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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 had several men “chat” with me in Words With Friends. They all say they are from the US but are currently working out if the country (Brazil, Poland, Norway and on oil rigs in Alaska) Two are supposedly widowers with a teenage daughter and only one as asked for an iTunes gift card. I don’t trust any of them and have started blocking them. This is a scrabble game....not a dating app!!

I have had a few men in the last week contact me on words with friends. Anyone hear of a man named Scott Moline? He is from Spain but lives and works in Atlantic City. Overseas in Scotland on a contracting job.

I have been talking to a man who calls himself Smith Anderson. He found me on instagram. He said he lived in Scottsdale , AZ. His mother is Spanish and his father was from Scottsdale. Very muscular, attractive and personable guy. He has sent me lots of pictures, but won't video chat because he says the oil rig doesn't have wifi on an ethernet connection. He went to Turkey to work on an oil rig. After a while he asked me to send money to pay off debts so he could come back to the states, $2300.00. I sent what I could . Stupid I know! I wanted to believe so much. The money I sent wasn't enough and he needed more which I refused to send. He got nasty saying he quit his job because of me. Now he says he needs $2300 to come see me for Christmas. I'm not sending it because I don't have it. Feeling embarrassed and sad because I fell for this.

Girl..he's probably the same one I met on Tinder. What site did you meet him?

He messaged me on Instagram and then wanted to switch over to an app called LINE.

Why do all these guys work on oil rigs?

Latest story is that there was a fight on the rig and the scammer was injured and now in the hospital. Crazy stories.

So I have a question for all of you is there any way we can do anything about these scammers? Has anyone filed a report with the FBI or anything like that?

I filed a report online on the FBI site. This is ridiculous and all these scammers seem to be in CA.

anybody have a run in with an Eric in Turkey, contractor on pipeline? Guess I have been stupid...was trusting. never did an on-line dating, then tried Mates1...he is also on Hangouts. would love feedback if he is familiar to anyone.

Trust me it is a scam. What name is he using on Hangouts? Does he have dark hair, brown eyes, very handsome?

he uses his real name as far as I know...nice looking but greyish eyes, nice smile, greying light brown hair. saying he is in a removal detention at airport at moment

The guy I was talking to is Justin Anderson Boardman. He says he is from Indianapolis and is Army police and stationed in Afganistan. No family, wife died 4 years ago. Says he was born in the US and moved to Spain for most of his life which is why his English is so bad! His Drivers License said State of Indianapolis which obviously incorrect as it is the State of Indiana! The drivers license is signed by a Debra someone and the address is fake! He then sent me his Military ID which looked legit however it was in the name of Justin Anderson and his “supposed” last name was left off! I had it checked and it’s fake. I also messaged a Military
Romance Scam Page on Facebook and they said they have lots of complaints against him too! I only lost $50 thank goodness!!! Ladies don’t fall for these guys, they are slick and know what to say to make you feel special. If it feels like something it’s off listen to your intuition!!!

morgan sidney anyone?

Guy-Michael; 41yrs old; 6' tall; sandy colored hair; looks like JFK jr.
work- 10 yrs navy in military based in Qatar soon to be deported to Afghan. Never married.
We met on CMBagel and hit it off; logged out of CMB very quickly and used Skype. We are like soul mates, 100% match in every details of mind and soul. Claim he wanted to come home to see me , start a family and was very eager to find a replacement for him in exchange for his return and break the contract for his work. The replacement is from Turkey and he required 80k, but 30k down payment is needed. He only has 20k and wanted me to help him with 10k. I denied any funds soon after finding this website with the same stories. I'm grateful to find this support group.

Girl...it is a scam. Believe what you are reading. It's got to be a group of them. I don't even think they are real doctors or orthopedics. If so, they wouldn't beg for cards.

Sounds like the same guy I talked to. He looked like JFK jr. sort of too. Ortho surgeon and I his real name is Andrew James Baldwin from California. Fake identity names scott mcgregor and William Marks are a few.I think he has several names he goes by.

Does any one know Dr. Willy Williams? A orthopedic Dr serving in Damascus military hospital. Says he is from Germany, has 17 year old daughter attending boarding school in Dubai. Says he is wealthy. An only child. Has not asked for money, but is pressuring me to connect on Hangouts. Professed his love..shortly after we met.

