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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

Hi Carlos, I met a guy on Linkedin, but he claimed to be a businessman. He sent me photos of him with nuce clothes but one thing common is some looked like taken from the gym. He asked me to assist him with 2000 tp 3000USD to save his multi million contract in the UK

Yes! Think its the same scammer on IG he is frankmark54 it is a very handsome guy. The scammer says he is in Dubai for work has a son named Scott! I can not find the real guy to warn him

My scammer sent me a friend request on Facebook. I accepted because we were the same religion. He immediately started texting me and told me he knew it was a sign from God and that he wanted to marry me. I thought he was crazy. He told me that I was the first woman he had talked to since his wife died in a car accident 12 years ago. He also said he had a a daughter who stayed with his mom. He immediately started telling me how much he loved me and he couldn't live with out me. He wanted to come visit me in the U. S. He said he withdrew $2000 from his savings and eventually asked me for $500. He said to come to the U. S. would cost $5500. I fell for him very hard and did eventually give him $500 which he promised to pay back but never did. He kept asking for more money which I didn't have to give him. He was on face book as Eric Dan but since has changed his profile and name. He told me his name is Daniel Odogbo which is probably a lie. He says he is 60 years old which is a lie as well. He has told me that he lives in Nigeria. I hope that no good slime balls like him and his buddies get caught and get a taste of their own medicine. It's a shame for them to take advantage of innocent women. This scammer had me wire money through Western Union to a fake agency by the name of Innocent Reuben. There were a lot of red flags that I saw but ignored because I trusted him and I had started to fall in love with him. What goes around comes around so I will be glad when he reaps what he is sowing. I wish I knew then what I know now. Lesson learned.

You can report the wire transfer to the Western UnionFraud Hotline at 800-448-1492.

David. mazagatti@ gmail.com contacted me on POF and apparently has contacted all the people listed here

Hi Sunny - I too was contacted by “David” I’ve only sent one email to him but his two replies seemed odd to me and I googled the email address and found your helpful snippet. Thank you for confirming my suspicions.

Wow...this is very helpful. David has been contacting me and ohhh yea has put on the charm in emails. Why do people do this. Like I'm that dumb to send money to someone. Thanks for the warning!!!

I did a bit of detective work. The man I had been talking to had one of his friends contact me too. I think he thought that would make me more likely to send some money (I sent none). Soon afterwards, I noticed on messenger that his friend's name and photo had changed. So I snooped around a bit at some of his other "friends". They all had written "It's complicated" for their relationship status. They all had more than one FB account, with slight changes to their names and sometimes with all new pictures. Their pictures never showed any family. Just a pic or two of themselves, and one of some scenery, a city, or something similar. They had all blocked you from seeing their friend list, unless you were on it yourself. They were all Engineers or Self Employed. Most of them had European-sounding names, were white, and middle-aged. Under the groups and things they were interested in, they had all listed almost the same things -- including a restaurant or two and a television station out of Malaysia. Which is where "my man's" emails originate from. Either these names and photos were all stolen by some Yahoo boys, or we have a ring of white middle-aged european guys running around carrying out scams also. All I know is that "my guy" did not sound like he was born in Ukraine and raised in the U.K.

Has anyone been talking with a man that says his name is “Jerry Lee Bell” from New York, New York?

ANYONE COME ACROSS A GUY WITH AN ACCENT, SAYS HE IS FROM UNITED KINGDOM, NOW IN US. SAYS HE IS A MINING CONSULTANT. ASKED FOR 3,000.00 I LAUGHED AT HIM, AND SEND HIM 200.00 TO SEE WHAT HAPPENED. SAYS HE IS REPAYING THROUGH A CHECK SENT BY ONE OF HIS INVESTORS. HAVEN'T RECEIVED IT YET. IMAGINE THAT.

I knew a guy from FB, his name is Mark Donald with an accent from Poland... He has a son Philip 6 yo and he has been widowed for 2 years now... He said he is Drilling Contractor now lives in London... He sent me pictures, he is very handsome guy though he said his age is 52 yo... On second day chatting, he already said that he loves me... He has not ask for money yet, he is in real estate as well, have several property in several countries... I said to him I have nothing to offer accept my heart and peaceful life.... He also asked whether I have savings... I told him my savings are gone caused cheated by my friends which are the truth... Then I said if my heart is not enough for him, then he better rethink about our relationship... Haven’t hear from him since... Wish could post his picture here to check whether he is the same guy....

