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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

In case you become a victim , is it possible to recover the money ? I've used paypal to do the payment and although I tried to control myself I was convinced be her. After she received the money she informed me that she was contacting her moderator so that he would give her allowance to leave her place and visit me... Obviously she never came . Is there actually sth that I can do?

Similar happened to me. I had a request on Instagram from Lilly Kennedy, military station in Syria. He ask me for $1200 to be wire to some lady that is supposed to be taking care of his daughter. I knew from that moment he was a scam but I continue playing alone. I make him believe he was getting that money wire and I reported him. I think he realized that I’m not stupid and block me from all of the socio medias we used to communicate.

Apparently .... reading all this... I was I victim too. This stories are 100% same as mine. Had my eyes blind. No it was not a love relationship, but we established a very good friendship... which then became a nightmare. So many stories from him, and me being weak and vèy trustful ..i agree to help. But when I couldn't find $ yesterday and started to ask saying "help me and I'll help in return" ..he just went on sayings things that threaten me and because of my another close friend hearing this, she stoped me
I understood that it's a scamer... closed everything but with this few days how I stressed... I never wished for anyone to go through that. His name is William Frederick Philipp on Facebook we met. He has many profiles there. We then moved to Wats up. Be aware girls. Don't trust that easy. I never though I'll go through this in my life. Been so smart about it but eventually I was not smart about this because I have him my address... that's all I have but what a nightmare I'm leaving in now! :( be aware of that guy also and tell others. Just wanted to share what I just been through.
Blessings to you all (hug)

I have been scammed on instagram by someone called Peter Mueller claiming to be a us marine in Iraq. I lost £150 to him. Said he was naturally from South Africa. Said he was a widow with 2 kids, lost his wife to cancer. He wanted me as his wife! was took in by him too with his smooth talking and making me feel special. I was not aware this sort of thing happened on social media. I've learned the hard way. It's been horrible.

If you know any men that go by, Raymond Scott Davids,has a girl & boy, mother passed away with cancer , He lives in Belfast germany.. black curly hair.. He is a fake, Another one is Jeffrey Eliot lives in staten Island New York, 55 years old,2 kids Allison, & Kendrick, His wife was suppose to been killed,Both parents killed in car accident, He wanted 300.00 he says his daughter needs a blood transfusion..

Steven Thomas scam if you come across this name — scammer saying his is military in Dubai

David Rodriguez James Richardson Taylor Smith Bindery expert Donna Smith Charles Tyler or Taylor Smith all a scam they want you to buy iTune cards there on Instagram Facebook Hangouts you name it there there and then they threatened you once you realize there scammers but don't worry I saved all the threats

Does anyone know a Hugo Rodriguez, he is going around asking for ITunes cards, 1580$ saying he is in Syria, needing to come home he is a SSG in the Army, needs to send his stuff home, will marry you, etc, blah blah, sends you rock hard photos, etc

I have a special needs woman living with me and I think she has 2 or 3 scammers.
She is constantly asking me where to get Amazon cards and iTunes cards.
The first one is general roy hawkins supposedly stationed in Syria with a son injured in an accident. Supposedly the kids boardi g school in Arizona took him on trip to west Africa and kid got hurt. Needs money for Dr and blood.
Has kid calling her mom. Says he gonna marry her. Then said her friend (me) is jealous and doesn't want her to have a better man the she does. And to keep it a secret til he comes for her. Then there is an engineer out of Ohio with daughter named sonia. Wife died, daughter in school in turkey. Goes by name David wilson...
She refuses to believe these are scams.

I have a guy that says hes from Switzerland but born in France. He never asks for money but says hes done with his job there and in order for him to come see me I need to verify he is coming here with my info. He claims to own a home in California with 2 sons. He says all I have to do for him is name, where hes going, doesnt need to be my address etc. He never asked anything but this. Not understanding whats up

Has anyone come across a guy named jones engle ? I believe he is an scammer impersonating to be an us soldier with last name Engle. I ran his photos using the reverse photo lookup they don't look like they've been used before.

