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

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Image of cupid and heartNot 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? They’re looking to steal your money.

As if all that isn’t bad enough, romance scammers are now involving their victims in online bank fraud. Here’s how it works: The scammers set up dating profiles to meet potential victims. After they form a “relationship,” they come up with reasons to ask their love interest to set up a new bank account. The scammers transfer stolen money into the new account, and then tell their victims to wire the money out of the country. Victims think they’re just helping out their soulmate, never realizing they’re aiding and abetting a crime.  

Here are some warning signs that an online love interest might be a fake. They ask you to:

  • chat off of the dating site immediately, using personal email, text, or phone
  • wire money using Western Union or Money Gram
  • set up a new bank account

Did you know you can do an image search of your love interest’s photo in your favorite search engine? If you do an image search and the person’s photo appears under several different names, you’re probably dealing with a scammer. And if the person’s online profile disappears a few days after they meet you, that’s another tip-off.

Here’s the real deal: Don’t send money to someone you met online — for any reason. If your online sweetheart asks for money, you can expect it’s a scam.

Unfortunately, online dating scams are all too common. 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.gov/complaint — click on Scams and Rip-Offs, then select Romance Scams.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

I have seen this a couple of times. I can tell by their english. One guy, when I asked what he did for a living, he said I sell metal canned food. No salesman in the US would ever say that. This man was supposable from California.

Helen Christiana Terry is a name a scammer has stolen and is using it to extort money from men saying shes a nurse in Nigeria with UNICEF when I contacted UNICEF after she emailed me and I noticed poor english for a nursing student they told me she was a fraud she or whom ever is still using the emails to commit fraud

Please, I think my so called boyfriend is a Nigerian scammer. Someone help me. My heart is to invested. I don't wanna leave him .but I found out he is saying the same thing to other woman. I called him out n he . I need to know y they disappear on the week end please someone any one.

Hello Melanie, I feel what ur going thru, I met someone in EH and his voice didn't match the pic but to find out neither was the pic..in which came clean with but I still believed n him until he asked for my financial support..At that time everything about him I was Leary..I didn't send money and that changed the relationship.He is an African man who lived n LA but was doing "business" n Australia.. Even at time if connecting I tried to do research in him but hit a brick wall..he has a Facebook(I don't) but there is more of story and yes I totally understand how u feel but wanted to say u r not alone..keep ur head up,don't do ANYTHING u don't feel comfortable n doing

Hi Ladies:

I'm so sorry for your pain. These online scammers have no sense of decency. If you notice only one pic or this person escalates his emotions quickly - even before meeting! Then chances are he's a scammer. True love comes from meeting the person face to face, learning about each other in broad daylight - not over the internet!! Don't let yourselves be tricked into thinking these con artists are sincere.

Recently, I was scam by someone from a online dating for money. What do i do? I am lost and don't know how to get out of this situation.

If you gave the scammer your bank or credit card account numbers, contact your bank or credit card company and ask how to protect your accounts.

Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The details you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations. If you sent money by wire transfer service, you can report the scammer to the company.

i am tera 22 reporting the name of LT.GEN.BEN HODGES i am talking to him every day and share a sweet words always and he is very sweet man i know a General can be.

he ask me to open an account to transfer money bank to bank a very large amount of money.and i refuse to do it he still talking to and ask to marry him and sending sweet image of heart all the time it sense like a real one

i meet him in accidentally i did not look for him at all the small message start.he give me email that i have been looking in fake email's and i cant till if they are fake because it is very privet and think it's real but i don't think it is.his profile is Government Army please respond the answer mam Bridget Small i need the answer Please..

Your story shows many signs of a scam.

  1. A person you do not know sends a message.
  2. He uses many kind words. Very soon he wants to marry you. 
  3. He asks you to open a bank account. He asks you to help him transfer money.

If you open a bank account, you tell the bank your name and your social security number. You will be responsible for the account.  

If this is a scam, the man might transfer stolen money into the account. He might ask you to send money to another account. He might ask you to wire the money out of the country. If you do these things, you are helping to commit a crime involving stolen money.  

You could tell him you will not open the account. You can stop sending messages if you don't want to talk.

