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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

Have anyone had a Jeff Scott trying to get money from you and send Western Union ?

Anyone have a Daniel stuck in Mexico? Also has 11 year old son in the us, built a shopping center in the Netherlands?

I am currently talking to a man who claims he is the son of a huge construction company. I searched his name and couldn’t find anything and I talked him a little bit more and then I told him that I searched his name he couldn’t find anything and he said oh good I don’t want to be found. He claims he says you know in love with me is going to marry me and all this stuff and I we talked for a week so far been in on Sunday he had to go to Turkey for a construction project. I don’t buy any of thisAnd I’m just talking to him to amuse myself. He hasn’t asked me for any money but if he did I’ve course I would not give him a dime. The thing that bothers me is he keeps wanting me to go to Google hang out. I don’t really know much about Google hang out but I’m wondering if they can get your email address and then start opening up accounts or something I don’t know I’m not sure about that kind of stuff I don’t really even really know what Google hangouts is or if I even want to download it and use it. I’m pretty sure this guy is lying he even sent me his drivers license which was obviously a fake I could tell. I’m not desperate but I’m lonely sometimes and you’re looking for peopleTo talk to and he seems so nice and so sweet and I think I’m pretty sure he’s a scammer. I may call the construction company and ask them if there is this person there and dad does he work there and is he the son of this construction CEO. I would never in 1 million years give anybody money for any reason no matter how much they said they loved me or any information about myself I make up stuff myself I don’t divulge a lot of information about myself this is the way to get around it. But you know I know he’s a fake I’m pretty sure of it it’s sad because he’s very handsome

Hi...what was the construction scammers name? Where did he live?

Here is the construction scammer's name: Gold Ridge – Architect and Civil Engineering. He lives in Vancouver.

Was he's name james willhelm. He lives in england uk

I think my neighbor is being scammed by a person named Edwin Richard Miller

Anyone heard of a Tony Coleman? Special NATO force operation in Iraq. Just asked for my phone number and then my provider and then my login info and password. All this because he needs to make me his next of kin to have his salary transferred to me so I can but his plane ticket home. Sound familiar to anyone?

i5s a scammer run for the hills

Yes I think I just got scammed by him but didn’t go very far. He called himself Anthony not Tony. Happened in Aust but same story NATO forces in Iraq. What happened to you?

I met someone online recently Anthony Coleman, NATO forces in iraq needed money to get taken of list to be sent to Iran. What did he look like?

A Daniel Coleman, 40yrs old, hit me up on Tinder last night, special NATO force operation in Iraq. He dished out too many compliments and it wasn't long before I told - I won't send you any money, please do not ask for money as I won't fall for it. He blocked me straight away.
There seems to be a pattern First name is different but the surname remains the same.

Don’t feel bad these people are wrong on so many levels. I’m hangouts and everyone who starts talking to me and then tell me there overseas. They have not asked for money yet I’m getting to come off that site. Just shocks me I get three in a row. I’m sorry for anyone on here who got scammed out of money they play with our emotions which is an awful thing to do. Please don’t trust any of them

Hello, I was scammed by a man named Brian Stone! He said he was Army Lieutenant! He talked so good until he asked for $5000 to get him from deployment! I immediately told him he’s crazy and I’m not sending anythin! His email is brainstone111 @yahoo.com and Stonebrian44 @gmail.com. He tried again under the name of Adam Jordan! Same guy!

I've been involved with a christian man for about 2 years online named Abule Moses.If anyone has heard anything in reference to him please let me know. I have in 3 occasion sent 40 dollars to buy food and he has because he's video chatted education when in grocery store. The thing now is that from Accra he's in Nigeria getting his papers ready and want s to be in America by 2019 and Marry me. Thank you for your time.

