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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.

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit
Scam Tags:  Romance Scams

Comments

There is a man on okcupid who claims his name is david sierra from Ohio and first he was deployed to Iraq, then claimed he was sent on a "special mission" to Nigeria. I said "ok" and was stupid enough to send him an iPad mini (refurbished one only $180) because it was his birthday and Christmas. Then after a couple of more months he started asking me for money and then sent me some phony leave of absence form asking for something like 1300 dollars and I told him no and told him that makes no sense for someone to have to pay to go on a leave of absence and that he is a scammer and told him to leave me alone. He also claimed that he couldn't talk on the phone and sent me some video of him receiving an award from the military but it had no sound to it. He said he couldn't talk on the phone because his phone was "bugged" and when he did text me, it was from an American area code that he claims goes through the us army so at least I wasn't charged for any of the texts he sent me. Then he says that his parents died in some "ghastly" accident and nobody speaks like that here in America. Then he said he lives with his uncle in Buffalo,ny and he originally grew up in California before his parents died. Then the address I sent his iPad to had ARO in the mailing address but when I looked up the complete address online it was only short for some street called oke aro street in Nigeria so it wasn't any actual army mailing address as he made it look to be! Plus whenever he sent me a text, at the bottom of the text it would say "military pda wireless" and he would try to sound like he's official by calling the bathroom the cr room as in comfort room. So beware of david sierra because he's a fake!!

has anyone heard the names Smith Harris or John Samson or Micheal James

I am talking to a micheal James from tx is that the same one your referring to?

I have a chatmate named FRANK BARRY LUCAS CHARLES,, etc, he said hes in a mission in MOSCOW but he is a US MILITARY, he sent several pictures with her daughter named LIGHT< very believable. then he said he is a widow and his mom is taking care of his child. his father died already. hes english is very good and, after a month of chatting hesaid his mom died, slipped in bathroom (crazy) and he needs his daughter to be sent back to US but no enough money, i should help him, Its crazy,, i trusted him its really crazy, i send my picture with my friends and family, but when it comes to money, i told him i will send but i have to speak with him first, but he said he cant make calls while on duty, so i told him that if you really wanted me to send money talk to me, on video call, he cant do it, so i knew that time its a SCAM.. CRAZY SCAMMERS!

I received a private tweet out of nowhere, from someone named Arnold Gifford in Newfoundland. Young widower with 2 daughers, but can't find ANYTHING about him on FB or google-anyone else heard from this man? has sent video in addition to pics, so seems to really be from there-phone area code matches, but then devolved into disastrous trip to Turkey and needs money sent Western union. have not responded since then. What if he really was robbed? has no adult family, so he says...

good day everyone! seems like theres a whole lot of us being scammed. When someone does that to you or tries to as best they can so we can send what they want, we can feel it. We only have to be very careful and listen to the voice within us telling or warning us not to make the move they want us to do for them.
I myself have been scammed by one person....yet I have two more friends or whatever you wanna call it coz they just email me with so nice words on it. Finally, this one guy asked me money and when I ask for his personal details so I could wire the money I said I would send him (which I definitely wouldn't do even if I have it), he asked me to wire it to someone by such name ( a name of a woman he said was a hospital consultant in India where his son was confined for treatment). It just confirmed he was a scammer.Despite it, I told him I would only send the money to him so he should write me his complete personal info. But he said in his succeeding mail not to send if I dont trust him and dont understand his situation. Then, another mail stating I should send the money coz he badly needs it for his son but I have to send it to that woman. He even added that he was angry at me but he was trying to control himself for the sake of his son. I did not reply to him.Not anymore. There are two more who sounded the same in their mails. I found one to be a scammer like two months ago but the other one was just today. I saw the emails he sent to another girl all the same as those he sent me. Crazy...but at least everyone is helping everyone by posting and reporting these scammers. Let us all be cautious and try not to fall to their sweet nothings.
Pardon me for my long message...but here, take note of these names:HAMS JEFFERSON FRANK NORTH HOWARD DODDS MACKLIN GRACY JENIFER (a woman)Finally, I thank you all for the information and stories you have shared. LET US BE CAREFUL! GOD BLESS THE GOOD GOOD MEN!

