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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

Yes, there is a scam about sending you a box of valuable items.

The scam works like this: you meet someone online. He lives or works outside your country. After you talk for a while, he suddenly learns he must ship a box of valuable items. He says you are the only person he can trust, and he must send this box right away. He says the box will come soon, and he shows you shipping paperwork. But then you get a phone call, or email from "customs" or a "shipping company" and they say you must pay thousands of dollars for taxes or fees for this box. The calls are very demanding, and your "sweetheart" also wants you to pay. He promises he will repay you very soon.

This is a scam to get your money. There is really no box of valuable items, and no "customs" or "shipping company." Those are scammers who want your money.

I am in a situation exactly like this The security co is in Germany and its called source services Is this the same with you Man says he is in army in Syria?

Can the person who was talking to a supposed Thomas Greco from London and works for Capvest please respond to this and tell me what ended up happening as he is talking to me right now!!

Are you still talking to this supposed Thomas Greco? I am speaking with a Thomas Also, he is allegedly currently wrapping up business before flying back to the U.S

This is what he sent via email about himself..
I'm 58 years old but very young at heart and physically. I was born and raised from a Catholic home at Linz..
I was married for 14 years. I'm widowed for 9yrs now looking for that special woman of my dreams to bring back the joy and happiness I have been missing since I lost my late wife (companion). I have one adopted daughter called Adjoa who lives in Austria now with my Aunt, she’s black and in college at the moment, I adopted because my wife couldn't bear kids...
I 'm a retired Automotive engineer; I worked specifically on Trains; I'm financially stable and living without stress..
Number 1) After three days he started he confesses love (a warning sign) cause we never met..

I have been responding with a gentleman he says he's in Afghanistan keeping the streets clean and good I think he's a scam I need help. He sounds nice. Sends emails back and forth for two and a half weeks now the one I got yesterday. Put me in a deep depression. I don't know where to do. This is his last email to me.... He says his name is James patrick baker.
(Honey i must be honest that i need your help now more than ever because there is a secret i want to share with you, i know i am not suppose to tell you this but i have to tell you because you are the only one i have and the only one i can trust okay? My dear i want you to know that there are some funds that was given to us by the Afghanistan president for our great effort and compensation for helping them in keeping the street of Afghanistan safe and also recently, we captured some Taliban's and they were handed over to the Afghanistan government. Honey they gave each of us $3,600,000.00 USD. ( Three Million, Six hundred Thousand US Dollars), but I have a little problem now with the Security Company where I save the money because they sent an email to me and told me that the last date for me to move this money from their custody is: 29th June 2018, which is very difficult for me to do at this time. I have thought a lot about the possibility, I'm really confused now cause i don't know what to do since Lisa is too young ( under aged an in a boarding ) and my mum is too old ( sick and in a nursing home ). I don't know what to do again and if I fail to remove this money from their custody, the money will be confiscated to the government unused treasury.

I cried when I heard this, my heart is so bitter because I don't want to loose this money that I suffered for. It is impossible to send this money out through Bank transfer because of the financial regulation in Afghanistan. The government has since banned the banks from sending huge amounts because of the war here. I think i need your assistance as time is running fast. All I need is your trust. I have spoken with the company, I want the Security Company to help me move this money by Diplomatic means to you there in your country so that you can help me save this money as my duty will be over soon. As soon as I complete my job, I will be coming to your country. I plan to go into investment with this money as i told you before also after my retirement. The money will be delivered by a Diplomatic delivery company.) How do I get picture reverse to find out if his pictures are from Facebook. Please help

This is a scam. Don't send money or personal information to this person.

If you keep communicating with him, he might ask you to send money to help him transfer the "millions."  Or he might say he will ship the money to you. He might show fake paperwork to prove the "shipment" is coming. But, then you will get calls and email from a "shipping company" or "customs office" demanding that you pay taxes and fees for the shipment.