Thank you so very much :Mam: Bridget Small that's i need it to know about i don't have any experience of any of this.your reply is so helpful to me.i thank you

I don't know which dating site u met this General on, but be aware that I have been sent 2-3 friend requests on Tango with this same name. They continuously keep changing his picture. I have never accepted his friend request. Unfortunately I recently fell victim to a romance scam online. These guys say the most beautiful things n tell u they love adore n want to spend the rest of their lives with you. Please don't buy it. They are scammers that do not care about u whatsoever. They will ask u for money. Most of them pose as widowed engineers with a child. They claim to be successful. What a joke. The name of the person who scammed for a little bit of money is name Patrick Nguyen. Not his real name. They will ask u to open bank accts n give them the username password n Q&As. They will try to transfer money into this acct, with ur name on it, via check. Rubber checks that is. Thank God my bank caught the check which had been altered. I called him out on it. Sure he scammed me for money but in the interim I learned a very valuable lesson. He will get u into serious bank fraud problems.

Jenifer , what site are you on ? I also meet a guy online and he asked me to send the money, I did send and now he is disappeared. His name is Philip Nguyen

Im pretty sure this romance scam is happening too me his name is richard lance says hes a sgt stationed in africa hes got 2 kids wife died 2 years ago etc hes nevet asked for money but asked me to send a gift card to his sone i told him no hes basically made me fall in love anywsys he offered to give me money to help with my kids since my health is so bad i ignorantly gave him my login info he tried depositing a check into it but the check is in someone elses name my bank held it saying itd been altered but then said it will be available on the 21st im not exactly sure what to do or if i should say its fraud

If you tell someone your bank account number they can take money out of your account. A scammer might trick you into helping him transfer stolen money. He could ask you to accept a check in your account, and transfer money. If you get involved in a scheme, you could lose money or personal information and get in legal trouble.

My scanmmer told me his name was Robert Foster and that he was a construction engineer with a daughter who was home schooled. He lived in California. I live in Florida. These guys are far reaching. I was leery at the beginning because he was talking romance at the very beginning. I thought who does that. He wanted to marry me and had not even met me. After 2 months of texting, he asked me for $300 in ITunes cards. I turned him down. I had already covered myself by saying I lived strictly on my social security. Guess he though he'd get what I had. When I turned him down, I didn't expect him to come back but a few days later, he was back romancing again but in 2 weeks he was asking for the money again. None of these sites really tell you what to do when you discover this. Do you go to the police or someone else? Not sure how to report him. I did a reverse phone search and this guy has 10 addresses in California. He could have 10 people or more doing this kind of thing at each address. There should be something they can do to investigate.

Hello i am talking to a person, he said his name is terry Howell he has a son name leo that goes to school on Turkey. He also ask me to get him 300 in iTunes cards 3 100.00 i didnt do it
Now hes asking me to send his son in Turkey a birthday gift to contact the schooland wire them 1200.for power station 5, he even gave me the schools email

I too had a Ben Hodges asking me to transfer money i deleted him quickly

I have been readind these for awhile now because im worried about my sister. This man sent $9,000 to her bank not in her account just to the bank they called her so she could puck it up. Hes suppose to be some kind of dr. In syria he needed her to wire the money to nigeria. He has not asked her for no money what she wired wasnt hers but she went through alot of red tape and aggravation the money was for him to come to her in us that was two weeks ago and he claims hes stuck in dubai and i know she has bought him couple i tune cards. His picture to me looks like ryan Gosselin in a couple hes wearing that white jacket i hate to be the one who breaks her heart but i have to shut this shit down. Name is keith henry.

@ Aly and Jenifer, I had a person that goes by the name James Nguyen on Facebook that try to get me to send him 1000 dollar so he can transfer to buy his gold in Nigeria. He claim to be a 47 years old widow who wife died from skin cancer. He is in Africa for a business trip to buy gold to resell in the U.S. I did not send him the money and call him out on it and he change it up by saying I don't need your money anymore.just 2 days ago he was robbed so he lost everything so he wanted me to get him my credit card so that he can come back to me lol. When I refuse to give him my credit card he block me on Facebook lol. His profile. He a music teacher that is self employed.

