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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.. Lost no money but its fun...lol

How do you find someone phone number when they call you and all you get is a name and no face.

My mom has been talking to this "special forces chaplain" who is in a war time zone in Syria. I've told her to stop talking to him, but he says they're going to get married. He just started asking for iTunes cards. He goes by John Henry. Anyone dealing with the same guy? I'm trying to look out for her. Thanks!

My mom has been scammed for a year now. LARGE sums of money. I have contacted lawyers, her banks, her doctors, the local police. All tell me they can do nothing until she gives me power of attorney, which she refuses. What can families do to stop this scamming on elderly parents? Please help.

My mother is being scammed too. We have been slowly gathering details as her lies are monumental in protecting and covering this imposter. He has managed to get her to leave my dad, move away from her entire family, steal from my parents retirement and I can only assume wire at the very least over 15k. We are trying so hard to help her but she is brainwashed. She is literally trying to burn her bridges with each of us and I know it’s because of him! I have an address in Nigeria that her bank gave me when she tried to send money from there but no name, email or picture. She uses a translation app and WhatsApp to communicate. We think too she may have 2 phones. I BEG all of you to please reply if you think you can help. My mom will cause her and my dad to lose everything and my worst fear is it will literally break my dad’s heart (he has a heart condition) when we tell him. He just thinks he failed my mom so she left him. We know we have to tell him but it will indeed break him. My siblings and I are taking care of him every day. Any detail and ALL advice welcome!!!

Hi! My mom is also being scammed and I don’t know what to do. Is this still going on with your mom.

Yes . My friend also chatted with Henry John. He told my friend to call her sister name Linda to prove he is real . He asked for ITunes card then need 1200 for retirement fee. We searched his pic, those have been use since 2009 on Facebook and dating apps .

They are getting smarter. I've been talking to Sergeant Major Steven Smith on "peace keeping mission" to Afghanistan. The best part is, I am the one who contacted him. I was looking for a friend and ran across the name. I asked if he had ever been in Florida and he said no so said, sorry didn't mean to bother you etc. Had short conversation, him in military and so on. To make a long story shorter, he contacted me every day. 2nd chat, he asked how old I was. When I told him 72, he said that was cool. I figured that was that, laughed and hung up. That killed that. He wanted to chat after that and I decided to play along.
He and his team had been given a $500,000 bonus from someone high up in the Afghanistan government each,but as luck would have it, the banks weren't working and they had been given cash. I basically told him it sounded like a scam. He wanted to send this cash to me, for me to hold, until he came home in 2 more months. Of course, could I please pay the COD charges and he would pay me back as soon as he came in. It would only be $1,800. Anyway, I ended up telling him, more than once, I thought he was a con man and scam artist. He was lying through his teeth and I knew it. We continued chatting for a couple of months, with him still trying to get me to pay hi fees. His story was he was 50, Sergeant Major in Army, widowed 4 years, with a 14 yo son at boarding school in the UK.
I finally listed all the stupid mistakes he'd made in his stories and how blatant most of them were, said Goodbye and stopped chatting. I haven't heard from him since Oct 14th. Even knowing what a liar, cheat, swindler and scam artist he was, I have to admit he was charming.

OMG i think we had same person... later i even keep him as a scammer friend... i pushed him admit he scam... it was hard for him but soon after that he do not spend time on me... possible some others really pays them money.... :( ... as i understand most of them comes from Nigeria... it is like scammers business country...

Mine is an alleged engineer who has been "stuck" in Turkey since March. He's trying to get me to pay for his airfare home to California. He's missed two flights home and magically everything is my fault. Don't send them money or iTunes cards! They're highly manipulative and will stoop to anything to get what they perceive as their money.

Your story sounds familiar last name bell?

I’ve been talking to a retired soldier. He contacted me off Instagram. We’ve been talking from day to night. Made me fall for him. He says he has two children and he’s divorced. She ran off to Florida. After reading about ITunes cards I wonder if everything I was building with this man is a complete lie. He’s 44 and goes by Chad Manis. Has anyone else been contacted by him. He also knows I’m a designated mother and have no money, yet he asks me for 50$ iTunes cards every once in a while. Im so torn especially with all these stories. Can someone help me find out if this guy from Texas is a fraud. My heart can’t take another heartbreak after the year I’ve had. Thanks

hello ladies, i would like to warn you for a guy that I met on dating site called dr breny, says his name is Brenel Cort, 38yrs, surgeon. I've been chatting with him for 5 months. He never called me as he told me that he was not allowed to call due to his confidential work at Canadian military hospital. just 3 weeks ago he announced that he was transferred to Syria to work as surgeon...he wanted to visit me and even sent me a screenshot of the approval of his vacation, which I found very strange. I blocked him immediately. After 5 months of chatting with him, I feel very stupid, but I'm glad that i realized that it was a scam before he starts harrassing me..