Lied too this sound like the guy that contact me last year through Facebook and then wanted to go to hangouts and so he could text and talk to me he asked me could I keep a sercert he started talking about all this money and a bank this scammer is changing his name when he contacts other women He told me he was in the Air Force military in Syria the name he gave me was Lenihan Donald Clark he a widow has two daughters I have a lot of pictures of him and video of him working out in the gym he told me his wife die of cancer he also told me he was a Sergeant major and does police patrol I do believe these pictures are stolen and who ever this scammer is behind theseshe pictures is using this military man identity I would truly like to know who is this man on theses pictures and videos this is a very attractive man on theses pictures but I story kind of sound similar don’t give him anything iTunes cards are send money through western union he’s a liar and fake he also has accent when he talk

a guy called Daniel Fang and he contact me via social network Coffee Meets Bagel and then he requested to talk via WeChat. His WeChat ID: Danielfang19. He said many sweets words to me, told me he lost a wife and got a 9yrs old son who is studying in US now. He was borned in HK but grew in US. He said he loves me and would like me to be his wife. He told me that he go to Turkey to bid a contract project on 17th Jun 2018 and asked me to help him on 19th Jun 2018. He said he need to pay the tax to the Turkey government and ask me to transfer GBP$3000. He requested me to transfer the money via Western Union and the account name is Lewis Derek. As there is no bank account number and my bank reject to handle. Then he gave me another account. Its a bank account of Garanti Banksai and the account name is Esosa Irogue (Account Number 909xxxx). Finally i helped him and transfer GBP$3000 to this account. He got the money and keep talking to me afterwards and ask my photo, but I’m feeling uncomfortable after i transferred money to him. so i ask him about the purpose of the money. But i found that its different information from him....i have sent an email to Garanti Banksai today and see if i can stop the money to this account and waiting for the reply.....report the case to FTC

oh my God. same here Yuki... good thing i didnt send money. I have a hint from the time he made those statements like Turkey and contract projects.. God makes way for me to end it. I did not reply to him after i said I am not rich. This is only recent experience.

Hi reading all this.i also want to share my story.i too meet this guy on Facebook name as Ethan fergus live in London he is Swedish guy .he is a marine engineer.wife died due car accident,one child and 69 yrs old mother. We started chatting in 25 may 2018 and started talking like i like u .miss u and love u and then ask me about my home address and told me he is sending gift to me which was expensive watch iPhone macbook jewalery.told to me that he is going to dubai for contract job of 3 weeks and will come to india after 3 weeks.then I got a call for custom clearance they ask me 30000 rs and then they told they found 30000 pounds and ask me to pay penalty which was 85000rs which was not there with available. He told me dnt pay it i will ask my another frnd to pay.however he able to give 50000rs rest i did the payment.but later I got to know they ask me security keeping charges but I didn't pay .he too said that I m coming to india to collect that box and then when he arrived in India I got another call stating that call from Delhi airport and person is carring 40000pounds .and person is detain u need to pay 35000rs and release that person .thank God one of my frnd told me to tell him to contact London embassy.but this guy said I will be in trouble if I call London embassy. Later I got to know this a scammer and he block me in all social media. Please guys please be aware of such scammerperson and also make aware to all ur frnds and relatives.

I am talking to a guy named Gary he is in Amsterdam right now he says he is having trouble with the International Remittance Officer for his plane ticket he said he was sold a used plane ticket hahaha I was probably gullable to believe him huh?? he says his name is Gary Edwards now he wants me to send him some money to help him out he says the lawyer may help him a little hahaha this is a scam isn't it???

A woman her name is Sonnier Alexander wants my bank information to get money to me so she can buy jewelry for her girlfriends. She is after my bank account. Be ware of this. I have been scammed of lots of money I will never give bank account information out to anyone.

Adolf Heller contacted me on Facebook out of the blue. Liked my picture, etc. Says he's a surgeon with WHO and working in Syria with UN. He's 49. I'm 71. He says age is just a number. He can't wait to get back home to D.C. and to meet me. Sends pretty pictures with nice sentiments. Hasn't asked for money, but has asked some personal questions which I refused to answer.

The pics he sends; are they selfies? And if so, is he blonde, Scandinavian looking?

The pics he sends; are they selfies? And if so, is he blonde, Scandinavian looking?

Hi, I've talked to this guy. Some details were different but some very specific things exactly the same. Did he try to get access to your accounts?

My Mom is falling for someone going by the name of Dr. Arthur Myer. He says in Syria with Doctors without Borders and is from Carlsbad, CA. He has sent pictures and poems and now has asked my Mother to marry him as soon as he gets back to the states. He's a widower but has "never been in love like his before"... Blah blah blah.He tells my Mother everything she wants to hear except the answers to any of questions regarding personal info. He ignores her questions but instead sends poems or tells her his hopes and dreams for the two or he may even get defensive at her and say things like: " why don't u trust me? Why do u have such doubt about my live for you..." I see the b.s. but I can't get her to stop answering this guy.
I think she may have given his "Barrister" named Chris from South Africa that works on behalf of Dr. Myer, all her personal info in exchange for money to be wired in her acct. He even video called her bit the audio was so bad they had to hang up. I'm very worried for her. She lost her husband and Mother a few years ago and is vulnerable. His picture shows a middle aged man, says he's 63 but I doubt it, fairly attractive, blonde, big smile, very Scandinavian looking. If anyone has info, please help. Thank you.

