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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

Does anyone know a Robert Smith

Wow Unbelivable! There is so many scams out there..There are other ways to meet people..In person on dating sites..These people on the internet ARE NOT REAL....I dont bother with them..I had a man doing that to me for a ling time..I told him i dont have any money..I didnt hear from him for months..Now he us back again trying to be friends with me..I think some of these people are from africa mexico Etc
DONT BELIEVE IN THESE PEOPLE..THEH ARE NOT YOUR REAL FRIENDS ..

I think I'm being scammed by a guy who says he is an electrical engineer and lives in delta state Nigeria he says his name is Ufuoma or Japhet

A guy named james wilson started trying to talk to me on words 2. Thought he just needed someone to talk to. He quickly asked me to chat on hangouts. Then the story starts wife died 5 years ago. He's raising 2 kids one 14 and one 17. He's an oil rig engineer. I have a feeling I'm chatting to 2 different people. English gets bad. He says he needs 50 I tunes card to up date his bank account software! Does this sound familiar to anyone I have photos.

Yes!!!!! Very familiar. Last night he asked for me to purchase 2 Itunes cards at Walmart for $100 each. I acted dumb asking questions like why, give me your credit card number, etc. Anyways, oil rig engineer, lives in NY, but in Florida right now working. Handsome guy on his profile i.d., on Words, then he insisted I download hangouts, and then emails, and on and on. He loves me, so much, never met anyone like me! Very interesting, at times I thought I was talking to different people too. At the end, he was angry and his English went sour! All his love letters, etc. were very well written, however, I thought at time they were "templates" from prior letters. I thought when he asked me for money, then I know for sure its a scam. He finally did after 2 months of love letters, and saying he would never ever hurt me. He called me last night an begged I not laugh at his Norweigen accent. He scared me when I said hello, I couldn't understand him and my heart sank. Don't send any money, just say you are poor, he'll move on I hope. His name was Thomas A. he said he was 59 with one son. I told myself when he asks for money, it's a scam. I'm sad but intact.

Scammers do work together, to make more convenicing story. So you may be chatting with two different scammer working together to deceive you.

The iTunes top-up card is an old scam and all so Amazon

I was cheated by a man named James Daniel from Washington, engineer working on a rig in Australia. Widower, one 14 year old kid, chat every morning and night for 6 months. Exactly like the same modus operandi of the ones people have been telling here. Take care of this guy.

is anybody dealing with a guy called Burrows Hernandez Todd, mech. engineer, at the moment stationed in Syria as a Sergeant? Apparently has one daughter with a nanny back in US and is trying to ship raw gold bars to US and needs money to cover the costs and has no access at the moment to his bank account nor enough in the base.. thank you for your answer and help..

This is known as Package Scam. There is NO gold bars. A person will contact you claiming fees, taxes, duties were not paid. They will ask you to pay for it. The PACKAGE does not exist. Walk away.

Anyone know of a person "Friending" ladies on Facebook or other sites..Donald Arsenault, widowed, Italian but raised by Grandmother, 12 year old daughter, Cassie being raised by a house mother? Possible scammer asking for money to finish his contract as a West Coast off shore oil rig Contractor?

RAYMOND ERIN. CANADA. WIDOW. 3 CHILDREN. UNDERWATER WELDER. ON WWF. ANY INFO PLEASE.

Scammers often use, widow, single parent, kids in boarding school. If he ask for money, yup Scammer.

Yes.Got to know him a month ago. Offering assistances on finance end up with my investment $100 He said he would add it to $2000. Sound like scammer, though!

