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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

I have been talking to a guy - Frank Morgan widowed with a 7 year old son being looked after by his school teacher - he is supposed to be a wealthy oil rig contractor who had a $2.4 million contract to clear up an oil spill in the north sea. After a few weeks disaster his bank account is blocked and he cannot buy essential tools to repair a transformer damaged in a storm. He will not be paid unless he can repair the transformer but needs $3000 to get tools sent to him on rig. Anyone else know him?

Has anyone heard of brayan willex thing is he didn't ask for money just to help him get off the ship he was working. For the u n then I got a letter fake from the u n asking me to send money for his way home

Bridget Small FTC, a friend has been chatting with an Army Captian by the name Ares, currently deployed to Syria, always on night patrol, contact through Whatt App,. According to her, he was order to LOSE COMMUNICATION WITH EVERYONE. Also she claims the have chatted very briefly once a month for the pass 3 months. Could this be a possible scammer?

This sounds like the person who scammed me but the name he used was James Broussard and transferred money to Christian Richardson.

Has anyone had any contact with cliff Daniel? Stated he is from Australia originally had three children and widowed. He stated he is in Syria as a contractor... I met him on a dating site I made a huge mistake ! I had done all the research and everything came clear. However I gave in I have lost over 80 grand and credit is ruin.

on FB, a new trick. Nigerian scam. A very handsome man contacted me, his profile was 8 years old, everything looked very real. James Becker. When we talked, he avoided answering. I searched the internet and found the right photo owner. They are copying real profiles! Attention! Be careful! I patiently waited when he asked for money and then I blocked everything. The profile was canceled but the next day was a new profile with photos and history since 2012. So I tracked them, profile canceled. In two days a new profile, again the same photos, I reported it. I contacted the right person with his profile being copied. They are really stupid, but I'm not! Never ever please believe these sweet stories! Find the information.

I met a guy in Instagram by the name alexa.allen33 or Kingsley Allen. He said he is a secret agent working in Oregon, with 2 kids namely Shane and Rose. His wife died two years ago because of cervical cancer. He never asked for any money until he told me that he will be deployed in West Africa and he needs some money to buy sim card and some stuffs.I can send you some photos of him. I'm trying to search for the real person in the photo but i'm not having any luck

Met man on facebook. He wanted us to get on hangouts so we did. He said he is on freedom mission in afganistan. Said he hhad 27years and was retiring in several months. He said his parents and sisters were killed in plane crash. He has son who is 15and is in school in Nigeria and he had no food there and he could not acess his bank accounts there so could i send money through western union. I sent 350.00. He said he was coming home to me when he gets out. He loves me. He cant stop thinking about me etc. If he is an officer why cant he call insted of texting? I told him if i had proof that it was really him. He put his drivers license on there and two cards with his picture and info. on there. How do i know these are real? I asked if that would be enough money for his sons food until he got out and he said probably not. I told him i could not send anymore and he said god would help us and for me not to worry..my heart says to believe him but when i mentioned scams he said everyone thinks everyone is a scam and not to believe it. Can he really not get acess to his money over there. He says it is a war zone. He just keeps telling me how much he loves me and misses me and we are going to get married and calling his son our son.his license is from address in california--Sacromento.he said i was going out theree with him but first he was coming to me.i just dont know what to believe. Please help me find out the truth.

I was a victim to this scam he claimed to be a u.s. Army Sergeant by the name of Kevin Hancock. He had contacted me via Grindr and then immediately switched over to Google Hangouts. he said his phone got destroyed when he want Syria and he needed me to give him a new phone via a Courier Ghana. I sent him the phone and had to pay the Courier $500 for a total of $1,000 spent. He didn't said he want a price in the United Stations 20 gold bars and he needed to ship to my house that's when I got suspicious and looked up the scam when I confronted him he's like oh no that's old news and tried to convince me that it wasn't. Thats where I drew the line.