Has anyone been scammed by a Robert Jim or James martian.my friend has betscamed out of over fifty thousand dollars lost her homy

okay so i was on tender singles and this girl that goes by the name of jenny donald starts messaging on the site and quickly requests that i download hangouts app. so i continue talking to her on there and about 10 messages in shes like a i need a huge favor i need you to open a credit union bank account i need to collect my pay. so i asked her where are you from shes says originally from utah united states but shes currently in west Africa working with UNICEF says shes been in west africa for seven months. she kept asking me to open the account i never did. so i asked for a photo of here where she is right now sends me a previously taken phote which was blurry as hell. sent me a couple more still blurry. so then i asked her to video call on the app she did but connection was really bad it looked like her in the photes but still didnt trust her. she then started asking me to get her i tunes gift cards for $100USD saying she needs it to activate her iphone sends me a picture of her screen and its writing in the notes app. she continued talking to me and quicly starts confessing her love for me BS. so i started playing along. after about a week of talking she asked me to send her $1200 for a plan ticket and i said NO. she got pissed lmao. so continued talking trying to waste as much of this scammers time as possible 3 weeks latter still talking to me lol. she then asked for $500 itunes gift. first it was a $100 now 3weeks latter its $500 lmao. she then says i wish my parents were alive to see me happy bs. now going on to a month i stopped messaging her for 3 days she got really upset i was dying with laughter. shes like what did i do to im like youdid nothing to me all you did was waste a month of your pathetic life trying to scam people

I have been reading these posts. I want to share my story to help others. First, I have been scammed twice, both began on online dating sites. Before I start, let me say I have never sent money to anybody. If my story helps put an end to at least one scammer, wonderful.
My first scammer impersonated a U.S. soldier deployed in Afghanistan. He quickly wanted to continue taking on Hangouts. He is the name Greg Martin, Master Sgt. at the beginning he did not ask for money, but hinted that he could use an ITunes card, or phone. We never ate dia phoe, only Texts and he had a gmail account. He old never give me his military ID. Said he was divorced with a 14 year old son living in Phila. Pa. With his mom. He also cla o be from a Colombian father & mom from No. Carolina. He gave a phony high school, could not give credible stor about how his parents met, etc. eventually his stories got very dramatic, saying he had some gold bars to send me. I refused. When confronted with all the fantasy, he acted hurt. I ended it by telling him I had recorded everything and filed a complaint. I did, with FTC. The picture of the soldier had 0 results when I did reverse image search.
My second scammer was really slick & more intelligent. This one had a cell phone: 443) 438-8307 and email. Also lots of pictures. This one said he was a engineer, half Turkish, half British, a 24 year old daughter. He said he was 58. Daughter lives in London. We got along very well. In 6 mos. asked for money 3x. Since he said he was working on a sub, his money was not accessible. The first time he asked for money for his daughter’s field trip. Said he had forgotten to make prior arrangements. His “financier” could be contacted, and I could “lend” him the money, until his funds could be released. Needed about $850. I refused & gave him ideas on how to resolve this. I ignored him for about 4 days, then he texted me and apologized. I never did find out how he resolved that. The weeks went by & we got closer. He sounded like an older man, nice voice, always respectful & very intuitive. Let me say that I was the one who didn’t want to do FaceTime because of my own reservations. He never refused to do it, just me. Well, the 2nd time he asked for money was he needed about $1500 because he had some oil rigging parts being stored in Shanghai & it was raining daily & getting ruined. I even checked weather reports for Shanghai & you guessed it! Raining every day. My refusal then led to him suffering a $50,000 loss as the parts got ruined. Anyway, the 3rd and final time was when he was finally finishing this work assignment, retiring to his home in Maryland. But guess what? He needed airplane ticket from Georgia where they were docking to Baltimore Md. when I told him Spirit airlines wanted $240, he said he could reimburse me once on land as he could access his funds, but his “agent” made all the arrangements & it would be $485. I refused, and as I write this, he claims he is in Georgia, stranded. When I finally agreed to FaceTime, his phone number nor his email was not available. Surprise, surprise. I wish I could find the real guys in the picture to tell them their pictures are being used. The soldier I pray is a living soldier. Never send money, and if you string them along, you will catch their lies. The pictures used by my 2nd scammer also were negative when I did a reverse image search. Good luck out there!

