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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

Same thing cept I got sceptical feeling RIGHT AWAY cos a few points didn’t add up. And the advice here confirms their tactics. Very interesting. Can’t just assume everyone is honest because you are. Many red flags right away.

My oil rig engineer 's name is Mark Johnson. He says he 54. He was in Houston at first then went to the oil rig because a machine broke down. He has come up with all kinds of excuses why he cant access his bank himself. He has a 12 yr old daughter and is divorced.

I think I am possibly talking to the same guy who started talking to me on Scrabble!! I don't know his 2and name yet but he's called mark, is widowed and has a 12 year old daughter. He says he lives in Chicago but I googled his number and it's based I Florida. Ive told him I'm skint and not to bother me.

I have the same scammer. Mark Johnson. 12 year old daughter. He was supposedly in Houston then had to go to an oil rig North of Canada. Petroleum engineer. I fell for it. He's conned me out of 17500. Thank you for sharing. Now I am positive he is a scammer. Watch out for Mark ladies. He is charming and good looking, very convincing.

Margaret: I don't know if you are still talking to Mark, but I have been talking to him since April. He is the same scammer. Very good looking, very good at what he does. He does not give viable reasons why he can't access his bank account and the millions of dollars he has in there. Please don't let him talk you into wiring money to bank accounts he gives you. He burned me for a lot of money. I know he gets to your heart, but please don't let him string you along.

Omg Susan he told me the same story except he was divorce , has a girl and his name is Burt Asner a very good look man.

I met this 58 yr old on ok Cupid in Sept. He had to go to turkey on a contract for a water treatment project. He says he us and Oceanographer from Poland. Lived in California, now lives in Portland Maine. Asking to send him $32,000 to pay tarriffs and taxes on equipment he needs to finish project. He goes by name of Jack Adsmczyk. Bald really handsome guy with a nice accent.Will not send him the money he is still hanging in there talking with me.

I meet this guy online it's LINE app. He said he is in the military Air Force and has a son and wife died. One friend said he is legit. I don't know. He's name is Matthew D. Baxter.

This sounds familiar. Had a guy using the name Taylor Smith said his wife was murdered and his son is living with her brother. Scanned his photo and it had be used for several scams. He said his facebook was compromised. I didnt believe it.

Did this man ask for address so he could mail you his personal items because he is going on a special assignment? He states that he cannot take these items with him.

Turkey seems to be the popular spot for these big contracts. So watch out for James P Harrison originally from Sweden but lives in California and is now in Cypress where he is building a 5 star hotel. Meanwhile his building goods are held up at the port and he must pay 20% on 1 million dollars of goods and he only has 10%. He didn't ask me for money yet. Too bad James from "Sweden"

I think I was scammed late last year by the same guy.
Would love to private message or attach a picture for everyone to see.

Does anyone know if photos are allowed?

This same storytooth me is probably the same man.i found the guy who's pictures he uses.I'm just not sure who all is involved. I have pictures with both their names, ones a fake...maybe both?

Hi you said you had pictures if you could send me the pictures that you have I would appreciate it I want to see if this is the same scammer that I have and I’m talking to thank you for any information that you can give me

I think this James might be the same one from Sweden
Contact me and romancing quickly. Civil engineer Working in Istanbul. Sudden emergencyCan we exchange pictures? How to do that ?

Im probably taalking to the same guy, james from sweden now living in houston, tx. Antiqities dealer for muzeums. Took care of his mom b4 she died, wanted to trade pictures, had feelings for me after two days. Called me tonight, sound Nigerian but certainly not Swedish.

I met this 58 yr old on ok Cupid in Sept. He had to go to turkey on a contract for a water treatment project. He says he us and Oceanographer from Poland. Lived in California, now lives in Portland Maine. Asking to send him $32,000 to pay tarriffs and taxes on equipment he needs to finish project. He goes by name of Jack Adsmczyk. Bald really handsome guy with a nice accent.Will not send him the money he is still hanging in there talking with me.

It sounds like the same man im currently talking to is there any kind of way you can send pictures to me please

How do we send pics to each other? Becz I think I'm talking to the same guy, SMH. This is insane. He's going by the name Christopher Harry Williams, from Sacramento, CA.

Sounds similar .This guy bald too. How do we send picture to see

Is there a way to trade pics because I am currently for last 3 weeks, talking to someone who claims to be stuck in south Africa. Claims he is there for 3 week project but 2 days ago lost his wallet and documents. Now has no money to eat or travel. I have several pictures of him. Says he lives in California. Handsome bald with strong accent.