Did you know any one named Michael West from Greece, Athens he is 57 years old a Ship Engineer he had 14 years old daughter name Kathy. He said he was widowed wife died in ghastly cat accident in year 2010 in Athens, Greece. This person is in Instagram. He always ask me to buy iTunes so that he can call his daughter I spent $650 iTunes already and he wants me to open a new bank account and ro have a full access. He said want to send money to me about $5000 so that I can send $2500 to his daughter. First he want to get all the details in my bank account so that he can login he is out luck my account has been locked. He want me to open red target card and American Express card and Becu credit union. It is so good to true what he was saying to me. He said he is carrying a bulk carrier from Netherland going to London. He said they are stranded the engine is not functioning.

I have been scammed since April 30th this year this person asking $1500 he flew to Malaysia to get his father $5,000,000 beneficiary but he brought only $10,000USD to pay for the taxes to RHB bank of Malaysia so since he is Kuala Lumpur he said the bank need more $15000 and he asking me to help him because he requested to the RHB bank to send all the beneficiaries money to me he plan to come to the USA to start his own business and buy a nice house and luxury car. His name is Benjamin Ben 56 years old from London. He is contractor he had one son who is 14 years old the first time he told me but this morning he said his son is 24 years old studying to be medical laboratory science in University of England. All in all I sent $14,000USD he promised to pay me back. He was in FB when he requested then he deleted the Facebook account then he is in WhatsApp
today he sending me a request saying if I decided to contact him he had another WhatsApp number using Malaysia. He is a contractor in Petronas in Kuala Lumpur. He was asking me today to send money because he lost his credit car in the taxi cab no food to eat and cannot work. He said he needs $1700USD.

Dear, whatever his excuse do not believe him. There's no such of inheritance tax for foreigner whatsoever in Malaysia. and i believe he told you as well about foreign tax. which is also fake since there's no such foreign tax department in Malaysia. Btw if there's an affidavit from high court of justice, that is also a lie. Malaysian didnt call their high court as high court of justice.

Roland Taylor he is in Instagram and Hangouts from Los Angeles, CA he works in the ship in Aruba asking me to buy him an iTunes. He was asking also to send him $700 he wants to go home he said he doesnt like his job in Aruba. He said his 9 year old son was staying with his friend while he was working abroad. And his son got an accident fell down the stairs broke his arm and legs he said he want he me to save his son not letting him die. He said he lost his other son and wife couple years. He is forcing me to saved him and his son. I sent him $15itunes ones and I blocked him.

Watch out for these scammers they're in Instagram, hangouts, Facebook and WhatsApp. They doesn't care about us the victims they care about themselves and the money. Hope all of them rot in hell. I am sure their is a Karma for these people.

Mine contacted me on atraf, sent a few hot pics of himself (gay). Claimed to be moving to Israel from Washington next month and is looking for a boyfriend . So far so good, and I have met guys of similar appearance. So we move to whatsapp (no problems here either).

Nigerian phone number!! (so I think, 50% scam)
Mother is ill. Will come to Israel after she is better (60% scam)
He claims to be half nigerian half american (pics dont match this, 70% scam)
Changes his story, says he was in Israel (80% scam)
Asks me how my weekend is going (on a Sunday - workday here. 90% scam)
Asks for money to an operation for his dying mother (bingo. Block)

Shayne Karlsson onFaceBook/ iamshayne034 on Instagram / email address is iamshayne034 @gmail. com. He’s supposedly from Ca, a widower with a 9 yo daughter. He’s now supposedly in Dubai and desperate for money to finish a job. He’s asked me to send iTunes cards and to let money be wired to my bank account. Everything that everyone here has said. Today he has threatened that he has a “Chinese hacker” ready to send emails to over 3,000 people with compromising information and pictures of me. He’s demanding $700 payment from me to not go through with it. I have reported him to the FTC, Facebook and Instagram.

