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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

Just playing Words with Friends, this guy starts a conversation. I was suspicious right away. After a bit he says he is a widower with 3 kids. He messed up big. Next he says he has 2 kids, just barely making it. I told him he was a moron.

that seems to be the big story or that they are divorced with children. For a while, i was getting a number of messages via social media. Most of them claimed to be men in the military or doctors working abroad. It's crazy the lengths people go to scam others. I even had someone request an iTunes gift card so their sick daughter could sell it to go to the hospital.

Ladies/Gentlemen all I can say be very careful of these internet romance. Especially those International ones. I met one on tagged from Cyprus, Turkey. He was white man first then after 8 months I found out he was an African. They all scammer and I fall victim and lost Thousands of USD. Be careful of all those dating Apps. When I found out he was an African I still talk to him because he shows like he was loving and caring but he was a real scammer. He scam me for 3 yrs but I have learned my lessons. Hes Still scamming women in the USA so you all be careful. Hes not bad looking, speak with a soft voice and only call u baby. Easily get mad and always want large sum of money. He cries at all times and said he have High Blood Pressure. I start curse him out when I really realized that hes nothing but a scammer to supply him self and his families. I was gathering so much evidence on him and he don't know all what I found out. So I'm going to start work with the FBI and EFCC in Africa to get him. So please be careful of these International romance scammers.

Hi your story sounds very similar to mine and the person is also from Cyprus but sounds like an African man. Do you mind emailing me to compare evidence?

Same here, can we email to exchange information ?

that sounds just like a guy i meet on words with friends he is from Africa but lives in Indiana but right now he is working in Dubi and he only talks to me once in a while now because i would not give him any money. his name is William Chapman

My friend at work I think meet the same man do any 1 have a pic ?He is asking her for money something about his son got in car rack and need 1,ooo to started his surgery.He also sounds like a Africa she chats with him on hangout. tks

It sounds exactly like a scammer I talked too. He had a 12 yrs old daughter at home but had a 17 yrs old son living with his sister. They were in a head on car collision and he wanted me to send him$1200 for the son to get surgery. He said he couldnt cause his wallet was in his car when he went to church and it was stolen. If it's the same guy I think I still have his picture.

Hi Karen, I had the same scenario and he showed me pictures of the kids and him. He said he is a surgeon in the military. I met him on Bible app. He messaged me and said wants to communicate on email and hang out. Then he started opening about his son had an accident and needs operations. Need 1000usd to perform other procedure. Sounds so the same as your description here. He says his name was Mark Daniels. Is that familiar?

This sounds like my guy who I met in July. He supposedly be from Indiana and works in the oil fields in Australia. I'm still talking to him because he seems humble and uses prayer and christianity as a ploy to get you in. He sends me prayers, photos and even a driver's license taken in Indiana. He isn't Dubai but his colleague is right now. I'm trying to catch him up but hes stuck to me as if hes my man and promised he's not like those other people and gets a little annoyed when I doubt his word or accuse him of not being who hes represents.

I met someone online. His photo was gorgeous. He told me he was an orthopedic surgeon going to Yemen. He said his name was Phillip Regner.. He says after 6 months we will meet and get married. I told him I would fly to where he was to meet him. He made up excuses. When I FaceTime him , it’s the guy in the photo but something is amiss. Says he’s from Nashville, Tn. Anyone know or hear from this man?

Yes. I think I have met the same guy. I'm curious to know if he is using the same pictures as he used to you.

Hi! I've been talking to a man lately woth similar story. He says he's an orthopedic surgeon who is about to leave to yemen for 6 weeks. He also has a son named owen and is widowed. We've facetimed a couple times and it's the same man from the pictures. The first time he was in his home trying to use chopsticks and the second time he was actually in the hospital. Would you mind exchanging pictures with me? I really think this might be the same man.

Could you please send me a photo of the guy? I'll send my email address to you. I have someone on to me for the last 7 weeks who has just asked for money for work purposes. Saying his bank in America has a problem be ause of skeletal crew during covid and due to ank restrictions he needs to appear in person.
Yes, I've set him money and he has asked for more to pay his workers in Cyprus

Hello everyone,first let me tell you that I had to learn a very painful lesson about online romance.first of all I was very stupid.my story I had been talking to what I thought was a military man for a few years.not only was he a big liar but he stole my identity.the thing I think everyone needs to learn about online romance is if something seems to good to be true.trust me it is.and always go with your gut feeling.I tell you something else that I have learned and that is online scammers get upset with you very easily once they know that you won't let them use you anymore.

I am working with an elderly lady who is planning on wiring a lot of money to this guy tomorrow. . I need to get some type of evidence to show her so she doesn't lose her money

I was scammed a few years ago and I'm still paying off that debt. Anyone that takes you to Hangouts is a scam insist they do a video call or Skype and have them hold up a sign with your name or having wave to you. Wben I mention that they all hang up and I lose them right away.