Someone mentioned about them working in groups, and I think that’s not far off the mark. I’ve recently been playing words 2 and within days, was approached by 4 men more interested in chatting than playing the game. One was a military dr stationed in the Ukraine that had to keep going offline to “safe soliders lives”. Another is waiting for an oil contract to come thru in Scotland, a widow with a teenage daughter. Another , ex military, had a private security firm. The last tho, an absolute classic, was none other than, John.D.Johnson. All wanted to talk in some app that I’ve now deleted...

I did talk to two. Stupidily gave my number to 1. Blocked just before he made his first call. Still managed to get a txt thru tho. Both had either Latino accents or maybe Filipino? Also blocked on words 2. They have suddenly deleted their accounts. Thank god it never got as far as them asking fir money.

Never thought of my myself as gullible or lonely but I am not so smug anymore.

Has anyone encountered a man named Dennis Morrison supposedly in the mining industry?

is this person somehow stuck in Qatar? A mining deal gone bad? Also might be going by the name Freddie.

Yes I have, he contacted me recently via my website pretending to be interested in purchasing some of my art. Had a few emails back and forth, sent him a list of art with prices and never heard back. I knew something wasn't right.

It's true there are scammers out there. They are like leeches. I condemn any act of fraud. It kills me know that i don't stand a chance of meeting potential dates due to mistrust associated with online dating. I'm an African and would seriously love to meet someone and start a relationship. I don't have to lie about it but am usually locked out of dating sites because of my location.

Anyone dealt with the name Harrison Lucas? Oil rig engineer in Nigeria. All the same things I hv read over & over.

yes i am chatting with him how and i am getting suspicious

Hi, has anyone of you encountered a man names Thomas Stian? He connected with me on Linkedin and presented himself as a Senior Independent Contractor, supplying crude oil. He said is from Oslo Norway but moved to Houston USA because of his job. On the first week of chatting on whatsapp he shared to me the news that he got an international contract in the UK. He even sent his photo while at the airplane. After arriving in the UK and started dealing with his clients, he said that his oil supplier from China had increased the price of oil and he needs about 20,000 USD to save his contract. I said I dont have that money, now he is persistent that if I can lend him at least 2k as he is borrowing money from some other friends. I found out 2. Days ago thet his Linkedin profile is gone but did not tell him this. I am still in communication with him and hoping that he is not fake or a scammer. But after reading the posts here, made me realize I am most likely dealing with a scammer. I have never chatted to a stranger before and this giy is such a saeet talker and I fell for him. Good thing I have not sent him money yet. I have received a lot of photose from him, he is handsome and well built. If anyone of you encountered the same guy, could you please share your experience with me. I needed more courage to end this craziness and save me from sending money to this guy.

Same story

This guy I connected on Linkedin immediately asked me to chat on whatsapp. He has been sending me voice notes, love messages. Very consistent, I have fallen for him. He seems very real, but when he started asking me for money. I was heartbroken :( Please anyone of you got contacted by a guy named Thomas Stian, claiming to be a Senior Independent Contractor, supplying crude oil and currently based in Houston Texas

Hmm Ive been chatting with a guy, met on Tinder, says his name is Thomas Lynn Sparks, lives in Montreal Canada, says from states, his phone number is from Texas. Is a geologist and consultant and was flying to Halifax Canada to be on a rig for a contract. Calls me , sends messages via whattsapp, Originally from Turkey both parents have passed , 13 year old daughter. Very charming, sent pictures and looks like soccer player Zafer Calpbinici... surprise. Has asked for money, didn't get any then a Steam Card. he first asked me to go inot his accoint ot pay a doctor for a surgery he had on his hand, showed me pictures, got in his account , did the transfer and it looked like the pictures somewhat, and the bank flagged his account for concerns and now hes locked out. Not hes legit but sounds familiar. I just am struggling with the fact I was in his account and it is a legit bank. Now hes stuck on a rig in Halifax unable to get into his account . Could this be the same guy?