Anybody know Dr Robert Dam 7562 on instagram now hangouts Medical director for Arabian off shore oil rig in Abu Dhabi wife and daughter died has 15 yr old son in boarding school in UK

Has anyone has anyone been scammed by Michael Smith from Nigeria

I have a guy right now says he us in the military in Pakistan...has a 9 yr old in the states. Says he lives me Calles me his wife all the time. Last night sent me a pic of a wedding ring says I will wear in March when he comes to retire. Hadn't ask for money yet other than when he comes home to help him start s business...I figure it's coming any day wanting money though

Has anyone heard of KELVIN J SIMPSON

Has anyone heard from a Jeff Dickson. A classmate shared a picture bundle of cash claiming to get it free a "GRANT FROM THE IML" a very large amount of cash. Had me text this phone # and it started. This guy is very good with his English and no spelling errors. Claims to live in AZ and has a house in PA. I do not know if I am being scammed but it feels weird. This scam says before the money can be sent the IRS stopped due to large amount and I had to pay $10k in taxes first, so I didn't have the money so this guy asked for a credit card and thank goodness almost everyone that I have is maxed out on credit line. So he asked for the highest credit line so I have him my account #, sign on, and password and he said the FBI was watching and they paid off my account in the amount in excess of $11k. Transaction for payment was posted to my account and the credit company put my account on hold for 3 days till the check would clear from Chase bank. On the 3rd day, I was told to get cash off my credit card. The card showed paid in full and funds available is my credit limit of $11,500. So was told to go inside Chase Bank and have them do a cash advance against my card and they handed me $4500 in Cash off the credit card. I also was asked to cash in my wedding ring (now I regret it) and received $500 for it. So now I have $5k cash and I was told to get a Western Union for $500 to someone in Nigeria. Then to go and get another Western Union for $2000 for someone in Texas. I did both but later received a text from this guy saying I have to go back as transaction number is wrong. Turns out Western Union put a hold on these 2 transactions because of activity and complaints concerning Nigeria charities. So this guy tells me to get the cash back which I did and had $5k total on me and was instructed to drive to another city and purchase Money Grams - 1 for Nigeria for $1500 and name changed and another one to $2000 to person in Texas. Went through then I was texted to go back to MoneyGram as number isn't good. So I did and got cash back again. Then I was asked to go buy a IphoneX and I made a mistake because instead of paying cash for the phone, I put it on my Verizon contarct and only had to come up with $77.00 for taxes so I used one of the $100 bills. I didn't know that he wanted me to buy as many IphoneX's as possible with the credit card that had my open line of credit. Credit card company put a hold on any further transactions for my safety. So now I have a IphoneX on my Verizon account and asked what to do with it and was told to keep the phone. Last instruction was to take $2000 cash and stick it in a USPS Express and send to a guy in Kingsville, Tx. I did and sent a picture of the label. I dropped it off at the post office in time for the last pickup today. I have not heard back from this guy and pleaded with him to answer. No answer all afternoon which is weird. He told me that he loved me and it was destiny that we meet. He never intended to fall in love with me, etc. etc etc. He is good to capture me and make me feel loved. I recently lost my 2nd husband June 2016 and my first husband passed in 1993. So I was stupid and vulnerable. I texted him and told him since he hasn't answered me I don't trust him anymore. So the names he had me try to send money to is: Yusaf Michelles in Nigeria - Francis Michelles in Nigeria, Arouolo Isreal, Aldof Perez (which is the USPS one). I still have cash left and was never given instructions for the balance. Please contact me so I can do something correctly instead of being a fool. I should have listened to my gut. Oh this guy says his mother was from UK and father is US citizen and they passed away in car accident about 6 years ago and he moved from PA to AZ. For all I know this could all be lies. Hope this doesn't happen to anyone else as think my credit is really screwed up now.

If the scammer knows your credit or bank account numbers, you can contact your credit card company and bank to change the accounts and protect your money and personal information.

You can report this person to the Western Union Western Union Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492 MoneyGram Customer Care Center at 1‑800‑926‑9400.  You can help other people by reporting these details to the FTC's law enforcement database. Go to FTC.gov/complaint and enter the information, and law enforcement agencies can use it for investigations.

If you need more information, send another comment to this blog.

Dear Credit Card Scammed: Could you send a message to the FTC at BlogInfo@FTC.gov? We have a question about the USPS package. Thank you.

American soldier stationed in Nigeria, Cole Thomas. He hooked me on Tinder. Divorced by an unfaithful wife. Shot by terrorists and he needs money for blood and FRUITS !!! Watch out for him.

