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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.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

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I am currently in contact with someone saying he is a sergeant in the us army. He goes by the name Micheal Oduse on instagram. His story is that his wife died in a car accident on her way home from work a couple of years ago leaving him with his 3 boys now 3,4,5. He is currently at the Chicago army base for training while waiting to to be deployed, probably to Cypress. Says that his mom looks after the boys while he is away. Says he is 52 and has been in the military for 15 years. Born in Portugal his mother took his to the states when he was 5. Just over a week of chatting he told me he loved me then a few days later asked me for a amazon gift card and got angry at me when I said no. I feel very sorry for the man in the photos he sends as well as the kids. Has anyone else been contacted by this man?

Anyone knows David Frank from Las Vegas, a Orthopedics surgeron doctor work for contract in Yemen?He has a daughter named Nelly, 10 years old in boarding school.

We met on Speaky and then chat on hangouts, he said he put his money and estate document to a asset security company 2 years ago, but recently there’s some problem with the board of directors that the company will be fold up soon. Ha wanted me to contact the company through email to inform them to send his consignment box to my country . And the company said I have to pay $2500 for registration fee. I’ve paid $500 at first because I told him Ihave no money at first. But now the company informed me that they have difficulty to deliver because of the customer office. They ask me to make the payment$2000 for settlement. This guy asks me to loan for making this payment.
Please someone help me with this, I dunoo what to do and have no idea about he’s scammer or not

I met a guy on Facebook and we have been talking for 4mos. We have had long conversations on FaceTime and I have talked to some of his family. He is 28 yrs younger then me and claims to be in love with me. He considers me his wife. Today we started to talk and I we got into the subject of scammers. He is from Nigeria and is staying at his father’s home. His father is a King. We got into an argument because he believes I don’t really love it trust him. He asked me to take a blood oath with him. I told him no and that ended our friendship. He gave me his real name, email & telephone number. He never really asked for money but once. He wanted to give me his banking information so I could send money for his birthday. Was I being scammed or was this the real deal? The age difference was a big factor to me but in Africa age is just s number. I feel sad and am going to miss him. But the oath thing scared me off. Has anyone had this kind of experience?

Nathan Hernandez, was born in Spain, raised in USA. Bald and smiling. Army deployed in Syria. Wife died 5 years ago. Son, 9 years old name Bruce. No parents. Kind, saying beautiful things. Same story. Asking for iTunes card in Hangouts. Looking for women on Instagram.

Maybe the same guy name Harry Victor 2018 on hangout also on instagram under same name.

My mom has been chatting with this guy meyer williams who friended her on Facebook 2 years ago claiming his wife died of cancer and left him with their son "Jerry" to raise himself he claims he is from London has a london accent anyways and he's an engineer and was going to Malaysia for a million dollar job even emailed my mom the contract for the job well supposedly he went over budget lost the job got real sick from some wide spread virus and was hospitalized for months then got his wallet stolen and can't get get the proper documentation to get back to London and the hotel where he's staying keeps taking his Internet away and was asking for iTunes cards and money for the Internet so he can do his transactions my mom still after 2 years won't believe my sister and I that he is scamming her she thinks we are saying he is fake and because he has video chatted with her she just isn't understanding and imy afraid that she is going to just lose it after losing god only know how much money on this post I want him to pay for this bills hit anyone talking to the same guy please reply to my comment thanks

I’m corresponding with Douglas Grover. When we started he lived in Dallas Texas but won a contract to do road/bridge work in Accra Gahna. I says his luggage was stolen with all his money at the airport. Long story short, he now wants to send me gold bars to sell then send him half the money and I am to keep the rest. His right hand man at work is Joshua orfia. Dresses in suits, says he’s 60 years old. Wife passed of cancer. Only child. Anyone else know this name

Does any one know of a guy, he goes by Tony Acosta he says he's in the army.

love scam really happen all over the world.
be careful. don't fall in love easily.
not to be made use by them.
some men or women just fall too deep till everything gone .. but it is too late.

