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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

It's really sad that the moderator isn't stepping in to offer advice to the victims who are unsure and suffering. It's been a month and a half since anyone has helped.

All you ladies that play Words with Friends please be aware that there are a lot of men on there who want to play the game only to get you talking on hangout or whatsapp and then scam you....I played along with one for a while (I worked in law enforcement and know their little scams). Of course he professed his love for me and talked so sweet and that he was in love with me, blah, blah, blah but when I refused to open an account for his oil rig contract payment he wasn't too happy with me!!! :D He goes by the name of Joe Federick from San Antonio. Beware of all those on Words with Friends, they are using it as a dating/scam site!

Yes love101 that guy is a scammer too. People don't meet you and start asking for money. Join a local singles group in your area. If someone you met on FB or anywhere else on the internet asks for money unfriend them, block them & move on!

but not all of this people are scams and how can you get to know that, someone will surely be in need of help one day, think before you act please

I was on mingel2 and i have communicated with about 10 different women. They all did pretty much the same thing as far as a sob story and needing money.

Be careful with a handsome guy by the name of Ben Miller, his pictures are with 2 beautiful daughters according to him is a widower, asked me on viber if I could received a package from Europe that it was a check, so I blocked him changed my phone number as well, never give him my address, also a Wilfred Davidson, Dr in Iraq working with the UN his daughter in Florida and he is a widow as well (according to him) be careful ladies he says he has no access to his financials and will ask you to open a hangouts app.

A construction supervisor from L A working on an oil rig in Scotland. Wife died in child birth with second son. 11 year old son in boarding school. Professing love calling me his wife etc. Came to me at a very low point in my life luckily I realised I was being scammed and stopped all contact

i think I am being scammed anyone have a josh rockwell texting them

Anyone being Supposly scammed by a civil Engineer by the name Blaine Cameron Spurling from Florida but, supposly lives in San Jose California. Had a job in UK got strained after job was done unable to get home at first but, like an idiot l felt bad & sent him money. He has had manyv ssues there while trying to get home Surgery for COPD, hit by a car , ect... finally out of UK ended up in Bullhead city Ariz to only to be greeted by the FBI , within days they moved him to New York City for a trial due to fraud in San Jose. He is now stuck & Supposly being held by FBI until he can get money for. POF (Power of attorney) to get his money released from the Uk with that being said I HAVE NOT SENT HIM MONEY !!! No matter what sad story he has told me. FYI like most scamners he is a widow wife passed away approx 5yrs ago So if this name turns up be aware l meant him on POF dating site !!

I have a friend that has been sending money to a guy who claims he is in the US Army in Sudan. She says she met him when on vacation in Florida. He says he needs money for all sorts of things. I think it is a scam. Every time he is supposed to come home something happens and he can't. Now he claims he was shot in the leg. He goes by the name Miller Beckman. I have tried to find someone with that name. No luck. Everyone has a trail on the internet.

got a new scam for ya, girl in Ghana, says she a nursing student. wants me to send her a $100 uTunes card. says "To upgrade her phone." NOT! she wants to use it for her own use. nope. OR the same girl wants me to send money to pay for a ticket to the US AFter graduation.

You can't upgrade your phone with iTunes cards, nor do they provide phone minutes. They do apps, music and software, that is it. Sadly a lot of the people getting scammed don't seem to know what they do, so they think its sounds legit.

Overseas they use itune cards just like currency.

I am so glad I read this because I do believe someone that is using a photo of a person who is in the Military even his user name is sgt9617 on instagram. He told me he need an itune card to update his computer and he is in Turkey. Everytime I have tried to asked a question to why he can nto ask a family member he would not answer those questions. I told him I can not support an Sergeant who is in the Military that has money then he say that I broke his heart. I nver intended to send him any money or card because its a huge turn off for a man to ask a woman for money especially not even knowing her.

I starting a friendship with n army general James Martins Andrew he was in Syria but he got transferred to Afghanistan, but before coming to Afghanistan he sent me a luggage with all his belongings with a diplomat carrier Smith Duncan, I had to pay 3000 dls for customs in Indonesia, then 3000 for expenses of the carrier and now I need to pay 10150 dls to the customs in Georgia. He supposed to be here in California in December but now he changed the date until next December 2018

Hi. I recently met a man on POF. He says he is an orthopedic surgeon who works on deployment by the UN. He lost his wife to breast cancer and has an 18 year old daughter going to school in Spain living with her grandparents. About a week in he told me he was being sent to Syria for 2 weeks. He has emailed and texted every day. I did give him my cell number and I'm regretting it. Today he told me he is in Syria indefinitely and given me an email address to request him to come home early so we can start our new life together.. A lot of the verbage in his emails reflects a lot of what I have read here. He has not asked for money yet. I keep telling him he sounds too good to be true. I know not to send money but I am getting worried.