Tom sharkey can u send me pic

Hi Angryog,
Did this man in SA said his name is Greg Weber and he has a daughter staying with her aunt aunt in Texas?
I am trying to figure out this guy who asks for money to survive since his bank card was stopped.
Also have photos of him and daughter. Wife died few years ago.
Want to help him but now I am not sure if I want anymore.

Hi just wondering and Angryog
I only yesterday started chatting to a man
Daughter lives in Florida with aunt. He's working on oil rig in West Australia. His parents are passed. He's Iranian/Sth African. Already I'm his queen. I'm just waiting for the punch lines.

Don't give him any money. Michael Oliver is out there asking for money in bitcoins. He deposits fradulant checks to people's accounts then asks to donate money somewhere or buy and send him bitcoins. He uses fradulate checks with name on it T.T. Buckhous, something like that..his email address is michael1442oliver@ Pleasebe careful people. Don't meet ppl on line.

Can you share his name I think I know the same guy

The guy I met off ok cupid goes by the name Jack Adamczyk. 58 yr old baldish very handsome guy. He says he owns a house in California long beach his wife died and he has a son in UNH. He is currently on a job in Turkey.

Sounds familiar to me. My guy says he in india. Same description..

I think it's the same guy I'm going dating

I am talking to someone who says he’s on a mission in Turkey as well. We connected on online dating app. Wants me to only be with him and wait for him. He can’t talk to me only text since his out there as well. He hasn’t asked me for money as of now he’s saying he wants to be there for me. I tried googling him but I can’t find anything. Just sounds too good to be. Based on his pics he’s quite handsome over 6ft tall man in his late 30’s and amazing physique that’s why I find it hard he’s attached so quick. Claims his family all passed away. Could this be the same guy ? What are the names of yours ?

I too have been scammed, the most disturbing feeling ever, God Help Us, but the guy who has done this to me his name is Roberto Matteo, the same thing Turkey project, 1 child, wife dead, his bank account frozen, is being detained in turkey for over stay on work permit so can't get back to the US w/out frist paying fine of $4550...So degrading,

I too got scammed by someone who said hi name was Antonio Frank Matteo 56 but he was a peacekeeper in Yemen and had to get out of there cause he would die in there if I did not get him out of there.. We had corresponded for 2mos. through Google hangouts,which he talked me into using instead of my e-mail h through yahoo or Facebook Messages..His wife had died 5 yrs. ago and he has an 11 yr. old son named Kelvin...he was a late in life dad cause they could not get pregnant till than and it just happened..He gave me all the usual Love romance dating so on and so on..He loved me so much and needed to come home to marry me and I could be his..man at first I fell for it until he started asking me for charge cards, SS #, and all other credentials they ask for ...the whole thing was an ordeal. he even asked me to rite to UN and tell them he needed a vacation stay,i did but than got a e-mail back that I would have to send them my real name,and again all my credentials which i got scammed with when i tried to borrow money to get him home,I know it was him again that called that day and the days after that..Like a fool I gave the guy that had a heavy accent all the information and had to have all changed...yes they wanted me to buy e-bay cards and than they would give me further after I bought them with the money they sent me on the loan I borrowed to get him home $3,000 to be exact...all calls game from Florida and I was given a bank that was giving me the loan...well,My banked thank God stopped it ..Oh there were plenty more instructions and guess who was helping me end it...Antonio Frank Matteo...i done nothing more they said and drove out of the drive thru at my bank... oh my after that Antonio was on me hot and heavy to get the $2,589 to get him home kept saying the right things but buy now I had figured out it was a Scam,and wrote him off...Alot of words went on in our writing back and forth; but I am sure all of you know what that is like, i was thankful to God and blessed he stopped me that day... (God).. sure was with me...mind you I shortened the events as they happened...Hit and miss I guess one could say....My advice and take from someone who went through it don't fall for it and if to good to be true it is....God bless you all and Tormented I kinda think these guys might be one in same,mine said he was from Italy but had lived in Colorado for a few years...May not be but am wondering!!!!!

OMG !! this sounds like the same person that is scamming me. He says his name is Wilson Antonio McCain, he is a doctor and in Afghanistan on a peace keeping mission. Divorced has an eleven year old son, only want to chat on hangouts app.
Do you have any pictures of this person ??

I am still talking to this guy in turkey. He says he is 58 yrs old with a son 19yrs. He is asking me now for 45,000 dollars to pay off his employees that he hire from turkey. says he got paid for the job but now he has to pay off the men that worked for him from turkey and cannot leave there until they get paid or he gets arrested from the Turkish union.