Had anyone talked to a guy named Thomas Raymond? Says he is from Brooklyn and is now stationed in Africa. He is 30 and says his bday is May 25th or something like that. He says his parents are both dead and he is an only child. And he never had kids but he was married for 3 yrs until he caught her cheating.

Does anyone know a cute girl name susan robillard! Hitting me hard for money!

I been talking to a women , thats suppose to be on the military in Lebanon, she's suppose to get out at the end of the month.now she's telling me she suppose to go on this dangerous mission and the only way put is to have a relative to talk to them so she can get out early and the mission, she wants me to pretend to be her fiance and talk to them. What should I do ? Is she lying? Could I get into trouble?

Does anyone know a John Greg Carter I feel such a fool his wife was killed in a car accident he is an engineer on a cargo ship his son who goes by the name Terry smart is in italy needed money for his birthday schooling then boy had a serious accident wanted money for hospital bill John Greg Carter supposed to be from new York went to Binghamton university

Yes I chatted with him a few times on Facebook. He is a scammer, even saw his picture online as being a known scammer, so it opened my eyes. He gave me a similar story, just as he has to many other women. I'm sorry this happened to you, what a nasty person to steal peoples' hearts and money.

Craig Welshpool?

I was just contacted 2 days ago when I excepted a friend request on face book,his name was David Alex and he immediately contacted me through messenger and told me to go to the hangouts app. He told me within 45 min that he loved me and got offended when I told him that NO he certainly did not love me. Anyways he told me he was an engineer working on a ship, a contract for 6 months and that he was a widower ,his wife had died in a car accident and his son was in school in the UK. I'm naturallying untrusting of men so I knew he was scamming me or he thought he was. So I bated him and told him I had just sold my house and was thinking of going on a vacation,he didn't respond for awhile and after an hour or so he texted back saying he got bad news from his son and that all his money had run out and he was alone with no home because he was at some sort of boarding school and since David was on a ship off the coast of Brazil that he couldn't help him and begged me to send his son money and he would pay me back. So to make a long story short I told him I feel sorry for him that he has to lie and steel from innocent people to make his way. I told him I forgive him and I'm sure God will too. That was the last I spoke to him and he has not tried to reach me again. So yes I was lucky. No one can truly love you without meeting you,or you them..it's just a thought and wish that you love.

Is it normal for a Drilling Rig contractor to be arrested and put in jail if his license has expired, and thus needing bail money?

While it is a jail able offence to perform certain professions unlicenced I'm wondering how he is texting/ emailing u asking for $ while incarcerated

I am currently dealing with a scammer using the name alexander sharsgard, located on Hangouts, thru Google email. asking me for money thru western union , money gram or pay pal. Nice try, but friends are computer majors , I.T personnel. Its a shame to see that someone would use Alexander Skarsgard as a scam. He is such an amazing actor. Just a heads up and hopefully the world is a little more aware now. Be Safe On line!

Ive been scammed anyone ever heard of doniron bryson? Well he needed money for his pockets to get home he was stationed in nigeria us army. He has a daughter they live in indy i sent him 200$ like an idiot then on his way to the airport he was in a terrible accident the driver of the cab killed instantly his dr is requesting money for his surgery. Its all bs im not sending money so BEWARE

In reading your story it is similar to a guy named Dr. Jarry Galley, a supposed UN Orthopedic surgeon that has been talking with me on Hangouts app. I helped him financially to leave Syria and his cab driver was killed in accident on his way to the airport. He then needed money for his medical expenses before he could leave for the US. He was supposedly from Texas, with a 13 year old son in boarding school. As I read some of these stories, yes it turns me into a stupid girl for believing his stories. Ladies they are very good at what they do and I do have quite the paper trail on his information and all these money transfers for supposed travel agents were always right here in the United States

