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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

Anyone hear of a scammer named Charles Morrison

Anyone scammed by Charles Morrison

Doing it to men too. Friend had these women asking for iTunes cards. That happened to me too. I just so happen to have one for 25 bucks and then I thought about it I thought you know I want to use it myself that made him very very angry. One fellow’s last name is Liam the other fellows name is Randy Doug. .. both in Turkey & needy. Oil rigs I’s their job. Or so they say. .. They get on defensive quickly Ha I used my own iTunes card. Don’t be fooled by these creeps

Dear ladies, I pray you all smile real soon. It's horrible going through your comments. The journey to finding a soulmate is not really easy. While it's true that some people get lucky by not getting hurt along the way, some get hurt. It is being harsh on yourself when you lay much blame on yourself for being deceived. We only live to love and be loved. Everyone deserves to be loved as much as they've loved. Therefore, whoever that has toyed with your hearts will surely meet their doom. Pls, be very careful and don't let your loneliness make you fall for someone who cannot catch you. A lot of good people are out there searching for love. Be patient enough and look for them (they might even find you first). You cannot pay someone to love you. So stop sending money to people who claim they are in chains and want your money to unchain them so that they will come and love you. You are worth much more than that. Someone should spend to come home to you. Whatever that happened to you is already in the past; you are still valuable and the earlier you start seeing this value, the better for you.

Pls stop thinking that Africans or Nigerians are all scammers. We have a handful of them here, yes, but most of us are hardworking people who hate hurting others. Again, most of these scammers may be close to where you are and may want you to think they are far. If you have been scammed before, don't hate everybody. It's life: crazy things happen. Trust but be cautious. Love but be proud. Give but be wise. The God of love will surely put that sacred smile we long for on our faces.

Thanks to all these blogs and comments, though it is a bit late that i found this site, it is very helpful and made me aware the man i am chatting with is one of these scammers. 

Very well spoken, grammar is very good and talks well but never talks on cam or send new photos. He even has a linkedin account that looks real and IG and multiple FB account, photos looks all real but mostly old and will try to send them one by one on a case by case depending on the topic that you are talking just to get to know you and get your trust. 

Mark Austin claims to be in Australia, has his own house in Houston, 1 son 11 yr old, 2 yrs widowed, no more family as all died. Mother Australian Father French. In his Linkedin shows very impressive informations and looks a real one, worked at KBR. IG account has very few post, acct name: markaustin3232 not sure how they are able to take and spread those stolen photos. If you look at his IG he is very handsome and will fall in love with his smile (I wished he was real) 

Good luck ladies and pls spread all the word.

Has anyone been scammed by a Lucas minter? He says he is a flight medic in Nigeria. He has many pics and I've tried to do background and pic checks but I can't find anything. He says he had to delete his Facebook due to military privacy

Hmmm , I was talking to a guy name Lucas Minter we met on an app called MeetMe he claims he’s in the army he’s a Flight medic deployed in Nigeria he would send me pictures of him being in the army I couldn’t find anything wrong with the pictures he asked me to send him some money cause he lost his bank Card and the money would help him get home he asked if I could send him 400 dollar and I did but after a while I noticed something wasn’t quit right , I never heard his voice before but we always texted it started to become strange I felt I was a victim he kept asking me to open up new bank accounts eventually I stopped talking to him cause I felt he was a Con artist please stay Away

I just started talking to this guy and luckily catfish is a show I like to watch because he just asked me for money because his leave from the military was granted and he needs to get home but is broke. He also sent me a picture of a passport and says I am safe with him. Piece of scum! I wish there was a way to get him in trouble!

Hi im talking to a guy same reason he said he lost his bank card.i showed him a fake passport using lucas minter i that i found im one page of scammers,said he is friend with that person(the real one) he even send me a cell number to contact to make sure he is the real lucas minter( he mentioned someone is using his name)and i am also telling this guy that if is friends to lucas that means he is a scammer too.and he got mad at me for accusing him.

Hi, I know this is 2 years later, but I am currently talking to a Lucas (unsure of what his last name is) that I met on a dating app. He is also in the Army and says he is stationed in Africa. May I ask what it was he tried to scam? We have only been talking for about a week, but as of right now I havent had anything like that happen and would like to know if it may be the same guy?

Thank you

Anyone heard of Spencer Mendoza??? Says he’s in Syria...

