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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

This guy it's been talking to me send me a video from the gym as yours send me a video of a night ride with a very loud music, tattoos , American flag an eagle , he is bold , very nice looking and said he is from Virginia and it is stationed in Bermudas .

What name did he give you? Because it sounds very similar to a guy I've been talking to since last May or so.

In the Navy, girlfriend was killed in a car accident a few years ago. He's rich and yet can't come up with enough money to pay to get his leave request paperwork expedited, supposedly from Virginia and yet has a Welsh accent. He's tall, dark blonde, both arms have full sleeve tattoos, extremely good looking, built like Jason Momoa. He's been asking me for months to open a new bank account so he can transfer money into it for me to send back to Command so they can process his paperwork and he can go home. I haven't done it and have no plans to.

Send me the Pic coz I think my sister has been victimized. Coz he sent him a video of his so called daughter

Ms k may u please send me a picture of his daughter and himself? It's very urgent I believe it's my ex husband

Can u please send a picture.

You cannot get your leave expedited in the military by paying money. Otherwise every soldier would be broke and on leave.

Also, to everyone else ... These frauds often use scripts. That's why they all sound alike.

Former Military Brat / Wife

Hey, if you don't mind what name did he give you cuz I got the same video that you're talking about. Is there any way you can show me the pics that you have.

This person sounds familiar. Did he tell you he in in Afghanistan and his dad was a contractor in Thailand and waiting on 2million and attorney came to Thailand and he does not understand why not next of kin.

Same thing with me this guy with the name Gordon Borbon contacted me months ago. We have chatted off and on... I knew it was scam so I figured I would waste his time. Soon after I had surgery he went Thailand and sad he had to go get 600 million dollars from his father remains. Then all of a sodden he need 8k from me bc he didn’t have it with him. But yet he told me has 400 million... but he just can’t touch it till his contracts/ projects are done. When I tell him I can’t do that and I was waiting for funds it went another month or two... he then asked me 86K which I told him I don’t have then it went 30k then he told me his mom and him were not eating and they where hungry and if I could send 10k or whatever to support them while they where trapped over there. I then told him I would go get a loan to waste more of his time. I told him the loan didn’t go through. Then I removed him and blocked him from Viber. He called me.. he definitely was not Norwegian like he said. He sounded more African then anything. When I told him the gig was up he told me he loved he wanted to marry me how could I do this to him... blah blah blah... I decided I will push this on bc this way he can’t hurt no one. I told him I would go to the bank and send money he have me an account that went to security bank of MO and it belonged to a guy named Troy. I told him no I couldn’t do it bc I don’t know Troy and I don’t trust him. He then got super mean and evil. Told me I was going to die from my cancer and hoped it was painful and so much more. Pure evil... however it was fun messing with him. Be careful he’s nothing more then a con!

the guy i been talking seems the same but he doesnt have blonde hair but his wife also died in a car accident. he also have tatoos not sure if its a sleeve thou. he claims to b a contractor in dubai has lots of money however he now claiming to been attacked and wants me to call his bank. i told him i didnt feel comfortable.

Heather please tell me more I think I may be talking to same person

Omg I think hes the one I'm speaking with right now hes waiting for money as of now the same tattoo and all very muscular please kets exchange pictures please

What does this guys look like!

sounds familiar, but where is your guy from? And do u have a picture to exchange? And how long has he been injured and stuck in hospital. And do you know where he's from.

Same here. Sounds just like him I've seen the video I believe you're talking about I would like to share pics.

Sounds like the one that's contacting me! A short video of him doing pushups on some weights no shirt has a silver chain around his neck. Maybe we can see if we friend each other in Hangouts?

I have been conned by cannon j Powells
Works on oil rid has daughter brass

Can you please help me to find a site where I can upload a photo. I think I'm also being scammed. Haven't paid anything yet, but he has already asked for it.

If the guy sent you a photo, do a reverse image search. You can go to google, download "reverse image search" then upload his photo and you'll find to who the photo really belongs to. I did it, and bingo I found out this David Woods who contacted me and sent me several pictures of him stole the pictures of a Danish Maersk Captain. Be very careful, don't ever send any money or itunes card or whatever this guy would ask.

