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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

This sound like the same man I'm talking to now. The only thing is he has a son,Kevin,who lives with his nanny.They are in Washington D.C. He work for an oil share company in Scotland.He is a very sweet talker, made me fall in love with him. These only I have one big problem. I'm married. Yes I know that's wrong even if I'm in a abusive marriage. But he really helps me talking with me when I need to talk about my problems. Then he started asking for my help, needing $100 itune cards then Amazons cards .Telling me I'll send it back to you the next day. Then the next day,he would tell me "I have a little problem." I have been dumb enough to send $900 to him and all times "I have a little problem." Now he wants to send me money to get out of my marriage but he has to have $700 to send to his company to have them to release his money to send to me. Now I'm out $900 which $300 was my heart medicine money. Every time I ask for it "I have a problem. Always a problem. He always make it my fault that I don't have the money to send him. I try not to talk to him but I have that man under my skin and just can't stop. Old and Dumd.

Please in the name of God, this person is fake. Do not send anymore money please.

I am talking to a guy name Cleve Baez on Instagram from the US military. He said I was beautiful and I should transfer to hang out app. He has a tattoo on his chest and work out video.He said he loves me. He text me very day and say I miss u. He said he is in Nigeria and from the states. After 4 weeks, I ask him to come see me , he said he need 2000$.

I had a sergeant John goodwin and he sounds similar - wife died , son Michael lives with a nanny
Very easy to chat to , loved me after a week
Contracted soldier , stationed in Niger
Keep fit instructor
Has anyone else heard of him
Frozen bank account , needs to get home and wants a plane ticket

The guy you described sounds like the guy I met via tinder a few months ago, who went by the name of Goodwin Williams. I sensed red flags from the beginning. His story was this: resides in San Diego however currently working on a construction contract in Turkey his native country. He has a young son of 3 yrs, who’s mom had cheated on him, and now divorced. He started telling me he was going to buy me a car, wanted to get married, and also wanted to come visit me, and actually stay with me. I told him that won’t be possible as I never met him, and he quickly accused me of being married, and thank goodness the communication ended. Through two weeks of convo he asked how much I made, asked if I knew what bitcoin was, and even explained a situation where he loan someone money, and it was never returned. Well I am well aware that money, or finances is not mentioned in a two week period of getting to know someone. His pace was too fast for me, he expressed loving me, and how he lost his mother at an early age, and was looking for a mother figure, which was disturbing, and overwhelming. I really wish this guy would get caught, as no one deserves to be taken advantage of. Well stay away from that creep. I’ve read the other posts, and it seems to be the same person which is quite disturbing. This guy needs for his games to be ended. The photo he uses is of a man with dark hair, well trimmed beared, with a safisticated look to him, who works out everyday. Stay away from that creep.

Military personnel only fly non commercial, to and from war zones or non commercial ships

do you feel something for him?
do you know him too well that you want him to come over and meet you?
do you trust him ? this are the questions you should be asking yourself my lydia..because i believe they're still good men out there..you just have follow your heart my dear lydia

I'm currently being scammed by a guy named Williams Smith from Detroit Michican. Claims he is in Thailand working to repair pipes under water . He recently wanted me to contact the United Nations to help him get a vacation I said no he got told me I didn't want to meet him . I said I'm not comitting fraud for him . I'm still texting him just to see how far he will go .

Good thing you didn't allow yourself to fall prey to what he wanted from you. Going to jail/prison is so not worth it for these losers, a real care honest person wouldn't want you to go the extremes for them like a scammer would in order to meet them. United Nations deals with terrorist (I think) not pipe running LOL.
I hope I can meet this loser (scammer) so I can grill him on Detroit Michigan, I am from there LOL.

Mine is Smith Williams?may I see a picture.ty

May I ask you his name please?

Barry Eckenwiller scammed me out of R800,000 using his child to make me feel sorry. Said child was to have urgent heart surgery. Promised to pay back all my money. Then he changed his email and just disappeared. Been trying for 4 years to track him down without any success. Does anybody know this man?

