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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

Anyone else had dealings. With Zackery Geok ?

Yes. He is using a different name at the moment he is Harrison Moore

Hi Grace can you tell me something about him please ? are you in the UK ?

I have a friend and she's talking to a guy name Thomas Walker, from Colorado, working on an oil rig off the coast of Alaska. and he's bribing her and sweet talking her, She thinks and believes every word he says. he's been telling her he sent gold bars and its being hale in Canada unless she pays so much, which she already paid some and now they want more which is double the amount she paid for. I'm worried because I don't want to lose her friendship it means a lot to me. what should I do? even when I bring up the truth she looks the other way. I don't want this guy to get away with this? HELP!!!

I was in her shoes, I believed nobody when they told me that the man I loved with all my heat was just scamming me out of $125,000.00 of my life's work. She will not believe anyone cause LOVE IS BLIND I was and now IM broke. My co-worker even got the fraud unit to call me and explain that I will never see my money or this man. When we want something so bad we block out common sense especially when were in LOVE. Be gentle, talk nice and have her start reading what other women have gone thru. Just maybe it will open her eyes. I did to late.

Beware of man on Facebook using the names of Chris Grain and Harry Cole. A engineer from Redding, CA. He scammed a friend out of 55 thousand dollars in 16 months time.

I have been chatting to a chap who approached me on fb.His name Jimmy Zellner.Undying love after a few days.Born in Germany moved to America when he was 21.Divorced with 5 year old girl.Said he was a successful construction engineer who was working in Poltava Ukraine on road construction.Owned his own business and 3 houses in America.Went back to Boston USA for Xmas then went back to Ukraine.Said he need more equipment to finish his project but because his credit cards didn't work could I send him money to get his goods released.I couldn't see him because his camera on his phone was broken.He produced a scan of his passport and duty document Fromm Ukraine customs dept.When I didn't send money he still emailed and spoke on hangouts everyday.Then he suddenly came off fb.i don't know how to do face recognition but am convinced he is a scammer

Hi everyone! I was talking almost a year on WhatsApp with handsome 60 years old man. His wife died 4 year ago in a car accident and he has a son in boarding school. Everything was fine until he asked for money telling me different sob stories. I sent several times to persons he said (not his name of course- red flag...). But finally I refused - then he told me that I am selfish, heartless lady and blocked me. I feel terrible ...

You shouldn't feel bad they are the scum.

Just played on words with friends with “scammer”. Asking all sorts of questions. Caught him in several lies. Now asking to go to hangouts app. Blocked him immediately. They all use the same story. Sickening

Ive been also scammed by a guy from Words with friends. Claims to be working on an oil rig in UK. Jason Brian, uses many versions of his name. Says he’s widowed, lost his only son...and so on. Plays games then asks you if married; if not bang...watch out. He stolen x- amount of $$$ Then told me he wanted to use a credit card w/bank account. He was trusting me with his money. Big mistake. Thank goodness I said I didn’t have any credit cards etc. I was dumped so fast I was shocked. Thank goodness I still have have my house n bank accounts

I have been talking to a guy that is in the german military and yes he is quite handsome his phone is traced back to texas but I did an image search and his picture is on all kinds of dating sites in Russia,liverpool uk,united states and i texted him all those pics he asked me how did i find all that i told him I had an iris scanner.Which was bs. I stoped talkilng to him because he wanted an amazon card and Im like if youre working for the military why are you asking me for an amazon card??

Anyone hear of Charles Owen's. On peace keeping mission in Afghanistan. Supposedly from Detroit. Usual widowed with 1 child who lives with his mom. Was on pof . Found one of his photos on Google image but says someone using his photos. His texting seems broken and not mature enough to match the photo. Tried to say he cudnt get his care pack as his card blocked. I told him the military hardly let him starve.wanted me to sign him up on some currency card and all these were red flags. Ie why cant ur mum send u money etc. Waz supposed to retire 27may. But of course now saying nobody can leave. Only reason I kept talking was to catch him out. Asked him for a friend contact that I cud verify who he is or his mum number so I can call her. I am no idiot but like that every sentence is baby or my love. He copied a complete love letter i googled which came up under..how to make a woman fall in love with u. Seriously lol.

