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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

do you have names
i think i am scammed by carla williams texas

I have had conversations with guys asking me for my internet service provider. Why would they want to know that?

I have had conversations with guys asking me for my internet service provider. Why would they want to know that?

Be careful guys! I believe I met the same man. I just ended it yesterday, blocked him and reported him. I am from Europe. He said his name is Wesley Floyd. He works on an oil rig in Florida (I think). He is a widower, his wife died in a car crash. He has a son in a boarding school in the US. He was sweet and he said he loved me from the moment we first started writing. Because I am not into these kinds of romance things, I reacted angrily, so he apologised, but he was trying again and again. Then I got angry and said we were finished and I ignored him. He stopped writing for a month and on Saturday he wrote again, just to ask how I am (he said that). Then he started asking for money for his son's (David) school trip to West Africa. I asked him what school does his son attend, he told me (St. John's High School in Massachusetts). As I am overly careful, I told him that I will contact the headmaster to ask about this trip, because it was suspicious - school trip from the US to West Africa? (I was bluffing of course, I just wanted to see how he would react) He got angry, emotionally blackmailing me, that I am a horrible person, not wanting to help, bla, bla bla.... He even got "his son" to write me an email, that it's all true. But I said no and blocked him and reported him. Then today I found all of these comments and I feel lucky that I didn't fall for the scam. Pay attention and don't trust anyone on the internet, that you don't know!!!

I am having a problem with a man from Nigeria his name is David William Paul he says he's on a pipeline in Nigeria he keeps on asking my mother to send him money constantly iTune cards the whole nine yards and the only time they have ever talked is through chat can somebody please help me

Hi I need some help my mother is dealing with a guy his name is David William Paul he's from Nigeria he says he has a house in California he's always asking my mother to send him money she does it and I'm just going by what my wits and I need help please my mother is 76 years old and he is just making my life oh worst.

Does anyone think that they can hack your email and Facebook profile pic then get matched with their daughter and have a seemingly normal don’t tell your mom conversation with her? Is this a scammer or is scammer an excuse?

I met this guy on Facebook 2 months ago, immediately he started confessing his love for me, planning a wedding, I was very suspicious and told him about it, he told me that he was not fake. Eventually I started falling for him even though I knew the flags were there. He claimed he is in the military located in West Africa on a mission. He doesn't have access to his accounts, but needed money to get to the embassy and aviation office to get access to send me money. Each time I would question him about anything he began to play victim and say I am breaking his heart but he never provides information about his past or family life only that he has 2 sons who live with his mom in North Carolina. He wants me to wire the money via MoneyGram to an anonymous person because he says he cant go with his ID. He says he will send me a large lump sum of money in my bank account days later. I know it is a scam, I didn't give out any personal information.

I was scammed out of 17,000 by a guy named Tony James. VERY HANDSOME. He never got off the plane. I started the very next day looking for him. Everyone said I would never find him. I finally did after months and months. He is now Robert Benderk. Still living in Turkey but a totally different life than the one he told me. He did talk to me again and said he was sorry and would pay me my money back. I played along and was like I wasn't mad that was between him and God I was just so in love with him and blah blah blah. Before long he was asking me again for itune cards then more itune cards then money to come home.....These guys just don't stop. I finally had enough and told him I am not giving him a dime until he paid in debt....Judge Judy would kill me...lol. He made excuse after excuse and was so angry. I am never going to see my money. He has no morals, no conscience and no fear of God. I am not sure what name he is using but either Tony James or Robert Benderk.

Aaron Nathan instagram picture / image look up approved the guy was a scammer. As soon as I confronted him he called me. Same story as the others guy he is working on an oil rig in Galway Ireland but he's from Houston he says he's a Spanish man which is why his English is not good but when he called me he sounded Nigerian/ African not spanish. Used a picture of a goid looking white guy with blue eyes, says his wife passed 9 years ago, talks about being God fearing says daughter Peggy is 14 and at boarding school and with nanny. SCAMMER!! Report this guy immediately

I have been talking to a Alex David fr a fb friend request, say he is a orthopedic dr. On official duty with UN peacekeepers in Syria,we talk on WhatsApp he had me to download, I sent him an itunes card ,two days after he ask for $650.00 say his son was ill in Nigeria, now he asking for money to have a replacement of his duties of a contract he have with a ministry mission .sent me a us general e-mail address to e-mail asking for his replacement, to say I his wife and he's needed in the states.honesty promise he is real and God sent him to me.I blocked him and he found a family member on line to contact me .I need to know if David Alex is real.for he is in my heart.

