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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

Can anyone tell me about Marcus Robert Lowsen?

Same, my guy was Phil Wilson from Port Neches, TX widowed, 1 child. His background check said married from San Diego. He asked me to pay the customs fees on gold bars his father left him. 25.000 for 8 million dollars in gold YEAH RIGHT. I didnt fall for it, He was on ourtime.com, smooth talker, fast to fall in love, be mine forever, these guys make me sick. Ladies do your homework, get a last name and go verified PLEASE

Kathy Mclain, IS THIS SCAMMERS HANDLE!!!
Wow, wow a piece of work! Be VERY CAREFUL men. She is good with a 2 year old son? Pictures and ALL. I feel like such a IDIOT!!!

Hi, did anyone got in contact with a guy named James Fostile? He’s pretending to be the CEO of a company that provides materials for marine ships or smth like this. I’d appreciate if someone knows something about this

I have been speaking to a man only through text on a global communication app his name is Thomas Madsen and he is an engineer and right now he’s on the Gulf coast For the next eight weeks.
He cannot use his phone as too many chemicals on the rig he’s roughly in his late 50s has a son that goes to boarding school and his wife died anybody get this won yet. I would love a picture if you do have spoken to him well through chat no video chat

I was involved in a very intense relationship with Jeff Meek / Aka David Meek, USA army, stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan . I thought he was so real. He told me what I wanted to hear. What a fake. He stole my sanity and broke my heart. After a lot of calls, and very sweet words, i asked him to Skype, he asked for a newer phone. He had no camera in his phone. Then he asked me to open a bank account so he can deposit money from a business transaction in Turkey.
I told him no can do. He changed from the sweetest guy to the meanest man in no time. I stopped texting him. Blocked him. I know he is out there looking for more victims.
This guy is by far the king of scammers.

Their is someone named Williams Harry, US Army a Colonel based in Kabul who added me in FB and asked me to talked with him in hangout. He is a widowed, his wife died due to cancer and he has a son named John who is with his nanny in US boarding. His parents died due to murder.... I guess he is this the same person you are talking about, though he did not asked yet money, but asking how much is my salary, if i have a car....

How can we report this person?

On Instagram his name is mikecampbell and he is very good getting you to fall for him. It was only the last 10 days or so that a tax problem came up. It’s hard. You desire the person you fell for, but that person does not exist.

I am talking with a guy in Jordan, he is a student, and all his profile on Facebook and what he tells me seem legit, I help him with his tuition and it he has two semesters and is graduating next year, Inshaalla, he's parents had stopped supporting his education because he had to transfer University and made him behind on graduating and that made the parents mad, all the information he gave me seems legit, but the only thing I don't like is that I needed a contact other than him just in case I don't hear from him and I can call that contact for emergency. He is hesitant in doing that. He does goes to college, I have seen his grades, and all his social media profile are all legit. His cousin saw his picture on my facebook profile and asked me do I know him I told him just like him facebook. He told me that his cousin is a good human being...lol..i have mixed feelings whether to continue supporting him with his education, I feel sorry for him and wanted him to graduate. Should I continue??? any adviced?

Was a real good one I really feel stupid that I feel for it.
Thanks melske13 single mother of 3 she is good at making you feel like she real loves and cares for you.

My l liar boyfriend from Abidjan said this father had die and left money in my name
Fake lawyer was his friend and send him the money to pay bank yes I got scam he play with. My heart and my motion and my money. I told him I know you scam me for my money I want my money back. He lie all around broad. I told him he better get my money back or he going to jail

That every one is bad there is man that want me to transfer money from his bank account to his manager account his name is mickel nelson. He said he is widow for 10 years And he love me I dont trust him he is in syria.

I met an alleged doctor (Zachary de Franco) on Instagram who claimed to be working for the UN in Bagdad. I have to admit that I have become emotionally involved with him...until he wanted to visit me Mail and I should submit a vacation application to the UN vacation office. Than the answer was, I need to pay 2.710 Euro to a woman in Texas about western union . In this moment I know he is a scammer...its really hurt me so deeply.

Been dealing with this man on line for a year, he's not once for money my question is these boat men want a $200. Amazon card I, think this is a scam cause his rig company should pay him to return inland now that his job is completed. Am I right?

