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If an online love interest asks for money that's a scam.

As your social media and mailboxes fill up with new year’s greetings, you might see some unfamiliar names. Are the messages from long-lost friends or romance scammers trying to get close? Here are some things to watch for.

Scammers pretend to be heroes in faraway places. The phony Marines, soldiers, admirals, generals, diplomats, and surgeons claim they can’t speak or show their faces because they’re in Afghanistan, Ukraine, or South Sudan but they aren’t.

Scammers say they’re in love. You can’t meet these faraway “friends” in person, but they’ll chat with you daily. Too soon, they surprise you with declarations of love, or ask to marry you, and say you can share all your secrets (and money) with them now. Don’t believe them.

Scammers ask for expensive favors. They might ask you to accept a package of cash, gems, and gold and pay the fake “shipping fee” that really goes in their pocket. Or, they ask for new phones to replace broken ones or beg for gift cards and presents for the “kids they left back home.” (There aren’t any kids.) If you say OK to one request, they come back with another, and then another.

Scammers always ask for money. They make plans to visit but tell you they’re delayed by costly problems: a lost airline ticket or visa, a medical emergency, or a blocked account. They say if you could send them some money, they could still come see you. But the minute your online love interest asks for money, you know it’s a scam. Want to know who else is a scammer? Anyone who asks you to share account numbers, send gift cards or wire transfers, or pay with payment apps or cryptocurrency.

If you think someone is a scammer, cut off contact. Tell the online app or social media platform right away, and then tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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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.
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  • 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.

Albert J Hartl
January 09, 2024

I have been scammed

AF
January 16, 2024

In reply to by Albert J Hartl

So sorry to hear. Did you report to authorities ?

Dona bell
January 09, 2024

Amend. Would hope people would wise up

WATCH Online games. Once had played 3 years with 2 friends n this guy popped up. Said writer was here n he was saving to join him. Then after 3 yrs asked for money as he had a misfortune n had to use his savings.
I BLOCKED HIM.

BUT DIDNT KNOW TO REPORT HIM.

I REPORTED A GUY LAST YR BY PHONE TO FTC N THEY SAID THE OTHER PLACE YOU REPORTED HIM WILL PROBABLY HANDLE ? I asked aren't you going to handle. They said no.

Hadyn
February 12, 2024

In reply to by Dona bell

It sounds like you blocked both of the guys and reported the second but that you were not scammed out of any money so no crime was committed. The FTC is flooded with reports and are trying to crack down on the crimes. By reporting to the social media platform the platform can flag and log the attempted scammer's IP addresses used in case if it does turn into a criminal case where action can be taken to track this person down. Scams are everywhere and it's going to take a collective effort to stand against it to make a real difference. Good job on reporting the 2nd guy to the platform you may have saved someone down the road!

Joyce
January 08, 2024

I was scammed, but didn't know it until it was too late. I lost thousands, and now my house is going into foreclosure. Noe it's too late. I have lost Everything

D. Miller
January 08, 2024

My brother gets scammed all the time through social media. Mostly young girl pictures claiming they are 21+ and sending provocative pictures and nude as well. Claim they want to meet. Buy gift cards with no trace, scratch them off, take a picture of the card and send by phone. He's a victim and won't believe it. These pics say they are from the Philippines. Vehicle broke down on their way to meet up. Please buy another card so to help their journey. Then run out of gas. Ect... Way too beautiful of girls to want a 66 yr old man.

Edward Halie Shwery
January 09, 2024

I am 81 with cancer and my wife and I agree that I am not trustworthy to be alone on the computer or telephone. I have almost agreed to authorize money transfers from our bank. I have also agreed to purchase things from callers that took months to reverse. I finally printed a form that listed the things that identify a scam and placed it by the computer and phone. I suggest that you prepare a concise statement that other people can post next to their computer and phone and remind them to consider if a call is a scam

Maydaysmiles
January 09, 2024

It's all true. Happened to me. Wish I'd seen this 5 years ago. Still paying of debt, ruined my credit too.

