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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 — click on Scams and Rip-Offs, then select Romance Scams.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


I am such a fool. I am smart and I know better. I guess I was lonely. This guy named Schounlieni Williams, a "soldier on a peacekeeping mission for th US in Sudan" recently divorced wants to marry me professed all kinds of love and got me for private chats on Hangouts just asked me to purchase an Amazon card for $200 so he can continue to chat because the army is going to cut our chatting off and he is taking great risks. I told him I was going to the walmart today but I knew last night that this was a scam, I am not sending anything, my heart is broken. This scam was very, very elaborate. I cant believe this. I have even spoken to him on Hangouts. Professed to be a christian. I sent him one dirty photo and I am afraid he will blast it. I met him on Facebook via a We Dont Deserve Animals I was following in my feed. I am soooo stupid but now I know I am a professional woman who is lonely. Dont fall for this ladies. It can happen to all of us. It is so easy and they can be so elaborite you eill think it is true.

Don’t worry I’m a smart person as well who knows better and I’ve had someone thevlast month that started to make me believe. It was very elaborate and even though I was skeptical of the random message and the speed at which they seemed to be falling for me I too was so lonely I guess maybe I hoped I was wrong. This wasn’t like other scams, it was weeks before money came up and when I said no they told me not to worry about it and they kept talking to me as if it was fine. This person invested a lot of time into this and is continuing to try and bring up ways to get an iTunes card or wire money to her aunt. I know it’s a scam and I keep asking them for an address to send gifts directly, things I know “she” will never give me because it’s a scam. The thing is I know it’s a scam and I’m not even mad, I’m just sad it’s not real. That’s how lonely it can be at times. I’m not sure if they found me through Facebook. It was a random message through Facebook messenger. That account foes t have a Facebook profile but she’s using the identity and pictures of a real girl on Facebook with an account.

Hi, Keith. Was her name Donna, who's in the service with a sleeve tattoo? Just curious. Story sounds familiar. She's from Louisiana or Missouri. Take your pick. Image search showed she was not who she said she was.

Hi mike. I also met the girl in service w sleeve tattoo.She was stationed at Camp McCain she claimed,then moved home to Pennsylvania.She will never speak on phone or video chat but will invest weeks talking and promising marriage and love. She eventually wants ITunes cards

was she a blonde, was her name jenny, I think my friend is being scammed

I have a “Jenny” who has been working me for two months and finally dropped the “money ask”. Supposedly runs a hair stylist and cosmetics sales company and when I started to pressure for a meeting used some charity giveaway to the poor she was hosting to ask me for money for that and money for a broken phone.

How about a girl named telicia
Helton shes always wanting Google play cards saying she had real estate coming but owes 2000 has to pay it first in Texas and Colorado

A he - scam asked me for money. Kind words, l was lonely, nothing new for you. I m asking you for an email address to send you the guy s pic. The scam sent me some pic of a nice guy. Stolen identity/photo. Maybe sounds stupid, but l want to find this guy. So please, help me.

Hi I'm talking to a US marine and he asking for money to get home.I have pictures of him I have found out he change his name. Patrick is his name using at moment. He says he in Syria.

I am talking to a man that says he is in Army, stationed in Sirya. Do you have pics of him, I have 4 different pics, one in civilian clothes. Very nice looking man. I don't want to be scammed.

I have been talking to a General in Syria, have received a number of photos. The photos do not match the talks we have had. I feel sorry for the family of this person as the photos obviously have been stolen. I would like to contact the family.

Hey! I've talked to a general from Dallas, Texas and he calls himself Jason Seigel. Could it be the same person? He is on Instagram

Same young good looking Ben is his name

Can u send me the photos pls

Please send me a picture of the picture of this guy. The same thing is happening to me.

I'm talking to this guy name Ben. He knows exactly what say to draw you in. He is MP in the Army. Can you send pics so I can see him please

I’m also talking to a guy name Ben said he is in Afghanistan a single dad his son is in boarding school

Can you send me pics, I think my friend is being scammed by this one

Hi. I was wondering if your Patrick Captain Patrick Ewing Lesnar? Because the one texting me is named Patrick in the Marines and he is in Yemen over in Asia.