Be careful of a man maned Patrick Lara he is a big scammer also. I know of a couple of women he scammed and he sent me a bad check and the bank told me it was a fake check. Be careful. I also met him on a dating site.

What if they came clean with you it started As a scam using someone else's page but then told you the truth never asked you for a dime added you on there real page with there real friends tells you to becareful because of the many dating scams and told you were he's really from but I started the hole thing first he wasn't asking for anything but friendship but I feel so connected to him he tells me the truth that he lives in Nigeria and we video chat he calls me and we stay up all night chatting I did send some money but not bc he asked then he felt bad for taking it
But I was the one that told him i loved him first and that was after only a few days but I feel I've known him my hole life. I'm not sure if he's a scammer but I'm so invested in this it kills me. And when we video chat I see his hole face and it's not dark or in the shadows. When he facetimes me he shows me the compunds and everything
But again I am conflicted bc I don't know if he is or isn't I'm.so cautious but just not sure.

HI ACooper,
I have a situation very similar to yours minus me telling him I love him. My guy said he loves me and continues to say it, but I am not there yet and I've told him how I feel about saying "I love you". My guy has hinted that he needs $100 to rent a store where he can continue as a barber. He was working at a barber shop when we met in early December, but the owner decided to give his wife the shop for her use. I am not sure if I should send him the $100, as I do feel terrible if he is unemployed under the conditions in Nigeria. Have you gotten any responses? I am curious to know anyone's advice.

What is your guy's name? I met a man saying the same thing just recently and he's saying the same thing. He hasn't asked for money yet, but he confesses his undying love to me.

yes my dear, am the one dear,,, we have no job in Nigeria. We suffers a lot dear please help me

Tara, you need to be very careful with the online dating websites.

What about a guy named Sargent Jimmy Gabriel off of Facebook? He is asking for iTunes card?????

i meet one us army also in the net just a month back. he is asking for call card, and when i tell him i will barrow credit card from my friend he told me no.. i dont like you barrow money to a friend bcs of me.and i tot he is real but i start searching so army scam on internet is everywhere so i start doubt now. i ask asking send an email to me with army email add, it has 'mil' last part so now im confuse please hepl if he is real or not

iTunes card is a way of stealing as well. Since they will not give you a place to send the card, what they will do is ask you to scratch off the part of the card, iTunes says not to. They use that number to somehow get money from it. Has nothing to do with Apps, or music.

Hi I have been contacted by 3 different men (possible scammers) through Facebook I have pictures but as someone said you cannot share them on here. I do however have DM saved to my phone from two of them, one went as far as asking me to purchase an Itunes card for his son for his phone I told him no I don't have the money well he stopped talking to me for awhile that day, when we started talking to me it was from how was your day at work and I think your beatiful and we are made for each other I hope you feel the same as I do ect ect. Well I went along with it until I did a photo reverse search found out the photos were not his they were all over the place from different scammers (Probably the same one). I can later post our conversation and the second one too. The second one claimed he was in the military and I knew better better because I did the reverse photo search on the pictures to and they were all over the place as well. We started emailing each other his IP address pinged him (probably from a software) as being in the UK i went to email him and all my emails came back telling me the email address did not exist so I replied back to his original email he sent me telling him I knew he was a scammer and not from the military.
Just easier for me to insert our conversation then trying to explain in detail. Almost was contacted by a third one who was old looking in his photo (widow which they like to pretend to have the victim in the photo to be) we didn't even talk 2 mins and the account was gone no trace or anything. Must of been one of the scammers I had a previous fun time with online the day before.
Well all I have to say is just be careful who you talk to and please please don't give anyone any money, they get mad they get mad, better them being mad at you then you having no money.

How do you do a reverse picture lookup?

