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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 met online a guy named andre hernandez. he claims to be a usa military pilot. his wife passed away from breast cancer. he has a son 6-7 years old. I told him about scammers..so far he has not asked me for money but no wife..no parents (both died) so weird. he owns his private helicopter...something is not right here.. he said he lives in florida departing to kabul today

Has anyone ran across Army Sgt Palerma Oxley stationed in Kabul?

David Deluca on Spiritualsingles.com. He sent me many photos and had a beautiful speaking voice. Claimed to be a commodities broker living in Aurora, CO working on a huge oil deal. Romanced me with beautiful poetry and some Rumi poetry (one of my favorite 12th century spiritual poets). He is amazing at what he does. Romanced me for three weeks, even sent me flight itineraries via tex (but they had no confirmation numbers). They were even actual flights! He finally sai he was at Royal Bank of Scotland and needed money. Please be careful, these scammers are great at their games. NEVER send money. Do not give your heart to someone you have not know for many months and met in person. Watch and wait. If you heart is broken, find a good therapist, books, a good support system. I did not get taken and I am so thankful.

Have been talking to someone on a mental health support chat room for a few months. He never asked me for anything and I was the one who came to him. He never asked me for money. Then someone private messaged me and said "this guy is an alcoholic who visits girls from these chat rooms and stays at their places without paying / uses them for money." I don't know what to think. First of all, I would never allow this man anywhere near my home. I also heard he is about 5 years older than he says. Does this sort of thing happen, too... not 'online' scamming but perhaps starts online and someone just manipulates girls into helping him? I know this person respects me enough never to ask me for money or a place to live. I 'offered' (OK, I'm stupid, lonely) and one day he joked about coming here but ultimately we never really talked about it. We spoke 3 times on the phone and he never calls or texts me.

I still miss him :(

Not sure, are you getting over the liar yet? Remember, it is NOT the person you were presented with, it is a gang of thieves. And you get heartbroken because they are insidious. I truly hope you stay strong, and cut off and stay away from them. Please listen to your brain, not your misled heart. Finally, pray. Pray for wisdom, pray for guidance, and keep reading these, and all will become clear. Best to you 2018, you won't be lonely any more.

anyone know of a man harris martin?

Does he say he's from Jacksonville, FL? If so, google his name as he's listed on other scammer sites. Please don't send money or goods to the scammers. Block and delete is your best defense.

Does anyone know of a Raymond Becton who works on an oil rig in Gulf of Mexico . He supposedly lives in Jacksonville Florida and has a five year old son. He was also stating his ex wife cheated on him with his best friend.

am currently dealing with a man i met on tagged,he is no longer on tagged.his name is George stockstill he says he is currently working at Libya as an us army.we just sharing pictures says he will come and meet me once they are done in april,,could this be a scam

Beware of Michael Andrew Wilson aka Michael Dermott. He uses the photos of a real military serviceman and has been spotted on yahoo, tindr, kik. He contacted me through Hinge using the same photos. Be wary, be safe.

I have been chatting with Michael Dermott for 3 months. He has a way to make you fall in love. He asked for money for his cell so he could still talk to me. Then he decided to come home to me and retire and we would raise his son Ben together. I sent a total of 2000$. Maxed my cc’s and some savings. The hard part is I’m going through a divorce and he fed right into my head & heart. Now I’m devastated!!!

Has anyone heard of a Bolton Carter Arroyo, claims he is in the Marines first in Syria and now in Iraq. Always needs money, started out on Instagram, now only on hangouts, according to him. Please any information, he is no where on sites, except for twitter a long time ago. lol

I have been scammed also by this man called James Freeman, he ripped of my money but all thanks to ICP who helped me with investigation and recovery of my lost funds and with compensation from the scammer he is currently rotting in jail now, you can report to the ICP and if you were scammed too

Hi Shirley, Can you provide the full ICP site address?
I was scammed hugely, please help. Thanks.

what is ICP? can't find the website. .... WOuld you please type it out? thanks.

does he use the name Alexander Freeman

i only been 1 months in 2site dating -Tender & mingle2. I soon rec Hi msg for 3different guy and this are their story

1-offhore guy Sean Lianng - sent parcel that i need to pay 4500. Just text back :I wont pay anything n u can take back the parcel to their owner.

