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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.

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit
Scam Tags:  Romance Scams

Comments

I have one the name is John R.J. Nicholson, he claims to be a 4 star general in the U.S. army. He has 22 profiles I could find. He tried to befriend me, someone else the day before. He is in Africa be it Ghana or Kenya. If you check out the friends list and scroll on top of every name you will find a fake buisness card. There is network of them all over the world and are bragging about duping facebook on many comments. Many cards on top of names are asking for donations, some are promoting Islam so I do not know what I stumbled into but be aware, check profiles and friends lists for yourself, do not accept a request from someone who will say who they are or location e.t.c. not safe out there anymore...

I was contacted by 3 different men through Words With Friends...not a dating site. All 3 started chatting, soon professed their love for me, then asked for money either directly or through an agent arrangement. Their names were Benjamin Scott, Scott Balfour & Jason Wilder. Has anyone else been approached by these men? They all sent me photos & asked for some from me, which I declined, of course.

I'm just sick reading all of this. I'm so heartbroken myself. But see in all these people being robbed of something more precious than money and the emotional damage...

I'm not sure if I was scammed or perhaps in denial.

He was sooo sweet and kind. We talked or texted all day, everyday.

I must admit that I am heartbroken...

So here's the story...We met on a dating app. He had to return to Lebanon for business. Supposedly needed to go to Turkey where he was robbed and his passport held,hostage. He needed $$. Then money for a train trip back to Lebanon. Then my account info (wasn't happening ever) to get paid for his business because he was selling it to someone from Canada. Then the iTunes card. He tgen stated someone bought him a ticket to Spain since I wouldn't buy a ticker back to the U.S. While there he had a legal issue and needed 5k or he would be deported to Syria, his birth place and what's on his passport. I didn't. So he said he was deported. A lady who he said was helping him...claimed to pay 2k so he would not have to go to jail.

In Syria he needed money to bribe the soldiers. I didn't. So he threatened me with he was returning to Spain to be with a woman who was buying his airline ticket. He continued to text me via Viber.
Finally after 10 montgs of all of this I agreed to srnd 450 via MG for a flight to the U.S. He didn't contact me and when I did and asked for an explanation. He just said tgere is one and has cut all communication off. I find it hard to believe that he would spend soooo much time and effort for so little money.

Watch out for anyone who has a picture in uniform and has the username DanielCote, definitely fake

contacted by male, claiming to be widowed surgeon from my home state of AL, currently in Libya working for the UN....smh

I have been contacted by a UNRWA special agent posted in Syria really claiming his love and wants to bring our relation to another level by talking over the phone. But for that to happen, i need to be registered for national security and is claming 300$ that i will need to pay to the security agency through Western Union or money gram. His name is Victor Stewart. Does this rign any bell to you?

If someone you just met asks you to send him money by wire transfer, it's probably a scam. 

Scammers make up stories about why you should give them your money. If you send money by wire transfer, it's like sending him cash. He will get the money, and you won't be able to get it back.

For 2.5 months I have been talking to a Thomas Greco "Beware of this man Claims Italian lives in London" Claims he works for Capvest Capital International. He would call me every day and email me sweet romantic letters. Until he asked me towards the end of our conversation if I had an account, 401K or a savings account. I told him yes he asked if he could use my name to cash his stock with the company he worked with and commission from Dubai he was getting that his company did not know about from a client in Dubai. He asked me t o open bank account because I told him I would not give him mine or allowed to use mine. Mind you he kept calling me honey, baby, sweetheart all kinds of sweet names. Until he asked me he needed $33K to open account in Switzerland in order for them to transfer money to account here I open for him. I told him I do not have any money and I will not do it. He kept begging me that he would buy a house, business and he would marry me. I finally told him to STOP making my Christmas and New Years end up bad. I believe he did like me in someway because after I told him this he stopped calling and emailing me. GIRLS DO NOT PUT YOUR HEART INTO THESE MEN UNTIL YOU REALLY MEET THEM ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS. IF THEY GE ANNOYED THEY ARE NOT REAL. I asked a lot of questions he got annoyed and said I complained too much.
This his how you know......