I am sad, embarrassed and ashamed to admit that I was played to the hilt by Dr. Matt David of San Francisco deployed to Aleppo Syria for a UN Peacekeeping mission UNSMIS. His wife sadly died in childbirth. His young 9 year old son is in a boarding school. He needs iTunes cards. First $50. Then $300, with "promise of repayment."
I somehow stumbled upon this article. Upon reading the threads, things were very familiar.
I copied the link and pasted it at Google's hangouts where he insisted on texting. I said, "sound Familiar?" Boy did he get indignant!! That was the beginning of the end.
I am at least cutting my losses at heartbreak and 350 bucks.
Never ever send money, or iTunes cards. I only wish I had found this site sooner . Protect yourself.
I am dying of IBC, I knew it all was too good to be true. A man of God, kind words, pictures of floral bouquets, admissions of forever love... you know the outcome. This morning his Messenger and FB were no longer. As far as hangouts, who knows, I am unable to delete my thread... yes I was foolish, vulnerable but this will never happen to me again. I am no longer open to love in any form.
Take heed. This sadly is not a joke.

Anyone heard of a Brandon Alexander Mason? He is supposedly an U.N. doctor/surgeon working in Afghanistan. He has a doctor friend named Mark.

I received a request from Instagram by a Lamar Jay claiming to be an orthopaedic doctor in Afganistan under UN. I prophesied his love for me within a week he proposed, with promises of a lavish life around the world. And asked me to request for his vacation from UN so that he visits my country and to my shock he said the documents would cost some money to process, honestly who charges for vacation request ??? Some people will never see heaven

Yep, very handsome Sigurd Roy hooked up with me on instagram, engineer on a rig with a 9 year old son back in Sweden being cared for by family friend. Parents died years ago and wife died in a dui accident 5 years ago on her way to pick up their son from school and she was the drinker. She had an affair with his best friend while he was gone for a month on a job in Brazil. Wants to commit and fall in love fast and just before he should be able to depart the rig, a pump goes bad and he mortgaged everything to get this contract so he needs money and since he has to stay longer he also needs money to send back to son's caretakers. This contract will be worth big money when he gets it to world class standard and departs.

I think my mom is being scammed. She's been talking to this guy named Bradson Thomas in his late 50s for a while now. Says he's from Pennsylvania but is working in Nigeria. Has his own construction company but his bank card doesn't work over there and needs money. She's told me he has a foreign accent. Is widowed and no children. He keeps telling her when the job is done he is coming home to be with her and then time extends longer than what he said due to a rainy season.... Anyone else run into anything like this?

This is a common scam that scammers use. Always an emergency come up, the victim pays into the scam. And they never met.

Yes I see it all the time. You would think with all these people owning their own business.. That they would have a manager or someone back home that could wire them thousands when needed.. Would also think owning a business you would have sufficient funds to last you some time in a different country.
Not that any of their stories are true.. :/
Sad how they gain people's trust this way.

There is a man going by the name of Pedro Travis who I met on OurTime.com. I have been texting with him for over a month. He said he owns houses in Albany, WI and Cherry Hill, NJ. His cell phone has a NJ area code. He has a FB page but only contains two photos, same as those on OT. FB says he's divorced. He told me he's been widowed 9 years. He has a married son who has a 3 year old girl and lives in Australia. He has another son who is deployed in the Army in Syria. Pedro is supposedly a freelance soccer coach. He left for Cairo about 6 weeks ago to scout players for European soccer clubs. He has told me that he is presently training 20 or 22 young players who he will get signed to deals with clubs in Europe. Of course he will make a huge fortune off of these deals. He usually texts with me when it is after midnight in Cairo, which makes no sense. He has sent me many photos of him with his kids and granddaughter. Supposedly from when they were here last December. Of course, he was writing me long text messages telling me how much he loves me and can't wait to start our life together. That changed when he told me that he accidentally deleted all of the music off of his iPod Nano and wanted me to get him an iTunes card. I told him I was not giving him money. I texted him the directions for downloading his saved music from the cloud. He was shocked that I thought he would ever ask him for money. I thought that would be the last of him, but he's back. Hasn't told me he loves me, just that he thinks of me always and can't wait to see me. Now he says he won't be home until mid November. I am just waiting for him to start asking me for the big money. I know that is coming. I have a question. I have given him some facts about my family. I told him my mother's first name and a bit about my sisters. I did send him some pictures of me. Some from when I was young and a couple of selfies from over the summer. Nothing that is in any way incriminating. Do you think he will use those to create another fake profile and perpetuate an additional scam? That makes me sick to think of, but I could see it happening. Has anyone had contact with Pedro Travis or anyone claiming to be a soccer coach? His FB profile photo is a nice looking older guy with graying hair and a goatee, wearing sunglasses and a Bears jacket. There is also a photo of him laying in the grass face to face with a little girl about 3. He also sent me photos of him holding her. In one picture he is wearing a Wyoming tee shirt.