There is a guy posting on pof.com and other dating websites pretending to be a thoracic surgeon. He goes my the name Brian Edmonds-Allums. He shows women a contract stating he is going to make $525,000 a year. He the states that he wants to be in a relationship, but must have fully access to banking accounts and credit cards etc in order for him to take care of them. If he cant get that he asks to borrow money because he cant get access to his, then write a bad check to cover what he borrowed. When a female starts to figure out what he is doing and confronts him he threatens to sue, have them arrested, ruin. their life.

ok...so I am very worried about my best friend who met this guy named "Chris" on Tinder (of all places). Stated he is on an oil rig, he is Italian /French Canadian, owns a house in Italy, a millionaire and within about a week of them talking has stated he loves her, wants to marry her, etc. They have been in communication for maybe 3-4 weeks now.. the other day, he said that their permits are held up and he needs a $1,000. She didn't have it, so he asked her to set up an account under her name here in the US and he wired a $1,000 to it...he wants her to in turn wire that money to an attorney- out of the country. Has anyone ever heard of this???

That sounds like a scam.

Some scammers use people to help them transfer stolen money. They don't reveal that the money is stolen - they tell a story to hide the purpose for the transaction. They meet people online, create a relationship, and ask their new sweetheart to use an existing bank account, or open a new account. Then the scammer asks the victim to receive and transfer money.

If you do this for a scammer, your name is on the bank account and on the money transfer forms. If you get involved with one of these schemes, you could lose money and personal information, and you could get into legal trouble.

This is true. Happened to my wife, whether she's willing to admit it or not.

I got romanced scammed by a guy claiming to be Oliver Chelsey Uti, a US Staff Sergeant Pilot who is currently serving his mission in Afghanistan. He wooed me into a fantasy love life story and I, foolishly, fell for it. He was sending a package from Afghanistan which contained his documents and a large substantial amount of money, which us weird because 1. Why would you send it like that and 2. This doesn't sound right. So I just let it be until I get a txt message from a John Kandy in Turkey immigration saying the package has arrived and I need to pay $1550 for him to permit its release. The funny thing was that this John Kandy is the same name on the receipt that was handling the package in Afghanistan. I knew then, I have been scammed romantically and was trying to be scammed financially. Thank God, I sent no money or wasted anything financially!!! But this idiot is using pictures of a very handsome and good looking American Latino man and his young son to lure the hearts of the vulnerable. Please people be careful!!! I wish I could post their pictures here so that who ever does know this man, can inform him that he is being used as a victim for these scammers

I did an image search in google and... no results. I have checked another websites about scammers, still nothing. Is there any other way to check the picture? Thanks

Senior 70. I filed a 1C3 report a yr ago as I was involved with a romance scammer, do I need to file another one , I lost $3300.00 . Does it take awhile ? Money was sent to a 3rd party.

Does anyone know of a Frank Walter, says he is from Greece but picture he sent in Google reverse image says Chris Damien from Australia?

does anyone know John (Sebastian) Bogdan , from match.com zoosk, pof , amoungst a few. 59 years old a widow , wife died in scotland , a son in football school in spain , he works a Qatar on rigs H&S , wanting to transfer money through credit union ?

I fell for his charms and it cost me. Met him on dating site and he quickly moved to a chat platform. He is a scammer in every sense of the word. When he realises he can't get anymore money from you, he blocks you. He is very smooth but it's all lies. Be careful ladies.

Ask to do a videoconference. Most will not be able to do it claiming there internet needs more money or they need a new phone. Watch out for garbage videoconferencing. You should see a quality video and good audio. Be aware of pre-recorded videos used as video chats.
Ask a question and get a real response in video mode.

