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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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I have a similar Adventure, he was shipping out to Syria with a company that was hired by the Militaryto help because of the unrest. Well I met him before he left, so within 8 hrs he was from NY in Syria good timing. So iphe was totally in love Inwas to be his Sister his Mother and his Wife, he was from the Picture, we all know it wasn’t the red blooded American because when he called he had an Accent which came from becaause he was born in Spain. Oh he sounded like Antonio Bandersa, and he was in love with me, and after a few day he hummed around until I ask what is it, oh can I please be his wife, I thing in less then a week. Well we went along and I ask if it was possible to meet him when they got back in August, we’ll afew Days later he called and said that he was flying out to be with me. And the tithe three month he has left he can pay the company to let him get out of his contract, well I got the get the iTunes for 200. I asked him why, well for whatever, I got only a 50 $ ok. So I get a call the the Chinese Police got him at the Border because he didn’t have the correct paper work. Now mind you , Syria Is llike surrounded by Turkey a far way from China like about 3000 Miles. Ok well I’m sorry can’t do that. Then he said he being jailed, had somebody call me tpsaying that this was the Chinese police and I need to send 4700.00 to get to pay for the papers. I ask them lot let me talk to him well they couldn’t do that. So he called crying that he is cold and. Outdoor I please send the money. I told no way. And have a good live in.china and he should learn the languages.

I have another one , he is on a Rig. I met him on Instagram , he didn’t know how he coiuld pass such beautiful person like me. Well as it goes in a few days I got the best and nicest love letter, some rhymed some didn’t. I recognized some from a book. Oh we where somin love and missed each other. Texted hrs at a time, when I got after a few weeks ok how can we be so much in love as couples tharpts been together month and years, well I ask for an address why, I don’t know pictures dumm too. But I got an ID Card from the Exxon company and his name Kelvin Smith the picture welding Manager, I thought hey that is real. Knowing in the back of my mind being from upNoryh and having an Louisiana drawl. He didn’t ask for anything wehere two happy people going to get together as soon as he gets vacation . Well give me a time span, well he couldn’t. So after all that therecwhere little sign very small. Mostly on the texting oh but he was good. Well today I get the text he could pay of the company to get an early out if he pays them 2000,00 , ok that’s when I blew my stack. And he tried to put it on me that I don’t mean all the love because I don’t help him so he c an be in my arms and we will be together forever. Oh well , he is not letting loose that quick, but I never seen anybody get blood out of a turnip yet, ladies, when they call you Wife in the first few weeks. Run as fast as you can . Or be like me, wishing he would Change hoping, but knowing better.
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I know I'm being scammed but keep talking to Murphy Miller, widowed (wife passed of cancer) has daughter 16, named Kathy. Fell in love immediately, very smooth, says he wants to marry me and is buying us a home in Miami. Trying to con the conner, he wants security boxes sent to me from UK, claims he cannot get to them, he says he's an engineer working a contract in LA but from New Zealand with heavy Spanish accent. I want to turn him in, I want to stop him from doing this to others, Any Advice PLEASE?!?!?

Just want to know if the name FrankMike head surgeon in Syria rings a bell with anyone. He's scared to death and wants out. Asked me to contact to the UN and tell them we are supposed to get married so he can be released immediately. His son is in boarding school in Atlanta. His wife died in child birth and his parents died in a car accident when he was in college. Very good looking and claims he only wants to be with me. Contacted me through Instagram.

This guy by the name of Miller Smith Jay sent me a friend request via Facebook, I accepted the request. Here's his story "His wife passed away some years ago, has a 14 year old son named Leo who's in boarding school in the UK. He claims to be a doctor in the army currently stationed at Damacus, Syria
He asked me to go to "HANGOUTS " to chat with him. I started chatting with him around August 1st, he claims I'm his soulmate, wants to marry me, texts a lot of sweet words that would make your heart melt. He has asked for ITUNE gift cards in the amounts of $200, $100, $50 and finally $25. I got him one for $25, and told him not to ask me for money or anymore ITUNE gift cards.
Now he wants me to send an email to United Nations Bank using this email address Bankamericacharlotte1990 @gmail. com Stating I am his wife and beneficiary of his fund and what can I do get my husband funds. I believe he's a scammer.
How can you want to marry someone you have never met in person. I will block him.