I was contacted on FB about 3 weeks ago. General Victor Garvinton. Stated he was a widower. Wife died 7 yrs ago cancer. First he said his son was 14. And a nanny was taking care of the son in Hoston. Tx. Then he said his son was 21 and a Sgt. in the Military. And of course he was madly in love with me. I told him I was married. Didn’t seem to bother him. Then he informed he and 2 weeks later of chit chat that wa the Only One he could trust with his boxes of guns worth 112 Million Dollars. All of his info. was deleted from FB. He said he could not stay on Facebook & then suggested “hangouts”. By now I’m starting to put 2 and 2 together. He gave me a phone number that had a Texas area code. However him being in Afghanistan it was too dangerous to call and hi s FB pictures were also a fake x 2 pics. They were on a General but he retired 10 years ago. He was able to exlain that too ... your real photo again was Too dangerous. Then the texts started ... pretty much demanding I give Safeholdings my address etc. for delivery of his books of funds. So I said let’s say they do arrive-what then ?? I’m stuck for mailing fees and you are No Where to be found ... I was born on a Saturday...but it wasn’t last Saturday

I have the exact same experience.

This man his name is Luke Steward, 45 years old. Claimed He is from Ada Oklahoma, construction engineer. Added me on Instagram. Said his wife died of MS, had a daughter 18 years old. showed me his daughter photo, himself working at the site overseas- just signed a million dollar deal at Istanbul. Tried to ask him to video call but he said the site signal is bad.

This man is so sweet and caring, He know what to say to sweep you off your feet. He even pray for me claimed himself to be a very devout christian. Always text me to check on me. I fell for him. He never asked me for money yet though.

We chatted for about a month. I started to ask him more about him job. He gave inconsistent description. He also accidentally gave me another email to add found out that the photo he had was another man's photo. I caught him. He was so mad I blew his cover. I confronted him and He now have his Instagram account deleted.

Does anyone have relationship with the following men who are scammers: James Huckaby, Luke Scott, James Lukas, Author Grey, Bonny William, Tony Morgan, David Thomson, Mark Benson,

Some were on Words with Friends. JAMES HUCKABY is the most dangerous. Met on Match.com and is Brilliant at sweeping a woman off her feet. And a Master at romancing you and
The story never changes. He must belong to a criminal organization because after 16 months of him working on me, he had at least two associates who assisted him in picking up money gram and western union. And a guy named Darrien Harrison and a Samuel Obayanju helping with his scams. He claimed he is American but grew up in England and loves and is passionate about Premier League European Soccer. The Arsenal team being his favorite.
I fell for him and although I realized he was a scammer early on, he enticed me and asked for phone time with iTunes cards, Amazon Cards and
Money gram Western Union and used Darrien who seemed to have a Chase Bank account located in San Antonio Texas to receive money wire transfer but unlike your stories, this man
Was an amazing educated smooth charmer.
He promised a future with family and to help buy a new house and a life together. Aren’t they all
Monsters taking money and breaking our hearts?
Ladies we have to do anything we can to stop these criminals and realize that true love does not ever come easily. Thanks. Anyone want to share or knows James Huckaby. Let me know.

I am not feeling very blissful. Actually, I feel really ignorant for falling for a scammer. I was contacted on Facebook. My guy had a profile but had also posted on a page for dog lovers. He said he was from NY and worked for a Catholic charity that would soon be going to Nigeria to do charity work. We kept in touch constantly while he was in Nigeria. I fell for his scam hook, line, and sinker. I chose to ignore the obvious signs. I was truly in denial.
Finally it reached a point where it was getting totally ridiculous. So I finally came to my senses but was hurt to the core. Plus, I couldn't believe I fell for it.
Does anyone know of any way to identify the people whose profiles have been stolen and used by these criminals. I hate to think that people don't know this is happening to them.

I met 1 month ago a guy by the name of Thomas muller, 1 child Sarah, in boarding school, parents murdered when he was 6, talked every day, wants to come to Holland after his retirement, but now he needs to go on a dangerous mission and wants me t help him with his replacement, and told me that this costs money but he didn't want to go a that mission because it was too dangerous and only I can help him
Now I send an email to the general, got one back, asking for his code number, I send it back but now they want a copy of my passport, I am in doubt if I will send it, I made a safe copy, not showing my number and playing the game further, of course 1 procent I hope he is still the man I fell in love with but all these stories I am. Almost certain I have been scammed and that hurts. I also talked by mail with his daughter and immediately she called me mom, I asked him the name of the school but he has not given it to me..... Is somebody else who also had contact with this man, this name?

