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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 met a guy on IG, Mike George, from Manchester. He said his daughter was 7. Super attractive, dark brown greyish hair, beard with grey in it as well. Blue-grey eyes. Told me he was 40. Working on a rig in Scotland. Sound about right?

Do you perhaps have a name and description, sound familiar.

Is his name Jeff Pryor? Does anyone know a Chris Grant

The guy I'm talking to is Jefferson Colbert, but has a cat name Pryor... I wonder if he's jeff Pryor??

same thing happen to me n he told me he is an orpharage and worked in offshore. anyone encounter the same ?

Yes me. £2,400 later he still in contact wants to marry me! I’m married my husband is sick. Goes by the name Henry Brown! American rig contractor needs flight money home but things go wrong and he always needs more!! USA Italian accent I had one call pics are from another man who said he is a scammer and got him blocked on Instagram but he remains it is him
He’s a liar

Yes Little lamb. Mine was on a rig, orphan with daughter in boarding school

Do you have picture I think he might be same one talking to me

Send me a pic and i will send you mmy guy

Offshore, as in on a rig/big boat? He’s a contractor of some sort?

He goes by multiple names, he is a scammer, same story grew up in orphanage, I talked to him for 8 months until he asked me to send money!

Is his name Glenn Patterson?

Mine is Chulo sounds Spanish at times then straight african American he says he is both. Needs a Steam card and money to fly from overseas yet in Air Force

Same mine said works on oil rig ready to retire, father of twins Susan and Henry who r in boarding school UK since they where 9 and he lives in Miami, currently working in Turkey at Batman oil refinery.
Wife died 2 days after childbirth, mother brother died.
Wanted to buy me a car for my bday a Lexus.
Said he’s wealthy then asked me for $1200 to buy food on the ship because he doesn’t like food there blah blah.
Said I had to send money to his colleague.
I asked why and he said he would bring him cash.
Then asked me why I was being insulting when I said ur a scammer.
He Advised to get an app called hangouts for chats only because he’s very private man.
Called me honey, babe, wanted to marry me after 4 weeks blah blah
He was on Instagram then removed his account.
Goes by Johnson Lawrence

Wow, were same.. he said he is from orphanage and worked in offshore with son 12 yrs old in boarding school and he is civil engineer and his name is steven jones..

US Army Gonzalez do you have a picture of him ..

What is his first name?

What is his full name ? Is Gonzales Jorge?

Sounds like Kenneth Webster to me.

Does he look younger than he says? I had a man from Ghana tell me he was from Europe. He said he was 38, he was actually 23. We face timed so zi believed him. He was a singer who played keyboard. But he was a scammer who asked me to help him with a box full of documents and gold. I laughed and hung up on him. And that was after 8 months of communication with him.

They will tell you anything to get you to send money or iTunes cards or gift cards. Some ask quickly others wait months. Most use untraceable phone numbers through services like Google Voice. Most tell you they are Engineers or Oil Workers etc. (which begs the question... why do they need your money then?) Use your instincts. If he said he’s from Canada then really look at the pictures he sends and see if it matches the location he told you he lives. Google has a reverse image search. Use it. Never take what they say at face value. Maybe after meeting them face to face and actually dating... but not with video chats (which can be faked by the way) and not with phone calls or texts. It’s quite alright to use them as friendship and share music, movies, etc. but never lose sight of the fact that they are working to scam you. It’s a harsh reality.

Have been talking to man named Larry Jackson from florida . Says his wife died and his son lives with his mother in Texas .Never asked for money and we video chat . Just have a funny feeling.

Does he live in CA but works as an engineer and is out of town on a job. Widow with a 12-13 year old daughter. I’m talking with someone who talks about God and how he brought us together. It’s been since middle of June. Has video chats and they match with his photos and he’s from Italy with a STONG Italian accent which is the same on video and phone calls. Does this sound like your guy. BrokenHearted? Or has any one else come across him? His name is James. If anyone has any advice I’d love to hear because it all has been consistent but I’m scared.

Yes hes contacted me quite convincing says hes in wyoming

Yes I've been talking to a man named James for several years now always wanting money gift cards do you have any pictures of him has a son and a daughter mother got killed but he works in a oil rig out in the ocean

Hi do you gave a pic of him please really need to see if it's the same person scamming my auntie

Same thing different name, Steve Marco, italian raises in the states. Civil Ingenieer. Widower with a 14 yr old daughter Anita. Travel around the globe for work. The nanny takes care of nanny when he is out working. He works out a lot. He bikes, hikes. And also rides motorcycles.. he has excuses to not make face call, or video chat ever. Because his camera is messed up . Even though he says he is italian he can’t speak Italian. He sound like a middle easter person or Nigerian. He also prefers “hangouts app” for communication , he calls you honey or dear all the time. He apparently falls in love with you too quick. So silly. He uses words like soul mate. Or wants your soul and tour heart ... pretty good liar. Diplomatic.