A very handsome guy by the name of Patrick message me on POF. I automatically figure something wasn't right. So I tried to take a pic he sent me and drop in on image search nothing came up. So he talked to me on there for a few days and then asked for my number. I gave him a different number and when back on POF a week later his profile was gone. I was like ok something isn't right and he give a this story how he in west Africa for work and will be back in a week. Then when it came time for him to leave he " lost his wallet the week before" and can not pay departure tax. As well as a sob story of having a son and the mother killed herself. Then asked for $1500 and I said I don't have it. He went on to say he can't cash his check it's to big of an amount and sent a pic of a a check made out to him. But what bothers me is he is really sending pics of someone's child and that's not cool at all.

How do you do an image searching

Dr Franklin Scott - UN Embassy Orthopeadic Surgeon . Widow . Home base LA . Working in Yemen . Has a son in boarding school in LA.
Wants to marry me after 3 days texting . Not asked for money - yet .
Anyone recognise ?

Anyone heard of guy named John Scot

There is a guy out there calling himself Curtis Patterson from Canada or Tampa, Florida, recently widowed he is a scammer too! Do not engage with him!

beware of a scammer which uses the name of Michael Prather of Rhodig fom FB/ Twitter. He also uses Murray Prather. He pretending to be deployed in Nigeria, Camp Sambies as a Ssgt Spec Forces. BEWARE....

is it possible a man needing minutes for his mobile needing itune cards is that normal?

No, that is not normal. That is a scam. The only place to use an iTunes card is at the iTunes store, to buy online music, apps or books.

So what are i tunes card used for when they adk for them

You can use iTunes card at the iTunes store, to buy online music, apps or books. Or, you can sell an iTunes card to someone.

I found that hard to believe when I was asked as well and the first time I did it, he said it was his birthday but it was only for $15 and and he was like is that all you can afford?

Does anyone know Jack Smith Alex? Facebook account does not match his voice. Grammar. He shows he has 2 girls. However in talking to him he says he is a young man African American. Then the conversation changes saying he has a young boy and wants to bring him over to the states for schooling. However I think he wants me to take care of him. I have never heard such a thing. Is that illegal without legal documents?

Does anyone know of a Jack Smith Alex I sought him on Facebook but what he is been telling me I don't believe he is true. He starts all nice and everything and then later comes on strong with love words and wanting to hook up and everything. He had asked me to go to hangups. I did. He will call but his voice did not match his picture. As time went on he tried to ask for money. Making me feel guilty because I was not sending it. He claims he had to two girls Jenny and Lisa. I believe him but as time went on and I guess He got tired of me instead of being Caucasian he later changed it to a young African American man then telling me he had a son he wanted me to take on and care for him and everything like he was my own and he said he was from Nigeria. Later he started getting aggressive and I kept pushing off. His cite needs to be shut down in Facebook. Its a false person or it could be a ring. In having conversation with this person his voice does not match the picture. He originally stated he was Australian he did not have that accent either. Now he wants me to take care of children that don't even know me or have legal grounds of taken. I have not met this person or persons online. Ever. He has asked for funds for plane tickets and that he was an oil rigger stuck out to sea. He calls me his wife and we never married. I think he is insane. Nice looking pictures of him and the girls. So beware. Scammers are out there.

Ladies beware of two men same alibi but different names are paul james and peter clark both say they have kids and widows

Has any man out there dealt with a Tasha Green claiming she in trouble in Ghana. Or Jessica Devil saying she In Turkey and need funds for airline ticket or visa?. Etc.

A woman named Deborah Gattuso romanced me for months. She flew to S. Africa to retrieve paintings her deceased mother left. Prior to leaving said she forgot her card to pay for flight back to New Jersey. Asked for my help..said I don't have funds for that. Agreed to have check sent in my name from client who owed her money. Check from bank in Hawaii for $4700. My bank thought it Legit. Gave me the money and I used MG to send to S.Africa . I acted to fast. My bank notified me maybe 5 days later that memo said refer to maker concerning check.c heck is fraudulent. She somehow erased all email conversations and pics she had sent and never heard back since. I was falling in love yet got duped

Beware ladies of a scammer by the name of Walters Bruno. Big time scammer!!!

I've had them ask me to get them iTune cards cause they want to play games. Is this a scam too?