It happen with me to. The nicest man and then I know people in the US Army. The guy talked to me ALSO on hangouts then he ask me to buy him a iphone xs and the watch. Then I got a wake up call. I Google got pics of the soldier. Very handsuman. But this kelvin bradley is using this soldiers photos even with he's daughter. I did inform my friend sister as they are deployed and that I actually almost lost 2100 dollars that's 5 salaries in South africa

I'm currently chatting to a Kelvin Bradley on Hangout is there a way to see if it's perhaps the same guy?

Sounds all too familiar, wants me to send money to the UN so he can take a vacation from the War Zone in Khalil, Afghanistan to come home to the US to marry me!
The other guy I suspect got thrown out of his hotel room in Yangshou, China this morning, his time because I couldn’t send home $700, we only owe them $1900 and he can come home and marry me!

Hotels don’t hold you hostage if you owe them money. This guy is scamming you. Plus, he is probably scamming more women than just you.

Sounds familiar but never give your address to anyone

My scammer, Peter Christopher Brandy, Brandy Peter or Robert" claimed his wife and daughter died during childbirth. He was just now finishing a job in Turkey. He asked for Steam Wallet gift cards.
His huge (fake) check could only be cashed in the US. He wanted airfare. Next he needed hotel money and the hotel wouldn't let him leave until it was paid. Now he's been in a car accident and the hospital won't let him leave until his bill is paid.
He sent a picture of his fake passport. A photoshopped picture in a hospital bed. Emailed fake letters from the hospital staff and a fake in voice for his care.
Born in Germany with an American passport good for 12 years. He has over 100 young Nigerian facebook friends and he has a Nigerian accent.
He forgot he told me he lost a daughter. Now the baby was a boy.
He insisted we chat on hangouts and calls me dear, honey, my forever love and his Queen.
If I will send money for the hospital bill he can come "home" and marry me. He's already missed 3 flights. I'm keeping him in the hospital. He begs me to borrow money from family, friends or take out a loan and asked me to use my rent money and sell my car for him.
They all have similar stories and they are all lies!

Hi its seem that we have the same scammers its exactly the same story, though the name he used is different. He use Frank John and he tell me that his a surgeon.. and he was assign in Iraq. his son is 13 years old and he is a widow as his wife died due of giving birth to her daughter. i cant imagine i was fooled by someone who seems that he is real. May God forgive them on what they are doing. imagine using someone photos.. poor person they are been used without there knowledge. this is sad
really really sad.

Is he from Instagram? Rob by name?

Hey. I've been talking to a Rob. Is yours a red head or red beard?

Hi... I'll be talking to Robert too... Grey hair from Germany... Talk to me to see if is the same person please

I have been talking to a Carlos Roberto Mentor Rodriguez He said he was selling his business, then he got a bid for his work went to Dubai, to do the job he is 70. Says he has a 19 year old daughter in England studying physical therapy. His wife died 8 years ago of breast cancer. He has a thick accent, says he is italian/ Spanish came over here when he was 17 to finish his education. slowly worked into saying how much he loved me over about 4 weeks. Now he said he got hit with taxes in Dubai for $25,000. He knows I have no money I told him that from the beginning. He had me check his offshore account to see if a sizeable amount had been deposited which it had but he claims he can't access it until he returns to the states. Anyone else know this guy?

I know him.

I’ve been talking to a Robert Williams in Yemen . He says he’s in the army . He’s bald big green eyes . Says he’s been there since January

Hi there this is the same guy who told me his daughter Lisa is ill back home and now he is having wifi issues. Let me know and we can swap photos to see if it is the same one

Hi Trix,
I have someone I'm talking to that is working on oil rig in Alaska. I am more than willing to share photo. I only ask because he has a daughter named Lisa. But wants money to get supplies shipped.

Holy cow. I was talking to a Marcos Williams who has same story .

On the oil rig in Alaska and needs money for supplies. No daughter though.

mine is on an oïl rig in Malaysia, as a daughter name Lisa. Late wife died in car crash. From Norway but lives in NYC when not on contract

I am chatting with someone who is supposedly a contractor on a rig in Norway..he is turkish, but lives in California.. his wife and son died in a car smash on his wifes birthday.. he has 2 young adopted kids.. gies by the name Raphael Griffo.. he has asked me for money to help with replacing pipes as he lost his wallet so has no means of cash.. and gift cards to get phone credit due to the wifi not working.. I was taken in by his sweet talk.. but haven't sent him any cash.. But by god he can talk the talk and will probably have targeted hundreds of vulnerable women.