To jollybarbie, don't believe guy from Redmond Oregon works for oil co. We allow no oil refineries in this state, he is scamming you.

i did not join any dating sites. somehow a guy contacted me Dave Clinton...widow.lost his wife to a throat cancer..51...with a daughter 21 years old studying to be a doctor..
He said he is a Petroleum Engineer..and all that..but because I was like okay being single...and just taking a time of from my ex bf...so I was just talking..and I am busy with traveling... so I didn't give that interest although I appreciate his profession...

Later on..he himself said that I am not interested on him..and he feels sad..and all that words... which that time too good to be be true but for me...i clearly said... I am okay being single. He called I didnt answer at all. Not realy interested and I am.okay with messages. At the end I guess he noticed that I am not really into him so he did not reply at all and I started talking about scammers all fake people.. so I guess he feels that maybe I knew something about him. I have a hint thathe is not real...but for the sake of entertainment .. i just talk to him a.I was on travel...my focus is on my life and things I want to do.... at the end..when he stopped messaging... I just sent a good email and saying good luck to him. It was a scam.... and I know its very obvious that the pictures he sent to me are not his....because i knew some of the places and that doesnt coincide on his stories at all. and eveb emails. He might be good at all the talking but he cannto win me iver by emails and sweet talks... that's not my thing..

I'm pretty sure I'm being scammed. Guy says his name is Robert Porter, Army special forces in Chad Africa, I have a phone number out of Los Angeles. Met on Bumble. We've been texting for a week or more. Something has never felt right. Babe this and baby that from the beginning. I'm only out $100 for a gift card he said he couldn't get for his son where he was located which was completely stupid on my part. Glad to have stumbled upon this site. He says to talk over his Sat phone I have to email usmilitaryconnectingfamilies       and get a subscription. My ex was Marine special forces so I know this to be BS. I feel so foolish. I guess it goes to show how bad some of us women want to find a special someone.

scammer are everywhere including white American and European males so stop the stereotype of Nigerians

You are absolutely right I was scammed by a Handsome Caucasian man and Babe I kinda knew that except he sent a Temporary Military ID and several other pictures even with him with Military men.

Does anyone know a guy named George Duff claiming to be a USA chief of staff he is SURPOSE to be in Syria right now he was on facebook he took his self off their and now is on hangouts. Says swe3t things to ya wants to marry u always asking for money has a adopted son always,tells dad stories always asking about my family and what they do. Goes on and on

I am finding this new format extremely difficult to use and cannot find any of the information I was looking for..i am looking for information from anyone who has come in contact with Steven Pieters, of Patchogue, New York and had contacted two people but cannot find the names in this format

Report to the FBI! It will take a few weeks for them to contact you. I have been scammed for a lot of money. These guys really know what to say. See how mad they get when you tell them "I know how to push your buttons". Tell your tax person and they can file and put in for $3,000.00 back a year. You may not get it all back but it helps. STOP dealing with guys on internet. You can check the profile pic images. To really find out if bogus and who the pic really belongs to.

I have been texting with a guy started in Kabul. Then he says he retired from the US ARMY. He is in Lonfon st the time since Dec 5,2016. He has a son, Ian who has been in and out of hospital. He already had airline tickets to fly to the US where he says he lives in CA. His son has been hospitalized twice in December and then again since January 14, 2017. The doctor in London will not give him clearance to fly because he needs heart surgery. This guys name is Lieutenant Michael BRODY. I met him on Christian mingle The doctor in London will not give him clearance to fly because he needs heart surgery. This guys name is Lieutenant Michael BRODY. I met him on Christian mingle all. I have lost a lot of money to him. He has used pictures of Kip Burris and others. He is requesting more money. I have been ignoring his text messages. It's time to say goodbye to him and get my life back. Has anyone heard of him? Please let me know.

Hi Guardyourself I did and he said he had a daughter and sent pictures and I chatted with him on Plenty of Fish (POF).

