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Image of cupid and heartNot everyone using online dating sites is looking for love. Scammers create fake online profiles using photos of other people — even stolen pictures of real military personnel. They profess their love quickly. And they tug at your heartstrings with made-up stories about how they need money — for emergencies, hospital bills, or travel. Why all of the tricks? They’re looking to steal your money.

As if all that isn’t bad enough, romance scammers are now involving their victims in online bank fraud. Here’s how it works: The scammers set up dating profiles to meet potential victims. After they form a “relationship,” they come up with reasons to ask their love interest to set up a new bank account. The scammers transfer stolen money into the new account, and then tell their victims to wire the money out of the country. Victims think they’re just helping out their soulmate, never realizing they’re aiding and abetting a crime.  

Here are some warning signs that an online love interest might be a fake. They ask you to:

  • chat off of the dating site immediately, using personal email, text, or phone
  • wire money using Western Union or Money Gram
  • set up a new bank account

Did you know you can do an image search of your love interest’s photo in your favorite search engine? If you do an image search and the person’s photo appears under several different names, you’re probably dealing with a scammer. And if the person’s online profile disappears a few days after they meet you, that’s another tip-off.

Here’s the real deal: Don’t send money to someone you met online — for any reason. If your online sweetheart asks for money, you can expect it’s a scam.

Unfortunately, online dating scams are all too common. There may be tens of thousands of victims, and only a small fraction report it to the FTC. If this happens to you, please report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

13794 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Gia
February 11, 2021
Is anyone talking to a guy named SGT James Hilton? He says he's an Air Force Sergeant who's on a peacekeeping mission in Oman, his mission finishes in April sometimes and he wants to come here to buy a house in my country with his two kids.
Barb
February 11, 2021
My story is a variation on everything that’s already been posted. Met a guy on-line, told me he was working on an oil rig, was widowed with one daughter. His name was David Ford and he was Dutch and spoke with an accent. Kept saying we would meet when his contract was up and how much he loved me. But then the excuses started. There was an accident, the project was delayed, he hadn’t paid the insurance or taxes, he got arrested because of his debts, he couldn’t get back to the US, blah blah. Then he asked me to check his bank balance to make sure he got paid. Now what kind of person asks a total stranger to check their bank account? But the “bank” was not legit. I post this now to warn anyone that if you come across a “bank” called Nels Bank or Nels Financial / Nels Financial (nelsfinancials.com), IT IS NOT REAL. It may have a website, but anyone can create a webpage and pretend to be anything. There’s no record of a bank by this name anywhere, except some posts connecting it to overseas job scams in the past. These scammers are sophisticated and will stop at nothing. Be careful.
soaringhawk
April 04, 2021

In reply to by Barb

Mine is a David... says he is norwegian.. yet his accent is Australian and email IP comes up from Malta. Mine leaves Monday for an oil right off TX. He is an oil rig engineer
TONY
February 11, 2021
Has anyone heard of a Veronica allhouse, claims to be an American living in ottawa canada, working for the Red Cross, I have caught her in a couple of lies to do with photos, supposedly taken then and there. All her other photos seem legit as they are actually taken in the red cross offices,I have actually rung the red cross in Canada, but couldn't get passed the answering machine. She asked for money once and I refused, she says she wants to come live with me, but she needs help with getting her visa in the form of $500 .I know a visa costs a great deal more than that, when I asked her about it she said she can come up with the rest herself. I am head over heals for this woman and I just don't know what to do.
QuestionsEverything
February 14, 2021

In reply to by TONY

Offer to pay the company where she is getting her Visa directly, in fact, insist on it. If she wants the money sent to her, she has no intention to get a visa to come live with you and it’s probably a scam.
Ann
February 11, 2021
My family is certain a member has been scammed and convinced to make financial transactions on behalf of her online love interest. She has been confronted by her sons but she is in deep denial that this person (s) is not who they claim to be. Should we as her family report with the limited identifying information we have?
marty
February 11, 2021
Any one know a Philip Scalar? Captain of a cargo ship in the Pacific Northwest, widowed, son in boarding school in England. Wants me to buy the son a cell phone and send it to his "agent" in Ghana who will get it to the son in England. Very smooth talker
Pferdchen62
August 10, 2021