Yep ..but called himself mark William's n had a daught that needed help.. he was in the UN in Iraq a doctor got me for 16000

My aunt has been talking to a guy by the name of Dwayne White or Potter & so far she has send him $5600! I am so worried because she is not in her right state of mind & she won't listen to anyone that he's a scammer! He's supposed to be a sergeant in the army with no family & him mother just died...I'm trying to show my aunt proof that he is not who he says he is but I haven't had solid evidence yet! Someone Please Help!!!

You could show your aunt this article from the Army Criminal Investigation Command about scammers who pretend to be soldiers. The first warning is: Don't send money!

The Army warning lists certain claims the fake soldiers will make, and tells you what is really true for soldiers.

The Army article also has links to fake documents the scammers use.

I am also chatting with a guy in Turkey, his name is Jackson Mcgrew. He is on a oil rig in the Turkey's dessert too. He gave me his bank account specifications to login. He wants me to transfer money to another account. I am really wundering if this is a scammer. Does this sounds familair to anyone?

Some scammers use people to help them transfer stolen money. They don't reveal that the money is stolen - they tell a story to cover up what they are doing. They meet someone on line and ask their new sweetheart to use her own account or to make transfers.

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.

Some guy named Brian L Andreas, single/divorced man, no children, saying his wife of 25 years cheated on him with his best friend, says has no family, about 58 claiming to be doing a 8 week job in Turkey. He said he was living in San Fransisco since november 2017, but lived in Texas before and is an architect and tendered for work. Flew off to Turkey. On arriving in Turkey he said he would be preparing the work site while he was waiting for his materials from China. First he needs extra money to pay insurance and he is short of funds to get them to Turkey and is not able to complete his assignment, then calls asking for money to pay customs to release his materials and the latest thing is that he needs $ 5 500 for transport from customs to the site for the materials. Has anyone else been asked the same thing, get calls on hangout,get generic poems, telling how much he loves them, that they are his wife, his one and only. the list goes on. He was supposed to have gone back to USA but is still in Turkey waiting to be paid then he can or will pay you back, so he is Currently in Istanbul, Turkey. Please, please respond if anyone has anything to add about this man.

gameover007, this is the same person the a Dee44 is referring to in July and yourself, everyone needs to join together and get this man caught. is there no way that this can be done. BRIAN ANDREAS LUKAS 60 years of age. says he is an architect... same story, i wonder if everyone has the same email address and pictures of him?

I've been talking to the same guy since March except he has asked for much larger dollar amounts than what you're reporting. Said he was living in Westwood La before going off to Turkey but is still in Turkey. He's pretty good at crying as well.

Any one know robert paheco or bauer or alot of alias name and kelvin benson jones they used me

Has anyone heard of a guy name James Patrick Baker. He claims he's in Afghanistan emailed me from POF
Been talking to him for almost a month now after 3 days he says he loves me and then a week later he asks me to send a money. When I told him no we talked for another week I haven't heard from him in 2 days now

I am dealing with a man right now using same name. He has me light into his bank account yesterday to do an instant transfer to his Daughter's "nanny ". I was worried but when I logged in had his photo plus when I would need a code it would send to email and he would text it to me. Which got me in. He couldn't get an internet connected at the time. The phone service was very weak at the time. He had a very large balance
I felt maybe I was being groomed but I played along. The transaction failed at the end because the final transaction code he sent didn't work. Today he is asking me to send this woman money and he will pay me back. Not happening
I do have photos if you could somehow compare

