company but name was slightly different. Traveled a lot. Kept getting sent to foreign countries. Wife died. Had strong French Nigerian accent and hard to understand at times. Never talked long. Sent iTunes card. Almost scammed me for thousands of dollars. Beware of men with strong nigerian or French accents and are out of country a lot. I also met 2 other men who sounded similar and in similar situations. I ended it right away. I reported to FTC and FBI group since it involved outside of country. These are large groups of people who devote themselves to this line of work. Beware!!

Does anyone know of Robert or Scott Kokholm. From Denmark. He has 1.2 million in a off shore bank. He has given me his password and wants me to help him out and transfer 250k to his attorney in England. I’m not doing it nor would I sign papers to put my name on his account. I’m sure this isn’t good. I just wonder if this is a form of money laundering???

Some scammers use people to help them transfer stolen money. They don't say the money is stolen - they tell a story to hide the purpose for the transaction. They meet someone online, create a relationship, and then ask the person to help transfer money. They may ask you to open an account, or add your name to an existing account.

If you do this for a scammer, your name may be on the account or on money transfer or other documents. If you get involved with a scheme, you could lose money and personal information, and get into legal trouble.

After developing an online relationship sight unseen, I helped someone called Philip Christopher (who claimed to be Norwegian living and working as self-employed general contractor in San Francisco) transfer nearly $500,000 in three transactions from his account while he was in Cyprus to pay for "construction materials and laborers" for his project. Money sent to Bank of Cyprus and Banca d'Italia, and a high end construction material company in Italy. He needed an additional transfer for customs on materials and his account was suspended, because "I didn't inform the bank I was leaving the states." Seemed so legit. All trust-building. So charming. I finally realized he was a scammer and reported him to local law enforcement, FBI, and today 12/04/19, to FTC. I hope to prevent others from falling prey to him. Even highly- educated people who would spot this immediately as a scam if it happened to a friend (I speak from experience) fall victim to skilled sociopaths.

here are some names I have dealt with:
David Scott , James Wells, Frank Hallgren
Alex Tucker, Harvey Tollar, Tim Stokes,
Steven Carlton, Danny Phillips, Anthony Brown,
Christian Abel, Greg Perry, Greg Totti,
Ogletree Jones Morrison, So Ladies, keep yourself safe, thank god I never send anything

My Mother notified my husband and I today she has been scammed over the last two years by a romance scammer. Over 100k. She is filing bankruptcy, she is 76. She gave her bank info directly to him and has been wiring money all over the world. We have tried and tried talking to her over the past two years but she was stubborn to the fact that it put a wedge between us because she saw our warnings as trying to control her. Now she is broke. I am devastated but I hate to say she did this to herself. His name on Facebook and Hangouts in Roy Garret O'Brien or some combo of that. Anyone run across him? Supposedly from Switzerland.

Met Harrison Fisher in a online dating website, he's a single father and in the air force station in Yemen. Sounds familiar?

Similar story but his name is Jason Adams single father of a 12yrs old boy. Do you have pictures?

Our mom is currently being scammed by oil rig scammers calling themselves “Danny Roberts“. At the beginning (as soon as we found out) we thought we convinced her to see it was fake. But these people are too crafty and know how to circumvent all logic. We have shown her incontrovertible proof photos that it’s fake. But she let “him” convince her that the picture is further proof of how rich and important “he” is. —-although, why does he need her money if he is rich??? Anyway, you don’t have to be dumb to get caught up. Just emotional. Sad. It’s ruined our relationships with her, because for 6 months we have tried every tactic (pleading, begging, being nice, angry, yelling crying, etc) to get through to her and she won’t listen.

Anyone know a guy in Turkey that goes by Thomas or Brainerd Thomson, possibly goes by Dennis or David and has a German accent?
He told me he’s in Istanbul working as an engineer on a contract. Wife deceased, daughter lives with her grandmother first in Texas then changed to Arizona.
He scammed me out of over $47,000.00. The weird thing is that he pays some of my bills which won’t benefit him in any way. Guilt?
Still, he puts money on my credit cards and I buy gift cards with some, keep the rest. Says that is the only way he can get money since his wallet was stolen. I’m still not sure what he is all about. Why give me any money at all? And why can’t he get money from his accounts in the states which I know he has?
I’m kind of hanging on because I’m hoping I can figure out some way to get my money back.

He might be paying your credit card bill with stolen money or bad checks. If he pays with a bad check, the payment will get reversed and you'll still owe a credit card bill.

If he pays your credit card bill and you buy things to send him, but the charges get reversed later, you'll have more debt.

If he already took $47,000, he may trying to get more money or gifts from you.

Has anyone been in contact with a guy who calls himself Shane witcher

I need help! My mother in law has been scammed many of times but now I think this one is a "Romance Scammer" on Words With Friends. This one is an Independent Drilling Contractor , widow , 15 yr old son stays with Nanny plus older kids, lives in Houston TX, just left for the Indiana Ocean.... Says when he gets back he is going to retire he is going to open his buisness and wants her to be with him. Does it sound like a scammer?

