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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

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

Yes my mom got then but the guy was pretending to be from Italy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I met a man on Instagram by the name of Ryan Lewis (ryanlew_2). He instantly told me that he loved me. Said he has a daughter that lives in Atlanta with a nanny. He's s civil engineer. Has his own business. Struggling financially and asked me for $2000. Then asked me about my bank info, credit score, wanted me to get a credit card to help him for when he had to go overseas to work in Amsterdam for 2 months. When I refused to give him any info he then asked for Amazon gift cards. When I confronted him about being a scammer he got really upset and blocked me from everything. His favorite place to talk was in hangouts. Ladies please beware, he's very good looking and very charming. He's a total scammer.

the best way to not get caught is to use the following rules and stick by them like they are your dying breath tell the person whomever ask for money , itune card , amazaon cards or other i tell them i have two rules.
1. i never send or receive money or packages to or from anyone i have never met in person
2. i never ever break rule number one.
stick by this and they wont stay around you long.

Beware of a Mark_Bitton. Instagram messaged me. Says he’s from Israel but lives in the US. A marine engineer. Lives in Virginia Beach. Wife Emily died 4 years ago. 3 children age 11,8 & 3. Frist tip off was 3 year old and wife dying 4 years ago. He said wife died with infant child. When I asked about 3 year old, he said oh she has a different mom, I don’t like to talk about her. He asked me to become a business owner, I declined. I blocked him per his smooth talk and details not matching up.

Barry Ryan is a scammer also the photo he uses is from a model in Brazil, he says he is in Turkey working a deal and sends fake contracts to get you to send money and when I called him out he got mad at me. I blocked him. Watch out. He is on pof

Just some advice that people have me that you might find helpful. If they're contacting you on Facebook Messenger, always try to video chat/call them. It gives you a chance to see if the face on the chat matches the one(s) in the photos. The ones who refuse to do that have something to hide. Read this on another anti-scam site.

This person is online dating scammer.Profile name anenedez, calls himself Alex. 37/38 year old guy on his profile , Latino from Maryland Baltimore. He will first try to get you away from this site and will ask for contact, for messages. Do not share your real name, bank information, your address. This guys (Name :Alexandra Hernandez) contacted me on POF saying he is widower with 5yrs old who stays with his mom in States and he himself works in Australia and his current contract is getting over in July in Australia and want to ,move permanently in Canada.From 3rd day he started saying I love you, want to have future with you, can't wait to see you. He never encouraged for audio and video calls, always text message only. He was not ready to share his so called mom contact number. He also says he has enough to take care of family 3 days before travel date he tells me he lost his wallet. He agrees to everything you say. He made me to contact his mom via email, roseline. hernandez@ yahoo.com, He shared fake flight tickets to meet me on his vacation to states.After checking with Emirate call center, they confirmed this ticket is fake no such person is travelling on 10th May from Sydney.As soon i mentioned about this he blocked me. I am pretty sure all names and these pictures all are fake probably stole identity to get girls .

anyone know a Rowland Jackson, supposedly irish. or a Tony Lorenzo Italian. widowers kids in boarding school. yada yada yada same story as everyone else. want itunes cards for stupid reasons. was fooled once not again. its disappointing bc at first it seems legitimate.

Ok gals been reading your stories, need info here's mine. Met this army guy on words with friends online scrabble. Sergeant in kabul, real lonely, lost his wife and son, and after a few days now has my number for instant message ok, already told me no money in or out, ok. But now totally!loves me and has reason to go on, I'm scared, don't mind being his friend but he's talking marriage already, what's going on. Am I being a stupid 58 year old getting sucked in to what. Hasn't asked me for anything but to be there. Help me out girls

Is this guy really good looking. I played Scrabble online with him and he's trying to get leave to come Stateside. Says he's Wayne Ryan Jones. His uniform days Jones, too. But his English is a bit rough.

