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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

This seems like a scam. There are a lot of warning signs in the stories this person is telling you. His story is a lot like the stories scammers tell. For example, he says he is alone in the world, or has just one or two family members. He says he loves you or wants to marry you very soon after you meet. He has a job that requires him to travel and makes it difficult to communicate properly.

Scammers often say they have professional jobs, but they say they can't get money from their employers when there is an emergency. The person you're talking to has complicated financial problems and he's  asking large amounts of money, although he only met you recently.

I’m Swedish and that is not a Swedish name at all. Scammer for sure

He is a scammer... This story same happened to me and he only twist a little bit of his drama. Please stop sending him money. I had found that because every single document that he sent to me was not true.. Totally fake.

Yep ! Me too ! Posed S a good looking man originally from New Zealand , moved to USA 30 years ago . Lost his wife to cancer and sin at the age of 22 . Owned homes in New York and California . Owned a successful contracting business . Adored me . Everything a woman wanted . Went todo a job in Ukraine and had his lap top stolen . Could not purchase what he needed in Ukraine the type of memory card for his business . Asked for Walmart and ITunes U cards for 600. Telling me to take pictures of both sides of the cards and email them .
All lies !!!! Only wanted those two cards . Smooth charming. Highly dangerous . He was good . Thought I met my soul mate . This stuff is horrible . Thank god I woke up quickly .

Still trying to see if anyone is hearing from a Mike Donovan on Hangouts or Instagram. In Benin. Tattoos and muscular. Was robbed he says.

I don't know Mike Donovan tho I do know a man stuck in Benin and was robbed and tattoos muscular! How long ago was this and does he have children? Does he have hair?

Ok so Mike huh. Muscular and tattoos. The only thing is the guy reaching out to me goes by Mike Gonzales. Claims to be horn and raised in California, la. (That's how he wrote it) its red flag. Said he had a 5 year old daughter that the "mum" took from him and wont let him see.(second red flag if you born and raised in la you dont say mum) claims his parents passed away in a car accident (3rd red flag) his says he is deployed in west Africa (4th flag) when I asked him his ethnicity he said english... ummm what... after pressing him a little about me thinking he was Spanish because his army uniform said Gonzales he said he was central American. I'm sorry but if your 38 born and raised in la you now your ethnicity because people from la are proud of there race. By now so many red flags. Oh yeah not to mention the I love yous and all the sweet stuff. Then I told him that my bestfriend wanted to know his ethnicity and get this he got super defensive and told me not to tell no o e about him till he got back to the states. Why?... because hes on a mission. Is Grammer is horrible for someone who was born and raised in l.a. I really dont want to believe he is a scammer, (luckily I have not sent anything to him) because the pictures he sent me he is so fine.. I wish there was a way to teade pictures on here. Because their is a good chance that alot of us are dealing with the same person. Ok so the description is, 5'7'' light hazel eyes a mold on his left check closer to his nose. A tattoo sleeve on his right arm looks like a train and some writing also red coloring in it. (Sorry best I can discribe the tattoo) he is standing up with a red hat that's says rep dom. Black white and grey tshirt and dark Jeans. Clear cup in his right hand black bracelet on his left wrist.
Another pic is of him sitting in a car in his uniform looking off to the side with his hand by his head.
I really wish we could post pics for others to see and compair to see if they are dealing with the same person.