I had very similar incidents on Words with Friends. One guy named Patrick Woods had a very attractive photo of him with a young daughter (wish I knew about the photo lookup). Said his wife died of cancer and he has two daughters 19 and 6 years old. Works on an oil rig and is currently in Sweden. His oldest daughter goes to school in Canada and hasn't eaten for days because he doesn't have money to send. Asked me to send money through Western Union to her "friend" in Toronto, even though he told me she went to school elsewhere in Canada. I guess he forgot that part. When I saw that the wanted it to go to a friend, I balked and then told him I couldn't do it. Blocked his number. I have also been contacted by other men through chat who all seem to be petrochemical or drilling engineers with poor English grammar.
Another user, James Baldwin, was very aggressive. Wanted me to go to hangout right away. Told him I was too busy to chat (wasn't really, just got a bad vibe). He insisted on knowing exactly when I would be free to chat, in how many hours would my chores be done. I ended games with him. He tried starting a new game and I have now blocked him.
Another Have since blocked all of them. Will always ask at the start if they a. work on an oil rig b. have kids or c. have a wife/child that died of cancer or in a car accident. Glad I trusted my gut and have now seen that this scam is prevalent. Thankful I wasn't taken in.

I got pretty much the same story from Patrick Woods. His oldest daughter is in school in Canada and the youngest daughter in with a Nanny. He told me his oldest daughter was 25 and then he forgot and all of the sudden she is 20. He wants money to eat because he is now stuck in Nigeria. He promises to pay back double. Haha. He doesn't remember his own lies. He has an African accent. Beware of this person ladies.

Stay away from a scammer calling himself Chris McCollins states he is a Jamican was born in US. He claimed to own EAD construction company. He was on POF saying he was a contractor living in Laurel, Maryland. He had several pizzas, drinks, flowers and clothes delivered to a place of business (not mines). He immediately start talking about getting married and was calling me his wife and how God ordained this union and planned to come see me soon but at the last minute received a multimillion dollar contract to build s shopping mall. He stated his meeting was in New York then Germany lastly to Ukraine. While in Ukraine he claims to have struck Gold in small quantities that added up to being close to a million dollars but was waiting for special papers to come from Kiev. After about a week later he calls me saying that he was cleared to have gold but he had to pay taxes to government of $78,000. Of course, he swapped his card and it didn’t go through- LOL! he asked if I could just send him $6,000 but he needed: bank name, my name on card, account number, exp. date, 3 digit on back of card, my online user name, PW, secure question and answer. He asked for clothes and shoes to be sent;then iPhone 10 so he could give to the new foreman and now has asked for $6,000. This fool told me he would payoff my credit card debit but I need to tex him all of my personal information. This one was a Hoot. He was really pissed at me when I asked for his information and Refused to give up my personal information. He started telling me what was wrong with me and ALL black women. BLOCKED

My uncle been talking to this girl she claims her father has work in Nigeria and was Murdered. Now She is waiting for ingredients money but needs to pay it off then her and my uncle will move to Florida and live happy ever after, well she send my uncle tons of money then my uncle has to send it to a wired account apparently she is in Nigeria but the money comes from other states she has never video called him never talk on the phone just showed my uncle pictures she goes by the name of grace downey frazer and even had a fake lawyer letter send to him that he will get all the inheritance money once the taxes are paid her number is 234 area code so it’s a Nigeria code but the money is coming from other states in us and they only talk on what’s app I think this is a scam that involves money being transferred to a account idk but her name is grace downey frazer from north Carolina in Nigeria claiming inheritance from her late father if anyone has heard a story like this reply

Mark Donald Switzerland work shell North Sea he is engineer. Don in boarding school in New York. Asked for money for son than I tune cards than money to fly home. Told him I had none he had his friend wire me the money than I sent to airport in Ghana. Haven’t heart from him in 24 hours called me wife queen darlin said he loved me I question him about scammers asked if he was one showed h all his photos on line I believe him and I trusted him. He did gets I tune cards. I now feel like a fool really know what to believe

I'm talking to a guy with a very close name, goes by Mark Donald Brown on Hangouts. Says he has a son that a church lady takes care of a wants money for a birthday present. He uses these same words and also Cherish alot. Can you describe what he looks like? This one is Medium build, dresses in suit alot, some in different clothing very handsome blue eyes. Very beautiful smile and in his 40's he says.

Ladies does anyone heard of BrianPeterGood he claims he’s in Syria I been talking to him since mother’s day. He said he went to a mission before getting retired but got hit by the bad guys he’s in the hospital and he send me a package with he’s retirement papers and some money but in order for me to get the package I have to pay 58000 now he’ told me he’s finally coming home to meet me and my kids along with he’s 12 year old daughter but he’s now asking me to pay for he’s fly ticket he needs 5800 to come to m. I’m confused.