i have recently been conctacted thru instagram from a dennis pachecho. pachhhh_0 is his user name..he stated a us soldier. in nairobi. from chicago. ex left him and has 2 kids his mom is raising. talked for a week. he autaomtically profused his love for me..i was leary from the get go. he finally asked for a phone on my acct. i refused. he kept messaging. i google image searched his pic and found a jason jr pacheco on twitter with same pics. messaged him to tell him his pic was being used in a scam. he starts a convo immediately and turns out same scammers. they are using this solders pics with Pacheco as last name and many first names. googled it and found a ton. called i posted on instagram and facebook his acct and pics and warned of a scam. he messaged me on instagram why? and i said because I am pissed and reported him. he blocked me..lol..i also told twitter scammer i was on to him and he set his acct to private. i report his acct every day to twitter that its a scam. lol. hope this helps someone. w

Hi! Does named Harold Tom aged 41 and trying stuffs don’t know but trying rob me and anyone know him and please let being scam so please know man saying Army and telling truth trying free stuffs and know person let’s know!

Dear mates, I'm from Brazil and my mom has scammed by this Canadian, named IVAN BARSHIN, marine engineer working offshore in Turkey, his wife passed 5 years ago, he is lovely, handsome and have a sick kid waiting for him... To prove his love, he sent a pic of airplane ticket from Istambul to Sao Paulo, the pic is fake, and with a gross error in it picture edition, but mother blind by love didnt noted. Everything was perfect until he asked for money, much of money for pay some insumes for his job... too weird, she told me the case and we started to research, so we discovered another brazilian woman, who sent him almost $100.000, then he disaperead. For my mom nothing happened, because we got his scam. It's so sad, so cruel... I wish there is at least an investigation to stop this man, or who else be it.

You could report him to the website where you found his profile.

I need help, my is talking to a guy off Christian mingle claims to be a widowed man, wife died of breast cancer and was going to adopt a 11yr old from Africa. Born in Africa and they have spoken over the phone. Not super heavy accent... claims to be in real estate and development. Living in laguna beach CA. Anyone heard of this guy? Name is Eli Marron

I have a friend who is falling for this same guy/scam. What happened with your friend? We are trying desperately to make her see who he truly is but so far it is not working.

This guy is messing around with a friend of mine now, did your mom ever send him money?

Unfortunately she has sent him money and still thinks he is real? His story is the exact same except he says he is from Texas. Always says he is coming yet never comes and some how keeps stringing her along. Did your friend send him money?

I think it will be a good ideal if you know anyone that will are can set up a private Facebook account for all the women and men here that has been a victim of a scam that can share there post and pictures etc it could help others from falling to a victim of scam and loosing everything maybe after reading other post this will help someone see all the signs

Anyone experince a woman name Nicki Morgan??

yes, who is she and what did she tell you?

Experienced scammers are wiser these days. Their previous accounts are deleted or blocked, their names, locations and stories change and they come back with new identities and the same photos. Reverse photo search will not help in this case. Technology allows us to chat face-to-face. Try not to avoid it if possible. Another good option is to spontaneously ask for a current date stamp photo. It is a free app that can be downloaded to cell phones. Have them take a date stamp photo date of themselves to verify their identity early on before they get into their sob stories. Scammers can interface with several people at one time but not for long before they become someone else.

You are right! They are more wiser now than before,they speak english and chat fluently.

Should we inform the real person whose identity been stolen if we found out who is the real person after we noticed we are dealing with a scammer?

Please help, his name is Michael Derik and has a daughter named Emily that lives in Texas, my mom says she is in love and he is the owner on a oil rig in Africa or operator not to sure, please if you have heard of this man please tell me. She says she doesn’t send him money. He said he was going to come here and buy her a house and he left a few days ago and was going to be here this weekend but something came up, he is now in Egypt stuck there! Go figure right! He was born August 3, 1959 and is a off shore worker and went to Africa in January. He uses terms of endearment on my poor mom. Please someone help

I received a message from. Dr Raymond Herman / Alvin Robert said he was a Army Orthopedic surgeon was wondering if anyone else received a message from this person and if it’s real or not said he is in Kabul Afghanistan looking for his sole mate.