Use google reverse image search! That’s how we got proof the filthy guy talking to my mom is a scammer. He used a fake picture!

I'm talking to this man.. Claiming a US Army Captain,his name is Adam Jacob Campbell.. born June 18,1975..single assigned in Syria..the stories same as yours but he can't scammed me hahaha

Has anyone had anything to do with Ryan Marines. Says he's an ex Marine from North Carolina. Wife died 5 years ago. Has a 15 year old daughter Tracy. Is on contract to the US government in Syria. Is coming to meet me and my family. Hasn't asked for any money or cards.

Jack Smith who later stated his name is Austin. Took me for funds. I did a copy and paste of the photos. It was a man who is a professional speaker. I also notified the professional speaker that his pictures and private pictures of his family were being used as a scam. Tineye reverse image helped alot. I wish I had knew about it before getting scammed. I lost a loved one and its hard now. So I am telling this to the most vulnerable who are widows or widowers or who have lost loved ones. These scammers seek you out some way. I think they found me by orbituary.

Does anyone know a soldier Justin Pettit?

I was scammed by someone who said if they were the prince of Dubai, Crown Prince hamdan. This individual told me through an app that I have on my phone where I post my pictures of the fish I caught. That he would like me to contact him on Hangouts app. He claimed to be the Crown Prince of Dubai Prince Hamdan. He said that he liked the idea that I helped others here in my state that I live in and I had a heart for my community. Over a period of three weeks, he text me on Hangouts and said that he wanted to send me a courier package from Dubai. However he also said that I had to have a royal ambassador card first which cost $800.00 in order for me to get this package from Dubai I told him but that sounded like a scam. He replied that he was angered that that I would think that I would be being scammed by him. A day or two later he claims that he went ahead and he sent me the membership card and a courier was some food and provisions in it. And then he sent me a voucher over the internet in the form of email that he had done so. So then I'm contacted by this courier company and told that I need to pay $850 in order to get this container sent to me. Then a few days later I'm being told that is being held because customs found out that there is money in there as well. And in order to get this package sent to me now it's going to cost $3,500 to pay for taxes and other occurring cost due to the fact that it has foreign currency such as Euro in it and I must pay this taxes due to these reasons. Then this individual comes back and tells me that he is in trouble with his father who is the king of Dubai and that he wants to set up some bank account in the Bank of Dubai for me and supply me with funding, but of course I must have this Royal ambassadors card. And making me feel guilty about it because he can no longer be trusted by the royal family Etc. I spent close to $1,000 believing because this guy actually said he was the Saudi Prince of Dubai and come to find out the prince of Dubai is a follower and does have a profile on this fishing app that I belong to. This makes us all very confusing and such. I contacted different authorities and they all told me that this was an elaborate scam and I was lucky that my money from my bank account was not tapped Out or worse. It amazes me how people can take on the identity of other people who are important and scam others such as myself.

Hi, I have just started to be followed by this Prince Hamdan will be interesting to see how it pans out. Has anyone been scammed by a Jason Chandler, says he is an engineer in the Yemen.

Lol yes this Prince of Dubai just contacted me on POF trying to get me to download WhatsApp and gave me his number on there saying he wants to video chat tomorrow. Have you ever video chatted with him?

Yes I video chatted with him but he ended it abruptly. He thought he had me but I knew it was a scam and reported it to Google Hangouts and Tinder. It seemed to be him in the picture as if "Fazza" is involved in this scamming as it looked like him but it could've just also been a video of a video and I couldn't have my volume on here because I am at work. I've always told myself "If something is too good to be true, it probably is"

Got an Ig message from an Ernest gourge. Claims to be a Un doctor in Syria. Claims he has a 3 year old in Florida. Says he has save ed enough money wants to settle
Down. Tells you all the sweet things you'd want to hear. Wants
You to chat with him in hangouts in google as well. He is very attractive and I also saw All 40 of his followers are women. His name is Ernest go urge but his name on try e picture is charles

Alex danny is scammer I think
Works fir oil rig finishing a project
And states he will be with me . He is a widow with a young boy 15 . He says he works for chevron .as a supervisor
This guy sends poetry beautiful music and sent many pics of him says he's gonna retire soon also .
He pledges love so fast and sweetens you up with sweet talk . This guy is so sweet and can be very trusting I met him on Badoo

I was scammed by Eric Ritchie Hill. Aka mark Woodson. He has like 209 different names. He show profile pic of white man but he is really Nigerian. He says he is chief medical officer in army working for UN. He wants money for a plane ticket to come marry you n buy you a house n car n live happily ever after. He is a pro at this. Beware!

