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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

Comments

I don’t know if he is a scammer,I’ll tell my story.I was on a German dating website (I am German) when a guy named Dwayne Proctor,SFC in the Army,currently deployed in Afghanistan,textet me and we quickly switched to WhatsApp.
He had lost both of his parents(mother at birth,Father two years ago. His will soon be re-deployed to Syris for a week,then he wants to come to Germany seeing me.He wants to send his safebox to me with big sums of cash and gold.He never requested any money from me,always told me he has enough of it.
I’ve never been in this situation,so maybe one of you could help me.

Probably, a scammer

Friended Mark Gaspar on fasebook...sweet talker. Lucious voice, thick accent. Widower 10 years. Wife died of cancer 2 years ago. Sister beaten to death by drug husband, died and then Mark adopted is sister'sr daughter Alandre just turned 14. Attends Seton Catholic school in Hudson, Oh. He is on an oil rig off Scotland high sea. been there 5 months. Needed iTune cards for software of computer on rig and communications. Moved to Hangout quickly, a lot of sweet talk with pictures exchanged. Bought several of them, scratched them off and sent photos of access numbers.
Elaborate scam: Mark has an inactive account in the UK needing 5200 English pounds (or $6800.00) to activate a dormant account . Was notified by Marks bank (Nationwide Bank <customercare@nation-wide.info> wanting full name, acct#, etc. as Mark's named benefactor the $1.5 M (deposit for rig contract by Shell Oil) would be transferred to my bank acct. (I SAW THIS ACCOUNT...LOOKS AUTHENTIC) Mark's acct access acct info: ID#65476Km password: markgaspar, and acct#7698435678 then we would live happily ever after...I would never want for anything ever again. But the $6800 needed to be paid to activate the acct. Mark's agent for his daughter is who I would send $800 for Alandre's excursion to Disneyworld $500 for spending money...Alandre was going to be my new daughter...right? She had even emailed me several times. Then there were the $1,000 and $2000 cashier checks I mailed overnight to Mark's agent : Carol J. Weston17704 Bay View Dr. Park Rapids, Mn 56470 it was suppose to be wired, but the acct#4302568 Rtg#091214753 would NOT except wires only ACHPAY transactions. After selling all my furniture & car I was to overnight $3000 to Carol then overnight $1000 to Halifax Bank 9-12 Powis St. Woolwich, London SE18 6HZ Acct name: Diantha Imanuel Acct#11049560 Sort code: 11-08-68 IBAN: GB71HLFX (11086811049560) Swift Bic: HLFXGB21Y22. The tracking code shows it was signed for by front desk but has not been cashed. I will need to wait for another 2.5 months b4 I can put a STP on it.

This is my pitiful, but true story of a woman who didn't expect another love interest, but fell head over heels for this man, says he's Italian lives (18 years) at 5 Lexington Ave. Greenville, TX (that doesn't exist) His phone #850-397-3110 that he sometimes does pick up ....with cautions that calls can cause sparks and can cause explosions on an oil rig. Please be careful....The worse part is I am still so in love with this guy....not sending anymore $ but still crazy for him.

gullible, I know this person. Goes by Acton Gaspar and uses same story as you explained to the letter, including account #'s and transactions. Have talked with him for 10 months on hangouts, and his adopted daughter has written to me several times. I have pictures of him, if it is him. also have history of chats on hangouts. I believe every word you are saying and take some friendly advice, STOP! He does not love you and never will.

Has anyone met Deborah Brown from Missouri. She needs a passport to come be with me. Wants me to send money to Nelson Yates junior who is helping to get passport for her.