In reply to by marty

Yes, Philip Scalar is chatting with me. He has a son in Brighton on a bording school. He is Captain on a MCS Ship and want to live with me after his last cruise now. Till now he didn't ask money from me. When he is asking I will block him as at least 20 other scammer before. Foots from him I found out with google search are on other platforms with Alex Scalar. I only was the first time so stupid, to send money to someone who was calling Lukas Hans and told me, that he was a doctor from San Francisco. He was working for WHO in Brazil. All contact requests I got from Linkedin. Mostly they are drilling specialists or doctors in Afghanistan or Syria
Twisted
February 12, 2021
My sister has been scammed by a Texas millionaire with 2 sick kids. Does this sound familiar with anyone?
esmeralda65
February 12, 2021
How come my comments aren't being put on this site? I've put 2 or 3 now, one very recently, Feb 2021, and no sign of them. I'm in UK. does this make a difference?
Helen Ross
February 24, 2021

In reply to by esmeralda65

I have put 2 comments on also and in the UK but can't see tham.
Lisa
February 13, 2021
I am from Australia. I wonder if anyone was contacted by someone who goes by the name of Charles Lautner, has a 7 year old son. Everytime we talk, he has an accent that doesnt match his face.
Scrabble scam
February 13, 2021
Has anyone spoken to. KirkWSmith.?? Pretending to be this guy Kirk who really is a lieutenant in the air force. He’s stolen his pics from the internet and is desperately trying to convince me he is actually him. He’s quite a smooth talker and he professed his love to me after a week. Because I’m getting such a kick out of it, I’m totally going along with it. He’s already asked me for gift cards to fix his computer so he could video call me. It’s so comical. He actually told me that a $200 Macy’s card would help him fix his computer. Lol Please let me know if anyone else is talking to this guy.
QuestionsEverything
February 13, 2021
Anyone chatting with an Anthony Garcia. Claims both parents passed away several years ago. Has an 11 year old daughter named Jessica. Lives in Texas. Asked me to move over to hangouts and asked him to video call me but coincidently the video didn’t work. Was married for 8 years and left because his ex was a chatter. He is suddenly being deployed to Syria.
Joanne 4
July 16, 2021

In reply to by QuestionsEverything

I recently was dealing with an Anthony Garcia met on FB and asked me to change over to Hangouts, says he is military, claims to live in Dallas, Tx with his daughter (12) He claimed he loved me, and was going to come visit. Just before his day to come here, he shows me a message on his phone that he had to go to London. He claims his wife was killed in a car accident and was looking for a mother for his daughter. While In London he said he forgot to load itunes cards on his phone and asked me to get his some, which I did. I took the picture of the code on the cards I got but fortunately for me they didn't work. He insisted I go to Walmart which I didn't. He then went on to tell me he got some over there in London then went on to say I had screwed everything up. I then began to question him about his honesty in coming to see me after he was back in the U.S. He then went on to ask me for $20,000 to prove my love for him. I told him I don't have that kind of money. Said he would give me $50,000 if I needed money, I declined any and all. That's when his language completely changed. Telling me to get lost, so I did. I have deleted him from all angles. Come to find out the number he gave me isn't a legit number go figure.
antslayr
February 13, 2021
I got scammed by Damian Kingsley. Lives in Tampa. Petroleum engineer that has been in Moscow for government contract. His bank account is on hold since someone tried to hack it. Needs money to buy supplies to finish his job. Led me to believe that he had money to pay me back. I sent a sickening amount of money through bitcoin to him. Not traceable or reversible of course. Hes such a charming and smooth talker. I'm his passion of destiny. He has a 8 year old son that lives with a nanny. His wife cheated on him so he's been divorced for 2 years. Grew up in Macon Georgia. Went to college in CA. Has one sister that lives in Belgium. His Forman also his best friend Josh lives in Miami with his wife and kids. Does this story sound familiar to anyone?? I feel so stupid for falling for all his lies. I am now in so much debts because of him. Not only that now I am suffering from anxiety and deep depression. How can a person be so cruel? Feeling hopeless and helpless.
Goober
February 14, 2021
Anyone come across Daniel Paretta? US Army in Syria, from Florida. Wife dead, son cared for by nanny. Bank has his account all screwed up.
liza
February 16, 2021
I've known someone from Facebook month ago. Her name Steve Jisung. He ask my phone no to add in WhatsApp's chat and I give my phone no. We continue chat in WhatsApp's. He told me he from Manchester and work as General Manager at Estate company. He really sweet talker and he wants to marry me. He greeted me every morning and evening with "dear". He ask me my address said he want to send gift to me and placed some money in the package for me ,i said no, i can't accept, and he insist ask me to accept the gift. so i give he my address, and the next day, he send me a link and also tracking no. to track the parcel.(https://westerndeliveryservices.000webhostapp.com). One day i receive message from this delivery service inform parcel already arrive and i need to pay for tax. It's my mistake, i pay as they request to personal account and after a few hour they message me again and inform the parcel contains a lot of expensive gold items, and money too and it's a violation of shipping and customs regulations. They ask me to pay another large amount to release this parcel. At the same time, this person also push me to pay the amount to delivery so they can deliver to me. I did not pay seem I feel something wrong and finally I know this person was scammer after my sister try using reverse image and search pic that he sent to me and found there are many fake account on Facebook and checked many people know him else where with the stolen pics of real Korean person. Why are there people like this in this world. For money that I already give, I know I will not get it back. I learned a very hard lesson :(
Ajamcike
February 17, 2021