Robert Myers ,a Captain in the military. He hasn't asked for cash but for other items to be sent. No number,Skype,address,cell. Nothing verifiable. But has pictures,lot, to send me.

Does fernando dan herman also scammer
was any body scammed by this name

Does anyone know a Alexander Morgan who works as a contractor in scotland? He has two children. I think i am being scammed

Hi all, I was approached on Instagram by a guy who said he was Nelson Artin, SGT in the US Army, stationed in Syria, we have been chatting for quite a few months, I really like him and he says he really likes me, he only recently when I asked him when we were going to video call, he said I had to fill in a Military Spouse form and there was an admin fee of $200US. He said also if I cant pay the whole lot, I can pay whatever I could and he would make up the difference. He said that I can pay it by Weston Union or Money gram. I live in New Zealand and I dont know who to ask if it's legit. He seems to be, he has sent me dozens of photos, some in his uniform.

By the way stay clear of anyone called Bryan Thompson, deployed to Nigeria, or
Richard Andersen, US Army, deployed

The US Army doesn't charge $200 or require people to file a Military Spouse form before they make a video call. The person who said that is trying to scam you and take your money.

Currently talking to one ... it started off in Instagram and now hangouts... lmao so funny his name is Calvin Stevens ... thankfully my friend really is a marine and helped me out lol

I have been chatting with someone for 8 months. About 2 months in he said he was falling in love with me. He is supposedly in the Army in Aleppo Syria, but lives normally in Denver,Colo.. Wife died of cancer 5yrs ago. His 19 yr old daughter is going to school in NY.
I have sent well over 10k in itunes, Amazon gift cards, to his daughter for her school. I am not on disability and now owe more money in credit card debt than I make in a year. He has recently asked me to open a bank account in my name. He says he needs to deposit money in it so he can get home to the states . He can never video chat, although he has called me numerous times. He also asked for nude pics. Although I know better and against my better judgement I have given in to this man, with pictures and all the gift cards. He supposedly will be coming home in December. He wants to marry me and keeps assuring me, he will take care of all my debt, as soon as he returns in Dec. Red flags went up all along and I have ignored them because I was lonely. I wanted to believe him even though in the back of my mind I knew it wasn't true. He keeps telling me, that he would never do anything to hurt me. That he loves me and will always love me no matter what. Help... I don't know how to get out of this... His name is James Rice, I met him on a singing app. His daughters name is Shelly. I have even emailed her and we conversed a few times. How stupid can an intelligent woman be? I'm my case...pretty darn stupid!!! Lord help me get out of this non- relationship !

I have a guy who showed me a receipt for $6500 that he paid to send me his retirement. Now I get emails stating the the UN has this package and I have to pay to get it sent to me. I can send the money to an account at the bank. I have an account number, address for the bank, this ladies name.

I need help in finding this person that goes by Matthew Andreas Sparks says that he is a construction engineer
Has a 6 year old son name John and lives in Woodway Tx
He says that his wife died six years ago while given birth to his son
He claims he is working down in Malaysia on condiums
He also sent me a copy of his flight ticket from Malaysia to Houston Tx
Has anyone run into this person because I believe that I got scammed

Hello, ladies our story or changed around but anyway you look at it we have all been scammed .stories have changed and names my scammer was a captain in the army but it was different then our regular army .yea right .he was was with the peace keeping mission .went as far as tilling me his address .and he didn't realize how the process worked but to get him out of Afghanistan early he comander sent me papers to sign .but I had already sent money to him and I tune cards what's up with the I tune cards ? I was hoot line and sinker .I was trying to get over a 40 year marriage where my husband had cheated on me so my selfastem was very low so I believed everything he told me.I only wish I had listen to my family every one knew he was scamming me but me .I hope our stories helps other people .its so hard to believe not only are they scammers but they also play with our hearts.best wishes we live and learn.

