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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 think I’m dealing with the same guy.. Black & grey beard. Glasses. Claims his name is Fred Mike Abbott. US Army in Nigeria. Widower, 10 y/ o son. We’ve been chatting 3 weeks. He’s loved me since day 3! Sadly, he lost his wallet just before we started chatting! He’s really pressuring me to send him $409! Heartbreaking!

I got a message from a Jessica Brooks Precious on face book. Stated saying she loved me and wanted to get married within one week. Asked for $675.00 for a car note or it would be repossessed! Told me I could send it to Gregory Porter in college Park Atlanta through Western Union. The pics were gorgeous and younger then the stated age. Send my money to someone i don't know!!!! Sorry I'm not the one!!!!!

looks like women aren't the only ones , I had a girl get into my messenger somehow said we had met somewhere but she couldn't recall where , and I certainly couldn't but I kept chatting with her and by the next night she said I was her soul mate and looking at her photo I was falling for it quickly , by the 3rd night we were set to spend the rest of our lives together , then came the hardship stories and said she needed money badly , I started catching on and then seen her message was sent by phone from Nigeria but said she lived in Illinois , I hit the brakes and blocked her instantly , so the guys are getting too

Oh yeah I’m getting sick with trying To get a girl in my life who was I need to buy her contract has anyone encountered that she said she love me instantly I am recently divorced and my ex screwed me up. I am easily swayed by a pretty face and sweet talk. And her talknis the sweetest I have ever heard. So far sent 2000 dollars US and I need to send her 3500 more so I can fulfill her contract I send the money to the Philippines and It goes to Michael Claude Pertos not the girl I’m trying to marry basically I wish nothing more than to marry this girl but it never ends anybody near if this

Don't send anymore money it's a scam

No, no, no, don't do it!

Im also currently talking to the perfect woman. Her name is Jessica James from Basil, Switzerland. Needs bit coins for passport and misc fees to be able to fly to me.

Hey there

Hi, I am talking to someone sounds similar black and grey beard, sunglasses, but by the name David Cotton.

Can we up load pictures . I think this is the same guy I was talking too bald glasses black n grey beard. French
Businessman wife died 5 years ago has two sons in school talked for almost a month then he went on a business trip and needed money . Never sent any but he was very persistent finally I blocked him

I was contacted in the same way, using the same story except the son was in a boarding school in Atlanta. I google searched the photos and they belong to a doctor in Brazil who has a verified account. I have blocked this person and have also contacted the doc whose pix were stolen. I also reported it to Instagram

Was his name Dr. Scott Martinson??? (He is using the photos of an actual doctor in Brazil!!!) He is supposedly an Orthopedic surgeon with the UN. His wife and daughter were killed in a head on collision and died. The son’s name is Robert... and attends boarding school in the UK. Robert had to go to West Africa to complete an IT program. A taxi driver took him to the hotel but alas stole his computer and bag with his medication in it.
Scott, the dad, said Robert was stranded in an unknown location. I said I would say prayers for the taxi driver’s heart to be soften and return Robert computer and his bag, especially since I had no money to help buy anything. I have not heard from either of them...My crisis was averted!!!!

can you describe the pics because i have pics of a very good looking doctor who's kid attends boarding school in Georgia..has to be the same one

can you post a pic?? sounds like my guy..really handsome ..actually says he's a doc working in Afghanistan..goes by Frank Kelly

I also have been scammed by a guy named Kelly JACK pretending to be a soldier in Afghanistan asking me for money very good looking works out in a gym

Yes I can send you a picture

Charma and Hillary, I've just been talking to a guy who says he is a doctor working for the Doctors without Borders in Syria. Says he is widowed with a 9 year old girl in a boarding school in the UK. He says he is Dr. Roland Smith. When I look on Facebook, he has two different ID's and one is that he is a doctor in Damascus, Syria. The other has little info, and the picture is different. Sound familiar to either of you?

Yeah he's a big fake. Fake Facebook someone else pic. Think..if a kid is in boarding school the dad must have money to put the kid there. Why does he need your money? My online friends are the ones I know offline. He's a fake there's no kid. He's probably a scam guy in Nigeria. Drop him brake off all contact!