My dad passed away little over a year ago and since then my mom 59 hasnt been the same....until she met someone. She seems to be in love with this person. I love to see her happy but i find this man very suspicious. She hasnt met him and she says he is stationed at some base (military i guess) and isnt allowed to leave. Meanwhile hes making promises to buy my mom a house car and promising to moving here with my mom. I dont know much more about him because my mom doesnt tell alot worried me n brothers & sisters are mad at her for moving on.but recently she sent me this picture of him and what looks to be his name on photo.i am worried to death about her can someone give me some tips into finding out if this picture is the person he says he is. She was married to my dad for 42 yrs so shes new to the dating stuff which leaves her vulnerable to scam. Help........how do i upload pic so you can see if youve seen it b4. The name on photo is Anton Ivan

Your dear mum has already been taken in. They are a group of conmen, not just one, and they steal normal people's pictures, to perpetrate their false identity and fabricated story. She has likely already wired him money, and may be getting talked into cashing out your dad's retirement, and selling house. Show her the FCC complaint form in this site! Talk to her, that these crooks use brainwashing techniques, and she is naive, not stupid. Please act assertively for your mum!

scammer.. military are Always alloud out of base

Ive been having same problem been talking to a guy last few weeks says hes stationed in turkey from the states. Kept asking for a stream card telling me he loved me and wasent talking anyone else. come find out he was talking to another woman about sending him the card and left all his messages on facebook messenger back and forth with her. i left a comment to her about him been chatting with me about the card also and he seen it and threatended to have me killed.

I believe I may be getting scammed and it has been going on for over a year. The name I know him by is Stephen Wesley an orthopedic surgeon who's wife died in childbirth with their son Jackson. Similar story as to what I have read Jack needs money but Stephen can't access his money. But when I needed money I was given it so it made me think they were legit. The son had me sending money for him and his friends so they could invest in something in Nigeria. I never put money into it but had to send it for him. No big red flags went off for me until just this last week when he demanded I send $600 to his son because he supposedly gave his dad a payment for the house he was buying for us and he had to have it back now and couldn't wait until December they his dad would be home finally! So I went back and double check the stuff I looked up before and it was all gone, everything that I had used to prove to myself that he was legit was just gone and I did a reverse pic search and came up with 6 different names he goes by. He of course claims that it is the hacker that stole his pics!! Yeah right!!

Anyone have any contact with a PATRICK MORRIS

I have a question, I am currently texting with someone by the name of Logan Jenkins Smith, and he is stationed in" South Korea", when I asked him about calling or skyping, he said if I could send an email to departmentofdefenceus 1940@ gmail and ask for him to be allowed to call me? I am sure it is fake , but there is always the glimmer of hope! Has not asked for anything else yet.

Email from a legitimate US government agency will end in .gov. Email from a military branch will end in .mil.

If you send email and give your personal information, someone can use it for identity theft.

BADOO this person is a scammer. Military dose not use Gmail.

One actually fell in love with me and showed me his real photos and we met and we're actually together

Really? Or you just scamming us?

Does anyone know or talked to a Dr Anderson Rex Cooper in Iraq

I have been talking to a dr anderson rex cooper from iraq with a daughter named tracey pictures like Luka Giratti am i being scammed

Hi Guys!

I was contacted by a guy on OkCupid named "George Lucas Harrison" (Phone no.: +81345404968). Said he's a software engineer who is assigned in Samsung Japan and also owns a truck rental in Florida being run by his mom named "Amanda Betty Harrison" (Phone no. (+14076308805). After a few days of talking said he deleted his dating app profile to focus on me. After a day or two, told me he will come to the Philippines to attend a worship leader conference in Cebu City and is planning to see me after. On the day that he was supposed to come, came the problems. He called early morning to say he lost his wallet, blah blah blah. Bottomline, he needs money so that he could still change his flight details without having to leave his passport as a collateral with the airlines who will be nice enough to help adjust his flight details. His mom even joined him in sending me messages about all those stuffs that don't add up. I did not and will not send any money to someone I do not know. When he figured that out, he stopped messaging. So do not ne fooled, people. Bad people would use even the name of God just to scam innocent people.

ALL of these men have either lost their wives to a tragic death or the wife cheated on them. the kids are either at boarding school or with a nanny. They all fall in love right away hoping that we will do the same.
I will ask questions like what time is it where you're at and when they reply I Google to see the time and most of them tell the wrong time so right then I know they're lying. If you look at some of their service uniforms they have different names on the patches or they try to Black them out so you cannot read them. I don't trust anyone anymore when it comes to online. and if any of you have money you just need to throw away let me know I have a daughter that im trying to put through college.