I also talked to Michael Brody and he sent pictures of his daughter and claims to be in the service... I cut him off and met him on POF

He is now using the name Lloyd Burris and he just recently got out of the military and is living in Ghana he has a son named Mikey who is 12 and He is wanting to come to United States but he needs help buying the tickets also he needs money to buy a passport for him and his son and all kind of different things that he needs he's a scammer!!! Always wanting money for one thing or another he has been out of the military now for 10 months and still has not managed to find a way to come home to the United States pathetic

Zoosk lies alot they seat there and said it's free no it's notmplease never go on there all they want is 59.99 to being then they want you to buy coins so same people can't afford it but when you are looking to find a free dating site and zoosk is number 1 lies i feel like i wikl never find love please be careful

I met this guy a dating website. He claims he is a military guy deployed in Syria. We spoke for a day or two and I ask would he be interested in continuing our conversation off the dating site and on this free text app. He agreed. After hour of chatting, he told me his name and said the he was in Syria for about 6 to 9 months and that he was looking for a relationship. I through out several questions to see if this guy is real or just scamming me. After a few days of chatting, I asked him was there anything he needed from me while over there. He told me no, just talking to me and knowing I support him is fine and besides it's too dangerous to send anything to Syria at this time. I just want to knw, how can I tell is this man for real? We have exchange several photos, I tried putting his photo in the search image and nothing has come back. My heart is tell me this guy is scamming me but I am not sure for what. I offer to send him a package but he didn't take the bait.

He will make sure that he has got you hooked real good before he starts asking for money I know a woman who talked to a "military guy" for two years and she lost out on a whole lot of money because he was a scammer. She was devastated my advice is run and count your blessings. Good luck to you

LonelyHeart he’s a scammer I have a lot of pictures of this military man says he’s in Syria trust me he will get around asking you for money and iTunes cards he just taking his time with you but you have to be smarter then them scammer work in groups change there names and emails phone number just don’t give him anything if he starts asking they are all around on social media be careful

I think I'm dealing with a scammer as well. We started chatting on WooPlus and goes by David Johnson. He claims he is in the airforce and has a son. I have found an instagram page with more pictures. He is very handsome and has send several pictures of himself with his military gear on and regular clothes. He just asked for an itunes card. We have been chatting on hangout. Does anyone know him?

What does he look like?

He found me on Instagram and asked to text on Hangout because the military monitors them. He goes by David John from Orlando FL. Claims to be a medical doctor contracted with military hospital in Syria. His wife passed away in a automobile accident in 2018 and has a 14 yr old son staying with his mom in Turkey. He needs a Google play card from Wal-Mart for $200 to arrange for a private jet back to the states because he's terminating his contract due to increased violence.

Oh My God! There is this guy who sent me message through instagram, I replied and then he told me to download hangout and now we're chatting there. His name is Frank Scott, he said his from San Jose California and currently working as a surgeon in Syria under UN contract. He have 2 kids, they we're at the boarding school in California because their mom already passed away. Now Christmas is coming , Frank told me he can't send them money because he don't have access to his account while he is in Syria, that's why he asked me a favor if I can send money to the kids. Now I don't know what to do, I already fell in love with him. I want to help the kids but at the same time I don't want to act so stupid!! I don't know what's the real deal. Any advice?

One person is using the name Fritsch Brown . The picture is of a sergeant first class in the Army. What a shame to disrespect our veterans. He claims to be from San Jose California. Wanted money sent to Accura Ghana. Didn't fall for it.

A man named Jack Rowley friended me on Facebook then messenger i thought he was ok since he was a friend of a friend on Facebook. Then after 2 weeks he said he loved me. He has a daughter supposedly her name is Leigh she contacted me thru email wanting an iTunes card. Her email is leighrowley8 he said he had his own construction company & had to leave Tulsa Oklahoma where he supposedly lives to go to Vilnius Lithuania to do a job of building a veterinarian hospital he sent me the pdf file of the contract with his home address & everything. He had talked about his daughter's birthday coming which was supposed to be April 25th & he had gambled all his money away she wants an iTunes card. I ask him for a current picture & he wouldn't send one until about a week later 1 with 2 guys then 1 group picture on a golf course they had short sleeve shirts on & some in the picture had shorts on. I checked & the weather in Vilnius Lithuania on this past Sunday April 23rd 2017 was 45° i ask him about it & he said the sun was shining & you can't believe everything you read on the internet. Lol!!! He really said that. In the meantime i was conversing with his daughter & had ask her for a picture she sent it a week later & it was 1 of the same one's he had put on his Facebook page last year 2016. She said she had taken it a week ago. She wanted to call me mom !! That her mom left when she was 3. After talking to him a week he wanted to talk in the app Viber so i did. When he called i heard kids in the background when i ask him about it he changed the subject. I knew he wasn't who he said he was i wanted to catch him & sure enough i did by asking for a picture then still didn't get it for a week. Everyone can take a picture on their phone nowadays & ask them to hold something up in the picture like a book or peace sign something. Have them send the picture immediately. I talk to him for a month which wasted alot of my time & i thought i found my soulmate the first 2 weeks. Wasted alot of time & emotions.

