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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

Just got a scammer recorded call not a live body from 2 telephone numbers 8582214572 and 7602849982 both were the same recorded voice but different numbers and the recorded voice wants to sell me a extended automobile warranty and I am on a do not call list

I had been talking to someone who said he was divorced from his wife since 2015, he said his name is Majid he had asked for money from itune he start off telling me that he will buy me a car and that he has 12 cars, Then he wanted me to open a account but I didn't then he said his bank account was frozen also telling me he is a big star. but he was working from Africa always saying he will show but never did got feed up and had words for him, but now he said he is in the usa but I know it was something not right with him, yes you can get your heart broken , I have broken it off with him several time. I told him if he don't do what's right nothing good will come. yes you get afraid to speak up and I am still somewhat afraid they say nothing will happen. and yes he pray for me on several times, but now I feel sick. because I fell for his lies but I think his name is jose as well. he has like a Spanish way of talking but I also heard someone call him billy

Do you have a picture of him

Since you have the same issue. The person you talking with is a scammer. If you have pictures I can help you to locate the picture cos is not real.

I have a guy photos that I talked to. What website to I go to, to make sure he's real?

Can you share picture? I think I might be talking to same guy. Met on OKcupid

Will you help me? I have pictures. I am so heart broken. I love this guy and he swears he is not who they are talking about. I need peace of mind please

I have the same, yeah i have the pictures he sent, how shall i send them? omg, this one said he owns a hedge fund and is an investor in Makati but is from NY Staten Island but i looked up his number and it's from Canada, found his IG too and why his location is Toronto, said he lived on-off the last 2 years there in his cousin's place. too many red flags and lastnight i 've had enough, i asked him if he has tattoos, he said none. but in 2 photos he send me (one with his daughters) he has got 2 tats in left arm and right inner arm. a complete lie, he forgot that the picture he was pretending to be has tats. the guy in the photos is a handsome fellow, said 42yo, half puerto rican and half austrian. divorced for 3 yrs now and has 2 daughters back in NY. too good to be true, has got sweet words, loves books for he kept on sending me Ebooks, believes in God. Good thing he has not ask for money or speak about investing yet.

Do you have a picture of this man??? He sounds exactly like the man I’m talking to.

Can I ask if he is Brett from Idaho?

Susan, I have spoken to this same man and the story is exactly the same.

It look the same. Is it any way to have privet contact with you? I want to see picture of the guy.

Can I see a picture of this man

This sounds like a guy that goes by Greg Josh Clinton. He has been an engineer in Turkey, but now he is an engineer I am oil rig in the California ocean. Says he is 62. He had a son graduating and a mom in Bulgaria that is very sick needing brain surgery on a tumor.

Hi this sounds the same as me, do you have a picture? We can share

I actually.going through something like this. I have meet someone online on dating site. His name is engr. Seong.Jin Lee he said he had a xgf and cheated on him. Dont want to tell me what happened and juat told he sued her and he doesnt have any apps like fb,instagram and whatsoever because her x blackmailed him. He said he is a Christian and prayed for me. Saying sweet things and everything. And ask me to pray forhim coz he will close a bigdeal theb he was able to be chosen and then he was given and want me to rcve the money for praying for him. He said he will swnd me but i didnt agree and still force me now he put 50,000&$ in a package with some goods and ask his friend frm a company to do it. He said that ill write to the company abt rcving the parcel and ended up asking me to pay 1250$ for a package. Ask him abt whats insde only few things and he got angry force me to pay. But it was bad,fake the grammar of the account and courier are not the same. So ended up asking me to pay. And debating with him. USA accnt but turkey bank and the courier didnt match with the gmails. And force me to ask to pay half and they agreed right away. Same time he message me onky 30mins difference. He cant even show me his face and now blackmailing me to post my naked pic all over the internet. Through facebook and other things. Now dont know what to do.

Tanya I have the same
Told me courier reach me within 1 day - during this Covid-19 period - they will contact me on delivery time but before the parcel comes to me - asking me to pay us$5000 for a package of two boxes. I recall Ask him abt whats inside he say only few personal item - clothes.
After it went to half deposit and now left $1k
So disappointed
Korean - He work & stays in California too but born in swiss.

