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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.

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit
Scam Tags:  Romance Scams

Comments

I had this same thing happen to me recently. his name was George Herrick. claiming he had a 13 year old son in boarding school in Ventura California. he also said that he lived in Santa Monica Calif. until his wife passed away from breast cancer. Then he said he put his house up for sale because he had a contract over sea's in Poland. I asked him a bunch of questions and he answered all of them but NEVER gave me the truth about his family because he was claiming he had none. he said his 13 year old son needed some money because he had his credit card and cell phone stolen and he George had no access to his accounts until he was done with his contract. I sent him money from a Bitcoin machine and a STEAM card from Walmart. I made it very clear I wasn't sending him anymore money but he kept asking. Then I asked him for a copy of his Drivers lic. and passport. he did send it to me. when I reported him to FTC and the local police. the police said the lic. and passport were fake and all the photo's of the ship he was on was internet taken and i was dealing with fake person.

Sounds like what my sister is dealing with right now. His name is Bryan Mc something...

I am talking to a guy right now. He wants me to marry him. Blah blah. Family died in car crash. He’s didn’t try to extort money yet.

I jus met a guy claiming his family died in a car crash. His name is Kevin

Dee and Kia I think we are all talking to the same guy. I have been talking to him for a year, everyday and video-chattted with for 2 months before he left for China for an engineering job. Name on Hangouts, James Walker, on Fitbit Enchanted and Brown C. Wife died in car accident 4 years ago, from Italy with thick accident. Has a 12 y.o staying with Godmother cause he’s traveling for work. He’s proposed 3 times and I’ve given him ALOT of money. 2 months ago got suspicious and stopped sending him anything. Now claims he has Corona and needs $40k for treatment. I just stuck with the US and the sea in China and they said American citizens I’m not charged anything for treatment for corona and if he didn’t get paid for his work, they will work with him to help him come home. I’m completely deviated as I waisted a year of my life thinking I was developing a future with him. But yes parents & Aunt & uncle all died in horrible ways. Wife killed in car accident, started off very religious, loved me quickly & convinced me to sell my home & move to CA with him. He would pay all of my bills and debt. It’s all I lie and I’m now living on a hotel lost and confused. I’m going to report him. I hope if this sounds familiar you’ll report him too. When I stopped sending money I heard less and less from him and I suspect he’s now looking for someone else to give him money. Beware! I never knew this happened on dating sites or Fitbit!

I think I know this James Walker. Plays on wwf Uses hangouts Jameswalkerlife4

We need to be very careful with our facebook account because few days ago they hack my personal facebook account using it scam innocent once,

Heart broken, I’ve been playing a James Walker on wwf Since Covid-19 started. First all nice about playing the game and then kept trying to get me on hangouts. That’s when I knew he was up to no good. I decided to play along and see how far he would take it. When I wouldnt give in he started sending me sweet poems and then eventually said he loved me and if I would except his proposal on wwf chat. I never returned the feelings and that bothered him but it didn’t stop him from asking me for iTunes gift card and say how much he loved me. I went silent and so did he but that only lasted a few days. Then he’d act as though everything was fine. He’s asked for an amazon card so he could by a book collection. Again I ignored him. Finally I said to do what I do and get a book from the library. Quiet for a few days but back again with the hey love etc.. he has no conscience. I feel bad for all the women he has scammed.

Contact me on freewaymarcox@gmail.com, I think we are talking with the same guy.

I can’t believe this happened to me. I was being scammed by this same guy. I met him on TikTok and he got me on google hangouts. Civil engineer with a 14 years old daughter, wife died, daughter was playing these games that needed iTunes cards. I have lost so much money before I realized that it was a scam. I have since deleted app and blocked his number. He has all my information, I have changed all bank cards. I hope he will get caught.