I used the reverse image search and no image matched the one I put in. What does that mean? They haven’t replied

Thomas mats is also working on oil rig and has a 15 year old daughter that is making my grandma believe he wants to move with her to alabama. anyone know how I can stop this from happening, she lives alone in a different state.

Does he have tattoos on his hands that say live free?

I was talking to a hot Special Force deployed to Iran. Beard, tattoo, sent me pictures of her 5 yr old daughter with nanny. Owned big house with swimming pool. He bought a caravan truck for "us" but cant access the bank since he's on a mission. Didnt send money and I wont. I smell fishy and now Im just playing around tk get him caught. How can I share picture???

i been talking to a guy for a month now he claims to be a contractor and is in dubai sadi arabi. i been texting him on two different phone numbers a week ago he got me to get a twitter account. he also sent me a short video of him working out a couple of days after he tells me he been mugged by some hoodlums and all his stuff stolen. i ask did he call have them reported he said he made a police report. and today he texted me asking if he gives me all his info would i call the bank and make sure its been cancelled. he claims he dont want to tell his mom cause she has high blood pressure. i told him i dont feel comfortable and he should inform his mom. i dont know if its the same guy but im waiting to c if he ask me for money. also he informed me he cant text me like that cause its expensive to text out of the country but he been texting more than usual since this ordeal suppose to happen. i also tried google it and nothing was mention about it. i thought it was strange how not to long after he was suppose to come back he gets hurt and now wants to ask me to call a bank. i prayed about and instantly got to researching.

Definitely a scammer!!!

I would love to put a pic up here This has been happening to me since December 2018 But now I’m just hoping I get paid back some of the money I have sent Always promising to pay back but there’s always a problem

What is this contractors name? Did he ask you to set up a bank account so that he could transfer money and use it because he canceled his credit cards?

I’m currently in a similar situation with someone where the location and situation is very similar. I wonder if this could be the same person. OMG

Please tell me what name did he use?

Same here. He uses the word hoodlums to describe his attackers in Kalimantan. Introduce himself as an engineer. Loves bomb me with marriage, babies and visiting me in my country.
Some things don't add up.

I had talked to a guy who didn’t know me. And we didn’t each other. The first thing, He also asked me to send a 100$ iTunes card. But I just sent a 50$ card. He said he cant online if he doesn’t have. The second thing he made me confused: he had the mission in Allepo-Syria with his colleagues collected 2millions usd and a lot of bar gold. His own share is $54600 and 5 bar of gola. He would like to send me this amount from the third person (his friend) to kept it safe for him untill he back home from Syria. He said he served in Us Navy . I just ask him this amount legal or illegal. He assured that 100% legit. But im still confuse. If is that legal why they cant send it to their bank account in USA and not have ask somebody else’s hands???? I need to you guys recommended or advise

You can't use an iTunes card to go online. The iTunes card is used only to buy music, apps or books.

The story about finding gold bars is not true. The US Army has warnings online about scammers who pretend to be US soldiers. The online warning says soldiers do not find large sums of money and do not need your help to get that money out of the country.

Scammers tell people they found money, because they want people to pay to receive the "shipment" of money or gold. But there is really no shipment of money or gold. If you pay the taxes, fees or import duties to receive the "shipment," you will lose money.

They use iTunes to subscribe to services like SmartLine Second Phone Number to create more local numbers to trick other people and pretending they are from that state. So my advise it to STOP sending ITUNES card to all. Same for Google PLAYSTORE.

My concern is regarding a beautiful young woman who professed her love for me. I have text messages, pictures, of our conversations. After a few days she said she loves me. Sent me videos and pictures. She had my belief for a short time until I started digging. Supposedly she has cash from hundreds of acres of land she sold in West Africa. She even sent me a picture of her passport. Has two travel boxes held by a security company. This company is legit but the email address is a bit different than the company name. Sent me details of the shipment. Said she is aware of African government officials will take her money if they knew she had it. She wants me to pay to have these boxes shipped to me. Then she will feel comfortable to leave the country and join me. Then we can be together. My concerns are wouldn't 15.8 million weigh quite alot? Also wouldn't the security company hold her boxes without intruding for a period of time? I'm just curious and will hear from her in the morning or when she sends message. I want to share my detailed info with the correct agency to stop this person from taking from anyone else.