Ur right about the 100s of women. Im on page 11. Same basic principle. Different name /background bs. Same consistent thread. I looooooooove u. Sweet talker with 1 of best sweetist personalitys I have ever seen, turns quickly into a confession of love. U are the reason for living, my everything. Marry me. Im retiring soon. Im coming home to u. Will u help me honey,babe ,sweetheart ..different pictures and names. Same basic concept $3150 later, I get it. Now I am stuck with the debt and was barely able to keep my head above water as it was. This is the same man. The country, field of work family story and pics change like the weather.

I'm so glad I started investigating Max Williams in Yemen can't talk ony chat in Hangout. Pictures of him very posed, nice smile, acts out as UNO Doctor on assigment in Yemen. Looking for soulmate.

I have been conversing with a guy overseas that said he needed money to get equipment so he can finish his job. He goes by the name Jason Brian, Email’s he was using: jason brian cares@ gmail or Jason rian carzes @gmail. Keeps asking for more n more iTunes and the price went from 100 to over 400. Days he lives with his mom

Where is he supposed to be. I also received request for help to buy equipment for an oil job in Turkey

I had a man who said he was from Italy I have been KNOWING for 3 years he said that if I was no longer friends with him that he would kill himself ( he told me he was married after 1 year of being friends and I dont like to have friendships with married persons) that's when he told me that if I dropped him as my friend he would kill himself ..he hasnt asked for money but always let's me know that he doesnt have any ( which I dont believe)

Is he an architect from UK?

We may have been scammed by same guy... Are his initials MO?

Do you mean Erik Griggs, supposed architect from Bath, UK?
Very handsome man, white hear, trimmed beard. Daughter Jasmine, 13 years old.
Has a big project in Istanbul, but gets in trouble when he has to pay for his materials?
Watch out, he's a scammer!

This matched the description of Dr Robert Wilson who was trying to scam me

WOULD HIS NAME BE RYAN LEON

Do you remember the name of him? Bassey Harrison?? He is one of the best scammers.

Hi Nettie73. Mine has asked to send Steam cards, is overseas working as an engineer and is on contract. Has no one but his daughter, everyone else in his family including his wife have all died. Can you tell me what his name is? I’m afraid it may be the same person. I’ve already sent a little money but I always get pressured for more. Spoke on Hangouts, exchanged photos, and video chatted. I’m afraid I’m getting played.

Hate scammers
Talked to a Mark Williams for almost 5 months. He worked on oil rig east side of Scotland. Daughter who has nanny in San Francisco.wife died in car accident 9 yrs ago. Do not send money!!
I’m out a lot .

I was scammed by the same guy. Same exact story of wife and daughter. I also am out a lot of money. He still is trying to talk and contact me. Everyone BEWARE of this evil guy.!! The picture I got was a white haired good looking man. Even got one supposedly with his daughter, who had brown long hair wearing a brown jacket.

What is his name

Hi how you check a pic to see if he is a scammer

Hi Nettie73, I feel my mom has fell victim to the same individual, what is your guys' name?

I totally agree with you. I have thought about signing my finances over to my son to manage. My guy claimed to be from Italy, named Douglas Bianconi.

my scam went on for a year and a half - I am embarrassed and lost a lot of money. I had the same sweet words and beautiful letters and he sent pictures but would never actually video call me because of terrorism where he was. I did hear his voice he told me he had an accent and he did but I continued to correspond. He constantly asked for money and I stupidly gave it until I had no more. I really thought I was in love with this person and thought nothing of giving him what he needed but at the end he asked me to get a loan for a very lot of money always promising that he will pay me back in full for all that I did for him and he would come back to see me and spend time with me. A lot of what he said to you was said to me all when I started reading these comments I realized he could not be who he said he is. In fact I saw a picture of someone on facebook that looked exactly like him and I brought it to his attention and he said that the hackers put his face on that persons body so it would look like him but I have asked several times to have him take a selfie or to do a video call and he always has an excuse. You are lucky it was only that much money I have been scammed for much much more and til the day I decided enough was enough he still promised to pay up. My health is taking a toll on me constantly worrying about my debt. Wish there was someone who could help us. I am planning on talking to someone although most say we have lost our money and we will never get it back. We just need to forget and move on and live with the mistake we have made and try to get back to leading a somewhat normal life after all of this.

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