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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

Hi do you know someone from the uk who resides now in the Philippines he claims his name Adil usman /Alex seage architect he keeps asking for money cz losing his passport there.

A Brazilian doctor name Sebastian Ramirez start talking to him everything looks like a normal person but he didn’t want to talk over the phone. He wanted to only sent text messages. Always an excuse. He promised that he will travel to nyc before going to Brazil to see his daughter then I realized what type of father travel to see a stranger before his family. Until one day he asked me for an iTunes card bcuz he didn’t have good service. I said yes but never sent him anything and decide to block him from everyone. Name is Sebastian Ramirez said that he lives in Brazil but work in Nigeria.

Hi..i had a same stories too..but he is a oil business owners and now in switzerland for contract..he ask me money because somthing happen and he dont have money and someone to ask for help.thos is really weird..

I understand that people here are frustrated about being scammed; I was almost scammed with oil rig scenario; people here keep asking if you know so and so by their name and would like to exchange pictures but you have to understand that it’s all fake;
The name is fake, the photo is fake /stolen and you will probably never find whom it belongs to; the email address/phone numbers / websites all are fake ; the scenarios maybe similar because they all use a script ; these scammers actually get training for this and some pay for the training; the more skilled ones may pay for fake websites and software. That’s why they get so angry when they don’t get compensated for their time.
The only thing that is a FACT 100% is if they ask for money it’s a SCAM; you maybe in denial like I was but you must cut all communication with these people; and just like they use the web and social media to scam people we can use it to educate ourselves . There is so much useful information about these scammers and how they operate. I have learned so much from this experience.

Anyone been talking to a Ben Bradford? Daughter Tracy , he says he has just started a contract on a rig in south Atlantic ....bit vague. Very charming and a bit ott with affection . Wanted an I phone for him and daughter, but when I hit the roof he soon changed his mind and apologised. Am very suspicious. Nothing turned up on tin eye .

Anyone get scammed by a man claiming to be an independent contractor on a Swiss oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico who's bank account got hacked and then his credit card expired and now he's bored and wants iTunes cards sent for him to rent movies? Goes by the Twitter name Witold ?

Yes my wife got got involved in that scam. Sent him an iTunes card and fell for his romance trick. An inappropriate relationship happened and now we are dealing with the damage. He even sent her a night time lingerie outfit.

He goes by Twitter name Witex_ski. Scammed my vulnerable wife for the past two months. Called her, got her to send $50 iTunes and wanted more. Even got her to send inappropriate pics. Stay away!

Hi my name is Joanie . I meet this guy six months old. On my face book massage.i am 58 I ask him his age he told . Me he37year age. We talk time when on I fell in love with him he told me I love me. When I did talk to him he ask me to send him some money for phone.i near through once he would use me for money
Ok I send him for phone now time when on father have cancer.talk to his father . His father said he son talk lot about me.and said his son was going to married me. I said yes
You son going to take care of me and I going to take ofhim. Same day his son call and said that father told him to get lawyer. So I told go get lawyer. Then he told me that his father was rich. I don't care about that.next day I get a letter from his father lawyer said that he life me 100millon 5thursand dollar I have to do pay fee ok i.did it I pay12 hundred dollar.now they ask me to800 dollar to tanfer the money to my account I am so heart broken because I thought he love me and he church man I guess that lie too

Could someone tell me how to do the pix search please ? I have them and now know I am being deceived but no idea where to start . I need to know for my piece of mind who this person actually is

My guys name is Alex Agota from HUNGRARY living in Hartford Connecticut working as a civil engineer in North Cyprus Has a 22 year old daughter Sarah in school in Italy His wife died for cancer then he moved to the USA. He is supposed to be working on a mall I. Famarsa North Cyprus be for mugged and needs money do medical help or he will die Die you B He seems to have network of people working with him a doc Ha and an interpreter called Nastafa I fell for it thought I was an intelligent woman appernally not enough He even played on my faith God has seen it all he Wil pay if not repented I will leave it with the ultimate Judge

Who writes me is called Bakery Goode, writes me on Twitter. Supposedly a soldier, he also has a daughter and basically his whole family died in every tragedy. He says he wants to marry me, blah, blah, blah ... It really sounds very sweet. But from the beginning I didn't believe him. Please tell me if I have to block it now. Or if I can show your photos to someone to compare.