I’m so sorry, these scammers are ruthless and don’t care one bit about us, only our money. I almost lost my husband over a romance scammer. I will pray for both of us. Lol

A Similar thing happened to me few weeks ago. This guy friends me on Instagram, says his name is Adrian Gerald; from Flushing , NY. A Sargent Major in the army , stationed in Kabul in a peace keeping mission,. he says his wife died 4 years ago in a car accident. He has a young son. His parents also died when he was in his teens. He grew up in Denmark and has a Danish accent. He asked me to communicate with him on Hangouts.
But I was skeptical from the start. I asked him like a 100 questions and he had answers for all of them. So I just went along with it to see where it went.

He called me and even video chatted from google hangouts . I didn’t realize it was scam until he asked me to buy him a plane ticket so he could leave the duty and come home for Thanksgiving, Christmas. He said he wanted to retire from the army and settle down and he didn’t want to be away from his son . When I said No I can’t buy you a ticket . He started begging me, he started crying and was totally an emotional wreck.
I thought this guy was nuts....

But I said no way , and I told him that he was an imposter and I was going to report him.
Then he started getting all defensive .
I ended up blocking him in Instagram, Google Hangouts and in my phone list.

I did report it to FTC complaints and I did report the account to Instagram as a scammer.

He gave such a believable story and had all the right answers. That anyone could easily get fooled by this.

Please be careful everyone !

Yes do you have a picture of him and what mane did he give you sounds like the one I was dealing with

I think I am being scammed . A guy called Chris Alex msged me on Instagram then asked me to msg him on what’s app. I have a gut feeling it is a scam
He hasn’t asked for money yet
Has anyone been scammed by him

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've been getting this same message from many different numbers for about a year.

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

Jackie. I think your guy is my guy. Three weeks ago, Steve Noirac, friended me on Word Buddies. I commented on his picture with his 8 year old daughter, Janet. This began the Hangouts conversations.

He said he is a crane operator on an offshore drilling rig in Nova Scotia. Claims to be Belgian with the daughter living with a tutor in Atlanta, Georgia. As things heated up, I began to send things in Spanish by using Google Translate. He returned my messages in Spanish.

Before the request for money yesterday for his daughter’s birthday in November, I would ask for details of the rig, which one it was and asked for him to tell me things he did at work. He could never provide anything and switched subjects.

I feel stupid. He asked for money, and I don’t have it to give. Not a cool thing.

Dr. Chris Evans was in Yemen for me. LOL. I been toying with him as much as he was trying with me.

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.

Can you please help me to locate a picture ?

Yes , I have photo and I havebeen talking to him since 2 months, never asked for money yet! But some red flags avoiding video chats, internet call etc. His email is is not pulled in search engine!!

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?

What was his name? Did he give you his son's name? Did he tell you how his wife died? I think the man I am taking to may be the same man who scammed you.

Oh my gosh! This sounds like a guy I have bee messaging for nearly two years! He is supposedly 55, an engineer and has grey hair and has a nephew to take care of.

What is this man's name? I think he is using me too?

Do you have this persons name??

Did he say his name was Francis Albert. Son named Roy from NY?

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.

I think the same thing happened to me. Korean but moved to US since young. Was left by ex. Talked to me about a month and now asked me to pay thousand dollars for the package he will send to me. Always ask me to send him nude pictures but I never did. Do you have the picture of him? May be we can exchange what happened to us.

Hi Caroline , did by any chance said his name is Ken Wong or Ken Yang Han or maybe Kyoung Mark?? Korean moved to NYC since very young, cheated by gf , works as a gemmologist?
Cus i've just been scammed by this individual , chats and calls , no video , for a month since 11th October and then wanted to send a package to London as very important for a client and found at being asked to pay custom clearance and taxes in Belgium for 15000gbp
I have pictures that i've received from him.

Pretty sure it's the same guy here. Red flags all over! Pictures, he has talked to me even dropped my city (as I know how small and poor my city is), he now claims that he has a client in my city which I know is a lie because there's no one in my city that can afford a gemologist. Korean moved to cali at 5. Both parents died. Ect. But his accent is suspicious for someone who live in the us for so long. Met on a language app. Even gave me bank info to send money to someone (not myself). Now trying to send me gemstones, to avoid VAT charges. Will not give information.

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

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