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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

Do you have a picture by any chance? I had a similar story only he was stationed in Yemen!

I have the same story, I feel foolish. a man, was on a dating site, he made me be out of the site, wishing a private conversation through text. he said that he is a sargeant major of the army stationed in Afghanistan on a mission. he was telling me beautiful words,
he is trying to make me fall in love with him. he was trying to take my heart, he writes me poems, very sweet, apparently, he speaks good English, he sent me a pic of him as a handsome man surfing, is not with the US army uniform but now i realized that is a scam, he says his name is Thomas Humphrey. i have not given any money. i have not been stolen. Good that I read these comments from you so I am going to block him right now.

How do you locate an IP? Thank you.

Did you find out how to find location from gmail account ?

Omg me too an oil rig! I the gulf. I know it’s a scam. Named Allen??

I’m going through oil rig scammer too
Said someone impersonating him using his pictures yes I lost money. His name Henry Brown
As daughter 12. Nanny wife died 2016 just got taken off Instagram by the real person whose if he took! But he swears he loves me!
Lives California

OMG that is the story I just got from a guy, Fred William, exact to a T.

so the fred thats been talkin to me says he is from uk, but has lived in California for 28 yrs. wife died last year. he has a contract on a oil rig in the indian ocean. other money he says he has is invested in his company. he seems so nice and his words so genuine. i suspect a scam ...but sent 2 20 steam cards ..but iam not sending anymore. would like to know if he is the same person. i got a picture..he says williams is his last name.

I think we might have been scammed by same person. Can you send me his pic to compare?

Im talking last name williams so far he did not ask anything on me..someone talk last name williams can you sent the pictires if the same guy im talking now.bcoz he also in rig oil nd contractor.thnz

Hi becca51, i was also scammed on the early weeks of june this year, his family name was also williams, i met him on skout, he said he was working on an oil company, and he said he sent me a gift pack with a lot of item gifts, and if ever the custom would be asking me clearance fee, he said i should pay just to avoid the delay. So was thing that it wad so different coz i never asked him any gifts, so i confronted him that he is a scammer, he got mad at me, then i blocked him and reported to the app

I think we were talking to the same person he called himself Jack Williamson was a contractor working out Alaska, told me how much money he was going to get once the job was done. Caught him a lie and toasted him I have his licence with photo if you want to compare

Hello. Did he say his first name is Marcos?

Would his name be David Walter William's. Sounds like the same guy whose asking me to send play store cards, itune cards. Now he wants 15,000. To dock a boat so he can retire from his project.

Omg we need to get those guys oil ring widow nine yrs ago 16 yrs old daughter from Italy but lives in Houston Texas. I didn’t send no money
He said his wallet get into the ocean and he had a little accident send me pictures and everything about his Mom, daughter, accident, him cooking barbecue,etc. When I refused to send money he got “upset” bc I didn’t trust him lol. His name ya Jerry Fredrick duende sounds Italian at all. I can show his pictures

Same guy now going by the name of Dr Robert Wilson from Texas originally from Italy working in sudan as a orthopaedic surgeon has a 15 year old daughter, wife did 5 years ago

I am being scammed by oilrigger. His name is Frank Coherl.
IAM 73 year widow. I have sent him money. I want to believe him.
I enjoy his sweet words. I have accused him of being a scammer, tried to break it off several times. I need to see a picture, I ask God to give me strength todo so. Please send picture

My mum has been talking to a guy called Richard but I think he is a scammer he is now saying he has been stopped by Indian customs and has to pay 10.000 dollars to get his so called drill through and needs my mum to help him he says he has a daughter and works for himself etc omg I'm.so angry with these filthy people can anyone help she has got photos of this con man

Yes I would like to see photos. Is the lady name Alen??? My guy is from Belguim

Did this Richard person have a last name? I've encountered a man by the name of Richard Tuan Hieu. Says he's a contract drone pilot for the military. Has a 6yr daughter named Jen/Jenny, nanny named Susan who cares for her while he's overseas. Any of that sound familiar?

Says his name is Richard Batten 56. He says his birthday in January 31 and he will be 57. Says he is a civil engineer who won a million dollar contract in Singapore. Has an accent. Talked for a few weeks. He loves me and wants to spend
The rest of his life with me. Doesn't think there is a women left in world like me. He calls me baby and honey. His needs money for tools for his project Working on in Singapore. He says the company took them away because he didn't pay for them yet. It is a bridge and 55 story building. I new was a scam all along. Set him up to ask for money. He needs 27,000 dollars then can get his tools back and come home to me. I played the game smarter than him. Made him think I was going to deposit 27,000 to a company in China. He gave me an account named Triangle Tire Company LTD. Three times I made myself so believable about depositing money. Finally called him out and he says he will always love me Then he can't stand me because i has sent him messages about number 8 and 9 commandments being my favorite. Which are about not lying and stealing. I also told him I was 395 pounds after the 3rd time I said I was going to send him money. I wish he was caught and put in jail for fraud. It was hilarious. What losers these people are. They are using exact same kind of stories. After all was over I sent him back a picture of one he sent me of a dark haired man sitting on a sign In Kenya on equator. I asked him if he new who that guy was cause I would pay 30,000 for him. Made him so mad I told him so sorry he worked so hard on me and didn't get money. He admitted he was a scammer.

