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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 there, Wondering if you heard from your friend? I am in a similar situation with my aunt, i know he's a scammer, she wont believe me, he's from the USA army deployed in ghana, wife died has a son etc etc, after 2 weeks of chatting he proposed & she planned on moving to the USA with him but it's been 10 months of them chatting and he still has her in his grip and she is so secretive, I'm worried she will pack up and go one day, if i do confront her about this i fear she will cut me out of her life.

So far the man I have to online has moved fast. He has asked for money for food, rental fees, and now medicine. I am going through a hardship myself. Supposedly he owns properties and he always states in his texts that he was never interested in my money. He says where he is at his card won't work. Has not gotten it fixed yet. But yet he relies on me and in a way I feel bad for him but it kind of puts a guilt trip on me. Now he showed me pictures of a bad accident at his work site but its only pictures of hands and arms. I don't see his face. How should I ask? Makes me wonder how long he would stay on his contract deal with out no credit card. I need help. I need some opinions. My gut is telling me to let this one go because he is too attached somewhat and he is wanting to meet and get married. The hangout application sounds bad when we talk.

my scammer has come back since I refuse to give money wanting to use my cellphone information like userid and password. Something about him wanting to order parts his name is jack smith and I found the exact same picture of him on a dating site as Michael David Nems. Don't ask me how but I did. Be on the look out.

This scammed sound too good to be true. Immediately I met this guy on line Coleman Alston stating his love for me instantly. Call me his wife, and queen. Anyway he is a oil rigger. Lost his wife due to an accident. Has a couple of girls. After his contract job he has showed me a copy of a $7 mill check. Well the post date of the check seems to have changed for this year? he had asked for funds for me to put things in order and I asked what order he stated he still stuck out at sea and needs a plane ticket. Plane ticket would cost quite a bit the original requested amount was $5000. I practically gasp for air..I kept saying to myself who does this guy think he is talking to. I caught him in a lie in a conversation saying he is a young black man that age should not make a difference. I think he forgot who he was talking to. Because I thought I was talking to a Caucasian. The stories are stacking up with deceit. It is so strange how this one makes himself as a God fearing man and be lying like this.

As I said once before, the scammers are getting better, (build a better mouse trap . . . ) but the bottom line is DON'T EVER SEND MONEY TO SOMEONE YOU HAVE NEVER MET IN PERSON, no matter how persuasive their stories sound. Ask yourself this, why are you the only person who can assist them? Where's their family? Don't they have other friends? It's easy to play on emotions. Love is the strongest drive on the planet. Oh, and before you give up on all online dating as a bad job, I personally know a few folks who have had wonderful success using the medium. Go back! Search! But carefully.
Warning signs: 1). Profiles with only one photo, usually a head shot 2). Unusually attractive looking individuals (why does He/She need a dating site???). 3). Profiles that are vague. Ladies, men who state they're looking for a woman age 18-99. Really??? Come on now! How generic can you get?
I'm still using my site and while I haven't found Prince Charming yet I have met some Real men looking for love - and without getting my heart tied to an imaginary lover.

Omg I think I have just been scammed by the same one Anthony Coleman Dutch told me his wife died in an accident 3 years ago very full on i his queen he my king etc believed in god son doing medical degree in Oxford uk but still I fell hook line and sinker until he asked for money

I think my MIL is being scammed by this guy now thw queen thing and the daughter ...do u have any more info

OMG THIS HAS GOT TO BE THE SAME GUY I'M TALKING TO!!!
Says his name is David Clement. Met on Plenty of Fish, says he's Danish, moved here to Scottsdale, AZ '6 months ago', is an archaeologist who flew out to Kesehir province, Turkey just before Xmas, to work for 60 days. Over New Years, there "was a fire" and it damaged equipment and delayed the project. Says he has a 5 year old son whose mom left them (photo of them together on his PoF profile, also 4-5 pics just of him - "Sire4luv" Facebook profile is under David Clements,just a handful of random ppl on friends list, INCLUDING Nathan Frederic different pic, same guy- profile says "civil engineer, Chapel hill, NC. I've googled the **** out of all the info he's given me and there seems to be connection between North Carolina and Florida (biologist named David Clement in NC unrelated), but can't verify *my* David's actual existence. I asked about it, and he said that traveling internationally has made him a target for hackers and someone stole his photos for fraud. Guy is ultra-romantic (one month in, "i'm in love with you"), adventurous, talks about holding hands a lot, does NOT bring up sex or ask for body pics, wants us be a family (I'm a single mom). His phone number is out of Bellingham, WA, and email domain was registered in Dec 2016 by a website firm in UT. Have spoken to him three times, once interrupted by Nigerian(?) accent "Hey boss, they need you", then repeated exactly the same, like a recording. Bummed I'll never meet the guy in the photos, but so glad I never sent a penny!! BE CAREFUL, LADIES!!