A man named Andrew Franklyin befriend me on Facebook, he was a Nigerian working on an oil rig in Belgium, his wife died 6 years ago and he is a single parent, I couldn’t shake him eveytime I went on Facebook he instant messaged me, he wanted companionship and tried his best to get me to go on a site where he could see me( get a picture) , he wanted to be involved with another guy, I put him off again and again, then my mom died and I told him leave me alone, he still checked in every day, I didn’t answer. The I get a message from Facebook he had been reported for some sort of infraction, and his account canceled, two other Nigerians tries to befriend me and I had smarten up and did not accept, I thought Franklyin new one of my friends or I wouldn’t have accepted , live and learn he was a smooth talker, I am retired this year and not interested in this type of thing or just took me a little time to catch on, be very cautious

Do anybody know a guy by name Victor Wang Ling. He say he from Hong Kong,but he stay at US. Recently working at Turkey as refinery construction. He have one son by name Jason. His son was taking care by a nanny at Hong Kong. His nanny name is Fanny. He have a mom that very sick. His mom have lung cancer. He claimed that he have two houses at Hong Kong. Now his son is in hospital, but no money to pay for the treatment. Ask to help and send the money. He claimed that his bank account in US was frozen. Now his nanny no money to pay for his son Jason hospitalization bill. Ask for help to transfer the money. He say he can't leave his job coz due to the contract not yet end. Anybody heard this guy before? And wanted to ask,how we want to search a scammer photo via their profile photo?

Has anyone heard of Scott Andrews US Army on assignment in Chad.

Any info?
Dr. Michael Duncan/Dilan
UN in Afganastan
15 year old son Terry
Wife deceased
Deleted FB immediately switched to hangouts

I think I am a romance scam victim. Met this guy on words with friends. Says he is Norwegian. Told me after a few conversations to download and use google hangouts. We’ve been chatting daily since July 2019. Professed love almost immediately. Very sweet talker. I’m a lonely woman who is not so happily married. He says he is a marine engineer and works for Subsea 7 on a project in the Irish Sea. Says he has two grandkids who are in boarding school in Oslo. They were supposedly abandoned by their mother and he is responsible for them. Also he has a deceased wife and son. I have wired $5000.00 to a bank in Turkey to his supposed lawyer for the grandkids school excursions fees. I have also provided $700.00 in gift cards to him for computers for the kids for school purposes. In addition I provide gift cards to him for what he calls his signal which allows him to stay in touch with me. The company allowed monies for this signal he uses to do company paperwork and answer emails. His name is Williams Theodor. He says he will marry me and provide me with all I could ever desire. Now he has started talking seriously to me about reading the Bible and when we get together he wants me to attend church with him. He also says he has three cars (very nice cars) and a person who cares for his cars in a garage while he is away on these long job assignments. When I asked for his address in Oslo, he offers vague excuses for not knowing his home address. Gated entry to his location, new home, etc. does any of this sound familiar to anyone? I feel like such a desperate fool. Also he says he is 56 with a date of birth 10/10.

Anyone talk to a Jaxon Jordan deployed in Belgium?

Has anyone heard the name Joseph Medina says he has a 8 yr old son name Kelvin and he claims to be stationed in West Africa asks for money care packages etc the pictures he sent does not match the voice I know the guy that's claiming to be him is definitely a Nigerian it's really sad because this Nigerian has stolen this man's identity and trying to use it for his advantage I eventually blocked him and cut off all communication.

Brown Jeffrey hahahah Poot guy I gave him a taste of his own medicine....I told him how he was a scammer and then started calling me names because I confronted him
Single military dad, wife died 5 years ago and is stationed in kawaii

Steve Alekos, claimed to be from Greece, but lived in US for the past 25 years. Said he was a building supervisor for a construction company in Louisville. The first weekend we were to meet, he suddenly had to go to Canada for several days for a contract conference. He sent me pics of him giving a speech there. I have dozens of pics of “someone” that he sent me. Then from there, suddenly he had to go to Turkey for four weeks for the contract he won.