I've been talking to a Mike Donovan on Instagram first then Google Hangouts. Says he is 39... working as a petroleum engineer somewhere in Edinburgh which is near Scotland. He is gorgeous. Tall. Tattoos on arms. He says he's originally Fromm alabama. Says his parents are both dead but has a sister back in the US that is disabled. He never asked me for money but he did ask me to max out my credit cards...then he would pay them off and use them lol. I stopped talking to him after then. Few weeks later he started messaging me again. Sending me pics here and there. Calling me his Queen. He sent me duplicate pics a few times. Told me they can have cameras on the phones they use so he only has a few stored in his digital camera he can send. Told me his mom was Scottish and his dad was American. He looks of Spanish decent tho.. gorgeous man. I've done reverse image searches on all his pics but nothing has come up. I then googled his name and found this blog where a "mile Donovan with tattoos from Alabama " is mentioned twice. He also talked to me once about Bitcoin. I googled that and a scam from 2016 appeared with a micheal Donovan. I confronted him on all this and he just said I was a stupid for believing and someone stole his identity. Lol regardless. Too much drama. But if you ever see this post Nancy I would love to trade stories

This Mike Donovan is not Hispanic...says he is Irish and looks Irish. Reddish blonde hair. Says he is 48. Now claims as he was getting ready to fly home to the states he was falsely arrested on drug charges. One excuse after another. I have sent him over 20 grand since March. Says he will serve prison time on a false arrest if I don’t pay his fine...not going to be bamboozled again. Very attractive, facial hair, muscular, pierced ears, stomach, chest and tattooed sleeves. A real charmer. Anyone else helping him out as I was?

Anyone come across a man by the name of Denis Mercier, a us navy widow , my friend is chatting, added her on Instagram now on hangout, I'm not sure he's what he says he is

I've been chatting to a man that says he's on a oil rig off the coast of Louisiana has a 6 year old son lives in Massachusetts with a nanny name is Matt Davis hasn't asked me for money as of yet met up with him on words with friends from reading this he's a scammer cause I look up his name and a actor name comes up

Talking with a man named Greg Williams who says he is on a rig off coast of louisiana

My husband met Teresa Bond on Instagram. Has sent her thousands of dollars via iTunes cards and moneygram. Help! He doesn't see this as a problem. Never had a conversation, only chats always excuse why they can't talk or meet.

I had a friends request from a woman can't remember her name on it but she told me to add her on hangouts app. Her name is Anni Jackson, she fell in love with me on half an hour. She wanted to send me money from a mission in Syria she's there in the army. She sent me a picture of her drinking a cup of coffee but her name is different, some of it is blocked but it has ruz at the end. I'm not sure if I'm being scamed

If u r unable to find the picture, what does that mean

Met a guy calls himself Fredrick Perth. Says he is native Australian, an MD who works for the CIA on a secret mission on a secret location in Istanbul. Very convenient: cannot cam or send pictures. He seemed the sweetest, nicest man in the world and I fell madly in love with him. Said he desperately wanted to leave the military and needed €1000 to get leave permission. Classic fraud and I took it all. Then he managed to con me out of more money, thousands of euros before I finally came to my senses and realised he was a fraud. "Fredrick" and "Perth", two big cities in Australia... I am posting this as a warning. He is just another evil scammer, preying on vulnerable women.

Has anyone ever heard from a Richard Werner

i was in contact with a Richard Ayers clamed he was stuck in the Baltic sea and could not get through fire wall to get to his account! He wanted me to log into his account and transfer money for a part that he claimed he needed.This was after 3 months of exchanging calls and sending flowers and being very persistent, when I refused he became angry and verbally abusive, Iimmediately I suspected he wanted to steal money from unknown account and did not want to be tied to the transaction,

Hi, been browsing the internet all day looking for a way to check if a certain us serviceman is really connected with the army. Though it ain’t that long yet & that i really don’t mind if he’s lying, i find it necessary to check because of the write ups i’ve been reading about soldier scams and all that, i might be of help to some friends having that kind of experience at the same time to give warning to the person whose photos he is using (if that is the case)

So to tell my story, i just added this certain us army serviceman not 24hrs ago. He told me that He is from Florida and that he is currently deployed in Kabul Afghanistan in support of the Operation Enduring Freedom as a member of the combined joint special task force.

He did not ask for money though maybe because its too early, but been doubting if he is really true or not with everything he is telling me.

