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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

Mine said he us a Chief Engineer. Call me my queen. Send him an Amazon gift card. His name is Steven Robert. Can we swap photos.

Sounds like my guy. Kept calling me my queen his name was Robert Lester. But when he first sent me a name he told me his name was Lester Robert. I searched his photos found out he’s using a gays guys Instagram from Spain. I have plenty of photos

Sounds like it could be the same guy I have been talking with. He calls me his queen. Also he said, please permit me to call you my wife not wife to be, I am totally committed to this relationship. This guy goes by the name of Ronald Carlos. Says he’s from Madrid Spain, his parents and wife are dead, has no relatives anywhere. He has supposedly lived in Carmel Indiana for 23 years. Him and his late wife are both from Spain. His wife Susan supposedly passed away from cancer 3 years ago.Says he’s an engineer on a ship. He’s done with his job and is now stuck in the Ukraine after almost cutting his finger off, that was one of the many reasons why he couldn’t leave the Ukraine. His latest is because he needs money to ship his oil drilling equipment. There is so much more I could write. I have pictures but I do not know how to send them or post.

Do you have a photo

Sounds familiar. Called me “my queen” says he is a sub contractor for oil rig off the coast of of Louisiana. Says his name is Greg . Have pictures also I can share. Says he is of Dutch decent from Rotterdam . Divorced with a daughter.

I've got something similar..on oil rig in Gulf of Mexico...from Germany, divorced and has daughter who is with ex. Says name is Harry (Harrison). Have pictures would like to know if same person

Do you have pictures?

I experienced similar situation but not oil rig engineer, but a financial tax consultant in PWC. apparently. The case was different, he stayed with me and started telling me all sorts of sad story, about his mum got sick, his family doesnt care for him, his company gives him his pay through dutch bank, and at the end he ask me to borrow him money , again and again. Of course i did give to him, and came to the day, where he suddenly have to go back to Holland and then gave me all the excuses in the world he is not coming back etc. So when i decided to end it, and asked back for my money and all, he jus dissappeared.
Met him on Tinder (dating app)

sounds like the guy i'm talking to now--says he's Thomas -- an architect in Canton, MS -- from holland --dad is deceased--moms alone-- would love to trade pics and see if this is the same guy (also met on tinder) all pics have a silly smile

I think I am talking to the same guy. Do you have a picture of him? Has he sent flowers?

I’m talking to a Thomas that says he is a consultant . Been in LA 7 yrs moved from Romania. Just relocated to Bay Area 2 kids and his mom. Wife died from cancer 4 yrs ago. Lots of photos including what looks to be his kids. Sent a teddy bear. Mom Is now in hospital. Sent a photo of a women in hospital bed. Nice looking guy with beard. Always has a silly smile. I did a reverse look up of photo but nothing came up.

Can you send me his pictures I have almost same story but name is different I have Chris and trying to stop all the damage but reporting him he send passport and also oil contracts etc

He says his name is Dave Johnson. He told me he lives in Arcadia area of Los Angeles,CA. He claims to be the CEO and owner of his own engineering firm. He said he's Italian from Ireland and his wife was very ill and died 4 years ago.Ge has 2 children 4 & 6- Lisa and Harry,etc...

Kootsiebella do u have any pictures of this Dave Johnson?

I am also dealing with this guy from instagram for 4mos now. It seems that they keep on telling that they are not scammers coz they dont blocked us after sending them money. How come they can say it if we are the victims here. I wanted to shout out to his profile that he is scam and fake. Thats how they do it to make us believe that they are not scammer. But they have followers. How can this site help us if they cannot act instantly. We can give them all the info while we are playing with their tricks. We have their contacts that they can check while we are actively in contact with them. Hope FTC can help us. Mine involved the credit card details which they got from me.

This guy sounds like the same man I was on whatwhats he called me his queen too says he stuck on a rig in Ireland sea needs money to pay the chopper to come pick him up to get home to his kids do you have a picture of him to send me he calls himself Jeffery?

i have same situotion.. he told me need settle his exit card n chopper. his name us Benjamin.

