Sending money out of love, or sending a scammer money?

Love is a powerful thing. So when a loved one calls or emails, saying they’re in trouble, you’d want to help, right? If they ask you to send cash immediately — should you follow your heart?

The short answer is: no. Unfortunately, scammers pretend to be someone you know to trick you into sending money. They might pressure you to wire money quickly to help with an emergency — to get out of jail, pay a hospital bill, or leave a foreign country. 

In the rush to help, you might not stop and think: does this make sense? But even if the story sounds legitimate, take a minute and run through these steps:

  • Stop. Don’t act immediately, no matter what they say the crisis is.
  • Check with the person who seems to be in trouble. Use a number or email address that you know is right. Check out the story. If you don’t reach the person immediately, check with someone who might know his or her situation. If the caller says not to tell any other family members or friends, that’s a sign of a scam.
  • Don’t wire money to anyone who asks you to. Wiring money is like sending cash — once you send it gone, it’s gone. The same goes for prepaid debit cards. Nobody ever needs to be paid in prepaid debit cards.

If you think you’ve responded to a scam, report it immediately to the FTC or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

Sir/Madam
Thanks for the valuable input.
But the FTC is unable to render any help despite the facts even if the all the information/profiles of the scam ester are provided?

I sent my complaint into the BBB.

You can also file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov/complaint. it's important to submit a formal complaint because investigators from all over the country access the FTC's database and these complaints could help in their investigations.

I have been scammed big time!

We recently had an (80 yr.old) lady in our neighborhood who responded: not once, but twice !!! to the tune of $3,000 each time to a frantic call from her 'granddaughter' whom the caller stated that she needed bail money. The elderly lady didn't do any of the (above ) and was out $6 grand.

I am a real Investigator who is investigating this group of scammers. I need phone numbers of the scammers.

The FTC's Consumer Sentinel Network provides civil and criminal enforcement organizations immediate and secure access to identity theft, internet, telemarketing (including do not call), and other consumer related complaints. If you're a member of law enforcement, read more at the Consumer Sentinel site.

i have both phone numbers of the scammers - it just happened to my father this evening.

I got someone saying they need money to get their inheritance and it sounds fishy, we've been friends on fb for a year and she's constantly trying to get me send money he she tried to get me to open accounts with capital one and American express and PayPal, anyways I'm still getting more info but if you wanna check this out her number is 331  and the name on facebook is angel br from Chicago but she has an elgin Illinois address I think it's 309 W avenue Elgin Illinois 60123 I've checked yellow pages for that address and there is no records of her anywhere but the address is legit

Sounds like the girl I'm talking to

well I don't have a phone number for him but I have his name on Facebook. He is a military soldier and he have been talking on Facebook for about a little over a month. He asked me to send him some money so he can apply for vacation and come home. He wanted me to send it to his agent and then his agent will sent it to him. His Facebook name is Rodney Scott and I want to know if he is who he say he is

I would never send money to anyone, cause I don't have it and im barely getting by, myself

I keep getting calls from 800-880-2116 to call Med Core at 866-716-2588. This does name a person or reference number, etc. I have not returned the calls or corresponded in anyway. ???????????? Thanks!

If your calls are coming on a cell phone: block that number and you will prevent them using your answering service.

Sign up for DoNotCall.gov Check with your phone company to block the number. If you use a mobile phone, check for a reputable app which has the ability to block numbers. If all else fails, you may want to consider changing your number.

i had a very amusing call from young man saying he was my son and needed bail money in Mexico. I strung him along for a while before I told him I didn't remember having a son. Needless to say, he didn't get anything out of me!

Good for you, Sally! Sometimes these calls can be a form of entertainment. Also, a number to watch out for is: 202-213-6569, and the names: Steven Smith, Steven Bradley, or Brady.

A caller from the number 331-928-0700 tried to scam my grandparents for $1800. The guy claimed to get into an accident on the way from the airport.

My grand father got the same call from the same number 331-928-0700 . In this case they told to my grand father that one of his relatives crash a Mexican car in a US's highway. They were asking for US$ 900 that had to be send to a relative from the the Mexican car in Jalisco Mexico to pay the demages. Thanks GOD and FBI we found it was a scam.

