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


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?

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

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"

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 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?

Sounds familiar goes by the name Jon Alba

I am an educated man but fell for the scammer bought itune cards belived the lies because i was looking for a date which never happened tried video call but her phone was working properly feel like a fool girls it can happen to men too this started on Instagram and moved to hangouts what a fool i have been.

I just fell for the same thing; not as a love interest, but a good friend trying to support a deployed soldier in Syria. I believed the communication to be all about moral support and then it came; a request for ITunes. When I confronted the person he went from really sweet to angry and hostile. How could I have been so duped. There were signs, I should have know. A very bland facebook page with little to no activity, only a few photos of what appeared to be a soldier in Syria. The story; deceased parents, A little daughter in boarding school, waiting for his retirement papers (there over one year). Graduate of WestPoint but not a lieutenant. Didn't understand the question "enlist date?). Guess I just wanted to believe this person needed a friend. Private email also suspicious. Not sure who's picture is really used on facebook, poor guy is being used as a fake soldier. , Syd

Hi I’ve met a woman on instagram started off just talking the usually stuff. Then she wanted to move to WhatsApp we’ve been getting on well but she has told me she is widow and struggling and has ask me to send her money and gift cards She says she wants to met and has fallen in love but when ever I ask for her address or other details she avoids the answer
I’m hoping this is not a scam as we seem to get on but how can you tell

I just escaped from a Con artist.

She said that she owns a Ranch in Mississauga and her father had secretly bequeathed her with two chests of Gold Bars. She wanted me to come to Quebec to transport the Gold Bars.

She couldn't understand, why I don't want to be part of this treasure. She also forwarded me a photograph. Initially, I thought she is truly looking for love until she started talking about Gold Bars.

Please don't fall for these

My guy asked for money. I accused him of being scammer. He got mad. I asked for a picture of his
Us drivers licence. Of xouese he refused. Blocked and reported. Ask for selfie of him holding his us id or open passport id. Send money to embassy for them if they show proper id.

What is wrong with us to believe these guys? I for one was rolling my eyes at the stuff coming out of his mouth after only days of messaging! Oh and what is it with the iTunes cards? This guy even sent me his Military ID! Looks legit but I’m having it checked and know it’s just photoshopped because the guy is way too young for so many medals!

I have been scammed since October of 2018 his name is Davis his email is DaviskMontalvo @gmail. com; he worked with a courier company I have the site and the name of the delivery manager, Samuel Chris, plus even a red cross agent they ripped me off over 53 thousand dollars. Then I met another guy Alex Cole his email is Alexandercole7777 @gmail. com; who said he would help me how stupid am I ???? I feel so stupid and helpless I helped him because he told me he would help me with sending me money I lost!! such a fool I am. I am scared to report them but I have sent a yelp notification not to use one of the courier companies Alex used MNGCourier.com in Turkey. I lost almost 100k.
but they still sent me emails and Davis even asked for a 100$ i tunes card I told him to go to hell. I tried to stay friends with him but when I questioned him if he was a soldier that is trying to rip me off he said dont listen to them its not true and he loved me and I never heard from him again.
Omg!! now I am trying to get a second on my house to payoff all my loans. its been a terrible year! I wish I could meet with one of you ladies so I can cry and tell you how sorry I am for all of us!! I am a good person and just want to help people. Now i can never trust anyone omg!!! feeling devastated!!!, humiliated!!!

I think i get the same thing like u, i'm just a student and got being scam for this girl she said she working on the ship as a chef and then she lost all her money from someone stealing it, then she asking money to help her, but in the end the money keep going and going up, and she said she will pay me back, but after this every thing still continue until now, i'm so stress right now idk what to do or talk with someone else, if you still on this blog or this website, if you can message me your phone or your email then i can share or help you something...

I also just happened to me this guy pretending to have a daughter sending me pics of him and his daughter so annoying. Just yesterday pretended to have send me this and money which I declined as I was quick to realise that it was a scam. Oh thank God

I think we all should post the photos of the poor victims they are claiming to be. Wish there was a way the victim could know there photos are being hacked!

California Girl, I'm with you , I too am a highly educated professional women. This guys was the best I've ever seen. He was local, just 180 mile north of me and supposedly an architect. I checked out his office and website, it all seemed legit. It went on for six months before he asked for money, twice daily phone calls, texts and emails and the he left the country for work and yes that's when it got interesting. I wont bother with the story but i lost 24,000 and i could not afford to lose that much. I thought i checked him out pretty well, asked for pictures from where he was at the moment either his home, cab, hotel and he always sent them, even asked if i would meet his Mom and gave me her contact info...that i didn't check out i wish i had but doesn't matter now , haven't heard from him in two months and can't find him anywhere, website no longer exists and and phone number rejects calls, last call i got was from Cyprus.

i have come to realize that special time are better when share with good hearted people

Does he go by the name of Charles Luke??