How d u do a reverse picture look up?

how do I do a reverse picture look up?

how do you do a photo reverse

THES SAME SCAMMER USEING 3 ACCOUNTS DAVIS PHILIP DAVIS SCOUT WAYNE DAVIES SAID ALL THE SAME THINGS TO ME HE TRYED TO HAVE ME SEND MONEY TO A WELLS FARGO BANK IN THE NAME OFCHRISTPHER BUMPUS IN ALABAMA HIS PICTURES ARE ALSO ALL OVER FACEBOOK

Omg this guy I was talking to on that dating site coffee meet bagel his name is "john" he has an army ranger uniform on. As soon as we started chatting almost he said let's chat off this so. E like an idiot gives him my cell # . So this was like almost a month ago. Said he was from New Jersey john philips. Didn't hear from him for about 2 weeks. Omg he texts me at midnight last night said he was captured and bleeding and held hostage and he needs my help. (Now he's supposed to be in Texas so he said 2 weeks ago ) I said so your in Texas???? Held hostage but managed to escape. now today he asks me to send him an ITunes card in 2 places. Ummm no. I blocked him right away.

Hi Unsure in texas, I too have come across guys that are asking for I-Tune gift cards. After taking to one guy three weeks later I discover another one. Both asking for the same card. They both claim to be working on an oil rigs in the Golf Of Mexico. I never sent a thing. Their IDs are jimmy scott and Steve Mark. I am now texting with a guy who just this last weekend was relocated to an oil rig in the same place. Like a lot of these men they say they are engineers working for BP( British Petroleum) or another oil company. He romanced me, telling me how much he loved me and yes I was really falling for this guy. Talking about getting married with in a month of emails, texting, and phone calls. He was addressing me to every one as his wife. When I confronted him about it, he said, he was too old to say girlfriend. Just two days ago he asked me for a gift card because he just had to call his daughter and mommy in the UK, every night. I thought that was strange, ever night ? He clams he has no credit care, only a bank card. Any man that travels from the UK to the USA with not addictional credit source is crazy. He also let me know that he had to give up his computer and phone when he boarded the oil rig. But was able to use the platform phone. I do understand the phone, and I did ask around and some off shore rigs do require that you give up your computer. He had asked me to delete my profile not too long after we met, I told him I did. But my big clue as to any problem was when I went back on the dating sight to save all our emails and his profile for future reference. I noticed he had been on the dating sight the day before. It was not the first time I noticed it. I'm wondering now if he wanted me to deactivate my profile just so I never seen him on the dating sight again. It seems that a lot of these men want you to either delete or deactivate your profile soon after communicating with them. I explained to this guy that I don't have the money to buy him a gift care. He asked for a $150.00 electronic gift card. I had to look it up on the internet. I have not heard back from him yet, but it has only been one day. I hate to think of him as a scammer but at the same time I think he is.

I have been talking to a man who has been calling me his wife from very early on. He also says he is a contractor on the oil rigs. He claimed to have a daughter who was in missionary school in the UK. Somehow she ended up in Nigeria stranded with an expired passport. The money was an issue from the beginning. It started with him asking me to send his daughter a birthday gift and when I asked what he thought was appropriate he told me the new iPhone would be good. I have a lot of photos of him and his daughter. He calls himself Roger Adamo and he is very convincing. I became suspicious early on but was so totally in love that I believed his lies and explainations. This has gone on for many months and it has been a constant plee for financial help from him . There is always some tragic situation that he requires help with the last of which being a car accident his daughter was in and they are both now in Nigeria stranded. She is in a coma and he is without a driver's license so the money is wired to John Obara. Sarah Marsden was supposedly Belinda Adam's teacher who also picked up a wire transfer of cash I sent thru Western Union and MoneyGram. I told him I can't send anymore money and now he is saying he is too weak and can't be strong if I don't stand by him. He says he must see the doctor tomorrow to have his heart checked he thinks he is dying and wants me to care for our daughter should anything happen to him. I feel so foolish for allowing this to go on so long. I knew this was not right but I wanted him so much I just turned a blind eye to everything and all the warning signs were right in front of me. I have phone numbers for him from three dirrerent places in the states...LA and Hawthorne CA.Also one from Pachogue, NY He sent me lots of pictures also. I gave him all of my information and twice he sent fraudulent checks that my bank caught. Thank God! Anyone recognize any of the names I listed or places associated with the phone numbers? Please help.