Have had several from Words with friends... told me I'm beautiful, all on offshore oil drilling rigs, was a widower, showed me family pics, all with pictures, once did a live video of himself walking around the rig so felt it was legit... $14, 500 later & now he has no way to pay off debt... others Drs. overseas with "no way to get $$) wanting help....

Ohhh... I had this guy ask me to download Hangouts and chat there. He hit on me very hard in that chat room. Hasn't asked for money, which of course I won't give me. But why do they all want to use Hangouts to chat, as opposed to where they initially saw you - Words or Instagram?

Hi I would be very interested in talking to you as I am also in contact with someone who is from Ottawa but told me he is in Cyprus right now working.He toid me the job is completed but they are holding his check as something went wrong with registration of his construction company.
What name is he using? Did he involve his mother?
He said on the dating sit that he is widowed with a 15 year old son who lives in Scotland with his mother.

That's him! Mark Richard? Video chatted with him so picture matches

I am also in contact with a guy who said he had a son with a Scottish woman. He is using a London Number and he lives in Singapore. 56 years old, marketing specialist. I have his pictures with his 15 years old boy. He sounded like a Nigerian. When I told him the more you speak the more you sound like a Nigeria. I immediately switched to video calling. He interrupted the phone call. and blocked me !

Did you send him money?

Hi Lou Lou.

That’s excactly what happen to me..please advice me how to get this man..as the UK Police said they cannot do anything as the payments I made was international..Prague ,Budapest & Poland..

It sounds like I have this guy now. Can you tell me more about him? Did he address you as queen? Baby? Do you have his picture? Did you ever meet him? How did you find out he was African?

Hey Loulou, what name was he going by? He sounds like the same guy I was talking to.

Did you start working with the
FBI and EFCC yet? Do they require money to trace the scammer?

Could we please talk or exchange words via email. I lost a large sum of money to this guy a few months ago. Wish I read your post earlier. Have you ever seen him? How can we talk?

Is there any way to find out who the person is in the pictures that are sent to me and find out if he is fake or a scammer?

Do you have a photo sound like the one im talking to but he says he is in the united states

Just received message yesterday from a scammer (we’ve been playing a couple of games about a week or two), I read about on here recently, Orthopedic Surgeon, widowed 6 years ago, son Owen @ boarding school in Boston.. wants to get to know me.. goes by Frank Williams.
Well I mentioned him to someone else whose been trying to scam me, told him don’t worry I deleted him (this other guy asked me?’s, that I avoided answering), but today when I went back to game to update/look at my profile information because I have been playing for several years, I had to look up Mr. Williams because he stopped the 2 games we were playing on the board. Wondering if he and the other scammer are one and the same?
Only difference is the other guy divorced his wife 6 years ago and he has a 12 year old daughter @ boarding school in Texas!

and they are only children whose parents died and no family, you are their only friend they can rely on.

This situation is similar to what I experienced. Anthony Wilson Senior Pilot United States Air Force only child parents deceased and he has a 13 yr old daughter Lily Wilson who is in Accra Ghana staying with a friend. Money money money.
Use the child to get money!!!!!! I borrowed money from family and friends to help and it was a scam!!!!!! How am I going to pay back ALL the money and my bills? Bad credit, behind on my bills now what can I do?

You will never be able to get your money. I was scammed 2 yrs ago and wish i had seen this information and websites that try to warn women sooner. I was naive, but learned my lesson after losing alot of money. M

I recently was approached on Facebook. He is orthopedic surgeon working for the U.N. in middle east.Gaza Strip. Has a son in boarding school, parents dead, born in Spain,brought to US by uncle, raised in orphanage,put thru medical school by program sponsored by U.N
Wife died,
Sweet talk,lots of baby,told me he needed to ship $1.2 million dollars out of the Gaza strip would I pay for shipping? $3500.00. I said no. He wanted to have it shipped to me. Even gave me the code to open the container it was in.
I still said no. Then suddenly he gets moved to Afghanistan, needs phone card to text me. Wants $300.00.
I said no. Supposedly, orthopedic surgeon,goes by JOHN ANTONIO.
Gray hair,brown eyes, sons name:
Jerry.

Mine was an ortho surgeon working with the UN in Afghanistan, daughter in a military school in Arizona...starving to death...plz Western Union her some money!

New development, he’s madly in love with me and wants me to write to the UN to release him to come home for vacation. He sent me exactly what he needed the email to say. I never sent the email but yesterday I received a reply from them telling me how much money to pay at particular locations so he can return to the USA to come marry me. Then I received a document that looks real but when I zoomed in, it’s dated 2017 and signed by the UN Secretary from that time frame!
What should I do with it? Who can I turn it into! He urgently wants me to pay the money that I have repeatedly told him I do not have!
H E L P!!!