Siegel Thomas contractor was in Spain now in Saudi Arabia getting supply and needs 3000 to clear to collect 5 million. Two kids daughter 13 son 10 with Nanny. Wife died and he needs help to live happily ever after with me. He has French accent and makes you feel guilty for not helping meet his deadlines. Anyone approached by him? Guess what they say is true...if it sounds to good to be true...it probably is smh

Has anyone heard of a Brian Thomas?

Yes. How can I contact you to talk further?

Hey all my friend is accepting money from someone and sending it back to him thru western union she does video him and all but he says hes an engineer and works in kenya and has had every excuse to not come see her so please if u have pics of these people please send them.or post them so i can prove shes being scammed

Can someone tell me how to run a check on a man in Pakistan? We have been chatting and skyping for almost 8 years and we are in love. We have talked about getting a K-1 visa for him so that he could come to the United States and we could get married. But, risking sounding silly, we have never met face-to-face which is a condition of a K-1 Visa. So, before I fly all the way to meet him, is there a way for me to check him out on the internet? In all the time we've known each other he has never asked me for money and none of the typical red flying so gone up. Any advice?

Everyone has a digital foot print. Ask for his social media, etc. I'm sure you've google him too. Maybe meet in a neutral place versus Pakistan and make a group trip out of it with a few friends.

My daughter was duped of more than 9 million INR. Our life savings are over, The family is now in debt. We're devastated.

Has anyone been approached by an Evan, Captain Turner, SweetJames.? I can go on. Obviously I. The military.. I’ve been scammed! I just ran his number in catfish.com andut shows he has an Enfli k carrier because he says I cannot call him, he’s called me a couple times but he says he has lousy reception.. always an excuse! Thousands of dollars. Beware of let me know!

Hello everyone,
I have a guy age 35 saying that he is an automobile dealer and at the moment he's in germany. His fleet was held in customs and he need money. He wanted 4000 USD and to send them by western union or gram. If he is rich why is he asking for money. I also noticed that when he is talking to me there a 3 different persons cause every one of them use different type of words from the others.

I recently met someone online and we chatted and it sounded like it was a soldier that was in need and I’ve helped sending food with a list that match these are the things that soldiers can get overseas and recently just saw his picture with someone else’s name and then I found his picture again as a scammer my question is can they really be a soldier that needs things in Nigeria or are they all scammers and how do you find out if the name that he’s told you is really a soldier....I know I’ve been scammed .

I accepted a Facebook F/R from a Brian Jackson at the beginning of July 18'. He told me he was given a link from a friend who met his wife on FB and they have been happily married for 10 years.
Straight away he asked me talk to him through Hangouts so he could close his facebook account. So i did. He told me he was widowed with a 14 years old daughter who attends Richmond Elementary Private School and he pays a teacher Charlets accomadation fees while he is working away on the rigs. He is Swedish poseing as a Professional Contractor and owns his own home in Pulaski, Teneessee.
He is a Romance Scammer and using photo's of a professional speaker named Marcos ???? with his daughter. Sends endless Romance Verses with pictures. He wants to move to the UK were the three of us can set up home an be one happy family for life or i was given the option of living in his home in Tenneessee.
The last three weeks have been good and no questions of money until now. He tells me the ship he hired for the company he has his contract with has been damaged by a bad storm. Water has got into the engine and resulting in loss of lives. He feels so depressed about this as he is also responsible for the ships repairs.$ 25,000 to replace the engine and $5,000 for Technicians labour. He has asked for my assistance of $1,000. I refused and now he is asking for Itune cards to the value of $300 so he can upgrade his Macbook. I told him not to go there and refused any monies. So now its Game On! He has blocked me twice and feels i am making a fool of him. Quite Right! He's telling me his life is in great danger and i never loved him genuinely. He has unblocked me again. He will be back later and i will continue to play him at his own game.

thanks

I met a guy thru IG 3 days ago and asked me to chat in Google hang outs. He said he is a surgeon in Syria. On the first day he immediately said he loves me and wants to marry me. So I said it doesn't work that way and we should know each other more. He said he knew I was the one. He kept calling me all day long..Everyday..Then he asked for a certtificatefor a leave permit so he can leave Syria and vist me . He said that he wanted to have a business here and has funds for it so I can manage it. Of course I declined ..Refused...He insisted ..An I said NO. After that , he didn't call me ...I hope. His name is SCOTT MORGAN.

