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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

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Met Jacob Anthony on Instagram. He was so sweet sending pictures of flowers and cute sayings. Soon he wanted to move to Hangouts, a site I’d never been on. He became more romantic. He said he was an engineer on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico with a 12 year old son in Atlanta being cared for by a nanny. He claimed cell reception was bad on the rig and his regular phone was broken. Consequently, he had another phone which required iTunes cards so he could buy more time. Then his “son, “who he had call me “mom,”’despite my asking him not to, needed money for his phone. All the while his texts were getting more amorous. At this point I realized I was being scammed. He started telling me about a major contract he was bidding on. Since I was supposedly going to be his future wife, I needed to send him thousands of dollars because he got the contract and needed to buy equipment. I unkindly bid him farewell, blocked him, and haven’ heard from him again. He seemed so real.

Anyone talk to a Sgt Bill Connor station in Syria? Claims wife died in chul birth and has 14yrs son back in CA with nanny. Both parents dead.

I am talking to a guy now. Stationed in Iraq and his name is Davies Anderson. He hasn't asked for money but tells me sweet nothings for about 3 weeks now. He said he's a SSgt and I couldn't jeopardize his standing in the army so he wouldn't catfish me. He acts like he is so in love. Anybody else having these issues? I only have a few pics of him and we only communicate on Kik.

I met this one he calls himself Thomas Johnson. A widowed dad who's wife wife died of LUPUS and now has to take care of his 7 year old daughter. He is an Australian working on a drilling contract in Malaysia with the Petronas company. Could feel that the dude was a fake from the beginning but i played along as i did my research. I asked for photos of course he sent a few. When i ask for his daughter he sent me two and i could tell that those photos was from the Internet. I still stayed quiet and played his game, He never phoned me throughout the one week we started chatting. Maybe it was too early but he never asked for money. Exactly today i asked if we can do a video chat he told me that his phone is broken so he will not be able to. And he even sent me photos of that phone. And right there i told him straight up what he was and i blocked him.

Alexander Alastair supposedly a widower and retired cardiologist from Maryland. Says he is a Christian volunteering his services on Mercy Ship. Wants to Western Union $80,000 to my sister in law to hold for him until he returns to U.S. Sound familiar, anyone?

Some scammers use people to help them hold and transfer stolen money. They don't reveal that the money is stolen - they tell a story to hide the purpose for the transaction. They meet people online, create a relationship, and ask the person to use her bank account to receive and transfer money.

If you do this for a scammer, your name is on the bank account and on the money transfer forms. If you get involved with one of these schemes, you could lose money and personal information, and you could get into legal trouble. Your bank may close your account.

 

Andrew Davies, 47 years old. Claims to be from Ukraine but now is in US Army. Says he has a daughter in boarding school in Tennessee. Claims to be an orphan and a widower. He is trying the romance angle and has asked for iTunes gift cards. He said he was stationed in Aleppo, Syria but has just been transferred to Nigeria. He sends pics of a handsome military man and even has a military ID card. I am pretty sure he has stolen this man’s identity. He asked me to pick up money from western union and send it to a bank in Nigeria. What a jerk! Ladies, watch out. There are horrible men in this world that will tug at your heartstrings and then ask you for favors. This is it how life is supposed to work. If they want to withdraw their affection because you will not give them money or transfer money or anything like that, then you are better off.

My mom is being scammed by David D Jones
this is some stuff I found in her emails. Image search on his picture on Facebook and he's attached to three other names Roy Pieterson, Walter Lugo. This the email I found Beware of him he has manipulated my mom after just losing my dad. Honey i am scared right now writing you this message. I do not want you to b scared honey because i know all will be okay cos we have called for rescue from the security agents on water patrol. Our boat was attacked by sea pirates honey and they have held every one hostage.

I am hiding inside the engine room tight now and sending you this message using the boats internet. i want you to know that i love you and will always do honey. I will get in touch with you the moment we are safe and rescued from their hold.

I love you baby and will never stop loving you. you are my world and my everything. i will never leave you and never stop loving you honey. You made me know what love is and will forever remain grateful to you for that, I love you so much honey.

I had a girl, Karen Donaldson, send me an email after talking with her on a dating app, she sent me pictures of what she supposedly looked like. So I downloaded the images and did a cross-check on images.google.com, surprised I got a hit and surprised(not really) it wasn't the person she said it was. Trust your instincts, if it sounds too good to be true, try to find hints in the conversations.