I wouldn't send any money to anyone

My mother just asked me to send $300.00
To some exxon mobile contractor that needs to get his system up and running via amazon card, due to video of Hurricane damage. Billy Lee is the name being used.
Said she just wanted to find out the truth if he is lying. I warned her just yesterday of scammers and I quote" If he asks you to send money he is a scammer, no matter what form." She is addiment on doing it anyway just to find out the truth.
I am her caregiver. Not going to happen friends!!! She insists I drive her to the Bank! This is sad that she is trying to convince me she just wants to know the truth. TRUTH... DON'T GIVE ANYONE ONLINE YOUR MONEY, EVER!!!!!! Sad story down on Luck, mother dying, child dying, hungry, whatever the story... It is just that!
A STORY! AND YOUR MONEY WILL BE HISTORY.

I’ve been taking to a George Rodney from Ireland off of Tinder. Widowed with 12 year old daughter and wife Emma died in car accident. He was supposedly born in Cuba and moved to Ireland to live with aunt after mother died. He’s asked for and received money for business loans, asked for and received iTunes and bitcoin. We talk on Hangouts and have talked on the phone but never met. Supposedly in import/export business and sends selfie pictures from an audi. Any of this sound familiar?

William James: big time scammer, he was my 2nd, but he did not get a thing from me as the 1st one did not either. William swore up & down he was a true man & true men are hard to believe, I knew from the beginning he was a scammer. I told him his words sounded like he was reading a script which I'm sure he was. he said he was a merchant marine and on the high seas. he was madly in love with me even though we really did not know each other. I could tell he was very busy with his other fish on his line. after a very short time he was asking me for ITunes. I refused he said he was going to kill him self if I didn't send him ITunes, I told him I could not so he quit talking with me like he thought he was punishing me. Then he started in again, asking for ITunes and why couldn't I send him some. He said he wanted to be husband and wife with me and raise our kids in the same house, I kept telling him I had been there done that and I was not going to do it again. All I wanted was a friend I could chat with. He kept begging I finally told him I was of no value to him. He blocked me! I was relieved! I hate being begged for money. Also he was 17years my junior I said that kind of relationship does not work out he said age is just a number. Ladies don't let these phonies pull at your heart strings, they are all scammers with beautiful romantic words.

This sounds like the guy who been chatting with me for a month. Now all of a sudden he ask me for $200 in itunes cards. He has money and wants to marry me. I have been getting these hints about him. Not wanting to use google chat

My cousin has recently been talking to a man on Facebook by the name Kevin Mark, he told her very quickly that he loves her and wants to marry her. He is supposedly 55 years old, widow and with a 14year old son, And works for an oil platform. All red flags to me, especially because he does not want to FaceTime with her or and asked to download a separate app to contact her. Has anyone else experienced something similar? His name is Kevin Mark.

I met a guy named Zadee Walker also know as Robert Walker he claims 2 have a fabric company n lives in Washington and is in Nigeria with his so called workers. Be careful he is full of lies and stories about gold, and also knowing the Kardashian family. He also so called went 2 Canada n got rob at gun point. All lies including the fact that we was get this 5 Billion dollars in debt that he so called paid off in 2 minths .

I got this guy's message from POF a few days ago, he told me he is an orthopedic surgeon serving for a peacekeeping mission in Yemen. Lost his beloved wife two years ago and refused to tell the reason and has a 12 year old son in a boarding school. He is using wechat accout which is a popular chatting tool. (Watch out, Chinese ladies!) I always feel there is something wrong, coz he called me my woman my everything from Day 1 when we didn't know each other. He kept telling me he is a medical doctor, his work is very demanding, and doesn't have much time but he would like to talk to me, coz it reminds him he is still alive. Something I don't feel right is he always begins his sentences like "so tell me....", and he repeats his words "I wish this relationship will lead to a fruitful end", which doesn't sound genuine. And last night he asked me if I own my place and how much do I make a month. Luckily, I found her by searching "fake UN doctor", lol, first thing to do this morning, and it proofs I am right!

Met a girl named Claudia online, pretty blonde from Texas, anyone else meet a Claudia?

