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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 a question. I filed a complaint with the 1C3 FBI site, now I was scammed for $3000, paper trail, I sent a ck to his sect. I even have the Sect.'s address, went to her house, I even have her bank acct #. This was 2 months ago, with such inform . How long does it take for something to happened. I could use this money back. I stopped talking to him realizing his cash cow dried up, yes constantly asking for different denominations of money . Thank you I had passed all this inform along. I can't believe this happened to me .

The information on the IC3 website explains what happens after you file a complaint. It says that people at the IC3 look at complaints and send them to the appropriate enforcement agencies for criminal, civil, or administrative action, as appropriate.

The IC3 itself does not investigate your complaint. The agency that gets your complaint from the IC3 can decide whether or not to investigate and prosecute your complaint. If a law enforcement agency starts an investigation, someone will contact you.

I’ve been “engaged/dating” a Daves Anderson! Knew exactly what I needed and wanted to hear. Sent him iTunes and Amazon cards! Had me set up new checking accounts because he wanted me to buy a house for us! Luckily the bank shut it down when he tried to deposit! He however managed to have a check sent to me which I cashed and wired to him! It made sense to me at the time. I’m so stupid because the check bounced and now I’m in trouble for fraud! I’m scared to death as I’m unemployed and only get spousal support right now! I don’t have $1500 to pay it back! I don’t know what to do! I took my laptop and jewelry to a pawnshop to get him money! Now I’m going to lose all of my life which was on the laptop!!! He showed me pictures of his mom and son. Is a Staff Sargent but according to the military record he gave me he should be a higher ranking officer. Went to the recruiting office and his name is no where in the system. Doesn’t exist!!! 100% fake! He’s still trying to get me to send him money! Wondering that because he is still active with me if the FBI can track him down and get my money back! I almost sold my car for him! Very, very convincing !!!!! Has tons of selfie pictures! Now he’s saying he was on his way home to be with me when his phone and passport were stolen! Kano, Nigeria airport!! Says he’s dying of malnutrition! I may be gullible but I know you cannot live in any airport for almost 2 months and survive for more than 2 weeks without food! He still insists he’s army and has no way to contact them! I was told to get his unit # and I could contact a Base and they would send somebody. He couldn’t give me his unit # and the unit # he gave me in the beginning was discontinued during WW2! All lies! He even had scammers posing as friends wire me money and I would wire it back to him! So much! I gave him my heart! I sold possessions! He was so good and convincing! It wasn’t until he was stuck in the airport that I started digging! 2 months no food? 2 months living in an airport? Can’t happen! Found his pictures under several names but always uses Anderson! Daves, James, Williams are a few I’ve found on the dating sites! Somebody has to help us! The army has to either not allow dating to happen or provide us with a way to verify these slime balls stealing our good soldiers identities!!!

I had the same thing happen to me, he said he was in the military and name is Daniel Park. He sent money to my account and it even cleared do i sent him. Then the funds were found to be fraudulent so I have to pay the bank back. I feel so stupid and know how you feel.

David George Aberto an Engineer working in Canada went to Turkey on business and needed my money. Guess, Turkey is the new hotspot for scammers. This guy worked on me for 2 and a half months and then hit me up for 40k, 10k, 1k and back up to 7k. He got zero. He sent me flowers. Has a TX DL too.

I was contacted through instagram by a John Anderson, who asked me to go straight to hangouts to chat. The name on that app was Alfred Keith and was allegedly a single dad after his wife died giving birth to their second son. He is german born, lives in USA but currently in Turkey on business. Three weeks later son has had an accident with a motor of some sort and needs $5000 transferred to a Dr Bright as his credit card wont work in Turkey and will pay me back. Told him to send me the hospital account, but strangly enough Dr Bright wants to be paid into his private account in Spain. How gullible do they think we are !!!
He wanted to marry me and send me a car for my birthday lol !!!!

I have a friend that is being scammed by a “Dr” John Anderson. He’s an orthopedic surgeon from Beverly Hills but he’s operating on the troops in Afghanistan. He’s expecting a large sum of money from Russia but he’s being detained at the border because he had a piece of gold without the proper papers. Evidently someone paid him in gold for saving their child’s life. She has sent over $15,000.00 in “fees” to try to get the package for him. It’s not even a good believable story yet for some reason she’s still sending money. It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever been around.