Thomas Lynn Sparks is texting me now. We connected on Tinder. He told me he lives in Indianapolis, IN and has a phone number to match. The rest of the story is the same. From Turkey, 13 yr old daughter, is a Geologist Consultant. He hasn’t asked for money yet. He had called me twice. What was your outcome?

Thomas Lynn Sparks met on Tinder. Sends pics went off tinder to WhatsApp obviously the guy is good at what he does!! Same story as above. He even sent me a copy of his license. What a f scammer. Beware of him! He is smooth. I did not send money but I’m sure the request was coming!!!

I met Thomas Lynn Sparks on tinder. Moved to WhatsApp. Same story as above geologist moved from Turkey teenage daughter parents deceased etc etc. He is very romantic n poetic. Charming etc. He has not asked for money yet. He Recently got a job off the coast of Halifax? Beware ladies he is good at what he does!!

Met a Thomas Lynn Sparks on tinder. Moved From tinder to WhatsApp. He uses photos as his own from the famous soccer player from Turkey. Same story ..geologist ..parents deceased ..moved from turkey ..teenage daughter etc. He is super poetic and romantic. I spoke to him on the phone more than once. I asked him for a FaceTime call and he always had an excuse. Surprise he ain’t the same man as he portrays in the photos. Ladies beware. He did not ask for money, yet, but I’m sure it was coming!!!!!!

Met him on tinder same name. Same story. Very romantic poetic. Has not asked for money in the two months since talking. Very convincing. Beware he is good at what he does!

Watch out for Benjamin Scotty or Lawrence Benjamin Scotty. Same stuff, different name.

If these women and men are in army,air force, navy marines national guard etc why can't all chat,and dating sites ask them to prove they're what they say they are if Facebook can block someone for posting something they don't like them ask them to prove it

I have been with this guy for a year goes by Derek Raymond says he's in Texas he started asking for itunes cards now says im the love of his life always and forever

I’m communicating with a so called Reuben April Miller from Cherry Hill, NJ. Wife Rebecca died of a tragic car accident. They have a 13 year old son named Jeffery who’s in boarding school in Washington. He said he’s a General in the army who’s about to retire this coming June, 2018. I think he has accomplices. He had a certain Maj. Smith from Nebraska as his friend and a cousin Mary Dover that lives in NY. Same storyline. Invokes God so you could fall for him and trust him. Showed his bank account details which have millions but ask to wire 72k to help pay workers in Ukraine. Gave his contractor as his point of person for wire transfer by the name of Timothy Kolka who has a record. Then ask to wite it instead to Lord Enterprise LLC. Beware. Let’s stop these scammers! I have pictures to share.

Has anyone heard of David Lane. Uses Walmart 2 Walmart

Need some help, my mom is being scammed, she will not believe me nor my sister. She is visiting us for a few days out of state. Our guys name is Seth Petters, oil rig in Texas lives in NY. Anyone heard of him??

Someone ask me to go back to page 53 thru 55 but I kept reading until I read the last post last night I truly believe that theses military pictures have been stolen from real military men that have severed in the air force army marines theses scammers are working together they have more than one email address phones names etc. These scammers are all over social media Fb and dating sites its a shame to prey on lonely single widow divorce women The guy that sent me a friend request ru Facebook claiming to be a sergeant major in the air force does police patrol claiming to be in Syria now live in California has two daughters wife pass away couple years ago of ovarian cancer He talked and text me from hangout and on Fb messenger very romantic writes poems and send songs for me to listen to very attractive beautiful smile I have a lot of pictures and couple videos of him working out in the gym The first couple months he didn't ask me for anything one day he asked for a iTunes card so he could stay in contact with me He started asking for more cards and money to get a box that was going to be ship and was wanting me to keep it till he come back in the states I said no I can't do that because it would have cost about 3000.00 are more to get his box and I told him nothing coming to my house He ask me could I sent him some money so he can come home and he will get his box he need 1200 dollars to leave Syria and come back to the state he would ask me everyday to send the money thru money gram are western union and iTunes cards so he could sell them to others soldiers to get the money yo come home and he would say that I will give you all your money back and more if I could help him come home but he has a bank account with over a million in it say he can't get the money out of his account because he out of state I wouldn't do it he got very upset with me started threating me and blackmailing me if I don't help him and send the money to help him come home He also talk about retiring from the military I had to deleted my hangout account and report him to Facebook they read all the threats and said it was abusive and deleted his account I found out he also has a Instagram page and he never said anything about being on Instagram and he has a lot of females on his page he has the same name on Facebook and hangout he goes by Donald and I know someone reading this post probably have came across this guy but he's not who he say is on theses pictures because there are stolen and he using someone identity ladies please don't be fooled and become a victim because he got me