Yeah you'll be scammed by them

I believe we may have the same person. His name is Southerland Cardbell, age 60, oil engineer from France, lost his biological parents young, and was adopted by another couple who was friends with his biological parents. Attened school in Cairo Egypt. A widower 4 years now. She was a nurse who died from cancer. Has two daughters in boarding school. He is currently on an oil rig off the coast of Vancouver, British Columbia. I was skeptical at first. All the sweet words, met him on Instagram, and then wanted to get off this site and email me. Eventually ended up on Google Hangout. We have been corresponding since September. I have never met him. Sent me many pictures and some I felt were taken off the internet of a Hotel he stayed at in Washington DC to negotiate the contract. I didn't hear from him. Soon I received pictures of the his room, the lobby, the meeting room, but no pictures of him with his other engineers. Not long on the rig, he sent me an urgent message that he had a parcel in China that was worth millions of dollars and he wanted help getting it sent to me by a representative. Yes, all the excuses about him unable to get the money out of his account. Blah, Blah. How can a revered prestigious oil engineer not have access to his bank account or his business lawyer. I gave in. But that was the last time.

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.

Can I have him number please

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.

I Think this is the same guy know as Johnson Williams and 57. His daughter is now 17 in a boarding school and his wife died 6 years ago. All fake. I wish I could share his pic. He just said his phone is broke now no food left and he's going to starve. Big time flags. Oh can't access his bank account cause in the past people were abusing them with the black market. He just tried to call again. He also just uses whatsapp

This Petroleum Engineer does he have beautiful gray hair? wears glasses in some pics??

This story sounds very close to what my neighbor is experiencing. She met a man named “Adam” who only communicates through Hangout. He says he has sold his environmental company and is coming back to the US to buy her a home on the ocean and to get his daughter (named Mitchell) out of boarding school. He claims to be worth millions and she is expecting a diplomatic courier to arrive this week with his financial documents. I know she has sent some money but I am most concerned that she has given access to her accounts. She gets angry if anybody questions this man’s intentions but she has been waiting to meet him for 10 months as he is overseas. I am very worried but she doesn’t want to hear it.

Mine does., mustache and beard too, very handsome, engineer, oil rig, Gulf of Mexico. He asked to park 3 M in my bank acc't I said no. Then he asked for $20,000.00 I said no. I ended the relationship yesterday. He texted me today again. I texted him it was over again that I knew what he was doing.

Does he have a beard

Yes. Full beard with some gray.

I’m communicating with a man who sounds similar, with beautiful white hair, wears sunglasses in some pictures...has beautiful blue eyes, and he’s about 55 years of age, and is in Canada, working on a project. Needs funds to finish...broken equipment....sound familiar to anyone?

I am communicating with a man with nice grey hair and blue eyes, said he was 59. He sent me a photo where he is wearing sunglasses. He left today for Germany for five weeks?? He plans to comeback since this will be his last contract working on oil contract, he wants to give his daughter a real family. His story is his wife passed four years ago. Does he show pictures with a daughter? He is in love with me after a few days of communicating. He has not asked for funds but its coming.

Yes, almost exactly the same. Goes primarily by James. Text are not good english, poetry is perfect english

I have been in a similar situation ..white hair ,beautiful blue eyes.likes to wear sunglasses his name is Bruce Mateo...he is in France..he worked on a project,,wanted me to pay to move his equipment. Then he was in a car accident he wanted help with his hospital bill..now he wants $10,000.or he will expose me on Facebook !!

,

Yes he sounds familiar to me only he said he is in the Gulf of Mexico and can't pay for the equipment. wants $100,000.00.

Very handsome. Says his name is Gilbert Robert. Wife died seven years ago of breast cancer. He was born in Houston, Tx but raised in Milan, Italy. He is project manager on oil rig with 6.5 million contract. He has invested all his money. He is short $5000. To finish paying for drilling equipment which is mandatory. He is honest, a Christian, honest and would never hurt me or let me down. Sweet nothings. Could never pin down an answer. He was so excited to be retiring!! Said he didn’t want my money but he was crying all day. Sent fake documents and passport. Good looking guy, whoever’s picture he is using.

I’m talking to a similar guy! Wife died 7 years ago breast cancer. Born in Italy. Daughter is 18 in London. On his last contract, wants to retire and spend the rest of his days with a wife. His name is Michele Romano.

