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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 need a help

One guy tried to do the same to me, he asked me for $40000 to clear off some debt, but I blocked him right away

Is anyone else out there being spoke to by David Agboado he has been talking to me for one month now he is from Ghana and from reading all of what else has said I feel like he is one of these people he has been saying I love you since day two he sent me flowers a teddy bear and chocolates he calls me every day and night and just two days ago asked me for money for a visa to come c me I know it’s all not true now and I makes me ill I feel like a fool to believe some people I guess that’s what happenes to good people at least I have not and will not send him a dime we will see how long it takes for him not to talk to me any more once he figures out he is not making no money from me just wondering if anyone else has heard of or from him

Hi, I think my dad is being emotionally scammed. He easily falls for "needy" people, by this I mean, anyone in distress, or through hard times. He's on "WhatsApp" a LOT!
There's no way to prove it because he's in CA and I'm in TX. The reason I'm concerned is because he asked my son for money. He owns his own business and makes decent money. But he NEVER asks for money, ever. If anything, he's the one always offering top pay for things.
This new behavior is completely out of character for him. Things like emotionally distant from my mom, spike in use of cell phone, extremely private about things, hiding expenses front mom, and now asking my 24yo son for money.
My question is, how soon report THAT?! A really close friend of mine just moved to an apartment after her husband sold their home to "help a woman in Nigeria get her $2million from an inheritance"
I'm truly concerned that this might be happening to my parents if this might be what's going on with my dad!

Been talking to a guy, he wants me to open a app for bitcoins on my device, he says his server is bad, is this a scam? Can someone please explain what bitcoin is? I googled it, didn't tell me much

It's not safe to let someone you just met take over your device. You don't know him, and you don't know what he's really going to do with your device. You don't know what he might do with the personal information you have on the device, or what viruses or malware he could leave on your device.

I was talking to a guy maxwell gary Jennings that fell in love with me like in two weeks than started asking for I tune cards he is blocked now.

A "Campbell James" in the Army, "living in Damascus, Syria, from Washington, D.C."...just sent a friend request to me on social media. I never accept random people, but it was also obvious as the account had only been set up half an hour earlier, had only one photo, no other information, posts, or friends. Figured I'd do some searching just for the heck of it, and it sounds like a scammer along the lines of what everyone else here has come across.

Has anyone heard of a Daniel Carter Jr an E-7 staff sergeant with the US Military stationed in Syria been with the army 21 years lost parents in car crash and beloved wife died had a 16 yr old son

I have heard of a Sean George Gunter. Still figuring out of he's real or a real scammer. He said he's with the US Army and gave me a bunch of duties he said he did. Parents lost in a car crash and the same with his alleged wife and that he has a 14 y/o old son who's on a Texas boarding school. Asked me to send "his son" a $200 amazon gift card. I, of course, refused.

My husband just passed away on 9/25 & all of a sudden I get a friend request from a Barry Andrew saying he was a cargo ship Captain & has fallen totally in love with me. The last thing I want is any man. He says he lives in New York, but the phone number he sent me has a Texas area code. He has not asked for money yet, but I have deleted him off Facebook. But he still got my number off of my profile page & keeps texting me. He called me through messenger & he definitely sounded like he was from another country & not the US. I asked him to send me a picture of him & he says there are cameras all over the cargo ship. My uncle use to be a Captain of a cargo ship & there were no cameras anywhere. Has anyone else heard of this person?

LADIES and gentlemen, please BEWARE, these women are really MEN, and it works the other way also, they don't love you, they are not coming to you, they don't need a AIRLINE ticket, THEY WANT YOUR MONEY, IF THEY START A SENTENCE WITH AM, THEY ARE FROM NIGERIA. PLEASE DON'T SEND THEM MONEY

Yes. I have noticed this. People from Nigeria do start their sentences with. "Am"
They also quickly start off calling you "dear" or "honey".. If u respond to this it quickly changes to "babe"
They say they are looking for love but why would you try to find love with someone in a different country thousands of miles away.

Does anyone know Alejandro Hewitt or crownhewitt on Instagram? His stories keep changing. States over the phone he was born and raised in Spain but on Instagram states Kansas City. He actually has a KC phone number but when asked about places he lived KC is not one of them.

Yes. I know of this Guy, he contacted me via Instagram. Says that he is a feed investors. He claims that he is now in nigeria, asking for money to ship his feeds to the USA.
How can I contact you so we can compare data about this scammer?

