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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

Please Help! I am currently in the process of helping a man named, Michael Bradley, currently stuck in Dubai, had me open an account and is transferring money into this account from his TIAA retirement account. The wants me to wire the money to him. I haven’t given him any money, but he does have all the information about me. This guy is suppose to live in Laurel, MD. Sent me several pics, his birthdate, address, his bank he belongs to...how do I find out if this is legit before I wire this money????

This sounds like a scam.

Some scammers find people online and form a “relationship,” then ask you to open 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 are helping someone, but really they are aiding and abetting a crime.

You can choose whether or not to cooperate with this person. If you gave personal information, decide how to protect it. If you gave a bank or credit card account number, contact your bank and credit card company and explain what happened.

Here is a list of warning signs of identity theft. If you see clues that someone is using your personal information for identity theft, report it at IdentityTheft.gov

I don't know if this reply will reach you on time but DO NOT SEND THE MONEY.

Legit or not, just do not send him money... We wouldn't go asking random people on the internet for financial help...

Update: I did not open the account, never sent any money and no longer talk to men on line...lesson learned!

Betty 1234 How can you identify anyone with a photo. They could be using someone else photos. And men will wear beards one minute be clean shaven the next. The whole thing is depressing. I think this is the price we pay for being able to use the internet. And I think that these date lines should throw off users who use that line for this kind of activity. On POF I have had men asked me for money for these iTunes and I tell them to do to hell. And they never want to meet anyone I guess that is because you could identify them. Maybe some of us of have just got to decide going it alone may not be that bad.

If you run across a Honduran man names Carlos Flores aka. Carlos Betanco. He also goes by the Gargi. Know that he is a sweet talker, will take you money, and he is infected with HIV. He has given it to four women in the Springfield, Virginia area.

Has anyone encountered a man by the name of James Hudson or Paul Hudson. He is from German decent and says he is from Maryland. He travels to Dubai to purchase gold bars. He is currently stuck in Dubai because he can’t pay the shipping costs but not matter how much I send him he says Starship express shipping keeps changing the prices. He also claims to have a 11 year old son in Ontario California who is being cared for by his aunt carol. I am out 35,000 dollars and my credit is completely destroyed , my bank accounts closed and I am so ashamed to tell my family. I feel like killing myself. I’m so scared and have no one to talk to about this. Please help.

I believe I have encounter this James Hudson. We met thru Match. Never met in person. He left for Muscat Omen - or so he said. Text and phone calls a lot. Said he was in the antique and rare gems business. Said the Port officials messed up the containers and delayed shipments. He said the officials then beat he and his team and took their passports.. I did send him $3,000 but he said that would only get 1 passport back. I had researched him but nothing came back. I mentioned romance scams and he said he was so sad that I thought that way. Calls me baby. That was just yesterday - digging deeper I found this website. Thank you. He's blocked forever.

I know its a couple years since you posted,but werid thing is some guy talked name james Hudson just started talking to me,he says he from military,has a daughter,he owns a house in delaware. He asking for money to buy toliet paper and hand sanitizer while in the military..real kicker he says it cost $200.. so not sure if the same guy but he did have POF account. I haven't sent any money to him, because i think its crazy.

I forgot to add to my recent post that he would ask me to send money by western union or money gram to the individuals below. Michael Adjei Kissi Country Ghana  Ransford Kuffour oduro Country Ghana  Name Samuel k. Mensah. Address GIFF Agency block Acvgo Airport,Accra-Ghana. Solomon Sabah in Ghana

i totally hate it

, I met guy at zoosk on line dating, he told me eginner drilling at Galveston Texas but his Canadian his send it me his picture and his daughter picture, the picture same like his posted at dating side one day his told me he has trouble can not connect to his account because his work at shore gulf mexico and the bank not believe him because he is in gulf mexico his desperate for pay his employee and his send it me wells forgo bank for deposit the money and after that come out the other history his daughter get sick and he need money more and his send it picture his daughter in mexico cose his daughter traveling to mexico and get sick, and I told to him contact your counselor the mean Canadian counselor and his mad to me for what???he ask me money and want me deposit to wells fargo but with different name in the account and I told to him the money I have I use it for pay my truck service he is not happy why not help him for his daughter sick in mexico, but one day his ask me for open his account balance , I try the web site his send it to me I am not find it the name the bank in Canada but his send me more the web site the bank and his tell to me copy and paste from his email and finally open but I have question I open that same address in internet does not open but he is barging me for send it money for his daughter in his account show up money with million but my question why his barging me money for 5000 dollar just for his sick daughter, when I told to him the money I have already use it for my truck he is not contact me more I ask to him why not use your money he had million and million in his bank he is not answer my question too and I was know this is a scam dating just look for money by love. Dating online real not secure may one of from a thousand people real, the company whose have dating web they are real make money because they are otomatickly took your money from your card and never have refund to you when you was joint with dating and when your member expire they are otomatickly take your money from your card and never refund that why they are ( dating on line company) make good money. They are selective the member they are just business for make money.