Interesting, a guy contacted me .Sats he’s wining Cyprus. Needs to pay workers because he used their payroll to pay a hospital bill

Hi. Your story sounds very similar to mine. He is 56 years old. One son that lives in Ohio with his mom. He left for Turkey to work on a solar panel job in August. I didn’t meet him in person but he convinced me to send him money to pay the tax on a job he received pay for. He needed to pay the non residential sales tax. The last part of his scam was last month and asked me to open an account and receive a cash shipment. I said no! After all the money I have given him I’m now struggling and he will not respond to me. Do I share his name on the site or report him?

Report him and block him

I also met a guy the same description as you've said. Can I have his name pls?

Your story is very similar to mine. The guys name is Jason Francisco Diamond, we met on IG. Very good looking, said his wife died 5 years ago and has a son in LA....

What does this guy look like. The guy I have been chatting with is bald, good looking, with a son in Long beach and his wife died 10 yrs ago. He is on a job in Turkey but now held up in the hospital from and accident he was in. Needs money to pay off hospital bills so he can get his passport back. Says the hospital is holding it till he pays off hospital bills.

I had been chatting with a guy with similar description; He is bold, from San Jose California, bald and good looking, never married and no kids. He traveled to Turkey or Cyprus supposedly since last week and needs help due to his workers' accident. He said he paid hospital expenses. I refused to give him money and he is very persuasive, he does not take no for an answer. Is there a way we can exchange pictures? maybe is the same guy.

Guy out for solar panel construction and asked $100 guftcard. It took 3wks he asking me money. I asked his full name and received fake id. Could not find anything about him in the web

My story sounds very similar to yours
I am embarrassed to admit I gave him some money and he asked for more but I deleted him
I don’t know how these people became so evil

Sounds like the person I was talking to. Had to go to Turkey. Connected on a dating app, I’ve notified them of the fake profile. I did a google image search and found where the photos came from. It took a bunch of photos and tries before google found him. The “real” pictures are of a man from Spain whose profile says is a physical trainer/therapist. Claimed to be Australian. His dad and brother died and mom is sick.

Definitely same guy...used Richard Langham as hie name. We even messaged that person in the "real" pictures he used. Wish we could post photos of the scammers that have deceived us and stole money. He hung onto me for 1 year and thee other person simultaneously for 6 months.

I was in Iraq for a whole year and we still had phone and internet access, so don’t believe that

This 52 y.o. guy claims he is doc with WHO stuck in Iraq now cos about to be sent on dangerous mission. Widowed with 2 kids and mum. Our 22nd day and already saying he is disappointed that i can't pay 13k euros to fly him out on early retirement cos his joint account is locked due to female friend trying to steal all when he is in Iraq. 9 more weeks to go before contract ends. All sounds too convincing, but you get a bit weary when all poems, writings he sends you are copied and pasted from online sources. I am telling him stay on till contract ends; nowhere is safe.

I have met a good looking man that I'm his queen within a week. not even sure he knows my name. says hes traveling anesthesia nurse. wants me to recieve money from cash app. wondering how yours ended up

Hi there ,

The guy Im chatting too I met on Instagram . Albert Earle. His from New Jersey he says. He send picture almost everyday and mostly selfies can see as I am asking him to send me. His in communications also landed nog contract on his way to Turkey to sign..I want to believe his for real. He deleted his instagram acc shortly after he requested we connect via hang outs. Does this sound familiar. He never asked no money yet To trick him I complained about not having enough. He video called once. Tried 2 other times I missed calls. Divorce a daughter Carrie. No fb or Google profile which means his on no social network.

Where did he say he was from? I met a guy on a dating site. We been talking for about over a month. After 2 calls on the 3rd call I had a huge feeling he is a scammer. By the 3rd call he called me " Dear " scammers use that word a lot because they are from other countries. This man says he is from Sweden, he was telling me he loves me. Of course I didn't believe a word he says, because that's what they want for women to believe they are in love with them. I told him, we haven't even met, you don't know me is not love, he says " I can't help what I feel: I have deep feelings for you. I love you baby. Friday he sent me a copy of a contract of a job paying 15,million, now why would he show me that? Then he calls and says he has to go to Cypress, Greece for the job. He told me Friday and has to live Monday. He said the phone may not work well so he will email me. I am trying so hard to catch him and report him. I am waiting for the day he ask me for money or anything else. He was talking about stocks and that he has a guy that helps him with investing. He has send me pictures. Calls me in the morning and at night. I know it's a scam, but I want to lead him on to see how far he goes and have him reported.

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