This kind of thing happened to me recently. I had only been chatting for under 4 weeks. On the first week he told me that he was falling in love. Within the second week he asked if I would get an ITune card for his son who is in boarding school. He told me that as he was in a war zone area and all the shops were closed, he could not get anything for his sons birthday. Like an idiot I did. The following week he asked for one thousand, four hundred euro, again to send packages to his son in boarding school. This is when I ended everything. I have googled his name, he is one of the top most hated romance on-line dating scammer. And he goes by several names. Although he is white, he has an African accent. I did message him to say that he should stop what he is doing, and it’s never too late to change his life around. I have no further contact.

I had a guy that looked me up via intagram. His whole name was John Walker bliss, he was a widower, lost his wife to a card accident teo years ago. He was very much the charmer, and definitely knew how to seduce your heart, mind and sould. About 3 weeks into the conversation i told him i had a day off for Thanksgiving, that’s when he said, well if you have time off maybe you could run a couple of errands, i have a guy that owes me money, I’ll have him get a hold of you so you can collect for me. I asked will the check be in your name? And he said I don’t know I’m waiting for him to call me back, I’ll just have him write it out for you. I said I don’t accept check from people that I don’t know. Then i asked him to send me a picture of himself, he did, so he was the person i was talking too, and then i said thanks for your kind words, thanks for making me feel vibrant again, for letting me dream and for making me realize how lonely I truly was, that i was so gullible to fall for a scam. Good luck scamming the next person. Deleted Hangouts and got off instagram. Be careful i could see how easy it is to want to fall in love and believe someone, but if it feels off, trust your instincts and listen to those opposing the relationship.

Does anyone knows Terry Young telling that his wife died while giving birth to their son and his son is 3 now?

Anyone being scammed by a Frenchman who also travels to the Ivory Caost. Did a face search and found out he has MANY aliases on a lot of dating websites in which he usually says he's French but other times German or American or Dutch or whatever he feels like it that day.

I am also being by a man name Chris muldock. He said he is an off shore drill. And wanted me to send him 500.00 but i was born. But. It not yesterday. So lady's don't fall for it. Lot of the military men ask you to send money to Africa. Not don't be fooled. Once they have your money. They block you from them and you lost you hard working money. On a idiot.

I have one trying to scam me right now. I'm going to have a little fun before actually using the information I've gathered to make their life hell for awhile.

I’m speaking to a man that goes by Hopper Sean Corey , in Facebook he claims his real name is Willis Lawrence Hopper , he is given me a different story than what I’ve read but if his name sounds do familiar to anyone please let me know ASAP .
I do have photos of him
Thank you

The man who tried to rob me called himself Roland Owen (rolandowen2020@gmail.com). He sent me a letter via SLOWLY (beware! because this app brings many more of them trying to get your mail and then from there to Hangouts). He almost instantly declared his love for me (how can a person you never met face to face can fall in with you like that?). It was very hard for me to believe him, even when he said he wanted to marry me. I must say I amused myself a lot with this story. He said he was a 53 years old widower with a 11 years old faughter, living in Manhattan Beach, but in the month of November working as a supervisor, then as a contractor for Freeport Mcmoran, with a 4 million dollars contract! Because of the fir in California, he asked me for money 1,200$ to send her daughter and nanny to another state. He couldn’t send any because he had “issues” with the bank... I decided not to give any money although I must say I believed the story of the his completely destroyed house. A week later he said he was broke and couldn’t pay the goods he needed to finish his work at the “rig”. And he wanted “so much” to come to Portugal and be with me (although he had a daughter who would be needing him a lot, I imagined). That was weird. I said I didn’t have any money and I remembered than I had made some research on the internet about him. I found his name as a contractor in Freeport Mcmoran, but it was not the same picture he had sent me. Later I found this site and sent him the link. And did copy paste one “sweet” message he had sent. Found it in a site with love letters for men to use. Sent him this link too. He cried a lot, saying he had nothing to do with those scammers. But he went on asking for money. I said I didn’t believe him, that I wondered who he was. So he decided to make a video call that day because he was going ashore. What a “coincidence”! I saw him and it looked like the man in the pictures but it meant nothing because 5 min later he sent me a long message asking for money again (the msg was too long so he must had done copy paste from another he already had used with other women-he couldn’t have had the time to write it after the previous one for me to receive it so quickly). I cynically begged him not to ask me for money because I didn’t have any and it made me “suffer a lot”. Afterwards, silence. Then I sent him a last msg an closed hangouts account.