He claims his name is kayland Berger, goes by Kay Berger, with an email address of bergerkay119 @gmail.com, an text mail phone number of 817-668-8634, on “Hangout” as Kay Berger… I meet him “Plenty of fish”…. This is what he sent via email about himself.. I'm 58 years old but very young at heart and physically. I was born and raised from a Catholic home at Linz.. I was married for 14 years. I'm widowed for 9yrs now looking for that special woman of my dreams to bring back the joy and happiness I have been missing since I lost my late wife (companion). I have one adopted daughter called Adjoa who lives in Austria now with my Aunt, she’s black and in college at the moment, I adopted because my wife couldn't bear kids... I 'm a retired Automotive engineer; I worked specifically on Trains; I'm financially stable and living without stress..

Do you have a picture on this guy?

My guys name was Mark Robinson and he definitely was a sweet talker. He seemed so real but there was still red flags. Especially the thing about falling in love so quick. I figured he was a scammer but he never asked for money and told me he owned a house in San Diego and the one in Germany. He also talked about a huge contract he had with Exxon and how he was going to be making a Huge profit. I Called him out on it because he wouldn’t prove who he was and he did not have a paper trail. He was a older widower and had a very young daughter. Picture of him and his daughter who seem like she was Spanish or mulatto. He also sent pictures Wearing a red diving suit and also a black rubber suit. He worked a crane under the water and he Lied about his faith in God and how he was told he was going to meet me and take care of me. He knew I was a recent widow but I really didn’t want anything serious but he wouldn’t leave me alone. He looked like he was in his 50s or 60s very handsome white guy but I called him out on it and wouldn’t stop. I asked for his ID I asked for a picture I asked for a video. Think he got sick of me bugging him to prove who he was and he sent me a video with him and a few other people men and women holding a gun in his hand in the song was playing bad boys bad boys what u gonna do when they come for u. I stopped all communication.I wish we could put pictures on this site. Is there a place where they don’t charge for reverse lookup?

The man i am talking to is younger 40s young daughters discription similar sandiego new york Texas he claims but grew up in Germany. im a widow also so very cautious. I wish we xould share photos

Got Scammed, youre not alone. I lost more than you did..more more more sent to these criminals. I wanted to shout but realized it wont help. I am highly educated woman but I am trying to move on. Same story as yours. God bless us.

Today, I am writing to say, yes, highly educated means we are just as gullible as others. I am out about 16,000 to a scammer maybe more. Sweet nothings and an occasional online playmate and what a dupe I have been. Yes, Romania, said to be involved in medical... original facebook listed out schools, none of which would confirm his attendance. Name is dubious, cannot pin him to any locale. Cell number untraceable, sends him iTunes cards, the list goes on and my face is permanently red. Slick moves and honeyed words promises of a car(?) marriage, a future complete with adopted kids... slight variation on themes, but sad all the time.

bunny, yes I'm gullible highly educated woman. I gave a lot to these criminals ...more than what you've lost. when all my savings were drained I went to bank loans...huge loans in my hands right now. Nothing came as what promised. What a fool I am...I wanted to shout over mountain tops. God bless us

Thanks17. I have lost a lot of money as well. How did you recover. My situation is fairly new. Having to file bankruptcy as well. It is so devastating

I know how you feel also I’ve been scammed out of a lot of money lost my vehicle and about to lose my house and don’t think I will recover I’m so devistated I cry every day think it’s all over

You are not alone. I took money from my mom thinkinking my man is paying me back. I have spent $56,000 in itune card. He said he could turn into cash for what he needed , to fix his problems b.p said they have no record of my guy he says he does and he claims he is still coming to me. I m not holding my breath

Hi Roxanne,
I went through the same thing . I send more money than you. Now Im filing Bankruptcy. Every morning day and night I cried. Cant let my family knows nothing plus have a sick child and he knows it and it wasnt nothing to scam me. Now Im try to work with the authorities to get him in Africa. It will be over. Just file Bankruptcy its not going to be no where out. They only think about them self only. I knew him from June 2015 and he start the money scamming from April 2016 until July 2018 was the last he got over $7, 000.00 out of my hand . The money he said was to come here instead he took away the money so I curse him out which he decide to pay me back. The last message was a 2 sentence txt from him December 1st 2018 then he block all incoming call. He was living in Cyprus then he move back to Africa and scamming a lot of women in the USA and other countries. He uses a USA phone number.But Im going to bring him down because I have so much info on him he dont know. So try and bring him to justice. Our authorities here working with the EFCC over there. He dont call any more because he was a scammer. So do the right thing. Romance is not easy for us women. If you want you can reply to me and I can help and tell you what to do.