Hello lizzie, please check out the US Army website on Military romance scams. The site give plenty of information a scammer would use to trick victims.

the workout videos - pull ups on a bar, pushups, weight lifting? I have one guy I am talking to that sent me those, just wondering if these videos are making the rounds with different accounts

does anyone on here know a griffin rodgers hes from california divorced 2 kids and is now in the army

My sister met a man online named David who's a contractor engineer and was supposedly all of a sudden sent to Africa right after they met online now he's texting her he closed his account and he says he loves her they're going to be married they're going to travel around the world
he sends her money she sends him Visa cards he sends her packages sheer emails the packages she doesn't realize she's being scammed but he says he loves her and she's a widow and he is just playing her but she does not believe it the guy's name is David supposably working in Africa

Use the google image finder. So important. I wasted 2 weeks with a guy name Haze Nicolas. Not sure if that was even who I was taking to. I think someone was using his name and photos

Ladies, be carefull with a guy named stefanodaniele063. It seems he is a scammer. Almost the same story like I experienced before. But this time he is not at the army but a geologist at the Gulf of Mexico. His daughter is at boardering school in Ireland. The other was in UK. I'm excited (not really, only a bit) when he will asking for money. Take care!

Something like this can happen to anyone. I'm a very smart person, just lonely, but also deal with low self-esteem and low self-confidence. I met this really good looking guy back in Jan. of this year on the dating site "Plenty of Fish" His profile stated that he lived in Texas, but he was originally from Poland. He almost immediately wanted us to start communicating outside of the dating site. He came off as very charming, and within about a month had professed his love for me. In Feb. he had told me that he had to go on a business trip to Malaysia, but would only be there for approx. 5 weeks. But toward the end of these 5 weeks was when he supposedly ran into trouble, he "forgot" his credit card back home and desperately needed money to get his items from the port. Well by this time I had developed very deep feelings for this guy. He had written some of the most romantic and beautiful e-mails that I had ever received from an man before. SO I sent him $500.00. Then in May, he had asked me for more money, because he was still having problems, so I sent him another $250.00. But in May, he had asked me for $150.00, but I simply told him that I just could not afford to send him money. After he had professed his love for me, he had started to refer to me as "my wife", and other sweet terms of endurement. He always promised to re-pay me when we were finally able to meet up in person. He would often tell me how much he missed me, and could not wait until we are together. He made me feel so good about myself. But deep within me, I had a feeling that he was just using me.Somehow I just knew that we were never going to meet in person. So I finally wrote him an e-mail stating that I just couldn't continue being with him. So, several days of breaking things off with this guy (The name that he had used was Fabian Lawson, and Kenny Lawson. He can be found on malescammers. com) So, within a few days I was back on POF, and within a few days, this guy from Seattle had messeaged me, (I live in NW Washington.) and almost immediately wanted for us to communicate outside of the dating site. Within approx. 2 weeks had told me that he had "fallen in love with me" this guy was even more charming than the first guy was. He had told me that his wife had died, and that he has a 10 yr. old son. He had even sent me pics of him and his son. But within a few days of meeting, he had to go on a "business trip" to the gulf of mexico. And just recently had asked me to get him an Amazon Card, because he had "forgotten" to buy one prior to leaving for his trip. I thought to myself "Seriously?!" What are the chances of meeting 2 "Catfishes" in a row !! And yes, I fell in love with this 2nd guy, he has been so incredibly charming, and so very caring. But when I told him that I just could not afford to buy him a $200.00 Amazon card, it seems like he had all of a sudden had grown distant. I had asked him why he needed this card, and he said that he needed to update the database on his computer. I just don't know wether to believe this guy or not. I just turned 61, and I just got divorced last year. I just want to meet a nice and decent guy. This guy also has an accent. Oddly enough, the pics that he has sent to me, he does not look like he might be from a different country. He says that he is from Estonia.All though I want to believe this guy, but at the same time I am having serious doubts as well... This guy's name is Billy Brown, and he says that he is 57 years old.