Hey it's not just men it's women too

I met a guy who is a journalist working in Syria, recently he said he wants to quit his job due to the unrest situation but his media company does not allow him to do it, and he has lawsuit with that company. Finally he won the company and he claimed that he needs money to buy flight tickets from Syria to other safe countries to unlock his bank account to transfer the wages back to the company as he made an agreement with it that he needs to pay back his wages. I don't know why the company can pay his wages in lump sum, is it reasonable? I don't know, he said he's from Canada and he's now asking 3600 USD for buying flight tickets, i told him to ask his friends or colleagues and he said his colleagues are kidnapped and his parents are all passed away, he seems to have no friends. But i don't know why he can show me the proofs of his articles on the internet and emails with law firm and bank, Can they be faked?  middleastime. com/ en/ is this website real or not im not sure but he posted his articles on this net.......we just talked ard 1 month only......

Yes, email can be faked. Many kinds of documents can be faked.

If you just met someone, and he suddenly has money problems and asks you for money, it could be a scam. 

I believe that I am being scammed by someone posing as a celebrity. It started when I had liked and asked to join his fan club on Facebook. A couple of weeks later I get an invitation to join his private Instagram account. I was in awe, why would this person contact me? I did ask exactly that on the second day. He told me he opened this page for his fans to have one on one conversation and answer any questions. He was smooth and got me to open up right away. My husband recently passed away so I am vulnerable fight now. He built up my trust that it was actually him then dropped the bomb, he needed iTunes cards to fund a project he’s been wanting to do for a long time... but we can’t tell anyone yet. Over $1, 000 in cards ! Told him I really couldn’t but ended up using my cc to buy them... Thought that was the end when suddenly about 5 days later he needs another $500 worth, I buy $300.. in the meantime he’s chatting away with me but never anything romantic just how happy he was to have me in his life always asking about personal stuff, my kids, pets etc.. starting calling me dear and my dear, oh, after we were on Instagram and Twitter he asks me to switch to goggle hangouts too. I brought up the fact that he was so famous and rich why did he need me to buy his cards. He told me he couldn’t take a chance of anyone finding out about it. About 2 weeks went by and he says everything is set up but now he has to come up with $15k for the web designer could I help out. Told him I didn’t have that kind of money. He talked me into just anything would help. I finally reneged and gave in with $3k. What made me think this is all legitimate is the deposit needed to be in cash and I was given a name and account # to deposit to... I am very confused All signs point to scammer but the last thing confuses me. He’s so nice to me but I can’t believe he would want me in his business ventures (who the hell am I ??) What do I do.

You're right, this sounds like a scam. Scammers are smooth talkers, and they tell complicated tales about why they need your money.

A scammer might ask you to buy things for him, or deposit money, or send him money. He might ask you to help him transfer stolen money. If you send money to "help" him, your name will be on the bank account or wire transfer documents, and you could lose personal information or get in trouble with the law. 

You could stop communicating and block this person if you don't want to communicate any more. If you think he is a scammer and an imposter, you could report him to Facebook. You could tell someone at the bank where you deposited the money that you think this is a scam. You could report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint.

Has anyone heard of Thomas Smith? Claim to be a Doctor specialist in Bullet Surgery in Damascus Syria..He did not ask me for money or anything but the conversation sounds fishy And scary he claimed that God sent him to me...I laughed so hard...he also said he will retired next month and return back to America...He states he’s an American..he sent me photos as well and sounds very scary and fishy but so far he has not asked for anything yet but sounds scary I really don’t carry a conversation with him I keep it one or two words that’s it..and he try send me a friend request on FB and I deleted and he send me a msg through messenger that’s about it...He told me all he wants was honesty loyal and responsible..I started laughing at myself

Has anyone heard of a jude william richardson?

how about a guy named jerry fred

One must say that there is an equal number of women scammers I have met on line, but was lucky enough not to fall for their bait.
iTunes cards requests, inheritance scams (pay $900 for my inheritance of 1 million so we can live happily ever after) an emergency loan of $16k needed for business.
or just simple demand for money to pay bills. Oddly none of the women were willing to meet in person when asked to do so. As I said it I was wise enough not to give them a dime. I am through with all this on line dating stuff. It does not work. It works only for the scammers of both sexes.

How about a Rick Potter who supposedly works for the World Health Organization and is living in Iowa. Has anyone heard of him?

There is a Rick Potter saying he works at Walter Clark Legal Group, total fake scammer POS
affiliated with Elizabeth Hanna Jones

Jeffey W bullock? anybosy. says his wife died in an a car accident 4 yrs ago, 2 kids in boarding school.Needs money to finish a project in nigeria, has tons of pictures of him, in nigeria. he called bis accent was off,I finally after playing it, gave in and told him he was scamming, he still has his profile On FB, he tried to talk to me and said he was sorry etc.. Didnt fall for it.