I love how all these people gave nanny’s

Here another one via WhatsApp and i have been asked iTunes gift card. He/she is really good.i can give her/his number..met on POF.com

There’s a Scammer named Harold Tom who says he is retiring from the army and he is looking for a lover. He then says after a few months that he was received gold and needs money for shipping it. He then says he needs money for the paperwork. He then says he is on his way to Canada. All of a sudden he ends up in a Hospital in Accura Ghana. He scammed me so much money and is now asking me money for medicine. He asks money for food. He then says he’s coming and he needs money for chop money. He’s a scammer!!! His name is Harold Tom.

I know a woman who is talking with a guy who says he's American and is working on an oil rig off the coast of Qatar. It seems obvious to me this guy is a scammer. He has done all the usual things like moving off the dating site to an email address, professing love too soon, promises to see her but never does. He is grooming her. His alias name is Michael Grech. Said he has a civil engineering degree, his wife was not well and so they divorced about 1.5 years ago, and he took custody of his 15 year old daughter who is in boarding school, and a mother who lives in Nova Scotia. He has sent several pictures of him and his mom, him and his daughter, his daughter on her horse, and one of himself. He professes to be very wealthy and they are talking about marriage and what kind of house they want, etc. He says he and five others have invested in the rig and he is currently working on a project on the rig that he manages and he hopes will be completed soon so he can come home, retire, and marry her. He sends poems he says he writes, but that is just all so much nonsense...it's all a line, all of it! He has done everything the scam warning sites have said he would do. He is grooming her to give him money.

I worry that my friend is getting in over her head and will end up with a broken heart and an empty bank account. She has promised me she will not give him money or open any bank accounts and ship things for him or receive things for him. Any man who says he has money and is investing in and working onsite at these off shore oil rigs is going to have the means to wire for money, medical funds, bank accounts etc. -- anything he might need, and that includes transportation, messengers and shipping services, etc.

I was reading from an FBI site about scammers and they said the scammers will use a photo they get off the internet. They advised victims to ask the scammer to provide a current pic of themselves with something that has the current date on it--like a newspaper, or have them do something in the photo that will prove they are the person in the picture they posted earlier-something that you tell them to do. Have them take a selfie holding your picture, or letter, or something you know you sent to them. Or have them do something unusual in a photo that you tell them to do, like hold up 3 pens in front of their face. Or, rest a flower behind their ear so it shows on the side of their face. Or, have them put tape on their forehead with your name on it. You get the idea. And you can tell him/her you are trying to convince your family and friends they are for real and need some evidence to convince them.

The site also suggested that if the person claims to be a U.S. citizen living or working in another country and asks you for help or money, refer them to the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate. I you want to send money, consider a U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Citizens Services (OCS) Trust. An OCS Trust works like a wire transfer, but the embassy or consulate holds the money until the recipient pick it up--and provides proof of U.S. citizenship.

If someone is truly sincere about their love and not just trying to scam you, they will understand why you are being cautious and will not get mad at you or try to make you feel guilty for protecting yourself from being scammed. If you have never even met the person face to face, why are you trusting they can love you? And why do you think you love them. Take your time, be rational, be sensible, keep your money and do your research on romance scammers. There are lots of people getting scammed. Don't be victim. Be smart.

Anyone hear of a Kenneth Collins in upstate NY Wife died,
Raised three kids , has own business. Wanted to come see me at
Thanksgiving. I said no.
Then he went to India to purchase tools for his business.
I was guessing what would happen next and it did. Needs$2500
To get back, lost his walllet Oh sure. Anybody else with this one?

i met a guy online and he is in america and we did a video call on whatsapp and we said goodnight,since morning i have been calling him and he is not picking and he has not come online to read the message i dropped for him,i dont know what is happening,i dont know if he's real or fake.

Anyone involved with a Nathan Wall or Nathan Gibson. Supposedly working in Dubai?

Has anyone received a diamond engagement ring from these people? Obviously not real. Why would they do this?

Went by name Billy Carlson on Scrabble words with Friends 2 about 50 handsome gotee Oil rig Gulf of Mexico widow wife died leukemia from Boston now in phyladelpia wants to marry me after 4 weeks send $300 iTunes cards then needed $10000 tool's out of Customs to finish contact on rig I didn't have he stopped talking broke my heart

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