Has anyone dealt with a guy calling himself Stone Anderson? He adopted a little girl also.

Hi I think I’m being scammed too but posing as a gay person since I am gay too she was really cute saying her name is heather Arnett my friend searched her number she gave me and it was a google number then I sent my friend her pics she sent she found her Facebook turned out she was lying to me cause the girl she was posing has a boyfriend so I tried to the truth from her then she sent me another picture of someone else saying her name is Sarah Hall but I tried looking her for made her a Facebook then I realized you can see in sittings you can see what they are using to log in the Facebook it showed an android phone from Nigeria when she told me she was deployed there then she posted her phone number in the sittings so I called it nothing but then the person with the phone texted me saying who it is I lied trying to see if he would say something about the name I told him my name is Sarah Hall and I sent the pics that they sent me to see if anything happens but he said your beautiful so idk what is going on she doesn’t have a Instagram nor a Snapchat she did ask for money but I haven’t sent it yet since I barley make anything and she knows that but she keeps saying we will FaceTime time soon since my friend is letting me use his phone

Do you know this guy? He uses Maxwell Price as his name, lives in Long Beach Ca, works in Mediterranean Shipping Co., slaking oil from an oil rig, and travels to Europe in a Shipping, has a daughter, she is 26 yrs. old and a son, he is 22 yrs. old, he is a widow, his wife died in an accident around 5 yrs. ago, paints in his free time, but I caught him when I asked his grand daughters age. I didn't give him the chance to ask for money, but ladies I'm pretty sure he was a scammer. The pic he is using is from an account on instagram maxprice777, I don't know if the instagram account is fake or real. We made video call twice I saw him (don't know how did he did that), I couldn't heard him, and he told me it was the connection. When I asked him to use video calls instead of texting he said he was not good with technology. Is it possible to make video calls without sound? anyway I didn't want to be scammed so I asked him not to text me anymore.

Scammers can use Apps, to alter video's and use than a fake video chatts. Watch the mouth to see if it follows the persons speech pattern

Since last month Ive been talking to this guy on Instagram an his name is James Morgan . he talks of arizona an is working til January 2018 . He says hes Godly an that he has a Mother in a house of his with dementia like my Father has . He says that she always asks about me an that he wants to be with me an only me an that he wants to share every detail with me an I do the same with him. That he wont talk to no other woman but me. He sounds like a dream come true . We talk about everything . Or at least he tries to get me to tell him everything. I bought him I tunes card an he had me take a pic of the code on the back of it. He wished it was $50 an not $25 that I purchased of the card. He said he would send me his bank online info. He knows my name address phone number email . He want me to give him personal bank info so he could pay off bill debts that his Mom has. Sighs. I really wanted to be with his guy an he sounded so trueful . But now Ive talked to 3 people an they said that this is more of a scam . An he works for some engineer company. Hes 39 an very good looking .

An he kept on talking about $ an I told him I didn't wanna talk about $ an that I wanted to talk to him about something else other than $. An he said no secrets an no hiding nothing. He said it was the spirit of God that lead him to my Instagram pics. An he too wanted to use Google hangout , but I told him I couldnt because my phone wont let me download any other messengers. Its breaking my heart an at the same time making me mad that I fell for a guy who messaged me an we shared so much n now it s like I'm doomed once again . An I told him Id been in 2 car accidents . Every 2am or 1 he an I would talk. Help what to do.

Walk away, stop chatting, delete him phone numbers. Block on all social media outlets.

The same story just happened to me word for word .... person claims undying love wants to marry you carries on a conversation for months asks for ituns cards. Then more money then the third time claiming they are starving on the ship. Of course I knew most of it I thought might not be real but he was very convincing with the Bible stuff all the time and make sure I say my prayers... never a bad word he was very slick. But had a temper he would get angry when he didn’t get money he sounded very young...sad they make you fall madly in love with them and break your heart that’s the hard part ....