James M. Larry telling me to pay $200000.00 for a shipment he arranged from Koreas

Anybody knows a Johnson Lee? Born in Singapore but apparently, living in the US his whole life. Works as a businessman for a contractor company. When it’s too good to be true, then it is NOT true.

it is this young man named Danny Baxter.. Ladies beware... he can use a different first name but Baxter is always his last name... He claims to be in a different country on a secret mission he is a sergeant in the Army.. He will get to know you then request an I tunes card.. DO NOT SEND HIM ANYTHING! i reversed looked his picture up.. he is a faker and a fraud

I'm a female on Hinge dating website, met this guy who is supposedly from NC originally, lives in NY now (moved from NJ 5 years ago when divorced wife). No kids of his own. He is "deployed" in Djibouti Africa and a Marine. TOO good to be true, tons of pics and sent me a shot of his passport to prove he's legit. It's a shot someone stole from the real guys passport I'm sure, and a bunch of shots from a FB page I'm guessing. His father is dead and left him a piece of land worth $2 mil in Mexico which he (maybe we) can go claim when he is discharged in a couple of months. We've been talking for 2 days and he's telling me this? He says he's 38, but the pics are totally of a younger guy. Claims to be a Marine engineer serving for 19 years... 6'2 blue eyes, brown hair nice teeth. The guy whose info they are using is cute, wonder if he knows he's being used. I asked the guy to call me tonight or tomorrow and he said they can't just call, they have to put in a request and see if it's approved. HAHAA. RIGHT. His English is good with the writing, but the WhatsApp phone number has a "44" code at the beginning which is the UK I believe. Hold onto your purse strings and dirty pics ladies!

I also chatted with a scammer who said he was deployed in Djibouty. His name was Ben Richmond, 43 y.o.
Perfect English! He also sent me lots of pictures. He asked for money for telephone calls and to come to visit me.
Very sly! And cheap lol

Can I have his picture.im also chatting with one and he deploying in Saudi Arabia know and need money for replacement so he can get out camp there to come back home cos terrorist killed a lot of soldiers

I’m in this same situation now. I met him on hinge we have been talking for 1 week. He asked me send him pictures. I sent many pictures and videos to him. I felt that it’s totally privacy violation. He used fake passport to prove for he is real and sent bunch of pictures and videos . He knows I like dog. He told me has a puppy. He has house. Until yesterday 5/17/2020 asked me assist him to guy google gift card to him. Of course I’m not buying anything to him. He still keeping text me now and saying he is real. I can’t believe this guy can use same story to ask for just a google gift card. Thank you for you sharing this experience. I can confirm this is real scammer. I’m Going to block this guy.

March of 2018 I was approached on Instagram I have since deleted my Instagram this guy had use somebody else's picture and was pretending to be that person he talked to me for about months I refused he would always ask for iTune gift cards or money transfers and I would just want people to be aware the account has been taken down from Hangout but I wanted to be people to be aware he still contacts me via phone and he calls me his wife but when I told him I'm not his wife I don't know who he is he gets very angry with me he pretends to be with the FBI my sister who is 19 was the original person that contact him but she's not mentally competent and this is how the whole thing started and she has to use my phone so I let her and and ever since then I've had issues this guy has made up of. Account going by the name of Donald Howard he has pretended to be celebrity when I first talked to him and then he changed his name I don't know what is going on he still contacts me I've gone to the police that there's nothing they can do I have considered going to a private investigator just to find out what the hell is going on he kept asking me for my bank information and I would not give it it all started because he said that he needed me to donate to a children's home in Kentucky and so I looked up this place and I was like hey this is a legit place I did not donate to it but my sister did

Has anyone of you heard of Recal Marcel Burleson?