Sue S.
January 09, 2024

With agencies like US Digital Corps and all othess so wonderfully positioned and functional perhaps there should be a mechanism to flag these kinds of Digital ID Frauds specially from Social Media and Mass Distribution Posts and Origins as its Public in Nature. and impacts everyone.
For common ordinary citizens and individuals its almost 'Mission Impossible" to sit and discriminate and disseminate on what's Fake and what's genuine coming from these Public Sites.
This would be especially applicable now since the Controls seems to be non-existent on Policy or Regulations on " Control of Fake " and Before the fact! There is nothing visible on 'Preventive" . Its only Reactive and After the fact by all visible and established processes so fact.

it's just a Out of Control Disaster waiting to happen on a mass scale in my opinion and should NOT be this way.

Thank You.

Charyl Rose
January 08, 2024

I was so stupid as to fall for two different scammers. I wish I would have seen a warning like this 10 years ago. Since then I have been paying and paying to try and get out of debt. Fortunately this is my last year of making payments and I'm so happy to count it down. I will never do something like this again and I hope other people learn this lesson.

Bettina Parker
January 08, 2024

These articles are so helpful, please keep sending them !

jacques bernard
January 08, 2024

how do we claim our money back from scammers in ghana . i was a victim of this practice 3,500 and lost two of my capitalone credit cards and paying them back..

Robwar
January 08, 2024

True

Rosemary
January 08, 2024

Thank you so kindly ...I never knew what a scammer was ever in my life till I was looking up keannu reeves to know more about him in a kindly why ..Just because I remember him on TV the news sitting with a homeless bk in 1997 ..So I went bk on social media I saw him then I just wanted to learn more about him like I was upset when I found out he was a movie star like John Wayne my moma & met in the labor room before i was born ..So then I went on archmotorcyle Wedsite I didn't know he was the founder of that business then I got reply back from scrammers the said I like your comments privacy message me .So I did man this guy a fake keannu Reeves charm me so I went with the flow to know why in the world this guy ilike me then by the 3 rd day ..man the topic changes they want something from me like money , I got so upset I'm not giving even if it was the real Keannu Reeves he's not getting a penny out of me or I'm not going to met him in person like they wanted to ..You have to be so careful today ..So they bullying you it really hurts so all I do is block and reporting then for keannu reeves he's not on social media so I emile his local business archmotorcyle told them you need to read your fans message I feel so dumb commenting on your local business Facebook Instagram and Twitter.. So I'm going to emile again tell them I told you about them not relying to there fans it's rude it helps keeps the scrammers away and it's a very kind thing to show respect for your fans that I block the scrammers for you or I can do it another way report your page for not caring about the scrammers your on social media. Well thank you so kindly Rosemary Carlson Allen for letting me tell my side of the story you are so very kind
Happy Holidays with so many Blessing to look forward to the New Year in 2024 ..

Evelyn Goodson
January 08, 2024

I appreciate Consumer and all you do to keep us informed and alert. Thank you much.

RICHARD H LONG
January 08, 2024

This article is very interesting and I had it happen to me but, I'm aware of this scam of Love. Thank you for your website, Rich 77

Sandra R.
January 16, 2024

The scams are insane.
I had over 105 phone calls in one day from Medicare third party sales,Medicare will not call you to sell you anything.
Also watch for your favorite celebs if you followIf some claims to be whoever,be assured it is not, they'll declare their 🧬 be then ask for money for "fan cards" that will allow you to see them... doesn't happen...no fan cards,no visits.

Anna
January 24, 2024

It happened to me as well. I lost thousands
They are very convincing to lonely people

Kenneth R Messenger
February 01, 2024

I read this warning too late. I have been a victim of a Romance Fraud for which I paid $9.90 and $49.90 on 1/20/2024. I have already filed a complaint with the FTC.
I have also informed the company that perpetrated this fraud of my actions and demanded a credit.
Thank you for the opportunity to tell my foolish story.

Stormie
February 09, 2024

My “husdand” is so sure he talking to the real celebrity. Their going to give him a good job and everything. I tell him everyday it’s a scam. It’s not real. It’s costing us our marriage. So not only do these scammers take your money the take your brain.