Totally not stranded in Vegas, don't need $2000. Glad you checked first, Grandma!

i need help i being sending money for more than two years this people conveinced me that after we pay all fees the going to release the fund to us and they lie to us .They still in contact asking for more money but how i get my money back i send $488,500 that's my question i'm broke and i have a big debt

Never give money to anyone!!!!!

I work at a law firm in Las Vegas. We've received 3 calls from Texas over the last month from people who had a phone call from a man named Richard Murphy, purporting to be a lawyer here in Las Vegas. They're told their son/grandson is in jail here and they need to send $2,000 to bail him out. Don't do it! It's a total scam. Dial *69 to get the caller's number and then call the FTC at 1-877-FTC-HELP to report it immediately!

This one takes the cake! A con artist trying to extort money from a law firm, and then being dumb enough to say he was an Attorney in the same city!

*69 does not work. Police dept said they use a phone app so it is not a legitimate number so there is no way to trace it. Ask for a number so you can call them back or ask a personal question that only you and person they are referring to would know. This happened to me today. I told them I didn't have the money so they hung up because I didnt buy into giving them money.

my sister and I were trying to get a service dog for my nephew and we got scammed for $3900 we are trying to get the money back probably won't happen but whoever these guys are should be drug out in the street and shop

I responded to one. The contact sent me US post office money orders. To varify I went to FBI who took the money order they said it was fake. I still wonder if it was. It looked so real. Can I follow up with FBI about it?

You can file a consumer complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at www.ftc.gov/complaint. Investigators from all over the country access the FTC's complaint database.

My mother has received three calls from a guy claiming to be her grandson. He tells her, he's in trouble in Mexico and needs her to send him some money so that he can pay the courts and come home. I'm so proud that she has listened to her family about how to avoid being scammed. On 2-18-15, he called again. She asked which grandson, birthdate, and home address? He avoided answering by pretending to be crying. Then my brother intervened in the conversation, and the guy hung up. Hopefully, this guy has learned that not all elderly people are easily manipulated. Especially, if their family is constantly reminding them of some individuals wicked intentions and looking out for their safety/security.

My parents just received a call that their grandson was in a wreck in Louisiana and was in jail and they needed him to BRING the money to bail him out. Has this ever happened to anyone?

What was the phone # he called from?

I remember a couple years back I was selling a coat online, one I bought from value village. Something I paod $26 for. I had a girl from the states interested and would pay $800 for it. Hire a driver to pick it up, but wanted me to wire her the money first. Glad I didnt

Back in Oct I received several calls from 862-368-3207 asking me for $ bc my brother got into a car accident with my brother & they won't let my brother go unless I wired them $. He said if I didn't go to the closest CVS to wire $1,700 then he would put a bullet in his leg. He said his name was Ricky & was from Newark NJ

the alleged Western Center For Journalism sent me an email asking me to send LETTERS they printed to each of my KY Senators about The President's amnesty Decree on Illegal Invaders. However, to send that email I HAD TO MAKE A DONATION OF $35.00 or More. THEY required me to GIVE THEM my CREDIT CARD brand, account number, email numbers, Card expiration date and CSC code. I DECINE TO PROVIDE THESE ID DATA> PLEASE STOP THIS SCAM!

i got a call from woman who we are in a relationship for over 2years now and she keeping asking money money hope it a scammer

Man on 'match.com' had a profile and contacted me. We corresponded by private email for a month. He claimed to be an architect/engineer, and got a contract to build a gas station in Debrecen, Hungary. Just there a week when he was asked to pay non-residence tax, and needed money from me. He had been lovey-dovey for a whole month, never met him, and now wanted money!!! No way.....
How many other women was he contacting as well??

I met a man on "match.com" had a profile and contacted me. We texted by phone for a month. He said he was a subcontractor/consultant in the oil and gas exploration and got a new contract to oversee the work on an oil rig in Houston,TX, Louisiana, and ended in Punta Cana,Dominican Republic. He asked me for money to come home while in Louisiana. He had exhausted all of his money and maxed out his credit cards and needed money to come home. He said he loved me and wanted to marry me. I sent him 500 dollars and never heard from him again. Three months later he contacts me again to send him more money to come home only now he is in Punta Cana and needs 850 dollars to get an airline ticket to come home. I didn't send any money this time. I have never met him. I wonder if this is the same guy.