There are woman on there doing the same thing, wanting amazon cards for their phones. Had 3 try to scam me last week alone. Telling me they love me, can't live without. Blah blah blah...we all need to be vigilant.

I just came across your message some how but can you explain the ITunes thing better to me? I had some ITunes come out of my account and my wife said she didn’t know anything about it. When I questioned her about it , they quit coming out of my account. Please help , Michigan Boy!

I am a 62 year old male and I have been looking for someone to share my life with. Through a dating site I received a lot of likes from people with gmail addresses and they asked me to contact them on 'hangout', which I did.
I have seen them on video calls but can never seem to hear a voice..which concerns me. I have recently been asked to send cash via Western Union to Anaheim in the States, which I did. I then received a message to say that there was a technical error and that I should go and collect my cash from Western Union as it had not been collected and then send it on to Ghana. That is where I am right now.
I seriously want to believe what the lady says..you all know what it's like...but deep down I know its a scam! when I call to talk to her, the phone is never answered. Another thing is that all these people somehow keep coming up with Ghana! I guess that must say a lot, but it's hard to accept especially when they ask you if you don't trust them...and even though you want to, you still know you should not.
Is there any way that you can avoid all this and know that you are speaking to a genuine person. I have been scammed before and it makes you into a hard person...which I don't like.
Dating sites can be very expensive..I am talking about from the male side. I don't know about the female costs..and it actually puts you off and with that finding your true love. Don't we all deserve that.
Anyway, thank you for your website. Guess I will just have to be hard and until I meet someone face to face I will never again trust them. So sad!

I had a man try to scam me. Said he was a widow and father of twin daughters age 17. Said he is an engineer who does contract work. I told him, repeatedly, that I wasn’t interested, wasn’t looking, have a full life. He convinced me to email with him, then phone calls and pictures for two months. Then came the request for money. I accused him and he said I am paranoid. It was very heartbreaking but luckily I sent nothing! Story over but my heart was broken.

Got Scammed. youre not alone. Mine was huge money taken away from me. Im lost but thanks that I have God with me. HE is more than enough to start all over again .God bless

I gave up all my savings and retirement - communication had been going on for 1 year. I am bankrupt, devastated and ashamed

I did the exact thing as you, all lost, he provide me fake bank accounts and so charming,I wish I had asked others, I am angry now, still cannot tell my family, these guys make this a living, and we are sincere and honest, I know Karma will be their fate.

I understand you completely I have one with me I try to believe him because he confessed 1 year ago. It sounds good. But I don't know if it is real
Go ahead and be happy.

I have been with one for more than 4 years was 1/1/2 years wen he confessed he was one.I was close to find out .by then only 7,000:I had lost I no the family,and soon next month to go.he promissed to stop as that was my condition to help him.but now I read from others has Charles really stopped or have I been duped again .before he was more attendive ,from 4 calls drooped to one call.from 7/9 messages to two per day .my instenct is telling me im right.

Shy girl, I was on a dating site about two weeks ago, n this nice looking man named Charles Andrew asked me to go to hangouts. so I did we started talking, he told me all this mussy stuff everyday, can't live without me. then one day he told me that his internet connection was going to be disrubted and asked me to send him 200.00. he says he's in Syria right now, n will be home in august. I never sent him anything, I called him out bout scamming me. n he magically diapeared.

Curious to know if you have picture I got contacted by Charles Andrew on Tindr

He doesn’t by chance go by Chally does he?

Hey brother I just got scammed for $2200
Went on for 5 months
I love your attitude...
Im taking that on now because I've been angry about it all.
God bless, and thank you for saying it right

This man about three months ago try he seems so sincere and loving he called me every day and night and text constantly until he wants me to send my ring size and shoe size then he send me pics of stuff and tell me I have to pay custom fee of$400-420 when it delivered to me, I told him not to send me any because I didn't ask for it, he was so mad and stop calling.

It sounds familiar to me. Asked ring size. Shie size. iTunes started off. He saied he loves me and I am his wife and treasure. I told him he was a scammer. He said he was not .sounds like it to me. I'm still talking with him on video chat and calls and texts does scammers use video chats. His pic and all marches his video looks. He plays keyboard and talks about God alot. How do I know. This guy is real. He knows I have no money. I love this man it really hurts this man is 39 will be 40 in October I am 60 does that even sound right. Read this and give me some advice. Should u believe him, especially talked about God , or is this man the devil himself


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