In reply to by liza

I got in the same situation as you. Asked me to pay for the gift and the scammer also said the same things..he posts some sort of money and gold items. It feels so wrong when I thought why do we have to pay for that, isn't that the sender needs to complete all the payment... So when the delivery service asks for the payment, I just blocked all of it.. These people will do anything to get our money.. So be careful not to fall for that. Again
ebanski
February 15, 2021
The one who contacted me is posing as David Walters, fluent in both English and German. With the UN Peacekeeping mission story in Syria, captain, divorced with 2 children who live in Frankfurt, Germany. I blocked him from my Messanger so cannot send a photo, but Facebook indicated that his was a new account at the time. There are many accounts with this name on Facebook, all with similar stories.
Dan
February 15, 2021
I got caught up in this dating scam in which I thought I was going to date this Cam model. The story was that she (Sammy) had security guards paid by her company to protect her and the only way she could date was if I put up the money to pay her boss so she could could go on the date. She had pics of her with my name on it. She sent me videos of her doing the cam model act. She showed me pics near recognizable structures I asked her for. Mainly texted with her but did speak on the phone. Paid the money to her boss (which I was suppose to get back) then she claimed she was raped on the way to meet me and needed more money. It's a way more complicated story than what I have posted here but wanted to put out the name she used and her bosses in case anyone else comes across her. Sammy Campoins aka (Loraine Lorar on dating sites). Bosses name Jon Rojie Donato. Sammy claimed she was from California but presently living in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. I doubt either is true.
K8
February 15, 2021
A close friend of mine I believe is being scammed, his name is Daniel larrson and says he is an international trader, tried to have my friend download some type of app and she puts her personal info in and then tried asking her for her login. Got angry when she deleted it and said no. Has anyone on here had this happen to them?
Linda
February 16, 2021
Hello everyone I have been scammed and please guys I really need help of recovering my Funds
Mp
February 17, 2021
Similar situation. David Jeffrey Alexander ...widower with 16 year old son . Oil contractor working on an oil contract with shell oil . Three weeks of talking and texting he has to fly to Cyprus to close the deal . Calls me to say he was robbed in Cyprus and needs me to buy him a computer to close the deal .
123sucker456
February 17, 2021
I have been contacted by a man, Ken Kerry, army guy from Denmark stationed in Afghanistan. Lovely man, romancing me all the time. First he wanted giftcard from Amazon or Itunes. I said no. Days later he wanted to send me his stuff from the army as he was about to leave. He says its a box with all his housepapers from back home etc. I said no. Anyone knows this name, Ken Kerry??
Jannie
February 17, 2021
I, too, got scammed but this guy was so good....he’s an army orthopedic surgeon working in Syria. He’s sent me numerous photos whenever I ask which depict medical situations and I can tell they’re recent. He’s also sent me roses, chocolates and stuffed animals a couple times now. He immediately started requesting gift cards and money and for awhile, like a fool I did it. Three years later and I’m so angry, embarrassed and humiliated.... thought it could never happen to me. I’m sorry to see that I’m not the only one. I also have a friend in Nigeria who recently told me they (scammers) think Americans are stupid over there. They blackmail, lie with ease and laugh at us behind our backs while literally throwing money around. I’ve seen videos my friend took so I know it’s true. Beware of improper English, claims of love at first sight and ANYBODY who asks for money or gift cards. Also, don’t fall for flowers, poetry, candy or anything else—it’s your money they use to buy it so they can string you along. I don’t trust anyone online anymore.
Fed up with scammers
June 03, 2021