I'm one that isn't what u would say a hottie so when I was on a dating site and I came across this girl's picture that text message her that messaged me and she was absolutely gorgeous I fell head-over-heels very quickly. The issue now is that it didn't take very long but she wanted me to start sending her money. She claimed that she had no money and that she needed money for personal hygiene products she even sent me pictures to prove it. Overtime I started thinking that we were really together and that she really wanted to be with me we even talked about marriage I came across this article and it broke my heart. I started looking at what she was doing what she was saying the excuses she was giving I started to realize that it was probably just a big scam she asked me to deposit a money transfer into my account because she said that she had lost her ID couldn't open her own bank account and when I accept the transfer my account immediately got shut down because it was for fraud. This was apparently all a big mistake and I fell for it and I continue to talk to her and continue to try and help her out cuz I thought we were going to be a family we're going to get married and be together forever. She used the fact that I'm not able to find anyone and no one wants to be with me against me in order to achieve financial gain. I want to spend my time now wanting people and trying to help them to avoid the heartache financial problems and headache I'm having to go through this type of situation.

A guy named Scott Good contacted me. He said he got my name from an online dating site. I never put my name on a dating site. Of course he said there was something about me. He kept contacting me getting more and more romantic. Then he began calling me. Has a very thick accent. He said he's from England. Open up a checking account so he could put his pay in. That sent off questions in my head but I stupidly caved in. Then yesterday he texted me saying he's going on a mission. (He is in Afghanistan) Then I get an email from a priest saying that he found this unit. 3 were dead, 2 wounded. One of the wounded died on the way. Scott suffered multiple injuries and is in surgery. He said the surgeon will contact me which he did. Informed me that he survived surgery but will need more and I need to sign a consent form. I started to get a little suspicious. When he sent the form it was from the Afghanistan department of public health. Wouldnt he be in an Army hospital? I'm just very leery of this

Someone I met on a dating site called Ferdinand Donavan. Says he works on a station drilling off the Italian coast. Asked for $1000 for his sister's tuition. Insanely good looking. Professed his love for me. Says his mom lives in Boston and brother lives in Australia. Is there a way to search for photos off this site?

I kmow for a fact anyone who is drilling or on a oil rig makes a good amount of money. They wouldn't need financial help.

QUESTION...My 80 year old Mom who has been talking to RAYMOND SMITH on Facebook messenger and has been sending money for his disasters on the oil rig. Well NOW they are telling her that his daughter Cindy who was in a moped accident is going to fly out with her nanny in January and come live with my Mom until Raymond comes in February. What are they UP TO? Credit card info, or flights? Or worse, what if imposters come and who knows kidnap my Mom. I have made a police report in November I have gone to the FBI, and ALL the banks are calling the police when she tries to wire money. But NOTHING seems to work to STOP my Mom. Any thoughts on WHAT they are up to?

Scammers often want money or personal information that they can use to get money or commit identity theft. They might ask someone to send money, or cash a fake check, or share their credit card number. They might ask someone to send a copy of their driver's license or passport or other ID documents.

Well I’ve been blessed by a million messages from Channing Tatum ! Not really. They claim to be even though I straight out told them their text are in broken English. Tried to get me to buy a 500.00 VIP ticket which entitles me to be part of his vodka business. Oh it gets better. He also wanted me to pay for it Via Walmart to Walmart transfer lol. And he loved me and wanted to meet me. I know, an opportunity of a life time but I passed. These people are crazy!

2 names to watch out for. Both looking for financial assistance. Both played the romance game. Both dropped the messaging when I said absolutely not. 1. Lou's Graham from NYC. Supposedly a custodial father of two young children. Supposedly financially successful. Supposedly a business deal in Canada that went wrong. Asked for $25k. He even asked me to take a loan against my retirement..lol.. Then tried hacking into my Google accounts.
2. Ed Sterling from Westport CT. Same deal.. romance, kind etc. Needed $25k ( must be the magic number) to save his quarry in South Africa..yeah..not..lol... Be careful out there ladies.