A man said he had a box of money in Pakistan wants me to pay $4,900 back fees for sending it, was $900.00 I wouldn’t send the money now it’s $4, 900.00 said I go to prison for money laundering,, if I didn’t send the money, please I think he’s a scammer, I need help, has this happened to anyone else. I’m am an older lady, lost my husband, I am frightened to death

Hello, this is known as a PACKAGE SCAM. The package dose not exit, there is NO money. Walk away, let him go to prison.

I have a question. I filed a complaint with the 1C3 FBI site, now I was scammed for $3000, paper trail, I sent a ck to his sect. I even have the Sect.'s address, went to her house, I even have her bank acct #. This was 2 months ago, with such inform . How long does it take for something to happened. I could use this money back. I stopped talking to him realizing his cash cow dried up, yes constantly asking for different denominations of money . Thank you I had passed all this inform along. I can't believe this happened to me .

The information on the IC3 website explains what happens after you file a complaint. It says that people at the IC3 look at complaints and send them to the appropriate enforcement agencies for criminal, civil, or administrative action, as appropriate.

The IC3 itself does not investigate your complaint. The agency that gets your complaint from the IC3 can decide whether or not to investigate and prosecute your complaint. If a law enforcement agency starts an investigation, someone will contact you.

I’ve been “engaged/dating” a Daves Anderson! Knew exactly what I needed and wanted to hear. Sent him iTunes and Amazon cards! Had me set up new checking accounts because he wanted me to buy a house for us! Luckily the bank shut it down when he tried to deposit! He however managed to have a check sent to me which I cashed and wired to him! It made sense to me at the time. I’m so stupid because the check bounced and now I’m in trouble for fraud! I’m scared to death as I’m unemployed and only get spousal support right now! I don’t have $1500 to pay it back! I don’t know what to do! I took my laptop and jewelry to a pawnshop to get him money! Now I’m going to lose all of my life which was on the laptop!!! He showed me pictures of his mom and son. Is a Staff Sargent but according to the military record he gave me he should be a higher ranking officer. Went to the recruiting office and his name is no where in the system. Doesn’t exist!!! 100% fake! He’s still trying to get me to send him money! Wondering that because he is still active with me if the FBI can track him down and get my money back! I almost sold my car for him! Very, very convincing !!!!! Has tons of selfie pictures! Now he’s saying he was on his way home to be with me when his phone and passport were stolen! Kano, Nigeria airport!! Says he’s dying of malnutrition! I may be gullible but I know you cannot live in any airport for almost 2 months and survive for more than 2 weeks without food! He still insists he’s army and has no way to contact them! I was told to get his unit # and I could contact a Base and they would send somebody. He couldn’t give me his unit # and the unit # he gave me in the beginning was discontinued during WW2! All lies! He even had scammers posing as friends wire me money and I would wire it back to him! So much! I gave him my heart! I sold possessions! He was so good and convincing! It wasn’t until he was stuck in the airport that I started digging! 2 months no food? 2 months living in an airport? Can’t happen! Found his pictures under several names but always uses Anderson! Daves, James, Williams are a few I’ve found on the dating sites! Somebody has to help us! The army has to either not allow dating to happen or provide us with a way to verify these slime balls stealing our good soldiers identities!!!

I had the same thing happen to me, he said he was in the military and name is Daniel Park. He sent money to my account and it even cleared do i sent him. Then the funds were found to be fraudulent so I have to pay the bank back. I feel so stupid and know how you feel.

David George Aberto an Engineer working in Canada went to Turkey on business and needed my money. Guess, Turkey is the new hotspot for scammers. This guy worked on me for 2 and a half months and then hit me up for 40k, 10k, 1k and back up to 7k. He got zero. He sent me flowers. Has a TX DL too.