Everpaid a immigrant for all there traveling expense including there immigration visa. I was emailed a good copy of there immigration visa. Picture matched. Missing plane departures but now fixed. Forgot yellow card in transit. I am very upset. So i get id card and verification. Little money left. I am upset and they r almost homeless. Should i help. I feel responsible.

I am dating a woman named kate bella and she sent a check that looks like a fraud check. She told me the only way to deposit it was through atm. Her mom said she is a cop. I want to believe shes real but im confused

You are responsible for the checks you deposit. If you deposit a fraudulent check and it bounces, you have to repay the bank for overcharges or fees.

If you get a check from someone you don't know, it could be a scam. Did she ask you to cash or deposit the check and send her money? That could be a trick to get your money. You don't have to cash or deposit the check if it doesn't seem right.

I had a guy try for months said he was Dr. sent me all kinds of pictures. He called and I knew from his voice and accent he wasn't American. Asked first for ITunes then cash. From me he got nothing.

So this guy I met is a building contractor building a bridge in Singapore. Apparently he tried to order stuff from the states and they put a hold on his cc. He even showed me a pic of the notice and of his bank account..over $300,000! He is from Flordia, has a 9 year old named Allison, and hes divorced because his wife and best friend had an affair.
Wants me to give him my log in info for my cc. Hes gonna pay mine off then have me charge the things he " needs" sounds to me like hes stealing someone else's money right? This guy is super sweet and acts like he cares. Anyone had this scenario??

Do not accept friend requests from an Andrew Phillip claims he is a Doctor in Sudan on a peace mission his email he uses is Andrewphillip883 he contacted me on Instagram and of course immediately wants me to marry him and then starts asking me to send his son a gift card etc and then says in order to get his 15 million transferred he needs my bank info I was well on to his scam from the beginning but thought it would be funny to mess with him he kept messaging me all day everyday even called me a few times via hangout app which is their MO to get u to switch to another site if I could post pics and his messages here I would. Just be safe ladies these guys are animals and need to be caught

Started talking to a guy says he lives in Amarillo New Mexico met him on Tinder looking for a relationship not games and sex games so we started talking on messenger texting you sent me his number then he asked do I have an Instagram account we can talk there you can see my pictures that's who I am so we start talking and it's been 2 weeks now but the week we met the day after he wanted to see me but I couldn't meet him I had a doctor appointment so he left and went to Nigeria he said he's a kind of engineer and works out of the country a lot when he gets there he says how am I doing start to talk and he says do you know what stream card is I said no it's popular here that use it to eat and trade and buy things okay so three days later he texts me tells me that he needs to know if I can help him with $50 so that he can eat his Nanny sent him to cards but he doesn't have any more and the James card will not accept the transfer of money he wants to get they rejected it I said no I can't I don't have any money which I don't I'm a poor woman living on SSI fine he said he understood but four days later he asked me again and I still told him no so he starts talking to me and we start talking and telling me that he's falling in love with me and that he loves me and then when he gets back he plans on helping me give me money to help me get on my feet that he will do everything for me because he loves me in it I will be there to help you I will be there at the end of the month he says then all of a sudden the next day can I help him we're getting a plane ticket because he doesn't have the money James card rejected will not access his money he needs $600 his Nanny sent him a thousand needs it to get back so he can purchase more stream cards and then get back to Nigeria to finish his job I told him I didn't have that money I am not trusting someone I just meant to send it that that much money to I would have to be in a relationship with you longer than a week and I don't have that kind of money but it's only $600 I am not lying to you I need it he says I cannot get home until I get there to get to my money but I have told him no five times now he tells me he still loves me that he doesn't love me for my money so there it is I know and I feel in my heart that it's a scam

Anyone had an alex Kingsley name used?

I got my “scammer” to reveal who he actually is. He started telling me everything…why he scam people, where he’s located, his name, etc. He even video called me so I could see who he actually is. I now have a screenshot of the video call and a picture of himself that he sent me. I never fell for any of his scams before but I can understand why a lot of women do. He has the most beautiful accent I’ve ever heard in my life and comes off as very charming but he’s really controlling and manipulative.