Yes, for sure. My guy who went my Mark Williams told me the same thing. He had a 17 yr old daughter. The picture he used was of a white haired man in black/ blue shirt. He said he would come to me and start his own business. Maybe a bakery.
Please get out of the conversation!

My mom has been hit with the same story. He is rich, working in Russia on an oil rig. Widowed, one son back in Italy being taken care of by a nanny. I have made her swear on my life that she wont send him a dime.

A recently widowed friend who is about 60 years old was playing online bingo and made a friend James Brown. Brown gets her to buy a car for his company and he'll pick it when comes to town. She picks up the car and'signs' for it. Her car is in a lot for sale. She figures out Brown is a scammer and is stuck with the car she can not afford. Meanwhile she friends another guy Thomas playing online bingo, who says he loves her and she says he will pay for the car. My friend has been calling and texting Thomas for about 8 months and had never met. Thomas is supposed to love her but he is from Brazil and has no accent. He works in Turkey, lives in New York and also has an 18 year old daughter that my friend has talked to on the phone. They were supposed to meet two weeks ago but she has quit talking to me. Thomas told her not to tell any friends or family for a year because of how the way met would be scrutinized. I can not figure out what the scan is here but I am certain that it is not legitimate. Please help me if you can think of what the scam could be or if you recognize these names.

Did your friend pay for the car with her own money? Or did "James Brown" send money to her bank account so she could buy the car? Some scammers ask people to receive and transfer stolen money. Did "James Brown" send her money and ask her to buy the car with that money?

If your friend changes her mind about the car and decides it's too expensive to keep right now, she could talk to the dealer. 

The 18 year old daughter is probably his wife.

Has anyone been scammed by a person called Richard Garnett. He’s scamming a friend of my need help to stop him. He picks up money out of New Jersey post office. And has convinced them that he love his prey. Any help is appreciated.

I had a problem on words with friends too. A guy made an off color comment. I had to go to a lot of trouble to get him kicked off there. They were not very helpful.

Why do they want to go to hangouts rather than Instagram? Is there a web site to check them out?
Every one I’ve tried wants money. This is so scary.

Has anyone dealt with someone who goes by the name Heinrich Gerhard? He is supposedly an engineer who has been working in Africa for the last year or so. I think he is scamming my mom.

Has anyone been talking to a Collins from Nigeria? Singer and barber?

Boy I have one for the records! The guy I was playing WWF with is from Texas, but works on an oil rig in Italy. He wanted me to accept a parcel package from him in the amount of $480,000.00 He sent me a picture of the money in a suitcase. Said his company (which I researched and is real) paid him an 8 month contract in CASH! He's very worried someone on the rig will steal it! Gave me a name of an express company that would deliver to me, I'd have to sign for it, and he insisted I give him my address! I said put it in the bank, then he says his bank is on "restriction" yeah.... what??? His story was his wife died while giving birth to their first and only child. Says he believes in God and that we were meant to be together! Stated that while at work in the middle of the ocean their company lost electricity and internet access. which could be right, as he didn't speak with me in a weeks time. Now he wants me to send him an Amazon gift card so that he can have internet access so that we can continue to play on WWF! I've had several "hits" on that game, all with similar stories! He was very convincing and super romantic and told me he would marry me when he gets back in two months. I've already told him I'm married! Boy they are some kind of smooth talkers out there! All please be aware, they don't care for you, just your money! I didn't lose any, but wish this would stop!

I quit online dating sites more than 8 years ago because I could see the infiltration of scammers then. Yes, they said they worked for the military or some other contracting company and couldn't tell me what exactly they did because of security clearances, blah, blah, blah. They stole profile pictures from legit dating profiles and created elaborate profiles. The problem was more than one scammer would respond to my emails - one wrote English very well, another one did not, so it was easy to spot the inconsistencies. When I said I also was military, then the story changed and they made a correction - but this did not jive with the written profile. It is funny when you think about it. The sad part is they wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't lucrative for them to do so. It has gotten so bad that on some sites the scammers are trying scam other scammers. Whatever you decide to do, don't give any money, gift card, wire/transfer funds, or provide any credit card or banking information to anyone on a dating site, period. Don't waste your precious time on these losers. Remember this, if anyone says they "love" you after two emails or phone calls, drop them like a hot potato and move on.

Paul Martin aka godly man
No money exchanged. Met on Facebook. Asked to move to hangouts
Widowed. Couldn’t save wife and daughter one son. Doctor in Yemen on two year contract With un/NATO. Falling in love after a couple days. Deleted him. Also has another name at top of Facebook. Says was given to him by colleagues when stationed in Syria means good heart
Sounds to good to be true so trustedninstinks

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?

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.

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!!!

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