My mom had someone on Facebooks using the name Maxwell Dubia try to scam her. He used a picture of Jef Welsh. Had her fall in love after a week. My father died almost a year ago and that's likely why he picked her, lonely widow. He was at the "benificiary" stage of the romance but she never gave info. He was trying to get her to download the Hangouts app so she could talk to his daughter. I told my Mom this was likely a woman running this scam on her. She must have given him her phone number. I answered the call and this man's accent was so thick I could barely understand him. His profile states he lives in Tampa but the call came from Texas. I called him out on his lies and scam and told fortunately Mom has a daughter that knows how to internet and to not call back. He hung up and hasn't called again. He tried to add her back o Facebook but I declined it and listed it as spam so she doesn't get anymore requests from him. I also reported his profile to FB.

Lol I been chatting with this guy name John Burleson Los Angeles CA he said. He has custody of his two kids. He send all these military pics of a white guy but his behaviors and his need to constantly say I love you told me he is Nigerian. I laugh to myself bc I am currently divorcing a Nigerian after 2 yrs. he tells me that his daughter in the hospital and he doesn’t have a phone but he can chat they hangout with his tablet. Wait bc you can download apps on tablets and computers and speak via video. He tells he had to take his daughter to NJ for treatments when I inquired what kind, he said for headaches. Big as CA is, they had great doctors some are my colleagues. So I didn’t press it bc he look like a duck n sound like a duck; it is a duck. KMSL so today he tells he need $500 to pay for her treatments; so I told him .. sir you do realize I work in the hospital for 15 years and that in USA no treatments are refused for payments. That each hospital had grants set asides if you military (which I served 10years as a medic) our insurance speaks for itself. play with it .. this foolish man still tells me he needs the money.. get a job or life

I almost got scammed. Same story - an oil rig engineer with young daughter in boarding school.. Then another man, an American soldier in Afghanistan - both parents died.. Etc.. But they both have similar opening line: "So how’s the situation of things over there in regards to the economic standard and security?"
I blocked them both in Google Hangout, IG, and FB..

Hey I'm just curious what was the oil rig engineers name ? I'm having a similar situation .

I figured it out. With technology rising on unprecedented levels and the ability to track ones I.P.S address is fairly easy to the expert technician. *laughs* So why have we never heard stories of apprehended scammers? Do you think a scammer has time to call and not get paid? Funny how theres an app for this...and app for that. Here us the answer. Scammers *Companies* spam call. Not to take money but to annoy you until you purchase apps to stop calls that they make. It's really simple.

Has anyone come across a 32 year old woman named Rabiatu Williams. Claims to live in Tampa,Fl

Anyone know about this guy? Kelvin Xender Cheng. He followed me on Instagram and he looks really good on his profile, few hundred followers etc. (@kelvincheng9362) starts messaging me, falls in love quickly. We move to WhatsApp and he claims to be from the UK but he has broken English. Says he's a drilling engineer on an oil rig and can't video chat or send pictures. (If he does send, takes a while). Now he wants to send me gifts and wants me to pay some taxes to receive them, he knows I don't have money but offers to send me some. I told him I can't do this and he gets mad because I don't trust him. I hope he's not too good to be true, I've tried reverse image search, name search etc. but no results. thank you all and I hope to get answers soon.

can i ask what he looks like??? Sounds very similar to my guy! His name is Larry Walker, says he was born in the states but has spent 25+yrs in the U.K. with his daughter Anita, now 13,who is living with her maternal grandparents in Toronto Canada. add gmail.com to my username and we can exchange pics of our guys! use caution if mine is the guy your talking to cause i don't believe he is mentally stable!!

Hi I'm sure I'm being scammed by a man who calls himself Barry Gilbert, works on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Started professing his love almost immediately. Made me wonder, but continued to talk. He has asked over and over for itune and ebay cards now. Says he wants to marry me.