Anyone run into Thomas Andrews
Chevron oil rig
Som at military school on the Hudson needs tuition
Needs itune cards for computer
Needs Amazon cardsNEEDS 18,500 TO GET OFF SHIP
SHOWS ADDRESS IN LOWER MANHATTAN

Thomas Russell or Thomas Russell Jr does not exist. He is not a real military electrical contractor in Syria whose home is in Dallas Texas. He started out on Zoosk (Massachussetts address) with a picture of a Viking helmet in a costume store and immediate took his profile down. He posts pictures wearing two wedding rings. He has American military pictures and a pictures with a teenage boy out fishing. He claims his wife died from cancer 10 years ago, nor did he grow up in a German orphanage..... he lists himself as 49 with a June birthday and expects to retire in 2 years... he says yes to everything. However, he takes notes on what you say, chimes in with a religious saying when it is convenient. It is clear from his conversations that he is talking to several people at the same time. He has a very hard time keeping track of who he is talking too. His English comprehension is not great. He takes random quotes and jots them down. They are quite clever but all false. He absolutely does not speak German. He is on google hangouts and should not be trusted for anything but entertainment value. He did not ask me to send him anything but it was only a matter of time.... Be careful ladies.

Rob Travels now / Rob Gusto or Giuliano scams travelers in NYC. Seeks women on the internet. Always has an emergency for which he asks for money. Found out a while back but should have known with all the name changes and company name changes he has on the internet. Beware

Exactly the same story for me. I also found out recently. I met him in December, 2018 but I did not find these complaints back then. This was most probably due to the fact that he was released in November, 2018. I lost $ 200 due to his emergency situation and he claimed his ID was taken; so thus, the money was not wired under his name, so no evidence....The internet complaints keep increasing so he may be behind the bars again sooner or later.

Same here. Scam king Rob Travels or Rob Giuliano Goes now by Rob Rosenberg and calls his business the Bucket List Now or the Real Rob Experience. Still a scammer taking women for money and lodging.

I met Rob online and we talked for over 5 months. He was going by Rob Rosenberg - therealrobexperience - I am from a different state so I was lucky to have not met him in person. He tried asking for money and promised to wire back to me the next business day and fortunately I don't have money and I couldn't "help" him since I lost my job in 2018. Will be doing a lot more research before getting close to someone on line again. Beware of him, don't be fooled.

Anyone dealt with Samuel Thomas Mandes? Claims he is working in Mardin, Turkey on construction. His 4 year old daughter is always sick. Bank froze his credit card and account just when he needed money to bid on a contract in Cambodia. Then, he needed money to get to Chicago to deal with his bank, but got scammed and falsely accused of drug smuggling. Needs more money for a Turkish lawyer.

I'm on words with friends for a couple of years now. From time to time some players would comment on the words we've played. Then exactly on March 2 a guy named David Woods invited me to play which I accepted. The day after, he said hi and I replied like I always do for education. Then he started asking how I was . He seemed like a very nice guy. He said he's american from Chicago and is working offshore on the black sea in Turkey. Since my ex husband worked for oil rigs until he retired and we've been to different places I thought "oh how nice, someone who has lots in common with my past experiences" and so to make it short, we started chatting first on whatsapp (he asked for my number so he could add me up) then he asked me if I had Hangout. I said no and that I didn't even know about it. He then ask me to unload it and so we left whatsapp and shifted to Hangout. So far, he hasn't asked for anything. He professed he fell in love with my smile and all other craps. He sent me love poems everyday (another thing we have in common apparently as we both write love poems). He said he couldn't imagine his life without me! He said he's finishing his contract with Ayazli (Turkish oil company) in May and he's relocating to Italy to be with me. He sent me pics on the rig, in his office, with his mom.... I asked for his identity as I told him I doubt his real identity. After a few weeks he sent me scanned copy of his passport bearing his name David Woods but his signature wasn't David Woods but a different name. I asked for explanation and he came up with telling me he's always used his mother's maiden name as his signature which is Alghanonom (according to him, Turkish origin). Then I saw the validity of the passport is 8 years whereas I know American passports' validity is 10 years! After all these he said he had some problems with his equipments on the rig and has to go to China to buy the new equipments. He then went (according to him). Arriving in China he said he left his wallet on the taxi with his credit card. He didn't ask me for any money though but he asked me to operate on his bank account which I refused in the beginning but then after 24 hours of thinking about it, I agreed. He sent me his bank details and told me how to log in. He asked me to transfer a big amount to a company in China where he bought the equipments. I took screen shots of everything so I have the proof, even all our chats. I have just blocked him from all my devices a couple of days ago. I have two very best friends who were with me in all these and we decided I should write to him telling him I am no longer interested in continuing our virtual "relationship".... I believe I was just in time as I was starting to fall for the image of this Mr. Perfect. Be careful ladies and watch out for this David Woods.