Well I have heard of William hills silver springs Maryland he scammed me Google cards iTunes cards wanted to marry me

I was wondering there's a girl that has been talkin to me on the messenger for like 6 or 7 months we talked for about 2 weeks and all the sudden she started needing $100 Amazon cards and I'll get her one every couple weeks and sometimes every week but she has to have the receipt with it okay yesterday and I'll Sunday I got her one and no she claimed she she couldn't read the thing and it was planted as he couldn't read the numbers on it I respectfully thank you

Hi I'm in the same situation. I received a friends request on Facebook. We text each other for about 2 days then asked me to download Hangouts, or what's app. He asked me for a $50 iTunes card. The day after that he asked me to get an AT&T account so he can buy phones and sale them. Now today
he says he adopted a son from Africa and his son is in Africa with caretaker and needs $200 for food. I didn't do any of that. Anyways real charming Says on a secret mission can't take photos or video chat. Is in the Army lives in Colin,Ohio . Stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan but called from a Ghana number deleted his FB profile. He goes by the name Joseph McGee

these all sound so familiar... my guy is Elliott. Started as Elliott Rashford on Tinder. He got us off Tinder in minute, and he took his profile down. Italian, 52, widower with teenage daughter. I got him on his last name, why did he use a soccer player's name? He is 'protecting his private life'. Construction engineer, now in Dubai on a big contract he won. He texts me all the time, calls every few days- his accent is real thick. He's darling, gray hair, graying beard. He got me to get him iTunes cards for'his daughter'. He says love at first sight. He asked for money for duty fees, I refused. we had a big fight. he says he wont' ask for money any more. Calls me 'his wife' or wifey, babe, honey, darling, etc. he'll be 'in dubai' for another 5 weeks supposedly. I am smitten, so embarrassing. He also is very Catholic and throws parables at me once in awhile. He as been comforting in a time of trouble I was going through. I won't send any money or any more iTunes. What do I do?! is he familiar to any of you? He 'lives in Manhatten'. I've done all the searches I know- phone number, email, image look ups - nothing comes up on this guy. Let me know if this is familiar, I will send photos.

Hello,
Sound like someone I’m talking too also. I met him on SPM and he also had me delet the account right away. We have been talking since February of this year. Just that he told me he was divorced and he also has a daughter. He is also lived in New York but accepted a ciontract for his work and is now in Nigeria of all places too.
He also calls me his wife as we got married he said after just a week of meeting him.
He used to text me all the time but has stopped because of the time change he says and he rarely calls too as the reception is bad.
I wished we could share pictures too to see if we are talking to the same guy.

Adding a name to the scammers list - Michael Kings on Instagram. Will DM you and says he is from Quebec, Canada. He claims to fix airplanes. He will give you his # and want to talk on WhatsApp. Within a few hours he was sending his conversations with kisses. Within a day I was Queen, honey, baby, etc. Heart emojis. He laid it on thick. All he really wanted to do was flatter me and not get to know each other. He talked a lot about his parents and God. Said he was divorced. Wife cheated on him with his best friend. Contacted me first ting in the morning and thoughout the day. Within a few days we were going to be together forever. I had a feeling he was buttering me up for something, but I did not give him a chance. Told him I suspected he was not real. He got very upset and said I ruined everything and that I had betrayed him. I do not want to see him scam anyone else. I blocked him, but Instagram does not let you report these guys.

Hi,
This also sounds like the guy I’m talking to also. He also told me that his ex wife cheated on him with his best friend. Does he have any kids because the guy I’m talking too has a daughter who the mother abandon and he has full custody of her too. Can you describe what he looks like? Do you have picture of him too?

Sounds like the same guy goin by Harris Williams got 1 daughter turing 13 on September 28..wanted be to be her mommy on 2nd day..want me to send daughter I phone or I pad..said she in africa while he in Afghanistan cause he didnt trust no one in the states to keep her met him on POF..I told him to get his own gift and say its from us both he went ghost..