In reply to by Jannie

I may have had the same guy trying to scam me. He said he was in Damascus and sent same type of photos saying he was an orthopedic surgeon. He was always busy looking at patients X-rays. He said he was from Arkansas but was French traveling to and from France. He said he was in Syria with the IFRC and asked me to buy him a ticket home because his accounts were frozen.
Cheated
February 17, 2021
Did you anyone had contact with Patrik Jovanovic ot Tomas Adams? Canadien now in Kenya, volunteer in orphanage? Thanks
Birminghamman
February 17, 2021
Ok people .. I have been scrolling through these messages and see one common theme ... Most are saying .. yes this is the same man or woman as mine . Don't think of it as one person when you communicate ( it gets personal and emotional then) yes it might be one person ..but unless you have physically met them don't presume 1) their sex 2) their age 3) their location .. because all could be wrong. Often you are talking to a 'team' usually one will do the writing to keep the language and grammar the same .. but sometimes if you look carefully you can see subtle differences in messages when different people take their turn on the keyboard. Set traps they are often talking to several people at once and unless they are good they will make mistakes and show inconsistence. Until you have physical proof never presume you k ow the true identity of someone online. It's a sad bad world .. but keep looking there are also lots of great and genuine people out their
Almost fooled
February 17, 2021
Someone message me Steve Clifford message me and sending his handsome pictures... got the chance to talk to him but his voice doesnt match the face ... anyway he mentioned that he will celebrating his birthday and asking to buy a gift for him i told him no because i dont know how to purchase gifts online and later on he asked menif i can give him bitcoin... got suspicious there... and then sending me a pic of his sister i a hospital bed asking for help if he can loan money from me... and that ends my conversatio with him
Lili
February 18, 2021
Hello,someone by the name Santiago Charles or Charles Santiago have been texting my mom telling her tha he is in the army and he got a 13 years old daughter and that he wife did of drugs abuse and he is fat but he gonna come to North Carolina base soon and he want to visit my mom because he like her and that he want to send some money to her that way she can buy stuff for him and send it to him,this is a stupid scam I tell my mom don’t pay atención to what he is saying don’t give any information and stop talking to that person
Betty Boop
February 19, 2021
Hi Ladies, I have been talking to a Man Aaron Gareth, Miami Flordia says he's on project in Manchester, England. Offered to send me money, then it wouldn't go through. He is extremely Good Looking, tall, buff, brown grey hair, brown eyes. Say's his wife died giving birth to his 2nd child. Claimed the Bank closed his account in the US. Then said he sent me a package of $ through Regional Logistic Handlers to my house, that ended up needing $3,700 in CBP, US customs fees. He swept me off feet with long romantic, poems, promises of a better life for me & my daughter. He speaks to my daughter. I have send him Apple Cards to Upgrade his phone, and bitcoin money. I am broke, spent my daughters savings because he promised to give me $15,000. He said he got robbed, passoort gone, beat up, had no money to eat, or pay the hotel. He Cries on the phone histarically. Does this sound familiar?
Elizabeth
February 19, 2021
hello everyone I been scammed
Lisaaponte20
February 19, 2021
My mother is 73 years old and a few months ago was sent a friend request through Facebook from a "military doctor" who is stationed in Israel and is 20 years younger than her and his wife was killed in a horrific accident and then his uncle who raised him was killed and his parents were killed and all of this was mentioned to her on the first day of them chatting. He then asked her for her email and a different way to communicate the next day. I told my mom not to give him any information because it's not real but I know she did and that kind of pulled us apart a little bit because I know that she's getting scammed but she's now brainwashed and believes everything he says. He's already asked her for money because I have seen the messages and supposedly she says they are FaceTiming each other but I don't see how that's possible. I just know he's taking her money even though she doesn't admit it and this is a very unreal that this could happen to her at this point in life with this person that he has portrayed himself to be. These things just don't happen to us. How I wished it was true but I know it's not and she's going to get hurt and broke and this is ongoing and I don't know what to do. I have sent her information from the internet and all of my sisters have too but she does not seem to see anybody but him or here anyone but him. And I don't know what else to do.
Hirst
February 20, 2021
A woman keeps asking me to go on inbox on face book says she from hull in UK last year a woman on hang outs was asking me for money she to said was from hull in uk
Issa able
February 20, 2021
Contacted by Martin austad on LinkedIn, Said he was an engineer, long story short, I told him I worked in anti money laundering. He deleted the LinkedInprofile, he was on Xing and Instagram as Austad Martin, those profiles disappeared also. He still has a Facebook profile. He is connected to a Henderson Karl who has a Twitter profile. Also uses the name Newton Hansen. Scammer from Ghana. I believe his name is Newton mbanusi...
No fool like a…
July 22, 2021