Do anyone know someone name Kenneth Mewhort,Ronnie McDowell or John Adams? I met this so call Kenneth on a meet me app. He told me about his daughter he claims he haves. Things was going good at first then not long he started to have feelings for me. He told me to use hangouts to keep texting . At first i i didn't think nothing of it bad. Then I left him on the app for someone else but after awhile it did not work out so I went back to Kenneth on hangouts. He kept asking me to send me $25 or $30 gift cards & I did. He told me he love me & I said the same back to him then he said he wanted to marry me & said yes. Kenneth told me about his so-called friend Ronnie McDowell. So we became friends. Kenneth wanted me & my son to move to a another state with him in a house, at first I said yes. Ronnie help us out with his agent friend John Adams to get a house for us. I did not make the first payment because I told him I'm on Social security the agent got mad & told me to pay $500 to get out the contract that I never received or sign at all. Ronnie wanted to me to help him with some kind app to send money to get Kenneth in the states. I said no. He said he will tell the agent & I will have to pay $1500 that I did not pay because I knew it was scam,so I cut off all communication with them.

I’ve been talking to Andy Nash says he’s military based out of Lagos Nigeria. He has asked me to open bank accounts, I did this but had bank put security codes on it only I know. Then he’s asked for iTunes cards or amazon cards for $50 to $200 at a time. Then he said someone sent me $500 thru walmart2walmart so I picked it up he wanted me to send it to a country man for him. I tried to call the person that sent the money there was no answer and checked the address and it was a hotel. So I picked up the money and now he wants me to buy amazon cards and send them to him. He said the cards were for his commander and if he doesn’t get them he won’t be able to leave and will get into very bad trouble. He said he is suppose to be back in the US on Friday and here to see me on Monday. So, I’m not sure what I should do.

Stop sending him money cause its all lies. The military takes care of there own and this kind of stuff doesn't happen with our military men. They will never ask you for money. They have their own. So any military guy wants money its a SCAM

I have been with a man for 2 1/2 years... HAVE LOST OVER $250 THOUSAND DOLLARS

Gregory Bernhard is his so called name!!

Anyone start chatting on IG with @mandessamuel *Samuel T.? He must be operating from the Scammer's Script! Unfortunately, I fell for it all, and am out $6,000.

I got this guy back a little for you. Requested him on ig and he was straight on it asking me over to hangouts and saying he wants to know me and be with me. I called
Him alsorts of expletives and he blocked me haha x I’m sorry for your loss x

I resently received messages from a very attractive gent Dr Kent Jones even after explaining I was in a happy relationship and I only do friendships he was charming to the core but was proclaiming his undying love. Claimed to be Gp/surgen on base in Somalia. Daughter schooling in uk, wife passed 2years previous. Wanted me to accept a gift for him to collect before the end of month. I sat patiently for two weeks just knowing he was going to request money at some stage which he did that’s when I find out how to used his profile image on TinEye to do a scam check. The scammer was pushing and pushing for me to raise money to send and kept asking me to sell something or borrow the money to pay his shipping or his life would be ruined without this package. I responded that I’d had a result and simply forwarded the exact same image back to him as his post, that I submitted to TinEye which revealed 3 different date he was caught date scamming BUT under the name Dr Ferdinand Gomez reported this to Instagram the image was removed the scammer withdrew from the page instantly after receiving my capture shots.