2-marine guy Dave Nichols asking for leave. i checked no such thing as on behalf for military asking for leave n need pay USD200 using Western Union. i didnt pay n he was upset saying didnt love him as he does

3-Charles William from England saying he just arrive at airport but need deposit 2000 for active his card credit. Again i didnt pay n he mad for made him stuck at airport. Well i did ask send me his pic at airport. he cant provided me the pic

I'm receiving the romance scam form "women" contacting me through Facebook Messenger. Their message is HI. I then accept them and some time in the first 24 hours they tell you that they are in love. Three to five days later they ask for $50 ITunes cards as gifts. The first woman I met asked for a $50 card but I could only afford to buy a $25 card. I purchased it through Walmart online. I bought the digital card and gifted it to the woman. She received the information only the activation number would only work for her phone. She was furious and demanded that I go to Walmart and buy the card itself then take a photo of the access code number and send the photo to her profile. What she got was me Blocking her access to me and got rid of her. I've had 4 meetings just like the first. Everything is the same situation except for one who begged for a $250 ITunes card. I'm getting rid of the fifth scammer now. I've been dragging "her" along for a month now. I promised her $100 ITunes card when she asked. Scamming the scammer. This last one also asked the name of my bank. I did a search for names of banks located in my area then chose a name at random. Then I sent her an email explain that I chose the name of the bank name by chosing a name from a list because I didn't know her well enough to share that information. That's my story.

I met a guy on Facebook as well. Sounds similar to a lot of these other stories. He said ihe is the military on special assignment. Talked for while and now he wants me to send him money for his birthday. Claims he has money but he can't make withdrawal while over seas. No I didnt give the money and don't plan too.

Sadie ifnyou don't mind sharing where and what branch of military and when was his birthday?

I have been dealing with my mom being scammed by a guy who says he is in the Navy, keeps asking her to send money to a supposed bank in Nigeria, also keeps asking her to send money to his supposed son in school in Africa. His supposed son that needs to get home from school in Africa back to the United States and the son will supposedly come to live with my mom.

I am so tired of telling her that she is getting scammed by this guy and other people telling that he is scamming her. She believes him over her own family. We do not even have our own place cause of her getting scammed. We live with my grandma and my Uncle in my grandma's house.

It is the point to where I can not even afford to pay all my bills and so I charge my mom half of the bills that are her responsibility but cause of this guy I do not get the money from her to help pay the bills. I have to rely on my grandma to let me use her credit card to pay the bills that I can not afford and it is ridiculous. I am at my wits end on what to do.

I know that she has sent over 2,000 or more dollars to him and his supposed son. She just sent 350 dollars yesterday to his supposed son.

My mom is 64 years-old, disabled and receives SSI for those disabilities. I, myself am a 42 year-old disabled single mother of a beautiful 15 year-old that is effected by this most of all because of my mother doing this I am not able to get the things that my daughter needs or wants and that makes me really upset and angry.

Any suggestions on what I can do would be helpful about this situation.

You can find resources for older adults and people with disabilities at eldercare.gov or call 1-800-677-1116.  You can find local agencies that help people with housing, elder abuse prevention, financial assistance and other needs.

My friend is seeing someone. Met on POF. I believe it's a scammer it's only been two months and he's had her make two transfers but he's also made arrangements to meet her and he has. Can he still be a scam. Everything else doesn't seam real it's the meeting is what scares me.

