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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.

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit
Scam Tags:  Romance Scams

Comments

Thank you for sharing, I feel bad for having believed everything this guy I met told me.
I sent him my savings now I have to work hard again and save. My heart is broken

I had the same thing happened to me. But his name is Marcus Miguel. I met him on POF dating site. He is still begging me for money. I didn't answer him and tried to even block him, so he told me that I was mean and cruel woman and that I didn't love him and that he was gonna kill himself. He even had his commander text me that he tried to commit suicide. It's all fake.

Hi I think I'm probably in one at the moment. He comes across as genuine. Lives just outside Denver. His photo ive seen on different dating sites after checking him out on reverse images. Has a different name. I have 6 different pictures of him but he won't facetime/video call. He asked for money but said 8 had nonetheless give. How long can something like this last? We've been in contact for 4 weeks. He contacted me via a game called 'word wars'. How do I go about reporting 8f this is the case? Thanks for your time.

I met felix on Bigo he is so sweet and we talk everyday he says he is a sniper in the army wife died both Parents too And he have a son. He seems real but we can never talk on the phone and no video calls when I ask for pics he takes awhile to send and it's never in the moment pics it's always something that he been took I mean he in the army I'm not stupid I asked for his MIL address he told me it's high level I know it's not true but I don't know if I'm a victim or if he's just secure with his info but he did as me abt my account saying he don't have access to his accounts he said he is in afghanistan . I really want to believe him but I'm sceptical about it I tried a reverse photo and nothing email can't be found it's like he don't exist this hurts so bad I'm scared but he always assure me it's real what can I do to find out if he's real or not his uniform says his last name so I don't know any suggestions

He is fake. Look at his Facebook profile does his name match? I have a military guy I am talking to gave me his military address. But wanted a phone or gc for internet. Can't ask or receive. Federal offense for both parties. I researched American phone numbers. They are getting smarter but will make a mistake eventually. Trust me. Copied messages but I know better than to send anything! Sorry

I know how you feel. I have been texting with a guy on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico for 2-1/2 yrs and I think he’s a scammer. Breaks my heart too. We had some many beautiful plans. Sucks!

Did this man give you his name? I have been talking to a man who is on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Or so he claims.

Do you have a picture of him you can send to me? I am dating a guy who is a engineer on the Bullwinkle oil rig. He is a contractor has a French accent with a 17 year old daughter named Sandra in boarding school in California. He goes by the name is Steve Johnson and goes by PurpleClover on google hangouts

I would like to know if you can send me a picture of Steve Johnson. I have been talking to someone I met on Instagram that goes by that name. I talk to him on Google Hangouts too. His profile on IG has been deleted and he told me he is German and lives in Edmonton, Canada. He has a son named David that is 7. He hasn't asked me for money yet but he just got a big million dollar contract in Turkey. He is a civil engineer but won't tell me anything about the project he is doing. He sends me lots of photos so I would like to verify if this is the same guy before I get in too deep. Can you help me out?

He doesn’t have a son but a daughter and did he send you a picture of his hand that he just injured? Does he have a French accent? How do I send you a picture

Oh..almost similar story. Petroleum engineer working in gulf of mexico rig, widow, daughter taken care by a nanny. Injured hand because pirate attack on the rig.
Can we share photos?

I too have been communicating with someone on an oil rig in Mexico with a son who is with a caregiver

Does anyone know of a Jack McCane? Working on an oil rig, widower with a young son taken care of by a nanny? His pictures are from someone who looks Russian.

My sister has been scammed out of several thousand dollars by a man who goes by the name Dave Cameroon he claims to be from Houston and has a daughter 17 that is stay with friends . He claims to be a contractor on a oil rig in the Gulf. He sent her a fake Yexas DL I have pictures of him

I guess he tells you one thing and the other woman he is scamming another. Who knows how many others he is scamming at the same time as you two? They have a story line and they use it to tug at your heart, which works a surprising number of times. He's widowed, divorced, separated, single, he has a daughter, son, they are 7, or 17, or whatever. Those "facts" he presents are just his backstory and mean nothing. They are almost always a big fat lie, anyway. The goal is to get into your wallet. These people are very good at the art of deception, and run many types of scams.
If a stranger asks you for money on the street, you give him five bucks, but a stranger on the internet, you will give thousands of dollars that should be going to feed your own self and family and pay your own bills. What big strong man needs to sucker a female out of her hard earned money? He can work two or three jobs and be just fine.
Change the story on him. If he told YOU he has a daughter, ask him how his SON is doing, and insist that yes, he told you he has a son. See if he gets confused and changes his story.
The bottom line is, this is a scam and he is most likely not where he tells you that he is.

I believe I too know this person. last week he sent me a picture of his injured hand from the oil rig he was working on in Turkey. Would like you to see a photo just in case it's the same person.

I think I'm talking to the same guy, but say's he is a General Contractor working in Manchester, England. He his so romantic, makes you feel like your in a dream. He sent me a photo of his injured foot from a Robbery after Christmas time. I've sent him Apple I tunes cards, Bitcoin payments, some through a shipping company For A package send to me. $95 k. US CUSTOMS, CBP FEE'S through a shipping company. I am single Mother, assamed to say I feel so hard I have just spent all our saving's for her car; driving fees ect. $7,000. He is tall, buff, extremely good looking.