talking to David Clement too. Left SLC for Turkey so I could never meet in person...now is stuck in Turkey. His son is 6 I think . Same general story as yours......had to have credientals changed due to hackers.

I think I am talking to the same person! "Wife died?" Very Good looking with a beard and very good shape? Big Arms! Construction in Turkey? Wish we could compare pictures. Did he give you his "son's" name? Piecing this together one clue at a time.

I Met a guy onMatch.com on April 16, 2018. He said his name is David Ludwig Clements. His birthdate was May 10, 1972. He said he had a son named Michael who’s birthday he said was May 15 end it would be turning seven as of 2018. He told me that his wife died. He said he lived in Washington and her last wishes was for him to live close to her parents. She was an only child. I assume she died of cancer. It seemed that they’ve been married for only a few years. He was working on a contracting deal in Turkey. He said he would be gone for two months. All of a sudden there was a fire. His computer was destroyed. The generator that he was using was destroyed. He is 6 feet tall bald with a beard. His money was frozen. He has been Stranded over in and Cara turkey for going on 10 months.

yes yes&yes . must be same person {{{or persons}}} using same name and story and pics. son's name is micheal but once said Adam ::when I questioned him he said son's name was Michael adam .
enjoyed talking to him when we supposedly lived in the same city but he always had a reason he couldn't meet for coffee& once he went to do the construction in Turkey it became comically unbelievable. I never gave him any of my personal info besides first name . I blocked whoever they are on match and online games.

Hi i met a guy on instagram, his ig is e007walter. He claimed he tried to get his construction license by doing overseas project in Istanbul. After 2 weeks, he said he was robbed and had no money to fly back to houston and also need BTa. I was fooled, and now he blocked me on ig and didnt pay back my fund. His daughter is Joanne and his wife is dead because of cancer.

So I met this guy In December on POF named Jayathon Long aka known as John Long, Jayathon Short, JJ Long and Lord knowswhat else. We chatted on POF for a couple of days and during this time he started telling me that he transferred to Alaska from Corbin, KY with the railroad. Said he had a ranch and 25 acres that his cousin was now living in, he was one of a set of triplets and his other two brothers were State Troopers in KY. Said he also had a step brother that works construction and a step sister that works for Southwest Airlines. We exchanged numbers and he started texting me love songs and quotes, all that a woman wants, he also sent me pics of his brothers, his Harley Davidson, his son and pictures from a surgery on his right leg. Said he was a bone cancer survivor, but just found out that it was back for the third time. Of course now, my heart is hurting for this guy. After about a week he starts video chatting with me, so it all seems real. He then tells me that his da was found dad in the garage, but that he could not leave work just yet to go to KY for the funeral as they were sending him for an autopsy. Within a couple days he then tells me that his mom(who he said was first cousins to Loretta Lynn and Crystal Gayle) had committed suicide and that his 20 year old son was involved in a T-bone accident with a semi. He then says he is flying to KY to be with his son, if he makes it through the night. While he is there I get texting from his so called brother Dale on his phone. He starts sending me songs that he supposedly recorded of Jayathon singing, playing the guitar and piano. A miracle happens after a week and his son is well and goes back to Colorado. LOL He goes to his parents funeral and then says he is going to get a flight back to AK. Only to find out his account is frozen because someone made a purchase at Home Depot of $2500.00 and the bank froze his account and until he returns to AK to show ID they cannot unfreeze it. He then talks me into sending him money to get his autoimmune medicine since he cannot use his bankcard. I also purchase a ticket for him to get back to AK. Upon his arrival he tells me his coworker has his keys to his truck and condo and will not be back into town for a couple of day so I allow him to come to my home. BAD IDEA. This man drugged me and raped me for 12 hours. In order to get him out of my house I had to agree to get him a hotel and pay for it, so I did so. It took me 2 days before I felt like the drugs were out of my system. I have filed a report and am not searching help to get me through this. LADIES, PLEASE STAY OFF OF THE DATING SITES AND DO YOUR RESEARCH. I WISH I HAD LISTENED TO MY INNER FEELING, BUT REALLY THOUGHT HE WAS THE RIGHT ONE.