My disabled mother has been sending $500-$1000 every other week to some guy MARK ADAMS. He said (what she tells me) that hes from Tx, his son is David. My mom refuses to believe hes a scam. Every text he sends her ask when she will send more money. And so forth. She has sent this man THOUSANDS! She has lost EVERYTHING and is now living with me. She has stage 4 liver failure and not well. He has robbed an innocent person. How do i stop him.

It can be very hard to persuade someone to change their mind if they have a strong belief. If your mother doesn't have enough money to take care of her needs for food, shelter, and medical care you could contact the adult protective services in your area. You can find local services on eldercare.gov.

Don't send money to Nigeria it's nothing but a scam!!!

I am just trying to find out if this guy who is called Anderson James William and is date of birth is 23rd August 1976 is in the military I really need someone help

I, too, have been potentially used for a scammer's game. Fortunately, what they asked for is not as dramatic as a lot of what you say, but it still has made me very Leery and very angry. Badoo is very bad site for meeting anyone as I have learned. People pretend to like you some don't even go very deep before they start asking for money or for iTune cards I had someone ask me for a new iPhone because they lost theirs or it was stolen. I had someone else asked me to wire them $3,000 because they lost their paycheck and their war buddies helped cover some of it, but they needed 3000 to cover the rest and they would double the amount they give me back. I had another asked me to wire money to a certain hospital because they were in another country and their parents needed emergency medical help at the hospital and that Hospital would not accept his credit card so he needed emergency money please send it he says. The list goes on and on and on and on. All of you including myself need to find a hobby we need to get out of the house and meet people on the outside. If we can't find somebody on the outside what makes you think that anyone on a computer is going to want us as well? We need to find the confidence and esteem in real life. All Of You sound intelligent enough to know what is going on and stop falling for these scammers and schemers. It's not worth it.

The first clue for anyone is if anyone starts talking about any branch of the military if anyone talks about being in a foreign country if anyone talks about being in Syria Nigeria Afghanistan Iran Iraq or any of a number of disadvantaged countries you should know that all of it is a sham. Either all of you are joining military websites, or you're just down on luck.. I don't mean to sound critical or demeaning I just want all of you to be careful and to guard your wallets and to guard your heart. It is not a funny thing to talk around with anyone's feelings. And a scammer is no better than a murderer. One will kill your bank account as quick as they can snap a finger and the other is they will snap a neck and break a heart quicker than they can steal your money

did anyone get a friend request from James Richard Sterling.he is an engineer working on a ship on the black sea.

i had a friend request from James Richard Sterling he said he is an engineer working on a ship on the black sea. he wants to have something delivered to my home from Africa where he did a job.could he be a scammer

I think he changes his name with each scam, but anyone had contact with a David Josh? Claims to be from Fresno, CA. Uses email address davidjosh700

I need help I was ripped off by a dating site I was told I need a hookup I.D BADG TO HOOKUP WITH LADIES ON THE DATING SITE SOME BODY FROM THE DATING SITE WENT ON MY CRIDIT CARD THREE TIMES AND TOOK MONEY OFF IT WAS ALL MOST TWO HUNDAR DOLLARS AND I STILL HAVE NOT RECEIVE THE HOOKUP I.D BADG I CUT THE CRIDIR CARDS OFF MY BANK IS TRYING TO HELP AS WELL I WANT TO PUT THESE PEOPLE IN JAIL I HAVE ALL THE PAPER AND A COMPUTER PRINT OUT OF THE MONEY BEING TAKEN THEN THE LADY FROM THE SITE TOLD ME TO GO AND GET ANOTHER CRIDIT CARD AND PUT 75 DOLLARS ON IT I TOLD HER NO I WILL NOT DO THAT I WANT MY HOOKUP I.D SHE SAID I NEED TO USE ANOTHER CRIDIT CARD TO GET MY HOOKUP I.D CAN YOU PLEASE HELP ME IN THIS MATTER HER IS MY PHONE NUMBER401xxxxxxx

We can't post personal information on the blog.