Does anyone know Mike Ellisworth?

Yes we have problems i know him that him i dont know he be scam ask for my money all time ask fo google cards and he told me meet me never meet me

I met a girl on POF and she has asked for nothing yet she claims to live in a small community just north of my city and the she used to live in Pennsylvania her text messages come from an area code consistent with Penn but she is in Nigeria trying to get her inheritance from her passed father and that her father had put a Clause in the inheritance that she had to be married to get it . So what does this sound like to anyone reading this ? I'm a pretty smart person with an iq of around 165 + no joke but I'm not a lawer and don't know what I may get myself into any answers would be appreciated.

When I read all this, and I'm dealing with a scammer,too, I really don't understand why we cannot meet normal guys

Sounds almost familiar, tiffany marie Mandy was the name she introduced herself as 2¹/2 years $19,760.⁰⁰ grammar off the charts times without number

Anyone know of someone called Adam Jones based in Afghanistan ?

I have a friend who has and still is being scammed by a supposedly 35 year old woman named Wendy smith from Philadelphia who is in Nigeria they met on soulmates.com and have been texting only now for 3 or 4 months he has already sent 4000$ plus 2 Mac pros and an iPhone X all with in the past 4 weeks, he refuses to listen to his coworkers,friends,family that he is more than likely being scammed, I’m wondering if anyone has come across this name Wendy smith ? or have any info I can use to maybe wake him up before he’s broke Thank you

Hello anyone know name james terry

Or Timothy kadavy general in army

Yes I have encountered this individual myself. Said he was in Illinois, retiring soon. Deploying to Kabul for 5 months & has a 12 year old daughter. When asked of his current relationship Status he said his “marriage was shattered while he was in Syria”. A lot of inconsistencies, said his last name was Kepner then said it was his first name. Either way he was lying. His number was from a Philadelphia PA, again no consistency. When confronted he admitted he lied but attempted to call by phone because “he wanted to say goodbye” , to which I did not answer & blocked this person. My advice, google these high profile profiles & that will give them away. Kadavys photos clearly show a wedding band. That he was in different location than what was stated. I’m thankful I didn’t trust what I was hearing as it seemed too good to be true.

I went on match.com, joined, and put a short profile. I was answered by a man posing as Tom Gersten from Long Beach,CA. He emailed and called for two weeks.Said he was an architectural engineer, obtained a contract with a company named Tancheng. For over two million dollars to oversee building in Kenya. Job to be complete in 12weeks. Then I got a message from him saying he paid $25,000 to get equipment, but need $10,000 more to get the rest of equipment n order to do the job on time. I showed copy of contract to my attorney, he said stop corresponding immediately. I did email Tom again, saying he’d broken my heart. Of course he apologized and said as soon as the job was done, he would fly here and we’d get married and travel. His parents were from Germany, he had one daughter, in college, and his wife died five years ago. He had sent pictures, and I was very impressed. But after him asking for money, I told him I knew it was a scam, and I was blocking him. He said it’s ok, he hopes I find happiness. If he hadn’t asked for money, I probably would have believed all his claims of love. His voice didn’t sound like I thought someone who had lived in the US for 18 years would sound. He said after his parents died, he moved in with an uncle in Italy. Still, the voice sounded more foreign. I’m afraid, it is someone in Nigeria, who stole a persons pictures from Facebook, and possibly another person’s name, put them together, and uses that information to scam people. If I had been really talking to the man in the picture, and believed all he said, it may have gone much further.

Hi, I think we are talking to the same guy here. I have been talking to the guy for 2 months now. I just received and email from him this morning telling me that customs won’t release his equipment after he paid $20,000 and now they are requesting he pay an additional $10,000 for clearance. If he doesn’t pay they will demurrage his equipment and he can’t afford that. He then told me that he might do something stupid and if he does to please find someone who will take care of his daughter for him. He is also in Nigeria on a contract that he got from his agent.
The funny thing is that if his agent gave him this job why can’t his agent front up the fees for him to clear the clearance of $10,000.

Sounds like a similar story the same to me that he paid $52k and then he needed 6,000 more to clear the materials. I told him no I was not paying that money and then he said he wanted to wire me money to my account and I also said no to that.

Stay away from Tom. He is nothing but trouble. He has been working this angle with me over 4 months and will not give up.i will not answer any emails from him I have blocked his calls. Lady's stay away unless you want hurt. He stated when he get back to the state he will fly in to the closest airport and meet up with you.Then he will ask for more money.