His name didn't happen to be Wilson did it.

i also fell for a us military man on facebook i was so blind so alone he told me he loved me called me wife and baby asked for money said he cant access his account he was in turkey then got transferred to nigeria to fight the boku haram like an idiot i fell for it i did send some money not alot but now he wants gifts watch silver chain etc i said no wants me to send it to his agent nope i said no more money no gifts nothing he shattered my heart im slowly healing his name is juan aragon says he is in i s a f in us military im done with online stuff no more

I had a person who goes under the names James Nguyen on Facebook. He told me he is 47 years old, that his late wife died of skin cancer and he is in Africa for a business trip to buy gold.after 2 days of chatting he confess he have feeling for me and after 2 week he want to get married.he want me to lend him 1000 dollar so he can trafer the money to buy the rest of his gold.he would pay me back in double cause he had a million dollar in his account. He lost his info so he could not withdraw. On the day he supposed to fly back to Texas he was robbed and lost his cell phone so he wanted me to send me him my credit card. When I did not send it he like you don't love me why would I want to still talk to you and come to see you lol. He was pretending to be a Vietnamese man from Vietnam that was a music teacher.

I hope ladies that you realize that people are not in love if they have not met you yet. Meet men quickly from dating sites for coffee. Only get close if u meet. If they are from other countries why bother its too far away. Save yourself heartache. Or scams

Anybody meet a Patrick Owen who lives in Brooklyn but sells" cars in Nigeria. Wants me to open account to accept wires then wrote to him in Nigeria

Yes my friend spoke to a Patrick Owen then she got scammed by a Michael Williams

Anyone heard of a Davis Roberto. Supposedly working on oil right in Mossel Bay South Africa. Can't find him on any social media. Says he's Italian. Wants to meet me when he gets off in a month's time. Told him to send me pics of him on the rig. I'm still waiting on his reply.

I was contacted by a Collins Roberto also Italian. Says hes from Chicago but in Sweden on business. A real charmer but watch out...he wants money because his passport was confiscated etc

ABOUT 8 WEEKS AGO I RECEIVED A FACEBOOK FRIEND REQUEST FROM A FRANK DAVID. HE SAYS HE IS FROM SOMERSET WEST AND AENT TO MOSSELBAY OIL RIG AS HE TOLD ME HE IS A PETROLEUM ENGINEER. HE ASKED FOR r15000 FROM ME, WHICH I HAVEN'T SEND. HE IS STILL ASKING ME TO HELP ME SOURCE MONEY TO COMPLETE HIS 30 MILLION RAND CONTRACT. HE MADE ME FALL IN LOVE WITH HIM, AS I AM BIPOLAR AND WAS SCAMMED EARLIER IN THE YEAR BY A MONEY LENDING SYNDICATE I RELAPSED FROM STRESS, SO AFTER BEING HOSPITILIZED IN SEPTEMBER I WAS VERY VULNERABLE AND WHEN THIS GUY STARTED TALKING TO ME ON WHATSAPP HE MADE ME FALL IN LOVE WITH HIM. HE WROTE THE MOST BEAUTIFULL EMAILS AND MESSAGES. SO THIS TIME I DIDN'T LOOSE MONEY LIKE WITH THE OTHER SCAMMERS BUT I AM NOW LEFT WITH A BROKEN HEART AND ARE BACK IN THERAPY AND BACK ON MY BIPOLAR MEDICATION. SO BASICALLY THE WHOLE OF 2020 I WAS USED BY SCAMMERS THAT MANIPULATED ME, BECAUSE THEY KNEW I WAS UNSTABLE DUE TO THE FACT THAT I STOPPED MY MEDICATION. SO NOW I AM CRYING OVER THIS MAN THAT OBVIOSLY DOESN;T EXIST