I had this woman named Sarah in the Army in Kentucky. She was very endearing in her conversations vowing to be exclusive in our cyber dating forum; All of a sudden she claims to be deployed to Syria and starts messenging me on Hangout. Says she is bored nights shes not patrolling and asks for $50 Steam cards to buy video games for her lap-top. Claims she only gets paid 1x month os can't afford to repay me right away because she has a daughter in teh USA who stays with her mother; claims she sends her money to her mother in her absence. I sent about $150, but when I told her I couldn't afford more, she became mean telling me I was an insensitive person who has been hurt by so many women, I can't trust a different woman. She actually changed her Facebook profile page and used my last name as her married name. I finally blocked her and I never heard from her again.

I too was scammed a few months ago from a US Marine on deployment in Syria. He went by the name Thomas Casado, he had contacted me on Instagram. He was a widower, supposedly, had a 20yr. Old son who was in Australia, he was saying the sweetest things and I was Leary and told him that but after talking for a couple months he asked for $100 Steam card, I told him I couldn't do that cause I'm a single mom of 3, he said oh do what you can. So stupid me I did $40 the first time, and did it a couple more times only totalling $120. I googled his name and seen some other guys name with his picture. You are not alone and they are very good at what they do, they are heartless.

I might be able to locate them, if they are using another account with that same identity, please everyone needs to be careful with them, because 45% of account online are scammers. Thanks

hey guys..i have been talking to some blonde hair blue eyed girl with a sleeve tattoo saying shes in the navy, in syria on a aircraft carrier rn and cannot video or reg call. First name is Tiff..the last name on the uniform looks like Taylor.she knows great english and a lot about military lingo so if sh is a fake its good. says shes normally in north jersey but has a Illinois phone number. I do reverse image search but nothing comes up. asked me to send her 200 in steam cards to put more wifi on her phone. Anyone know anythinf

Hi, has anyone encountered a name Simon Hobbs Cantu, claimed to be a US Army in Syria right now for peace keeping mission? I cannot find him in any social media platform. I even googled/reversed image his photos but nothing.

No one in the military needs money and they have internet. Dont buy into the scam. Military people are given everything they need, as well as access there bank from the internet. Theyre scamming you if they ask for anything.

I have been scammed also. Text and talking to him on th he phone for 5 months. I was looking for love in a Christian dating sight. Michael Harrington the scammer has a European accent. Long story short. I turned his info over to the police. He says he lives in N.Y. but working in India in exports .
Guys like this makes it Really hard to find a nice guy .
So I'm educating myself about this.
And yes he mentioned everything that all the other ladies have mentioned. We need to stand up and be more aware of what these Dirty RATS
We need to tale control Everyone.

I’m a guy been scammed twice. I’m wondering where a real guy can meet a real Lady. I’m really confused. Some things I wonder how can this be real? But other times , through things. She has to be real. Something caught my eye earlier. Someone said something about they seem to disappear on weekends. And other random times she’ll disappear from five minutes to a day. We make plans to meet but it hasn’t happened yet. Rapture take me home.

Mike sorry to hear
Your story sounds similar to mine
I thought exactly the same
A friend convince me to try a match site
And I can believe first time I try I for caught by a scammer
I just think I don’t want to meet anyone any more.
Ay times the tú sounds so real that makes it hard to be believe there can be such evil
people .

I'm sorry to hear that. I've been scammed twice. But the first, I busted him first, so I didn't lose any money and I finally can contact the real person whom he uses the pictures with. The second, with the help of voluntary organization, I can know the man I'm talking to isn't real. Always use technology to help and good luck with the love searching

Keith it happened to me around the same time frame. Sent a pic of a handsome older.gentlemen who professed his love for me. And how pretty i was. It was elaborate also. But when he asked for money i reported him to the fbi. He contacted me and apoligized but i knew at that point that was a scam as well. I am lonely too so they prey on us single people. Taught me a lesson. I just wish i knew who the handsome man in the pic was

This is me how did I get on here

You really don't want to know who the handsome man in the photos is. I found out and mine was an International Italian model. I looked at his life thru all the women hanging on him for photo shoots and pictures of his current girlfriend and the beautiful clothes and huge bed and breakfast he owned and here I was sending someone money for plane tickets to get out of Africa and money for food. I wrote the real person and he wrote a quick note. Fake Photos/stolen. Sorry" I think I felt better before I knew as this guy would not give me a second look and guessing he was not into women anyway except having to do photo shoots with them???? Be careful what you wish for!!