Hi.ive got one of those from facebook Dr.Named Victor working in Syria. With 14 year old in boarding school.black hair,likes roses and black white beard.and 2 more fake military on instagrsm Micheal hopso,asking for 100 itune cards,Matt Sadler asked for itune card.and 5 more pretending to be Army soldier Mr.Young

Hes asked me for i tune card and hes now threatening to kill me boys are side my building he dont get what he wants hes frightening me hes getting pictures of me

did this man say his name was luther vicks hahah and did he say talk to me baby and that he was a doctor

My mom had been talking to this guy named Jackson Williams and he is supposed to be stationed in Nigeria but know he is fake but he charmed her has anyone talked to him he claims he's from Nevada always asking for iTunes cards and Western Union money and will pay it when he comes

What does this guy look like please

Yes There was one that said the same thing to me.He was from New York but in Syria.And his name was Scott Wilson.And he was a widow and a daughter that lived in Canada with grandparents.He wanted me to open a new account and he tried to wire money.Then when the bank daid it was fraud.He wanted to kill me.Threated me 3 times.

What did this guys photos look like? I know someone who may be dealing with the same "Wilson".

I can try to post a photo. I’m in the beginning stages of this exact thing

I'm just curious. Did he send you a picture through Collage.com? I got one shortly after we started talking. I have proof that he bought something else from Collage.com on 8/16/2018.

Same here, he said he’s a surgeon and working for UN and assigned in syria.. his name was Scott William..have one son (11 years old). His wife died in a car accident 6 years ago..etc..
Though he didnt asked for money..i can sense he’s a scam..

Hey, someone named Scott Johnson contacted me on instagram and he told me was a 47 years old widow, who lost his wife and child 6 years ago in a car accident. Suppose to be working as a Oil Dig Engineer. And I just found out that he stole the pictures from a rusian painter. He never had the chance to ask me to send him money. Because I blocked him. Scammers are everywhere. I met really nice people thru websites and dating sites, but that was 10 years ago. Now days you can't trust any one.

I had a Scott Johnson contact me a few months a go. He said his wife died but still had his son. As soon as I said I couldn't help him out he stopped talking to me.

Do you have a picture. I am chatting now to a man who says he is works on a oil rig and tour story is like what i have been told. Only thing he hasn’t asked for money but i dofeenit’s a scam

Does anyone have pictures or an email for Wilson ?

I have just been talking to a Dr Donald Sam Andy who asked me to go on skype and WhatsApp
From California serving as a medical doctor in Syria with a 14 year old son who is looked after by a nanny.
I had a feeling that it was a scam so kept saying I have no money and lots of debt.
I am looking after my terminal mother so exhausted and not 100% so I guess he realises I would be easy target
He was so charming and convinced me to send a private photo because he was granted leave and coming to see me booking his flight today
He then called to say his Amex wouldn’t work could I send him £450 so I blocked him
I then got texts from two numbers with a ladies photo saying you have one hour to pay me or I will post your photo on social media and friends
I have deleted all social media and said I have gone to police but I am worried about the photo
Anyone got any helpful information for me?

Hi , I’m having the same problem but I don’t know if I should tell him I went to the police, because he is threatening to tell my son he was able to screenshot my contacts.... I told him I had no money, but he got mad and raised it from $7000 to $10,000. I don’t know what to do

tell him to leave you alone and don't be afraid

Don't send any money or any encouragment. They aren't your lover or your friend

When they threaten you with asking you with more money or threaten you about showing your pictures don't worry about that that's your least worry because it's just a threat it trying to scare you into doing whatever they want you to do I've been through that one threatened me that he would put my picture on Facebook put my face on a nude body so I blocked him on Facebook and nothing happened so that's just a threat for you to do whatever he wants you to do.... so don't worry

I had a man named Larry Crawford friend request me on Facebook and we started talking. We Skype and he had me go to a messaging service called Viber. His number co.rd up from Houston area which he says that is where he lived until his wife died three years ago then he moved to Malibu. He says he is a Civil Engineer he did send me lots of pictures and calls me on Viber and his cell phone number comes up as New York number. He said he bought a SIM card in New York when he was there. He told me he loved about a month into out messages. He said he is in Dubai doing a project and was robbed and injured and said he needs 1000 to get meds. I was stupid and sent it but it was to a lady here in Kentucky. So now he said in order to get home from Dubai since he was robbed and his bank cannot give him a new debit card until he gets back in the states he needs 7000 to get hospital bills paid and ticket to get home. I am hoping to do the reverse image tom when I have access to a computer. Sad I feel so much in love with him and he says all the right things but so just feel he is a scanner and I am not giving him any more money. I just do not know what to do to see if he is scammer or real.

This is clearly a scam. Hopefully you didn’t send the money.

How can anyone love someone they have never met relationships take time you spend time together in person not on a computer or phone or chat forum I have had so many try not one has made it to 1st base

Civil engineer, wife died three years ago, temporarily working in another country ... three common things said in scammers Communications. Then add in the request for money because they've been robbed, and that clinches it. It's a scam. Do you really think someone with enough brains to be a civil engineer and familiar enough with traveling to work in a different country would have no other resources other than a stranger they met on the internet to get the funding they need to get on a plane back home? No.

