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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

And I do also know how it feels to be scammed I am also a victim of this online scamming crap also I am so tired of online scammers I meant this lady online her name is Mary Smith so she says the thing that really made her so attractive was her looks she kept asking me to send her some money so she could fly all the way out here to Texas she claimed that her grandparents and her mother and father both died is she said that there's a house that is left behind just for her she quit calling me and texting me for at least 2 weeks and then I finally get another message my phone blinked twice and there were two messages and it came from Mary I really don't know if that's really her name last name is Smith middle name Jane she kept asking me for money after she claimed that her so-called lawyer flew her to Nigeria I was pretty stupid for sending so much money to her for the past year and 6 months I have already lost over $1,200 I don't know if she's doing this to other people she would keep her picture on the phone her picture would be online the person that she says that she so-called identifies herself to be I really don't know if she's really the person that she says that she is she said that she needed some money to get on the airplane so she could fly to Texas she never made it she claims that she wanted to marry me and take me to Aurora Colorado and there she sent me a picture of the house this house looks somewhat like a castle but in the middle of a desert I started putting some things together it doesn't look like Colorado from here I was expecting her to text when she got offline she claims that she would check up on me just to make sure that I was okay she was trying to ask for my i d my social and my bank account number I will not give it to her she claims that she has 80 billion dollars left behind from her grandparents I know she's working and she lives in Nigeria why is she always telling lies all I know is that she would leave her phone number on the text block above where I can see her phone number I never heard from her again so I assume that she is actually scamming other people if anyone thinks more than once and they think twice about it or three times think about the people that are scamming this person has no heart has no soul she sends me pictures of her in the nude with her legs in front of her with no shoes smiling sending me a picture of her private part showing me how she dresses and sends me a picture of her coming out of the shower I was pretty shocked at what I had seen her English is very much broken it sounds like she cannot speak English that well and all she does is ask for money the first person that she looked at was me and she asked me for money yes I fell for it like a fool but then I had to turn things around and stop texting her as soon as her identity disappeared the next 2 weeks later I see the name Mary Smith again this time the picture looked different this one was skinnier the upper torso was smaller her torso from the lower half was someone kind of thick and she has this pretty smile trying to see if she can get me to send her $200 she says that she wants to get married I don't think she really does I don't know if she really has kids or if she's living on her own in Nigeria she claims that she lived in Orlando Florida and says that there's a house there in Orlando near the beach the so-called House in Aurora Colorado I really don't know about so I left it all up I don't know who else is getting scammed by this Mary Jane Smith if you see her picture on your phone long black hair with a little bit of highlight on it that's her she has a baby smile and dresses very very nice the way that she dresses is very shocking and she gets on Instagram she likes to ask certain ones to go on Instagram so she can get them to send her some money she claims that she doesn't have an account where she's at right now I really can't figure it out myself but I'm going to get this whole thing put together hopefully I can get two and two put together she is a big-time scammer I do not want to see any more scammers on the Facebook line anytime someone starts scamming they will talk to you for at least 24 to 48 hours until they get what they want wait I tried to text her Mary had a block put on her phone then she would text me back two to three weeks later and try to apologize for the phone blockage she claims that the phone company is blocking her she's the one that's blocking people so if you ever run across a lady with a baby face and some green eyes and a shocking smile don't give in because she will scam for money if anyone else had met her online please let me know because I am tired of being scammed and I really want to get my money back so I hope that the Federal Bureau Investigation well get in on this and hopefully they will get caught just like I said if anyone else I met this Mary Jane Smith online please text me back and let me know

Anyone been scammed by an oil rig engineer who calls himself Travis Jefferson? Says he's from Brooklyn, New York? Divorced. One daughter age 7. Claims to be 66 years old. His picture is of a handsome man. I am certain the picture is not him.

This name was used by John Bogdan who is also a scammer and works on the same oilrig. Perhaps they are working together.

I just found out I was scammed too, guys. I feel just terrible. I lost about 30K and have several loans to pay. And he met me on FB, switched to Hangouts in a few days and after to WhatsApp. He told me he is in Syria, in Peacekeeping mission. How fool I was, i google it and there is no such a mission now (since 2012 to be clear), told him this but he replied that he is a contractor to UN, orthopedic in Aleppo. Started to call me my love, baby, etc. Asked for help and I took first loan to pay for his vacation certificate, it was just a beginning. His FB page is owned by another person at the moment. He promised a lot. And I received text messages from his colleague that he is ill (he told me he started feeling bad) and even in coma and need to be transported our of Syria. And I paid because that seems so true. And Ive got another text from some lady from UN (dont know who she/he is; and email is on yahoo.com) and he is currently in Homs and could not reach Damascus airport due to rebel gangs who asked for money. So, feel terrible...With a lot of loans to pay..I am well educated woman and feel so fool now..