It's can be really hard to help someone understand that they are dealing with a scammer. Some victims stop talking to scammers when they realize scammers are criminals, and they use the money they take from victims for criminal activity.

 

Some scammers use people to help them transfer stolen money. They meet someone online, create a relationship, and ask their new sweetheart to use her  bank account to receive and transfer stolen 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.

 

Other scammers send fake checks to their new friends. They ask the friend to deposit the check, and then quickly transfer funds overseas. It can take days for the bank to find out a check is fake. If you transfer money before the bank has fully cleared the check, you can lose money. If the bank finds out the check was fake, but you have already sent the money, you will have to repay the bank all the money you sent. Also, your bank might charge you fees, or close your account.

There's is nothing like scamm I will be paid sooner than later

The guy I've been talking to is on Twitter, Facebook, and IG. My research found he has a modeling and acting career as well. Does print ads and commercials. I'm on all those sites as well. That's how I found the second acct. He says the acct we talk on is that he wants to find someone who cares about him the man. Not his money. I found all his personal stiff just by googling his name. Found YouTube videos as well. I told him I found all this stuff. What you put out on the internet stays on the web plus public records. I can't understand why I keep researching him. Told him cause he lied and I told him upfront liars, thieves and scammers make me sick and should be locked up. Of course he agreed and yes for a long time. Says he's divorced, she cheated, drugs, drunk. Daughter is 18 almost 19 and in college. Lied about his age. His birthday. Even has a picture of his old military ID card. All pictures sent to me the day he was going to Dubai I found on the other acct. Told me a few days before he was leaving in this job had to pick up his boarder pass. I questioned border pass when you only need a passport. Send me a picture of an airline boarding pass. From the other acct. His is 6'3. Beautiful blue eyes. I told him I didn't fit in his lifestyle. Or his world of clubbing. He said that's why he liked me. Confessed his love for me after I confronted about the lies. Said he had to tell me cause it was brothng him down feel in his gut. I laughed.....told him many times I'm on to his games. He's a scammer. I've made this gut mad as HELL.... really wish he was real. But I know better. Said at 1st he lives in San Francisco. Lie as he would ask me what time it was where I lived. He should know the time zones. Said his daughter's name was Cheyenne. Another Lie, but his come back grandmother gave her that name. Her name is Brittany. His name is Billy.
Anyone talking to someone like this? Not giving his last name as if his identity was stolen don't want to destory him.

Out of 7500 Feel like a fool over the course of 6 months. Itunes. Steam cards and wire transfer. My con artist was Alex Rosario. Who knows they probably Change their names. A supposed Sgt. In the army in active war over seas. So mad and hurt

Does this man happen to have 2 kids? Widowed? From Cali?

has anyone had a man named Brian Andreas Lukas,59/60yrs , an architect contact them, says he was from Texas, then living in san fransisco, now doing a contract in Turkey. Divorced, no children.asking for help... just like the above people...

Zoey..... What does this man look like. The one Im currently talking with stated he Lived in San Fransisco. orginaly from FL. He's still asking me for money

CarryA.380- This man is going grey (looks like he was blond), has short hair, what pictures has he sent you? He said he is stuck in Turkey and needs funds to get his materials released.

Im new here and have read all of these stories. Anyone have an experience with a Michael Antonio. From Brooklyn,NY, Spanish accent. Owns Michael Antonio Oil Corporation. Currently in Istanbul, Turkey. Please, please respond if you have anything to add about this man.

Someone so dear to me has been talking and Skyping with this very person. Michael Antonio from Brooklyn NY, CEO of Antonio Oil Corporations and stuck in Turkey on business that keeps dragging out. Company website looks phony and phone number always just a busy signal. Knew exactly all the right things to say to her about her faith and family. Asked for money transfer and money too. Showing copy of a contract etc. Wish we could post pics of these awful people! Good looking guy around 50 well built. Supposedly the CEO of a global company but has to ask my friend for help? Scammer! I’m so angry this happened!

