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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

Experienced scammers are wiser these days. Their previous accounts are deleted or blocked, their names, locations and stories change and they come back with new identities and the same photos. Reverse photo search will not help in this case. Technology allows us to chat face-to-face. Try not to avoid it if possible. Another good option is to spontaneously ask for a current date stamp photo. It is a free app that can be downloaded to cell phones. Have them take a date stamp photo date of themselves to verify their identity early on before they get into their sob stories. Scammers can interface with several people at one time but not for long before they become someone else.

You are right! They are more wiser now than before,they speak english and chat fluently.

Should we inform the real person whose identity been stolen if we found out who is the real person after we noticed we are dealing with a scammer?

Please help, his name is Michael Derik and has a daughter named Emily that lives in Texas, my mom says she is in love and he is the owner on a oil rig in Africa or operator not to sure, please if you have heard of this man please tell me. She says she doesn’t send him money. He said he was going to come here and buy her a house and he left a few days ago and was going to be here this weekend but something came up, he is now in Egypt stuck there! Go figure right! He was born August 3, 1959 and is a off shore worker and went to Africa in January. He uses terms of endearment on my poor mom. Please someone help

I received a message from. Dr Raymond Herman / Alvin Robert said he was a Army Orthopedic surgeon was wondering if anyone else received a message from this person and if it’s real or not said he is in Kabul Afghanistan looking for his sole mate.

OMG I can't believe all these reports about these scammers. I too accepted a friend request from a guy who said he's working on an oil rig outside of long beach California I been talking, texting and emailing him for a year now and have loaned him over 35000.00. He said his drilling machine blew and needed 3180.00 the first time and continually asked for money and iTunes cards to buy provisions on rig. He was so sweet and charming and talked about God to me as he knew of my love for God. He last asked me to send him 2500.00 and when I refused he blocked my phone calls. I feel so used and dumb for believing this guy. I'm not a wealthy person and really need that money as it was my life savings . He even had me withdraw 6600.00 from my sons joint acct promising to return the money the following week. Needless to say he never did return any of my money. He always used other people to receive monies never to him personally.

My friend wont listen to reason. Her family have tried to tell her that the person she chats to online may be not who he says he is. He says he is ill treated, once she asked me to phone the police because she thought he had tried to commit suicide and she didn't hear from him, only his "family" who actually told her to stop contacting him. I love my friend and do anything to help her but she believes she is right and everyone else is wrong. Maybe she is right but I don't believe she is. This has been going on for a couple of years or more and now she has asked me to post him a parcel. She lives in South Africa. I have an address and wonder if I should just go and see for myself...worried.

Does anyone know a Zack Dag or Robert Zack from Ohio with a son named Fredrick?

First I have been scammed by Garry Roberts, posting that he is a general in US Army and assigned to Afghanistan..and he will be assigned to Syria..Suddenly he told me that he needs to send me his personal belongings including cash of $500,000..and when it arrived in our country. The Airport custom told me to pay a tital $2,500..to release the package, which I was forced to pay. But when another demand of $4000 was asked, I declined already. But i lost my & $2,500... I was fooled..

Help I am positive my mom is being scammed and after sending 8k I caught on when she tried to wire 10k and the bank flagged it as fraud.. I luckily had accesses to shut account down but she swears it isn't a scam and this supposed us military coronal is waiting for the un to sign papers for him to retire and come be with her and he has to have the money to get money out of a bank back to the us and his funds are tied up by the military. From what I gather it started with gift cards and escaladed.. cant find anything online about the guy. The emails requesting money go back to Ghana but his personal doesnt get any hits.. suggestions on getting her to see the light?

We find out that Mr Raymond have not been paying the security fee for over 4years now and a deposit of $10,000 needed to be made on the deposit account now so your package can be free to deliver to you , so we want you to make a payment of $10,000 on this account before the box can be free to deliver and as soon as you send it , you will receive your fiance Box .