Example of a fake love letter:

Hi,My Angel,Good morning,Okay I'll make it up to talk to you on Video,My Love this is my motive towards our relationship, true love isn’t about waking up together every morning. It’s about dreaming together that one day we will be together for the rest of our lives. We may not be together today, but we will do everything to make this dream come true because I love you. Good Morning!Baby, there is so much I want to tell you, a lot has been running through my head lately. I'm having trouble putting my thoughts into words so you will have to bare with me through this. I keep thinking about the future, about life, and what I want out of it. I keep thinking about us and what this relationship means to me. I keep thinking about those things and I realize they go hand in hand. This relationship is my future; it's what I want out of life. I want to grow old with you. I want to experience this crazy love forever and ever,  I want us to walk through new houses picking the one that would be just right for us. I want to see you walk around our house in a big t-shirt with a lovely smile on your face and catch me staring at how gorgeous you are. I want you to pull the covers off me at night and then I have to get even closer, if it's possible, to you to keep warm. I want to see you laugh like crazy at me when I do stupid stuff. I want to rub lotion all over your body because you laid out in the sun too long.  I want to hold you when you cry and smile with you when you smile. I want to fall asleep every night with you in my arms. I want you to fall asleep on my chest listening to the beat of my heart and know it beats for you I want you to be the first thing I see when I wake up and the last thing I see when I go to sleep. I want to see your bad morning hair; I think it will be so cute. I want to sit on the beach with you and watch the sun set, and I want all the people who pass us to envy the love that we obviously have for each other.Love you baby...do have  a wonderful new week

I have the same love letter was sent by Michael West from Athens, Greece he is Ship Engineer. His wife died a ghastly car accident and left his 13 year old daughter Kathy. This person proposed to me as soon as he reached to land he will get me Airline ticket and he promised to build a hotel and a mall to have a stress free life. He sent $5,000 thru Bancorp to transfer money to my bank account. But before he contacted his Financial Manager in London he wants to het in to my bank accout before transferring the money to me. When the checked arrived to the US the bank manager said it is a scam. The bank closed my account.

This letter sounds so familiar to me. Almost word for word

Has anyone had any experience with a suppose it captain in the army by the name of James Hall claims to be from Trenton New Jersey and his wife died five years ago of cancer his parents died when he was four. Seems like a well written man very personable but probably too good to be true

Has anyone been scammed by a person named Richard Fischer. Claims he won an Oil Rig bid in Bahrain. Said he was there for two weeks and needed to get his equipment from customs to complete the job and when he tried to pick up the equipment from customs they want an additional $20k. because of tariff laws. He was able to raise $18k but still needed $2k. I offered to forgo paying my bills and send him the $2k and he jumped right on it. Of course I did not send him the money but to be perfectly honest I thought about doing it. Thank God I came to my senses and realized it was a scam. Instead of sending him the money I sent him a nasty email and told him not to contact me again. Funny before I sent him the last email he would text me every morning call me every afternoon and email me most evenings. Of course he professed his love for me all the time and I believed him! Just beware of this type of communication. I am just glad I realized it was a scam.

Also goes by the name Rdward Brownie. Civil engineer. Win 18.5 million oil rig deal in Qatar. has to go there suddenly. Next day wants you to access his bank account to check transfer has been made..don't ever click on a link...I played him along for 3 weeks until he asked for his 2nd favour - transfer 1.5 million from his account to another. Basic money laundering. At that point I was getting bored. Sent him a sharp get lost message and blocked him.

I think I have been scammed too. So I met this guy, chinese 38 years old. He said he is a sailor but works as a mechanical engineer under UN jurisdiction in agreement with Mediterranean Shipping Company. He is currently in Italyas that’s where the ship is stationed at the moment and that they deliver criude oils through OPEC regulatory countries. We met through CMB and after 2 days of chatting he asked me if we could get out of the app and chat through google hangouts instead. And so we did, he was a sweet talker, then told me he can’t wait to see me. He said he would file for a vacation the soonest possible since his next destination would be China and it would take a long while before he finished his contract. So he asked me If I could write UN for him requesting an Application for Vacation but that I would have to pay $3300 dollars to process to application. So I asked for details as to where the payment would go and he aaid that is for the service fee for the asignee and attorney, drawing of agreement and document, a quick sitting and adjustment of contract, entering an agreement with a replacement and that it’s a material of both employment and insurance contract and what not. He gave me the email add of the guy who was supposed to process the said application then I emailed the guy and he have me instructions how yo send the money. There’s a person’s name with bank account info’ (acct# and routing #) where the money is supposed to be sent. The guy was pissed when I asked for the recipient’s complete address and telephone number. Anyway, I am not sending the money and that’s it!

Hi Bettina, I met someone on there with the same story. He also claims to be a sailor working as a mechanical engineer under UN jurisdiction in agreement with Mediterranean Shipping company. He is also Chinese and 38 years old. Is his name Richard Guang Li? Or did he use another name?

This same guy try to get money from me... said the money was needed so he can take time off work.. He even sent me clearly photoshop ID badge to prove he works for that company... I try to waste his time longer... but he was annoying. I was on vacation and in different time zone.. he was getting upset i wasn't responding.. I got him talking till he gave me a bank account number that was trace back to someone in FL. and than ignore him..

Omg, I'm so glad that I found this. These stories that you ladies and gentlemen have been recounting are really similar to my situation. I met a guy, let's call him G, on OkCupid.