Alan? Lost his wife 6 years ago!
Yes he is a scam. From Columbia & lives in Jersey City NJ

Do you know the name of the Lt General you talked to in Afghanistan?

The person I spoke to was Lauren Ediger wanting to ship a consignment box.

Has anybody come across a guy called Micheal Scott? Saying in the UN based out of Syria?

I have been corresponding for 14 months with a UN person supposedly a USArmy Brigadier general named Dave Rogers originally from NC with a 16 year son in boarding school inParis. Until a few days ago he had asked for small amounts on ITUne cards to be se not to his son. Then he hit me with a whammy!! He had come into a huge amount of money which he was sending to me from Syria via Dubai but I have to pay the shipping company almost a thousand dollars to retrieve it. I said NO, find another patsy.

Two guys !!! Yes real pros .
One Gulab Ansare Brigadier General in Afganistan with 16 year old son ... constant demand for money to help Alvin.

Other a man with a 20 year old daughter ... in financial disposition ... needing cash until his paid out for a contract his doing.

Both claim love and yet they're abusing y emotionally, mentally .
be warned ladies we are amongst woves in sheep's clothing.

My mother-in-law is talking to a Michael Scott for the last 2 weeks he is out on an oil rig he says he has adopted a daughter lives in Texas I believe he is a scammer but I'm trying to prove it to her

How about Major John Marino For the UN In Syria?

Yep, he’s been attempting me to give him iTunes, Bitcoin for a new phone, telling me I don’t care about him. Well I keep twisting it back. Sadly this guy took the identity of someone I attempted to reach out to (supposedly the husband) won’t call, told me he’s in Albania at a closed base. Makes 7K, has a son Logan staying in TN with his Aunty. It’s been fun messing with him for many months now.

Hi there...the oil rig guy. Same for me. He came out of nowhere and is "madly in love" All kinds of flags. Yours isn't named Bryan, is it???

The guy my friend is dating is Bryan Kelly. Says hes on an oil rig in Afghanistan. His daughter is In boarding school. Madly in love with her and wants to get married

Bryan dale?

how about a David John - engineer on a oil rig in Norway has twins in Houston TX at boarding school - he is hungarian/spanish . anyone talking to someone like this ?? He needs to get documents for his vacation so he can go home

Hi all! I am also talking to a guy names "Brad Thom" who owns his own Petroleum Co and is currently on an oil rig in the Aegean Sea in Turkey. Came to the States 20 yrs ago after his mom past. Is a father of 2 children "Jane" currently 19 and "Kevin" currently 12. Is a widower of 12 yrs. His wife died giving birth to "Kevin". He Instagramed me out of the blue the other day. And by the end of the night he stated the he loved me and wants to marry me. Last night he stated that "Two of my most important machines used for working got spoilt " "It’s gonna be fixed by the mechanics and I’ll have to pay them to fix it
I’ve spent a lot in getting this contract and also since i came on here And am currently having this problem with my account that can’t be fixed until i get back home" and "I just don’t know how i can get help with the remaining of the money to pay to fix the machine i just promise to pay back as soon as i complete this contract and get paid". So i ask him if he was asking me to help him out financial b/c i couldn't and he stated, "No am not
I’ll just try to find help myself to see what i can do about it". So i looked up his facebook page that he stated that he no longer has and I found his picture, along with another picture of a different guy on his facebook profile. I'm toying with telling him but i'm not sure. What do you ladies think??

He is a scammer. We are suppose to be intelligent women!

We are intelligent women. First, I like to let them think I'm star struck. Then they start him hawing about financial. I let them think yes I can do that. I play they game right back. Then I finally let them have it. I asked him if he really thinks I'm dumb? Then I tell him I played him. Works like a charm. Then I block them.

Hi I am in UK just about to do same thing! My scammer pledging undying love met on dating site Plenty of Fish. Says he is called Diego brought up in Bahamas but Italian. Has 2 daughters Sonia and Emma, his wife had affair with his best friend. Is a diamond dealer, flying to Poland today to do deal, will take a week for diamonds to be cleared then needs to go through bank account! Waiting for him to ask me im going to give him incorrect bank details then ask him how it feels to be duped...then name and shame him on every site I can think of...these men think us women are stupid, however he has met his match with this blonde!!!!

