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It’s never too late to find love, and lots of dating sites and apps are there to help. But scammers are out to steal your heart, too…and then steal your money. This Older Americans Month, let’s talk about romance scams. These can happen when someone makes a fake profile on dating sites, apps and social media. They then message you to get a relationship going, build your trust, and connect.

Then, they hit you up for money. “Baby, I want to come see you but I’m short on funds. Can you send me $500 for a ticket?” Or, “I love you, honey. But we may not be able to talk anymore because my phone is about to get cut off. I need $300 to pay the bill…” Get the idea?

In the name of love, you send money. They come back with other lies to get still more money. Then the messages stop. You can’t reach them. They’ve taken off with a piece of your heart and big chunk of your wallet.

People reported $304 million in losses to romance scams in 2020. Here’s how you can avoid these heartless imposters:

  • If someone you’ve never met in person asks you for money, that’s a scam. No matter the story. Never send money or gifts to anyone you haven’t met in person — even if they send you money first.
  • Only scammers tell you to buy gift cards, wire money, or send cryptocurrency. Once you send that money, you won’t get it back.
  • Do a reverse image search of the person’s profile picture. See if it’s associated with another name or with details that don’t match up. Those are signs of a scam.

Talk to someone you trust about your new love interest, and pay attention if they’re concerned. Learn more by watching this video and at ftc.gov/romancescams. And if a scammer tries to charm you out of your funds, report it to the FTC.

16 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.

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jobe
May 12, 2021
It's pretty sad so many people fall for this scam.
Got it goinon
May 12, 2021
Keep up the rightous work!
Noah and James…
May 12, 2021
A friend of mine got sucked into this very scheme over six years ago. He was a "retiring captain" in the service but was stationed overseas. They couldn't talk on the phone because the enemy might have been listening. He asked her to send a computer. She sent a computer that included all the bells and whistles to the tune of over $2,000. When it arrived overseas, the scammer was now the government saying she sent gold bars and had to pay up or her captain would be held in captivity. At that moment, she realized she had been scammed for weeks. The captain ended up being a 21 year old from NY. Please women and men - be careful. This person preyed on her loneliness and took full advantage of that. This lady who was scammed is a very intelligent lady and truly believed this captain loved her.
Bogiebear
May 12, 2021
It’s too late. This should have come out a year ago. Is there any way to catch these guys and have them arrested?
checkin it out
May 15, 2021

In reply to by Bogiebear

Me too..I heard of catfish but never knew how they sucked you in..to late for me too..waiting to be sure before I turn him in!
dmbpersonDon't…
May 12, 2021
very informative !!!!!!
MeDon't use yo…
May 12, 2021
It's happens twice to me But never again
Rainbow
May 12, 2021
I never knew that it's a first time for everything
Broken
May 24, 2021
I have been scammed by a person who states he’s a independent contractor who I met on an online dating site. After a few emails he states he’s got a contract to fix a pipeline ion a rig in the gulf. Equipment brakes down and needs $5,000 because he doesn’t have enough money. Next comes another$9,500 to pick up at dock. Needed money again to fly home. The day he was to leave he is arrested due to explosions at rig. Now in prison and needs $150,000 to pay for the damages. I am out $45,000 and told him I could not send any more money. He also claims to love me after a few emails and dents bible quotes all the time. He says he lives in Arizona but there is no record of him on the internet. When I asked him what his nationality is because of the way he writes he avoids the question and laughs and says United States. He goes by the name of David. Has anyone been scammed by this man.
Cookie
June 06, 2021

In reply to by Broken

Sure sounds the present guy david wellingham petroleum engineers who says scammed by Russian and all his bank accounts are lock up on oil rig l
Ug-lnWI
August 25, 2021

In reply to by Broken

I met this guy when he asked me to be his friend on BigFish…. Don’t know why I did….but he was also saying that he was an oil engineer working on the last 4 weeks of his contract…. Was very smooth and loving (practically screaming SCAM, because things don’t that fast …started 8/4/21, and on 8/16…the clincher: he needs $13,000 because he has to fix his leased crane in order to complete his contract….. I couldn’t /wouldn’t help, so a couple of days later he said he could not understand that I would not help him… put the guilt on me…. Well, I did not answer to that statement….and I am not about to. Trust your gut, ladies…. if it sounds too good to be real, it usually is. This is my first scammer experience…. Watch any game apps, they will get the players as patsies….as I said BF is a slots/casino app… and he is the first and LAST friend I’ll accept…. Language was showing also up as maybe second language….
Oil rig
September 01, 2021

In reply to by Broken

Yes, I just fell for this scam to the tune of $50k. This site has good info, but you probably arent looking on here until you've been scammed. Then it's too late. It would be nice if the dating sites posted things to watch out for. They prey on old people who arent always savvy about such things. This scum has my whole savings.
M. 2021
August 02, 2021
My mother in law has a new online love interest. Says they’ve face timed and even talked with his 10 year old ‘daughter’ who showed her their nice house and pool they have out in L.A. yet my M.I. L. Has had to send him money while he was ‘working’ in Turkey? I can’t seem to get her to open her eyes and have him checked out before she sells her house to go live with him. How do I help or even have this person verified… My gut tells me it’s a scammer….
Scammed
August 10, 2021

In reply to by M. 2021

I met someone with the same story, however he was in Turkey working on a job, and ran out of money. He needed $12,000, and supposedly the company he worked for wouldn’t give him anymore money. He never asked me for money, but I knew where it was headed. He barked up the wrong tree as I had no money at the time. I stopped talking to him shortly thereafter as I realized he was a scammer.
BABE
August 13, 2021
HAS ANYONE KNOW OF ANDREW SMITH AND SMITH DOUGLAS THEY BOTH ARE SCAMMERS
Honey
September 22, 2021
I was in an almost 5 month relationship with a person who called himself Donald Daniel Duke, from UK living in Ca and and Orthopedic Surgeon in Sudan. He had a wife died in Childbirth one daughter Sidney living in the UK at a Boarding school. He also went by the Name of Dr. David King, also in one post found he was a Plastic Surgeon, so beware. Very Good looking but you never know if they use their own pictures....