OMG I can't believe all these reports about these scammers. I too accepted a friend request from a guy who said he's working on an oil rig outside of long beach California I been talking, texting and emailing him for a year now and have loaned him over 35000.00. He said his drilling machine blew and needed 3180.00 the first time and continually asked for money and iTunes cards to buy provisions on rig. He was so sweet and charming and talked about God to me as he knew of my love for God. He last asked me to send him 2500.00 and when I refused he blocked my phone calls. I feel so used and dumb for believing this guy. I'm not a wealthy person and really need that money as it was my life savings . He even had me withdraw 6600.00 from my sons joint acct promising to return the money the following week. Needless to say he never did return any of my money. He always used other people to receive monies never to him personally.

My friend wont listen to reason. Her family have tried to tell her that the person she chats to online may be not who he says he is. He says he is ill treated, once she asked me to phone the police because she thought he had tried to commit suicide and she didn't hear from him, only his "family" who actually told her to stop contacting him. I love my friend and do anything to help her but she believes she is right and everyone else is wrong. Maybe she is right but I don't believe she is. This has been going on for a couple of years or more and now she has asked me to post him a parcel. She lives in South Africa. I have an address and wonder if I should just go and see for myself...worried.

Does anyone know a Zack Dag or Robert Zack from Ohio with a son named Fredrick?

First I have been scammed by Garry Roberts, posting that he is a general in US Army and assigned to Afghanistan..and he will be assigned to Syria..Suddenly he told me that he needs to send me his personal belongings including cash of $500,000..and when it arrived in our country. The Airport custom told me to pay a tital $2,500..to release the package, which I was forced to pay. But when another demand of $4000 was asked, I declined already. But i lost my & $2,500... I was fooled..

Help I am positive my mom is being scammed and after sending 8k I caught on when she tried to wire 10k and the bank flagged it as fraud.. I luckily had accesses to shut account down but she swears it isn't a scam and this supposed us military coronal is waiting for the un to sign papers for him to retire and come be with her and he has to have the money to get money out of a bank back to the us and his funds are tied up by the military. From what I gather it started with gift cards and escaladed.. cant find anything online about the guy. The emails requesting money go back to Ghana but his personal doesnt get any hits.. suggestions on getting her to see the light?

We find out that Mr Raymond have not been paying the security fee for over 4years now and a deposit of $10,000 needed to be made on the deposit account now so your package can be free to deliver to you , so we want you to make a payment of $10,000 on this account before the box can be free to deliver and as soon as you send it , you will receive your fiance Box .

The US Army Criminal Investigative Division (CID)  has information for people who are scammed by imposters who pretend to be US military personnel. You can show your mom this article from the Army CID, which has a list of scam warning signs, including:

  •   A general officer will not be a member of an internet dating site; and
  • Deployed Soldiers do not find large sums of money and do not need your help to get that money out of the country.

That article has links to other Army CID articles and even copies of the fake documents the scammers use to trick people.

MY Daugher is in a situation with a person who goes by the name of Gen Raymond F Chandler on a facebook acct. he is bleeding her dry of money and we can't convince her of that. the page when you do a search clearly says he is a scammer. How we stop this?

The US Army Criminal Investigative Division (CID)  has information for people who are scammed by imposters who pretend to be US military personnel.

You can read this article from the Army CID, which has a list of things a scammer might say or do, like (falsely) saying he needs money to come home.

The article has links to other Army CID articles, and even shows copies of the fake documents the scammers use to trick people.

I have just recently been talking to a David Johnson Clinton on facebook. Quite a good looking man. Says he's a widow with a 13 year old boy, military doctor working for the UN in Syria, son is in boarding school in UK, lives in the UK but is from Brazil. Started professing his undying love for me around day 2/3. By day 6 needed $100 iTunes card. Reason for iTunes card is so he can activate his online bank account. Son has lost his MasterCard. Can't get a new one until $400 paid to bank. Son hasn't eaten for 2 days. Tries to make you feel guilty by saying his only son is dying from being hungry. Played his game with the I love you bs. Got angry in a video call and told me he hates me with his whole life.

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