If by chance the person named James Rubio Mendoza (his name on the social media account he is using) is a complete hoax kindly send me information that confirms my doubts. Thank you.

Does anyone know Derrick Mvdonald supposolidly stationed in Syeia? Aleepo to be exact is sending a package COD by red cross? His personal belongings? So he says I dont know what fees might be but he says what ever they are he will pay me back . He has 3 boys picture with them in a jeep on fb .. I wish I knew how to search his pictures to catch him and show him.
Any ideas ladies

Anyone dealing with someone supposedly from Germany that is a structural engineer? Long hair , thin and 40-50 yrs old?

Thank you so much for the advice that I can check the IP addressing an email.
After more than six months of closeness with a man I met on Twitter, I now know he is in Lagos, Nigeria.
My first instinct was to suspect him and I tried all kinds of checking to confirm. I could never catch him. I did reverse image searches, I scoured the anti-scammer websites, I checked everything he told me. I could not catch him so half my mind still suspected him and the other half believed everything he said.
If I had only known about the IP search I could have saved 5 1/2 months of anguish and several thousand dollars.

A man with the username Benjamin Stewart on Instagram msg then after a few msg asked me to chat on google hangout!!
Same mo ladies...the txt starts appearing broken English.
Says he hails from New York
13 yr old son in boarding school
Wife, daughter & parents die in automobile crash.
He’s out in Norway ocean on oil rig on a “ project”!
Can’t call or video chat!
Only 4 pictures nothing with him & son or other family etc.
Says he’s in love with me after 2 weeks.
Wants to send me a briefcase via a diplomat all the way in Canada where I am.
Claiming the company is closing etc & he has nobody else to send it to!
Please don’t be fooled...

do you have a picture

I didn't lose any money but I am currently nursing a heartbreak due to a scammer I met on POF. I cannot believe I fell for it. I did the reverse image search on his first picture and nothing came up, but I should have done it on the other ones because I would have avoided this whole mess immediately. All the signs were there but I was too naive to see it, and the promise of creating an instant family with him, "a widower", and his toddler son was very appealing. I just cannot believe that every text and every second of our long phone calls were complete and total lies. This really messes with your head and what it's done is make me suspicious of everyone, including the people I meet face-to-face.

So I have been recently scammed and I did a stupid mistake back in 2016 to help a young lady for her mother surgery. Now I got scammed for being inappropriate on social media and this person using leverage on me and demanding money . I’m ignoring this person from Mali who I thought was helping a non profit organization.

ThisIt’s also interesting. I wish I knew about this site with the first scanner hit me up. It was my first time doing online dating and of course he was attractive and close to my age. His name was Nicolás Petersen. Told Me he was from Denmark originally had a dual citizenship and have lived in the United States for years. He was in the Gold business. What eventually ended up happening at to be talked from August to JanuaryBuild this relationship that’s what I thought it was. Right around Thanksgiving he won his bid he was supposed to come to my sisters house to meet the rest of my family! How convenient but I didn’t think nothing of it work is work. So I was OK with it I start to get a little suspicious when he came back it said he had to go to GHANA to get the gold. I jammed him upBut I was more concerned about his welfare because I have knowing that God is known for scams. He had to leave a few days after he came back but promise he will be back by Christmas. That never happened. I never said him my own personal money but I’m thinking that somehow I was involved And something illegal. He went to my bank account number he wanted to send money through my bank and have me wire it to him on GHANA. So course by then he had really gain my trust and I was concerned because he couldn’t get the go back without the money. Basically in the end I realized it was a scam a little bit too late but I was lucky because he never got money from me it was always money can I for somebody else. I had to go to my bank I change my account number then I had to be more concerned about if they was going to investigate me because they thought it was money laundry. But by the grace of God that never happened. Sometimes makes me not want to put that I am a believer and follower of God, but that’s the truth and I’m not gonna hide it I believe and I love the Lord. So anyway please beware have a Nicholas Petersen I wish there was a kind away that I could post the picture but I now know that really wasn’t him. Unlike most of you you went from let’s get off this website can I get your email address then to hangouts. But I did have a phone number for him I confided in my friend about what it happened. The phone number turn out to be a scam VOIP number and the address that he gave me that wasn’t his address. And he also sent me flowers!
I am truly amazed at how much this goes on.

