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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.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

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 .

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

What was his name? German Shepard dog named Max?

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

I believe I’ve been talking to the same guy. I believe I found the real person he has been stealing photos of too...is 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

I think i’m Involved with same man. He contacted me thru words with friends and almost immediately asked for email address so he could add me to hangouts. We’ve been talking for over two months and i’ve Wired money and sent gift cards. Do you have a pic? I feel so stupid but I was lonely. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

How can we share pictures of this older man? He send me several. his 65. Older white hair. His voice is from a black dude. With elegant Dialect. But I have several he send me and I can’t find a thing online. Its there a section in the Consumer FTC.giv whether women can upload this pictures and we can search amount all this Scam Artist. Can anybone point me to a portal where I can search amoung scam man pictures?

Hi , I am presently chatting with someone ,good looking with his dog and said he is orthopendist surgeon doctor. I need your reply if it is the same guy we are talking please

They man I'm talking to says hes as orthopedic doctor . Goes by Jones Peterson. He said he lost both of his children in as car accident and then his wife divorced him just was asking for gift cards but no way did I send sny

Is he look like model..With pics of dog and cat

I had a guy trying to scam me that used a photo of him and a dog. He took photos of me and photoshopped him holding a picture with four photos of me in it. Very good! It was probably an award in a frame. He used the name Malcolm Merlyn and Malcolm S (strange name). He was supposed to be from Germany and was an engineer. I finally caught on but it was heartbreaking. He was supposed to currently living in Baton Rouge. I had the address he used as his work and when I Google Maps it, it was an empty field according to the satellite picture. I did actually talk to him on the phone and he should have had a strong big voice for a tall, fit man. He sounded like a weasel! Little tiny boy voice. I had another supposed to be an Army General in Afghanistan. His name was Eric Anthony and Rich Anthony and Eric Rich. Picture of him in uniform had the name blurred. Sent pics of his 14 year old daughter putting ornaments on the tree. Both guys profess their love. When I said no to both these guys they vanish or come back later. If their Facebook page has no posts or no friends or nothing about them they are not real! Be cautious and follow your gut and not your heart.
It's a horrible thing.

Was he very muscular black t-shirt Gray hair sunglasses and a goatee Said he was in his 50s also in a picture with a dog
And he believes in god and asks if you’ve been to church.
An American but lived in Germany when he was young so has a German accent but muffled so difficult to understand and when you speak to him has a much younger voice if that makes sense! Says he is in U.N. & NATO us army

Sounds like mine. This scammer eventually admitted he had stolen someone's FB pictures. Had a story about a child who died in a car accident at age 19. His scammer name was Steve Van Der Beek, said he was Dutch and retired from being a chef on a cruise ship. MGD cruise line, something like that. Had a tatoo that said "I love you you" in script on his upper left chest. Some wild story about starting a Dutch restaurant in the US, and could I help with money? Ah, no.

Can you please send a picture I think the same guy is trying to scam me ,

Keith you have to think of it like this - you are a good person and she is not. Block her and save some heartache. There is someone good out there for you don’t be in rush she will come and she will be worth waiting for.

I am going thru this too right now. This is all so familiar. The widowed dad who works outside the states and their child is in a college overseas and they have no other way to get money. No other family or friends. Terrible grammar most of the time and other times perfect, like they copied and pasted something. I wish there was a place you could post their pictures for other people to see.

I've posted on this blog site a short time ago - your story sounds very similar to mine! Wish I could share the photo I have of him so we could see if he is scamming the both of us at the same time! He is VERY handsome, white hair, nicely kept beard, very muscular (photo only shows upper body and he is wearing an Abercrombie red short-sleeved t-shirt with a moose on the front of it. Says he is coming to see me soon.

Sounds like the one I had, Same story. Widow in Texas by the name of Tyler. Went overseas for a contract. Then needed money for taxes. I knew then he was a scammer. But played along. When I couldn’t get money , he became quite aggressive. So I gave it back to him . He didn’t like that. I then befriended all his friends on Instagram. And I warned them all he was a scammer and a liar. He had to shut down his profile. I know it won’t stop him. But I wasn’t going to make easy for him to try and scam others.

Jason Allen sought me out. I accepted a friend request on Facebook. Immediately he wanted me to open "Hangouts" and chat there. Supposed to be a surgeon working for the United Nations in Somalia. Loves me, wants to visit me, and even ask me to marry him. Now is asking for money for food. I asked if the UN had emergency fund. No. Am I being scammed?

