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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 — 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



I was contacted on the dating site by a woman saying she showed the website to a friend and liked my profile. She provided me with his name and email address. I contacted this person and replied with pictures and personal information. He claimed to be german living in Seattle Washington for the last 14 months. He was a civil engineer and was divorced with a daughter. We exchanged phone numbers and he would write emails, texts and called every day. We were supposed to meet on April 4th but he told me a few days before he got signed on a multimillion construction contract in South Africa. When he got in south Africa, he claimed he lost his luggage with all his electronics. He started demanding me to go buy those electronics and send them to him by Fedex or UPS because he needed them for his job. I told him I didn’t have money or credit card to do that. He keeps calling me and texting me but I haven’t answer.

Has anyone been contacted by a man on Instagram named Mark James who has a son named Kelvin is from Australia ? Was asked to move over to hangouts thrn finally the money question came up for $ 15,500 for faulty equipment he works on a rig as a contractor ...

Anyone heard of George mendez who is a contractor with shell oil? My coworker is talking to a guy she met on a dating site and we are trying to prove it’s a scam.

Hi Jane,
I have been talking to a guy, Bernard Lowery, who also claims to be a contractor with Shell Oil and was working in Gulf of Mexico now in China. I am not sure if it is the same man. Be careful he becomes very mean when you don't send money.

I'm actually in the middle of this terrible experience...two months ago, I was pm'd on FB messenger by a man called Ray Charles. He talked in a romantic manner, but it wasn't long before he started asking for itunes or Amazon cards to help him get home to NJ...he caught me in a very needy time of my life...and i started sending cards at great risk...he was hungry as he said he was saving most of the money for his trip home. I admit that I fell for him very I was on an emotional roller-coaster...It got worse...for, today I wired him a larger amount from the bank...I am completely shattered, because I truly believed he loved me and promised to come and see me and pay back everything I sent...I've never cried so much in my life!!! My heart is broken...ladies, beware!!!!

Has anyone heard of an Akar Brice art or art Brice Akar. Or just Brice Akar. Says he's a German living in California. Says he's 48, widowed with a daughter that lives with him. And a son who lives in Africa with his grandparents. Engineer

I got matched with someone using Bumble the dating app in Australia called 'Michael Robinson'. He was supposedly in the US military, widowed with an 8 yo daughter. Originally from Texas but moved to NY for work. We were talking for two days (A lot!) and he then asked me for an itunes card to be able to Skype. I started to get suspicious and thankfully googled if that was normal. I have blocked and reported him everywhere but he is still finding ways to get to me. I have had multiple friend requests from him on FB and today I received an email to my work. Does anyone have much experience with contact after? Will it continue for much longer? I assumed he would have lost interest by now! :(

Ladies beware of a man named Paul Cazorla. Claim claims he is a geologist from Texas and Virginia but had to leave to Nova Scotia to work there for a month. Then he told me he was going to have to go to Poland and turkey to work for 9 weeks but then he was going to come back to Texas to see me. We met on a dating site and immediately he went off the site took his profile off and wanted to text. We texted for 3 months and I completely fell in love with his sweetness and charm. He said he had a son that lived in Texas and a daughter-in-law and that he moved to Texas from Virginia because his wife died in a car accident 6 years ago and he was widowed. He never answered my questions but would always go around them. He was very attentive to me and always told me that I was beautiful and that my eyes just shined. We got along very well and seem to want the same things as both of us were widowed. When his profile was on the dating site his picture was of a young age unknowingly to me later on Sant another young picture with a group of kids he was supposed to be teaching them as interns for geologist. Then I asked him for another picture and this time the picture was of an older man about in his 70s. The day that he was too fly to Poland he told me that we would always be able to communicate from there. 3 days went by and I did not hear from him I was worried that something had happened to him. It has been a week now and I still have not heard from him I feel he has completely abandon me and betrayed me. I feel like a fool for loving a man like this and have been heartbroken and crying a lot because I truly was in love with him., a man that I had never seen before in person. How stupid can I really be? I was lonely after 7 years of being widowed and not having any other relationships or many friends and I just fell for it Head Over Heels. Ladies please if this man gets in touch with you please don't be fooled as I was. I miss him terribly that I wasted 3 months of my time and everything in my life went to pot during those three months because I spent so much time with us texting back and forth. He said he was originally from from Europe and that he was part Spanish and part Italian on his father's side. He also said that he had no other relatives now other than his son and daughter-in-law. These things that he said really took me in and I told him that he could be part of my family now. Stupid stupid stupid me. I have gone off the dating site and will never get on it again. It is full of scammers and it just seems like it is getting worse all the time. He had never asked for money but I should have known from the beginning that he was a scammer because I talked to him on the phone when we first met and his accent was so thick I could barely understand most of what he said. Ladies beware.

Bridget Small...why can't we post pictures of the scammers so we will know who we are talking about?

The blog comments are not designed to include photographs.

I believe I’m talking with 2 scammers.
1. Leonard Eckley a NY designer currently in Cyprus, of course stuck there after his locally hired workers were hurt and he was found to be responsible for their accident. Claims to have millions of dollars in multiple back accounts but they are all frozen. I paid his bail $4000, now asking for more money...I said absolutely asking me to open up a bank account...he had professed his love for me quickly....met his on OnCuoid.... He claims he is being investigated by the FBI because he took a large amt. of cash overseas. He claims to be from South America, Colombia, but does not speak any Spanish....wife of course has passed, no family, had British accent? He had a cell phone with a Texas area code....

YES, I have it, Gary Wil Williams. he asked me for money. We're talking on the Wats app. She broke off the knowledge and blocked it.

Scammer: Marcus Winstow, 716-989-5484, for itunes cards via pof. found model under leo0leo on insta. ugh. despicable

Hi everyone I have a guy asking me some money he said he wants to work in Dubai . He is from Afeghanistam and needs money in his account to get a stamp to be able to travel ... 2000 US dolars . Very handsome photos from istagram ... some in the gym some with nice clothes and places ??

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@ 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?


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.


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