Sounds like the same guy im talking now.He said his albert willson he works in oil companies"oilfields".Hes wife died of breast cancer had a daugther.And his asking me to call the company and tell them Im his wife and to pay for half the money the company needed because of the drilling bit doesnt work.

I sure would like a picture to compare I am dealing with Jeff Jansen.. wife died has a daughter and a dog dad died stuck in Malaysia, he had wallet stolen while in car accident now he need cash so he can stay and close a contract dealing with selling oil he has bought wholesale in China.. YOU GET NO MONEY HERE... lol. I think he is using someone else pictures.. how do I send pictures. I want to know if anyone has run across these photos

Hi, what’s his name and do you have any pics please?

What is it about Portugal? I was just scammed by a guy Out of Africa saying that he had to return to Portugal as his daughter was having immediate heart surgery. He made the mistake by saying that he was staying with his mother but in previous conversations he and said she was dead. Is online name is Alexander_Greg out of Africa saying that he had to return to Portugal as his daughter was having immediate heart surgery. He made the mistake by saying that he was staying with his mother but in previous conversations he and said she was dead. Yes online name is Alexander_Greg1 On Instagram.

I have been Scam, by a name Johnson he took 17,000 away from me and still talking to me how can I get him arrested?

Janessa. Is his first name Oliver?

Janessa, What is his first name, and where does he say he is, and where is he from?

Is his name william oliver? He was saying he is from Watford, UK. He said he is a civil engineer, manager in the company. I asked for his business name card, he did not answer. He caught his girlfriend had sex with his best friend and break up with his girlfriend two years ago.

Janessa, I think I may be talking to the same person. Do you have any pictures or other details that may help me?

is the name Johnson Brown familiar
engineer on oil rig

I would love to see a pic!!! This sound like my guy! We talked on hangouts, and now he is threatening me through text!

Johnson Brown sound familiar.
Do you have ant pictures.

Is his name samuel james johnson?

i got scammed too

please i want to know

I think I'm talking to the person you are describing.. Does he use name George Jansen?

MarkD, did the video in the gym show him lifting a an 80 pound dumbbell with his mid section? He has tattoos and had a ballcap on? Bearded fellow?

Same thing happened to me he messaged me on IG says he lives in San Francisco and has a 5 year old son that is wIth the Nanny and right now he is in Italy working on a contract which closes on the 10th he asked for money to send to his Nanny cause he spent the money on the tools for the contract. He told me his mom and dad died and that he is an only child of theirs. He said the contract is worth millions. I don't know. There are pictures of him inEurope. The guy is going bald and is scruffy with glasses

So my guy lives in France and is a contractor. He has a 12 year old son and lost his wife to cancer. His parents passed away as well. He is completing his contract and has invested all his savings on gold bars and is having them shipped to me so we can start a jewelry business. He says that he has not received his final check for his contract so he needs me to pay $650 to have the gold shipped to me. Yes it’s sad because I have fallen for this scam artist and even considered leaving my family for him.
He would send me pictures of himself in suits and even sent a few of him and his son working our. However I did start to notice that his pictures are not current. I feel dumb for even allowing myself to get involved however I’m thankful for these stories because I was considering paying this money to have his life savings shipped to me.

Hi everyone. My mom was almost a victim of this idiot, naturally he was in love with her and wanted to marry her. You know the deal. Thankfully we found this page before he went any further with his lies. We set him up, he called and talked to my mom while I was there listening to everything without him knowing. I had been specific about her having to be ALONE when he called. My mom already knew what he was after and led him to spit out his pretty little "send me money" story because he supposedly broke an oil machine. That's when I made the kill, took the phone and sent him to hell. Told him we knew what he was doing and before he could even say something, I called him by all the names he used to scam other women. At least he was dumb enough to listen to all my cussing-- must confess it was satisfying. Obviously he ended the call but I sent him the link to this page and called him stupid. What an idiot. This guy claims to be german-american, he uses pictures of a middle-aged, caucasian-looking, military man whose pictures are nowhere to be find online. Apart from all the inconsistencies in his stories, he doesn't sound like an old man in love. He is definitely young, inexperienced and definitely black which explains his links to Ghana banks.

