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.

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.

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?

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 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.

This sounds like an Antonio Rodriguez. He claims to be an orthopedic surgeon in the army, widowed, 13 year old going to school in Turkey. First he was running out of minutes and could I get a gift card that he could use for minutes. Then calm for a couple of weeks. Then said he was on a mission, got shot and was awarded money by the Iranian Govt, 2.5 million to be sent to me because it was unsafe with Isis. Then it was their camp had been discovered and shot up but he escaped and needed 700 to get him out ASAP. Now luckily I kept saying no, and never sent him anything

Yeah, this orthopedic doctor in Africa telling me he lost wife to Cancer. this was on facebook and the page looked legit but I figured it out when he started asking for my email and ignored that I stated happily Married. His Name was Mark David. Googled and found this guy looked nothing like any Mark David and no one by that name an orthooedic doctor.

Had 3 week encounter with Dr Wilson Robert in Syria through UN and NATO. Wife died 5 yrs ago while on a business trip, has son 11 yrs old. Owen just had birthday April 26th and Wilson's bday is May 4th!!

I had the same experience, met through words with friends. Widower with 1 kid. Had an amazing job, but needed emergency funds. Unreal.

Sounds similar to someone I have been chatting with who is pressuring me for money. Widow with 12 year old son.

I was playing boggle. A gentleman started chatting with me, then asked for my email. I have a couple, one that I specifically use for unknown people. We chatted via email and then he asked for my number. I didn't give it to him and tried to cut off contact, but he persisted and wore me down with his "kind" words. Within 3 weeks he said he was in love with me. Was supposed to come visit but last minute change, got a job in Hong Kong. Ok. Now he's in HK, calling me every night, every morning. Telling me about the job. Today, he has a problem with the job and he has $6k but needs $4k more. When does my bank open? I said I would help and then texted him, no. too many red flags. He said i am insulting his love for him. I am crushed.

also met a great guy on WWF...played the game for months suddenly he was in love with me and wanted me to get hangouts...i eventually relented and he also had me set up a hangout with his daughter...lost his wife and parents in auto crash....i chatted with both of them...they definitely seemed to be different people. she boosted his happiness since meeting me and called me mom with which i was very uncomfortable...watch out for scammers introducing you to other family members...seemed VERY credible until i spoke with him on the phone...very eastern african accent. said he adopted it to better communicate with his workers...he was doing civil engineering project in...you guessed it...nigeria. BE CAREFUL.

I just wanted to know if anyone has heard from a scammer who calls himself Jeffrey Witcher in Ghana . He is a supposed uniformed officer and I met him on PO F. He already insinuates I have to help him out. I have looked him up he is real but I am not sure. He was in Afghanistan. He told me he had many scammers steal his pictures and info and I checked there is about 20 different facebooks. I just want to make sure he is not one of the scammers.

I have also been contacted on Facebook for friend request, unknown to me. Their profile is new and lacks information. Mine used someone else's pictures, even a video he doctored to seem he was taking to me. I knew from the start what he was but had fun jerking him along.

My rule is that if I don't know the person then they can not be my FB friend. Sure I only have 45 FB friends, but know them all. Delete all other requests.

People dont people that they are psychopaths. They dont care about how devoted you end up, they keep their eye on the prize & you're not it. It's the money. They start "grooming" you the minute you say hi. They are undercover manipulators and they are good at it. Most people don't know that they are second, third or fourth generation fraudsters. They can also work in groups. They are trained also.

Do romance scammers use ask for gift cards for places like Amazon frequently??

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 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.

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.

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.

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