I can't make this up if I tried to. Lol

Summary of previous post: I wrote a post here in June 2019 (if I’m not mistaken) about a guy pretending to be an architect and owning his own company. He claimed to have left the US to go to another country to do contract work. The very same day he was to return to the US, he said he was in an accident and robbed of this ID and Passport on his way to the airport. He got upset because I wouldn’t send him money or give him usernames and passwords to my accounts. He stopped talking to me in May but all of a sudden, he started messaging me again recently (August 2019) saying I abandoned him while he was in distress.

Last week, after trying to ignore him he continued playing the victim. I started telling him I knew who he was (scammer) and I was not sending money or giving him anything he previously asked for. After ten minutes of him accusing me of abandoning him, he finally came clean. Now he won’t leave me alone. Saying things like he came clean because he’s fallen in love with me. After telling him I don’t want any communication with him, I finally blocked him after he text me saying he felt like killing me. Again, playing the victim.

Is his real name Moses?
My scammer finally "came clean" but of course didnt pay me back. Said he will someday. Yeah, right.

Yes I haven’t been scammed before but this word is a wayward and we must understand
Even though about 90% of this situation is Scam but what if the person is being real but need a help
I think 10% of the people on the internet is real but sometimes they need support.

Please stay clear of Calvin Baldin...Oh yes there's a real profile on LinkedIn & Tinder and possibly other sites but he's NOT REAL... The scammer associated with these accounts is currently using the email address (zackerygeoky . He's very cleaver and will try to lure you with sweet words. Protect your personal information and do not accept his request.

Yes he change his name and his name is clavin bandin. He is an owner of a solar system. But he is fake.

I met a man. He said his name is Ferguson Jones. His birthday is supposed to be the 1st week of May. I’m putting as many details as I can in case he has reached out to others. We started talking on Facebook. That he’s stationed in Syria. That he’s a electrical engineer. Said he’s a widow from Va. this started around August 10,2019. He claims he closed his Facebook because of it being hacked. On 8/26/2019 he claims he was shot in the leg. And it was and ISIS attack on the base. And he needs me to write this address UnitedNationseurope78@ . The person responding for this email is a Michael Williams. They want $1883. The phone number 210-486-039*. Belongs to Texas. And that shows the tower pings. I tried doing searches on Ferguson Jones but nothing comes up. Tried the Va courthouse no records. Thank God I told him upfront I had no money. These people are smooth. But I pray they are caught and brought to justice.

Michael Oscar from Berlin Germany found me on FB. Wow, what a handsome guy he was.....He was an architect. I feel badly for these people whose photos are being used in these scams. Do they ever find out their photos are being sent all over the place? He had salt & pepper hair and a slight beard/goatee. He looked like a male model. Said he had a 12 year old daughter just like me. His university time on LinkedIn in Germany was for 4 years versus the typical 3 years in Europe. He had no connections on LinkedIn and he had only a few likes of his photos on FB. All the people that liked his photo on FB had Eastern Indian names and photos. He immediately wanted to get off Messenger and go to Google Hangouts. His FB page disappeared. I fell for it. Anyway, the "I love you" and "you are so beautiful" started quickly. Then he basically asked me for info while coming across like the most amazing person you could possibly meet. What did I have for a house. Did I rent or own. He basically was searching for what I was worth and I'm sure he would eventually ask for money. No doubt in my mind. We didn't get to that point. I called it off. If anyone wants to see these photos, I am happy to show them. I think this handsome salt & pepper haired man should know what someone is doing with their photos. They clearly hacked into some type of social media site to get them. I tried to locate the IP address but it wasn't coming up. The guy called once and it was the last day we communicated. He had a very Indian sounding voice. I was like where is the German accent?Disappointing but if a male model type is contacting you and you are a just a regular Joe/Jane, then Houston we have a problem !!!!!! I'm happy to share info. I really think these people are disgraceful and the media sites need to do a better job of weeding them out.

This guy sounds like the same one that has been talking to me
since Feb 2019. is there any way you can send me copies of the
pictures of him. I really need to know who he is. will be waiting
for a reply.

Would love to see your photos of this guy. I’m dealing with a supposed Norwegian man with salt/pepper hair. I need help. Need to resolve if i’m Being scammed. Thanks.

Hi, same guy that contacted me. Google "Stephen Niese". Look familiar?