Kate, you are not alone! I too have just found out that I have been scammed by someone posing as a soldier based in Syria. He told me was on a peace keeping mission in aleppo. Your situation mirrors mine in so many ways. I feel foolish, ashamed and embarrassed, not to mention raging with anger. I thought i was a pretty level headed woman who thought this would never happen to me! Ive lost about the same amount as you and now im totally broke. It will take a long time to get over this but i will. No way is that lying scumbag getting the better of me. I will certainly never fall for this again

I met a guy in a dating app and said that he is working in an Oil Rig. He said that he is from Texas USA, single, never married nor have any kids. He said he wanted to invest here in my country by buying property and start a life with me as a fiancee. We talk on the phone almost 3-4 times a week and said that he is willing to send me money to buy 2 bedroom condo and a new car. He asked if I have a bank account and said that he will send me money before he go to spain for 3 months work. I know that there are a lot of scammer in the world but I still gave him my bank account number that only have $1 and has no maintaining balance too be safe since I'm not using that account. The night before he left for spain, he called me and asked if his bank tried to call me or email me, I said no, not yet. He said that he ordered his bank to send me 500G and the bank will contact me to verify my information to make sure his money is also secured to avoid being scammed too. Today I received an email from the CEO of NELZ BANK PLC but the email was in my junk makl. In the email, the CEO IS asking me if I can send them a picture of one of my government ID and a passport ID with white back ground for verification.

I tried to call/message the man that I'm chatting with but I haven't heard from him for almost a week now. (Well he said that he might have a problem with the phone signal in spain for 3 months so he asked me to be patient if I didn't here from him)

I tried to seach for more information about the Nelz Bank Plc and the site looks legit (I think!), I also emailed them to check if the email I receivd is valid but unfortunately, I still didn't get a response.

DO YOU THINK, I WAS BEING SCAMMED BY THIS OIL RIG LOVER OF MINE!? ☺️

Just was talking to a "military" man who wanted i-tune card and a new iphone. Said his wife died of skin cancer, mother in law taking care of his son in the states. Wanted me to send money via Western Union because the shipment of military food was poisoned by the rebels in West Africa and he was starving.

Is his name John Kelvin or Kelvin Cezar? Troll instagram?

No he told me his name was Brian Richard. Does troll instagram though.

Beware of Brian Richard aka Brianrichard360 on instagram. Handsome military pictures... He will make you fall for him, give you a sad story about his wife dying, how he has not seen his son in years...tell you he loves everything about you...looking for true love...that love is "golden" Told me the shipment of food to West Africa was just poisoned. Wants money to buy foodstuffs from locals...really? You want to buy food from the people who supposedly poisoned your food. Don't fall for his trap...I come from a military background so I laughed when he told me this.

If they want you to use hang outs it 99 percent it's a scam the same goes for Google Voice

Google is inableling scammers

Somehow this "woman" got my phone number and we have been texting for a while then all of a sudden "she" asks me to as her to my bank account and get a joint calling plan with "her".
This woman is a goddess in her pictures and never in a million years would a guy like me ever have a chance with that type of woman but she swears up and down she loves me.

If it seems to good to be true it usually isn't.

I will never talk to anyone on hangouts or google voice again and I urge people to use caution when asked to go on hangouts

Does anyoone know a guy named drake ????

Yea,
Stephen Drake

Anyone familiar with a guy calling himself James Walker who claims his wife died in a car accident 4 years ago in Alabama? He's an engineer/designer now living in San Jose, CA with a daughter named Diana who attends boarding school in Italy? He hasn't asked for anything from me but it all just sounds more odd to me by the day....
Thanks everyone ~

Hey! Has anyone ran across a beautiful young lady that goes by the name Alice Elizabeth Lewis. I discovered this person on Instagram. She claims that she is an American model that goes by the name of Chinese Kitty aka Taylor Hing. She has been in music rap videos of famous artists and reality TV shows.

I too was scammed from this person who call himself Zachary Geok, who ever this person is,he's just a liar and a thief and he will not getaway with it.
God will punish him for his deception

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.

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