Is his name Kalian? From Malmo Sweden?

If he asks to chat off the site right away. If he's conveniently in another country far a way. If he's a widow (wife usually died of cancer for sympathy.) If he's a doctor, interior designer, or some other impressive service related for the UN or the military. He's fake!!! Sad but true. You are not randomly going to hit the boyfriend jackpot online. Sorry.

I got scammed by a guy that i met in Facebook,he sent me a friend request he said that he is an army general in Syria, his name is James Martins Andrew, he sent me romantic message,he was looking for a soulmate and that one is me, he got deployed to Afghanistan but before he sent a luggage with documents and money for buying our house, i got to sent money 11000 dollars to paid the customs and still want more money, he supposed to come to the USA in December but i need to pay for the luggage the rest of the money 10150 dollars i told him that i don’t have it, he got mad and now he is not coming until next December 2018, but he can’t break my heart so I need to believe on him, he has few different accounts with the same picture, he cannot send money or talk over the phone

Please Chio ... I know it will break your heart but it is better to have a broken heart and not a broken bank account or give away everything you have for a pipe dream. This army general James Martins Andrew, is a scammer. If you have sent the 11000 dollars already, it is lost. Please do not send any further money thinking you might recoup something. It is best to stop all communication with the scammer before he has you accepting items or funds from other people he has scammed which can cause you legal problems. It is hard to believe, but ask yourself ... are you able to contact customs directly and not just a person "Mr Andrew" has put you in touch with?? Call the customs office directly and ask them about the situation or contact the embassy. They will confirm this is all a scam. FYI an army general makes plenty of money and wouldn't ask a woman for money and an army general CAN talk on the phone. He just doesn't want you to hear his accent. I'm really sorry you have been scammed.

I was contacted on Instagram by someone alleging to be a Army E-9 named James Martins. I was immediately suspicious. Cannot verify that he is actually in the Army and when I informed him I was retired law enforcement, he stopped messaging me. I confronted him about his identity but he will not reply to that...just romantic crap.

I think they contact people through Twitter and Instagram too, not just dating sites. They immediately start off by telling you that they are widowed for some or the other reason and looking for love.
Be careful people!!!

Yes, be careful! They start by follow. LOOK at THEIR followers! They are ALL victims! Then, they send you innocent direct message "hi". Stolen photo of some guy they scammed also, by pretending to be sexy young female. So, if you are a female on Twitter, they target 50-60 yrs. old, pretending to be widower a little younger, about 42-44, with 1 or 2 kids. They also steal kid's identities. If their target victim is male, they pretend to be 29 year old UNICEF nurse stuck in Africa, using false i.d. pics of foreign porno actresses, so they don't get discovered. In all cases, the scammers really are young men from Ghana, Nigeria, Malaysia, Turkey. They reuse the false identities over and over, changing name, and crafting story line. You weren't looking for love, but their lies will draw you in, as a mind/heart manipulation. They see nothing at all wrong with this. Even worse, the people whose identities stolen, are usually guilty of something, so they blackmail them. Goes on and on. But, then you realize which ones are fake, when you get new followers, and block them, and thank God you learned about all this corrupt evil online. The scammers are at least 8 million strong, do not believe their lies!

Yes they come to me through Instagram and Messenger. Always widowed to get our sympathy.

A man name Hugh Jorgensen who claims to be from the UK Edinburgh and stays in Aberdeen sent me naked and explicit messages. Romancing me from the start telling me he wanted to marry me. Talking about honeymooning, coming up to see me and moved closer to me. Most of the women on his Facebook page were getting suspicious when I warned them. He even blocked one of them after he found out she was talking to me about him. He eventually blocked me too, coincidence after writing I adore you and ILY for I love you so many times. He made it clear he is into bdsm, kinky sex, and even joked about me getting handcuffs and other sex toys when he comes to visit in November. I have proof from private investigator in the UK that he might be a scammer and they don't exist.