THE PERSON I WAS TALKING WITH WENT BY THE NAME BRIAN ON EHARMONEY. THE MANINTHE PICTURE ACTUALLY WAS DECEASED SO THEY USED A DECEASED PERSON IDENTITY. IT WAS VERY HARD FOR ME TO FIND THIS OUT LAST WEEK SINCE I FELT I WAS TALKING TO HIM FOR 4 MONTHS. WE CONNECTED BY PRAYSERS TO HIM SINCE I FEEL

Has anyone heard David Muller? He suppose to be from New York but all if the sudden he traveled to Canada.
He fell in love with me after few days talking and told me he inherited properties He is in construction, his wife died from cancer. After we talked couple of weeks he told me he lost his vallet and asked for a iTunes card so that he can submit his blue prints to the company he works for lol. Send me many pictures including picture of his driver license. I Google the pictures he sent me I can't find them anywhere is that mean those are his actual pictures? And he also told me His dad is German his mom is from San Diego.
Please help!

Someone by the same name just contacted me on my Facebook.
Sounds exactly the same. He is from Texas and he has 5 year old son and his wife died from giving birth to another baby

Has anyone ever had someone ask them to marry them , complete stranger. Won’t say anything about themselves. Says he’s the council elder to the Illuminati.

I’ve had two “girls” try to scam me now and a third trying today. Now I ask for a picture with them holding a sign saying “insert phrase” and the one today instantly blocked me hAha. The poor sentence structure is a good tip off. And the all to quick to fall in love is another

And if smart FBI said don't give them your full name or any of there.my son had his name stolen by a scammer and put on stolen credit card number and my son was told they have to take action against him because cause can't get them being overseas so watch yourself or you can wind up in jail or even prison for helping with any bank stuff like that or accepting checks to put in your acct that ends up being bad checks.

Hi. I"m from Norway, Dose anyone know about Christopher M Rey,jobs in afganistan, as othopedic surgeon for United nations.

This has happened to me too. He goes by the name Charles Gould, first started talking to him on Facebook messages, wasn't long before all of a sudden his profile page just disappeared, then after about a week he message me again telling me that something happened to his page on FB, so he talked me into going to Hangout app. And yes he started that I love you so much starting to call me honey and deer, sending me sweet little rhymes, he just about had me hooked there for a little while, until he started asking me to send him a iPhone card, I can't put in him off for a long time soundly I sent him a $75 I tune card. After that he started telling me that his wife died of cancer 5 years ago and he was raising his 12 year old grandson because his son died in a car accident. And he was a contractor for the government working on a oil rig in Louisiana, and he lived in California that is where his home was and he kept trying to get me to tell him that I would come live with him. That is when I started to be to be very careful ( you do not ask someone to come live with you when you don't even know that person I know I'm crazy but I'm not that crazy) then he started talking to me about all personal things credit cards things like that, when he found out I had a credit card like the next week all of a sudden his grandson was in an accident and had to have spinal surgery and he needed $3,500. He wanted me to send him my credit card number so his company could send it to his sister in California. (thank God I did not do that) so he did not text me for several weeks after that, then all of a sudden he started texting me again asking me to be partners with him in a business contract, with a company that sold Concrete in Africa, I knew that was not real. so that is just a little bit of what he tried to do to me, talked to my friend and she found this site that I am on, so realized he really is a scam deleted him off of hang up will not do that ever again, learn my lesson will not accept anybody on Facebook that I don't know.

Addition to what I said he is still contacting me and using 716- are code and getting ready to ask money for the second time ( I said no the first time).he is very good looking ( the man on the pictures) blue eyes, beard and says 57 years old has a 28 years old daughter and she is in medical school.I wish he was real

Do you have pictures? This sounds like the same situation my grandmother is in and we are just trying to get her to understand it’s a scam.

I talked to a man name Kevin Robert wondering if anyone out there has talked to him

I would like to give the names of two men who have been scamming...I made the mistake a year ago of falling for the first one.. but watch out on Match.com and also Words with Friends... it apparently happens anywhere today..
James Huckaby.. claims he lost his wife to Cancer and has a 16 year old Son. started with asking for an iTunes card and went to asking for large sum and to wire transfer to an "assistant"s bank account in Texas... Also Western Union and MoneyGram.. used another person's name to pick up the money in Moscow. be very careful.. he is brilliant at this..