I was contacted through instagram by a John Anderson, who asked me to go straight to hangouts to chat. The name on that app was Alfred Keith and was allegedly a single dad after his wife died giving birth to their second son. He is german born, lives in USA but currently in Turkey on business. Three weeks later son has had an accident with a motor of some sort and needs $5000 transferred to a Dr Bright as his credit card wont work in Turkey and will pay me back. Told him to send me the hospital account, but strangly enough Dr Bright wants to be paid into his private account in Spain. How gullible do they think we are !!!
He wanted to marry me and send me a car for my birthday lol !!!!

I have a friend that is being scammed by a “Dr” John Anderson. He’s an orthopedic surgeon from Beverly Hills but he’s operating on the troops in Afghanistan. He’s expecting a large sum of money from Russia but he’s being detained at the border because he had a piece of gold without the proper papers. Evidently someone paid him in gold for saving their child’s life. She has sent over $15,000.00 in “fees” to try to get the package for him. It’s not even a good believable story yet for some reason she’s still sending money. It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever been around.

I am being threatened by some guy who of course was nice. He saved all our conversations and my not so nice photos. Given
Me 6 hours to come up with 1200 in iTunes cards. Police say ignore. But his threats are getting worse by the minute. If my husband who has terminal cancer finds out I might as well die. Can he post from hangouts

I think i have similiar case mary can we compare picture

I think I'm currently talking to a scammer. It's a female, or atleast I think so. She added me on facebook under the name Belinda Thomas. Then asked to switch over to google hangouts after a brief chat. The hangouts name that it shows is Patriciahelen 504@ gmail. com She claims to be in her 30's single and a christian looking for love. Has asked me for two pictures, asked me several random questions... And here's the weird part. I've asked her to send pictures, she only sent two pictures of the same one. While her facebook picture looks different.

Hello, you are probably chatting with a male possing as a female and they are trying to scam you. Dont send any pictures of any kind of your self. They will use against you later.

Has anyone heard of Mark Welsh Benson? He uses his middle name like a last name too. I met him on Words with friends as Mark Benson and he and I after getting somewhat acquainted asked me to meet with him on Hangouts which I did. He has romanced me and is asking for a lot of money. $42,000. Of course I’m not sending him money. We’ve been chatting for almost 3 months. Oh yeah widowed and daughter in boarding school and contractor on an oil rig in Cyprus.

i think Harrison Whany is fake has any one heard of him??

My mother in law long story short.. Is now divorcing her husband of 20 yes because she has 3 scammers that she believes are real guys who are going to cone take care of her. Tried telling her they are scammers but she won't listen. Literally ending her marriage! Shes 71yo. She thinks she is talking to a Chris Akamba
Jacob Lang and Bob Alex.
All obviously works overseas as they say... All stories the same as many here.

I reported my scammer 2times to Instagram to take the guys Instagram down .they did nothing Edward lawson 603. Katmomma report them. Get these scammers out of your moms life

I have something similar with a girl from Florida named Jessica Elliott she found me on Instagram and has been talking to me about shes a nurse and takes care of her grandma iv asked for a video chat or a call and nothing we communicate over text or Instagram. I'm worried I'm being scammed if I could get some help here or any suggestions please thank u

I'm talking to a supposedly "Peacekeeping Mission" Doctor in Sana'a, Yemen. Has a daughter in boarding school 14 years old. He says his name is James Scott, he is from Spain, he speaks Spanish. Of course he can't talk on the phone, nor have video chats for security reasons. We talk in Hangouts. I have several pictures, he is about 56 years old, has white hair.
Does any body have a similar experience? I'm afraid he is another scammer because he said that the only way for us to be together, I would have to request him getting a "Replacement Certificate" and pay for it! I don't think so.

Mary I’m talking to a guy that 56yrs old, he said his name is Darrick Meyer and he has a 14 yr old daughter in boarding school he wife died 4 yrs ago and he is supposed to be from Canada but I’m Syria on a peacekeeping mission he is supposed to be a general commander of the Canadian army force. He can’t video chat or ring because he is in the war zone does it sound like the same guy

Facebook love scammer be careful

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