My sister met someone online....my sister was widowed 2 years ago and this person she is talking to states he is widowed. He stated he is from New Zealand his Wife unborn child and daughter were all killed in a car accident so he moved to OH. States he is an architect/interior designer and just left for Cyprus. Stated there was a bad accident at work place because he was in a rush to meet my sister and 2 people were killed and a man was injured. States it is a Muslim area and they are detaining him. He supposably able to make a call ....him and "lawyer" called my sister asking for 42k to release him....and then changing to 10k by this friday....she is believing this because his "lawyer" stated that he would be persuctured to the highest measures .... she also believes because this guy Greg Sylvester the "architect" had her sign into his bank account and transfer money over to himself because his computer got damaged. I am sick to my stomach about this does anyone else have this same type of story or names that match. Thank you!!

I hope your sister has since stopped communicating with this vile person. We started communicating via text and phone calls the end of July. I went back on Zoosk after breaking off a new, but uncomfortable relationship with another man who now looks like a Prince in comparison! "Greg" wanted me to text him off the site, so I did. At first I was elusive since I had so much going on in other areas of my life, and he seemed a little odd. Then I thought the difference was due to difference in cultures between US and New Zealand and the differences in our types of work. So I gave it another chance and because he was being so nice, not too pushy to meet, and patient with me, I started becoming more interested. Same story, though. From New Zealand, lost wife and daughter in accident, "escaped" to states. LA first, then Ohio. Same occupation, and same international contract with mall in Cyprus. He allegedly had to leave early because they moved contract up and was so disappointed we hadn't met in person first. Dummy me assured him I wasn't going anywhere and committed to meeting him when he returned in 6 weeks. He had not asked for anything yet, and that would definitely have been my showstopper anyway. I hadn't asked full name yet because we were moving very slowly. When he sent poem, it was nice, but frankly corny. Then soon thereafter he said he wanted to send me something, so asked for my email. I gave him my work email, and it was a long love story on "what he wants our future together forever to look like." It should have been written by a woman, it was so romantic, and resonated with me. Maybe it actually WAS written by a woman. Regardless, last night when he "called" from Cyprus in the middle of the night because he wanted to hear my voice before I went to bed, he asked my full name, I did the same, started to do research, and here I am! If nothing else it shows how stupid and naive he is for using the exact same name a few times and thinking it wouldn't catch up with him! I was going to send a nasty text or email, but he's not worth it. Instead I blocked his phone number: 740-462-5408 and his email address: gregdaniels199@ . I'm sure he got quite a surprise when he tried to reach me today as he normally does...everything would have kicked back as unsuccessful and undeliverable. I hope he does something that truly does put him in jail. I do feel sorry for him though, truly. He must have a great deal of self hatred to have to do this to kindhearted wonderful women looking for a true gentleman. I hope it gives him some solace, because that's all he will ever have in his life.

Alexander Freeman hibernia Oil Fjeld is he a scammer

Received E-mail from "friend" introducing this man stating that she was trying to convince him to go on dating site when he saw my profile and was attracted to my picture. She gave me his E-mail address after telling me what a honest man he was. She stated she was going off the dating sight as her new partner asked her to. Sent E-mail introducing myself to gentleman named Alex Fleming. After a week exchanged phone numbers. He claimed that wife had been killed in car crash 6 weeks ago and he had a daughter in Ireland. Stated he was a structural enguneer and was bidding on contract in Capetown South Africa. After he went to Capetown he asked me to buy I-tunes card and send him the code. When I told him I did not have money to send him, he sent messages that I had hurt him and he could not be with someone who had trust issues. Hsve not heard from him again. After one month I felt feelings of love for him and am very disappointed that he evidently was a scammer.

same man but went by another name... wow

What other name does he go by?

Who is this other man’s name besides Alex Fleming? I reported him to the FBI.

I met the same man in Feb 2017.gave him a lot of money. He wins the academy award for best actor. I was very vulnerable going thru a divorce. Spoke to him for a year and a half. Trust me he is no good. Definitely not worthy of you. I hope he rots in hell.what a low lying piece of scum!