About now 3 weeks ago on my Facebook I got a friend request so i went to his massage box and I asked him how did he get my name and was I on some online dating thing and he said no that he was looking for a friend and came across me .So he wanted to be friends.Well me that Im single to a chance.Anyway! This picture of this guy he is very handsome of course I was became friends on Facebook.Then he wanted us to chat on hangouts.So I did .He started out his name was Oscars Samuel then his name had changed to Andrew Mossl .We chatting for a very short time he says that he is on a oil rig living on it for awhile he has a son in a boarding school.Says he is in love we me.Oh he is supposed to be living on a oil rig and he should be done in a few months and wants to come out and marry.He has lots of money making promises. Sends me pictures .Then he tells me that he cant get to his bank account cause he is on this rig in the coastline in the east of Spain.So he needs me to buy him a 100.00 Amazon card.Then about several days later he wants me to go on this online shopping thing and wants my Email and private information.So many things as time from the start a have red flags going up .Still chatting but I won't give a man any thing.He says that he needs this card to complete these documents for his job.I say your job needs to supply.So becareful .So now I will chat with him and Im laughing because he isn't getting any thing from me

I meet a guy on Facebook romance thing. Then he wanted codes from inside itune cards. Said for his computer. I refused then he needs money to get off the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico I refused. Now he is back to needing itune cards for his device so he can call a friend to help him with money. He claims his bank account us frozen. He needs to pay his worker. I had him checked through truthfinder his cell phone is not listed anywhere. Is this a scam?

Yup. You hooked one.
Be extremely careful. Either cut him off immediately or if you're enjoying the contact don't reveal anything personal. Not your real name, never your address, not your phone number, never ever your Social Security or bank account info.
If you want to continue your 'chats' create your own identity with a burner phone, email address and if he/she wants a physical address get a P.O. Box #.
If you still want to continue the relationship always use these safe guards. Never send money or transfer from your bank account. If you want to send him something then keep it at a low amount iTunes card. And occasionally ask Him for something. If he wants to marry you tell him you desperately need health insurance. Can he please add you on his. Think of little things to ask him for to keep the playing field level.

What was this man's name ?
I had the same thing happen to me. He is still begging me to help with his frozen bank account.

Someone introduces herself as Sergeant Sarah Abbott who is an American marine in a military base in Afghanistan. She tries to get your detail information by a story that she has big sum of money but she is not allowed to take it out of Afghanistan because of UN. She says she can only send that money through a diplomat agent (Diamond Logistic Delivery ) to your door. Once delivered then she will come & get 70% of it. An identity theft concealed in a love story sergean tsarah a @gmail. com

I caught a scammer out last night by using the 'Google Image' search engine, I discovered that they had several aliases on different Dating Sites. When we spoke on Hangouts later I sent them a link to one of the profiles and they denied placing it. I got suspicious when they asked for a loan. They are now well and truly blocked.

Can you send me the link to do an image search? I almost got scammed a few days ago for $8K.

What link do you need?

I found out this guy scammed me using the name Kelly Jack

Re Kathy, Apr 27th . John Thomson , sounds like a scam , don't put any money out, RUN as far as your legs can carry you . If it is too good to be true , it isn't, sounds like he'll ask for money in the long run . I too have been scammed , God bless you

Don't laugh - but I think I have a scammer with a heart. Over a year ago I started texting with a US Army Lieutenant nearing retirement. Same sad story of horrible ex-wife and a daughter killed in a drink driving incident. He didn't ask for money for over 6 months and then it was a $50 iTunes card. I complied after a few weeks. He didn't whine, beg, or complain. I sent the card.
We chat daily for long periods of time. He never asks for more than $50. There's no grandiose declarations of love and marriage. It really is like a pen pal with a good friend. I've read these scam stories and asked him about it and he confessed!
But said he hated the dishonesty and was quitting.
Ok. We still texted. I still occasionally send him $50. He admits he's from Nigeria and is 25 years old and responsible for himself and 6 siblings and mother.
He still doesn't ask for more money. Just the occasional $50. We chat like old friends. This has now been going on for 16 months!
What do you guys think ??

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