Hi Tina, I think we've been scammed by the same person. He claimed to be a geologist that subcontracts wtih Shell and Chevron and had a contract to build a site in Canada. He was stuck in Houston, TX and was under so much stress he ended up with an ulcer. Like yours he had exhausted all his money and didn't have money for medications and doctor bills. We had been emailing and calling each other for several months before this request happened. Needless to say he ended up in Newfoundland, Canada and we have literally been talking for 2 years now. We fell in love over years of calls and texts and emails. He also claimed he needed travel money once he was in Canada. This man is good!

I receive a phone from this number 0016264675527 .They want me to send NZ$735:00 through Western Union to Sylvester Bangura of Jakarta ,Indonesia to release a parcel address to me through World Express Logistics.What shall I do???

Scammers use many different stories to try and convince you to send money. If you wire money, it's like sending cash.  After you send it, it's gone forever. Scammers may make up a company name that sounds official, and urge you to send money soon to get your package or prize. Don't wire money to someone you don't know. Read this FTC article about Prize scams.

Kay, Just think. If you haven't ordered anything, why a miracle parcel should be addressed to you? Phone calls like that should be totally ignored!

I am a real estate agent and received a call that my name came up to handle and list two foreclosure bank owned properties. The representative stated that i would get 6% commission, and then while on the phone together, he directed me to his website, and noted the only way I could get to the website was through Google Chrome, or Firefox. We then logged into the same page, and I was directed to add my personal information, change the default password to my own, and then access the address of the two properties. I was very happy, because at least one of them is a Multi-Million Dollar Mansion. What I had to do was drive by the property and take pictures, but not to enter or disturb occupants. Wow, how exciting, but then came the twist. I had to pay $400 to be able to upload the photos, but I was guaranteed that if I did not get the listings, my money would be refunded. The person waited on the phone for me to get my credit card, I told him, I did not have one at the time, and would have to do that later. We hung up with the understanding that I would be calling him back later with the card number. I then Googled the company name, and was disappointed to find out that it is an ongoing scam aimed at real estate agents. Everything looks very official, the website is very professional, and the person on the phone acted the same way. He claimed to be Devin Hollister, the same name that appeared on my caller ID. When I Google the phone number, it used to belong to another name at the same company, and further inquiry found it was a cell number. 1-302-212-0637. I have read countless complaints on the internet about REO Pro which is apparently the new name they are using, and many posting had listed several other names that they also use, and have previously used. The person sent me a personal email, from Devin Hollister, that had a picture, and email contact, and that same number attached. It also contained a money back guarantee of the $400, but the money amount read 400$, with the dollar sign at the back of the numbers. The man spoke clear American English, without any accent, and he stated the company is in Delaware, USA. After reading all of the other posts from real estate agent victims, I am wondering when the FTC will get involved and prosecute, as many of the homes they are offering future listings on, are either currently listed, not in default, and the owners have no idea, how their homes became part of the scam.

These are useful details for a complaint.  Please report your experience at ftc.gov/complaint so it becomes part of the FTC database. Your complaints help the FTC and other law enforcement agencies bring scam artists to justice. We can't address complaints that you discuss in the blog comments.

Yes a scammer by the name of mark moore was a single dad and had a daughter he wanted me to take care of but he wanted me to send him 1000 for her bta! I was only talking to him for less then a week..anyways I wasnt stupid no money sent

Beam Ramos Lawson asked me to send money to him so he could come home and wanted me to pay for his leave and asked me for money for his birthday asweell his birthday is Sept 24 that's what he told me

How do you find out if they are scammers or not. Especially when they sound so real?