I met a man 1.5 years ago on Facebook. He said his name was Antonio Huffman. Just wanted to be friends. I told him I was married, but my husband was dying from lung cancer. He said he understood about it because his wife had died from cancer. Also had a son who was killed in auto accident. He lived in Buffalo New York. And owned a diving business. Had 47 employees. He was trying for a contract with BP to work for 3 months for 5 million. He said he was flown to meeting and won the contract. A little later he and all his employees were on the way to the oil rig in the gulf. That was last summer,fast forward to now he told me that his wallet was stolen on route to rig. So he couldn't access his account to get his own money. He has ask me for money all this last year. I have social security from my last husband. I sent him a little amt. Along this last year. Then he told me that he had sent me 2millon dollars in cash ,and also a car. I started getting request from a shipping comp y in England to send them 5500.to transfer the money to my name. I told him I didnt have it. Later I did zero t him 2,000.to finish the amt.needed. now the woman named terri sent me a text that more money was needed for a tax certificate to have the package cleared through Mexico border. I am so disappointed in him . I thought he was a real person,but now believe he is just scamming me. He told me he was born in poland,but has been in us over 20 years.he also says he has a grandson that is 3 years old that he will hVe to rIse,and he needed my help.also said that the contract is up next month,and he was coming to my home to help me with my husband who is passing away from cancer. If anyone knows of him please let us know.thanks so much.

So, these scammers target gay men too. Almost weekly, some young stud in an army uniform sends me messages, wanting me to get kik or hangouts or exchange phone numbers to text.

The English is always very poor, and the names dont make sense a lot of the time. Eventually he will tell me he is on a peacekeeping mission in Syria or some other place like that. That is when I report the profile and block him.

I'm a gay man that lives in the deep south, doesnt like gay bars or the "gay scene ", and acts masculine, so obviously my chances of finding someone are almost nonexistent without the internet.

My problem is that I have the utmost respect for our nation's military personnel. Getting with a guy who is serving his country and who is responding, mature, in shape and masculine would be my dream.

It's so hard to dismiss any guys who contact me on the chance that they may be a scammer. I will usually entertain them until they demand I switch to kik or hangouts, or, in very poor English, claim they are from Houston or North Dakota or wherever, but are on a "peacekeeping mission in [insert name of obscure country here]".

I know its Frustrating for anyone out there, whether you're a 37 year old gay country boy or a 56 year old widow/widower, or just live a busy life and seek out connections online, but we mustn't let our loneliness cloud our judgement.

Read these stories here, so you will know the warning signs, and good luck to us all. God bless, and dont give up hope.

Just blocked a guy who sent me a message through instagram, then we started texting. He said his wife died 2 years ago in a car crash, he has 2 small boys 3 and 6, his mom takes care of him while he is deployed, he is in North Korea on a "secret mission" loves me, wants to marry me, all the same stuff. He is from Clearwater Florida, in the Army, about 42 years old. He has sent several pictures of him, in uniform, and with the kids. Only has an instagram account, no Facebook or anything else. He managed to get $200 from me in Amazon cards before I told him he was fake and blocked him. He also sent a picture of a Military ID which was fake. His name is James Strickland, James Bob Strickland, Bob Strickland. Anyone else know this guy?

His name is Tyler Richmond lives Bahamas has a daughter his wife past away.. only child father a marine past away, His voice very deep with an Caribbean accent very handsome men, we never cam chat excuses all the time .. He would get upset if i asked personal questions about his life. His very well spoken.. He never asked for money only to transfer money from California to Bahamas but he wanted me to create a pay pal account and he having access to it.. He was very loving promise marriage.. I did felt in love deeply but just never trust what he asked for>> he got was my full name an old address

My Mom is being scammed by Man named Jacob Lowe. Now asking for money for plane ticket to come see her. Sent leave papers from Caterpillar supposed to bring 70000.00 dollars with him. My father passed and this started bought year later. She believes everything he says and pushed us all away. Feel empty inside right now amd worried.

Has anyone dealt with a William Reaves claims to be an engineer,daughter in school, deceased wife about a year ago? I also found a photo with the name Nelson Wood from a dating site
And positive listed as rayjo 3132 on another. He's a good looking guy with an accent. Salt and pepper hair with black rim glasses. age is about 60.