The US Army Criminal Investigative Division (CID)  has information for people who are scammed by imposters who pretend to be US military personnel. You can show your mom this article from the Army CID, which has a list of scam warning signs, including:

  •   A general officer will not be a member of an internet dating site; and
  • Deployed Soldiers do not find large sums of money and do not need your help to get that money out of the country.

That article has links to other Army CID articles and even copies of the fake documents the scammers use to trick people.

MY Daugher is in a situation with a person who goes by the name of Gen Raymond F Chandler on a facebook acct. he is bleeding her dry of money and we can't convince her of that. the page when you do a search clearly says he is a scammer. How we stop this?

The US Army Criminal Investigative Division (CID)  has information for people who are scammed by imposters who pretend to be US military personnel.

You can read this article from the Army CID, which has a list of things a scammer might say or do, like (falsely) saying he needs money to come home.

The article has links to other Army CID articles, and even shows copies of the fake documents the scammers use to trick people.

I have just recently been talking to a David Johnson Clinton on facebook. Quite a good looking man. Says he's a widow with a 13 year old boy, military doctor working for the UN in Syria, son is in boarding school in UK, lives in the UK but is from Brazil. Started professing his undying love for me around day 2/3. By day 6 needed $100 iTunes card. Reason for iTunes card is so he can activate his online bank account. Son has lost his MasterCard. Can't get a new one until $400 paid to bank. Son hasn't eaten for 2 days. Tries to make you feel guilty by saying his only son is dying from being hungry. Played his game with the I love you bs. Got angry in a video call and told me he hates me with his whole life.

This situation is happenin to me now with a man who contacted me thru instagram. He stated to be born in Itaky, lived in San Jose, CA, is widowed, has a 12 yr old girl in boarding school in NC, he is an engineer working in Berlin on a 4 month contract, but will not get paid until job is done, but his expenses are all covered. He immediately stated he had problems accessing his funds at his bank at USA, but he did not ask for $$. He is extremely handsome and charming. We have spoken on Hangouts, but no actual video chat. He sends me videos of him at construction site. He recently stated that his lawyr friend taking charge and care of his daughter died and he asked me to go see her and "take care" of her for him until he returns to USA. He asked if I could give her $300 a week for her expenses, that he would reimburse me!! Of course I said NO!! He even doesn't care that I am 9 yrs older than him. YEAH RIGHT!!

Ok I don’t know if I’m being scammed or not lol He didn’t contact me at all I was talking to a guy named John Michael when I saw a comment that this guy Samuel had made about him being a Fake person.well that got me wondering so I contacted this Samuel guy on Facebook.i asked him about John and he showed me lots of profiles that John had used with different names.he said I don’t want u to get cat fished by this guy or scared I said thank u and that was it for a few days. I contacted him once again to say hi that’s how we started talking to each other. We have been talking for about 9 months now. He has sent me all kinds of his pictures and he has left me voice clips before.he text me daily and I really kinda like him. 3 months into the relationship ship he told me he was in the army and he was in chad . Well I started reading about all these scares and now I’m worried he might be one. He’s never really asked me for anything though he did when we first started talking like 4 months into it he asked for like $250 dollars and I told him I didn’t have it so he’s never asked again.he has even said if I wanted to look him up I could I just don’t know really how to do that. I have looked his number up and it comes back to a Nebraska number that’s where he says he is from .im so confused about all this I need to know if he’s real or not. He says he’s coming to meet me in July and we have talked about these scares before and he swears he is who he says he is I just don’t know anymore after reading all these scams someone please help me out here I don’t know what to do . I really do not get the feeling he is lying to me but idk please someone help me out here

Don't give anything whatever he ask you,don't answer YES,whatever he ask and tell you specially when you talk to a phone or whatever it is. Little by little he asking you something we need to be wiser than them. Let him talk to you and but if he ask your address,birthday,number,mail,email and money 100% that is scam. I am afraid too because they are more wiser now than before. Scary!!!!!

I have met a guy called Benjamine Max. Claims to be a businessman in UK. He went to Turkey now wants money.