This sounds like a scam to get your money. Some scammers say they're sending packages full of money - but they say you have to pay taxes or fees to get the money. Some scammers say they will come to see you - but you must buy them a ticket. It's not a good idea to send money to someone you met online, or pay to receive this box of "retirement papers."

I have been in touch with a good looking guy called a Robert ciro Green he wanted to talk on hangout. .said he was oil rig worker with a daughter called a lander he soon asked me for money ,he said he was Italian but when he spoke to me on hangout he sounded Nigerian iv since blocked him.

My sister is falling for the same trick I think. Can you share his picture? I have this guys picture.

This just happened. He goes by Michael Andrew. User name Cardealer124. pretends to own car dealership. In Detroit. C & m auto sales. Pretends to have daughter 15 Ella in boarding school. Wife died 2 years ago. Wants to talk on what’s app. Now says going to China for Work. Lies about everything said he is 55. Said was born in Spain moved to Michigan st age 15. AccidentLly called me drunk left message for someone else. He is a big scammer. I did report him. His call number is computer of course 313. 326 2736. Good luck. I have reported him.

Dealt with a women named Helen (very pretty picture). She said she was from Nice France and lived in Flint. One day after talking to me she went on vacation for several days. Guess what she needed to get back home? You guessed it chester. Money! I laughed and told her I need to talk to my Nigerian Prince to see if he has any cash laying around.

Same idea wife died of cancer 6 yrs ago sons in boarding school 14 yrs old its his bday needs money for son cause hes on an oil Rig in Spain but lives in Texas. Going to take care of me wants me to talk to his son...This scammers name is Jimmy Justice

Has anyone heard of a nicholas or Lucas Aubrey. Widowed. Young daughter. Needed money for oil rig tools. I called him on it when he asked for $2000. And of course I didnt send. Too suspicious.

Hi,
Yes, he is in connection with me 2 and a half month now. Did not ask any money yet, but i am willing to get all his details for a money transfer and after report him :)

I have several I believe are scammers.
Donald Burk
Prince faza
Frank Williams
And Steven Jones.
Anyone else heard of these guys?

Yes Frank Williams.He has two e-mails.Frankhernandez0093 and Franklinhernandez4081 .He is calling himself sergeant,unit E 7,serving in Burbank,California .Computerengineer.

says his name is colonel ryan williams, wife died 5 years ago in a car accident and his two sons are in a boarding school in san antonio tx. used a fake number from free text to see if he would actually contact me, and yes he did. also gave him an email address that is being closed down to see if he would write me and of course he has. has not asked for money but the hard sell for a relationship and for me to delete my dating app account was asked right off the bat. and yes i have receive a load of pictures already, and something clicked. i have seen these pictures some else i just can't figure it out yet. so needless to say everything is being deleted so he can not contact me.

Looking for a possible scammer who goes by the Name Mary Luceros.

I found this website and would like to make the long story short...he found me from FB we messenging each other for few weeks then he travelled to Malaysia for mining gold sh sh.. (he told me to keep this a secret because it will involve millions). His plan was to move to Toronto with me and will buy a big house for us. While he was in Malaysia he needs $5000 to pay for the mining company to get his raw gold back to US to sell to the gold company to get appx 1 million profit. He told me that his first wife died bc of cancer. His second wife cheated on him to get lots of money from his big account blah blah. First I believed what he said and was tempted to help him however I remembered reading something about scammer asking for money then I said NO to him. Thanks all the people that share their experiences on media so that save me $5,000 this time.