Sounds similar to a retired beauty (a widow) who I've been chatting with who is now on her way to Africa to sell land owned by her deceased husband. Hmm...? She wants to continue our correspondence while she is away but said it would be a few days before she wrote again. Hmm...? She's told me multiple times how "impressed" she is with me (no woman has ever used that word with me in a pre-dating situation). Hmm...? Also said my "line of job" was interesting. Huh? I guess I'm waiting for the email that will ask me for money...or to set up a bank account...or whatever. But I'm ready for it and won't be duped.

don't do it. Thank God my loss was only for ITune cards $550.00. He recently wanted more for a box of $$he was sending me but it got held up in Transit in a foreign country. Let me tell you I did some real sleuthing and got to the bottom of it. He is now blocked. Goes by the name of Ryan Leon Jeffrey stationed in Syria, Medical surgeon with the navy.

do u have a picture of this guy, I am pretty sure I am being sweet talked by the same guy

send me your e-mail address and I will send you photos.
He is currently in Madrid and wants 8000.00 US to get his box of
money out of custos

Hi do you have a pic I think I am being scammed too

Please send me photos of him as well. I think it's the same guy I've been talking to.

The same guy uses photos of different people to make fake profiles. Exchanging photos is completely meaningless.

Anyone familiar with AnthonyCScott- Major deployed in Syria Damascus - from Long Island New York has a gmail CharlesCScott. too — Jamaican accent strong at first ! Madly in love wants to get married and live in Canada after a week and more !

Hey - did he contact you off instagram? I was approached and and chatting with a guy that in Aleppo and Damascus. His sister has thyroid cancer, hes got gold and is trying to get is sent here but cant bc various reasons. Blonde, has a compass tattoo on his chest?

Mine , Anthony Scott Graham admiral in navy, was deployed to Syria Damascus from Boston, for last 7 months been talking wants to marry, even had me carrying on conversation with his daughter who is 17 years old in boarding school in England, he's now stuck in Israel needs help getting home, because he can't access is bank accounts for security reasons, i broke it off about 2 weeks ago, the story never ends on why can't get back to usa

Exchanging photos isn't completely meaningless because if they turn out to be the same photo then at least the ladies who have been conversing with the so called 'soldier' will definitely know that their being scammed due to them all having the same photo, no matter what name the scammer is using.

love interest in Martina Franca works for eni oil. Has box of money needs fee to process 3500$ Rob Michael didn’t pay any as I don’t have any was not asked for cards

Since October I have been involved with a man on line who texts often and has sent me multiple pictures of himself and children he also sent a beautiful bracelet. Claims he is military and
in Texas. He has never called me nor sent a letter and will not take a selfie am I being played and how can I find out who really is in the photos?

Hi, please can you send me pics of this scammer. As I was nearly scammed too, wanted I tunes card and then went from that to asking for money to be sent too him and into his bank as he was out on oil rigs in manila, Philippines working and couldn't get funds. Would appreciate pics too see if its same person.

I have been chatting with someone who claims to be an army captain statioed in Syria on a peacekeeping mission. He has declatred his derp undying love for me. He asked me to accept a package for him. Then suddenly I needed to send 800 to get the package out of Germany. He hevmcame very upset. Now he wants me to give him my cell ohone account information so he can order phones for Syrian orphans and charge it to his credit card. I have said no to both.

Deborah, did he use the name Billy Harry? I got someone with the exact same story, yet hasn’t asked anything of me yet. Also said that he was from Miami, Florida. We have only been texting for 24 hours. I became suspicious because his wording in the texts isn’t typical of that of an American citizen’s. I’ll let it play out to see if he asks for anything. What would be the chances of having 2 army captains in Syria on a peacekeeping mission? We’ll see what happens!

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