Thank you for posting this. I came across this as I was suspicious of the Thomas Greco I was recently talking with that I met on a dating site. He says he works for Capvest also. I felt suspicious for several reasons. Your post confirms I’m right! Lots of lengthy poetic pages of emails but not able to actually meet. Dramatic story of being a widower. Did he ever contact you again?

Hmmm. I have been talking with a Thomas Greco also, a widower, but he supposedly lives in Michigan....but it's also a common name....makes you wonder.....

He is now in ‘ Alabama’ with his sick mom emergently going back to new Mexico for a meeting .

I was just recently talking to a woman I met on POF,ANE McFarlane who said she is in the Air force and is on deployment in Africa and that she was 33. WE just started chatting about everything and on the second day she asked me to load up kik chat and deactivate my POF. That was the first red flag for me any one using Kik is usually up to no good.We were talking about and she was like I can feel a strong connection between us and saying all the sweet things you would want to here but at the same time she was asking me if I had credit cards if I owned or rent my house as if I was applying for a loan. I am sitting here wondering how a soldier has time to talk to me from the time I get up until I go to bed especially if they are on Africa time. She sent me pictures and sweet word told me she feel a strong connection and missis me so much and couldn't wait to see me anymore. She wanted to see if she could get approved for a leave to come I see me which I already knew she couldn't. She writes me back and says she was approved but we have one problem, I was like here we go, what is the problem? She said leave is free but my ticket isn't and it cost 1300 so I just need the closet city to you and the 1300.I played with her for a while gave her some prepaid credit card numbers and she was like those will not work for what I need and I was like they wont sorry ,let me figure something else out. I played with her until she got tired of me and moved on.

HAS ANYONE BEEN TALKING WITH HARRIS FLOYDIE RAY ON INSTAGRAM? A WIDOWED OIL RIGGER OFFSHORE IN QUEBEC, HAS A DAUGHTER. HAS ASKED FOR MONEY FOUR TIME, NOT SENT ANY. I DON'T GIVE MONEY TO ANYBODY!

Yes! He asked me for $800 for her medical bills

Does anyone know of a Mike Ellisworth?

His profile says that he works for American Red Cross. His story is that his ex left him with a mountain of debt. He was offline for 1 week, and when he came back he said that he was in the Asia region, and that he was going to apply for a loan. Hed prayed that he would be approved, so that he could come and stay with me for days. I'm sure he was wanting me to offer to send him money. He was always professing his love for me. as a matter of fact, he started putting love stickers on all my comments on his posts. He would only like the other women's post. However, I cauught on to him one day when I was on his facebook page. I just happened to look at one of his posts, and noticed 2 new women liking the post. So, needless to say, the whole time he was professing his love to me, he was still requesting women's friendship. I am have since blocked him, and am very thankful I did not send him money.

I have also had a scammer talking to me as well his name just to be on look out is Kendricck Stone Josh says he is in the Army and then asks for Amazon, or iTunes cards and also bank information. Do not fall for it he had contacted me on Facebook so that is not safe either.

My scammer sent one email. Saw my picture, was sure he was in love with me, could i send him 500 for a plane ticket to see me. I lol at him and said nope. Never heard from him again. Lol

I met a girl from England who went to Ghana and can't get out her name's corinne how do they get started and how do they get out without sending money who starts this scam

Has anybody come across a Matt Valentino? Supposedly stranded in Thai and cannot get back to the UK without financial help.

Mimi, if "Matt" is REALLY stuck in Thailand, he can contact his Embassy in that country. Suggest you call his bluff and con't offer financial help, tell him to contact his Embassy then wait and see what his next ruse is to get money from you to him. Please believe in yourself and that you deserve better than this. There will never be any relationship other than the one YOU imagine. Be safe out there ladies.