POF is a site mostly used by men to find a woman to live off of.

I did the same but then kept sending money. Then they went to jail and I decided to hire a lawyer and then to marry the person. Do you think i was smart or not

Would you be willing to identify this man for me. I think my mother is involved with him

Hi CD- what else can you tell me about this guy.

I think he’s been messaging me as well

Hi Bouncing Back- your post has given me shivers of dread. So many red flags. I have a pic of a guy I am chatting with that could be the same guy you described. Do you have a pic that we could compare or any additional information that could help me.

I, too, would like to see pics you all have of this guy.

I am a victim of this loser! 1 year of poring my heart and soul into him to realize his name is John Long not the one her presented himself as.
Girl, RUN as fast as you can far and away from him!!!!

Did you ever receive any justice from this situation? Thinking we know the same person :(

Folks...I have been reading so many of these comments. *** I am a scammed victim. 2 years ago...all of these stories are similar. I fell for the stories / lies too. Almost list my home. I have been investigating a lot. So all, please read this--
They always find the victims. They start calling you sweet names...babe, my love, my wife, my queen. They ask you tell more about yourself. Especially...what kind of work do you do. What kind of car you drive. ***The scammer is sizing you up on what kind of client you will be for then. Do they always call you in the middle of YOUR night? For me, my scanner always said it's his bad connection, and rarely called me. I live in the USA. He claimed to be in the USA and moving to my town in 3 weeks. But...needs to fly over seas for business...taking the child. Arrives and oops broke his camera...so no pics. Then the sick son needing surgery. Yes..I believed. Yes I sent money. I also met several others that were talking to the same scammer. Using the same name (Thomas Marcos George) I met in person one of his Victims. He turned her into his money mule. She did him a favor, and allowed him to deposit his " clients " money into her account. He then told her to send it to Lagos or something other African nation!
I don't have a lot of money...so I was a small time client. Another woman did as he told her to and was a good mule ( money laundering!!!) I met two women that received a 3 carot diamond engagement ring! Oh yes! Those women were very important. Of course the money used to but it was from you...and me!
*** For all of those that suspect you are talking to a scammer....reverse image check. IF he is the type that send you gushie letters....please take a few sentences...and also a Google search. Check the whole document! It is copied from the net!

Does your new love interest get really pissed off at you...for having the audacity to question??? Please ALL. Research NIGERIAN ROMANCE SCAMS. it's all right there.It IS. A scam. YOU...are his or her CLIENT.Ask your scammer this....."Mugu" see if he/she doesn't understand that word!Don't send money... please don't.

RESEARCH.... NIGERIANS ROMANCE SCAMS. watch a few videos that the scammers make of themselves.... laughing at the MUGUs....and the play with the piles and piles of money. Your money My money.please spread the word. Ad for all if you that are currently being romanced by this 'dream come true" please ...get YOUR power back! Stand up...get away from them. Stop Believing that he or she will be paying you back. Stop sending money!

My E7 is solomon barkley in syria.Think he is a scammer,not sure

I had a friend request on Facebook from a Michael Nicholas 42 arizona 2 kids widow sergeant in the army. I tried to verify his story dates details about his job to check he was real or not. It all seemed suss to me. He sent a very similar request to a friend of mine who immediately informed me. Out of sheer curiosity I wanted to dig deeper. Things weren't adding up at all. He suddenly said after 3 days he loved me wanted to marry me and move me in to take care of his kids! Easy tiger!
His English was slightly off and the terms of endearment didn't match up to that kind of guy. I began challenging him straight away. I finally got a confession out of him that he was not for real and was trying to get money from me! He was sorry and wanted to start again because he was really attracted to me as a person bla bla bla. I told him to get lost. Well now I have a new friend request from a random Pakistan guy who lives in Bahrain. On his profile there is a closed group on FB called I don't need to work cos my girlfriend is my ATM. All in weird letters I assume so you can't just search it. Now is this a coincidence or just blatant cheek? This needs checking out. The only thing we have in common is a healthy eating recipes style group. I follow a lot of that stuff not sure why lol. I can see how people can get drawn in. These scammers need stopping and more awareness is needed to say the least!!