Ask them to give you a number so you can call them back or ask a personal question that only you and that person would know

My father in-law been sending money to a women he never meet only talk to on the phone twice a month an ever day on the computer she lives in Africa now some one has put a stop to him sending her money he say it moneygram an western union I don't believe thatcoulf this woman be scam himm an how we stop it

If you’ve wired money to a scam artist, call the money transfer company immediately to report the fraud and file a complaint. You can reach the complaint department of MoneyGram at 1-800-MONEYGRAM (1-800-666-3947) or Western Union at 1-800-448-1492. Ask for the money transfer to be reversed. It’s unlikely to happen, but it’s important to ask. Then, file a complaint with the FTC.

For more information, see Using Money Transfer Services.

Yesterday afternoon a Hispanic sounding man called me saying that my brother had gotten into a car accident near a gas station with his cousin and that when my brother said he wanted to call the police, that the individual and him got into an argument because the cousin already had a criminal record and did not want to involve the police. When my brother refuses, apparently the cousin pulled a gun on him and was holding him hostage. Afterwards, they took him to their granmother's house and threatened to shoot him in the head unless I went to the bank, take cash and perform a western union transfer to a, Yelisa Moreau-Pereira in Florida. He also said that if I cut the phone at any point, alerted the authorities or acted suspicious in any way that he would shoot my brother. Me at this point being extremely worried and not having my mind in the right place did not care about anything else but the safety of my brother. I did exactly what he requested and sent him $912 including WU fees because I couldn't risk losing my brother. After he got word the transaction was processed he says that he is now going to drive my brother back to his car and that I could call him now. After finally getting in touch with my brtoher after several tries I realized that he was safe and that I had actually gotten scammed. The story was highly believe and made sense to me at the time because I was not home with my brother at the time. I am a college student who works part time and dont have much money in the first place, but I would have done anything for the safety of my brother. I don't know what to do now and am seeking help to see if there is anyway I can get my money back and to make sure this does not happen to another innocent victim who has someone play with their emotions using extreme circumstances with family members.

You can tell the wire transfer company what happened and file a complaint. Contact Western Union at 1-800-448-1492. You can ask if they can reverse the transaction, but it's probably too late. You can also report the person in Florida to the Florida state Attorney General’s office.

If your college has an office to help students, you could tell them about the scam. They might send alerts to the other students, in case the scam is spreading in your area.

Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The details you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Someone called my dad today claiming to be his cousin Pablo. This person knew enough information to pass as Pablo and had conviced my parents to send him money by saying he had gotten into an accident on his way from Mexico to Chicago. He said he had a check on him and that he would cash it out the next day since he was stopping by at our place in Texas to visit anyways, so my dad went ahead and texted him our address. My parents were also calling family members asking them to pitch in to send the 1500 over to him, but my sister in law warned us about the same story being used on her brother and we caught on and ignored the calls. Now we're just worried about that person having our address, what can we do to ensure our safety?

If the scammer communicated with you only by phone, and wanted you to wire money to another state, it's possible he doesn't live near you. If you're concerned about physical safety, you may want to talk to the police.

You could also think about how much information you and your family are posting online. Sometimes this scam happens when scammers go through social media sites and grab information about where people live, work, or travel. They find out the names of their friends and family, then use those details when they make a call.

You could limit access to your networking pages and encourage your family to do the same. Never post your Social Security number or account numbers online, and only share your phone number with your friends and contacts

I lost a big amount of money for a year,

I sent money bank to bank therefore I had their names and addresses, is theres anyways we can tract this person?

Eventually he confesses it to me that he is a scamer but its too late because I already lost my money, the people where I sent the money to will get percentage.

I dont have money to hire a lawyer or private investigator I'm on dept right now. I know it is imposible to recover my money but atleast we can stop him. This guy is a big time scamer, he scammed in the other countries, I know because it sent to my bank account, i thought I was helping him. He told me that he is an Engineer and went to Malaysia to work. Please is theres any way that you can help me. This guy need to get caught, he told me, that he will never get caught.

You can report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Am talking this man..he's so nice sound so real, the program is that he ask, for help ask, to send sartain amount of money his friend to paid , Dr bill for his son..sound so real am not buying it,I've told him to ,send money trough his bank account to his friend account, that will work much better, to me sound like a scam, not because his being all sweet,I'll just rush and wire money through Money gram,by reading all the comments am like heck..nah ,he no respondid if he did wath I said..hmmm

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