Brian Altiero living in america government is working in demiryo .he says he is Fedrerl .married and a pervert Be careful !!!

Hello has anyone ever dealt with a Raymond Wilder or Raymond Finn supposedly from Norway or Australia? A drill independent contractir?

Anyone heard of Hegel Neira who says he does charity work in the US, PR and the Mediterranean?

Someone with the name Hegel Neira approached me as well via MeetMindful.com. Different story, claimed to be an architect. I called him with my phone number blocked, and somehow, he was able to call me back. I should have stopped then, but, unfortunately, I spoke with him on the phone for a couple weeks and he has my email. Heard a similar story from another unsuspecting woman that same day, and realized he was either not who he said he was, or, trying to cheat on his wife. Suddenly out of the country, luggage with equipment stolen. I did a background check when things didn't add up. I'm now seeing there must be many of these creeps online, many ask for phone number immediately. It's disappointing and sad that people pray on others.

I also was scam. by one that said he lost his.wife a unborn child wbile.giving.bidth.he also aim be vkt a €1.357.000.000 that put .e as his.beneficiry. he also tolled 30.000. A d so using someone ID. AND picture I.v1ot picture and other informatio s

Take care of men called Brian Fristch Mario... Clues, Malaysia Bank, two kids in 20-30 studying in Germany

My scammer Alexander Freeman has closed his viber phone, I tried to call his number long distance, but got automatic phone answering The last message I got was "I THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR HELPING ME AND MY FAMILY" and he place a new photo into his facebook, it was him with two young ladies and an older woman. The all had small dogs on their laps, smiling with a christmas tree in the background.

Linda, I was also contacted by the scammer Alexander Freeman. How stupid do they think we are?

Anyone was scammed on twitter?

I surf Twitter and Tinder, and frequently run in to scammers. Any scam can be delivered anywhere on line, but mostly the scam I have seen is the Date Verification scam. That is your "date" wants to meet you but you have to prove you are safe, not a predator etc. They send you to a website that will verify you "for free", using your credit card. In reality, they sign you up for a dating or pornography site without you knowing it. If you want to read more, just search "Date Verification Scam".

I almost got scammed but i put on my detective hat and went on a search. He had sent me a couple pictures i used a website called tineye. com put picture in and site picked him right away. He said specializes in Interior Design and Detailing. which he used someone elses website this is the website he gave me sandpcdgroup. com which is a scam too. His name was Scott Paul, he has gone by Scott Wilson probably more. The sweet nothings and the i love you's from him wowed me here was his about him.....

Am a Swedish American, currently living in Seattle,Washington. I was born by a Swedish Mom and an American dad who was a catholic before his death. I lived in Sweden for years and moved back to the State after acquiring my degrees. I had a happy family until my ex cheated on me with her colleague in the office, things got worse, we got divorced and she decided to moved away. I decided not to go into any relationship until my son must have come of age. I needed a companion, someone to talk to and share burdens with,tired of being alone, that is the reason why I followed my friend's advice to join a dating-site which was really not what I wanted. I'm a very easy-going, friendly person with compassionate personality. I love to keep fit and am usually at the gym 1-2 times a week. I enjoy the outdoors very much. Am a great listener and could be a wonderful friend. I have a great sense of humor, love to smile and see people happy. Much of my time and energy in recent years has gone into my career. I love adventures and will be much more fun to share it with that right woman. I love to enjoy the basic things in life, movies, an evening by the fire and cooking or relaxing with an inspirational book when am doing nothing and I love dinning out on weekends with friends. I specializes in Interior Design and Detailing. I attached some pictures for you to see, hope you like them. I will be glad to hear from you. Waiting to read from you. Please can you resend your pictures to me, it seems it can't open from here. Regards, Scott Here is his email scotpals @ gmail.com probably changed it by now. I met him on bbpeople meet dating site