Anyone on here talking to a Ryan Morgan with a 16 year old son named Michael who lives in a boarding school in Cyprus. He is currently working his final contract with the UN Peacekeepers in Ukraine. Top secret assignment do not much details. Cannot Skype, can’t send pictures.its classified.

Has anyone talked to a man who goes by Jacob Leo Marco? Is suppose to be on a oil rig in Northern Sea and has a son named Felix in a boarding school in Ohio. Has asked for money on two separate occasions, Have not sent a penny..Just curious.Ths.

I am really sorry for what I have just read here. Same happening to me. Soldier, names Gary Roland, on mission in Afghanistan, claiming to finish soon. Having 15years old daughter at boarding school in Russia. Parents dead. Same scenario except he has not asked me to send him money yet. We have been chatting for almost 3 months, he is planning to see me in my country which I really doubt but anyways I want to know the truth. When did your scams ask you for money for the first time, was it short after you met or they waited a while? I am not going to send him anything I just want to know who he is.
I wish you all good luck and do not lose your hopes to find soulmates, you will one day eventually!

Has anyone talked to a man named Ben Francis who needs money for his son Jeffrey who has cancer and no money for his medication? Ben says he is on a oil rig. Always changes the date he will meet me. Ben says his bank account has been frozen and he can not get any money he needs.His son is dying and I should go see his son in Texas. Son has been dismissed from hospital in Texas because his father or caregiver can not pay for his stay and no insurance.

Hi I've been talking to a man Alfred Dove very nice and loving. Just the other day asked for i tunes card so he can still speak to me. His wife died in child birth got a daughter age 30th. Got a few facebook page. I asked why he said he got the police onto it as it his friend.

I told him that it was my birthday, so he insisted on sending me a gift. He then proceeded to send me p picture of a iPhone, MacBook and a watch, this was the next day. He told me he has bought it for me and wanted to send it. I told him he shouldn't have but was flattered, he asked for my delivery address, which I gave then he sent me a picture of the package and told me it was on the way. Now I have seen alot of scams so I don't fall for any. This guy, one of his partners called me and told me that my package had arrived, in Dubai. And that they didn't have a local office, so I had to either send 2000 dirhams or go to Dubai to collect it. I told him that he needs to talk to the company and sort things out. He proceeded to insist that I just do as they say. I then took the images he had sent me and did a search on them. Found the sources of all of them. I'm still in contact with him. What should I do? I want him put away, as I don't think I'm the only one.

I been talking to a man go by:
Eric Eddy Davidson
Eric Presley Davidson
Erick Presley Stefan Heinrich
Anyone know this man? Please tell me if i am being scam?

HE A GREAT USER... asking iTunes and money and sweet poems... On on on

CAN SOMEBODY TELL ME IF YOU HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED BEING CONTACTED BY SOMEONE CLAIMING TO BE A CELEBRITY FROM HOLLYWOOD AND AFTER HE KNOWS YOU ARE TAKEN BY HIS CHARM HE IS ASKING YOU NEXT FOR MONEY BECAUSE HIS ACCOUNTS HAVE BEEN FROZEN. A FAMOUS ACTOR WITH LOTS OF MONEY BUT IS ASKING YOU FOR ITUNES... WHAT'S THAT? A SCAMMER... RIGHT?

I was sent pics of David Duchovny.I had him thrown of Facebook. Its a scam, If he is rich he had cash on hand and cred it cards. Send nothing and block.

my name is raymond,and yes i have

James Ambrose has been talking to my mom. He got her email And banking info and switched password luckily I was able to find out before he stole $ but he was setting it all up. Anyone come in contact with that name to help convince my mom he’s a scammer???

JAMES AMBROSE anyone come across that name????

Hi, I've met a guy named Sprankle Gomez from Germany. I've video chatted with him and received pictures of him in actual military uniforms. Her has multiple social media accounts but we oubout yall through Google hangouts. He wants to send me money he says. Br hasn't asked me for money. I'm torn because I've actually talked to him and gotten all kinds of pictures of him but haven't seen him in person. It's been about 3 months. What should I do?