Second one: was playing scrabble and you get challenged to play by strangers at times.. this man told me he is an engineer working on a rig in the gulf of Mexico and that he is widowed and has a son 16 years old... that he lives in Dallas Tx.
Asked for an iTunes card first, then he suddenly claims that his drilling machine needed repair so he could finish the project in another week... and asked me for 2000.00 and that I am his only hope.. that he would lose his job imminently.. I refused and he left from love to nothing.. so be careful ladies.. anyone who wants to get close to you online even on scrabble games can be a scammer.
the name here is James Lukas... claimed to be born in Milan Italy and grew up there.. but I am very sure this is yet another scammer..

Vintagegal. I was scammed also by James Huckaby and he found me on Match.com on Feb. 10, 2017. Would you contact me and be willing to exchange information with me. He called me two or three times a day for 16 months. I fell hard for him and he broke my heart and stole money legally by Robbery by Trickery. I filed a police report last March. He is a brilliant professional at this criminal activity.

Same story as you. As of four weeks ago he “has been in a camp for an oil drilling project outside of Moscow, Russia since Feb 29 2017. A contract job for private owners which was supposed to last 6 weeks and he claims to need $60,000 to get the job finished and come home. Claims he lost his backpack last March in Moscow and it had m$450,000 in cash and all his personal credit card, ID and passport. Was supposed to come to Los Angeles last year on March 29 (sent me the airline voucher ) and it was cancelled telling me the owners told him he could not leave til project was finished or they would sue him and not pay him. Told me the contract was paying him $750,000. He said he did not have any money. To buy food or eat. Etc. etc. etc. any reply to me is appreciated. Thanks.

Guys, I really need your help. I have an older brother who has a "relationship" whit a Chinese woman from china, he met online. He met her last November and they already say "I love you" to each other already. My problem with their relationship is she's always asking for gifts and and money to pay for school to teach her english. I really try telling my brother it's a scam but he's not buying it. About a month ago his "girlfriend" ask him for $800 to invest in a company in china. I forgot the name of the company he "invested" his money to but, He told me it's a Chinese company thats partnering up with Nintendo. Here's the tricky part now. He gave her the money and she says she knows a "broker". Now she's promising him a check for $10,000 and she's flying out to Chicago to visit him with his check. It get's even more trickier! When my brother was finally realizing all the red flags, he got mad at her. Again, she played with her heart. She asked for $60 for he "english school" but he said NO! A few days later, she sends my brother a picture of her plan ticket to Chicago. I downloaded a translator app on my phone. I took the picture and scanned it. Everything seems legit because the ticket says arriving to Chicago O'Hare. (Note that the plan ticket is in Chinese) Now because she sent him the picture of her plan ticket, he gave her the 60 bucks :( Can someone please let me know it's a scam and explain it so I can show him

Has anyone encountered a man that goes by the name of James Hudson. Says he is in Dubai and has encountered an issue with his shipment of gold bars. Doesn’t have the money to pay custom and document fees?

Yes - James Hudson is currently scamming me. Says he's in Musca Oman and officials took passports away because of shipment issues. Calls me baby and loves me ...blah blah. I did send him $3,000 he said that wasn't enough to get his team out.

Has anyone been scammed by a george hunter who claims to be a oil well contractor that has worked in Russia? Canada?

So hey i get messages from Nigerian Scammers on a daily basis and i used to get irritated however i have my own little story and i love it. I figure if they cant be real with us then they deserve to be hurt.

I think my sister is being scammed by a George Hunter, claims to be an oil contractor recently working in Russia. Has anyone heard of him.

I have the same siutation, i wanna warn the guy whose photo got stolen but couldnt find any. But i reported to police. Its spreading among Asia

The man I met on internet is a mystery. He is strong and rugged. Never married. He likes working on computers. I would like to think he is real. He says he wants to meet me. He is not in the states. Should I keep my guard up? When do we know that he could be ok.

I have just received this . Is it a scam please.
Hello honey how are you doing. Baby have contact my bank concerning my finance to be able to complete with my business here and come back home to you, but unfortunately they can’t do anything because I am supposed to be there due to so much security on my account. And also it’s my personal account so I have to be home to be able to control or withdraw money. But if they can help me then I must make a power of attorney to someone I can trust who can handle my money as in being my beneficiary and they could make wire transfer to such person on my behalf but it must not be outside the country but within the country or development country such is Europe,Asia,uk..I have thought very well about it and it’s only you I can trust so I have decided to write a power of attorney letter to my lawyer home and also to my bank with your name as my wife to be and also my next of king.This way my money will be transferred into your account then you can finance me with what I need here.all I want you to do for me is to understand and be willing to help me take this money from my bakers. Please this is the least you can do to help me here. I am not worried giving you my money because I do trust you and I love you so much.