He claimed to be getting ready to retire. He also called me “my Queen” a lot. I fell hard for him. Then he asked me for an iTunes card, and my heart turned to ice water. He got very angry, a side I had never seen, and I hung up on him. I was devastated. How could I have been so dumb?

The guy is a ghost. My daughter found out his address was fake. The photos turned up nothing — they were probably from a poor guy who was also catfished. His name doesn’t check out anywhere. Told me he deleted his Tinder account after we matched. I know now he probably just blocked me.

Steve Alekos 200 N Capital Apt 201 (Fake, talked to property manager) Louisville KY 424-307-0254 (Probably a burner phone, did a check and it has no name attached to it.) His Facebook page, which he told me he lost the password for, is also fake. There are hundreds of these people. They cut and paste all those romantic messages. Many work in “boiler rooms” where they do this all day long. DO NOT SEND ANY MONEY, PERIOD!

I have been recieving whatsapp messages and emails from DR.STEPHEN PATRICK supposedly serving in Afghanistan as Orthopaedic Surgeon for UN, he is from America and says he has a Security Consignment box with 700,000$ and a 12.5 bar of gold to be couriered to UK for me to receive. Foolishly it cost me £1000 because I felt sorry for him. That's where it has stopped because he has since had Diplomat agent Gray Johnson fly it into Heathrow last Friday for delivery to me when I pay up £84,000.
It doesn't exist according to UK Customs but he doesn't know I've worked out that it 's a SCAM. I am also reporting it to the British Police to cover myself as advised by Border Force agent. He is still messaging me but i'm ignoring him.

Anyone know a Michael murchison, claiming to be a chemical engineer working in Canada but lives in Virginia . Also says he’s French .

Same name and job is currently talking to a family member , what is your dealings with him

Do you have pictures of him?

Hi does anyone know of a Ryan Anderson says he's in military posted in Nigeria?

Looked up some info for a friend, scammers name is Diego Owalter. None of his info is legit. Has anyone else heard this name? I don't know too many details on his story, but will post as I get them.

Chatting to a Derek bellucci from San Jose originally Italy. Widow. 1 daughter and 2 grand kids 64 and pics very nice. Then been in Turkey working hardly any messages as before bombarded. Wanted me get iPhone X. Said get one himself as Need ave on his name..
Told him I think you are not who you say. Caught out. Lol. Back if my mind yup too good be true. Not scammed.

A guy reached out to me on FB with friend request, started chatting to me but I knew he was a scammer. Reported him to Facebook, blocked him. He goes by Anthony James. Ladies the scammers are out there please please beware, they pray on those they think are lonely. I thank God everyday I am not desperate for love. I have pictures. He also on Instagram under name Cooper, Cooper fresh

I was contacted by a man claiming to be Sma Daniel Dailey who is well known in the army. Within two days he loves me separated from wife. But his story kept changing like the scammers were working in shifts. I knew when within three days after he asked for me to get him 3 phones but he would pay all he needed was my security questions. I knew it was a scam but I couldn't let go he was so sweet. Then iTunes card then another account contacted me saying his account was hacked by Taliban. Then asked me to receive a package of 1.5 million dollars. I gave him a fake address and blocked him DANIEL DAILEY OR GOES BY STEVE DAILEY DONT FALL FOR IT LUCKILY I DIDN'T. THANK GOD.