Richard Dee Kong days he us a marine Any one know Richard Dee jong a marine engineer I Alabama

My husband has been scammed by Chinese scammer. He was scammed over $40,000 past year. That's the amount I know who know maybe more. What surprised me is he actually believed what she told him and kept sending her the money whatever she demanded. By the time when I found out about it, he was already deep in love with her which he denied, well admitted once. Anyway, her trick is so simple and even my adult children knew it is a scam. Her trick is... I need an air plain ticket to come see you, I need Visa, My Government held me at the airport and I need money and on and on and on.... Obviously the scammer is way smarter than my husband. When he confronted her, She told him that she was scammed by someone else and she did it because she is so poor and she cannot even afford a carton of milk. One thing I am sure about is "Love is blind". He is still keep sending money to this day and he is being denial. What's worse, he said he still loves me. I am now in great emotional pain over this.

MICHEAL GURRY ANY ONE KNOW THIS ONE

POF scammer WYATT from Chandler AZ. Voices sounds nothing like his pictures. He said he would put me on as beneficiary so I could get an apartment until he gets back onshore. He said he worked offshore on a contract. I did a photo search and NOTHING with all the photos he has on POF. He called me hun right off :/ and more. I enmailed him called him on his lies and never heard from him again. That was my first encounter with a dusche bag scammer. I saw RED FLAGS and finally told him to NEVER contact me again.

Don't be fooled by scammers Ladies, Even we guys get scammed....I lost my wife of 25 years back in January 2018. I got this friend request on Facebook, and it said she was a "friend" of a couple of my real friends...I accepted it, then all of a sudden "she" starts texting me...She sends me pictures of this beautiful lady, says that she is 33, divorced from a man that was 53 and that he got into drugs, so she divorced him. She goes on and on about her 2 little boys, and I start feeling an attraction...I know it's way to early, since I'm still in mourning over losing my wife...but I need someone to talk to since, both of my daughters are grown and have their own problems to deal with,,,Well, After about 10 days of talking, she starts talking about "Love" ..hmmm...I feel a scam working here, but I don't want to believe it,,,She has sent me a lot of pictures of "herself", none of them nudes, or anything like that,,,Then she starts talking about her family, her mother and father both deceased, a grandmother that needs an operation,,how her father made a lot of money in the import/export business and she needs some money to start the process to get her inheritance,,,When I confronted her in text messaging about being a possible scammer, she got mad...Imagine that.. I told here to click on the camera in facebook so that We could see each other face to face, SHe hesitated for a long time, Kept asking why I could call her a scammer and why I could insult her like that,,,She finally said she would chat, when we connected, it looked like the person in the pictures, no sound and a extremely short connection...5 seconds or less...Then she asked if that was proof enough..She sent a picture to me that had obviously been photoshopped saying She loved me on a sheet of paper,,,In the extremely short video she looked older than the pictures she was sending, but she still looked like the pictures, although much older....Scam..I don't know, but I broke off contact with her anyway,...at this stage in my life, I don't need it,,,So like I said in the beginning... Even men are getting scammed.....

The guy I'm dealing with doesn't ask me for money . He's sending me money but then I have to send it back to him thru Western Union or Money Gram. Does anybody know if this is a scam? He saying his wife died and he has a 6 year old son. He's in a desperate situation?

Some scammers use people to help them transfer stolen money. They develop online relationships and ask their new sweetheart or friend to accept a deposit and transfer funds.

He may ask you to use your bank account, or to open a new account.  If you get involved with one of these schemes, you could lose money and personal information, and you could get into legal trouble.  Your name and personal information will be on the bank account and wire transfer records.

All say their wife passed & they are lonely & want a new family. Most have a teenage son or daughter. I think they should change their stories once in a while.

Just been scammed, got me through twitter. Said he was US army and deployed in Syria. Watch out ladies as he was soooooo convincing. The American slang, was very believable. These guys are pro's and just after money. Said special ops. I wired £100 I tunes cards to him but luckily got them stopped. I feel so stupid but pls don't fall for it. Good luck x

I agree. Im talking to a guy with really good grammar. With a little accent and a pro. Convincing and believable on the phone. Saying he is a counterintelligence officer and ex army. With all supporting pictures and videos and family picture when he was younger. Im confused if he really is a scammer. But after reading comments here, i am convinced he is. He goes by the name Peter Miles. He is using a picture of young ex-army with G-cleft note tatoo in his left biceps.i feel bad for the stolen identity. To whom will I report this?