I am being threatened by some guy who of course was nice. He saved all our conversations and my not so nice photos. Given
Me 6 hours to come up with 1200 in iTunes cards. Police say ignore. But his threats are getting worse by the minute. If my husband who has terminal cancer finds out I might as well die. Can he post from hangouts

I think i have similiar case mary can we compare picture

I think I'm currently talking to a scammer. It's a female, or atleast I think so. She added me on facebook under the name Belinda Thomas. Then asked to switch over to google hangouts after a brief chat. The hangouts name that it shows is Patriciahelen 504@ gmail. com She claims to be in her 30's single and a christian looking for love. Has asked me for two pictures, asked me several random questions... And here's the weird part. I've asked her to send pictures, she only sent two pictures of the same one. While her facebook picture looks different.

Hello, you are probably chatting with a male possing as a female and they are trying to scam you. Dont send any pictures of any kind of your self. They will use against you later.

Has anyone heard of Mark Welsh Benson? He uses his middle name like a last name too. I met him on Words with friends as Mark Benson and he and I after getting somewhat acquainted asked me to meet with him on Hangouts which I did. He has romanced me and is asking for a lot of money. $42,000. Of course I’m not sending him money. We’ve been chatting for almost 3 months. Oh yeah widowed and daughter in boarding school and contractor on an oil rig in Cyprus.

i think Harrison Whany is fake has any one heard of him??

My mother in law long story short.. Is now divorcing her husband of 20 yes because she has 3 scammers that she believes are real guys who are going to cone take care of her. Tried telling her they are scammers but she won't listen. Literally ending her marriage! Shes 71yo. She thinks she is talking to a Chris Akamba
Jacob Lang and Bob Alex.
All obviously works overseas as they say... All stories the same as many here.

I reported my scammer 2times to Instagram to take the guys Instagram down .they did nothing Edward lawson 603. Katmomma report them. Get these scammers out of your moms life

I have something similar with a girl from Florida named Jessica Elliott she found me on Instagram and has been talking to me about shes a nurse and takes care of her grandma iv asked for a video chat or a call and nothing we communicate over text or Instagram. I'm worried I'm being scammed if I could get some help here or any suggestions please thank u

I'm talking to a supposedly "Peacekeeping Mission" Doctor in Sana'a, Yemen. Has a daughter in boarding school 14 years old. He says his name is James Scott, he is from Spain, he speaks Spanish. Of course he can't talk on the phone, nor have video chats for security reasons. We talk in Hangouts. I have several pictures, he is about 56 years old, has white hair.
Does any body have a similar experience? I'm afraid he is another scammer because he said that the only way for us to be together, I would have to request him getting a "Replacement Certificate" and pay for it! I don't think so.

Mary I’m talking to a guy that 56yrs old, he said his name is Darrick Meyer and he has a 14 yr old daughter in boarding school he wife died 4 yrs ago and he is supposed to be from Canada but I’m Syria on a peacekeeping mission he is supposed to be a general commander of the Canadian army force. He can’t video chat or ring because he is in the war zone does it sound like the same guy

Facebook love scammer be careful

Reading all these scams they are so similar, widowed, children in boarding school, work on oil rig, lots of money. This one took a long time to ask for money but he did. To get out of contract has to have flight money, etc. sad, seems so nice.
2 &3:military, lots of money, found, mNeeds help getting out of country, Chris Hogan, other was forgotten his name.
Watch out! Charming people until you get suspicious.

I tried to look to Hadiza Inyene claims a private guardian from Athens, Greece. If you know this person or woman please message me i had her photo I sent $300 from Western Union from last week. She was connected with Michael West.

Anyone knows the person i was chatting i bought $1,590 itunes card to sent it to him he is a ship engineer and supervisor in London Maritime and Netherland Maritime last two weeks he said the Bulk Cargo was stranded he was asking me to buy him an itunes so that he can contact his ship manager in Netherlands to send another ship to them. After a week of waiting this Michael West informed me the other ship came ro rescue them. After 4 days they almost reach London land he said again the engine pins fill out on the ship he needs $600 to pay for the supplier immediately but i don't have any more money told him why he cannot call the company he didn't owned the ship but he needs to fix it. He wrote me a very nasty letter saying i didnt see him yet but i saw his money. He promised to marry me as soon as he reach to the land and start a new life. It is soo good to be true what he promised me since i didn't see him cam to cam as.i request many times to sign up but he always had excuses saying they lost the connection. I am done with him this person is always taking advantage to me and i know he is one of the scammer here in WhatsApp, Instagram, Hangouts. If you would like to see his pictures please message me here.

