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Romance Scams: What You Need to Know

In August 2019, the federal authorities charged an international ring of cyber thieves with stealing millions of dollars from businesses, the elderly, and others through an elaborate "romance scam." Many of these scammers pretended to be U.S. soldiers stationed abroad, and after gaining trust through Internet dating apps and correspondence, asked their victim to send them funds to support false needs.

  • For some reason, the person abroad can't talk on the phone or via webcam, and only communicates through emails

  • They can't receive the money directly, so you're asked to send the transaction through a third party

  • You are asked to send your personal documents

  • The funds are requested to support false service-related needs such as transportation costs, communication fees, marriage, food, medical fees or most commonly "to fly back to the US"

  • They note that their parents, wife or husband is deceased

  • They profess their love and refer to you as "my love", "my darling" or any other affectionate term almost immediately

  • They claim to be in the U.S. military, however, their English and grammar do not match that of someone born and raised in the United States

  • They're stationed in a country where there are very few US troops (African countries for example)

Be cautious

If you start an Internet-based relationship with someone, make sure to do some research about the area they say they are, what they do and what their needs are. If you can contact a current or former service member you will find out the reality of being stationed abroad.

If you decide it's safe to send funds and use Sharemoney to do so, beware we don't guarantee we will be able to recover the funds once the transaction is Paid Out.

For more details we recommend visiting the following government resources:

  • Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force: offers additional information regarding protecting oneself against various frauds at stopfraud.gov

  • Internet Crime Control Center (ICCC): report a crime at ic3.gov

    The ICCC is a joint partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center.

  • Federal Trade Commission website: offers identity theft information at ftc.gov