You can report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

Does anyone know of someone using name Michael Mauldin on Facebook. This name belongs to real. He tells my mom the other guy stole his identity on Facebook. I can't get my mom to stop talking to him. What can I do

did you google image search him? i did this for a relative...then contacted the REAL person , who is a lawyer - he contacted FB and shut the imposter's site down. He also called me. heck it out - do an image search.

Please be warned. I met a master, brilliant scammer on spiritualsingles.com. He goes by the name of David Deluca. He romanced me with poetry, songs, music videos, phone calls and sent me many pictures that seemed valid. He was handsome and pretended to be a commodities broker working on a large oil contract. He said it would be very lucrative and "our contract"...that he had been working on it for nine months. He had a fine speaking voice and told me he was born in Italy, then he had moved to the U. S., then to Australia and S. Africa. His voice/accent matched the countries he told me he lived in. He wanted to meet me and sent me a flight itinerary...I later realized there was no flight confirmation number and he sent it to my cell phone. He romanced me with music and poetry for three weeks, then told me three days before he was supposed to fly out to meet me, that he had to go overseas to sign the contract for the investors...then of course he gave me a foreign phone number and he needed money. He was handsome in his photos and spoke extremely well. I usually catch scammers right away, but this one was very intelligent and very good at scamming. He disappeared after I told him I needed him to fax me his license, as I couldn't find and data that he lives in the United States. Beware ladies, these romance scammers are becoming very skilled at what they do! Be safe and protect yourself and your hard earned money! Don't someone steal it along with your heart.

A relative made a connection on FB. She is older and has mild cognitive impairment/dementia. HE used the name Mckenzie Dave - used a photo that I Goggle image searched...a lawyer's photo from TX, professes to live in CA City, CA, gave her an address w/o the st. number, a phone number that cannot be traced, or at least, I cannot find the the source...I have made 3 FTC complaints, spoken to the police locally and in CA City, spoken to the FBI office in my city...I even told her that I would fly to CA City and meet him. She contacted a realtor to sell her house so that she could marry him & move to CA.Thank goodness, I got wind of this and contacted the realtor, who, BTW, was so concerned, that he asked her for the man's address and phone no. She had neither. The realtor did not contract w/ her but am sure that mother,less honest company may have. I am sick over this. She is not in good health and stillsays she loves him - feels sorry for him, after the proof I have shared. Help.

You may want to talk to elder care professionals in your relative's city. The Elder Care locator supported by the US Administration on Aging lets you search for caregiving, elder abuse prevention, legal and many other kinds of help. Some local police or sheriff's departments have volunteers who will visit citizens to talk about fraud prevention.

Please tell me if David John Adalhard is on a scam list. I don't know how to upload his picture to google image. He says he is an engineer in turkey and needs money to clear his supplies from customs. I sent him money in March and he did not come home. He says he lives in NYC and has a son named Jerry. I met him on MeetMindful dating site. He says he is from Germany and is dare of birth is 2/28/65. I'm heartbroken. He is making me feel guilty fir not sending anymore money.

I recently talked with a guy claiming to be in US army deployed to Syria. He said he recently been there a few months but was in Iraq before. He didnt ask me for money. But he was going to come home for a vacation for a month. But needed to pay for medical stamp. We talked about it and if I could help. But I didn't really have the money for it. He said he might get in trouble for it cause it looked like he was just trying to leave. Not to come see me. But my correspondence on payment wasn't with him it was to usdepartment of welfares. usa. com my question is how do I know if it is real or fake??

An email address that ends in .com is a commercial email. It is not a government email. It is not a US Army email.

A real US Army soldier does not have to pay for medical stamps to come home on vacation. If someone is a real US soldier, he can send you an email from an address that ends in .mil.

I think I am being scammed by a man named Mark Flores, lives in Ohio stationed in Nigeria. States he is with the NGIC helping fight Boko Haram. He is emailing me through kik and gmail. No .mil email address nor an APO address to send the care package. It was my idea for the care package as he has never asked for anything. However, when he gave me that address in Nigeria, I was taken off guard. I told him I would not be sending anything to that address, he said that was fine and he didn't want any gifts, just my love. We have been talking since mid March. I can't tell if he is real or just a scammer...HELP!!

Hello I ment this man online he goes by the name Castro Freer and I have searched on Goole search and catfish search but I can't seem to find him he does have a Facebook page and he keep telling me he is going to come live with me here in my home in October and that he wants to marry me is this a scam or is he really real

Do u have. A pic I know a jot Castro

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