Hi Karen,
Your story sounds so much like mine. The second guy is also a scammer. Listen to your gut feelings. Protect your heart. These guys are so charming and get you to believe that they love and want to be with you. But we know that we need to spend time and really get to know someone to fall in love. Just be careful. I have been dealing with two scammers at the same time. When I refused them money they become distant. One of them was very mean and abusive. Just be careful.

Deborah68, These guys are, indeed, skilled. They have managed to become the type of men we always dream of. All hearts and flowers and I love you's. Until they have you hooked. When I told him I had no money to send, he also became very mean and verbally abusive. He called me dumb, stupid, a fool, selfish, stingy, and wicked. He said if I really loved him, I could find a way to get the money. Don't fall for their sweet talk, ladies. Even if you don't send them money, you end up feeling gullible, foolish, and kind of empty inside. You fell in love with someone who does not really exist. How do you get over that? I'm still hurting and trying to figure it out. Don't give them the chance to get you hooked.

This doesn't just happen to women, y'know! In fact, I'm right NOW in the midst of checking someone out who claims to be a nurse in Syria, her UN unit fired upon, and needs to get out NOW! Asked me to wire the money by Western Union (anything sound familiar yet?). She(?)'s used the same tactics that most of you have been victims of.
So I asked for direct addresses to send it (she only gave me countries), researched this situation, found sites directly addressing it, checked everything from timestamps on emails to IP addresses from her "son's" computer. Then checked with my accountant and lawyer. She's still waiting for my answer to her request ... (guess what I'm gonna do before I "unfriend" her?? Exactly ...)

Been chatting also with some guys online.Not only 1 many.They are very smart to make trick to many.Yeah they send gifts they be friended loves .after few months weeks dramas like they had dealing millions what I dit I make them believe but iam very smart too deal with.Someone make a deal sticks holder in a bug company in U.K.turkey canada everywhere in the world.J think.he.spend much for me just to believe him.He send me certificate of stocks in my name like 7 M.hahah.he send me in my email.He asking me to open account in Turkey and U.K.im just want to get all his time to observe but I knew observed him that he is expert Scammer.In the end he cried hahaha and he got upset cuz I never believed or do something action about or reaction.In the end mention him he is smart expert.scammer.His user name Bricks Evan.onorger one asking money name Stephen Morgan fb.but I'm happy never be a.victim.Scammers very smart.

I am going through this right now and have been for 7 mos. I sent my money, for a $1000 loan and $500 loan. Now he says he resigned from the construction company he worked and showed me a copy of the letter saying so. Then on top of it all, I have been picking up and sending money to him supposedly thru his company by Western Union. MONEYGRAM cut me off. Then says he needs $1500 to fly back. I went to get a loan for that amount and mo payments would be over $400. I just couldn't sign it. I've had this deep gut feeling not to do this so I didn't. My sister knows about it but I hope my 3 sons never find out. I do love him but feel like such a fool. He says he had his bags ready at the airport and went back and got them. He won't talk to me now. All I wanted was some kind of proof, an airline ticket or something. He has supposedly gotten on the plane so many times then would be told he owes more money.

I too have a very similar story and I have been corresponding with me for a year. I also received roses and he's very charismatic.

I want to believe him but deep down it feels like a scam. He knew exactly what to say to me and talk me into sending a lot of my money. I don't know what to do. I'm guessing I have sent him over $6000 and stuck with two loans. Help!

He even sent me a dozen roses last month. I pray I will not be in trouble with the authorities.

I need some advice. I believe I am talking to two scammers. One wants to move to California to be near me but he does not have enough money so I need to send him $550. If I do this, I have no guarantee He would use it to move. I do not have money to waste.
The second guy asked me to send an email to Homeland Security to requst paperwork that was used in an investment of $88,000. He said he received a letter thst they were shutting down and he would lose his money and contract. He is supposedly a contract manager with Shell oil and is working on an oil rig. I told him know that I would not do this brcause I have no idea whatt he is involved in or what people. Since when do people invest in a government agenvy? He got very mean and called me all kinds of things. As anyone had experiences likr these before?

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