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  • Romance Scams FAQ


    Scam Questions Tip Sheet

    Where do I find the photos?

    Romance scammer pictures can be found here. You can also do an image search on Google and TinEye to see if the photo(s) you have been sent are being used elsewhere on the web/internet .

    How can I find the real person?

    You cannot. The “real” person in the photo most likely has no idea his/her photo is being used in this way. He or she is another victim of this crime.

    How do I know it's a scammer?

    There is no one way to know for sure you are a victim of this crime but if you've been asked to send money, cash checks or money orders, provide your bank or other account information to someone you have never met who is a citizen of your country and then travels to West Africa for one reason or another, more likely than not you are in contact with a scammer.

    I sent him a copy of my passport or driver’s license, is that going to be a problem?

    Yes. You have now given the scammer all the information he/she needs to steal your identity. Please go to this guide <here> and follow each step to protect you and your identity.

    I gave him all of my personal information including my social security number, what do I do?

    Follow each and every step given in this guide < here>. If you have questions, feel free to contact one of the Peer Counselors.


    I sent him lots of pictures of myself and my family.

    Then, one day, you may see yourself and/or family member photos used to scam another victim. There is nothing else you can do until this happens, then contact that website and ask that they be removed.

    How do I run an IP check?

    Instructions for locating the header and tracing the originating IP from most email programs are available.

    You can also contact our Technical Advisor who will advise you on document verification and tracing IP numbers.

    How do I check phone numbers and addresses?

    If you do find a phone number or address for this person, it has been stolen and belongs to a real individual who doesn't know, in most cases, that his/her identity has been stolen. However, there are many ways to search for both phone numbers and addresses. Using Google is one of the best and easiest. Type in the address and/or phone number into the search box and if it exists, Google will provide the details.

    Does anyone have the same scammer as I do?

    We doubt that this is ever the case. Scammers change names, identities, the photos they steal and use more often than most of us change our underwear. There can be several scammers at any one time using the same name and photo to steal from their victims.


    What site did he/she find you on?

    It doesn't matter except for reporting the scammer to that particular site. Otherwise, scammers are everywhere on the internet and worldwide web. Remember they work in groups and because nothing about them is real, chasing one is like chasing a phantom.

    Will I get my money back?

    No, your money is gone.

    How can I get him arrested?

    You cannot get him/her arrested. Since he/she lives in a foreign country, the law enforcement in your country has no authority to arrest, charge and convict.

    How can I be responsible for the check if I didn't cash/deposit it?

    In many states, it is a felony to possess a fraudulent or bad check. One doesn't have to try to deposit it. Knowingly having possession is enough to be arrested and charged.

    What do I do with the check?

    Place it back in the envelope in which it arrived. Print the emails/chat scripts where the scammer discusses this and gives you instructions. Take all to your local postmaster explaining you believe you are a victim of fraud. It doesn't matter which service was used to send the check, the U.S. Postal Service is the governing authority on mail fraud in the United States.


    I was arrested at the bank / post office / check cashing place. What do I do?

    Contact one of the Peer Counselors immediately. We work closely with a group of legal experts that may be able to help you.

    Why do I have to pay back the bank?

    A check or money order is only a promise to pay or provide funds. When you deposit either in your account, in essence you are making a guarantee that the funds will be provided. When they aren't, you have agreed to personally make them good.

    How can reshipping an item hurt me?

    Anyone who receives an item from a shipper and then sends it on becomes responsible if payment is returned by the original purchaser.

    I got packages that were shipped to me, what do I do?

    Contact the retailer/sender. Explain you believe you are the victim of a scam and did not order the merchandise and want to return it. Follow their instructions. If you believe more packages are going to arrive, give instructions to the post office and any other carrier that you will not accept any further packages.

    How do I do a 'check' on IM?

    See instructions.