Angelwing can send his pictures to me

I recently met a man named, Dominic Green, SAID is from San Francisco, works on a ship in the Gulf of Mexico, so very handsome, , I got him to send me his email, tel #, and promises me the world, sure very romantic, and it feels good especially when you are lonelt, but I have played my game well and still communicating with him even when he calls, to listen to his voice for my research, he sounds nigerian but says is from Berlin germany, on his profile, I found people sending him birthday greetings this week, but he does not respond, he did send me a Amazon ring and gifts, but also has asked for money in small amt. But in a Amazon card.I really want to believe him but do not want to get scammed.So I'm still playing his game until I get more info on him. I told him I would go see him in S.F. In a couple of months when I'm there visiting, and is always in agreement. He knows I'm no fool, because of my questions and is maybe playing me along. I just wanted to throw his name out there to all of you to watch out for this person.He does want me to get on what app or Hangout, it's not going to happen.I really like this guy i hope he is not a scammer.I did block him when he first asked for money, but begged me to please unblock him, that he was not playing games with me, I did and started my research. Good Luck to us all, oh there he is again..

My friend has been talking to this guy and he is already professing love. Goes by name of Michael Collins hes a widow with 2 kids Annabelle and Nelson. He works on an oil rig in gulf of Mexico and planning to come see her within couple weeks. She is very naive and claims him as her boyfriend, but I don't believe him. He messages her on Instagram and cannot receive phone calls since he is in middle of the gulf. Hope she catches on before it's too late.

Has any men been scammed by mia mallory tony or faith ola?

Do you have a photo of this Michael Collins?

ive been scammed although no money was paid except this man wants to send gold for me to hold until he gets back to the us his name is david rosen has anyone else had this petson contact them .ive done animage reverse lookup with no luck help

DIANE, this is a PACKAGE SCAM. Someone will contact you and ask you to pay fees, taxes, or duties. The PACKAGE does not exist.

I'm looking for an us soldier named Anderson Lopez:. He said he is an E8 Sergeant, platoon sergeant in absence of the 1 SG First Sergeant MAJOR Leader of a Squad. I couldn't find something about him at the net.

reading these stories has made my blood run cold. I too have been scammed has any one talked to a James T Rossi ? claims to be Italian living in LA

I’ve been talking to a Jeffry Rossi. Has a Nevada phone number but has been in Nigeria building a hotel for the past year . Was suppose to come back to Las Vegas on 2/15/19. He’s Italian, with accent. Speaks 5 language and has 2 boys. He was suppose to give me flight information and copies of his tickets. Now he’s not responding or talking to me any longer

I was also scammed with the name ANTONIO ALBERT DIEGO!! believing he’s an expert ifx forex trader! Promising a 150% profit but before getting your profits they will keep asking money!! Stop investing with this man! Check out his ip’s..he came from nigeria!! I have a lot of evidence transactions with him..watch out his fb coz he’s doing live but he will never pick up calls to make a face to face conversation! Don’t bite his promises! It’s a warning..

Anyone know Derek Myles just scammed me, was sending box I was threatened with 10.500 pounds he said don't worry, nothing came of it, then he needed money for flight army sent him to Syria then to turkey, I paid flight and luggage, turned up at airport, guess what, he wasn't there he's supposed to be 45, widower from Philadelphia, be aware

I have been talking to a guy and I totally sure he is a scammer reading all of your stories some sound so familiar to some of the things that's been said to me all he wants is iTune cards now it's on to Google Play cards but he hasn't asked me for money he has opened up a credit card in my name and wants me to buy Cards and then he'll pay for them I've been putting him off because I am skeptical and when I put him off he gets very angry and mean and calls me names and then I don't speak to him only through text is the only time I talk to him I never got a phone call video chat anything then in a few days he contacts me and apologizes and I play along with the game for a little bit I've reported it to my credit bureau and my credit card he says he wants to help me with my business because I am in need of money I have no money to send him he has asked me to send him money for his son that's being washed by his Nanny while he has off shore oil rigging but also is starting his own independent Business but anytime I ask him questions about it he avoids it and he avoids a lot of questions that I ask nor am I allowed to ask he sends me pictures of him and his son they do look similar I can tell they're not selfies but I will be glad to post a picture and reveal his name which I know is not true because I've looked it up or did some research oh and then he sends me cute little poems which I find if you search them on Google they're fake and he says he comes up with them out of his head he writes poems what does Ally and I confronted him about that too.

If someone uses your name and personal information to get a credit card, that is identity theft. They can create debts in your name. The debts will go onto your credit report. You might get calls from debt collectors.