Has anyone been talking to a Justin Petterson claims he is in Switzerland on oil rig. Keeps asking for $600 says his bank account is frozen

Has anyone been talking to a Justin Petterson? Claims he is in Switzerland on an oil rig. Keeps asking for $600 in ITunes cards. Claims he needs to come home but can’t get money because his bank account is frozen

Hi I’m new to this site but I have a friend who I believe is a victim of this romance-scam. She strongly believes she is not being scammed but she already has been. The guy name is George Harry. He says he is an architect from UK and currently in Venezuela on a contract building a huge hotel. Has anyone been a victim of this guy. He says his nationality is Irish- Jewish but has a heavy accent of a Nigerian. What a scum bug!! How do you catch this person? I

I got scammed and mentally abused by a scammer who tricked me into sending him money repeatedly. His name is Jeremy. He would tell me how much he loves me and that I’m the love of his life. He would beg me to send compromising pics of myself and would tell me how much he loves me within the first week. He sounded believable. Months later still texting back and forth and doesn’t even ask to meet up. He asks me for money on several occasions. One excuse after the other. Then I gave him over $2,000 which I seriously regret. I would catch him preying on many girls online and saying he loves them. It was confirmed that he would cheat on me after lying to me he loves me and is madly in love. He was living with his girlfriend the entire time while cheating on her with many girls preying on them on Instagram and Facebook. I dumped him and asked him to send me my money back. He wouldn’t apologize or even care what he did to me. Same day I would give him money he would cheat on me with girls on Facebook. He had no conscious whatsoever. After I confronted him about his ways he would block me and threaten me with photos if I tell anyone anything negative about him. He posted my pics and humiliated me online and tagged me in the photos not once but several times. If he feels I’ll tell anyone he will threaten and blackmail me with photos. I’ve been seriously degraded and scammed and I am having trouble getting over this awful experience. He violated my human rights and degraded me online. He is a predator and a scammer. Uses and abuses many girls online. Cheats 24/7 like it’s his full time job.

Has anyone been talking to a James Robinson or a Bradley Robinson in the Army as a captain? Has a daughter named Emily who is 8 and is being cared for by a nanny. Has a dog named Billy. Coming home back to Austin Texas in October. Will retire when he comes home. Sent me pictures of him working out. Blonde buzzed hair and thin on the top. Wants Google play cards to be able to talk on his PDA.

Yes. I have talk to some one name Bradley M. Robinson. Harry. Robinson. Brad robinson herny robinson
With a 9 year old nancy or Sara
At home with grandfather. But he in Lebanon. Or Afghan.

Yes i have spoken to him. no joke. then received an instagram from a different guy claiming to be James Robinson with the same dang pictures.

Has anyone on here heard of a Thomas Grant? He is currently working overseas. Pirates apparently attacked his ship and now he wants to send all of his prized possessions to the US to send to Australia which is where he is currently headed. My mom is talking to this gentleman and I'm wondering if anyone else has dealt with him.

Has anyone been scammed by a guy who says he is from CA & is in the precious stone(diamonds, etc) work, owns his own company.

Charles Luke Classified Gems, he is a huge scammer

I believe I have a family member who has fallen victim to this scam. But they will not listen to me that it is a scam. What can I do? Should I report it?

I would definitely report it on her behalf. She may believe you if you can show her proof that it’s fake. Try google reverse images and looking up documents and pics online.