Broken communication in texting, then after a bit, correct English and text, back to broken. Laugh at my voice when u hear me talk,love u to eternity so quickly, just don't understand how much they love you.VERY interested in trust, need truth and to be able to trust. Caught on quickly, ask for pic of them at job, immediately called, horrible accent.
Told him/her to never contact me .Said I was a dirt poor woman no money.Well, the rest is just that.end of communication. BLOCK THESE CRIMINALS

That is what I experienced as well. This person would always use "your" instead of "you're". For example: Your very sweet my darling. Instead of you're very sweet my darling. He also repeated lines that he had used in previous conversations. I googled some of the words in the context, only to see that they copy and paste love notes from the internet. Particularly from a site called 1001 Love Letters. Sometimes he tried to write it on his own, and mis-spelled a word. He wrote "clamed" instead of "calmed". I believe that there are a group of them working together. I called him out on one particular instance. He didn't come back right away. He had to go back through all the messages to see what I was referring to. Just keep your money VERY close to you!

A guy named Greg Miller started talking to me in Words with Friends. He seemed nice enough. But always called me dear. I figured he was talking to so many different women it was easier to say dear. He said he was a widower but I doubt it. Said he was a pipe fitter on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Once he was supposedly on the rig he emailed me and said his phone won't work and he needs to contact his daughters. And for a $50 iTunes card a guy will fix his phone.
I told him to email his daughters or buy an iTunes card online. But he says his credit card won't work there.
Told him no way was I going to send money to someone I have never met. He told me I was being negative and hurting him. Yeah like asking me for money was suppose to be flattering?
And if this guy wouldn't fix his phone for free so he could talk to his kids what kind of guy is he that no one else would lend him the money or help him out? I highly doubt he even lives in this country because he didn't want to talk on the phone.
DON'T send money to someone you haven't met because more than likely he's not who he says he is.

I have men try to pick up on me thru "Words with Frinds" also. Unbelievable!!!! Due to previous experience, If a man say he works on oil rigs, I drop him instantly. Dave Carlos, West Africa, single dad with a daughter . She lived in the states with his neighbors.But she needed money . He listed himself as self-employed, which I have learned means "flat broke". I said no. He said if I really wanted to prove my love for him & his daughter, I would give her money!!!!!!! First of all, if he can't support his own daughter, that is a big red flag! I blocked him immediately.

WWF is rife with scammers.
Oil rigs, petroleum engineers, contractors. Latest one us a UN surgeon named Bryan Hudson from Kansas who I tried to verify without success. He sounded plausible at first. Spiritual. Mentioned how difficult things were there for the locals, talked about a birthday party his staff threw him, said cameras and cells were confiscated bc of security breaches. But managed to send me pics stored on his laptop. He needs to get his package of valuable personal items out of syria. And his mother is too old and ill to receive them. He just needs my address, phone and full name and they'll contact me with a tracking number.

There are too many oil riggers to name,steve stranded in Turkey after bring mugged, Michael on a boat in alaska...
There have been only a very few who have been legit and just play the game. You can also be suspicious if they want to move immediately to hangouts and make little effort at the game.

If you do decide to venture into chat, set up a separate email or hangouts account used only for that purpose and NEVER give out addresses, phone numbers, etc

Im not sure if ive been scammed hes afghani said wanted to marry me then lost recent contact had sent moneythrough western union he uses different names seemed so real he said he needed money for orpans over and over and that a hitman was after him so he needed money for a passport but he then spent that money on the children to celebrate muslim new year he wanted to marry me in kabul he is or says he is pashtun but cant spell his own tribal name his voice matched in video to on phone but he sent some old pics which i later figured out

Kati, so sorry-yes, this thing is a scam. Likely a small group, and the more elaborate the story about passport, predicament, etc.-the more you may be assured any money you sent is gone. Video is fake, words were mostly scripted. Please confide in a trusted family member, and ask them to help you be strong, to keep blocking new contacts on all social media sites! Be strong!

