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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 — click on Scams and Rip-Offs, then select Romance Scams.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


I also talk to doctor base in yemen too and his name is dr. James henry too he ask me to send his money around 450 dollar to give to barrister to tranfer his funds to my account.... He said he want to me as he trust me being conjoin parners... He want to send to my account his funds cause its allmost expired already. If they not take the funds goes to the bank and never give to him... So he begging me for sending the barrister the money so he can process his funds Asap.... He's 50years old and a son too name kevin 13 years old now...

May I ask what the scammer goes by?Does he say he’s in the military deployed to Syria? I’ve been talking to someone for over a year now. He messaged me on Instagram then asked me to go to Hangout. Yes I’m feeling like a fool woman too. Thanks.

That same exact thing happened to me today and two of my friends... We all got together and realized and blocked him... I think he stole someone's photos and is up to no good. He goes by Steve Gonzalez... Same Syria military story ☹️

Does he go by the name Cooper George xvi or Cooper fresh in Instagram

Ladies! I’ve been chatting for. A couple of days to a scammer with the same army/Syria story.
Immediately I knew he was fake and my first question was ‘are you real’ the conversation continued with me pointing out all the mistakes he’d made on his photos/profile. He knew I knew but we continued to chat.. it was hilarious and great fun! Fb blocked him as o guess someone else reported him. Best laugh I’ve had for ages! Like my own little detective game.. such fun! I miss him :)

The same thing with me only Afghanistan. He knew I knew he was a scammer but we had the best time. Hilarious fellow. Then he just disappeared. I miss him. I lost no money.

Hi did he go by the name johnson monland.

Right now I'm talking to 2 guys. One is on an oil rig the other is in Afghanistan and is a Lt. General. Here's a question for ya..... Why would a Lt. General be talking to me? I'm sure he scammer.

I just busted a man, claimed he was a seargent major in us army...found me on is Ryan Luke quinn...I can't find his pics anywhere...never asked for money, was sweet and acted caring...wanted to come home to me when deployment was over...finally got him to email me, located the ip, Nigeria...

I heve been contacted by by a man who says he is in the army stationed in Afghanistan transfering to Iraq. Wanted to send me a big box with gold bars money and supposedly all his military papers and pictures of him when he was a kid. Mind you this was after he tells me he wants to come back to me in the states and marry me and be a family. When he tells me about this box he wants me to borrow money from any one that will give it to me to get it. Conversation were never about "US" anymore it was all about the box and getting the money to ship it. Anyone have any helpful infromation it would be greatly appreciated.

I had the same thing happen to me. This box with his treasures and papers from the military. Money too! He tells me he is sending it to me and that I will be arrested because I am helping him with laundered money. His name is Garth Hestilow. He is very charming and smart. I have been reporting him to the FBI. Also there was a Dr.Wilson Potter and a Priest named Charles Nelson. Plus a company called Excel Parcel in London. I thought these people were liget. I am naming these people on this site so others will not be taken in like I was. When all is said and done I was left with just a heartache and I am trying to recover from it all.

I was just contacted by a Hispanic man 2 days ago named Wilson Potter who says he was adopted, raised by a priest And is stationed in the Philippines right now. He says he’s about to retire and move back to his home in California. Is any of this familiar to you?

I knew Chris Harrison. But he said he’s adopted by a priest. Originally from Berlin, Germany. And now in Florida. He said he’s a electro-petroleum engineer.