Was this older man white headed and very handsome. Had picture of him and his dog? One older man hit me up two years ago online and just recently got me up again using a different name. Immediately wants me to add hangouts app. I play stupid to his request, but know what is going on.

I'm going thru this right now with a white guy with a dog licking the of his face eyes ate green and gray

Does this go by the name of Luiz Fernando Da Costa from Sao Paulo, Brazil?

I think i have the same pic. Dog licking the face.

Was his name Erik ?

He says he has a daughter Jasmine, a dog Simba and lives in Bath, UK . I found another woman in Belgium who told me exactly the same story he was telling me.
Did he send you pictures?

if his name is Erick outs definite scammeed my sister she's barely 18 and naïve he still try's to contact her on hang outs I wanna catch this guy he told her how his wife n child died and that he wanta to be ther father my sister kid doesn't have got her with her online account info bbva and mobile deposited a check

Hi guys. Has any of you scarred men come across the name, Belinda Olsen, using the pics of Eva Lovia on Instagram? I have been doing some searches it's what little information I have gathered and always coming to a dead end. Before my help goes any further with this person I need to put my suspicions to rest. We did a video chat once in Hangouts but I can never hear her voice and the video was a bit scrambled. The first image of her show the face had great similarity to the pictures she showed me in Hangouts. I really do need to confirm if anyone is able to help me out there.

What was his name? German Shepard dog named Max?

I met a scammer called Erik who had a German Shepherd called Max . Beware !

How do you look up a picture

Would you willing to share a picture? I think I'm talking to the same guy?

I believe I’ve been talking to the same guy. I believe I found the real person he has been stealing photos of the dog a brown poodle?

Is his name Henry? An engineer working on an oil Rig in Asia ?

I believe I'm being scammed by a Henry James wang, added me on Instagram then wanted me to carry the conversation to whatsapp. He is from Alabama but Chinese, says he is an oil engineer has a shiba Inu dog in his pictures and he works in Harrow, england for Exxon. Very good looking, tall and slim. Says both his parents died when he was young and his fiancee cheated on him with his bestfriend and the fiance and best friend work in the same company still and he sees them every day. He sent me a link of a bank account together with his username and password. I logged in and it said he had 6.2million dollars but the whole website looked fake and he says those funds are from the company for a contract he has to start either in Bolivia or Tokyo and that he loves me and needs someone to lend him 50k so that he can complete 500k and be able to get the contract going. I blocked him and called him out on being a scammer he got offended and blocked me on WhatsApp, but then said he missed me and I still bombarded him with questions regarding himself and his story and the fact that I can't see him properly on video camara so he blocked me again and before doing so said he would unblock me once his video is fixed. What should I do? I want to upload his photos, maybe someone here might have the same situation with this same guy.

Maybe we got the same person. Very good looking and slim. But it was funny, I called him scammer and he get offended, even he said get off from his phone. Haha

Sounds familiar I met a guy from Instagram as well named Jeffrey Wang also owned a dog shiba inu. He is claiming himself an engineer working in oil rig from USA, San Francisco. Also after follow on Instagram then wanted to further chat in Whatsapp. Few days ago he said wanted to send me gift but the tracking slip looks fishy because I couldn’t track the tracking number. The post company looks fishy as well because there’s only a website( Royal Express Security Vault) I asked him is it a handling fee need to be pay up upon receipt because the slip is showing a handling fee of USD 773. I just told him I couldn’t pay for that sum and requested him to collect the parcel himself. But yesterday someone from the local called my cell and whatsapp me to give further instruction as the parcel had reached their office. I blocked the post company and he still Whatsapp me to ask the post company to return the parcel. Ya he is tall and good looking and Chinese. I stop replying any of his Whatsapp till now and will block him . Can you upload his photo? I saw he is following a lot of people on Instagram.

now i saw same story ...but on his IG he use piras_utt


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