Stay away from Tom. He is nothing but trouble. He has been working this angle with me over 4 months and will not give up.i will not answer any emails from him I have blocked his calls. Lady's stay away unless you want hurt. He stated when he get back to the state he will fly in to the closest airport and meet up with you.Then he will ask for more money.

Did he say he had a daughter, Hannah? Did he say he was working in Kenya? Does he have to get the job done by end of June? Did he send you pictures of him and his daughter? If so, I’d like to see if they’re the same he sent me.

Hi Lizabeth5and1,
Yes, I do have pictures of him and his daughter but I believe we can not share pictures on here. He told me is daughter is 7 how old did he tell you his daughter was?

He said she’s 23 and in college. Sent pictures of her as a teen, I looked her name up on FB and found more recent pictures. You can tell it’s the same girl. He’s down from 10 thousand to 1500 now, but I’m not sending it. Wish I had a way to get my email address or phone number to you. I thought he was very handsome, but the voice threw me.

Did he say he had a daughter, Hannah? Did he say he was working in Kenya? Does he have to get the job done by end of June? Did he send you pictures of him and his daughter? If so, I’d like to see if they’re the same he sent me.

A man by the name of Bob Scherer friended me on Facebook. Had me go to Hangouts to chat. Said he was a Psychologist & living in SC. He left for Syria a few days later with the World Health Organization working near Golan Heights as a Dr.
Soon afterward was no longer on Facebook. Said his wife died 5 years ago of kidney
disease, has no childrenn, no relatives or friends. To be coming back to the states in June. Went to Tulane University in New Orleans. Spent childhood in Europe.
I’ve been talking with him 3 weeks, today he ask for 3,800.00 to help support an orphan in South Africa. Told him I don’t loan money. Will see if he contacts me again. I’m wondering if this story is familiar to anyone else. He sent me lots of pictures
Can’t find any on Google image search, am wondering who this person could be.

A man named Jim Bols contacted me on Elite Dating.com He send a smile, I smiled back, he instantly invited me to hangouts to chat. that day is profile was gone form the dating site. His wife passed away from endocarditist. He was from the neatherlands, he came here to finish school, claims he is an engineer, designs oil rig platforms( haha) with in 3 years his wife, dad and mom passed away. He never had children because could not carry them. Poor fella all alone. We have chatted about 2 weeks I asked several times to meet him always changed the subject. He is leaving for New York this weekend. something is just not right here, I did some investigating of my own, a lot of the things he wrote are right off the internet from scammers. I did an image search and guess what there was the same man only his name was Steven. I confront him told him the gig was up and he had the nerve to get mad at me. Than he thank me for letting him know that someone was using his pictures. I told there is two ways to proof they belong to him, face time me and or my daughter works in cyber security, I can get het to look into it. Never heard from him again

I have been talking to someone called larry james williams he is asking me to send money to his lawyer in the usa because he needs to get out of yemen where he is working as a neurosurgeron. His wife died along with his family and has a daughter in boarding school. He wants to come out to australia to marry me and tells you he loves you and calls you babe.

Rachyree...he also uses the name Kevin Williams and purport to be a trauma doctor on a contract with the UN in Yemen. Widower with a 12 yo daughter called Rose who is in NY. I have been exchanging messages via FB with him for three weeks to gather as much evidence as I can. He will not get away with this.

Met this guy on International Cupid. Goes under the name Tony Globe. Globe being because he travels. Ex French Navy. retired of course. Gets me off the dating site onto Skype. Professes he is falling in love with me. Then Bam! Suddenly on a business trip, he loses his credit card and needs money. Told him to call and they will wire him emergency money. This happened to me years ago and Am Ex was great about it. Nope, some problem with that and now he is stranded in Mali. Poor guy. live.tony.mglobe is his Skype beware. the pics he uses are mighty tempting but stay away!

Ok so my situation happened by happenstance. I texted the wrong number and he struck up a conversation..He said he was from Houston. He kept calling me dear. Sent me a picture. I wish I had investigated the background FIRST. He’s standing in front of Zenith Bank with a Western Union sign behind him. Zenith Bank is in Nigeria. I hate liars. He got my name, my age, my state and a normal picture me. I got LifeLock tonight. So disappointed in humanity sometimes.

Joseph Jones is a scammer. Says he recently moved to Seattle, widower, then a woman broke his heart, he is an engineer, quickly had to go to Bahrain for a job before we could meet... Came on strong. I noticed there was a "canned" feeling to a lot of what he wrote and then when he responded to a question from me his spelling deteriorated.

Omg I think my cousin has been corresponding with him!

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