Yours sounds like my guy, except mine was Michael Burleson. The story is almost identical though. It's only been about 5 days but he's laid it on VERY thick, it's almost comical. The difference is my guy says he grew up in foster care. As an avid watcher of Catfish, I did my due diligence and found the real guy. The scammer hasn't asked for money yet. I'm torn between immediately blocking him and seeing if he will ask...

Yes Michael Burleson contacted me. Super sweet guy hasn’t asked me for anything until recently he told me he had a mission to rescue and asked me if I can take care his son . He may not make it. He wanted is to be best friends. Two days haven’t heard anything since
He doesn’t know my real name but told me the same story wife died and has no family and in foster care as a child.
Point is I was like this guy seems to good to be true. I was like I will go along with it. Damn super sad story hot guy but damn it’s super hard to believe. Anyone would fall easily.

Im scared for my mom ..she is 65 and has been talking to someone .. Now talking about a 11 year old girl being sent to her cause this person is being deployed.. Told her noone send a 11year old randomly to anyone they have never met.. Im thinking its a scam to get address and money .. What u all think

I been talking to this man Lordek Buck has anyone has he toll he is a marine been 7 months of this and I’m pretty sure he is scammer he toll me has 2 kids Sean and rose divorce please let me know

I talk with someone called Justin Brandon in Kabul. 2 children in NY. Their mother is dead. He is an doctor in military.
He wants itunecard and money the to get out of there earlyer. He says he has this contract.

i was texting to a man that said he was a orthopedic doctor in badhdad. working there on contract. he went by the name doctor michael samual. said everyone calls him dr. mike. said his wife and child was killed in car accident. we texted for 2 months then he said he was coming home on leave. said he had a house in washington,dc. anyone had any contact with him.. please let me know.. thanks..

did you recieve my message ? please let me know... thanks.

Do you have a pic

Jordan Freer, Emmanual Bryan, Miller Kalfman, Justin Thacker..Adamson Watkins..Micheal Raymond, Smith Porter, Danny Hernandez, Stone Lee.. can you put the last names are still the same and most cases all these men have ended up asking me for money and some form whether it be me take a credit card out in their name fill out leave papers for them accept money for them so they can come home bank account information from me or the wire me money Army to buy them phones or send them iTune cards several of them be careful ladies and gentlemen as well everyone take care and remember if it seems like a scam it probably is if they're insisting on trust right off the bat run from them ...trust is earned not given ;)

Anyone dealing with a “Chris Rossi” out of Los Ángeles? Italian. Supposedly went to UCLA. No family except for very ill grandfather. Luxury car dealer but also works for “Shell” I believe he says. Stuck in Turkey trying to finish a mercedes deal. Has scammed my sister out of a lot of $.

This guy Chris Rossi was on eHarmony Feb 2019 in the UK. Has a bald head, goatee and moustache. Exactly as described in previous message. Is very romantic, loving and convincing in his messages. Started talking to him after 3 days, came across as really sincere, personable with a big heart. Kept talking about our future together and I was totally taken in. Then had to fly to Turkey suddenly to vie for a “car contract.” 3 days later was given the contract but had to pay £400k for the Mercedes cars (18 of them) but didn’t have money for shipping. Asked me to send £20k to pay for shipping and then we would be “together for ever”. Transferred £5k to Turkey to placate him and to provide him with proof, then I immediately cancelled the transfer (unknown to him) then used emotional blackmail. “If you loved and trusted me you’d send the money, you’re standing in the way of us being together, I’ve been left here all alone because of you.” Stay strong ladies, he’s a cruel and manipulative man. If you need any further info, let me know.

Update on my previous message. It would appear I was a tad quick to judge and have since realised that the Chris Rossi I’m conversing with is a genuine guy. I would like to retract the comments I made in my previous message and apologise to him if he ever sees these comments. Warning to others, be careful you have all the facts before casting aspersions.

I also started to converse with Chris Rossi on eharmony in February and I agree with previous comments regarding personal information and business trip to Turkey, but hasn't once asked me for any money. Met up for lunch on his return but there wasn't a spark there for either of us so I'll keep searching for my knight in shining armour. Forever the optimist, I'm afraid.