Hi I had the same thing happen to me is lieutenant General caused by the Army and another General they were all both stationed over in Kabul Afghanistan said something about an investigation in the boxes and needed to be shipped out but what do you needed was $2,400 to secure commercial flight.. what's he got here to the states and he was being held Ransom until all these papers from customs got cleared out. then he went over to his house in Miami Florida was there for a couple of days with these boxes that he had me paid Ransom from the director over in Kabul so then he had to get another guy just to drive him up here I want to go to my you have three cars at your house once just drive up here to Ohio and just come meet me now he's like will the cops found out about Peter some other guy that was holding him Ransom and I got caught by the cops here in Ohio is it really what gel are you out I'll come get you you wouldn't tell me. Goes by the name Jeff Edison and his friend's name is Robert Petersen. both generals but what Jeff did not realize the pictures that he sent me he says he's arming I'm ex-military myself my dad is a military guy makes husband's military for all retired sends me a picture of this guy in Air Force uniform so I did a reverse search on picture he's the superintendent of the Air Force academy in the only reason I know this is because my little brother graduated from the Air Force academy and is a fighter pilot so I called him out on it next thing I know he deleted that account dang gone. so his commanding officer was supposed to come get him Friday I got a message on Hangouts of from his commanding officer and they both both of them gave me a fake email to the Head General of Afghanistan and it's John F Campbell I looked them up he is legit. Cbut it's Scott Miller that is in head of the generals of all the generals in Kabul sonnen bees and I have stacks and I lost $12,000 to all these scammers saying we've got a hold hostage you need to send $400 in gift cards it has to be this kind of cord or we're not going to have him in your face and he saying that he's being tortured all this stuff and I'm like way too many of your military trying just snapped their necks cuz I know I will cuz I'm ex-military your hand and comment trade and you're a special ops and you're a dcis agent. I'm looking at 4 years of prison because of all these cards because they think I'm doing some kind of money laundering or wire fraud or something like that so I'm going to be having a Jag and os I'm here in Ohio along with the FBI help me track everything one of these people down and I want them in prison the biggest mistake he gave me was two girls with their bank accounts phone numbers and addresses in Atlanta and that's when it all started back in April supposedly he's been held captive since the 12th of August he's supposedly just now leaving Friday when I told his controlling officer daddy stole the boxes and smuggled them out of Afghanistan they know about the boxes and he's like wait a minute you know for a fact that he took the boxes out of Afghanistan because we were investigating a Chief's death over these boxes and I said yes of course I know about it I said you should go and talk to Nelson your director I'll tell you all about the boxes cuz that's what the ransom note was to clear customs for and is that his house in Miami his controlling officer neither one of them are answering my emails and he said that he was going to have Jeff Edison arrested and put in prison well that's great if you can find them cuz I don't even know where he's at. and the pictures that you sent me the wrong uniform if you're going to claim that you're in the Army at least rocker army uniform and not an Air Force uniform especially a super attendant supervisor of the Air Force academy you ding dong like I'm stupid I was stupid enough to believe the hostage situation cuz I was getting emails from these different people demanding if you want him released then we need this in this in this I'm like nah just give you cash how about that you got zelle isn't know we wanted in the gift cards or said I don't do gift cards. Search history mailed his latest scammers supposedly in Cleveland and I told him I said if he is still there take a picture with your phone I want proof of life if you're going to kill him just drop them off at my front door so I can see for myself no response from none of them.

I had the same thing only it was a woman it is a good scam she got me good she was very patient

I don't suppose his "name" was Brad Unwin?

Sadly, the same thing happened to me and I was foolish to send money to help one claiming to be a Commander in the US Military stationed Iraq. He wanted me to help him receivet his property until he has a leave in August. He claimed his unit received compensation from their Commander for successful mission and money was stored with a security company in Syria, that was closing down due to imposed tax increases, and all account holders had to claim their property or it will be turned over to the Government. I STUPIDLY agreed to help and in order to get his property the papers had to be transferred to my name which cost $$$. However, it didn't stop there, but more money was being requested for certain certificates for the diplomat delivering the box to get clearance at JFK Airport, otherwise I would be in trouble should the authorities scan the box and my name is listed as owner. Well, I got fooled once, but not again. They even have a fake Anti Fraud Agency with a gmail email contacting me for this money. They can keep the alleged box. I am NOT touching it or paying for nothing else! I have filed a complaint with the FTC and provided all details and contact info.

I’m in dealing with something similar. Anyone got pics the can share?