My sister in law (62) in Regina, was scammed out of her car and motorcycle by a person identified as Tony Matteo, supposedly from Italy, currently from Las Vegas and working on rigs in North Dakota. She is heartbroken and believed this person was going to Marry her and build their dreamhome in Hawaii!
So cruel!

Woman on Instagram wants t know what phone carrier I have and bank I use. Attractive girl. Wants me to be a State picker? Any info would be good..

I’ve met at least 6 of them, usually claim to work overseas and have one child. Wife apparently has died of some cancer...a lot claim to be military. So over it.

I’ve been chatting to a guy for about 15 months says he’s a doctor on a sailor ship in Australia sea. Firstly asked for iTunes cards £100 then started asking for £200-300 pounds to send to adopted son aged 12 who is on school trip to Ghana. Then son was involved in accident could I send money for his treatment. Then he wanted out of his contract could I send money to get him out. He always wanted the money sent to Africa!! I did sometimes think it must be a scam but I fell in live with him. He promised me he would pay me back when he got home but there was always a reason why he couldn’t leave the ship. Now he’s supposed to be home in New York and I haven’t heard a word from him. His pictures are on Facebook under 2 different names to the one I knew him by. What a fool I’ve been

I met this guy on dating wed site. his name is Michael Cunningham, has a dual citizenship of Irish and American ,63 years old officially retired 2 years ago.Lost his wife to cancer in 2014. has a son daughter in law 2 grandsons in Perth Australia.Have a business Administrtion in Ireland . Currently has a contract with TANAP in Cyprus.

I think my mom is being scammed by this guy says he is coming to marry her . Send poems everyday always wants her to do something. Bank account transfers etc. did have a problem with one of her accounts since talking to him. I can’t get her to listen she believes he is for real her soul mate etc

omg my friend just met this same guy Michael Cunningham on a dating web site called Our Time with the same story as yours. Just wanting to get more information on him. I think she is being scammed. please contact me on facebook if you get this message....doris burns peterson

I believe my mother is caught up in a scam and has sent a man by the name of Wilson Johnson who supposedly is working with dr beyond borders in Syria and needs money to get out of his contract. First thing is they don’t have a contract and second she is supposedly sending the money to his lawyer wife. She thinks she is in love and has given this man her entire retirement and wants to send him more but I told her I was giving her nothing. I had to start rationing out her money. He made her flat broke in 2 weeks. Anyone else experience this from the same man?

I did not sent any money but I was told same thing only problem was I didn’t ever fall for this idiot nor I gain respect either so when he started I offer to call law on him and blocked.

Anyone knows a Daniel Charles

Has anyone heard of Murphy Graham. 55-years-old. Contractor for oil rigs. Been corresponding with him and yes, I did send money and now he has gone off to greener pastures. From New York.

I have been talking to a Robin Taylor. Supposedly is a photojournalist. Met on POF. Found his pics on other photojournalist’s sites. Still waiting on him to send me a selfie with the date and time.....hahahaha!

Is it possible for one scammer to use several aliases to target the same female? My friend is talking to a couple of these guys. When one has an excuse for not flying in to visit, the other one will start chatting her up again. Then he has an excuse and the game starts again.

My 85 year old Mother has sent approximatley $40,000 to $50,000 to her online romance scammer. I want to be appointed her legal guardian to manage her financial affairs before she loses all her finance. She is not financially wealthy. She refuses to believe hat she is being scammed. She is up late at night and seems to be disoriented at times but she is sleep deprived. It's so sad and I need to help to stop her from losing everything. Please help me . What can I do. I don't want to take this to court and humiliate her but this has been going on for over 2 years and it must be stopped. . Does anyone have any advice they can share?