Please report it to the FTC at FTC.gov/Complaint. The information you give goes into a secure database that law enforcement uses for investigations. You can also report him to the social media platform where he has a profile.

Victor Anderson - has multiple facebook accounts. Claims to be a Ship Captain on Royal Caribbean or some such Cruise line. He sends a friend request on facebook. if you message him he quickly asks for WhatApp and sends his number. He always wants to know what you're doing. Claims to have a wife who died 5 years ago. And a daughter who lives with his mother in Romania. He only sends the pics that are on facebook but defers having a phone call or sending a voice message (very suspicious). Please do not accept a friend request or message this person back. Do NOT give your number. It's an identity theft scam. Before accepting a friend request or messaging someone, just look on Facebook for other people with that name. If their profile has the same photos or just face photos and they don't have friends -then BLOCK. This guy was looking for a 'mother for his child' and a 'woman to marry'. C'mon ladies - let's be smarter.

Anyone heard from a guy who says his name is Dylan Williams, from Ireland, but lives in San Francisco, CA? Software engineer for his own business. Currently doing business in Italy. His daughter, Anna, goes to a boarding school in Austin, Texas. He asked me to give him my account info so he could send money to a sick friend in New Mexico and I refused.

Hi , could you send me a pic of this guy ?? I think he’s scamming my mom

I must be in the same boat. Not asked for money as yet. Claims he's born in USA In US Army stationed in Kabul. A doctor looking after orphans. Wife and son killed in auto accident 5 years ago,Father killed in Syria. daughter studying in China. Claims to be looking for love and God told him its me. Calls himself Davis Tucker.

I fell hard for a man claiming to be in Forsvaret, the Norwegian military, He said he was being sent to Afghanistan. Of course, I was very worried and even more caught up in the emotional rush. A few days after getting there (haha), he told me his Italian grandmother was hospitalized for severe asthma, and that he had left his card at home, since he didn't need it. Could I pay for her treatment and medicine? It would cost about $3,000. Well, I knew that Italy has a national health service and that no way would they withhold treatment from his 109-year-old grandma (according to him, she's 109!!). Furthermore, I don't have money to sent to strangers. He became very angry, and has attacked me verbally for a week, calling me greedy and a terrible and uncaring person, etc. "If I loved him,...." You all know how that goes. His name on Instagram in Matteo Vangen. (vangenmatteo) I mean, I tried to be reasonable and told him banks wired money and so on, but of course he scoffed at me. By the way, he also claimed his parents died in the American Airlines crash in New York, flight 587, but Wikipedia lists the flight manifest and no Norwegians or Italians (his mother was Italian, father Norwegian, according to him) appeared on it. He is super charming and handsome, so be careful!

You were talking to a Scammer not the guy in the picture

My aunt has been communicating with a man who says he’s from California but is in another country right now working on a project that involves illnesses in reptiles. He wants to put money on her credit card so my aunt can buy gift cards so he can pay off the IRS and get his equipment out of this foreign country. He gave her his bank account info and when she logged into his account there was 1.4 million dollars in it. I keep telling her this is a scam but she won’t listen. They’ve been talking on and off since October and he wants to marry her too. She’s convinced this guy is legit. He even sent her flowers and candy. Does this sound familiar to anyone? How can I convince her this is a scam?

Let her read all of these responses , that should do it. I too was messaging with an american doctor from Seattle working for U.N. in Afghanistan. Didn’t get asked for money,cut him off before it got to that. Mine was Fernando Luiz !

Got another military doctor on Facebook this time his name is Christopher Bogdan for the Syrian war that is going on. It sounds like he has one son in academy school in Africa. Has anybody heard about one? I think these men just need to give up.

If u come across one by the name of Dempsey Silva stating he indeed money or itune card for something run - he will state that he is in the military sation in Nigeria and trying to get his retirement to come home to texas or come home to j

I've been chatting for some time with a Captain Peter Terry in the Army stationed in Syria. Has anyone heard of this guy before. I've sent him Itunes cards, but don't want to send anymore if he is for sure a scammer.

I met a guy on instagram sounds the same, only his name was David Becker. He asked for an itunes card also but I didn't bite

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