She stated she was in West Africa, working with an organization called CSF, I looked it up, I couldn't find anything. Currently, been emailing back and forth, but now I know better now.

About 3 months ago I met a man on Tinder who goes by the name William Antonio. He is 56, works as a drilling engineer for KBR...currently finishing a contract in Turkey. Fell in love with me immediately. I feel like an idiot because he convinced me to trust him. I'm very recently separated and my heart is bruised. He first asked me to buy a $100 Wal-Mart gift card...so he could send me money to help me with bills. I tried telling him I couldn't receive cash on a gift card and we argued. Now, he has convinced me to open a bank acct.so he can send me a lot of money and wants me to pay a company to fix his drilling machines. Then tonight, he insisted he must have my user name and password to the acct. I jokingly asked if he was trying to use me to hide money and he got angry. He says he was raised in ITALY and has a beautiful accent. I've spoken twice on phone with him. His 9 yr old son is named Kelvin and stays with a nanny. His wife cheated with his best friend and so ex and 17 year old daughter live in Cali. PLEASE HELP ME. HAS ANYONE ELSE HEARD THIS STORY? I'm 60 and lonely, mow feel so foolish. No idea of his reaction tomorrow when I refuse him access to bank.

This sounds like a scam.

Some scammers use people to help them transfer stolen money. They don't reveal that the money is stolen - they tell a story to hide the reason for the transaction. They meet someone online, create a relationship, and ask their new sweetheart to use her bank account or open a new account to receive and transfer money.

If you do this for a scammer, your name is on the bank account and on the money transfer forms. If you get involved with this scheme, you could lose money and personal information, and you could get into legal trouble. The bank may close your account.

If you tell him your account username and password, he can take your money.

please even if you are lonely , STOP and BLOCK him immediately .. it is a SCAMMER .. they use the same stories each time .. please read other commends on these pages . I had a very similar Scam , by a different name , those people use different names , are very well organised and the pictures they use are stolen ..everything they tell you are lies. Pleeeease STOP with that guy , thats my very good advise .

I forgot to mention when I asked this 'William Antonio' to either video chat OR send me a video of himself talking to me...he said that wasn't allowed over there (Turkey). ??? I know there is a real man with this name and he works for a large drilling company out of Houston. But, am I talking to that man? An imposter? Or is this guy really himself trying to use me for a bank acct. to hide money??

I had a guy named George Marshall request to follow me on Instagram. Said that he was from Australia and in the army in the US on a peace keeping mission. He went on to say he was new to Instagram and that his wife was killed in car accident. He’s a single dad. He asked me if I had a google hangout and I said no. After that no more messages and his account disappeared the next day.

Scammer...Adams Moreno, he's says... these guys are deplorable

Same thing happened to me, he messaged me on FB, request for friend. He claimed he was a Building Agent, in LA California, but from Sabah, Malaysia. Then he sent a pic of himself, with a video of himself working out at the gym. Based on the photo, he is good looking & handsome man. He seems so sincere and loving, with the photos of him, with financial stability.

He laid the some sad story about his ex cheating on him. After a months chatting, he told me his dad was died, and need to pay Stamp duty tax, Processing remmitance certificate, Sworn affidavit, Court approval & next of kin affidavit, for claiming of inheritance about RM35K.

I got all the undying love crap. Im lost but thanks that I have God with me. I feel like such an idiot. But I am eternally grateful that I'm aware about the scammers. I wish there was some way we could warn others about these schmucks. Thanks again for sharing all the story. When he sent the first message on whataspp I saw he used an NY phone no, not LA. Please beware gurls with this phone no & FB ID. Phone no ;+1 (929) 267-7634‬ Facebook User ID ; @ Umar Adrian

Met this man Richard Smith lives in Houston wants me to buy goggle play cards..professing his love for me right away he is on an oil rig daughter in boarding school wife died for a any one know him

Anyone heard of an Army Soldier who has dual citizenship in German and American. He is based out of Brussels. I have met him on Coffee meets Bagels. I have talked to him almost every day for 1.5 months on the phone. I can't tell from is accent exactly where he is from. He told me that their devices were going to be taken away because of a security breach and he needed me to send him a phone, so we could continue to talk. I needed to send it to Beaumont, Texas for shipment to Brussels. I did like an idiot. He is taking a leave and needs to money to get home (airfare) and he will refund it to me later after the army reimburses for his travel. I told him I don't have access to those kinds’ funds (4,300). Now he wants me to open a checking account because he is selling some property in Germany and so he can get the cash to buy the ticket to return. I feel dumb even typing this. Please tell me someone has the same story.