Over the last 6 months I have been scammed out of $20,000.00 by a man who goes by the name of Mike Donovan. I originally started chatting with him on IG Direct after he had been sending me message requests for a year. I stupidly got very involved with him, even though I am a married woman. He was saying all the things my husband was not saying that I needed to hear. Even though I knew in my heart this was a scam, I truly wanted to believe I was talking to a decent human being who had gotten into trouble and needed my help. I am a gambler and wanted to finish playing my hand until I really knew the truth about this man. Every red flag this site warns of was there. This scammer is a real pro and can find an excuse for anything and everything that came up. He sent me a number of photos of him when I initially started chatting with him. Very attractive, said he was 48 but looks younger. Irish descent. Strawberry blonde hair and facial hair. Extremely well built, muscular, entire upper body from abdomen to shoulders and sleeves tattooed , no tattoos on neck or face. Ears pierced. Was supposedly living in Greenville SC when we started talking. A supposed business trip took him to Istanbul and Benin where he left his belongings including all his US contacts, banking info, credit cards and cash in a cab that took off when he got out. To make a long story short, I have been supporting him for months, paying for a new phone, food, lodging, plane ticket back home, you name it. Amazon cards, google play cards, iTunes and Bitcoin. When he had the airfare to come home and travel expenses, he knew he had to come up with something else. I truthfully had no plans of getting together with him if he had been who I thought he was in the beginning, but I also did not want to leave a US citizen stranded in Benin if by chance he was telling the truth. After he missed his flight due to false arrest at airport for drugs he came up with a New crises that he would go to jail if a 5 grand fine was not paid. I said no at this point and have been trying to find his real identity for months on various websites to no avail. Today, I finally had the courage to call the US State Dept and a woman put me in touch with the Benin Consular who told me he was a fraud and that no way would the US Embassy let an American citizen be stranded in Benin, they would fly him home and he would pay them back upon his return. I asked him weekly about this very thing and I gave him cab money (joke) to get to the Embassy from his hotel. He told me the same stuff repeatedly that they could not help him, as he had overstayed his Visa or one thing after another. Had I made this phone call months ago, I would not be trying to hide this 20,000.00 loss from my husband. I feel dirty and am embarrassed that I was scammed like this. I have learned a valuable and pricey lesson. If my misfortune can help someone else avoid this man or this scam, I will feel that all was not lost. Beware of Mike Donovan...goes by heart of golld on IG.

I received an invitation on an Indian matchmaking service, shaadi.com. As it was a paid account, the profile initially appeared legit but the details were fishy and contradicting. Eventually, I decided to accept it.

Then everything is the same story as usual. The response email I received claimed she works at USAID and is stationed in Turkey. The language in the email was broken with the same things repeated. Quite generic with no salutation or calling my name. Well, she extracted my contact number from the signature.

After chatting on WhatsApp using the number +1 (469) 730-6197 for a couple of days, fraudster came straight to the point of asking $100 steam card from Walmart. To prove her point she also shared the US passport image, which a toddler can spot to be fake.

I reverse-engineered the photographs she shared on google image and found the same had been used in Europe as well. As a precautionary measure, I have also reported this profile to the dating website as well.

Final words: Just be cautious, they do anything to take your money - every penny counts. Make sure not to give away your hard-earned to anyone before meeting them in person. If sense anything inappropriate, start calling them fraud/scammer and they'll start showing their actual face. A person with dignity will never accept such humiliation and will respond in a different way.

I have been reading all the comments on here. I have beenScammed twice. Once by a Frank Jurgen and once by a Travis Skinner. Frank was very well built dark hair, blue eyes. On a ship supposedly. Travis is pretending to be military deployed in Turkey. Pictures are dark blonde, blue eyes very well built. Both are very handsome in the pictures. Frank had two daughters. Travis has a son. All the information they gave is bogus. Don't not friends them. If you have something similar. Get out now. Block them now!

Any one heard of James Wilson Hunter from New Orleans?

I had a guy approach me on my instagram account recently in my inbox at first I had ignored him but then he continued I finally responded Being polite and then he started to tell me he wanted to get to know me better. We started talking and chatting on WhatsApp and he will video chat but the connection wouldn’t be the best. It looked just like the guy in the pics he sent but he was indeed a fraud a few days in starting to ask for iTunes gift cards getting upset and frustrated when I told him I wasn’t doing that. I told him I work part time with the police he freaked out started to say you are lying to me and you don’t trust me ... etc. it worked because indeed he was a fraud.
He claims to have a son name Richard and he lost his wife in a car crash a few years ago. He lives in California but had to travel to JA South Africa for business - Be Aware

I think I’m dealing with a scammer he’s got 3 Instagram accounts same photos 3 different names. David Moese, Simon Cowell and Moses Ferguson. Anyone else been dealing with this man?

Is there any female scammers by the name helen paul?

Hi their is a man called Richard osteen he tell that he is military software even he has fooled me, who live in Denver ,even he send me the gift then he told me to pay for the parcel I paid them still they wanted more money I spend 45000 ksh then he told me he came and take me to his home just help him with 200$ even I paid that money then I realised he was conning me when he told me he structed in Rwanda I have to help him to pay him other 200$ but I will get money that I have lost them.