In reply to by Issa able

Thank you for your post. I was not as smart as you, so I can tell you that he is definitely a scammer. I didnt lose any money but I was asked to add to money he sent me when mailed it back out. The old on the rig with a frozen account deal. He's reallllllyyyy good. He found me on Linked in as well. and a couple weeks ago I noticed it was gone, but I found the FB profile and started digging. I had been feeling a little odd for a couple weeks. Somethings just did not add up. This led me to your post. So thanks. My last text to him was ..so how is Henderson Karl these days. Hew claimed who? and I have not bothered to respond since BEWARE he's charming and attractive.
Ocmeicu2
February 21, 2021
Talking to Melissa Scherer right now...she's supposedly from Riverside California which is close to me now she's deployed over in fort Bragg he just got there doesn't know how long she's going to be there can't talk on the phone can only use text messages due to no data so she uses only Wi-Fi and needs me to buy her an iTunes card he won't talk about her past....lol I do pen testing another hacking on Android unfortunately she's on an iPhone or I would have some fun with her lol
Don't use your…
February 21, 2021
I meet a guy Moetaz El tawar from Egypt. He begs for money, clothes, phones and shoes. He is a beggar. And a scammer. He does not work like he said. If you say no that your not sending things to him or giving money. He threatens your life. Very bad He is a bad man. If you talk to this person. Run...
Sammy
March 03, 2021

In reply to by Don't use your…

Omg! He did the same thing to me too. He acts like he works at Zain. And has a profile on LinkedIn. He speaks different languages. And is on facebook with no picture. Also on Instagram. He some times spells his name different to hide his identity. He spelled his name for me. Moataz Eltawar. Or Saad Eltawar even Said Elta war. Bad person. Scammer!
Daisy
February 21, 2021
Has anyone been scammed by an Andrew Norbert who works on an oil rig in the North Sea? He’s stating he needs exit papers to get off the rig snd they are in a safe deposit box but he can’t receive it at sea. It has to be delivered on land and sent to his company. He wants to have it delivered to me. Any feedback would be appreciated.
kelly1986
March 01, 2021

