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US FTC FYI - Achy fakey heart

David H. Lipman

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Achy fakey heart

By:  Jim Kreidler,Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

"You’ve heard of romance scams. But do you know how they happen? They start when scammers create fake profiles on dating apps or social media. Then, those scammers strike up a relationship with their targets and work to build trust. Sometime later, they make up a story and ask for money.

So how do you spot a romance scammer? Here are some things to watch for:

  • Any love interest who asks you to give them money on a gift card, by money transfer, or cryptocurrency is a scammer. Period.
  • Romance scammers profess love quickly. They might say they can’t meet you because they’re overseas for business or military service — but, during the pandemic, they might just say they’re locked down.
  • Romance scammers might try to lure you off the dating site.
  • Scammers will find a reason to ask you for money — maybe to buy a phone card to keep chatting, maybe to help with a “medical emergency,” or maybe something else. 
  • Romance scammers sometimes build interesting dating profiles. But try a reverse-image search of the profile pictures. Are any photos associated with another name, or with details that don’t match up? That’s just more proof that it’s a scam.

If you’ve spotted any of these signs of a scam, tell the online dating app or social media platform right away. And then tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov

Share these graphics with your family, friends, and social networks. You probably know someone who could use the reminder."




Edited by David H. Lipman
Edited for content, clarity, spelling and grammar
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  • 2 weeks later...

New FTC Data Show Massive Increase in Romance Scams, $304M in Losses


More consumers than ever report falling prey to romance scammers, according to new Federal Trade Commission data that show consumers reported losing a record $304 million to the scams last year.

A newly released data spotlight shows that the amount consumers reported losing to romance scammers is up about 50 percent since 2019, and has increased more than fourfold since 2016.

Scammers draw people in using pictures stolen from around the internet, building false personas that seem just real enough to be true, but always having a reason never to meet in person. Eventually, the supposed suitor will ask for money from the unwitting consumer. The impact can be major, with the median loss reported to the FTC being $2,500—more than ten times higher than the median loss across all other frauds.

The COVD-19 pandemic has resulted in people staying physically distant, providing ample reason for consumers to look for relationships online and providing a swath of new reasons for scammers to use to put off meeting in person. 

The spotlight notes that while many people report the romance scam started on a dating site or app, even more report that the scam originated from contact through social media. While the asks for money sometimes begin with a story about a medical emergency, consumers reporting the largest losses often said they believed the scammer had actually sent them money. Many people reported that these instances turned out to be elaborate money laundering schemes, such as for fraudulently obtained unemployment benefits.

According to the spotlight, consumers most often report sending money to romance scammers by wire transfer or in the form of gift cards. Reports of gift cards used to pay romance scammers were up by nearly 70 percent over 2019.

The FTC provides tips for consumers on how to spot romance scams and protect themselves at ftc.gov/romancescams


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Here is an actual Romance Scam email with its attached picture...


Hey there my great friend. I’m Kseniya, and I’m excited, that I have a chance prepare you this message. The single young woman, I ’m from in Belarus, in the Soligorsk region. I believe, that you have heard something about this country. How old are you? I’ll forward you the photographs. To me - thirty-six. I write you with idea, that you look for a soul mate. I had earlier a few unsuccessful situations to find the person through the Internet, but they always finished the same way: men all have tried to cheat and well to spend time online. But I did not look for it, I have completely serious intentions to meet a nice and sincere man. I think, that you did not expect to find the email from me in general. If you’re interested, contact me



One should look at the Red Flags bedsides an unsolicited Romance contact.  Looking at the email, the source IP is which is Telefonica USA, Inc. and the email Domain is terra.com.br which does not corroborate the body of the email statement "...Belarus, in the Soligorsk region".  Additionally, the email is initiated by the IP;  which is a Tor Exit Node in Germany.  Another Red Flag is the email is sent from one email address; "Kseniyushka Iam" <elenisemariac@terra.com.br>" and wants you to reply to: "Kseniyushka Iam" <lolikseniya@gmail.com>.

Note that Kseniyushka Iam does NOT match the name elenisemariac which is another Red Flag.


Below is the redacted headers of this particular Romance Scam spam email.



Received: from
 by atlas103.aol.mail.ne1.yahoo.com with HTTP; Sun, 28 Feb 2021 10:36:02 +0000
Return-Path: <elenisemariac@terra.com.br>
Received: from (EHLO terra.com)
 by with SMTPs; Sun, 28 Feb 2021 10:36:02 +0000
X-Originating-Ip: []
Received-SPF: pass (domain of terra.com.br designates as permitted sender)
Authentication-Results: atlas103.aol.mail.ne1.yahoo.com;
 spf=pass smtp.mailfrom=terra.com.br;
 dmarc=pass(p=QUARANTINE) header.from=terra.com.br;
X-Apparently-To: <redacted>; Sun, 28 Feb 2021 10:36:02 +0000
X-YMailISG: 1Msl6tUWLDuoRlmsttC68kbKBjOfTPY0TiEx5sEUNu9DM1Qv
Received: from mail-out-cmgw11-mia.tpn.terra.com (unknown [])
	by mail-sr-bad01-mia.tpn.terra.com (Postfix) with ESMTP id 98E9FC127A5A
	for <redacted>; Sun, 28 Feb 2021 10:36:01 +0000 (UTC)
Received: from localhost ([])
	by cmsmtp with SMTP
	id GJQZluXPcayfkGJQcl5eLX; Sun, 28 Feb 2021 10:36:01 +0000
X-Auth: elenisemariac@terra.com.br
MIME-Version: 1.0
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 2021 11:35:54 +0100
Message-ID: <842AD3021B9CE9F99C5878B137B4A2EEB6B6B64F@unknown>
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary="------------070700080109050409020906"
X-Priority: 3 (Normal)
From: "Kseniyushka Iam" <elenisemariac@terra.com.br>
Reply-To: "Kseniyushka Iam" <lolikseniya@gmail.com>
To: <redacted>@comcast.net
Subject: Salutti dear man.
X-CMAE-Envelope: MS4wfAIw9SvJZka/zXk59YnS0LSdqPobCHd+CyxuR3NfE0Zp8ZaDv7PATBIaGjtPqQu747qojQ6L//eeh90WobZdlXSUxu0j56/wQK0hb8xFRvr6bbndeoWA
Content-Length: 26445



Edited by David H. Lipman
Edited for content, clarity, spelling and grammar
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