What is his name, I have one contractor who works from London, England. He's 50, nice looking an sweet talker. He's on an oil drill ship. How can we share a picture

Does anyone know of one Thomas Muller.said he has a daughter.wife passed away.always need money for bailing him out

I think I may be in this same situation. From Sweden. 50. Sweet talker. On rig in Turkey.

I was talking to a guy named Anthony Bullinger. He to is from Sweden and the same age. He's a very persuading sweet talker. He texted me every morning and at night time. Is there anyway we can send pictures to each other.

Was his name Eric Koll in Turkey to do oil pipeline project machines broke now needs money I am reading post after post about what I'm.sure is the same man

Can we share a photo

Ladies i think we all find a way to get together online and share or pictures we got . Then more women will be aware of these scammers.

Yes please send photo.

Goes by the name Archard Parker.

He told me he has a daughter and son in the USA staying with a nanny. Working on an oil rig off Ireland. Yes he did send me a photo of his injured hand while he was in Turkey last year. Yes French.

Something similar is happening to me. He’s gotten $700 but doesn’t realize I’m on to him. Claims to be German born but lives in Houston, TX. Now in Turkey and needs $20,000 to finish a contract or he’ll go to jail. I want to say bye but I’m enjoying this game. I told him I don't have anything to do with his business problems and he's still begging. He goes by the name of Greg David Muller.

Go along with him, if you find it fun, but be careful, especially if you've given him any personal information. If he can get into your accounts, because yes, some people will give a stranger access to their bank account, change all your log in information.

I too kept someone stringing along for a while. On an oil rig in gulf of Mexico. Knew he was a scammer. Asked me for money. I refused but he still love bombed me. Whilst playing the game I found he'd stolen pics of a very handsome S American actor. He also contradicted himself several times! Reported this to ftc but so far they don't seem to have posted it. Goes by name of Gottes Kand or Peter Weber. Anyone familiar with this one? I blocked him finally as was getting bored!

my sister is talking to a guy named Frank Williams, I found his picture and it was a famous model named Steve. He told my sister that someone stole his identity. He has $10,000,000.00 and loves her and wants to marry her. He sent her 2 credit cards with her name on them and told her to cash them. She tried but didn't work and he got mad at her. He is supposed to be a civil engineer in Germany but owns a house in NY. I've showed her a lot of evidence that he is fake but she said don't be negative. He loves me and he is so sweet. He won't have face time with her.

A famous model named Steve? Do you still have a picture of this guy? I talked to someone like this and he said he is a model named Steve.

I was also talking 2 a person by the name of Frank Williams. He is a scammer 4 sure. Very good lookN, very good with romancing. Asked 4 cards, which initially I sent but stopped when I realized he was getting details of information wrong when I asked him questions about rig he was on. Given up on dating sites, brother told me he read 9 out of 10 people on sites R scammers.

Hi i have someone who sent a pic of their inactive HSBC account showing this amount of money. Says he needs money to finish his project in Cyprus. Stated the ware house caught fire and burned his materials. He just finished a project in Aberdeen Scotland where he discovered there was an issue with his account when attempting to buy a cell phone. States his FaceTime does work .

Hy ! Interesting .. I was contacted by a guy whos name sopose to by Milo Desmond . Lives in Atlanta , Georgia, contracting engineer, widowed( wife died 2019 of covid 19) , one doughter , 5 year. He claims he was born in Norway. Sends me a lot of pistures.. Black -gray hair , beard and on fb you finde him under Milo de Celebussy . I think tvcould be the same guy ..

Did anyone get a picture? I am being scammed.. I know it. Hoping not....

Yes. If u mean by a picture if a guy pretending to be so e he is not. Yes. I did. Im still texting him.. Im so into him. He has convinced me he cares so much for me. .ugh. Im am such a fool. My husband died. In 2020 and. I was so lonley. He sent me a facebook. Friend request. I accepted. I. Never accepted any guy. Requests before. But. I did and now. I. Feel stuck. Im about to block him.

Use your woman intuition, if it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. I f you feel it then it’s true. Be careful and good luck

Anyone being contacted by a guy named Daniel Bucky also on a Oil platform??

How do I share his pictures, very handsome, nice beard, 51, calls me daily, I'd love to know of others are being Scammed,,

Beard salt and pepper. Sends pics and videos but says FaceTime doesn’t works. Stated love after a month and as soon as he is back to the states he will fix his bank account. 6f1 germany/ dutch accent

Do you have pictures?

Yes I have pictures and a drivers license he sent by mistake, how do I share pictures of him

Any pictures? We all need to post pics!

Can you please share the photo

I'm very new at this but if you refuse to send money do they continue to call you and text you nevertheless?? I've had someone calling and texting me daily for 3 months, when I tried to break it off he was Crying uncontrollably is this Normal. How do I share pics of him?

Yes especially if their is ring of them . I had one stop texting today after I said I filed police report cause these ones went has far to make a fake social media accounts in my name .

Do you have pictures?

I have been talking to a French guy with a 17 year old daughter who is studying to be a doctor at a boarding college in Paris and he badly injured his hand in a accident on board the oil rig where he was a supervisor engineer but has scince retired he has a Scottish terrorist called jack

Yes I have pics, how can I send them to you?

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