Hi it sounds like a guy I'm talking with, just without Italian accent. James from CA, working in the gulf of mexico. Are you still in contact with him?

I have had a guy from Mingle dating messaging me on Kik this last week. Suddenly messages came to an abrupt end cos i was suspicious & questioned. Name James or Marcus Liam in Texas. Said his wife died in a car crash, was very sad, his two sons left him not long ago to live with his mum in Chelsea, UK, he was born & bred there! Said babe this & that all the time, how instantly loved me cos i looked so beautiful in my pic. Wanted spend rest of life with me. Said was bday Xmas eve & wanted a gift card! When i mentioned age it didnt match to his mingle profile. Pics he sent didn’t add up. Things did not seem right. And is a very good looking guy. Now complete silence from him after I said just be honest. Cut me off by saying am ending this now cos u dont trust me. Wouldnt video call or speak to me even after saying all he did & was in a relationship with me! And was born & bred in UK & would come back here for me & his boys. I have been trying to find him on other sites without any luck

Hi unsure72...is he around 50y old? Blond/light brown hair. His daughter is in boarding school. Its a similar story. He talks about God, but he told me that he is security works for UN. His name is Jams Willis. He is half Italian. Never called me or make video call because of security reasons.

Can we share photos here ? I have the same story, contacted me on IG. His parents passed and daughter boarding school in Turkey. Said he loves me a few days after we started taking, refused to vidoe chat until he asked for money to help his daughter then he agreed to chat on google hangout

Can I see his picture? I had same story but he has no kid and work in Turkey. Using whatapp with turkey number

I have someone sending me the same sort of B.S as we speak. Calling me constantly, sending many photos, on an oil rig currently in India jut lives in Australia he is calling himself Micheal.Harry he is 53, a widower who has 3 kids. Sends me love notes copied from the internet. He has done 2 brief video chats before he left for a three month contract on an oil rig in Mumbai India. Claims that he cannot take pictures or video for safety reasons. This guy is very good looking, says he is from Sydney but has an odd accent. He has sent me a few videos that at very brief. He contacts me on mainly on telegram but also on hangouts.

Same, he said he’s a pilot and pictures and vid seemed to be the same person, then asked for ring size and shoe size, and said I will need to pay taxes when receive the packages.

Katy the pilot guy you are talking about..where does he live and what name did he give you?

Hi katy i want to send you the picture of the guy who scammed me.he said his a pilot in netjets.how can we share the picture ?

Hi chen.I think its the same person who almost scammed me.He use the name Fred max .And he said he works in netjets as a pilot.He said he will send a package ,and someone emailed me that in order to claim it i need to pay for taxes before the package will be delivered.I can sense that there's something wrong.Good thing i was not able to fall in his trap.I want to let you see the videos and pictures that he sent me.
I actually send a message to Netjets if they can let the real pilot know that a scammer is using his pictures and videos.

Hi yen, he told me the same, Fred max, pilot of NetJets, he send me videos and pics. Thanks you because when I read your text and Katy texts I realized that he was totally a fake.

Hi marcy!i was able to find the real account of the pilot.when in told him thats someone is using his pics and videos he blocked me.i think the real account is handled by the scammer.by the way,how can we be able to share pics and videso?i want to send it to you lets see if its the same person

Hello, I’ve recently talked to this guy on Instagram, can you share the photos of the guy and we can compare whether it’s the same guy or not? Thanks.

Hi, may I know which guy you are referring to? What is his name?

can i get the name and how to share photos to see if i am dealing with similar guy. hope for your reply

Hi. Was the pilot’s name Alex Hansson? How can we exchange the photos and vid? British Airways pilot training students in Turkey? Widowed, 5yo daughter???

Hi, Im talking to a guy who messaged me from IG and goes by the name Maxwell Francesco Fredrick. Claims he is a pilot from Netjets. How can I send his photo and videos? We chat on Whatsapp.

Hi same story for me . How can I share photos and videos ?

This "pilot" tried to me too. Sent pics and videos..some looser. Be careful.

Same name Maxwell Francesco Fredrick pilot from Netjets. I don’t know he is real or not.

Totally the same guy. He is using the same name the same story. Good looking pictures. I knew something was weird when he keep talking about having serious love relationship. I blocked him right away after reading your post.!

hi, a guy from Ig named MAxwell francesco Fredrick dm too, told me the same a pilot and wants serious relationship how can we share the photos

Can someone pls post a pic of this guy. My friend is being scammed. He goes by Alex. I’m trying to convince her but she doesn’t believe me. It sounds like the same guy

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