Exactly the same... Wish we could post photos

I think
It’s the same guy I am chatting with.
Similar guy with good English but Italian accent

This sounds all too familiar mine is name Malcolm Merlyn an engineer in the Gulf of Mexico. Couldn't leave to pay for the equipment he needed for the oil rig and wanted $100,000.00 from me. Took 4 pictures I sent of me and a great granddaughter and put them in a frame and sent me his picture with the frame of my pictures. And he had delivered to my home a check for his work on the oil rig for over $500,000.00 that I now believe is fake to convince me he had the money to pay me back. Then I saw his name on here and same situation with the picture and knew he was not real. I can't believe grown men would do something like this.

Does he have a dog, and a son going to school in Texas
Can you please send me a picture sounds like someone I have been talking to for 18 months
From Norway

I'm talking to one man of that description. He has beautiful grey hair and is trying to get me to open a bank account to send me money so I can send it to his daughter. I'm like nope....so much nope.

Can someone send me a picture my friend is talking to someone who has some of the same story and it just seems to good to be true.

Yes, similar to my guy. 60 yrs old, nice blue eyes and salt and pepper hair. Sometimes wears glasses. Met on Instagram but he recently took it down. Started calling himself Prince Alex. Sound familiar to anyone

I fell for a scam like this several years ago fortunately I got suspicious before the request for money came up..but it did eventually. So this time I knew when it started. This guys name is Daniel Depiero Williams says he lost his wife and kids in a car accident 8 years ago. He’s in love with me from my picture we have only been emailing for a few days but he’s coming on very strong. Also watch the times on your emails he said I will dream about you all night and will write again in the morning. The text was sent to me at ten thirty am. Doesn’t add up

I am also talking to Mark Stevens. He works at oil rig in Romania. Came there from the USA, where he was grown up, but originally he is Vietnamese. Has two children: daughter is 15 and son is 9, if I am not mistaken. He started talking to me on Scrabble. I told that I am married, he told that it's ok, we can be friends. Ok. Today he told that he wants to visit me and my family and needs that I sent a vacation letter to his company. I have no idea what is that. But he told that if I am ready to send it, he will give me instructions. Oh, yes, his wife was doing it before. But she was killed several years ago. I suppose that he will need my personal data and something more. I stopped talking to him.

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.

I got a friend request from a Mark johnson a engineer on oil rig in mexico. He said he was a widower and had two children. He said he left him with their nannie because he had won the contract for drilling off shore in mexico. But I couldn't tell anyone. He soon asked for me to help him with some of his expenses. I have sent several thousand dollars to him. His nannie and kids also contacted me and said they had no money for food or school projects. I sent them several hundred dollars also

When his time was up on oil rig of course he needed more money to travel to me. Then was hit by bus while walking in mexico. And has been hospitalized for months as needing special surgeon from china. Now he needs more money to pay for Mexican hospital because they wont let him leave until his bill is paid. And they are making him buy meals and his own meds for months now. I have been doing without what I need for him. It sounds stupid now that I write it down.

MET OIL RIGGER,LIVES IN LA WHEN NOT ON SHIP, CURRENTLY 'ON SHIP IN EGYPT', BIOLOGICAL PARENTS DIED WHEN HE WAS YOUNG (AMERICAN/DUBAI),49,HANDSOME,'CHRISTIAN",WANTED TO CHAT ON WHATS APP INSTEAD OF INSTAGRAM RIGHT AWAY, THEN TELLS ME HIS TWIN SONS' MOM LEFT THE BOYS & HES A SINGLE FATHER...FIRST HE SAYS THEY ARE 8 YEARS OLD, DAYS LATER, SAYS THE BOYS LIVE IN HOUSTON & GO TO A CERTAIN HIGH SCHOOL (LOOKED UP THE NAME ONLINE, IT EXISTS), SAY BOYS LIVE WITH A NANNY....SO I ASKED HIM IF I WAS TO BELIEVE HIS 8 YEAR OLDS,GO TO HIGH SCHOOL & LIVE FULL TIME WITH A NANNY WHILE YOU LIVE ON A SHIP...HE SAID HE DIDNT MEAN TO WRITE HIGH SCHOOL, SO, I CHECKED,THERE IS NO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WITH THAT NAME...

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.

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