Told me his name was Lawrence Louis not true ...same story

I have a Russell Williams who claims he works on an oil rig. He also says he has no access to a phone because his company don't allow them. I asked for proof of his ID and he sent a photo of his ID badge. His picture doesn't match the one he uses in words with friends 2 - which is where 11 men have spent their time proclaiming undying love for me haha. They're all widowed and have kids. Sometimes they say the child died too. It's disgusting what lengths they'll go to.

Nice touch for him to use the name Russell Williams. Russell Williams was a former Colonel with the Canadian Forces. Was convicted of killing two women. B&E into many homes and stealing women's undergarments and 80 odd more charges.

I’m going thru the same thing. I was contacted thru words with friends 2 out of the blue. His name is Williams Theodor. 56 year old, widowed, two grand children who were abandoned by their mother. They live in boarding school in Oslo. Deceased son also. Good conversationalist and makes you feel like you’re the most wonderful woman in the world. Calls me his queen, honey, babe, wife. I’ve fallen totally. Wasn’t looking, i’m Married but he drew me in totally. His WWF profile shows he is Norwegian. White hair and profile photo showed him in bed with a small dog looking like a French bulldog. His WWF profile has disappeared. Supposedly works on rig in Irish Sea at present but going home to Oslo in January. I wired 5,000.00 to a bank in Istanbul for expenses for his grand kids school excursion. Now he wants money for them to get back to Norway and more school expense money and food for them. I feel like such a fool!!!!

Hi
Yes I have come access him Via WWF
Different name though
After a few months online , telephone AND video calls came the sting
I was his Queen too !!
This low life sent pics of his ‘child ‘ dying in a hospital bed
Then hurled disgusting abuse at me for refusing to send money for hospital bills
Unbelievable the lengths they will go to
Contact me if you want to chat x

Is there a way you could send me the oil rig guys pic? I met a guy on a plane, total love at first sight kind of deal, and he works offshore. Some things have popped up that make me question his motivation and I'm wondering if it's not the same guy.

is his name Scott Owen? his wife died & has two children name Roxie & Tyler. Says he's from Charlotte. Ready to retire after 31 years in the military. He's a LtGeneral. in the army.

What is the name of the guy from oil rig ??

Named Aleks Huber?

Hey, I also have a US Army Sgt by the name of Matthew Acosta in Afghanistan telling me he has a gold reward for saving someone’s life. He wants me to pay the storage fees and shipping to get it to can get it to Canada. He professed his love for me, and wants to spend the rest of his life with me. The cost is ONLY US$8,550. He lost his iPhone and tells me he’s using an office computer. I checked his picture he sent me on photo recognition system and came up to another guy who’s been posting on Instagram since 2017. He told me someone stole his ID. Still in love with him. Having Dubai police confirm the existence of the storage company in Dubai. Can he be telling the truth? We’re hopeless romantics.

Mine also states he is Us Army Capt however FB says General which he says someone hacked. His insta started in 2017. Has a 6 yo daughter madly in love w me ... i just cant stop mu doubts anyone have stories like this. ?

Yes, this has happened to me recently. Guy in service stationed in Oklahoma right now at camp. Says his name is Steven Alex Tillman. Says he has a little 6 year old girl named Rose who he wants to find a loving mother for. Says he loves me and sends very romantic texts to me. The pictures he sends are never current ones like as in while we are chatting. Also he says he can’t make voice calls unless I follow procedure. I called the base he claimed and they said they never heard of the supposed link he sent to secure my line. I was afraid to do it and told him I was not going to unless he gave me a name of the his supervisor and a number of contact at his camp for such inquiries. Also he could never voice call me. And I looked into his number and it was a voice text number. Very sketchy. His words of love grabbed me in but the story was only considered for a second because I thought maybe there was these rules in the military. And when I investigated on the info he provided I started to open my eyes. He never got to the point of asking me for anything but, he promised me a lot of things. But he couldn’t deliver me basic requests that would prove himself to me. Ladies be careful with yourself and remember to do your homework. Things should add up. Find ways to test someone. I was so heartbroken I stayed in bed all day. Foolish for thinking I may have found true love. He came on strong and I thought wow, god works in mysterious ways. And then the poor little girl with no mom. (Said her mom took his money and ran off with another man.) Just wanted to marry me and find me to love his daughter too. But he can’t send me a current photo? Or call me? And the supposed link he wanted me to “secure my line with” was a communications something USA.com. I erased it already. He said I don’t trust him. And no trust no love. I told him the things I ask you to provide are very reasonable. Like a picture current, holding my name. Or your supervisors name. Or a phone number to your military camp to discuss of the “ securing the line” Just did my homework. Still wishing for true live but not with someone who is totally fictitious.

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