Has anyone ever talked to this man. William. Paul. Dieter

Why would they want you to receive a package for them?

Has anyone encounter a Hillary Tommy on FB. He is a single/widow from the UK. He has a son and his wife passed away 3 yrs ago along with his parents. He claims that he lost his card and has no means to sent money to his son in the state. He had a job offer in the UK engraving glass pictures and had a personal business buying and selling antiques. He couldn't wait to get back to the State, so we could start a new life with our family and live with him in his house which was to big for him and his son Jeff. He was sweet, loving and caring. He text me every morning and night and always told me he missed and loved me so much. He called me Honey, Hun, Babe, My Queen and his wife. Then after a month of text/messaging and short talks and voice message. Then it's started he wanted me to open an account and wanted me.to buy the stem cards, iTunes, Goggle or E Bay cards. Which unfortunately I did buy a couple but it didn't feel right. After a while he still kept persistent and wanted me to buy more because he needed for his antiques and to get back to the States. He has a home in NY and Chicago. He is about 45yr. old. When I asked if he was scamming he had a excuse. Why would that do that Babe. I love you and miss you so much , you are my wife. I continued to ask questions and told him some one was trying to get into my account he said that was not me. With in seconds he blocked me from messenger and Facebook, disconnected his phone and delete his email. Before he blocked me from messenger. He sent a final message. Apologizing and saying he wish he could take it all back that I meant the world to him and that I will always forever be in his heart and to always take care. I fell for someone who wasnt real. I fell in love with the person in the pictures and the way he talked. A good lesson to be learned. Don't trust anyone.

Anybody know Scotty Wings?
Captain RayFrederick Schumacher?
David Newman? Or
Lieberman Douglass

I know a guy that sounds the same as this guy. Currently going be Scott McGregor from California.ortho surgeon went overseas now

Anyone heard from a man named Nick from Australia? Says he owns a small courier company in Perth. His emails are from Clutter Pandy?He ask for photos of me constantly. Has not asked for money, but why all the photos? I have sent 3 head shots, now he wants full length photos Anyone heard from him?

Im talking a guy who is working in the oil rig in turkey, we chatted going to 2 months and he never ask any money yet instead its a different way.. he ask me to access is bank details so when i did it looks very decent and similar to turkey bank account. I feel its a scam i still chatting him since he did not ask for money. Now he said he have troubled with the machine and ask me to access his bank account and transfer the money to one of his supplier as payment of the new drilling machine.. his bank details looks very real.. what surprise me why he ask me to access his fake bank account and make a fund transfer? He said he cannot access his bank account in the rig because of some restriction they are not allowed. Also when i ask him to talk via video call he also said not allowed its restricted even sending a photo also restricted. But he did sent some photos while he was still in the states before he went to the oil rig in turkey. His name is Joe. He got looks and look like not american more on asian looks..

Joy. Same happened to me but different guy. I tried to access the account and it was now blocked. So then he says he's stuck, maxed out his cards, needs $, etc etc. If you look at the top left corner when you access the site, see if the address of the bank website starts with http:// or https:// All real banks (and other websites, FB, amazon, even this site) use https:// indicating it's a secure connection. If it's http:// and it's a bank, it's fake. Also the website didn't look like any other of the banking sites I've been to, with the options for requests, etc. Joe is probably fake.

Anyone hear from a man named Terry Jacques Matthew. From Canada. I need to know. Please

Please be aware of a guy claiming to be Austin S. Miller (General). He sent me a message while playing Words With Friends. We chatted for awhile, and then he asked me for my Gmail address to chat in hangouts. It didn’t take long for him to ask for naked pictures!

Had a guy, wife died in child birth, son 10 yrs old in boarding school. Worked on an oil rig in Syria. He was pushy about seeing my picture and getting my email and phone number. Essays every time he visits his son in boarding school he asks if he has found a mother for him. Sent a poem to me about how much he loved me. I blocked him.

Sounds like the same guy! Mine was an ortho surgeon from California and was working for UN in Somolia now. Has a 14 year old son that would love to get to know me and have be his mom. Loved me when he first saw me. Doesn’t want to video chat says camera is broke . Son in boarding school and mom died 4 years ago. Wants me to apply for vacation so we can meet! Love poems like crazy and YouTube love song audio. Want this creep to get caught!

How do you do a face check on the computer?