I'm now 2nd guessing myself on if Billy is my nightmare. The one who is sending all the threats. I did make another person on IG angry and called her out on the scam she was running to make a quick buck. send 200 get 2000 back in 4-5 hrs. But to get the 2000 you must send her another 156.00 processing fee. RIGHT. shortly after that was when my paypal was taken for $200.00 nice round figure. Paypal sent this money after leaving me a recorded message they suspect fraud. Ok if you suspect fraud why are you sending with out talking to the actual sender. I have gotten my money back. BUT before she would block me I did manage to get her IG name and the 2 emails she was using. As for couple of days she was messaging me and asking if I got her accounts on Paypal blocked. Seems all the fake names she was using they were blocking them from sending and receiving money. So today I will update the Detective with this info as she claimed to be on the East Coast where the phone number and hangouts messages are from...…. Watch out for those ppl as well

If you spot a scam, please report it to the FTC at FTC.gov/Complaint. The information you give will go 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.

But this guy is still mad cause I won't send him money and said all his accounts get frozen when he travels. Mine don't unless they I don't respond to a message asking If I made a certain transaction. if I don't respond then they are frozen until I get intouch with said account.
Last night after chatting he was wanting to come here to protect me, but guess what he can't buy the ticket. asked me to book the flight and he would repay after he got here. Im no dummy and said told him thanks but that's ok Im not buying the ticket. I have something to protect me on the nightstand.

I happened upon these comments because I guy I’m talking to from Facebook threw out a red flag or 2. He had joined homesteading singles, introduced himself to the group, everyone says hey and welcome including me. Next thing I know he’s waving at me through IM. I’m surprised because even though I’m not fugly, I still don’t get many hits on social media. Honestly I wasn’t on that forum with high expectations either. Ha ha. anyway I accept this guys IM and after a couple of days chatting he says he thinks he likes me. Great. I was curious about his story because he says he’s a single dad with a 15 year old daughter and 5year old that live with him. He was born in Rome his parents died in a car accident his dad was American and mom was Italian. He was raised by his grandma and moved to the US when he was 19 (immediately I asked if he has citizenship and he says yes). He says he’s a contract engineer
And investor. His wife died of cancer 4 years ago. Also happens to have started his FB page less than 4 years ago. Even though he’s Italian with an Italian accent he has a very common American name of David Miller. He currently lives in AZ but visits CA. I’ve been trying to get his middle name because as soon as he contacted me I didn’t mess around. I started background checking him. He told me his children’s names and even sent a picture of his daughter 2xs. He convinced me to message with his daughter on Hangouts. also similar he asked to go to Hangouts app that 1st day. I hesitated because I didn’t know what the hell it was. I had to research it. So I’ve texted both in Hangouts and he and I have spoken through the app but terrible connection so we’ve switched to FB messenger. I’ve tried extract every info I can from him but can’t find him on the web! So the tricky part is he’s said he’s traveled a lot. I asked who cares for the kids and he has a
nanny. He wants to retire so he’s doing this one last engineering job in Kuwait on an oil rig. Now mind you he will not FaceTime me and that bothers me. We tried through th hangouts app but it didn’t work. Also gave him my phone # (I can always change it) and he won’t use it. Insists on staying on hangouts or Facebook. Friends helped me look him up and the one did find his name age bday(they all check out) and his deceased wife’s name along with networth(he’s worth millions) but I can’t find him anywhere else and that bothers me. I’ve asked his daughter questions and unless he’s posing as her,all facts check out with her. But reading all y’all comments, I feel that he’s possibly a scammer because of his professed love since the 2nd day! He says after Kuwait he’s coming to get me. We’ll have a beautiful life together, blah blah. I shouldn’t be confused but the positives and the potential negatives are about equal right now. Luckily he hasn’t asked for $or iTunes cards. But now it looks like I should give it a couple of days once he’s on the rig. Lol

Hi wowojustwow,

Can you describe what he looks like an what his kids look like. I am talking to a guy who also states he is Italian but his mother was American and his dad was Italian both are also deceased.
He is also on a contract job but in Nigeria and once he completes his job he is also coming home to get me.

hi I have been talking to a guy with similar story says his wife died in a car accident left with a teenage daughter, father italian, mother usa, says he is from Massachusetts and is an orthopaedic surgeon

Anyone talk to Richard serving in Syria? Divorced, daughter is dead. Waiting to come home? He has my friend paying $12k to rent a place.

Doctors Without Borders! Mine used this.

