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The money wound up in a bank in Tampa but then vanished into other s overseas, spurring the interest of local FBI agents. The probe reached its zenith last month when a man who who helped orchestrate the scheme appeared in a Tampa courtroom to face a sentence of 15 years in federal prison. The Black Axe started as a fraternal organization on college campuses in Nigeria in the s. It eventually evolved into an organized crime group. In the United States and around the world, the group is responsible for the loss of millions of dollars through a variety of elaborate cons.

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Not 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?

Romance racket: dating scams amid pandemic on the rise

The scammers transfer stolen money into the newand then tell their victims to wire the money out of the country. Here are some warning s that an online love interest might be a fake. They ask you to:. Unfortunately, online dating scams are all too common.

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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 ftc. I met s guy on pof as well. That he is ready for a knee beginning. I was scammed years ago in a very low time in my life and that other made scam me for Anyways this man sends me pictures of himselfhis son, and home and even him in his uniform. I was contacted by Nicolas Diegoo which is the name he prefers Nicolas being his fathers name.

I think his last name is really Johnson. He contacted me through facebook using his deceased mothers. As soon as he knew I would keep talking to him he moved it off of facebook and facebook closed the it was unverifiable.

He lived in New Jersey and is an engineer that works on oil equipment. He told me how much he loved me and wants us to be together and kept asking me if I loved him. Soon I was telling him how I did love him. He than told me he had an acceptance of a bid he put on a job in the Philippines.

Faking it — scammers’ tricks to steal your heart and money

That is when things went sour in my mouth. He got to the Philippines and was robbed by the taxi driver. He sent pictures of wound on his leg and stitches. I told him I did not have that kind of money and I did send some money although I was very suspicious. I did not want to take the chance that he was really hurt. He was stitched up but said he was staying at the hospital till I could send money.

He made contact with the company he said he was doing this job for, and they gave him a check for me for way more than I sent him. I am sure the check is fake but I have not seen it yet. He also said he got paid by the company in advance and was going to send me 4 million dollars in a box.

He said I might have to pay a little when the box got here for duties and taxes. I questioned him about all this and just blew it off saying I had to pay it or he would lose everything.

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I told him to go to the company tell them he needed cash for the bogus check they wrote. Tampa Florida FL dating scams said that would be unprofessional and I should ask my friends for help. I know this is not right. Even as I am typing this out I see how stupid it is and recall all the errors he made and I still fell for it. I think he also used the name Dennis Johnson. There was a guy I met on Instagram named mason kaulfman said he was in the Army on deployment in Kabul he told me to go on Hangouts wife died has a 10 year old daughter and her name was Rabecca at first he was nice but said fake things got defensive mad cuz I couldn't help him didn't want to tell me the truth I was thinking something is not right I paid attention to my instincts I decided to look up the logo on his shirt and hat on his pictures and caught him in his lie I was like I know u r a scammer he got so mad cuz he knew he got caught so now he is using another name look up mike glover on Instagram and Facebook and utube owns a company called fieldcraft survival don't fall for it ladies.

I am talking to a man who says his name is Mark Jackson and lives in Houston Texas. He says his wife died of cancer and the picture he sent me of his daughter is beautiful. Now he came back on my phone to message me and I told him that I think he is a scammer.

A tampa fraud case helped reveal the black axe, a scheme from nigeria

No man falls in love with a woman that fast and not even meeting her. This sounds like a familiar story, except he used "Mark Harisson" as his name and claims he's from San Diego, and has a daughter in boarding school. He claims he wants to marry me now and wants to move to Alaska. He first said he was an engineer on an oil rig, then told me he has been dishonest and "that I changed him" and says he's a security officer on "Transocean oil and rig" company.

He's asked for amazon cards, Nike, and Walmart cards and wanted me to send money to this "Donna Johnson" who was supposively a doctor who was treating his daughter on a school trip in Africa and he couldn't send money for the doctor bill. Now he says he owes a guy in Dubai for paying his daughter's boarding school, and wants to know how much I can send him. Too good to be true?

Hi there, "taking advantage of" - I think my friend might be being scammed by this same man.

I'm really worried about her; she's swallowed his lies hook, line and sinker, and is pushing all her friends and family away. I think the only way that she'll accept that this is a scam is if she sees evidence. Is there any chance you could post a photo of him or send one to me? This would be concrete proof that he's a scam artist. It's the same name and back story, but even this isn't convincing her - she's so desperate for it to be true.

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He is an Italian. He chatted to me and as I know a lot about architecture etc I thought we had a lot in common.

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He also seemed intelligent with an architectural degree and a masters in Civil engineering. He talked for months and I shared quite a lot of personal stuff. Eventually he wanted to get romantic but I made it clear I was looking for friendship as my marriage has just broken up. After arriving in Nigeria he suffered a robbery and lost his passport and cards plus other items in a bag stolen from his van.

Well he asked for a loan.

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I refused. He asked for money for meds. I offered to get them sent. He got very agitated and I told him sending money was not an option.

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He chatted on and abruptly disappeared. I was worried at first but the penny dropped. He showed me a picture of a building that he said was in California but I traced it to Australia. Stupidlynid agreed to meet him in the Uk. He said how hard he worked etc. Medical problems were gone into. Hi I have just found out the guy I met on LinkedIn is not who he says he is.

We soon moved onto hangout he said his wife died in a car accident on her birthday 4 years ago.

Has a son 13 years old who is at boarding school in UK. Wants to marry me. Works for US military in Kabul. Top secret.

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Got paid dollars per month. He used the name David Robinson. Picture was of a model from UK. Contact on gmail as well after I found out his scam he still message me to try explain. I am glad I notice the bad English and he did recognise the place he said he came from when I sent a picture image of it. Thompson Morgan - Heavy accent. So my Mom had her first only dating expereince.

Oh and by the way, the package is deivered and we will be expecting it this week or so but I think this is a scam. Could this be? I would be Leary of accepting packages from strangers you and your mom could be in trouble with the law. I am a 35 year old woman living in the UK. I met Ben Parker playing on words with friends.

Romance scam victims conned out of hundreds of thousands of dollars

We got chatting and he seemed sweet. He said he was 41 lived in California but was originally from Russia. Well he said his dad was Russian and his mum American. He said his wife had died and both his parents ,and that he had an 8 year old son and a nanny. A couple of weeks later he said he was travelling to Kuwait for work and would be there for a while. He then seemed sad one day and said his son was ill etc.