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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

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???

My mother is involved with a probable scammer on FB calling himself Christopher James.
Claims to be an engineer from the us working overseas. Romantic I dont think he has asked for any money, she may have sent him some small gifts.
He trying to convince my mother to bring herself and her child (my elementary aged sibling)he is ADAMANT about her bringing child along.
I am very very worried! My mother is not stupid but she is depressed and very very lonely and vulnerable
Help, any information?!

A Scammer will learn about their victims through chatting. Then they exploit them with that information. The Scammer will take advantage of her Depressive state.

Do you have a picture of this Christopher James, because one with the same name tried to scam me

Does anyone know a Robert Smith

Wow Unbelivable! There is so many scams out there..There are other ways to meet people..In person on dating sites..These people on the internet ARE NOT REAL....I dont bother with them..I had a man doing that to me for a ling time..I told him i dont have any money..I didnt hear from him for months..Now he us back again trying to be friends with me..I think some of these people are from africa mexico Etc
DONT BELIEVE IN THESE PEOPLE..THEH ARE NOT YOUR REAL FRIENDS ..

I think I'm being scammed by a guy who says he is an electrical engineer and lives in delta state Nigeria he says his name is Ufuoma or Japhet

A guy named james wilson started trying to talk to me on words 2. Thought he just needed someone to talk to. He quickly asked me to chat on hangouts. Then the story starts wife died 5 years ago. He's raising 2 kids one 14 and one 17. He's an oil rig engineer. I have a feeling I'm chatting to 2 different people. English gets bad. He says he needs 50 I tunes card to up date his bank account software! Does this sound familiar to anyone I have photos.

Yes!!!!! Very familiar. Last night he asked for me to purchase 2 Itunes cards at Walmart for $100 each. I acted dumb asking questions like why, give me your credit card number, etc. Anyways, oil rig engineer, lives in NY, but in Florida right now working. Handsome guy on his profile i.d., on Words, then he insisted I download hangouts, and then emails, and on and on. He loves me, so much, never met anyone like me! Very interesting, at times I thought I was talking to different people too. At the end, he was angry and his English went sour! All his love letters, etc. were very well written, however, I thought at time they were "templates" from prior letters. I thought when he asked me for money, then I know for sure its a scam. He finally did after 2 months of love letters, and saying he would never ever hurt me. He called me last night an begged I not laugh at his Norweigen accent. He scared me when I said hello, I couldn't understand him and my heart sank. Don't send any money, just say you are poor, he'll move on I hope. His name was Thomas A. he said he was 59 with one son. I told myself when he asks for money, it's a scam. I'm sad but intact.

Scammers do work together, to make more convenicing story. So you may be chatting with two different scammer working together to deceive you.

The iTunes top-up card is an old scam and all so Amazon

I was cheated by a man named James Daniel from Washington, engineer working on a rig in Australia. Widower, one 14 year old kid, chat every morning and night for 6 months. Exactly like the same modus operandi of the ones people have been telling here. Take care of this guy.

is anybody dealing with a guy called Burrows Hernandez Todd, mech. engineer, at the moment stationed in Syria as a Sergeant? Apparently has one daughter with a nanny back in US and is trying to ship raw gold bars to US and needs money to cover the costs and has no access at the moment to his bank account nor enough in the base.. thank you for your answer and help..

This is known as Package Scam. There is NO gold bars. A person will contact you claiming fees, taxes, duties were not paid. They will ask you to pay for it. The PACKAGE does not exist. Walk away.

Anyone know of a person "Friending" ladies on Facebook or other sites..Donald Arsenault, widowed, Italian but raised by Grandmother, 12 year old daughter, Cassie being raised by a house mother? Possible scammer asking for money to finish his contract as a West Coast off shore oil rig Contractor?

RAYMOND ERIN. CANADA. WIDOW. 3 CHILDREN. UNDERWATER WELDER. ON WWF. ANY INFO PLEASE.

Scammers often use, widow, single parent, kids in boarding school. If he ask for money, yup Scammer.

Yes.Got to know him a month ago. Offering assistances on finance end up with my investment $100 He said he would add it to $2000. Sound like scammer, though!