After reading this, I believe I was scammed on Instagram.
He went by the name Liam Anderson and claimed to live in Nebraska. He said he had two children and the wife had died giving birth.
He claimed to be a civil engineer.
The first thing to pop out at me, all his photos had the same date.
Second, he wanted to move our convo to Google Hangouts like others had stated.
I could not find him anywhere on line. But he was following two of my girlfriends. Possibly how they get their next victim.
The gentleman he posted was very handsome. Possibly late fifties. All the pics were very European. Not to pigeon hole, he didn’t seem to look like he would live in Nebraska in Great Island.
I knew from the beginning it was weird. I shut it down by blocking him this morning. Within 15 I get a request to follow on insta from someone that was following him. And then email from him asking what he did wrong. I didn’t respond.
I do not like that Instagram will list people that might interest you. They are not a dating site!
Anyone else experience LIAM ANDERSON?

Hi sir goodevening I want some help to know his real identity .i have been speaking to someone in online dating we meet and have a private chat in wattsapp.his name is bendik john philip which is deployed in kenya he ask me money to take his leave that I must. First pay before we meet. And if everything is settle down he will payed me back .please help me to find the full information of this man I can give u his IDs
Respectfully
Cristina

Watch out for Adrian Tomas Patrick. Claims to be a Marine deployed in Ukraine. Fed a line of BS and asked for money to be wired, including iTunes giftcards. Tried to get me to send nudes (absolutely NO way, period). My guard was already up from the get go because I have friends IRL who are Marines or ex-Marines. Looks like the scammer stole some poor Marine’s pic in the process. Don’t accept any requests from this scum on social media. Don’t do it. Hit DECLINE!

Recently met someone on words with friends. Was texting me but then switched to hangouts. Says his wife died 4 years ago. He's single. Grew up mostly in Romania and england. Spoke once. Sounds more like a Jamaican accent mix. Goes by the name Henry evaristo Smith. Sent me pics when I ask. But he's in army gear and the name evaristo is his middle name yet it's on the army gear. Says he will help me get my own place and is UK right now. Trying to get some kind of stuff to start his own jewelry company. I can add a pic if there's away

Same here.. guy I met on a dating site. Named Alexander Bradley. Wife died 4 years ago and has a son in a boarding school. He asked me first for a birthday gift.. which I thought was odd. I have not even met the guy in person. Then this week he flew to Africa for work and asked to wire money because he lost his cash.. sucker I was not fooled one bit. He didn’t get a penny from me

Anyone dealt with Andy B Jackson a medical doctor doing humanitarian work for the UN in Lebanon? andyjackson 8789 @gmail. com. 14 year old son in boarding school in LA, He is widowed tragic car accident and divorced due to cheating & misusing his funds and resources.

Stay away from anyone with the name Gabriel Burnette or any Burnette claiming to be in Syria on a peace keeping mission. From Texas or Florida
He is a scam

When did you have a online relationship with Gabriel? It’s happening right now with one of my close family members!!:( How long did it take you to find out he was scamming you? We knew from the beginning but she’s still in denial. Any information you would be willing to tell me will so very greatly be appreciated.

Absolutely stay away from anyone with last name Burnette and using Gabriel as first name especially
He states he is divorced has a son and is on mission in Syria. States he is from Texas

He is a scammer

I think I've been scammed by someone with similar story, UN orthopedic surgeon from TX, son in boarding school there. While reading these stories I'm seeing similarities. Can driver killed while taking him to airport which left him in hospital in Iceland in his journey out of Syria. Name Jarry Galley

Helping to uncover what happened to an elderly relative. Francis Duarte scammed her big time. His gmail address is francisduarte040. They had a photo of his USA Passport, which indicated he was born in Finland. Used the Chevron contract in South Africa. They ran a fake online bank front called Chesterfield Mutual Bank. All the many was transferred in the USA.