Lorenza R Da Silva is a scammer. I met him through Facebook and he stole my hear right away when he told me he was an italian serving the US military in Iraq. We had plans to meet and we were going to take a vacation to Italy. I was so in love until he started asking me for money. Small amounts at first but then the amounts began to exceed $1000 at a time. He was in trouble and needed money but military restrictions woulsnt allow him to tell me why. Eventally after i shelled out more than $5000 to save him he just disappeared. He is stll active on Facebook, women beware!!

I got a friend request in Facebook by an army general deployed in Syria,right away he started talking to me about how good he feels since starting talking to me he was widowed with 2nkids, after weeks of chatting he got transferred to Afghanistan,he told me that before he moved he is going to send a luggage with important documents and money for buying our house because he was coming in December, he sent it with a diplomatic carrier, in Indonesia the Carr had to paid for a permit to be under my name ,he asked for 3000 dls, that my husband as he called himself wasn’t unable to paid because the relations between USA and Afghanistan, then the carrier had to paid 1000 for expenses, another 3000 for customs permit to bring the luggage to the USA without scanning, then he arrived to Georgia but the airport customs are asking for 10200 dls I told the general to paid for it when he gets here to USA but now he is not coming until next December 2018

I'm getting "scammed" right now. I decided I'm gonna scam him first. He asked me to marry him after talking for 2 days, i said yes and asked him to send me the ring lol, then told him i was low on cash this week and asked if he could send me money for gas...lol. he is a widow with a teenage son, he is in another state on business, and he's a personal trainer lol, I'm curious how much longer he'll talk to me now lol!

Love letter after only 2 days? Must be the record. Good job, lol. Mine offered to pay for my internet, the one and only time he answered his (now I know throw-away) cell phone. Now they can mask their phone numbers, and bug you that way. So, I recorded my out message in another language. Try it, they never leave annoying messages! Keep up the good work!

I love what you did I am sitting here laughing out loud!!! GO GET'EM!!! I have been scammed

Mine offered to buy me the motorcycle I have my eye on lol.

I met a guy on Tagged. We have been talking for awhile now. He is from Nigeria. I even saw him on a video chat. But he asked me to send money for traditional recognition that the bride to be has to pay the elders. Without a lot of thought I sent $100 which is what he said was the price in American money. Now he says the elders said I didn't pay the whole recognition price and an additional $162 is due. My feelers are up all over the place. I'm so confused. I have tried to find information on line about this tradition to no avail. He claims to be from the IBO tribe and lives in Anambra State. I don't believe him now. Have you heard any such tradition to be true? Please help with an answer asap!

When you meet someone online, you can't know who they really are. A scammer may ask you to send money for work emergencies, or their families, or for other reasons. If you send money once, they may ask you to send money again.  You can't know how the money is really being used.

Dear lady, please cut off all communication with this fellow! Con men are expert at combining lies with partial truth, to be more believable. So, he likely is truly in Nigeria, but it is Not true you need to pay fees or dowry to his tribe. Please be strong, allow yourself to cry if need be, but do not get drawn back in! I implore you to report if you have already sent any more by wire. I am So sorry, but this is a group you are corresponding with, not a single man of honor. Please be strong, because when you stop, they will feign anger, disappointment, and fake suffering. Untrue, all lies, manipulators, sorry!

Met a man on Instagram named Robin Ordaz Doe, Captain in the Army stationed in Kabul, Afghanstain. Said he was from Omaha, Nebraska. Widower, wife died in a car accident and with a son, Phil, 11 y/o in boarding school, mother 88 y/o and she has a caregiver living with her. going to retire in 3 months and wanted me to wait for him. Three months went by and he didn't ask for money until the 3 months was up. Asked me to call the UN bank in the UK and give them his information to start the paper work. I fused and then he said he would go to the UK bank and give the information himself. Once he got there then he asked me to send him money, I refused and then he got mad and said I was a liar.
After reading sites like this one , I asked him questions and to send me pictures of certain things.
He sent me all kinds of pictures but when I asked him to send me pictures of others sites he said he lost his phone, that he couldn't make phone calls cause he would get into trouble. He even had his so called son email me.
After I confronted him, he stopped the messaging and his son stopped emailing me.
This is a disgrace to our military personnel and I pray these scammers get caught.
Wish I could put the pictures here to warn others.

