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Caught in a bad romance

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It’s day four of National Consumer Protection Week and we’ve been discussing ways we can look out for each other during the pandemic. Today’s topic – romance scams. Check out and share this short video

Beyond the job losses and economic fallout of the pandemic, the loneliness and isolation brought on by our virtual lives has real consequences. This might explain why romance scams reached a record $304 million in losses reported to the FTC in 2020. That’s up about 50% from 2019.

Romance scams can start out in lots of ways – like when scammers create fake profiles on dating apps or social media. But these scams always end the same way – with a made up story about why the person needs money. Even if this scam might not affect you, it could be happening to someone you know. 

So, as you check in on the health and safety of the people you care about, take a moment, pick up the phone and reach out to someone you might not have spoken with in a while. Check in with them, see how they are doing and listen to what they say – you might help them spot and avoid a romance scam.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • If a friend or loved one mentions an online love interest, ask if they’ve met in person.
  • If they haven’t met in person, and that love interest asks for money, that’s a scam. Period. No matter what story they tell — even if they send you money or gifts first.
  • Only scammers tell people to send money by gift cards, money transfer, or cryptocurrency. If your friend sends any of these, they probably won’t get their money back. 
  • Report romance scams to the dating or social networking site, and to the FTC at And anyone who paid a romance scammer should also report it to the gift card, money transfer, or cryptocurrency platform.

Scam Tags:  Romance Scams


Very common, especially from fake military personnel. First they "friend" you on FB, then start with sweet words, building up to an online romance, then they spring their money problem when they think they have you hooked. They need money to go home (not true in the military), don't have enough money to buy food or health care, or pay for some medical process, or their family member (usually a child) is in dire need of something and they cannot get money to them as the military won't let them do such things online, or they can't log onto a computer or phone to access their bank, or they do not have a single credit card. And of course, never share your phone number, address or pictures since you will have provided them a whole new entity to scam or worse. Don't be fooled by cyberlove or a sad story.

This happened to me in 2018 into 2019 when I finally reported all to ftic and IC 3. I really wish they could catch these scammers. I lost alot

This happened to me in is devastating!

Lucia you have just described the person I have been communicating with on Hangouts. I met him on Words with Friends. Very polite and interested in my life and interests. Suddenly he needed money for his child, telling me he froze all his accounts here. He is in the Army and has been in several areas is the Middle East the last 2 years. Asks for money to buy food there because he doesn’t like what they have. Now he has me picking up Moneygrams to send to him in Bitcoins. The longer this goes on the more convinced I am he is a scammer. I don’t know what to do. I know I will never get my money back. I will just have to chalk it up to lesson learned. But never again!! My daughter told me he was a scam, but I didn’t listen! Please, whoever reads this, don’t get involved with anyone on any social media. They are not real!

This is happening to someone I love very dearly. He was very sick a right at a year ago. After a really bad episode he never fully came back mentally. He knows nothing about the internet at all except for what little I have taught him. He thinks he is in love and he is helping his future wife out until she can move here and her inheritance will be deposited into his bank account. I just found out that he has already sent her at least $2000.00. He truly believes that he will get back every cent.

Are there any legal actions that can be taken? This is my brother and I created his accounts so I can see every message. I am afraid to just block them because I don’t know how he will handle knowing he is out of all of that money, or handle not talking to “her” because he thinks they are in love.

Any advice would be helpful. Either way I don’t seem to see a positive ending to this situation. GOOGLE HANGOUTS, that is where she has him talk to her. I am sure her name isn’t real or anything else. HELP!

My friend is falling for a scammer but wont listen , hes supposed to be a veternarian named Donald taking care of a sick elephant in Dominican Republic

Does anyone know if and/or how long it takes for FTC or the FBI to address something? I’m caught in a blackmail romance scam now, and desperately trying to get out of it.

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