I recently started talking to a good looking guy on Hinge dating site. He's 36, claims to be in the military deployed at lake Chad in West Africa until April. He's has been talking on whatsapp and when I asked where he's originally from he said Netherlands. He wants to video chat and has asked since day 1. We've only been talking a week , never asked for money and hes never discussed marriage or anything like that. Our conversation seems normal. I did a Google image search and one of his photos is said was used in an online scam. He called me on the phone the other day but it was hard to hear and I freaked and hung up. He tried calling back but I didn't answer. Everything else seems legit. I also read that if you ask a military person for an APO address or email and they say they cant give it to you then they are scammers but I just started talking to him and can see why he wouldn't let me have them yet. I dont know what to think. I have let him know all of my concern and what I found out on my search on Google images. He was confused but never got angry. He keeps trying to do things to prove its him in the pics.

I was in the army for 5 years, and yes an APO is like a zip code here in the states, it isn’t classified info and should be give easily. If he is claiming he won’t give it then it’s all a scam.
Sorry.

I recently started talking to a guy named, Dennis Wood, who claims to be 38 years old, on Hinge. He articulated that he is a Marine deployed to Lake Chad for 6 months, with 4 months left on the docket. The family situation is an ex-girlfriend who cheated, an 8 year old son and grandmother in NJ, a sister somewhere in the UK and parents who passed away. I have asked to speak on the phone or facetime and was told that he could not do either on a "MPD." But, he can go on Hinge and WhatsApp? Also, I was in the military and we can call on a phonecard from any payphone on the military base. I found this website and saw that another person has also used the name, Dennis Wood and your story sounds pretty similar to this situation. I am bouncing out as he sent some totally bizarre text this morning; a proverb about courage and character. I don't know about you, but I don't know many Marine poets out there. And he claimed to listen to Bruno Mars and could not name a show that he likes watching, so survey says: Waste of Time. I wanted to respond to your message because I find that it is better to follow your instincts and this sounds like it is a scam, for both of us. So, get out now!

there is a scammer on instagram under the name Doctor David Leonard Mark .He pretends to be a surgent orthopedic doctor in Damaskus under a piece mission of the UN. He asked me to chat trough ` Whats up!He loved me at once and tried to make me write a letter to the UN for a vacation. I google search about and i found out he is a romantic scam. Be careful everybody.

Been chatting with a guy that goes by Joseph Hanson, a US Army Commander deployed in Afghanistan about 2 weeks, has a little boy named Kelvin. His baby mama left him when his little boy was 3 yo. Says he's originally from Russia and was sponsored by his Uncle and was asked to go by Joseph and his fathers first name Hanson. Has asked me to buy him ITune cards so we can keep the "communication" going and if I don't he can never speak with me. Told him go right ahead, very sweet talker, I keep the chat similar until I asks questions he becomes "offended" or trying to put a guilt trip on me. Keeps insisting that he needs money and he's got no family. Once I told him I wasn't going to be used for money, became angry.
Hope the true Joseph Hanson is a true gentleman.
Be warned!! Pictures are from an extremely handsome blonde, blue eyes army man.

Hey---- Aditi Jhaveri
your 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.
it is really a truth .
Thanks for share with us, details.

I do believe that im being scammed as well...

A friend of mine is talking with some guy dave, who is supposed to be importing jewels from spain. Story is customs in spain messed up his papers, and bank won't release his cc for some reason. A lot more detail but I don't recall all of it. Just wondering if anyone has heard a similar story. This guy is supposedly from Texas and planning to go on a cruise with my friend in May. They are both guys by the way.

Hey everybody, i think i am fooled by a scammer. Met him on facebook, his Name there was Erik Hill, widowed with a young daughter who is called jenny. He's good looking with very blue eyes. He is in the us army, now in syria. After a week we began to write over whatsapp and 2 days later his facebook profile was deleted. He gave me his Adress in beverly hills but on google i can only find a shoe repair Shop. Like always- he cannot do a video call or an actual photo. He sended me several photos of him and jenny. Please help me, i have to know if he is real.
Till today he haven't ask for money.

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