When you video chatted with him, do you heard his voice? Or was his microphone malfunctioning? Scammers usually tricks with playing a prerecorded video from some other else. Tr trick the talk isn't so easy, so the don't do talk. No honest guy will send money, to someone he had meet on Internet. He wants to trick you to pay for the "money" he will send you. Do a Google and Yandex reverse image on his pictures. I am sure they are stolen. Stay away from him.

Sprankle Alexander Gomez... yep got me too. By the grace of God no money was given and we met on 4/11/18. Y’all good looking mixed race man. 13 yr old daughter Rita. Both parents deceased, child’s mother died. 47....apparently yesterday he was critically injured and needed someone to send him a medical healthy package. I’m like the military has the best access to the best medicine. I then started searching because he worded like... he wish he knew someone who could afford to send to him. Huge red flag... I called Him on it and sent him these articles. He said, he was shocked and like really? He then abruptly told me he didn’t need this right And said thanks for everything. Complete joke. It only lasted 2 months s

I was just recently scammed by two different people. One went by the name of David Murphy and he had a 13 year old granddaughter in boarding school. Wife and daughter were killed in a hit and run accident. He was from Washington DC area. I sent him $1500.00 to process his paperwork since he had been working out of the country for more than a year. Then a few weeks later I met Mark Edwards on Words with Friends and of course he asked me to chant on Hangouts. Everything progressed very quickly and he was due to fly here 6/2. But low and behold 2 pieces of equipment broke on the rig he was working on and he needed $42K to order the new machinery. I called him a scammer and he dropped me really quick. I am going to try to post both pictures. Before he blocked me I managed to warn every woman he was playing with on Words with Friends

I am talking to a Jacob Leo Marco, and Italian, chief mechanical engineer on an oil rig in the Uk. His wife died 3 yrs ago was a teacher, they adopted a son named Felix, who is now in a boarding school in Ohio. Has 4 more months on this contract and then hopes to come home..He sends me lovely songs from YouTube about love. Has anyone heard of him?

Similliar story happened to me. A widowed engineer with a daughter working on an oil project in Turkey. He claimed to be Spanish Italian withe American citizenship. Even if they send you photos of their passports its fake and a stolen identity. Had a private investigator and polive verify these documents to all be fake. Its all a lie so lease just block him, dont send a penny and save yourself.

Hi, I'm on cherry blossoms. com and have been talking to a woman called Saroeurn Chan from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. She is asking I send her $200 via Western union for a travel visa to visit me. Could this be a scam? I've tried image searching pics she has shown me, but nothing.

Scammers create fake online profiles, and profess their love quickly. They create fake romance with made-up stories about how they need money — for emergencies, hospital bills, or travel. They use different tricks because they want to take your money.

Hi j2a, same site same profile Saroeurn Chan from Phnom Penh. Say works for PLAN international as a voluntary teacher. Said her computer cost $120 to fix, didn't ask for money yet. Also talked about getting a visa for visit but not asked for money yet. I also had a few pictures and searched but found nothing.

Saroeurn Chan is a fake...BEWARE!
You're right guys, this girl I've been talking to for the last several days, I thought it was too good to be true. She even denies it when I bring it towards her, she wants to know where I've seen this but she won't prove it with a video conference or a picture with a clock in the background. Had a feeling thanks for your help!

Hi guys, Same for me.

I have been talking to Saroeurn Chan for the past 3 weeks. She wants me send money to a travel agency in order to help her obtain a visa. She sends me really sweet looking pictures and sent a copy of her passport. She has done a very convincing scam. I do foolish things...however, I am not a fool. lol

High guys!
I am afraid I am being scammed by Saroeurn too on China Love Cupid. Have anyone seen her on video or made a real voice call?