Claim to be an environmental engineer working with Chevron in Canada.

Said that he was British, but his accent most definitely did not sound like your stereotypical Brit's.

He rushed things really quickly - calls me "heavenly," emails full of lovely-dovey kind of stuff, already planning our marriage, etc. And we've only known each other for two months!

He says that he's from a neighborhood not too far from my own, but as I said, claims currently to be in Canada.

He asked me this past week or so for a picture of my driver's license (as an emergency contact for his Canadian hotel) and is now asking me for an iTunes gift card because his credit card or something isn't working overseas, apparently. When I questioned him, he seemed really irritated and upset.

If this is a scam - and my instincts are now heightened - why put all this effort into getting some money? He wrote these long, sappy e-mails and wrote this false and fictitious life story!

Ugh.

I am talking to a Nathan Woods that was station in California and one week after we began talking he was diploid to Kabul. he said he is only going to be there for a few months and will comeback to California. After he return he will travel to meet me in my state. he had 3 pics on the page were i meet him and than i as him to send me more pics different from the web page and he did. I search him and found him on Facebook, same name and other pics of too. I also search on google and found the same pic but i don't know if is the real person that i have been talking to. so far it has not been any request for money but his emails sounds like copied and paste sentences. But when we chat it feels more real. If he is face he is real good scammer.

So apparently R Kelly needs $800 from me to book to meet him at any location of my choice. But he wants to send me money to care for my grandmother. And so then he lowered it to $300. Why do these people do this. Idiots, Evil Idiots.

I met a guy Austria Kacey from USA but german accent who sweet talked me, fell in love , he got oil rig contract in Venezuela and he will be coming to my country South Africa after the contract. And he supposedly sent a parcel for me with lots of money( red flag)gifts and whole lot of stuff. Then I had to pay 700 USD ( R10 000)to get the parcel released in Malaysia. I told him that the lady at Western Union ( which was a lie)adviced me not to coz the that was a residential area , they are using a fake courier company, the courier agent sounded south african ( but supposed to be in Malaysia)when i asked her about it she denied it, he got angry and started threatening me & blackmailing me with photos he have. He promised to make my life living hell. But I dnt care if he will makes my photos viral I'll use that as evidence for my awareness campaign in my county that this really exists and if my nude photos will save 1 woman from these scammers so be it. I'm not going to give him a cent. He can threaten all he wants. So ladies be warned.

Anyone familiar with someone going by the name of Matthew Scott? Says he is an oil rig worker, lives in San Francisco but is from the Netherlands. Contacted me on Instagram and has been wanting to chat on goggle hangouts. Has not asked for any money but wants to get married lol

I had 2 different scammers trying to get me.

One that was in the Army stationed in Syria. Said he was a widow with a son being raised by a nanny. His name is Maitland Rodriguez. I was talking to him on Hangouts. Wanted to come home to me. Asked for $500 to help him come home. Told him NO.

The second was a marine stationed in Dubai. Divorced with a son. Mother was dying. Said he fell in love with me. He would leave beautiful prayers for me on Hangouts. Then he asked me for $100 iTunes card. Told him NO. His name was Fabian Osborne.

I met be both on Instagram. Messaged with both of them on Hangouts. I reported both of them on Instagram and blocked them on Instagram and Hangouts and deleted that app.

Be careful. NEVER NEVER NEVER GIVE MONEY

hello,i was wandering if i been scammer by money collector name sarah wilson.
i just know she is a actress sugar.

Hi there
Someone's been contacting my friend via emails..professing love. He is from the states Georgia, but contracting under SMEC holdings in Oman. He is rounding off his project there. He sends photos of him and his daughter. I think he is a scam. I just need her to see it. He goes by the name David Lester. He is a widower and his daughter's name is Alondra. Writes very nice love letters to her.
"That is good, because if i ever fall in love with you for beauty, I wouldn't walk more than miles to see more beauty, If i love you for wealth, I wouldn't walk more miles to see more, If i love you for smiles, I would see more in TV,lol But the only thing i can fall in love with is you, that cant be gotten by anyone else because its being YOU"

Please let me know if it's the same guy. His photos, when he was younger and now he is going to be 56 on November 6.

Hi ya I'm spking to a guy in the us army bu the name colin wilson says is a senior sergeant in Afghanistan. I all so send him I tunes but have stop as I'm not sure

I also spoke with Colin Wilson thru a dating app and hangouts last few days. I did so until he asked for stream cards and google play cards. His English isn’t good neither is his grammar. His email is wilsoncolon 818@

Been talking to a guy named James Aizberg. From Tampa and stationed in Kabul. 32 and built very well. Parents died young and siblings hate him cuz he’s gay. Quickly moved convo to Google Hangoit. Just asked me for an iPhone. Red flag. He had a pic of his Ford truck and told me it’s a 2016. Clearly 2010-12 model. Anyone chat with him? Has user name Asphaltguy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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