My story is a little different from the ones I'm reading. But still has a few similarities. A guy named nick krull from Seattle started talking to me on fb then asked me to go to hang outs. I was curious started doing some investigating. He does have his real profiles with real friends but lives in Sydney Australia. Said he was working for a modeling company in Seattle part time. Said he was in the army when he was younger. He was a travel writer and he let his friend who was deployed pit a lump some of money in his account and the army locked his account. He asked for money until it got resolved. Asked for my bank info and i sent it instantly the check being sent got rejected for being a fake check. My bank automatically shut down my account. He told me he wasn't apart of what was going on his banker must have done it. He was still talking to me telling me he lived in Seattle in a penthouse. Posted pics of going to a wedding and tagged that person in the pics. I have proof hes been lying to me this whole time. I doubt I will get any of the money back I sent. I hope this will help someone if he is doing this to them to. It's totally not right to preyed upon by these scammers.

I was one of the victims too.. there was this man Named Mack Lanza his e-mail add. lanzamck@ yahoo. com at first he was sending me various of sweet emails showing his interest that he wants to be with me and meet my parents. he told me he saw my pictures on Facebook and fall inlove and called me. then he was saying he was working as seaman. he told me also about his future plans for us. he also got filipina contacts. he was saying it's his friend's wife so he asked the filipina girl to call me and the filipina girl was so friendly they can easily talked and pretending it's for real. her name is Candy Perez she was using perezcandy 313 @yahoo. com she got her sister's too named Maria Jane T. Perez from Naga City. the first time they asked for money was when they're saying about processing my Fiancee Visa so I can easily go to U.S then they asked me to sent it through Western Union money transfer to Candy Sister's Maria in Naga City. then after they asked for another amount. still I trusted them. he called me almost 6x in a Day. saying he loves me and can't wait to be with me. then he asked me about my email address password also. he emailed me about his account money on his money at his company it's Alliance Volt. then a guy from his company emailed me that I need to send money so they can release his money in the company for his early retirement. after then I have suspected it's a scam. so I stopped talking to the guy and change my e-mail and phone number I blocked him on Facebook too. it's not only one person who make this Romance Scam. Please be Careful...

I was talking to an "orthopedic surgeon", also based in Allepo, Syria. His name is John Michael Williams. He wanted me to transfer funds into my bank account, then when i told him no, he asked for me to write $5,000 for his vacation. Yes, he said all the sweet things, just like all of you out there. Thank goodness I was knowledgeable about this. He promised the world... blah blah blah. Don't fall for it

Would like to know if anyone is being scammed by an Eric Leonard?? Found me on a dating site gave me his number so we could text. Professed his love to me very quickly, always ending with I love you more than forever. Has asked for 500.00, but he's not getting anything from, promises to pay me back once he gets his 74,900.00 check from his company that's being held till the 10 th of next month, some kind of engineer working on in Asia.

Hey I'm kind of having a similar situation to everybody's and I'm wondering if the person I'm talking to is a scammer myself. For some odd reason my account ended up having some fraud activity going on with it ever since I have met him, which is pretty strange. Yes I was one of the clumsy ones and ended up sending this man almost 500 dollars in total of expenses . But the first time I offered to help him out to pay for his son because the nanny is taking care of him for the time being while he's out of the country for work . Also for some reason he can't carry cash on him, in the country he is in which is liyba . But once I offered that help.... He just started asking can I buy his son a steam card then later it went to can I send him money ... I've got mad at him a couple of times because I don't have no money to be sending and especially that much that he asked for . But then for some odd reason he backs off and tells me he's sorry abd etc... Which makes me look confused because I want to believe that this man is real since this is really my first time online/ long distance dating, and we met on Facebook and we have been just talking for a month and some weeks pretty much . But I don't know if I should stop talking to him or just follow my heart with it . He goes by Frank Collins, if anybkdy heard of him . Oh we also talk on the phone here and there but no video chat since his camera is messed up I guess .

Has anyone heard if an Eric Goodman claims he is Jamaican. Calls or texts from oddball numbers. Always traveling has broken Englis sweetie seems to be his go to word.

I played Word with Friends 2 and I was asked by 2 men to chat on hangouts, each fell in love with me , then came the I Tunes cards they needed. I'm sure they are still trolling WWF 2 for more women. They used the names of David Walter, Townsend Freeman.

Hope this helps you ladies!

They call it Yahoo plus. These guys are desperado's but are masters of their game. Its best to be careful who you fall in love with on social media or the Internet generally cause these fraudsters are out there desperately waiting to go to any length to con innocent and unaware ladies. please be careful.

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