Hi Jennifer
I was talking to a French surgeon in UN in Somalia Nathan Liuwis -. it actually took me over a week to realise... they are very clever at tricking you. Take care

It so sad that how people can scam you especially when you are trying to find true love

Don't feel bad, I thought myself of being smart too and pretty intuitive and got fooled also by how elaborated this scams are, I'm really amazed, this site helped me to see that, so I decided to share to help others too. I got contacted in a language exchange site, and the guy ask me also to use hangouts "soldier on a peacekeeping mission for the US in Sudan", named Clark Hartley after getting me in hangouts he deleted the language exchange app. Similar tragic story as the ones here, his wife died in a car accident 3 years ago, has a 6 year old kid, who is taken care by a nanny in Phoenix, dad also died the same year as wife curiously. Said couldn't call just chat since using a military configurated device for signals that only allows him to chat, and that he gets bored and lonely thats why he ask me for steam/ itunes card to download games and listen music, so luckily where I live they dont even sell those, and I told him so, he said if I couldn't get it was ok, but later on kept asking about the cards. Well, I ignored his request and he notice so, one day he asks if I could do something for him, if I went shopping anytime soon if I could make some shopping for him and send it to Sudan, (I'm like what?!) He told me he got supplies there, but he needed some few personal things, I asked to send me the money, list of things and adress and maybe I could DHL it (aint spending no money on a guy I dont even know), he later tells me he has no money with him, just his card but was afraid to do online transactions. I told him to buy his things online and I may have them fwd. Even tells me "so you're suggesting I pay the things with my card" . He ask me if I could help with the shopping, but if I couldnt if was ok, that he would figure it out how I may send him things. Here's where I got really suspicious, search for the pics he sent me and found two on random websites. So he is picking pics from websites, what surprised me was he had a really good english grammar, and really fluid sweet conversation, so girls be really careful, protect your hearts, search on google reverse image, ask for video calls, dont fall for this scam artist.

Has he ever sent you a picture in his military uniform? I’m so unsure of whether or not the guy I’ve been conversing with is telling the truth. Says he’s retired from the US military but had to travel to the UK to retrieve items. I keep trying catch him lying. I don’t military people without a bank account and bad credit. Not to mention supposedly a victim of bank fraud while he was completing his last tour in Afghanistan so he says.

He was on a site and did just what I’ve read moved the conversations to hangouts now before that it was text. It was my 1st time on a dating site and I should have did more homework. He is going by the name Steve Lovingood (should have known by the name). I have several pictures of him.

What name did he go bye

Do you have picture of him it sound some to me that I’m talk to I got him $50 amazon card so his go online read his email and chat with me and also steam cards too I send the code through Messenger he says that Afghanistan for basic training the back home in Florida soon.. that we will FaceTime his tell me his love me his want be with me for rest my life and his went be get uncle iPhone XR because his uncle car was stolen with phone in so his can’t get whole of his uncle or talk his 6 year son can send picture I’ll give my email address send to me I want see the same guy his say his 39 his parent dies in car accident 25 years. I told him his better be truthful and be real with me

Do u have a photo of this person?

Do NOT send him any money! Even if you did he will still have your pictures and will threaten you again and again. Please contact the FBI help line, easy to do online, and file a report. Don't worry about your pictures being revealed, it is not likely they will post them because their IP Address will be known if they do and if they really do post them it will most likely be on a site that none of your family or friends will ever see. In the future, if you decide to send provocative pictures, omit your face, they only want to see other parts anyway right? You can also notify Facebook who can monitor or cancel his account and access to your friends can be limited as well. Don't panic! The threat to you is not as great as it seems, but the person is a real threat and you should cut all ties to them immediately. Best wishes to you for a happy conclusion.

Lost and confused I’m facing the exact same thing. He gave me 1 hour and he was going to post all the photos. He had multiple names and the amount he wanted from me was $4500.00, every time it was being sent to a different account with a different woman’s name in a different state. So, if he post the photos it’s my fault. I’ve deleted all my social media. Sadl

Scammers do not use their own pictures! They steal them.

Im.going through the same thing now and I dont know what to do any suggestions

Were any of the names Carolyn Matott or Alice Eldridge

Has anyone ran across a scammer named Harry Cafferty???

Block him, he can't do anything to you

Is your face showing in the pictures? If not then don't worry. It's all blackmail though and I'm pretty sure it will never happen. Especially if you're not the only person he is doing this too. If your face IS showing, alert your son's school and let them know you got blackmailed and they photoshopped your face onto the body. That way they will not be surprised if something comes through.