I have been scammed by a “French gold trader” named Jean-Baptiste, who recently moved to the States, 7-years-old daughter, got divorced 7 months ago. Very very model like pictures and pictures with his daughter. Used mostly WU transactions, always almost dying and hungry.
Also, there is one who is trying to scam me David Colosimvc or David MCveigh, half Australian half American, mom has cancer, he is working for UN and do gold trading.

There is a scammer on the hangouts app claiming to be a young woman in the air force stationed in Abilene Texas, claiming her name is "Haynes Nancy Shaw." Who said she loved me and asked me to help her out by buying her supplies. I was actually kind of convinced until she sent me a picture in her uniform, and the name strip read "Haynes". Everyone knows that U.S. military uniforms display the last name, not the first. Anybody else ever run into this Haynes Shaw character?

I’m heartbroken and thanks to this site I realized I have been scammed. This has been going on since August 5th, 2018. He was perfect, chatted day and night , even put a picture of me on his Instagram. He is from Oklahoma but is doing a government assignment in Lagos . His frustration is that his payroll hasn’t hit his account. I told him numerous times that’s if he works for the United States they would never leave you hanging out there, he always had a lame response. I’m very hurt and lost about $3000. We talked about everything, he knew my friends names he seemed so interested in everything and was everything you want in a man. Oddest thing to me was that’s he knew a lot of the South, so I am perplexed as to where is scam comes from, I really believe he is a Caucasian American and I am not saying Because of his pictures. His name on Instagram is Jordan Mc_Nair, widow and father to a 5 yr old boy.

I need help has any one come across a us undercover army officer based in Nigeria who is currently injured by the name of Michael benedict

Has anyone come across a man called michael benedict he says he is a undercover officer serving in nigeria

I've been in a 'relationship' with this guy calling himself Jamie Smith and he's a 53 yr old senior engineer on a ship out of Belgium but he no longer feels safe. He said he wants to quit his contract and take early retirement, except it would cost him a lot of money. Shortly after that, there was a fire on the ship and he was even more scared, begged me to pay for a replacement engineer so he could leave. (I told him he's a coward) His company asked for 10k but I refused. So they asked for 5k and I was dumb enough to send it. Well, they ordered a helicopter to get him out without telling me I'd have to pay 15k for it. Again, I refused but finally they allowed me to pay 5k and the company would pay the rest. When the helicopter arrived they refused to take Jamie because there wasn't enough money, and they supposedly left without him, though he begged me continuously for 2 days to pay it. So he begged me to pay another 5k and he could leave by boat. I felt bad about the helicopter leaving without him so I paid it. Even though I didn't believe there had even been a helicopter. He really wants to come to Canada to marry me and make a new home and family for him, his daughter who is in boarding school in Poland, and my kids. His wife died 10 years ago of cancer and he hasn't had sex since. The boat was supposed to come today to take him away, and he promised to be in Canada tomorrow. I can't wait to meet him.

I met a guy on Facebook his name is John Williams. But he got hacked so he asked me to go to hangout. I'm trying to find out if he's a scammer because he says he works in the gulf of Mexico as engineering offshore oil well. And ask if I would get 100 dollar Google play cards and he would pay me back. So I'm trying to find out about him. Which I haven't sent nothing

I have a guy who asked me to go on hangout. His name was tyler miller williams. He told me his superior had told him to get rid of his facebook as he was talking to me on it. So he nade a new one inder the name of eric dan (miller) but your story sounds similar to mine . Have you spoke with him on the phone he calls me daily .

I'd say scammer... I've been chatting the last couple of days with a guy named Frank Olsen. This guy has no online foot print. Low and behold he's an engineer just arrived on an oil rig today. No cell service so he can't call his girls, single dad, etc. I refused to buy him any iTunes cards...

Has anyone come across a man called michael benedict he says he is a undercover officer serving in nigeria

Had so called Solider on POF and he wanted money to get home from Syria his name was Kenneth Begley. Beware, luckily I didn't fall for it, so I deleted and blocked him on Gmail.

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