Same here.
Received a private message on instagram this morning from someone who pretends to be a surgeon in Yemen. He says he is named Celestine John. His instagram profile is named celestinejohj

Hello.
My mom has been chatting with a man named James! He says he's in Africa doing a multi million dollar job. He hasn't asked for money but has asked for an iPhone X. When my mom said she had a late model iPhone she could send he told her he had to have an X. I'm sure she is getting scammed but she will not listen. How do I vet thru to her

I had the same bastard try to get me to send him an iPhone X . Had to be that phone too. His name he gave was James Rogers. Same scammer. In Ghana? Block him immediately. He's evil. Protect yourselves.

Where in Africa

Does he just go by James or does he use his full name my mom is talking to a James too

Has anyone on here received requests from a Tom Richardson or a Clarence Vining? On Facebook, Plenty of Fish, Match.com, Meet me and so on.

I am genuinely happy to read this website posts which contains
tons of useful data, thanks for providing these kinds
of information.

I believe my brother is being scammed. He is a disabled adult and they have him believing they are about to sell an inherited company for 18 million. He thinks he was in love before this situation occured. Found out today he's been sending her money to hold her over until she gets her inheritence and then she's moving in with him. I've asked him to send her contact details so we can get friendly if he's that serious but I actually plan to use those details to put a stop to this. Any suggestions?

Does the name Thomas Bill or Bills sound familiar.Has anyone come across him on Skout.

Ladies,
When I've got scammed, I was especially vulnerable (cancer and so on).
In addition, I've always been over weight.

So, when this scammer told me that I was beautiful, it was done, I was trapped.

Has anyone heard of Thomas Bill or Bills

Has anyone heard of the name Michael Albert? Says hes in the Army. Has a sick kid and needs money. Wife died giving labor.

Hi I have been contacted by someone on Instragram...his user name is curisanderson295...Curtis Anderson. I reported him to instragram but they say he's not an imposter..hmmm not convinced. We have been chatting, he asked we to on hangout. I'm trying to figure his end game...his wife died 5years ago, children. He had to trav to Dallas on business for 4 months. He's asked me for money for surgery for an ulcer, I said no and he keeps talking to me. He sent me a picture of him working and I did an image search and it's a stock photo you can get on the web. I am curious if anyone else has had a run in with him? Ohhh he is apparently madly in love with me and wants to get married...so laughable. If anyone has had contact with him I would love to hear your experience..thank you

Baffled15 sounds familiar. Do you have a picture of him working, or can you at least describe him?

He has pictures on his instragram page..I'm not convinced that's really him..he sent me a photo of him and 2 other construction workers, don't know how to add the picture. We chat on hangouts he apparentlyloves me is from Pennsylvania and in dallas for a contract...only messages me at 10 p.m. eastern time.would like to know your experiences please

So August 9th he requested I get a loan for $10,000to help him pay his workers lol and when I told him no he asked me to send iTunes card to his sick mother to buy medication and food. This is so a scam but he is the one being played...#trapping him!!!..

Hello, ok here is my situation. Name Tom Wilson, working on oil rig , wife died from breast cancer. 17yr old son. We have had a few phone calls 1 video chat. Got very romantic quickly....did ask for an itunes card for his son as he was leaving a job in Ireland and wanted to give him.
His scam is has millions of dollars of diamonds that he needs to move out of one place, security company changing and wants to have them mailed to me. Sounds ok so far right, well, I would have to pay the shipping. And he'd pay me back...
Is this fishy?

Run as fast as you can. He is not true. I also had someone the same name. They prey on people, work in teams. Fake, fake and more fake. Diamonds and Mr. Wilson are not your best friend.

I had a guy called brian ryan ripley messaging me . Calling me cutie and saying he really fallen for me after a week .. he then asked me to buy him an amazing card I questioned it and he said his wife had died of breast cancer . His parents had died in a fatal accident . He's a us army man in North Africa. I asked him alot of questions and he didn't like it . He demanded pics of me which basically he was gonna use to blackmail me and say his fb was hacked and wanted money but I laughed at him and told him go ahead post pics of me I be glad of the likes . He wasn't happy with that . He sends a pic which isn't him in his uniform and one of him and his sister . But I confronted him about him not getting paid and not having access to stuff where he was and I sent him screen shots of the army wage and extras and in fact there's no base in North Africa. So please ladies be aware of this scammer . He don't give up easy either . He will also ask u to talk on hangout so he can get ur email address please do not do this and if u have spoke to him and you start getting messages from other named people trying to blackmail you do not open then just delete and block the person

Does anyone know a Christian wegmuller

Does anyone know someone as Andre Williams? Claiming he is a seaman. He sent the link of the company he is working on and sent his resident address but I found out that the address hebgave me is different from the zip code. He hasn’t asked for money yet but was asking some personal information as he was claiming to send some items for me. I did not reply as I am thinking he is a scammer.