How could we google photos? I ‘m chat with a guy, bald and a blond beard.

Here is my story and I need a little help too. My favorite actress gave me her private number and we are talking and building a good realationship. Then after 2 weeks knowing her she ask me if I can hold on to her briefcase cause her security co. is closing. They want me to send 350.00 western union for them to ship it.
This is a scam right and is not my favorite actress and I took the right approach and did not send anything. She told me she is who she is and she is mad at me.
Bottom line I dont want my favorite actress to be mad at me.

does anyone know a Danny Peigh, he is chatting with my friend. When they were suppose to meet he had to go to Texas. My friend was going to fly out there to hang out he said he would be busy so it didn't make sense. He will be back soon. He lives in the same area but is always busy. I think she met him on tinder. He is handsome in his profile picture. They talk on the phone all the time. But not face to face yet.

The scammer will continue to make excuses, they will never meet. The catch is the scammer will ask her to pay for travel tickets, fees, food, transportation to meet her. There is always going to be a problem and they will never met. She will lose money if she continues to talk with him.

I've met a guy Robert Wilson contract worker out of Barrie Canada from the states same story

I was scammed years back and did not accept any facebook invites anymore. Recentlu I was invited on a chat side by a sexy guy who's wife died 2yrs back due to cancer. Apparently he has a young son who lives with nanny in another country. Lol we had big plans. He was in Turkey and had problems transferring money to nanny for sick child's bills. He asked me to help and that is how i hot suspicious that i was catfished :-) and about to be scammed. I refused and ask if we could video call. His mood changed and he asked for thousands of $. I just pray that he does not use my pictures to scam guys.

How does a person go about an image search? I get dating offers, about three a week on instagram.

Sorry to say, I have been talking to 2 different gentleman. Both were first introduced as players on Words With Friends. After first day they requested a move to WhatsApp or Hangouts. I reluctantly downloaded the app.
Several days of limited chat happened. One was a divorced male with a 12 yr old daughter living with a nanny in Florida. He was a marine engineer working on an offshore rig under U.N. contract. On third day he responds we can no longer talk because his accounts have been frozen and he needs an iTunes card to keep chatting online.
NOPE, did not happen thanks to the postings found here! Thank you all for sharing.

A man contract on oil rig completed and asked for money to have equipment sent to me till he comes home .how does a person get paid when leaving the off shore rug?

Anybody being scammed by a guy named Deniz? Working in Turkey on a construction project as an engineer.

David Hills and Steven Lannister are two scammers on pof. Like really guys?? They need a real life. All the red flags were up.....I gave them the run around while I was still with my spouse. Lol! They were entertaining until they asked for money.....within two weeks of messaging. No surprise there.

My mum has been scammed by a carl breigner she's sent over £1200 to him,( Nigeria)same story's as above needed a beneficiary for his daughters, she met him on words with friends had him on Facebook (I reported the profile and it disappeared) also on hangouts mum won't believe he's a scammer worried shes gonna end up bankrupt as she's been getting cash out on credit cards she's also been talking to a Thomas attwood

Do you have a photo? Would love to compare!

You should be able to post the fake pictures on here so people can share them.

I have been speaking with a guy, BOBBY NORMAN, that I met on Word with Friends, who quickly "fell in love with me" .. all the usual stuff .. says he is a sculptor, wife died, has a daughter being educated in Canada. Had a project that he had to take to Dubai, sent me a picture of him in the airplane, from there he went to Australia for a sculpting job. After about a month, all his tools and all the work he had done were stolen. He was homeless, moneyless etc. No, he didn't offer any money and I wouldn't have sent him any. He is still in Australia and recently said that he made a sculpture for me which he says he has shipped. The shipping allegedly cost $4,50.00 (must be a very heavy bird). Now the package is stuck in Panama at customs!!!! Guess how much is due .. $25,600.00. I'm laughing, but it's not funny. Anyone who is more gullible than I would just pay the money. NOT ME!! Oh, he is originally from Sweden .. maybe. Anyone out there have anything similar.

This is known as a Package Scam. Victims pay into the scam, as fees, taxes, duties, etc. The Package does not exist.

Umm what happens if you keep the money after finding out its a scam???

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