Hello, I have also been talking with a guy I meet through fb. I would like to know if you can share pictures. Because my guy is all over the place and I fell for the man in in the pictures not the man behind the screen. I have confronted him regarding what I have seen and he gets up set with me......I've been so done.

You can't share pictures on this blog.

Hello Mrs. Bridget. I known a man named Paul Hanks. He said that he is from Chicago, He is a soldier who was deployed in Raqqa, Syria. He always sent me sweet talks, give his concern for me. He promises to make me happy, and would visit my country. He also told me when he was on operation. We have chatted for a month, and he never talked about money. even when i told him that i have a plan to arrest my ex because my ex was stolen my money, he agreed with me, sounds usual. But one day, he told me that his team was discover a huge amount of money in Aleppo, and shared among them. He asked me if he could evacuate that money to my country, and I could help him to receive it. Now i really confused, is He real person or scammer? when i feel doubt about him, he asked me to stop our relationship. would you please help me to analyze my story?

I've "met" 2 different guys on Twitter. One says he's a Sargeant in the army, stationed in Afghanistan. He almost immediately asked me to move our chat to "Hangouts" & of course he's a widow from Boston and loves me and has sent me pictures of a guy in the army. His name is Kingsly Good. His asking for money stems from some money he supposedly made while working in Africa and all that money and his army paycheck are in a safety deposit box in Ghana and he's begging me to take possession of it for him until he retires in a couple of months. I emailed the security company and they answered with an extremely unprofessional written letter detailing how I should send this Dr Ali Ibrahim the sum of $1250.00 and then the package that supposedly holds a fortune, will be shipped to my address. When I promptly responded to that email with a quick " I'm not interested" I told Kingsley that they were asking for money from me and that I didn't have it. He told me I would get it all back and that he loved me so much he wouldn't hurt me. After days of telling him no that I wouldn't be sending money, I got another email from the securities company. It blatantly asked me "what's really going on?" And "Are you sending the money or
not?" And "We need to know where you stand on this." There were no capital letters in any of their sentences and the grammar was horrible and so is the grammar that comes from the texts I get from Sgt. Kingsley Good. I'm just letting people know who I'm freaking with. I'm never sending money to anybody I've never met in person, for any reason. My other guy is a Captain Mickey Stokes on a cargo ship headed to Hong Kong. He's also a widow with a son in boarding school in the UK, where he's from. He quickly asked me to move from Twitter to Whatsapp. He told me he loved me within a couple days and now calls me his " million dollar egg baby" . His very important documents and a large amount of cash are being held in a company called Westline services. All of a sudden they are closing down in the next week and they need for him to claim his luggage from their storage facility. This was at least 2 weeks ago. He gave me the batch and compartment number so I could write the company and tell them I would receive the luggage on his behalf. I wrote the email and they wrote back that I had to send them my physical address and a copy of my federal used identification and after they received it they would release the luggage. I wrote and sent a picture of an old expired driver's license of mine that I had blackened out every official number that was on it. They promptly wrote back that "everything checked out" and as soon as I transferred $2410 into the Bank of The West to the name of Rose Nguyen, I would get the luggage delivered to me. I told them no and told Mickey no and he got really mad and told me is get my money back because he would give me the combination to the box as soon as I told him I had received it. I told him I didn't have that kind of money and he also told me to send what I could. I will mention that Kingsley also told me to send what I could. I wrote Westline Services another email asking them what exactly could have checked out about me since I sent them an expired driver's
license with all the official numbers redacted!?. I also asked them for their federal ID number they used to do business as. They responded that their information was highly classified since they were a securitys company and gave me a breakdown of the charges for the luggage stating that the prices were non negotiable. Without any capital letters and non existing grammar and punctuation, they then state that no 1 and 2 did not have to be paid but that 3 & 4 were mandatory. They were for a tracking device $130.00 and shipping $1200.00. The other amounts were for documentation and an affidavit. I am just reporting these two incidents that are trying to happen to me. I'm not sending any money to anybody I don't know. I also wanted to share the scams and the names in case anybody else is being scammed in the same way. Both of these guys are still talking to me and trying to get me to send these monies. I don't know how to look up their pictures online. I did spokeo on the phone number I have for Mickey Stokes and it came back with no results. I know the area code 613 is from New York. It's 613-364-4971. It's supposed to be the shops number but he's sent me a picture of supposedly him, using an iPhone. Mickey did also ask me to but him an iPhone X and the latest Mac Pro Computer. He is supposed to be buying me a Jeep when he gets to Hong Kong. I'm still saying no.
Thank you for your time in reading all this and I hope it helps somebody.