I have never been to dating sites but one day I received a friend request from a man named Philip Gabriel on Instagram so I accepted it. This guy later on started writing to me through Instagram. I didn't want to be rude so I answered him back and he wanted to start chatting through Hangouts so I did and we became close through the chats to the point I fell for him. He says he lives in Jacksonville Florida. He says he is a Sgt. in the Army And works on the base there. He told me he is originally from Sweden but him and his mom moved to the states when he was just a little bit after his dad passed away. He says his wife passed away during child birth. He has 2 children. He has not asked for money. He wants me to come and visit him in Jacksonville. He sent me photos of himself and his children and photos of him, with donald trump and a photo of himself in Washington dc. And also a video of himself at one of the emergency conference on hurricane Harvey he was very convincing. I have talked to him twice and he talks very good English but he does have an accent. But we did get into an argument and we haven't wrote to each other since. I miss him so much! I want to write him and check to make sure he and his children are ok since hurricane Irma came through Florida but haven't yet. HAS ANYONE EVER SPOKE TO SOMEONE BY THE NAME PHILIP GABRIEL THROUGH INSTAGRAM AND GOTTEN A SIMILAR STORY?

My story isn't about a man but is about 5 women who found me in Facebook Messenger. They show up with a message reading HI. It's an accept or decline add me request When you accept a message window pops up with the woman talking about herself then within 2 hours of talk she tells you she is happy to have met you and she thinks you are the man of her dreams and she thinks she is in love. For the next 3 to 5 days she writes about her love for me. The storyline is so close to every message that it seems they are copy and paste situations. Most of their messages are 4 to 5 words many of which don't make sense to my talking points. On the 3 to 5 day mark they ask for a gift. They want an ITunes activation code card in the amount of $50. One woman even asked for an ITunes card in the amount of $250 for a program she needed for her gem buying business. She was in Asia and the cost of the card is more where she is located and of course she would repay me when she returned to the states in 3 days. I got rid of her by telling her that the software for her business would be a business expense that she could use at tax time. I then told her that if she went to sites like Walmart online she could buy it cheaper than either her or me bought it at a store Of course every woman had some issue as to why their cell phones had problems and they couldn't talk or video chat with the mark. The last one found ways to increase the amount of the $50 card to $200 card. I've been playing games with her for a month now and stretching it to 2 months. I got the woman's profile page and downloaded the three photos that she had on the site that she claimed was her. I was given more photos and they were all the same woman. About a week ago I did an image scan of a couple of the photos on google search. I found search pages for the same woman along with photo pages of the woman. Many photos were the same photos that the "woman" sent me. It turned out that the information and photos belong to a Columbian Model Porn Star along with links of her porn movies. I showed the information and some photos that I downloaded from the photo page to the person in a messenger chat window. Did the person freak out. They are so fun to play with because they aren't very smart.

@d1hm They think they are smart but they ain't. They always end up slipping up somewhere. I'm talking to someone now that I'm not to sure about so when he sends me photos In going to try to do the image search to see what happens.

This guy sends photos and says he has a house in New Brighton New Zealand.