Has anyone talked to a man going by Virgil Reed in Dallas, TX? He supposedly is widowed of 20 years with a grown daughter living in Holland, Netherlands. He immediately left the dating site and wanted to communicate via Hangout. His daughter is also messaging me - calling me "Mom" and now I am also Grandma to her 5 year old daughter. Both father and daughter seem to be working together. They are both quite pushy about Dad wanting true love with words from the daughter not to let them down. Many things do not make sense but I have never encountered people like this before

HI Junebug, I think Dad may also be daughter. I live in the Dallas area and that name sounds familiar. They get very pushy when you resist.
My issue someone has gone to the extreme of threats which are being handled by my local PD. Ive given them hangsout chat and in the process of doing the same for IG. I now have another professing his love for me that is widowed or divorced can't remember. Lives in OKC with his young daughter. following over 200 women of all cultures. His stated the hearts knows what the heart wants. Pictures show radiant heaters along the wall. I asked when his house was built. He told me apx 2004. I questioned the heaters as being in RE you don't see houses with those unless it's older and restored and most rehabbers are moving that. Today he says "my love I just can't stop thinking about you and I don't know why" (gag) I know why you want something from and it's not going to happen.

The one I have been talking with for over a month is now down to only $200 in iTunes cards. When I told him you can't use those for minutes and he came back telling me that he knows how to program them to get the minutes. Again I told him NO.. Told him I guess this is the end of us talking etc. He came back with that is up to you and I sent LOL. I am going to take the advice of the Det. and stick to only doing and dealing with Business contacts and promoting my business on FB, Twitter and IG. It's safer and I almost let this stuff take my strength and power a way.

Hi CarryA.380,

Can you describe what the guy you are talking to looks like the one with the daughter. The guy I am talking to also calls me my love and very charming but like you say very pushy.

Anyone know of a Evan or David Johnson? Claiming to be in the airforce, has a son, talks on hangout. I found an instagram page with several pictures and videos claiming to be David Johnson but found a Facebook page with the name Evan Johnson.

I thought all was legit..but I'm now concerned. He says hes a contractor with off shore. oil rig..His phone number is from Santa Maria, Calif. His name is Donald Arsenault. Said was born in Italy..but in US since 5 years old. Has a 13 yr old daughter..wife of 13 years died in childbirth. He got my name on Facebook..but when asked to be a friend..I refused for months..finally decided to as looked on Facebook to see what he was like....it said he was an off ahore contractor. Soon after..he took his profile off.
I sent $25,000 2 months ago as said short cash for more pipes...now saying he didnt know he has $58,000 needed for taxes before contract ends ..then will pay me the total I loan him. I am so ddistressed. I am so embarrassed to say I fell in Love...PLEASE CAN ANYONE HELP ME...Does anyone know this Donald Arsenault. He said ice sold his home and all to get this yeasr long contract.. Tears overflowing

I have spoken to someone sane story but using name of Walter Kleitz

What exactly did Walter tell you
I am talking to a Walter as well

I am currently talking to a lady who lived in Florida and then moved with her grandpa to Michigan. She claims she loves me and I have pictures of her and her daughter and her address but now she claims she needs my credit card information so that she can have her lawyer deposit funds into the account because she claims she is worth 50 million dollars but needs help claiming it. I also have her lawyers number and address so I am conflicted.

If you give someone your credit card number, they can make charges to your account - even if they say they're going to make a deposit.

Also, some scammers promise to pay off credit card balances, and at first they make a payment. Then, they ask their new friend to send a cash advance from the "paid off" credit card account. Unfortunately, after the person sends a cash advance, the scammer reverses the credit card pay-off. In the end, the victim's credit card is not paid off, and he or she has a new  charge for the cash advance.

Hi Michael, I have a similar experience. The person I am talking to wants me to give him access to my credit cards so he can pay them off. I would then get cash advance to have a briefcase delivered to me that will contain $20,000 for his hospital bill. Whst ever you do don't give out your credit or banking information. I never gave this man my credit card information. He was very very angry but you have to protect yourself.

Anyone know Michael Cooper, says he is originally from Greece but his accent does not match. He just left for month long project in Alaska. When I expressed doubt, he sent picture of boarding pass which looked similar to one that I found online. No requests for money but I'm concerned something's not on the level.

from my experiences and observation..seems all scammer use numbers behind their name on email address.. for example : lucky007@ gmail.com or charlesowen869 @gmail.com..These numbers maybe some kind of their operation codes.

Some guy named James Miller requested me on Instagram saying he's a marine engineer out of the United Nations, lives in Los Angeles, he's already saying he's seeking a wife but wants to see if we are compatible. He hasn't asked me for money or anything but reading some of the stories here I think I will block him to be safe.

omg... i think i have the same guy.. i am seeing a pattern here. same as what this guy is doing to me now.
*moneygram
*walmart
*opening a new bank account
*wire transfers
*love bombs (with a car, a house, a RING??)
*promises
uuurrggghh!!

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