In reply to by Daisy

I am talking with a guy from Oil rig as well.His name is David Lee. I think he is using different tactics. He asked me to open his bank account to pay his purchased equipment online. He has huge money on his bank. Like he is trying to show me that he trust me. Im thankful I come across on this site. I'll just see what his next move is.
Genemom
February 21, 2021
I recently struck up a friendship with a guy calling himself, Army General Paul Lacamera. He said he was stationed In Syria. He said lovely things for about a week. Then he asked me to send him steam cards. I told him send me the money for them, I will send them. Of course he said I have no way to send you money. And that was the end of any communication from him.
Starstruck
February 21, 2021
I had a scammer called jason Heinrich when intact when I did a imagine search he was using a Dave Marlons photos from a Facebook account his well known etc jason even used Dave's sons name but he gimmie some bank details and had 1 million dollars trsnsfreerd anyway when I confronted him and said I found the photos he sent me and screenshot it to show him he blocked me lucky I never got as far as to sending money to him he also was mad when I said i told a friend about us and he said I disobeyed him and friends be jealous bla bla he didnt want me to tell family wasnt happy i downloaded Skyoe on my phone and accessed whoever bank account it was on my phone also he claimed his wife died 5 years ago in a car crash and got a son Owen he did video call me twice once he was on a nice island another time in a nice building he seems so genuine and lovely til he got mad about me telling friend and whatever glad i got rid
Lovesfineart
February 22, 2021
Anyone know an Emmanuel Smith who mines gold bars? Reportedly 65 yrs holds German passport & currently living in England? Most likely on several sites.
Fedupwithlove
February 22, 2021
I met a Randy Clum from Ohio on farmersonly. Within a week, he moved out chat to whatsapp. Then he travels (supposedly) to Ireland for a job in Forestry. He demands that I cancel my acct on farmersonly(which I did). This Randy guy tells me how he has a multi-million dollar contract and will retire after this. 3 weeks into chatting, I ask for him to call me and he says his phone was broke on the job. I told him I was having doubts about him. He gave me some number to a woman he knows who will verify he is a real person and not a scam. Then he swndse a picture of his bank account with the balance. Asks me to log into his acct and transferoney to another account. Which I refuswd to do. Know he says that equent broke down and he cant get money out of his acct to buy the new equipment and needs a loan of $10000. I refused to send the money, he claims that I dont trust him! He wont swnd picture of drivers license or passport, of course I dont trust him. 2 weeks later, he is claiming that he cant leave Ireland, because he is in breach of his contract. Asked for money to pay lawyer so he can come home and straighten out his bank acct. I again refuaed and he said its sad that I dont trust him, as I am the love of his life! I want to report him, but what if he is telling the truth?
Ashley
April 11, 2021

In reply to by Fedupwithlove

It’s been 2 months since you posted this. Was he real? What happened? Reason I ask is that I am in the same predicament. We have been online dating 7 months now. I just asked him for his legal documents but he refuses. We tried to video chat and happened 3 times but always “bad connection” in South Africa. Noah Anderson, Irish, works for WHO, widow and orphaned, non nearest relative.
Dog with a bone
February 22, 2021
Scammer with every sob story in the book. Father long dead, he is running on an oil rig in the Mediterranean, and a storm destroyed some equipment Nov 2020. Asked for money. NO. Claims he flew to New York to sell his house, and somehow he was able to get the closing and proceeds in record time to buy new equipment, which got stuck in Tblisi Georgia, and he needed money to pay tariffs. NO. Finally equipment allegedly makes it to Turkey, but now his crew is threatening to quit if they are not paid. A loan? NO. Next, his mother, in Finland, has cancer and requires a $14000 operation. Finland has socialized medicine, so I questioned him about it, and the reason was his mother was too young to qualify. How old is your mother? 45? I thought you said you were 39? By now I know this is a big scam, but am amusing myself with how wild the tales can get. Then, suddenly mother dies, and he needs money for a plane ticket to the USA to get to Finland. Again, NO. She died in December, and he is still asking for money for a ticket to Finland in February to bury the mother. Hunh? How long can a deceased stay on ice? Finally the big one came: He claims to have some gold bars which were given to him by a Saudi Arabian. How KSA came into play from oil rigs off the coast of Turkey was too wild to continue the charade.