hello all, yep I'm gay older man i use mingle2 as my searching area please to try to meet men for dating come on now not gang up on me listen i have been it so many times mostly by military, i can tell you for a fact the army guys who clam they are in other country some here in the states iTunes cars to marriage proposals with in days of meeting, i can tell you most are scams all they want is your money these guys are ruthless yes i must admit have fallen prey to them as well so ladies or guys there out there just watch for the things they say as key things and SEND NO ONE MONEY they want it not you.

i am currently texting a guy by the name of byran j Martinez in afganistan Very good with his words He keeps asking for money also to get his briefcases sent o me from a company named zim insurance Anyone else experience the same guy ?

Same thing happened to me i think. Goes by dr kerem bikmaz in turkey daughter infrance, wife died in car accident. Gave him 30.00for daughters birthday. He said he couldnt send money cause he was in a sub working for UN. NOW ASKING for 500.00. says daughter needs money for test, i fell in love with this person. I feel like a fool. Turned him into instagram. Guess we will see what happens.

I too was scammed but not by the real person who is Dr. Kerem Bismak from Turkey. Scammers are using his pictures and info to scam women because this man is really very good looking. In his website which is his office he does say about scammers using his pictures and to not beleive it's him. I only lost $50.00 then the scammer asked for $4650 and that's when i knew it was a scam. I too fell in love because i thought this person was real. He would spend hours chatting with me and said everything i needed to hear. When i told im i knew he was a scammer he had the nerve to tell me he did'nt put a gun to my head. I actually made himm miserable for a while cause i would'nt get off WhatsApp calling him every name in the book. I reported him and another one using the real doctors info to Facebook and told the real doctor but he already knows. . the accounts in Facebook have been closed.

I've started talking to Calvin Brown he's in the army and is in Nigeria. He also gave me his sons number to also talk to. We talked for a long while before he comes home said he wants to invest in land over there I agree at first then thought about the scammers and said no. He did get upset but said okay he will find another way. He does have my credit card info but there's no money on it just cents. He said it didn't matter. There's money going to be put on it from where I don't know from where yet. I told him repeatedly that I am single and broke and won't send any money we are still talking. He did send me a picture of his military Id because it's been 3 times I called him a scammer and cursed him out. And we are still talking. Can I look him up to see if he is real??????

I have also spoken to Bryan Packer Brochu since aug/16 . He says he loves me and is coming here to marry me. He asked money for his contract.

Sir I don't know what to do some man on Facebook his name is Matt Fraser I thought we were good friends I helped him and he never paid me back then I got a call and he said he would help me I'm having hard times right now and I talked to him on the phone and he said he would help me he keeps asking me and asking me for more information he is a scammer he has a heavy German accent and my bank even said that it sounds like he's a scammer and they told me all she needed was my bank information and I told him that because I trusted and and then please help me I've been learning disability

I had a guy tell me he was from Brooklyn NY. We talked from Jan/2017 to this Jan 2018.He said he had won a bid on a project in Spain. He said his wifedied in a car wreck then later said it was in a fire. I have sent him almost 10,000.00 I have lost 2 cars, savings and almost my mind. He went by the name of Jim Gilman and was head of his own construction. Then he started having issues at his job and needed help financially. He quit calling after he got his money this New year's day. I have a few pictures of what he sent me.

sounds familiar. can we talk? I have pictures as well.

Well I am a police officer and got caught in a love scam .Every time I challenged her on an issue she would come up with an explanation. If I pressed her to hard she threw a fit and blocked me. Her name was JANE FUNMI AMANDA. I did not go looking for her she just appeared on the site I was on. The only reason I did not give her everything is because I have a joint bank account with my wife .My wife has found out any way so its ruined my marriage and I have nothing to show for it. Also there is still the threat of Blackmail hanging over me from the naked pics I sent her. I was twenty five years older but she made all the excuses about love having no limits on age. I only gave her £40 so got off light .She was an American student studying physics in Nigeria

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