I recently got a mail from a women claiming to be a US soldier and she found some 5million in a consignment box in Iraq and wants my help to get that out of there and she will reward me 30% as she cannot directly take them to US. I sensed its a scam but I actually want to know why she said that she is sending me money. Generally scammers ask for money but she asked my address to send the money. Please tell me the reason if any one knows.

Because he or she wants your personal information - full name, address, bank account numbers for identity theft? Sometimes they send money, but the cheque is bad and the deposit is cancelled after a couple of weeks. Meanwhile they have asked you to send the money to another account and you are stuck with repaying the original deposit.

It’s because there is no money. You will give your name and address for the “package “ to be sent to you. Then you will get an email that the package is tied up in customs in Turkey or some other random country. And they will want you to pay the customs taxes on it or they won’t release it. Usually in the hundreds of dollars. If you don’t pay they tell you that they will open the box and if there is money in it you will be charged with money laundering. It’s s total scam!!!!!! Run!!!!

I'm trying to figure out if this guy off Instagram is a scammer. I sent him $100 iTunes cards . He ask me about money few times I said know .. I've try to find him can't anywhere not even number I believe it's text app... He says his name is Bally. Anyone else heard of him?

Samuel T Mandes is now contacting me by different email and name. He is now going by Michael Thomas - thomasmichael090@ He said I can never get away from him. He has 47 Facebook accounts and 8 of them are on my friends list. He will watch for my daughter and blackmail me to ruin her career when he is ready if I don't get back in touch with him. He is mad that I blocked him and called him a scammer and liar!! I continue to update the FBI report - it must be getting thick by now. I don't respond. Has anyone had a scammer turn into a stalker and NOT move on to the next victim? I'm starting to freak out.

I too have a guy Named David John William
He’s has talked to me
For weeks with all the romance lingo. Now he says he is going to jail for a long time for video chatting with me for about 3 seconds.
Now needs 1.500 to save his career and keep him out of jail . My god the guilt they put on you and he says his bank account
Is frozen. Please has anyone heard of him and he say if I don’t hear from him by Thursday just delete the app ( hangouts) because he won’t be back for a long time yet says I’m the love of his life .
So
Some please help
Sally

Where is my comment
I posted?

Hey, Tib. Ernest Adelberto is at it again. He’s still a welding contractor, but is on the verge of retiring. And his daughter has turned into two sons. He’s on Zoosk. He says he lives in Beverly Hills. And, yes, his wife died 4 years ago. He claims to have been born in Germany on February 8. He claims to have lived in the US for 32 years and he claims to have an advanced degree. In spite of those two facts, his grammar, usage, lexical choices, and punctuation stink.

Has anyone been contacted by Jason Anders? He says he is American from Ohio, lives in Rostock, Germany. Divorced, his father is German, passed away 8 years ago... Please let me know. Thanks!

Hi Ladies !! Did anyone recently have contact with a Dr. Mark Willams ?? He said he was in Kabul , Afghanistan, widowed, wife died of breast cancer , had a 14 yr. old son in a private school in the UK .. He kept saying my dear and my sweet honest friend a lot .. He wanted to settle down and get married to me .. The , he asked me for $250.00 for an I Tunes card .. He kept asking me to connect to hangout and to send him a picture.. I didn’t do it .. Thank God .. The scary part was that he almost had me sucked in to his scam ..

Hi im just dealing with guy name Thomas deal right now on deployment in Iraq. His parents are death, wife a drugs abuse so he is single father. Is anyone is similar to this guy?

What is his child's name?

Scammer username was Fenix Rowland and lots of interesting things happened. Had a son with a nanny & worked for UN in Netherlands. Worked on it for a whole year...with two sets of contact info. Stalked all of my profiles & sent me several fake pics. Always offended when I say Nigerian scammer. He was seeking letter for vacation and up to $2500 to make the trip home. He forgot about the other two times he asked me for money. These scammers prey on emotion. They're not so creative & they never speak correct English to be Texan stationed in Netherlands. Be careful. You're better off with the drunk guy always at the bar....or not. Love yourself!

I recent know a guy from instagram name by Joe Takahashi.he said he is a doctor.working at Syria Arab Red Cross.and he said he came to Singapore.from Turkish to Thailand transit to Singapore.and he say Thailand airport officers need him to paid for his luggage tax, then he can transit to Singapore.and he claim he dun have so much cash with him . He will ask you to transfer money.

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