My guys name is Raymond Mario George 54 working on an oil rig as well. Asked for itunes cards immediately and then was so madly in love with me he had to see asap. Wanted me to email a friend to take his place on the oil rig just so he could spend a 2 week vacation with me. He told me to email his friend Luke Green to make arrangements to replace him so we could be together. But here's the catch, now Luke has a child that just got of the hospital and he cannot take Raymonds place until I send 1450.00 to Luke Green. Raymond even gave Lucks email address. Kind of funny! The other catch was Raymonds daughter who just turned 15 had a birthday coming, wanted me to send money, a iphone, or a new laptop. Oh and the gave me Mandy's email address. So hilarious! Don't do it ladies!!! I do have Raymonds pictures, but what's really funny is when he sent the last picture, his oil rig hard hat had a name on it. It wasn't Raymond either. I have also done background checks and reverse images on goggle images.

Similar story: Chris Nicholas from Miami Florida. Says he’s in design & construction. All photos are of a tall blonde man with graying beard & bright blue eyes. Claims to be German also. 3 days of texting & he gets a contact in Turkey & asks for $200 in Amazon gift cards so he can download videos & music for his work presentation. I called him out on being a scammer and he got really irate. Then he offered to buy me a new iPhone & a car to makeup for getting upset. I did do a reverse photo search and didn’t come up with anything. I did a reverse phone number lookup & is came from a Melissa Na from palm Beach, Florida (the other side of the state). So I blocked him and reported to the website that we met.

Someone can help me if there is possible to track down someone where is really located (well this person claim was in Russia), I have pictures. I felt in love deeply, he contacted me through IG, is there a way through pictures to find out who he really is, and run a background check on him, I think when I could not lersued anymore his financial requirements, He said he was in a hospital due to an accident, and the doctor took over his Chat on IG saying that he passed away. I already sent him within 6 weeks iTunes cards, amazon cards, and btc’s. He also got my access to online account and was able to deposit through his friends supposdly checks that when I got a copy from the bank looks very fake, my heart is broken I still love him deeply, but would like to find out who he really is, he respond under the name of Carlos Bush from Russia. Any feedback will be very appreciated.

If you give someone your bank account number, they can deposit checks and transfer money through your account. They might be transfering stolen money.

If you help a scammer, your name is on the bank account and is connected to the money transfers. You could lose money and personal information, and you could get into legal trouble.

 

What if you have them your account information is there anyway to fix it?

Hello All, including Bidget Small from FTC, I have lost over 200 000 dollars by beeing scammed. I did lodge a complaint (I have the number) to FTC in January 2018 and no one contacted me. So.. Sorry: Bridget Small right spelling

Thank you for reporting your experience to the FTC. The information you provided was added to a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations.

If you gave your email address when you made your report, you should have received an automatic email response to say we received your report. FTC staff don't make personal phone calls to tell people that we received their reports. If the FTC staff need to talk to you, an investigator might contact you.

A friend of mine has been on & off chatting to a man that says his name is Abraham Ab. He is supposed to be from Oslo, she has already sent him money ( a supposed loan) but has not paid her anything back. I believe he is a scammer. His photo, I feel, does not fit his voice. I am worried for my friend as she is very vulnerable. She's loaned him thousands of pounds. His stories are ridiculous but she thinks he is genuine. What can we do for her?

You could show her the information in this blog and the comments other people have submitted about their experiences.

Read more about warning signs online dating scams.

Scott Randy, met on Tinder, Italian American global contractor working in Turkey. I was the love of his life and he was coming home in less than two weeks. Then there was a construction accident...worker killed. Exhausted all his money paying taxes and funeral expenses. Wanted me to send 1500 to help pay the workers or his passport home would be seized. Were texting via hangouts. Blocked him and deleted conversations.

Met someone on Tinder named Richard Williams.He was really sweet told me his parents died in a car accident and knew a lot about Houston. He said he was an independent contractor that had to go to Dubai to do work. I believed him. A couple weeks later he said someone robbed him and took all of his money could I send him 350. I told him that I never met him and didnt feel comfortable doing that.He got mad and told me he doesnt need to scam me, he give 350 to charities. We may be talking about the same guy, he's just changing up his professions and locations.He seemed so real though.

I believe I'm being scammed by someone named Kelvin Blas... I can't find him when I do image search, but stories are a bit similar.

Can you give details of this Kelvin’s story? A friend is also talking to a Kelvin and we believe she is being scammed.

I also have been in contact with someone names Kelvin I believe is scamming me. Do you have any more information?

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