I was recently scammed by someone named Greg Daniel Sylvester. Supposedly from New Zealand and his wife and daughter were killed in a car accident five years ago. I met him on Zoosk where he gave me his phone number and asked me to text him. His profile and pictures look good for me so I did. We started talking on the phone every day. About two weeks and he wrote me a love poem. I thought it was suspicious but he was so sweet. He told me at the beginning that he had a contract in Cyprus. He was an architect and interior designer and was going to be doing a shopping mall in October. A week before we were supposed to meet he called me visit very upset and said that his contract had been moved up and he had to fly to Cypress that night. he promised to call me every day from Cyprus until he could come back. For three weeks he called every day. He then needed to order some equipment but because his computer and never made it from the airport asked me to log into his bank account to wire money to pay for the equipment from Turkey. With him on the phone I logged into his bank account and set the suppose it wire he promised to call me every day from Cyprus until he could come back. For three weeks he called every day. He then needed to order some equipment but because his computer and never made it from the airport asked me to log into his bank account to wire money to pay for the equipment from Turkey. With him on the phone I logged into his bank account and sent the wire. He then asked if I could send him a MacBook and iPad since his suitcase never arrived and he needed them for the job. He said his credit card had been held because he was in a foreign country. Let's make this a test he said. I foolishly sent to Cyprus the MacBook and iPad. About a week before the job is to finish he told me there was an accident accident at the construction site With the equipment he had purchased. Two men died and three were injured. He was now in a prison I needed to pay off the families. Asked me to log into his bank account again and send a wire for him. When I tried to send a wire it would not go through and said his bank account has been frozen. He started to sob on the phone why is this happening to me? The next day his attorney called me to tell me the dire news That if he did not get the money he would go to High Court and because he was not a Muslim he would go to jail for the rest of his life. He then asked if I could send the money? I told him I did not have that much money. He then asked for $25,000. I said I did not have that either. The next day he ended up spending the night in jail and told me that he had not slept and not eaten and was weak and tired. He then said for $10,000 they would let him go back to his hotel until his bank account was on frozen. I foolishly sent the money via wire to a bank in Texas to his attorneys suppose it friend who was going to money gram it directly to him. It was later that day I started researching much more than I already had. I realized I have been scammed. I waited and the next day he was supposed to be getting out of the country. Instead at the end of the day I got a text asking for $5000 to bribe the border guards so he could leave the country. I told him there's no more money. He then called me I did not answer. He called again I pretended to be very upset that I didn't have the money and would send it if I could. He started to sob on the phone and said he did not know what he was going to do. He still continue to tell me he was for real. I did some research into the bank site. It was SBS and see online.com. I looked at the account settings and the name on the account was Darius Wojcik. So I am putting both of these names out there to see if anyone else has had a similar experience. He still insists he's not lying and that when he gets back to the states he will meet me. I know that he is mine but it still incredibly hard.

I am so glad you wrote this, as I have just met this same despicable man. There were a few red flags, but he was so sweet, I believed everything hook, line and sinker! He's allegedly in Cyprus now, so he can rot there! After reading your story and another one about the same darn pig, dated 9/7/17, I blocked his number. He hasn't gotten so far as to ask for anything yet...was still wooing me and I was falling for it! What a creep! Thank God for this site, and thank you for sharing your story! I wish you could have found out about him earlier before you lost your money. Good luck to you!

Oh my god scammers are everywhere. Actually its my 4th time since i've been scammed by most US Army and The last one is Seaman. They're all asking to send money to them, but good thing i never tried sending money for them. The last one is that someone sent me a package with luxury gadgets, jewelries, louis vuitton bag and money contents inside and then before u can claim the package, u have to pay the Administrative Charge first and then it will deliver to ur home address. How will be so sure that ur package will deliver right away in ur home address if u settled the payment first without seeing the package itself. That's kinda scam right. Only the customs and postal office can hold package before sending it to ur home address. I hope i'd never encountered like this again or to every single ladies who looking someone for love. Pls be aware and dont be fooled by them. God bless to everyone.

There is a person who sent me pictures of a dating site, a doctor who sent photos posed with his children and some were with doctors scubs clothing. I skyped with him and he always had the same clothing on. He says shortly after we met that he was headed to Yemen with doctors without out borders..and skyped me from there..soon after he needed money saying it was his daugthers birthday and from Yemen he coudn't get into his account. Shortly after that, there was another sad story, he claimed to me his accounts were hacked and they shut his accounts down until an investigation was complete so he could not access his money and needed to pay his mothers bill to hospice who is back in the states in a nursing home. Both times I told him i didn't have funds to send him..after his second try and a lot of put downs from him how i am not a caring person...he vanishes. The guy on skype i chatted with, was the same guy in the pictures, but it's obvious to me, there is something very sketchy going on because he tried to get money out of me twice. I met him on mingle under the name i needgoodloe. I hear there is so much of this going on...beware..never give a penny, no matter how much u think this person is real...good men dont ask for money weeks or a month into chatting with you online...seriously..don't be stupid. Good and decent men would NEVER ask for money from you so face up to this point and get rid of that person your chatting with who is just a huge scammer.