The same guy tried blackmailing me when I refused to send him money. He hacked my iPhone and iPad, stole photos, doctored them and tried to blackmail me.

Anyone met on zoosk claiming to work for world health organisation? And had emails from the office !! Asking for money for special leave

Hello All - Here is the latest scam attempt.
A member of your dating site contacts you on behalf of a friend or cousin who 'just happened' to see your profile and marveled over your hair, your smile, your good looks.
Alas, this person is not on your dating site. But, the member who is on the site decides to contact you. They tell you how wonderful their friend/cousin is and why the 2 of you should get together. They even give you the smitten persons email info and urge you to contact them.
Here's the problem if you do decide to reach out: You have just given a stranger your email and possibly your phone info. When you contact this other person, you are now off the dating site, and have no recourse when this turns out badly.
Let us all think carefully and be safe

I've had three such contacts lately, from Florida, Alaska, and Texas. Being a naturally suspicious sort, I've responded by asking whether the "friend" has a FB or LinkedIn account, so that I could learn something about them. So far, I've received no responses.

Here is the message I received just the other day:
"Hello Beautiful,
I apologize for breaking through your privacy with my mail. I was sharing my experience of this dating site with my Cousin while he decided we give it a try by asking me to help check for his match. We viewed so many profile until he asked me to stop by yours “with a huge smile on his face” complementing on your lovely photo, saying you have a nice smile and he loves your hair.

Fortunately for him, he falls under the same age bracket to your search. His name is Danny, a very interesting, kind and handsome gentle man. He has been very supportive to me as a brother, most especially when i was seeking for a job. He lives in same state with you. You will never regret getting to know him more better.

I have succeeded in finding my match and will no longer visit the site, i will be closing my account soon after I get this message across to you.Here is his email address: =====@gmail.com , I urge you to email him.

It will be a test of your fate and I hope you pass this test. You never can tell where love comes from.I bet you, you will thank me later. Good luck and have a good night"

Stay safe everyone

Hello- This one sounds new. He states his name is Christian Buchanan, lives in Miami Florida, and is in Germany as a civil engineer on a road project. He has asked for money to help pay for a shipment, I declined. He is now asking for me to set up an acct so that he can transfer money into it. I won't do it, but I want everyone out there to be aware. He is on Facebook . From Germany. Has anyone had experience with him?

From what I can gather, this man, Christian Buchanan is not a scammer. Please remove the last comment by last laough. Ty.

Sounds like a scammer...please be carefull and if it’s too good to be true, unfortunately it probably is in this case. A con-artist will say and do anything to get money.

I met a guy thru online. After that, we exchanged messages thru whatsapp. 4months been in contact. Video call, sending pictures and sending messages. But suddenly he vanished out of nowhere, it's almost 2 weeks now. Been checking all kinds of site to see if he's a scammer but no any trace. Is this is a scam? I haven't remember he was asking for money. He's the one who gave me three times. What should I do?

Anybody asking for money is scamming. I, too, was brought into this "online love" thing by a Nigerian scammer and called him out on it. After months of back and forths, he finally admitted to me it's all about getting money out of people. We actually became friends and I know he's still doing it. I've been on live video chats and sat and watched him while he's doing it. This is what they do there. There's nothing for them after schooling, so they do what they have to do to survive. PLEASE PLEASE do not send money to them. You won't see any of it back and whatever they promise you will never come true.

Has anyone here met a Brad Johnson. Says he is a supervisor with Noble Drilling. Has a 17 year old daughter. Says he is from Tennessee but was living in CA. He has a very distinct accent...almost Australian.

There was this guy by the name of Dr.Kojo Osbourne suppose to be working with a BP oil masek company then says he is a vein Dr.! Working as a Dr.on the ship..Anyway about for 3 months all he talks about having quick romance without ever meeting him then this week starts talking about an iPad tune card! I declined and decided to block him.I couldnt find any name that match him as being a vein doctor he has a 16 year old son and claims to live in Virgina but i think he is in Fla or Texas.He has an accent and wants to chat on Whatsapp 24/7

Does anyone know Bryan Packer Brochu suppose to be in Scotland UK.Has a son in boarding school and wife died. He loves me wants to come here and cannot get his pay until I pay 22,000 then he will pay me back. lives in California a independent contractor

Yes I have been talking to him as well . Did you give him money?

Hello are you still talking to him? I have been talking to him since Aug/17.he too tells me he loves me and wants to come here and marry me.

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