Report identity theft at www.IdentityTheft.gov. Report what happened. Get letters to send to credit reporting agencies and credit card companies where the fraud happened. Make a list of steps to protect yourself.

A guy started talking to me playing words with friends name Mark Larry who is America and working as a doctor in Syria for injured military. His daughter Emily who is 9 is in boarding school. I am very septical now. He says he can’t video chat

I have a question. Has anyone encountered where the person give you a bank site and they give you their information to enter and check their account? Then find out later on that they are a scammer. What are my risks now?

A scammer might tell you he has a lot of money in the bank, and say you can check his bank account balance. He says he's rich because he's trying to persuade you to do him a favor.

But even if you see a page online that looks like a bank account statement, that doesn't prove there is really a bank account with a high balance. It doesn't prove that the person you're talking to has a lot of money.

I have had now for three weeks a Dr. Jeffrey Anderson, telling me he is an American Doctor posted in Aleppo Syria, seeet talking me on Pinterest and now on Skype.
Find it very odd that after telling him I am 74 years old and married he is still talking amourously. He has not asked for any money, he says he he just wants to talk to me. Love my smile.
Something smells fishy.

I have dealt with two scammers this year. Now I have a different scenario going on. This guy is in one of my groups on Facebook and one day he messaged me. He lives in Ghana and is 40 years old and I am 69. We talk every day on messenger. He had shown me around his house and a couple of his neighbors. He takes uses video has he talks to me so I can see everything. He claims he is so in love with and can't wait to be with me. I remind him of the age difference but he says it is just a number. He wants me to visit him in Africa next spring. He eventually wants to come and be with me in America. He has not asked me for money. He had even told me how the scammers work to get money out of people. Recently he asked me to take a blood oath so that we will be together forever. I researched this and refused to do this. It is s serious thing and scary. Any way I feel that he is just using me to get to America. The age difference really puts me off too. Is this a scam? He is very nice but I am skeptical.

My guy asked me to a blood oath too because he wanted us to trust each other and this was the only way. I hedged and he said "Now I only trust you 60%" I knew it was a scam. Like seriously, that's not gonna make me change my mind....

Did you ever find out anything about the blood oath thing? I have had a couple men ask me this recently and wonder if it is a scam

I chatted with a gentleman that was suppose to be a Brigadier General and Orthopedic Surgeon in the Maribes stationed in Yemen. Somehow he got in touch with me on Facebook. He asked me to chat with him on Hangouts which I had never heard of. We chatted for for months. He should have an academy award, he was a lonely woman’s answer to a perfect lover. I’m ashame and embarrassed to admit he scammed me out of my common sense and $14,000. Of course I can’t afford that kind of loss. I have no one to blame but my foolish self. He also used a supposed so in military school in UK. The name he used was Tony Smith. I hope this information helps someone else

Was Contacted By a Rachel Linda she has been asking for gift Cards to sell to a Vendor so she can pay bills and money for School she only sends old pictures because her phone is broken, When I confronted her about me not feeling safe about sending money her friend Rose Bella started to contact me to tell me that Rachel really likes me and she just wants to finish school to go back to work but I haven't found any information on spokeo or background check sites and the Address she has given me belongs to an Earnest Berrier. If this sounds familiar to anyone I would like to know. She also claims to Live in Houston with grandmother

Same story with me... name is Randy D Peter. Says he's on contract in Afghanistan, but from CA. Also widowed with 3 boys. Wants me to buy itune card for his kids. Says he loves me and wants to marry me...

I think I’ve been scammed beware general Jackson 500 is about sent me loveing message and emoji wanted to marry me after 2 weeks is in yeomen on peace he didn’t sound like American when I phoned him so red flags he talked about coming over but I wasn’t aloud to tell anyone about him he then asking me to send £100 to iTunes card so I have blocked him can he still get my details

I have been scammed by Robert Green. Aged 50. Says he is wealthy from.California but born in Puerto Rico. Has a 19 year old daughter Alondra. Claims he is stuck in Australia. Has a scammer assistant Tom Daniels. Robert is always ill needing hospital treatment, injections etc. Have spent a lot of money on him as I thought I was saving his life. Softly spoken but has an accent. Has Nigerian receivers who pick up the money from Moneygram etc. They never use their names on any documents. They never have any money supposedly. Always a crises. Never again will I fall for these evil people. As an intelligent lady I am appalled I fell for this scam. I won't give up trying to get my money back or exposing him.

Do you have some details about him

Yes lots. Has he been talking to you. Don't send any money.

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