I had a very similar experience as you have had. The person said he’s a marine and his wife died and he has a 5 yr old daughter that lives in Huston Texas where he is supposedly from. This person immediately said he’s in love, he said I put a spell on him. He kept asking me to pick up steam wallet cards in the amount of $200 I told him I don’t have any money then $50 I tried to stop talking to him and he kept calling me and “his friend” tried to friend me to tell me this guy really is missing me. I realized that 2 different people were pretending to be one. Both from Nigeria, I believe it’s a business there where they are targeting a lot of people. They are still harassing me. I’ve had to delete my social media, change my phone number. They never got a dime out of me.

Hilary- I have been talking to a guy that sente a follow request on Instagram and he started messaging me and ask me to go to Hangout. Our guys stories sound similar. Mine says he is a doctor working for the U.N. in Syria, is a widower with a 15 year old son from Rome but currently living in San Antonio. I knew by looking at his Instagram and seeing over 3,000 women he was following that he was a scammer but I have played along with it. When I realized that he was a scam I did a Google image search of him and saw that his identity belonged to a doctor alright but his name was totally different than the one he gave me. Yesterday he posted several "new" pics of his alter ego and in every one he had a wedding ring on. I ask him how long his wife had been gone and I was told five years, I then ask him why did all the pics show him with a wedding band and he tells me that he "wears it BC it keeps the nurses from fighting" over him! Lol. I've done nothing but play along BC people like this really piss me off! But, I am happily married and would have sent him on his was if he had been legit. He has already told me that he is in love with me and thinks about me all the time! Haha. He too has a goatee type beard that is black with gray in it.

I’m so glad I came across this thread. I’m in the process of being conned by a man that claims he is US Army, working for the United Nations, out in Afghanistan. He said he was cheated on ‘badly’ by his now ex wife. He is now divorced, has zero family and zero emergency contacts oh and zero bank account. He’s not asked me for money yet but has asked for my address so he can apparently have a personal cheque delivered to my house for $450,000 which he says is back pay that he is owed for the past 3 years and does not have a bank account. He said that the cheque would be couriered to my house and though he’s never met me, he would trust me with it, nor would he mind flying to the UK for it.

I am 40, in a relationship and he has contacted me via Facebook. I rarely accept random requests but seeing he was a service man, thought he may have been family that I didn’t know existed as I’ve recently found out I have family over in the US.

The messages mainly comprise of him declaring his undying love for me, thanking God and bad spelling and grammar. I asked many times what rank he is, what his job in the army is and could he video call me to confirm his identity. All he could say was he was a soldier and that due to him being closely monitored by terrorists, all cameras had been disabled. Didn’t even answer me with which rank. I also asked him if he was a United Nations soldier would that not make him a nato soldier, he once again did not answer and that was a wild guess to which I knew any proud soldier would be happy to correct me.
So after a few messages were exchanged I suddenly remembered Facebook voice messaging. I asked him to send me a voice message and promised if he did I’d give him my address. So I am waiting to see what his next excuse is. I mean I knew it was a scam all along but I could not work out how. This guy is a looker, well the photos he is using anyway. In my experience, good looking guys from a different country don’t just befriend you and say you are their soul mate, but if they do then god bless America. He hasn’t asked for money but no doubt that is to come.

I’ve tried to trip him up constantly and he has an answer to pretty much everything. He must have even researched who the forces use as their main courier. If all the microphones have been disabled then I’m going to ask him to write my name on his hand along with the date and take a selfie in the mirror. And considering there are so many women getting scammed, it’s not exactly clear where we can turn for advice. I was actually looking for a number that I could call in the US to ask if it could even be possible that a service man could be without emergency contacts and a bank account.

He’s clearly taken a service mans identity from Facebook because there is more than 1 picture and it makes me a bit sick that it could be a soldier that’s been killed in action. These cowards are from third world countries and don’t even see women as equal, I’ve visited and I know from experience, but they’re making all kinds of money from us. I wonder how many embarrassed women tell anyone that this has happened, because I honestly had not known it was so common until I decided to look online
I really hope this comment helps someone. Almost forgot, the guys name on Facebook is Keith Elvis.

This happened to me for 3 months now. This guy approached me through a text from a social media and I accepted it and then started talking everyday saying sweet things to me and I gave in. He asked me money for $30000. I asked him if he’s going to pay me back and he said yes So I got a loan of 28000 and sent it to him. He kept asking for money because somethings are always coming up and I never thought this was a scam because he was a sweet person. And when I was on a social media looking a pictures and I happened to see the guy that I thought i was talking to all this time. I looked at this guys pages and he is married with a baby who lives in Hong Kong. Then that’s when I confronted this fake guy trying to be this person when he is not him. He told the truth and said yes that’s not me and I’m only after your money and this is when I reallized and I just recently found out that I’ve been scammed. The sad thing is I sent him $31000 through wire transfer. I’m so lost of words right now because now I am left with this huge debt on my hands. I don’t know what to do.

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