Whatvis the name of that person can you tell me I think my friend and you are talking only one person . Do you have a picture of him?

Same here can you tell me how name and do you have a picture.

Omg! This is identical to what im dealing with! He claims to be a doctor in Yemen with the Unitednations. He wants me to send him $2750.00 for the UN so he can get his vacation or leave. He will not take no for a answer. He says to me "do you want me to die here? Please please help me i dont want to die. I want to come to the US and marry you baby please help me. I am going to die here. What about ken who will take care of ken? I absolutely dont have money like this by far! He calls me, and the conversations take place on hangouts! He has sent me pictures of himself and also does video chats. He says he is from Egypt, he didvslip up the other day and said Turkey then denied he ever said Turkey! Im so interested to know if Dr SAMUEL VEIDER IS THE ONE THATS SCAMMING YOU ALSO. He gets very angry if i mention him as a scammer! Please comment... HE SAYS HES IN YEMEN. FROM EGYPT, LIVES IN MIAMI FLORIDA, HIS SO CALLED DECEASED WIFE IS FROM SPAIN, HIS SONS NAME IS KEN, ALMOST 15 YRS OLD, HE SENT ME A PICTURE AND THE KID HAS BLACK ALL OVER HIS FACE. HE IS SAYING HE WANTS ME TO BE HIS NEW MOM! I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR BACK..

Has anyone had any contact from a girl in Davao City Philipines, she hadnt ask for anything substantial yet but i have doubts she is legit and a couple red flags have appeared like her facebook profile disappeared and opened under something else and she wants all conversations in whattsapp now!!!

I am scammer free as of a few minutes ago. He is in the Military. He is not but the picture he is using is a real Staff Sgt, in the military. He was a facebook for one day. Stephen Towns is the name he used. On the uniform it read MidKiff James. From NC now stationed in Kabul Afg. widowed has 2 children living in Spain with their nanny, wants to marry me. Ask for Itune card, wanted me to pick up money to send to Nigeria for his friend that got stationed there. Now wants money for a flight to come here to be with me. I heard that (do you want me to die here) since December 2018. He sounds like the same scammer. Get rid of him. Good luck Carollee

I also have been communicating with a so called doctor in Yemen who now has a need for cash. Similar background information. I'm wondering if all is same person.

I got scammed on POF. He is extremely good looking, he asked to go on Hangouts right away. The scam goes like this: He is in Yemen, goes by the name of David Hunt, works for UNICEF as a brain surgeon. He works for 5 weeks abroad in Yemen but lives in the US, raising his 7 year old daughter by himself because his ex is a drug addict. Same bs: after a few days he started the intense messaging, he loves me, video calls, etc. Got very angry when i told him he is a scammer. He said he needed money to get home because it is not safe there but his accounts and CC don`t work there. I knew from the very beginning it`s a scam but wanted to know how far he would go. Please everyone: if something is too nice to be true, it it unreal!!!

I'm more than happy to share photos My guy is in Australia and a 12 yo daughter who is in Ghana with their caretaker but he lives in Virginia where he was raised with a black mom and Indian dad. Cute as hell and mild manner. We text,

I have been talking with a guy from Australia for a few weeks with a similar situation and background. Can you share his picture..

Hi. I think iv been scammed to with this man. Can we exchange the information pls.

I’d also like to exchange info. I have been scammed as well

Let through dating app: Hinge Name: Alvin (Ryder)? Went to Whatsapp Number: +1 (267) 571-3520 Email requested for vacation leave to: Commander.leaverequest@ Story: Surgeon working in Yemen for UN. Widowed four years ago A daughter
From Dallas, Texas with Greek background. Called me daily for weeks and started telling me he loved me and missed me and pushed me to say the same. Claimed since it was Yemen he could not tell me much nor send photos from there. Progressed to asking me to send a leave request. I reported him since I worked out it was all to far-fetched and a UN administrator would not have a gmail address.

Same here I've chatted a doctor in Yemen under NATO, and had a son 15 year old whose in Dubai boarding school. Has a tutor there and said his own son lost his cp that's why the tutor asked me to buy cp for him so that we can communicate with his son always.Coz he said his son really likes me to be his mom. And now this doctor Andrew James wants to visit me but he can't have his vacation leave without the papers and some Secretary named James Baldwin chatted me to pay for his papers worth $1255.Unfortunately I don't have that much money that's why I've said I'll not pay. And that Andrew James cancelled his flight coz I didn't pay his paper he said he will pay me back when his here in my place. So sad I have been scammed. I lost my money to buy his son cp, then he asked for sim card after we chatted his son on WhatsApp and then his son asked for Itunescard. That's why I've uninstall that app and did not talk to that doctor in hang outs.

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