Do you happen to have a pic of this person? I think the same is happening to me. The first name is different. Calls himself david good and he claims he is in the army. Any help would be appreciated. I have not given any info and do not intend to. He keeps calling me from thru an app. I never answer. Overly friendly.

this may be the same guy writing me wants me to send my personal info and closest airport name along with a copy of drivers license etc to some weird company. he has a daughter that is going to a private school while is out on business in turkey he says. please send me a pic and let me see if its the same guy. thank you

These scammers will still pictures from all over the Internet and use them as their own photos, including the photos that you sent them. Saving them for another day or pass them around to other scammers. It's not hard at all, they just drag your picture into a file. And if you have 10 pictures they have a whole profile on you. These people are very good at what they do, they sweet-talk you and convince you that they are genuine. Saying...Oh, tell me what you'er going to do to me baby, blah blah blah, we have all heard it before until things get hot and we get carried away. And when they think they got you hooked, that's when they pop the question for money, or a calling card or even a bank account number. You slowly falling in love with these jurks over time. And hoping we can belive them.
I have often wondered if I was even talking to some radical religion fanatic at times. Or even worse, maybe even Isis terrorist groups. I have often wonder where Isis gets all their money.
I know fore a fact that when these scammers are talking to me thier also talking to someone else because of the delay between our conversations. But they always have some damn excuse as to what there doing. Trying to explain, ho baby, I'm doing bookwork or I'm talking to my daughter. Yeah right, I guess they're doing bookwork each and every time there texting or chatting with you.
So if these scammers are talking to five different victims during the day, just think of the money they could be bringing in. I have heard and read some disastrous amounts of money that people have given up, sometimes even their whole bank account. Just in the hopes of love. When you start pouring your heart out to some of these jerks, is when they start tugging at your heart strings. Also saying... I would never treat you like your ex treated you, or I will buy you this and that, or send you money. I will make you so very happy, blah blah blah blah. Never fall for their crap. We have to be smarter and stronger then they are. These people are the scum of this earth.
As a woman who has lost two husbands to death, who has survived cancer now for 16 years. And just ended a 10 your relationship. I have learned so much in life. Most importantly I have be come stronger, and now hoping to make a difference to someone els out there. To all of you looking for love, be safe, empower you selves and learn all you can on NOT being scammed again. This forum is a good place to start. Be strong and never let them bring us down. But also never stop looking for that true love. There is always someone out there for each one of us.

Exactly told the same story. Thanking God, that I caught on when asked to send money with money services for gift iPhone for daughters birthday. Called himself NelsonQuan. Supposedly father from Texas and mother from India. As with you, warning signs such as poor English, texts had many errors for "such a well educated man. While in the throws of the "relationship" l fell for calling him on the phone. That song "I've got that loving feeling" described how I felt all the time it was like a drug. I think I was hooked by my need to love as well as feeling loved. Now that it's done, I am working on loving myself and my lord Jesus. I reported him to Instagram and got rid of all messages. At one point he asked to not tell family until they could meet him.

My friend has been talking to a Frank Lashen who is calling her his wife and needs help to get out of Togo. He says he is eating much and needs to pay hotel bill so he can leave and come home to her. Has anyone else talked to a Frank Lashen?

Do you have a pic of this man? I’m talking with a Frank Harris

He is an African scammer. Always asking for ITUNE CARDS. Claims he is a U.S.MARINE, stated his wife and son died in a car accident. All lies!

He is a scammer. Goes by the name Frank Harris Cattely, Frank Cattely and Frank Harris. DO NOT SEND ANYTHING AT ALL PLEASE.

Does this Frank Harris claim he's in Cyprus?

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