Hi! Has anyone here know an Oscar Woods? Claims to be from UK and a widower and has a foster kid in Germany?

I have been chatting on HangOuts with Frederick Marcus. Originally from the Netherlands now living in NY with his 16 year old son. For the past year he has been serving in the Dutch army in Samolia, he still has 3 years to go. He has someone looking after his son in NY. He had asked for some card so he could get rid of a virus on his phone. Card cost 200.00 plus he wanted to get some things for his phone. Next it was he had a box in Canada with some important paper in it along with gold, jewelery, and some loose gem stones. Where his box , they are closing and they need for him to get it. He only needs $18,500. Yes right. The company said if he could come up with half they would sent it then he could pay the rest..duhhhhh. I noticed he never calls me by my name it is always honey,babe sweetheart even calls me his wife. He must repost he chat to other women so that is why he never calls me by my name. Oh yes he says as soon as he gets out he will marry me. I suppose in my desperate need to find a man who loves me, I fell for it but never ever sent 1 red cent. Of course he says he will call me soon ??? Just beware ladies they are out there looking for their next mark. I know he doesn't care that my heart is shaddered into a million pieces.

I'm pretty sure my aunt is being scammed. She's been allegedly talking to [texting mostly] country music star Tracy Lawrence, for around 6 months or more. Despite the fact that he's married with kids, my aunt thinks he is going to be picking her up in his tour bus [or sending someone for her] to move her to his new home in Nashville, TN. She's sent him Steam gift cards in small increments, and now she's sending him $1650 at a time through the post office. We can't figure out how to convince her he isn't real, despite that fact that she's getting evicted from her apartment [not paying rent] and about to lose her cat because the one place she has to go won't allow her cat in the house. She's used programs like Vimeo and Paypal to send money too. Even as she's losing everything, she clutches her phone, waiting for him to come and get her, when we know he isn't. I don't know what else to do, or how to convince her it's a scam. He has her convinced that the reason he needs all her money is to 1. Keep her money safe until he comes to get her. 2. Help him, because his "management company" doesn't allow him to spend his money without watching him and since he's technically cheating on his wife, they won't allow him to spend money on her, etc. I don't know what else he says to her, because when we told her we thought it was a scam, she started lying about everything. How can I prove to her it's fake? Help please!

Have you found anything online when you search for that person's name and the word "scam"? Other people might have written about this too, or the person might have something on his real website about mis-use of his name.

You might want to talk with the adult protective services staff in your aunt's city or county and explain her finanical loss. Look up her agency at this federal government website: www.eldercare.acl.gov, or call   1-800-677-1116. Your aunt could contact the companies she's using to send money, tell them the transactions were fraudulent, and ask if they can reverse the the payments, if that's possible. 

Anyone heard of Johnson Dumelo? He has an IG profile and he says he is a movie director who is stuck in Africa and trying to get back to the US. He said he has a young daughter named Jenny and he is a widower.

Anyone know Ivan L. Daiz? he claimed that he is US citizen stay at California, right now has a mall construction project at Thailand (Chiang Mai)?

I myself have talked to a few guys on line ,and 2guys using celebrity names.the celebrity names have not ask for any money,or donations yet. I've had a few guys claiming to love me right off the bat ,and then ask me to open up a bank account,or send I tune cards.i never would I told them they were scammers and misrepresenting themselves using others photos.when they begin asking for financial aid, I know it's a scam they all get blocked.its like cry wolf.you dont know who to believe anymore but I'm not falling for scammers to take what little doe I've got...sorry

I've been a sucker for love. I'm dating this guy for two years online and each time i had to fork out somehow or the other for money. I'm really lost all my hard earn money but he keeps on and on for more. He wants me to come to him but i just pay some of the money towards documentations from homeland security in order for me to come to him . Not sure if this man is using me or draining me for more money which i don't have

kenneth wilhelm, Words with Friends, dr in Syria with UN. wife dead, 2 small kids.... block him

I had a doc in Syria too lol. That wasn't his name and I cannot remember it. Didn't take note. Said he was from Miami and sent this amazing bio of "Himself" and the bio was in perfect English, something he had no command of.

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