I have someone I talk claims to be deployed we are connected at times it feels real ...other times I feel its a scam. He's sent me gifts, he's also sent me items to mail to.him.
Who has pictures...lets weed these guys out.

If somebody knows how to show me or tell me how to upload pictures of this guy I would definitely most definitely do it but for some reason his web page does not allow pictures to get uploaded.

The military never gives compensation for a successful mission. If it’s something big they’d get a ribbon or a medal. No bonus’s in US military. My brother is a ret Commander my son is a chief. Petty officer

The same happened to me in September this year. General Clement Williams. He was orphaned at early age. Lost his wife in childbirth. 2 children in boarding school. Had to get a parcel out of Syria. We have never spoken as he told me they were not allowed to have phones etc. we texted. Promised the world. Wanted more and more money. I refused. Received plenty of photos, obviously they were stolen. I feel for the family of the person whose photos were illegally obtained.

Where could we share photos of those scammers?
This to me was Parker Willams and had 2 fb accounts.
I think those scammers make 10-15 fb accounts and uses 1,2, or many of them when needed, He is widowed with one child (named Henry or Kelvin), orphaned from 10, no family ("he only got me") > he asked money on Amazon and Itunes cards, first small amounts, then went to do "bussiness" in Sudan and gets a bag with 1.000.000 that he wants to send me by red cross, I refuse, then his bag is stolen and he is starving from hunger, and wants money for food by bitcoin. He appears very religious, everytime thanks God for what he has. But never talks about his activities, or what he s really doing. He uses skype, hangouts, whatsapp. He has photos with a child.
Attention, he is on sites about travelling and pets/animals, cooking recipees.

Iv been scammed the same saying.i must spend money over so his treasure box has all his things I'm it his name was jon Bowen bew8he bad news said he was a general ha ha which put for him

do you have his picture? He say the same, gold briefcase with personal documents. Chinese, 54 years old, Doctor deployed to Yemen.

Do you have a picture by any chance? I had a similar story only he was stationed in Yemen!

It's a ruse, it sounds tempting and like you couldn't go wrong with it, but u have to pay for it, so I have learned. And he gets the money

I have the same story, I feel foolish. a man, was on a dating site, he made me be out of the site, wishing a private conversation through text. he said that he is a sargeant major of the army stationed in Afghanistan on a mission. he was telling me beautiful words,
he is trying to make me fall in love with him. he was trying to take my heart, he writes me poems, very sweet, apparently, he speaks good English, he sent me a pic of him as a handsome man surfing, is not with the US army uniform but now i realized that is a scam, he says his name is Thomas Humphrey. i have not given any money. i have not been stolen. Good that I read these comments from you so I am going to block him right now.

How do you locate an IP? Thank you.

Did you find out how to find location from gmail account ?

Omg me too an oil rig! I the gulf. I know it’s a scam. Named Allen??

I’m going through oil rig scammer too
Said someone impersonating him using his pictures yes I lost money. His name Henry Brown
As daughter 12. Nanny wife died 2016 just got taken off Instagram by the real person whose if he took! But he swears he loves me!
Lives California

OMG that is the story I just got from a guy, Fred William, exact to a T.

so the fred thats been talkin to me says he is from uk, but has lived in California for 28 yrs. wife died last year. he has a contract on a oil rig in the indian ocean. other money he says he has is invested in his company. he seems so nice and his words so genuine. i suspect a scam ...but sent 2 20 steam cards ..but iam not sending anymore. would like to know if he is the same person. i got a picture..he says williams is his last name.

I think we might have been scammed by same person. Can you send me his pic to compare?