For those of you who don't speak face to face, ask to Skype with them or FaceTime. Some of you don't even know who you're talkin to. Often with the scammers, their photos they use are stolen.

Oh gosh - this all sounds familiar but slightly different. Met a man named Joey Barteet on Match and for a few weeks it was all good and very flattering. Civil engineer working in the UK but from Buffalo NY. When I questioned him about his job in the UK he seemed very vague (with hindsight). Wanted to speak and was attentively calling me every day. Tried to get me on vibe and on email but I resisted. He wanted to care for me etc etc. Started to get a bit intense which set some alarms ringing then all of a sudden he was called to Dubai to do a pipeline job. Started asking for money (30K) to get some "chemicals" out from customs which I refused. Next he needed some money (so that he didn't have to sell his Rolex) to get important 'documents" out of the UK to Dubai (5k). So it went on but I quickly got tired of him trying to bully and harass me into sending money and blocked him from everything........ Handsome man with a beard and amazing eyes. BEWARE.

SCOUSER,SOUNDS like what im going through. Can you send me a picture if this man? He has sent me pictures and he is very handsome and has a beard n.mustache.

I went through the samething for 4 1/2 years. He threaten me many times when i didnt sent him money. He is in Malaysia studying but he is from Nigeria. He made me fall in love promise me happy marriage. Is a long story. I finally broke up with him and blocked him everywhere. I did met him in person i traveled to Malaysia many times. The last time i went he took $2500 from me and my Note 9. I cameback home USA i told him that i was going to report him with Malaysia police and Embassy he hasnt bother me again. I invested lots of money on this relationship. The last i heard he is going to Australia maybe scamming someone else.

Dr. Donald Sam just tried to get me as well but, thankfully before I downloaded WhatsApp and before I gave him my number, I googled him first. No, Dr. Donald Sam in California and he also has a 2nd instagram named DrDonaldSamAndy.

He was too pushy for me so, I know he was up to something - and I told him that. Plus, he didn’t write like a doctor so.... I kept looking until I found this article with your comment. Thank you! Filthy scammers. Good luck to you ladies and be careful.

I was conned some registration fees and l got none but blocked on wattsup , that guy is from Nigeria , he used a Facebook account by the name Sharon Julie , told me she was from South Africa.

I have been talking to Dr. Roland Smith also. He is a fake! Told me he had a son. Watch out Wilson Erickson and Philip Cox and Eden Johnson.Also Gale Beavers.all are crooked

I have been messaging with a guy on Facebook for about three weeks. Claims his name is Davidson Ogas, comes from US, but is in Africa now working on contract as a surgeon for the United Nations. He sems to look somewhat like John Williams and has just begun preparing to set me up to give him money.

First part of May - Facebook invitation. Nice looking widower of 7 years, 2 children, schooled in United Kingdom. younger than me by 10yrs. Short beard, black with grey, said his children and coworker friends were so glad that he met someone. I was making him so happy and his kids, too. The kids even emailed me to say how glad they were that I was making their dad so so happy. I was enamored, yep, fell in love, called me gorgeous, beautiful, princess, honey, my love........ He gave me a brief description of where he worked in San Antonio. Pretty soon indicated his company was sending him and 3 others to Syria - he even had a 'ticket' he sent to me showing the time, date etc, city where he was going. After he 'arrived' if he really is there - he said his kids were headed to Paris on a field trip but because he was in Syria and no funds are sent in to the country and none sent out...he asked me if I could send 1000 pounds to a "nanny" in England so the kids could go. "Their emails" said how excited they were to go. I told them to have a good time - that it would be great. That's when he said send a money gram AND I did. Somehow because this kind of scam/fraud happened in this area before - the recipient could not pick it up without further authorization from me- so "Joshua" told me to call them to release the funds. The name was on the form along with my name and the transaction # (whatever). ANyway- I called money gram and they asked me pointed questions to which I couldn't lie...I didn't know the recipient, I had not known the person asking for the money and I did not ever meet him in person. I was able to get the refund and now he is asking me to resend it to a bank account in the women's name. I am going along with this right now to see if we can catch him - however anyone can help me. I even saw the Field Trip forms with each students' name on them...I called the school in United Kingdom and emailed them the forms.... She said they looked legitimate, like their schools forms but she also offered information that school was out and the names on the forms were not their students and that they would not be asking parents for field trip money. Maybe more info about this guy - will come later.

I am so sorry to hear this. I actually met my scammer and he had a daughter in the UK but he is working in Turkey and he can’t get out of the country. His “daughter” even calls me which is why I fell for this. He also gave me access to his bank acct which I am assuming is also fake. Anyway I can get to the bottom of this?

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