My mom has been talking to some guy on hangouts named Chris Aguilera. His grammar is terrible, he calls her "babe" in every sentence, he asks her for a ton of money for things that don't cost that much, he never gives her a straight answer, he belittles her and makes things seem like they're her fault, and he's also constantly professing his love to her. He says he's an independent contractor and has been stuck in China. So he's always asking her for money for food and things. Recently I got my mom to promise to stop sending him money. She went online and told Chris and he made up some bs about getting back to America so he could meet with her. But then he said he had to go to the doctor and he needed her to pay for that. And then after she did, he told her he got a ticket but abruptly stopped talking to her for a few days. When he finally came back on, he said he had been planning his itinerary when he previously said he'd already bought his ticket. He told my mom the flight was full so he had to catch a different one. Then he asked her for $100 for food for 24 hours. His new flight should be leaving today but after my mom sent him the $100, he stopped talking to her again. My mom won't listen to me because she believes I don't know anything because I'm too young. She has to raise three kids on her own and barely makes enough as it is without Chris taking all her money. I'm really scared and angry and I don't know what to do

Hi, have you see pictures of him? If so can you describe what he looks like? Also does he have any kids of his own? I have been talking to s guy I met online too, but goes by a different name also. He was also asking me for money to pay his hotel room and food but he wouldn’t disappear at all. He also got sick told me to send him money to go to the doctores.
I finally told him I couldn’t help him out anymore as I’m also a single mother and can barley make it too. He gets upset but he is always coming back. He also calls me babe for everything too.

I thought i was in love, met him on fb. as patrick murphy an michael murphy he is supposedly kidnapped at present, last month he was arrested an in hospital with malaria these people are found out.

Has anyone spoken to a Alex S. Medina? From Indiana has a 9 year old boy in the US army?

Hello Ladies! Just want to chime in here. Received a message from an "Orthopedic Surgeon" on the Supertova Dating Site. RedFlags from the onset ! One- He said he was an Orthopedic Surgeon - and went onto to give me the Baron's dictionary meaning of it. Isn't saying you're an OP enough? Two--He rambled on for at least a paragraph about TRUST! Three-- He said he was from Massachusetts but spoke and wrote and botched up the English language like a foreigner might. Four-- He came on WAY too strong for the initial email … and 5. When I googled him --and this is a must in this day and age, there were a few Dr. Benjamin Jackson in the US -- none of which had photos to match the one that this Dr. Jackson sent me. Anyway, Here is a bit of how his scam begins. Good luck ladies. Be sharp!
Hello. my name is Benjamin Jackson a mixed race,mother from MA while my father is from Haifa Israel " Haifa is a northern Israeli port city. I'm an orthopedic surgeon. I specialize in the treating problems of the bones, joints,ligaments and tendons with surgery.. I have been working with the United Nation for the past 15yearsbut i was transferred to Syria not quiet long ago.my contract will be running out soon .I lost my wife and son in a fatal car accident back in the States few years back and i have been single since then with a daughter who is schooling in a Marin Montessori School,hoping to start up a new life with someone special whom i will love and call my queen . I wish on going into a relationship again and it will be nice to know more about you. I believe destiny has brought us together as we have met at this point in time. Yes, another RED FLAG Ladies! Maudlin and oozes BS!

I have been talking to this guy Tyler Bandon. He won my heart over in a matter of minutes talk to moving in with him starting businesses and sent me a dozen roses. He talked of gold that he had trapped over there that someone gave him and he wanted to send it to me along with some personal items until he come home he gave me the email address of some man to contact and in order to get the gold here it cost over $11,000 and I would have to color that charge so I'm still in contact with him he still telling me all these things about loving me and want to live with me but he often bring up the gold trying to get it home if anyone have a picture of this guy could you please email it to me

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