My dad passed away little over a year ago and since then my mom 59 hasnt been the same....until she met someone. She seems to be in love with this person. I love to see her happy but i find this man very suspicious. She hasnt met him and she says he is stationed at some base (military i guess) and isnt allowed to leave. Meanwhile hes making promises to buy my mom a house car and promising to moving here with my mom. I dont know much more about him because my mom doesnt tell alot worried me n brothers & sisters are mad at her for moving on.but recently she sent me this picture of him and what looks to be his name on photo.i am worried to death about her can someone give me some tips into finding out if this picture is the person he says he is. She was married to my dad for 42 yrs so shes new to the dating stuff which leaves her vulnerable to scam. Help........how do i upload pic so you can see if youve seen it b4. The name on photo is Anton Ivan

Your dear mum has already been taken in. They are a group of conmen, not just one, and they steal normal people's pictures, to perpetrate their false identity and fabricated story. She has likely already wired him money, and may be getting talked into cashing out your dad's retirement, and selling house. Show her the FCC complaint form in this site! Talk to her, that these crooks use brainwashing techniques, and she is naive, not stupid. Please act assertively for your mum!

scammer.. military are Always alloud out of base

Ive been having same problem been talking to a guy last few weeks says hes stationed in turkey from the states. Kept asking for a stream card telling me he loved me and wasent talking anyone else. come find out he was talking to another woman about sending him the card and left all his messages on facebook messenger back and forth with her. i left a comment to her about him been chatting with me about the card also and he seen it and threatended to have me killed.

I believe I may be getting scammed and it has been going on for over a year. The name I know him by is Stephen Wesley an orthopedic surgeon who's wife died in childbirth with their son Jackson. Similar story as to what I have read Jack needs money but Stephen can't access his money. But when I needed money I was given it so it made me think they were legit. The son had me sending money for him and his friends so they could invest in something in Nigeria. I never put money into it but had to send it for him. No big red flags went off for me until just this last week when he demanded I send $600 to his son because he supposedly gave his dad a payment for the house he was buying for us and he had to have it back now and couldn't wait until December they his dad would be home finally! So I went back and double check the stuff I looked up before and it was all gone, everything that I had used to prove to myself that he was legit was just gone and I did a reverse pic search and came up with 6 different names he goes by. He of course claims that it is the hacker that stole his pics!! Yeah right!!

Anyone have any contact with a PATRICK MORRIS

I have a question, I am currently texting with someone by the name of Logan Jenkins Smith, and he is stationed in" South Korea", when I asked him about calling or skyping, he said if I could send an email to departmentofdefenceus 1940@ gmail and ask for him to be allowed to call me? I am sure it is fake , but there is always the glimmer of hope! Has not asked for anything else yet.

Email from a legitimate US government agency will end in .gov. Email from a military branch will end in .mil.

If you send email and give your personal information, someone can use it for identity theft.

BADOO this person is a scammer. Military dose not use Gmail.

One actually fell in love with me and showed me his real photos and we met and we're actually together

Really? Or you just scamming us?

Does anyone know or talked to a Dr Anderson Rex Cooper in Iraq

I have been talking to a dr anderson rex cooper from iraq with a daughter named tracey pictures like Luka Giratti am i being scammed

Hi Guys!

I was contacted by a guy on OkCupid named "George Lucas Harrison" (Phone no.: +81345404968). Said he's a software engineer who is assigned in Samsung Japan and also owns a truck rental in Florida being run by his mom named "Amanda Betty Harrison" (Phone no. (+14076308805). After a few days of talking said he deleted his dating app profile to focus on me. After a day or two, told me he will come to the Philippines to attend a worship leader conference in Cebu City and is planning to see me after. On the day that he was supposed to come, came the problems. He called early morning to say he lost his wallet, blah blah blah. Bottomline, he needs money so that he could still change his flight details without having to leave his passport as a collateral with the airlines who will be nice enough to help adjust his flight details. His mom even joined him in sending me messages about all those stuffs that don't add up. I did not and will not send any money to someone I do not know. When he figured that out, he stopped messaging. So do not ne fooled, people. Bad people would use even the name of God just to scam innocent people.

ALL of these men have either lost their wives to a tragic death or the wife cheated on them. the kids are either at boarding school or with a nanny. They all fall in love right away hoping that we will do the same.
I will ask questions like what time is it where you're at and when they reply I Google to see the time and most of them tell the wrong time so right then I know they're lying. If you look at some of their service uniforms they have different names on the patches or they try to Black them out so you cannot read them. I don't trust anyone anymore when it comes to online. and if any of you have money you just need to throw away let me know I have a daughter that im trying to put through college.

A man said he had a box of money in Pakistan wants me to pay $4,900 back fees for sending it, was $900.00 I wouldn’t send the money now it’s $4, 900.00 said I go to prison for money laundering,, if I didn’t send the money, please I think he’s a scammer, I need help, has this happened to anyone else. I’m am an older lady, lost my husband, I am frightened to death

Hello, this is known as a PACKAGE SCAM. The package dose not exit, there is NO money. Walk away, let him go to prison.

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