She is fake then. She is a beautiful woman of Cambodian and Vietnamese heritage. She asked me to pay for Visa and travel cost. No video call or anything. She did call me from a "payphone" but she never said anything of our conversations or anything. Stay away from this one. Fake!

Anyone know someone by the name of Gary Howard. Works on an oil rig in Turkey. Wife died 5 years ago. 10 yes old son in boarding school in Virginia. Living with elderly Aunt.

I am from Germany and i wanted ti sell some stuffs through ebay.So one day a person named Wood Rachel send me a message that she wanted to buy a dress,and asked me for some informations about the dress.I returned to the message.It was very strange that "she" decided immediately to buy it.She explained that the dress must ship to Australia for her sister.She told me that she will pay me for the dress and to send me money on my bank account for some kind of an Agent.I told my hudband about this situation and the strange thing was why should I first send from my money to the shipping Agent,and after that i would have grt my money from the dress.So my husband and I realised that it was a scam,to take the money first from the bank account.I send HIM a message that if they send the money first i would pay from their money the shipping but they didnt reply to the message.So BE CAREFUL,if anyone says you have to send money your own money from your bank acoount DO NOT TRUST THAT !!!!

Everyone,

I've received an email from this "women" from a different country saying she has cancer and she is offering to send me $7.5 million and gold. But she wants me to send a scan copy of my driver's licence, I.D, or passport.

She said she wanted me to use a little fund of that money to help orphans, widows, and get God's word out.

It's a little fishy if you ask me, but then again, I had a friend last year who was offered this same deal (-gold) she was offered 20 million dollars to help veterans over sea. And the person told her that all she needed to send was a copy of id, passport, or driver's license. It's a tough deal. I don't really know if I should trust it, but what if someone else gets the deal and they do it, and they actually get the money & gold? See..... complicated! I mean $7.5 million is a lot and a life changer, you could use $3.5 to help orphans and buy you something you always wanted.

What should I do? Should I trust it or should I not?

And no... I am not giving this person's name,email, or phone number out.

If you give someone your driver's license, ID or passport number, you're making it easier for them to steal your identity.

If you get a surprise email or call from someone offering millions of dollars - but they want your valuable information first - it's probably a scam. They can easily take your information and disappear.

I have had a similar experience but luckily I think I caught it in time. I’ve been talking to a guy who just randomly contacted me on Instagram. He says he’s from Austin, Texas and his name is Jason Kyle Jackson. It all seemed legit but his English did seem a little off. He says he’s an Investment Analyst. He’s never asked for money but we’ve only been taking for about a week. He’s supposedly in Dubai and travels a lot for business. He called me through Hangouts and has a very thick accent. I can’t quite place it but definitely not any American accent. So, I reversed searched some of his photos and found a guy who I assume is a model but can’t find any real name for him. There’s already pictures of this model, or whoever, posted in Dubai from a while ago so I assume he’s just pulling the images from there to pretend that’s where he is. He did all the things mentioned by other women, fell in love fast, uses a lot of nicknames, blah blah blah. If you’ve had any experience with this man, please let me know. If not, just beware of him.

Sounds like someone I was in contact with of of Christian Mingle. Went by name Nicholas Johnson. Said he was reserve army surgeon living in Massachusetts. Then got called up to go to Dubai on medical mission. Sent pics from there. Pics matched ones from profile. Wanted me to send money card to his daughter in Wyoming who needed to get out of bad marriage. We talked on the phone numerous times. His number was a Michigan area code. When I said no to money request he suddenly totally changed into monster calling me horrible names, said if I loved him he would do this for me BLAH BLAH BLAH. Said he was blackmailing me and if I didn't send the money he would post my private photos on facebook etc. After hanging up on him I went to police dept and reported him. Police did nothing. In his picture he was tall, slender and very handsome. Very short greying blonde hair, had a goatee beard. Since all this happened I have seen his profile under a different name as living in Missouri on POF. I was so shocked, hurt, and felt a fool. But I got over it in about a month and don't think about it anymore.

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