Brenda! This sounds so familiar, yet with a couple twists. Does he have a higher-pitched voice and is he Italian? Is he tall, muscular, blue-eyed, handsome?

Its sound familiar to me what u just described. He said he's working in Norway and the contract finished feb 13 and he lives in Irving Irving TX son is 10yrs and home with a nanny. I'm out of 3500 dollars shamed and embarrassed. Constantly asking for iTunes cards saying his phone don't work and called me stubborn because I didnt send it.
Also send me a pic of his passport

Omg I’m talking to one guy nowadays and he calls himself major Sean Dunaway. US army currently in Afghanistan. He’s got 14 years old daughter, who is in boarding school in Dublin Ireland. He Irish with USA citizenship

Oh my!!!
The guy I just started chatting with his by Sargent Sean Dunaway...daughter Florence is 7 in Dublin with "Granny" .
Lost wife and 2 children in car accident.
(Rolly eyes)

I have spoken to Sgt. Sean Dunaway for a few weeks now online and he told me he has a 7 year old daughter going to boarding school in Ireland while his mother-in-law is in a nursing facility taking care of her. He lost his wife and 2 children in a car accident. I believed him. He wanted to send me money and to put into my account or keep at my place.

From Dublin Ireland wants me to open a bank account in USA so I can transfer his money to a gold investment client... wife died.

Anyone talking to a Mike Donovan Wood, from SC supposedly stuck in Benin. Muscular and tattoos. Originally from Ireland?

Has anyone actually had a package delivered from the guy ? Mine says he got his retirement pay of over 3 million in cash and wants have it delivered to me to keep safe . He says he is in Afghanistan and its not safe there . He goes by the name of Alex Mills

I met a guy like that goes by Scott Hagglund. In military in Afghanistan. Tried sending me his retirement of 1Mil in a package through Transjet cargo with tracking info website and everything. The package got stuck in Turkey so Transjet Cargo sent me a message asking for payment $800 via Money-gram to process the additional paper work. I wasn’t thinking at the time and sent it to them. Then they asked for more money, I text him back and told him he needed to take care of it. Says he froze all his accounts and can’t access them. I did more research and found that the military provides everything their personnel needs. At no time will they ask for monetary support. So I stopped talking to him.

oh god samething happened to me but here not his its her,she is working in military in Afghanistan. Tried sending me his retirement of 1Mil in a package through Transjet cargo with tracking info website and everything.but till now she didnt ask anyrhing but now seeing this stories now i doubted about her but i dont need her money and all but i am thinking about why this type of people fruds using the name love.if they love purely they didnt ask anything.

How was the man called? I had the same scenario. Ivan George Robert

I'm so embarrassed. My savings and much of everything else, gone because I believed this man, Parker Walker, in Texas., Needed to send me 2 million dollars of his retirement to hold for him.
Has been hell on Earth as the package was supposed to be delivered but I had to pay insurance , then security fees, sent all my money to various addresses in the US and Czech Republic.
I think it's an international crime ring. I'm devastated and ruined.
With God's help I will crawl out of this hole.

I JUST went through this also for a guy so called named Andrew Jacopson and a son Kelvin in boarding school, his ex-wife left due to drugs. Had 5 million, added my name, I paid change in ownership then taxes until friend sent me an article as he had a picture of a doctor in hang ups, and people have been scamming using his info!! I lost alot also, but still praying to God for forgiveness and being stupid. I said it wouldn't happen to me but they just have you thinking so fast your head spins! NOT your fault Freelance.

I was contacted by a so-called Military General. He said he lost his wife in a car accident. He has a grandson Kelvin who is attending boarding school. He has asked me for money to be sent to him. I think it is a scam.

Freelance: I have been scammed for large and I mean large sums of money over the past 1 1/2 years. Right after my husband passed away, I met this guy through a web site for loss of loved ones. I was grieving and it was like I was in another world. He calls me his Queen and is coming home to me. His wife died of cancer and his family all died in a car accident. I understand you pain. I feel so ashamed. It has caused serious problems in my family. It’s like you’re being hypnotized by them. This has turned my life upside down. I have no savings, no investments of any kind anymore.
Like you said, with God’s help, I will somehow survive this mess I’m in.

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