AS A GAY WOMAN I STARTED TALKING TO A WOMAN I MET ON POF. SO THIS ISNT JUST HAPPENING TO STRAIGHT PEOPLE. SHE GOES BY THE NAME OF EITHER REBEKAH HOPE OR REBEKAH MARTINS. SHE SAID SHE LIVED IN MEMPHIS AND WAS SELF EMPLOYED DOING IMPORT AND EXPORT CLOTHING. RED FLAGS STARTED GOING UP WHEN SHE FORGOT THE FIRST AGE SHE GIVE ME. SAID SHE WAS LEAVING FOR ISTANBUL TURKEY FOR BUSINESS. SAID SHE WOULD BE BACK SOON, BECAUSE HER HEART IS TELLING HER THIS IS REAL LOVE AND WE WILL BE GETTING MARRIED. ONCE IN TURKEY SHE SAID SHE NEEDED ME TO PURCHASE ITUNE CARDS FOR HER BECAUSE SHE NEEDED TO PAY HER VENDORS. I SAID NO. SHE SAID SHE WAS WORKING HARD TO GET HOME TO ME. SAID SHE WENT TO HOCK ALL HER JEWERLY AND ON THE WAY TO THE BANK WITH THE $5000.00 SHE GOT ROBBED. ANOTHER EXCUSE WHY SHE COULDNT GET HOME. A WEEK LATER SHE SAID HER CLIENTS IN THE STATES WAS HAVING A HARD TIME GETTING HER MONEY TO TURKEY AND ASKED IF IT COYLD BE ALL SENT TO MY HOUSE AND I COULD DEPOSIT THE MONIES INTO MY ACCOUNT AND I COULD PAY HER. AGAIN I REFUSED AND SAID WHAT KIND OF FULL DO YOU TAKE ME FOR? ANOTHER WEEK GOES BY AND SHE ASKS FOR ME TO PAY HALF OF HER PLANE TICKET TO COME HOME TO ME. I TOLD HER I WOULD BUY THE TICKET AND IT WOULD BE AT THE AIRPORT COUNTER. I KNEW I WAS BEING SCAMMED ALL ALONG, BUT I PLAYED ALONG. SHE SAID NO SHE HAS A TRAVEL AGENT AND SHE CANT TAKE MY TICKET BUT SAID TO SEND THE CASH. SAID HER VISA EXPIRED AS WELL SINCE SHES BEEN THERE SO LONG. IT HAD ONLY BEEN 30 DAYS SINCE SHE SAID SHE WAS FLYING THERE. VISAS ARE GOOD FOR 90 DAYS. SO MANY RED FLAGS. EVERY TIME I SAID I WAS TAKING A VACATION OR GOLFING THIS MADE HER MAD BECAUSE SHE SAID IF I WANTED HER WITH ME I WOYKD USE THAT MONEY TO GET HER HOME INSTEAD. PLEASE BE AWARE PEOPLE AND DATE SOMEONE WITHIN AN HOUR AT MAX FROM WHERE YOU LIVE.

I meet a guy over internet by tango his a military his name is daniel jose yepes.we started talking nice he said that his intrested on me and asked me if i would excepted him as my husband wow i was shock cause i never has someone ask me that over the internet,well i said yes.i was wow his sexy good looking man and i said why not i should give my self a chance to make my life again but when days went by he was asking for itunes card,send him money to renew his visa and send him money for his flying ticket so i did all that but now his like amor im gonna text you a email qhere you gonna text them saying that you are my girlfriend but i already told them that you are my girlfruend and my fiance just give your complete name and your location.i told all i know that all who service in military or navy you'll get your deposit direct to your acct.and he said no cause there bank its no good and i was like hell no.i end up my relationship with him yes he called me by video chat,and regular calls too.i was inlove with him cause i never had a man that treated me so sweet like him.please i need help

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