I met a military guy on the Tagged dating site and quickly he fell in love with me and was ready to settle down with me. Yes I fell for the sweet words and a then the conversation went south. He was shipped off to Russia for a month which turned out to be longer and all of a sudden he needs a ITunes card just to keep in touch with me and and I did it once and now its constant, so I just happened to run across ITunes being used for scams and I learned a lot. I went off on him and he begged and pleaded that he was using it to stay in touch with me. Well Nathan Gattison, I have done my research on you buddy and I reported you!. Heart broken, yes but a lesson learned. Ladies some of these scammers will get upset if you don't help them and please don't help them, I was almost to that point of helping this man out and he was using me all the time.

My scammer is Newtownfarmboi and goes by the name is Jacinto Oliver. Meet him through OurTime. Born in Venice, Italy and raised in France. He says he owns his own business and is a radio Mast contractor " Also has a livestock business. He lives in PA but moved from California when he lost his wife. Says he has 2 kids and 2 grandkids. Provided a website address for his business, site seems to be fake. He is very romantic and a smooth operator.

On business trip to Dubai, found himself in need of money to finish the work for his "contract." All my reasonable suggestions were not possible. His bank account frozen, college student daughter couldn't put her hands on enough money, son in country "off the grid" and unable to communicate, company who contracted with him couldn't help, etc. I could go on and on. When he finally asked me for the money, I asked for full name, address, and SS#. He balked at that big time. Why'd I need that information. I told him bank requested it for identification purposes. No banks, he insisted this was to be a personal loan that he would pay back in 72 hours with interest. That is when I knew what I suspected- a SCAM. Despite multiple pleadings from him, I wouldn't send the money. Not surprisingly, he cut off all communication with me. Guess we aren't getting married LOL!

This is almost identical to my experience with Jacinto Oliver. Romantic, expensive gifts. Needed money for hospital bills while sick in Dubai. Broke up with me when I would not help. Same deal. Daughter couldn’t help and son in Japan.

Am talking also to a man from LA he was marine engineer working in Texas in the island about about pipespines and he asked me itunes gift card too.His name Bernard Amstrong

Jack Lockwood in Afghanistan. Asking for itune cards. I sent him some already before I started to question and look up information on scammers. I gave up to much information to him already. I feel so stupid and confused.

This guy definitely needs to be investigated.

Scammed by Mark Johnson claiming he is a construction engineer, lost his wife in an accident, has a son aged 18.he promised to do very expensive shopping after claiming he had fallen in love.The parcel was to be sent to my country, Photos of the items and a receipt were sent through facebooks.on the arrival day,some funny phone number called me to send money for custom clearance in a rush,i told them to give me time to look for money,this scammer would still chat with me to hurry up and get the package by clearing a certain amount as custom duty,that's when i became suspicious, when i asked him to call me he said heqas in a noisy place, but would tell me he had called the people at airport and asked them to allow me to pay half of the amount. That's when i switched off the deal.couldn't believe it!!!

My scammer's name is Micheal Murphy (Yes, Michael is spelled wrong) That was one of my first clues. He started talking to me via Instagram. His profile picture is of a very handsome heavily tattooed white man. Says he is 52 years old, he is a Civil Engineer, he currently lives in Queens, New York but is originally from the UK. He just lost his wife 3 yrs ago and now its just him and his 16 year old son Alex, who is currently in Boarding school. I was very suspicious since the get-go because I just thought it was so odd for someone to use Instagram as a dating site.
So he starts saying how beautiful I am, and how he has now practically found his soulmate, and how he wants to marry me, keep in mind this is like 30 minutes of messaging back and forth. i tell him I am 39, then he says its ok, Age is just a number. Another thing that tipped me off was that he insisted I install a messaging app called Viber. So I looked into and I saw its a app that allows you to make long international calls for free. I thought, well if you are in New York, then you wouldn’t need this, right?
he insisted I always message him. Also, you can tell English is not a language he dominates well by the way he writes. It just so happens that the day he writes to me is the day he is going to see Alex…get this, he says he needs to see Alex because he needs to give him “money and chocolate”.
Also, he kept referring to me as “Dear”. The worst is when he told me he loved me and was sooooo concerned about how i felt about him. Since this all seemed very suspicious I decided to do a bit of research and found these posts. All stories are similar, so I was like ah-ha, I was right, my suspicions were right so I blocked him. I did not give him a chance to ask for money.

Sounds a lot like my scammer. An Engineer with bad English and ‘age is just a number’ line

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