How do you do a photo check on the computer?

Does anyone please know a guy name Tim Scott who said is from “California” and “Works for UNICEF” . He just communicates via Hangouts, he doesn’t wanna video chat, I’m asking for my Sister, I’m afraid about this guy, you know.... if he’s real or using someone else pictures and info. This is crazy.

I met a guy on Tinder 4 months ago says he's working for Unicef from CA. Very handsome. Speaks with a Spanish accent. Says he's half German/Spanish.

Does he have a 209 area code and goes by the name of Donald E Waters, 40 yrs old. Keeps asking for Sephora and iTunes cards.

I was talking to a guy who says he's a doctor....orthopedic surgeon...on contract with the UN in Jordan. Told me he's originally from Turkey...but has residence in Washington,DC.
He has traveled to many countries and speaks several different languages. His parents and sister were killed in an auto accident when he was 26.
He was married for 5 years...they have a son who is in boarding school here in the states. He has sent pictures ...he's very handsome. I questioned him whether I was talking to the man in the pictures...he has tried to video chat with me on several occasions but it has always been poorly timed and I have always missed them...and when I try to return...the same.

He says he was falling in. Love with me.... Wants to meet...he wanted to come here for Christmas!! He gave me an email for me to write the UN to request his vacation leave.... unitednations- leavesdepartment. intl @ protonmail. com

I began to ??? him....why do I have to ask for your leave....and what would I say? Mind you....he has not asked for a penny from me.... He said...I will compose the letter for you....and you can forward it to the email...and he did.... But I didn't...because at the end of the email it said "I am ready to incur any charges that this may cause your office" I wrote him back ...and said...you didn't tell me there would be charges...and I am not prepared to accept them should there be any. I then told him that Christmas is not a good time to come visit that he needs to wait till after the New Year when I'm settled in my new house...because I am staying at my mothers right now. He hasn't spoken for 3 days now.....hmmmm. Dr. Matheus James is his name.

Anyone heard of a bloke called Gareth Cullen Electrical contractor I child in boarding school Wife died cancer Is Irish but bought up in Norway by uncle Mother lives in Perth Australia Reached out to me via f/b messenger Shut down messenger and f/b next day Asked me to chat on hangouts Talked on the phone plenty / claims to be a Christian Wants to marry me and take me travelling etc etc etc I fell for this guy ( I’m a widow of 9 years) so I’m out of the loop with all this cat fishing stuff ! Now is stuck in turkey and customs will not release his Machinery Tonight he asked me for a loan And promised to give it right back After the deal was completed He is suppose to be coming to see me and bringing daughter for Xmas

I told him I have no money And I accused him of being a scammer He played the “ poor me” syndrome and made it look like I should feel guilty . We have spoken / texted/google hangouts video call . I keep asking him to open messenger because it’s SO much better But he hasn’t I’ve researched a lot about catfish And narcissistic personalities Put his pic in google search —- nothing Googled his name —— nothing Why am I even doing that lol Gut instinct perhaps These guys / gals are so good at luring in ppl AM I BEING CATFISHED ???????? Is my gut instinct right ??? I told him I’m having a break for a couple of days

Does anybody have talked to a guy name Tommy Jones, if so, let me know?

I might. Was talking to someone named Thomas, but used the name Tommy Jones once. Said it was an accident. Probably the same. What's his story?

My friend is talking to someone named Thomas Jones. I tell her its a scam but she wont listen.

Anyone know of a Thomas Myers a Marine in Syria?

Was talking to a guy supposedly a civil engineer from texas.Josh B. He started asking for a 75.00 amazon card a week "to keep his internet going so he could talk to me".He didnt get it. Told me I didnt care and didnt want to help him.We no longer speak.Beware of this sleazy slick scammer!

My guy is named Jackson Walters has several Facebook profiles. First red flag was the I love you after like 3 days of talking. Then the ITunes card and then needed my name, bank, and a scan of my credit card to “make a deposit”. I have pictures and will gladly send to anyone. Also uses the phone number Name used: Jackson Walters
Phone #352-448-7651

Jackson Walters also claims to be a chief surgeon in Damascus. Needs the ITunes cards to get data so we can talk. I’m not giving up any information to this guy

Ryan George has been scamming my mother Saying he has a construction business & his Money is stuck in customs. Sent her a fake bank profile to show he has money. Saying he is coming to take her and live in CT. He says he is stuck in immigration. Customs won't release his I ey. My mum has given him her pension for 3 months almost and is broke now. She still wants to give him more. Is anyone else being scammed by Ryan George. I have his picture. Need someone to knock some common sense into my mother's head.