Im talking last name williams so far he did not ask anything on me..someone talk last name williams can you sent the pictires if the same guy im talking now.bcoz he also in rig oil nd contractor.thnz

Hi becca51, i was also scammed on the early weeks of june this year, his family name was also williams, i met him on skout, he said he was working on an oil company, and he said he sent me a gift pack with a lot of item gifts, and if ever the custom would be asking me clearance fee, he said i should pay just to avoid the delay. So was thing that it wad so different coz i never asked him any gifts, so i confronted him that he is a scammer, he got mad at me, then i blocked him and reported to the app

I got one sending me expensive items after he got a new job for celebration. His profile is now deleted after he got the job. Only met him on FB Less then 2 weeks. Always said I should be treated like a queen. The company claim to call me but contact me via WhatsApp and ask for $2500 for fees. I Check the delivery website. It seems fake. They only want to communicate via WhatsApp.

I think we were talking to the same person he called himself Jack Williamson was a contractor working out Alaska, told me how much money he was going to get once the job was done. Caught him a lie and toasted him I have his licence with photo if you want to compare

He probably hacked that license. You think u got him cornered and they change their name and picture for the next victim. Same thread, I need money.

Hello. Did he say his first name is Marcos?

Would his name be David Walter William's. Sounds like the same guy whose asking me to send play store cards, itune cards. Now he wants 15,000. To dock a boat so he can retire from his project.

Omg we need to get those guys oil ring widow nine yrs ago 16 yrs old daughter from Italy but lives in Houston Texas. I didn’t send no money
He said his wallet get into the ocean and he had a little accident send me pictures and everything about his Mom, daughter, accident, him cooking barbecue,etc. When I refused to send money he got “upset” bc I didn’t trust him lol. His name ya Jerry Fredrick duende sounds Italian at all. I can show his pictures

Same guy now going by the name of Dr Robert Wilson from Texas originally from Italy working in sudan as a orthopaedic surgeon has a 15 year old daughter, wife did 5 years ago

I am being scammed by oilrigger. His name is Frank Coherl.
IAM 73 year widow. I have sent him money. I want to believe him.
I enjoy his sweet words. I have accused him of being a scammer, tried to break it off several times. I need to see a picture, I ask God to give me strength todo so. Please send picture

The oil rigger didn't get me, the marine did.they all describe a pitiful situation, then prevail upon ur kindness and mercy and ask for money. They change their name and the pictures with every victim

My mum has been talking to a guy called Richard but I think he is a scammer he is now saying he has been stopped by Indian customs and has to pay 10.000 dollars to get his so called drill through and needs my mum to help him he says he has a daughter and works for himself etc omg I' angry with these filthy people can anyone help she has got photos of this con man

Yes I would like to see photos. Is the lady name Alen??? My guy is from Belguim

Did this Richard person have a last name? I've encountered a man by the name of Richard Tuan Hieu. Says he's a contract drone pilot for the military. Has a 6yr daughter named Jen/Jenny, nanny named Susan who cares for her while he's overseas. Any of that sound familiar?

Says his name is Richard Batten 56. He says his birthday in January 31 and he will be 57. Says he is a civil engineer who won a million dollar contract in Singapore. Has an accent. Talked for a few weeks. He loves me and wants to spend
The rest of his life with me. Doesn't think there is a women left in world like me. He calls me baby and honey. His needs money for tools for his project Working on in Singapore. He says the company took them away because he didn't pay for them yet. It is a bridge and 55 story building. I new was a scam all along. Set him up to ask for money. He needs 27,000 dollars then can get his tools back and come home to me. I played the game smarter than him. Made him think I was going to deposit 27,000 to a company in China. He gave me an account named Triangle Tire Company LTD. Three times I made myself so believable about depositing money. Finally called him out and he says he will always love me Then he can't stand me because i has sent him messages about number 8 and 9 commandments being my favorite. Which are about not lying and stealing. I also told him I was 395 pounds after the 3rd time I said I was going to send him money. I wish he was caught and put in jail for fraud. It was hilarious. What losers these people are. They are using exact same kind of stories. After all was over I sent him back a picture of one he sent me of a dark haired man sitting on a sign In Kenya on equator. I asked him if he new who that guy was cause I would pay 30,000 for him. Made him so mad I told him so sorry he worked so hard on me and didn't get money. He admitted he was a scammer.


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