This looks like a message from someone asking you to be named as his wife and accept money into your bank account.

You said you just received it, so I think this is not really from your husband or from someone you know. It looks like a scam.

Some scammers want to transfer stolen money, but they don't want to get caught with their name on the account. They find people online and ask their new friend to do a big favor and accept a deposit and transfer money for them. If you get involved with a scheme like that you could lose money and personal information. You could get into legal trouble.

Why are you all sending these Scammers Money, I'm talking to one and he has yet to ask me for Money, so far he said he is lacking nothing, But we have good Chatting and Emails so I'm going to ride this out and the minute he cross the line he will be deleted.

I wonder if Jack Smith and Coleman Alston are one of the same? At first I was talking with Jack Smith then he had me go out to hangout and his name changed to Coleman Alston. Is that fishy? He tells me he is out to sea and has no way to get to his funds and had asked me for itune cards or a vanilla card? Really?

I had 3 separated occasions on Facebook that 3 men try to scam me. 1st guy is Micheal Hilton he claim he is half Caucasian and half Latino and his job is Petroleum Engineers and he is a widow. that he want to get to know me because he have fallen for me. I did a reverse image search and found out he was using another guy picture, so I contacted the other person to let him know scammer are using his pictures. The 2nd scammer goes by Lee Bill Nguyen a Vietnamese single father who wife left him and they daughter a long time ago. In his profile he use to use the name James but later change it to Lee bill Nguyen. He is a business man that deal with uncut stone and has a daughter name Crystal. He claim he live in North Carolina, but when I ask what time it would be and he told me a 4 hours ahead time when North Carolina is just 3 hours ahead of me. The last clue i knew Lee is a scammer is he actually live in africa. The 3rd scammer he goes by the name James Nguyen a music teacher from Vietnam that is 47 years old. Who wife died from skin cancer and he is in west Africa on a business trip to buy gold to resell in the U.S. I actually fall for him. He had picture a couple pictures of him self and a group picture of him drinking with friends. We chatted for 2 days and he had fallen in love with me already and he talk about wanting to meet my parents so I just block him. A month later I decided to unblocked him thinking he would forget about me already. Surprise surprise Jan 19 James find me on messenger and ask how was I doing and decided to give him a chance to get to know me. He was the same way even more worse then before. He told me he had gift for me and that he in Africa that why he lost contact with me, but I told him I block you because you were creepy. He just tell me things like I mean everything to him and that he want to get married with me and how much he love me. After I told him I be his gf and I told him I love him. That is when I realized I was being scam he ask for me to lend him 1000 dollars so he can transfer the money to the gold agent so I told him to sell his kidney to the black market in Africa. He would pay me back in double because he have a million dollar in his account but lost his debit card. He even try to get me to send him my credit card because he was supposed to come home but was robbed so he need my credit card to come back to me. I told him no the card need to be under his name not mine and I sent him a application for a credit card lol. He all giving me this crap about how I don't love him anymore and he does not want to come home to me anymore. I also told him he don't need a credit card just call your family and friend for money. When he knew that am not giving my credit card to him he ask for my number. I wrote back your not even from the United States are you and he block me right away.

Please be careful. I was sucked in to a fake relationship the past few weeks, luckily I didn't fall for it. He used the name Brian Stone, he said he was a lieutenant with the US Army. He gave me a story about how his wife had died five years ago and he was just attempting to date for the first time. If you look at the classic scamming definitions we played right into it. He wanted to email off the dating site right away and he fell in love with me quickly. He wrote all the right things at all the right times. Then he asked for money, he said he didn't want to get me involved but he needed money to come home and he couldn't send it directly so he needed someone in the states to send it for him. I was to contact someone at the email address derek.j99 @yahoo.com, I never did. I told him I was not comfortable with the situation and I have not heard form him since. Just be aware, he uses the email address stonebrian44 @gmail.com as well as brianstone111 @yahoo.com.

A guy using the name of Frank Strait from Arizona, Ohio, Brazil and Sweden is scamming women. His picture is not him of course but a gorgeous Swede. I talked to him and his accent is deep African like Nigeria. Said he went to Brazil on business and got robbed and wanted me to send him $4267. I told him no of course as I knew he was a con. Ladies, please be aware of a Frank Strait or Frank Straits. Big time con.

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