Hi everyone, I’m just wondering if any one spoken to a Ethan-billy. I was to a man before who tried to scam me but this guy is totally different. He’s from Texas but In Afghanistan on peace keeping, has a daughter who is 15. I have heaps of photos of both and one as recent as yesterday from him. I’ve seen photos of him and his daughter together and I’ve even talked to him daughter on instagram. That’s the only place we talk. I’m totally confused to weather he is a scammer or not.

I met this guy on POF, by the name of Charles Pacehelle or Ryan Pacehelle, it might be spelled like this Pasehelle. The guy is nice looking, I knew something wasn't right about him because the pictures looked fake. But that that didn't stop me from hitting the flirt button. He inbox me and the conversation was going good until he told me to download WhatsApp. We carried on the conversation and while we were texting I was going back and forth between him and the site, he had already taken his profile down. Fast forward.....he sent me a screenshot of a text from the military data saying that he needs an iTunes card to replenish his data so that he can communicate with me. I ask him what he showing me this for and he said that he don't have access to his account and you can't purchase the card anywhere but the US. I waited before I actually purchased the card then when I did get it, I sent the info he needed. Well later that day as we were texting he tried to tell me that wherever I got the card from they frauded me. I ask him how was that possible when I asked before I left the store was there anything else I needed to do and the cashier said no. He then went on to say there was nothing in his account and that I needed to go get another one. I told him no I have my receipt and that he needed to stop lying about he don't have the funds. He wasn't expecting me to say I had my receipt. I sent a copy of the receipt but I covered up my card info. Then he came back and ask for a steam card, so I waited before I got that one. In the process of him waiting he then tries to butter me up because he thought he could get more money from me than the $100 I've already given him. This dude had sent me a picture of a ring he so called purchased before he left for West Africa, I ask him who was it for he said me. I told him what made him think I was going to marry him and I haven't even met him. He said that was the whole purpose for asking for $750 for application fee to leave the mission and come home. I told him that he could stay right there and finish it out, I can wait. Long story short, this guy tried every single time to see if he could get more money including video calling me. I ask him for what, for him to tell me we got a bad connection. O wasn't falling for it. We've also exchanged explicit photos and when I finally said enough I told him that I knew what was coming next and that I'm prepared for it and as far as the photos I could care less about it they're just pictures. He got mad started calling me a bi!@#,I ask him why the name calling, I didn't lie to you, you lied to me. He asked me not to text him again. That's a learning lesson for me, not to trust everyone on these websites.

Please stay AWAY from RAYMOND SMITH on Facebook. The photo is of a white hair man with sunglasses in the snow who says he is from Oslo, Norway and lives in Houston. My poor Mom of 80 has her heart invested and sending money. They are CONTROLLING her thru Facebook messenger and making her think he is out of the Gulf of Mexico on an oil rig. He says he is a widow and has a daughter by the name of Cindy who is in boarding school in Spain. My Mom has already sent 25 thousand until I stepped in and have been doing EVERYTHING in MY POWER to STOP these people. They are STILL trying to get as MUCH money as they can but the banks are STOPPING her from wiring these SCUMBAGS any MORE money. I never thought my Mom would send money, so BEWARE these people are VERY good at what they DO.

Does anyone know someone named Craig Huston from New Jersey but uses a Texas phone number he said he was having trouble getting iTunes cards in his area and he really needed to send documents to his boss sti got him one then few days later he wanted to know what I was going to get him for his birthday since it was around the corner so just for the heck of it I asked him what he wanted and out of the blue he says an a new iPhone X that that would make him the happiest and I told him he was crazy to ask me we had just met not too long ago I shouldn’t have sent him the iTunes card he was very rude because the card took along time to come through he kept bugging me for it all night long . So when I told him I wasn’t going to get him iPhone he got really upset. So people be careful out their I met him on instagram. I thought he was the one. Right away he wanted to know how much I made for money the questions are shameful.

I was talking to someone named Jimmy Krane (Instagram handle: jimmykrane). Says he works for a textile company in South Africa. I told him that I wouldn't help him get back the States. Have him blocked on both WhatsApp and Instagram, as he has threatened that he will "release all your nudes and videos to the public.", and, "I'll put it all over the internet. Every blog would have it.. You can be sure of that.". Do I respond or just leave him alone?

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