I was scammed by the man I believe who live in Kenya. I had been catfish. During 10 months course of the scam Mar 18- Jan 19, I had wired US 40 k to this con man through the banks in Turkey Plus 20 K through western union in Kenya . Is there any way to track down this con man

You could contact the Western Union Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492 and explained what happened. You could also report this to the banks you used to transfer the money. If you met this person on a dating site or social media site, you could report the person's account to the website administrator.

I was being scammed too. For 13k. What should I do now to get it back? It was so stressful and how idiot i am..

I'm afraid I have no choice but bankruptcy. I never used cards never needed them

Bunny hi... Do you have picturs of this man? Can we some have get in touch? Tjis adoptiv kids made some bells ring here...

Mia. I have almost same story andI have pics also and would love to see if they are same man

I have a very similar story. Can you send me pictures?

Fell in love with him. He said he was an art dealer/ artifacts traveled the world. Sent me pic passport no holigram. Told him I was broke, he called me once sounded like Nigerian accent. Thank God for the Television show "Catfish"

Yes happened to me he used Nicholas chateau as the name on Instagram and said he was serious with me and then he had a robbery in Hong Kong he said and asked me pay for his documents so I did like a fool which resulted in more

This same guy as just asked me for £6000 because he got robbed in Malaysia and needed to pay for his documents to collect his artifacts for his clients

Nicholas Chateau told me the same story except he was in Malaysia and he had been robbed and needed £6000 to get his documents to get his antiques cleared

Hmmm sounds very familiar also..artifacts that range a bell.. would love to see a picture of this guy sounds just like me he one I’ve friended

Well do yourself a favour and delete him I’ve been talking to him for 3 months before he asked for money he’s very convincing.
He said his card had been cloned at the atm and they had wiped him out.

i was online with this woman for more than a year i never would belive it was a scam but i keep say ing its a scam and she would get upset and denying it it supose to be some gold bars involved only find out in end that it was a perfect scam im shame to tell anyone i only want to post her picture so she dont scam anyone else

I have quite a bit of information on my scammer my heart is sad for all you ladies. I showed my sister after a few weeks I don't even know how to start out reporting this because it's a sick cycle of how many names they use as and change. My scammer said everything all of yours did being engineer faith in God will come find me I found this web page today do God gave me a sign to find this. I used my brains right for once

Do you have a picture ? This guy told me he’s a military engineer deployed to West Africa

Im curious about the pictures. I have been talking with someone that was in Tx but then got deployed to Mali, Africa. First it was an explosion he was hurt bad then all of sudden food was poisoned and it was gone take take time for the military to get them food. He needed money for food. He quickly said he fell i love and wants to marry me. I know this is insane

Talking with someone named Daniel Austin Tx. Deployed to Africa in April phone stolen then could not eat the foods made him sick then tried needs $ so we can chat army wont supply wi fi anymore. Yet he calls me once a week at least on a secure line. Doesn't ask for stuff but hints at it. Idk. What to see pics of these men. This go is so sweet Intelligent charming ... too good to be true

Can you tell me her name it

I have pictures
Need to find out how to send

Adoptive kids rang a bell with me also.
He went by Mark Howard

Beware of Heinrich Powell Woodson very handsome very educated and a sweet talker. Has a Daugther and uses his Mom. He ask for a I tune card then 3500$ for the IRS he didn’t get a cent from me. Blocked him on Instagram and hangouts. He also gave me a fake passbook!

Sounds similar to the Swedish engineer who is working in Turkey. He sends pictures of his mother and daughters. Do you have pictures?

The guy I blocked from dating site claimed his name was Glen from CA, an independent dealer with kids in Amsterdam with his mom. Went to do business in London and lost atm card. Asked me for 15k to pay expenses and get home. I said no, he said he had gold I could cash in if I spoke to his attorney. Googled name and other info he gave me...SCAMMER! Glad I saw episodes of Dr. Phil.

I have been talking with an engineer working in Turkey as well. Is he bald with a dark beard? Suit and tie holding a cell phone?

Do you have any pictures of the engineer? Does he have a daughter?

Yes I think I’m being scammed by someone who is an engineer with a daughter 13

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