By the way, it doesn't matter what name they use, the docto, who said he went to Yemen i just posted about, said his name was Bruno Diego...but they can always use a different name with a new person they are talking to..the email i have for him is gomez1990@ , his facebook page was diego bruno.

Need help pls.. my grandma has totally fallen for a man named mark anderson, wife died from a car accident, has 2 kids. He said he is very rich with properties in new york. An engineer for shell company, currently assigned in the gulf of mexico drilling oil. He has been sending pictures but has not done face time. He asked my grandma for money and sadly, she sent him $500 a couple of times. He claims he is wealthy. Both kids in boarding school but he is asking for money. Grandma can't see this as scam because she has fallen hard for this guy. Pls pls. Has anyone encountered this man?

anyone talk to a guy named John Meyer, says he lives in Miami Florida and wife killed in accident. Makes all the right lovey dovey messages and then says his son Mark is going to a musical camp in Africa.. Then few days later while son is there and say OMG my son's hotel was robbed and son lost all his money!! He supposedly works for an off shore drilling company in Scotland. Asks for 3000.00 to be wired over to his son!! He's sick about it. only one that can help him is me and when I say no I can't. he asks me to get it from friends or people at work. I just didn't fall off the turnip truck and I just play him and says oh no hun can't do that.. if this is the end of our "romance" then that's it. He says oh no honey but keeps pestering me for the $$$$. RED FLAGS all over the place.

Do you have a picture to share? I might have been with the same person, different name.

I have been talking to Bryan Brochu who claimed to be a widower from California who has a Sony called Connor and a disabled sister named Trisha Giede
Heeley made so many promises said his sister had lost her ID card so could I said some money as he was in Dubai trying to get a 7 million dollar contract he has several profiles using bbpacker bryan packer brochu using the same photos please be aware of him he is very good at manipulating women I had sent money via Western union to him he also asked me to take out a loan for him sell all my belongings my car he is a thief be aware of this man

He is currently trying to scam a friend of mine

Also uses James Anderson, bryannbrochu, bryanphillip112

I think I am dealing with this same person. Is there anyway to talk private about this? I need to know. Thank you!

Dealt with the same guy. He asked for $5600...denied him, then asked for $1,000...denied, then asked for $400 in iTunes cards so his "Elder sister Rosemary Jackson" could sell them for cash. Again denied him. He sent me a photo of him in a hospital bed today with the caption, see what you did to me. I replied, sorry, found you on a scam alert today. Have a nice life. He goes by Bryan Patrick Brochu, Bryan Nathan Brochu, Brochu Bryan N, Galvin... Told me he's from South Carolina on a contract job in th UK, but initially said Germany...would be home in 2 months and was putting property in my name and bought me a car with $47,000 he had left over from the purchase of his Range Rover. Sent me a picture of the car and it had dealer tags in Portland, Oregon with his son Connor behind the wheel when he was probably 8 years old...supposedly his son is now 13. Sent me pictures of his bank account and then 3 days later he notified me his account had been frozen for high security threat and he needed urgent help to keep his work going...,that was when I started researching him and found quite a bit on him including on here. STAY AWAY!

A guy claims he's a sergeant for the US Army and he's deployed in Afghanistan but he wants me to send him money to a person in Nigeria. He said if I don't send it then the FBI will come and arrest me. I got 2 emails from somebody saying they are a FBI agent but the email is from gmail.

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