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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

has anyone been contacted by a guy by the name of Oliver Hart. Says he is from England. His job keeps him over in England alot. He said he is divorced has a 6 year old son. He has an automobile shop.

Did anyone run into Olivia Ben, senior seargent u.s. Army, stationed in shindand air base Afghanistan ?
I don't find something via image search.

My girlfriend met "Mark Robinson" on an online game called "Words with Friends". Apparently at some point during their competition they deviated from the game and started to chat. It became a little more personal over time. She learned he was married and lost his wife in a motor accident seven years ago. He is finally ready to start dating again and hopes to meet someone. My friend is happily married so she referred him to me.
He came on to me like he was advertising for himself at one of those dating sites. I was uncomfortable with how quickly he took a liking to me. He sent pictures. He was a handsome white man, around 40 or 50. He has two very attractive children. A girl and boy both looked like they could be models. In one photo he is holding a large cup of Starbucks coffee. In another he was imitating the pose Barbara Striesdan was making on the black shirt he was wearing. There was also a picture of him in a vehicle and after we were chatting for a few days he sent some "selfies" . In one he was in his pajamas with a blue silky bathrobe. The top buttons of his PJs were open and his chest hair was showing. I thought for someone who was first starting to date again he was awful forward and seemed very experienced with talking about himself and knowing what pictures to send. From his discription, he was the perfect man. Possessed ALL the qualities a woman could possibly want !!! That is when I knew something was up. He fell in love too quickly. Started sending little pictures of flowers and hearts and used the words "honey, babe, sweetheart" to address me. He said he was a contractor working on an oil rig in Istanbul, Turkey. He was from Brussels Belgium but was raised and went to school in Houston, Texas. I asked if he had a southern or flemish accent. He said flemish. He never mentioned money or that he wanted anything other than a special woman in his life and he wanted to get married again. I played along while I tried to find the identity of the person he claimed to be. He was very smart and cunning. He may have become suspecious at one point because he cooled down a pit and started to ask me questions like what qualities I look for in a man. (Probably so he could use that info on other women.) However, he was convincing and there were times when we thought maybe he was real.
When I wouldn't "commit" to him, and needed more time to get to know him, his conversations became disjointed as if there was someone else taking over at times. The grammar deteriorated and the responses always kept coming back to what a beautiful, kind hearted, loving woman I was. How did he know that? I asked him what all did my friend tell him about me. His answer was accurate about what little she did say. He just knew who I was because I was taking the time to talk to him. He had answers for everything!
I eventually called him out. He acted hurt, surprised, and asked if it was really me on the other end of the phone. I finally said to him "HOW MUCH MONEY DO YOU WANT TO GIVE ME THE TRUE IDENTITY OF THE MAN IN THE PHOTOS YOU SENT". It took some coaxing and bluffing on my part until finally he showed himself and said " $600.00 in an iTune card will get you all the information you need". Now his english was perfect and grammar correct. He sounded rough and almost scary.
Of course he totally rejected my very low counter and he didn't use the sweet, mushy, romantic words he used before! The next evening, I got another text that was totally disjointed to where we left off. He said "Good Morning Sweetie" with a pretty picture. I told him he better coordinate with the other imposters. He wrote back "Okay".
I can see how someone who is hurting and vulnerable and looking for love could fall for this scam. He was cunning, attractive, convincing and said all the right things to play on your emotions. I just hope they don't have the ability to get my identity. This men are pros and very smart. I actually felt scared reading his harsh, ruthless words when he knew I was on to him.

Has anybody spoken with a Kelvin Miller?
Infantryman in afghanistan 37,has an 8 year old daughter,lives in beverly hills,from cleveland ohio..owns a road construction company grew up working on that with his single mom...dad died in military when he was 14.
He has beautiful blue eyes.,light brown hair MOS 0311?

Mark Williams also contacted me. instagram and then hangouts environment. His wife died of lung cancer and has a 4-year-old daughter. also sent pictures. Very little was said about himself. We communicated for a few days. Expressed great feelings. I realized this was wrong. Instagram usa1 3 _ mark williams

Has anyone heard of a gentleman name Ayine Samuel in Afghanistan..pls let me know. Sadie

I met this man named Brandon, I forgot his last name. I think he is a scammer because he refused to have a videocall amd ge got mad, lol. But he sent a photo of "him" and his "kids". He claimed he's a US navy. He suddenly told me that he has something to tell me and that he's deployed to CHAD. He said I might stop texting him now that he's gonna be deployed. I told him why would I stop? And then, here's his reply
"Some woman doesn’t like texting texting someone in deployment coz if the man Needs their help
They ain’t gonna render the help". my gut feeling tells me that he's a scammer. So I asked him
what kind of help would that be. I assumed it is financial. When I tried calling him, he threatened that he will sto talking to me (as if I care). I really wanted to find out his real identity. I hope I can post the pictures he sent me.

Met him on zoosk/IL. James bernard Williams from west palm beach, fl. Has the Florida ph#. Says he relocating to il once his coco bean plantation is up & running in Ecuador. He just asked me to send him $2400 because his bank acct is having problems.
He has a 3 yr old daughter named Jennifer. His wife died 3 yrs ago in car accident.
He has a strong accent. Broken English. Was born in Alabama but moved to Grenada. His mother is Hispanic and father is Irish American.
He's good looking. Talks sweet. Wins your heart and bam the scamming comes. We spoke on Skype & I saw him

I met him though Zoosk too. After talking for a couple of months he started asking for money. Didn’t get any money from me. I had a friend do a background check on him. Can’t even find him, so that’s not even his real name. Beware-dangerous for sure.

Met this guy on Facebook after chatting switched to hangouts .two weeks of texting started asking for money for minutes on phone .said he was a engineer on a oil rig in the UK. Then it was money for a vacation said his contract was not up all he could ask for was money though he could break me down. Finally he said he left the oil rig at airport said his passport had expired needed $1500 to get home said his home was in Texas. Have a daughter wife dead died in childbirth both parents dead. Then got another friends request had some of my family as friends of his my ex husband home town but a different name but he was in Ireland a engineer to almost the same profile thought he was a friend of my cousin one week asking for money just like the first one first one name James c McConville man was he a sweet talker second one name Charles bell but I think they was the same person if these names come up be careful .

Has someone experiences with a guy named Henderson Taylor? He contacted me a few weeks before. Thanks

I have been chatting with a young lady? named Nora who has professed her love for me. Each time I have set up a meet she comes up with most outlandish excuses to not meet. I have given small amounts of money but now says she has this inheritance that she can only access by a man that she says will take care of her. They “lawyer” she has managing wanted access to one of my credit cards accounts so they can put money into the account and then I can send to Nora. They even offered to pay my accounts off for access. Of course I did not do this but Nora is so believable. I know better then to do what they ask. Has anyone ever ran across Nora or this scam

Anyone heard from Chris Robert Huston Texas

It happens to the men too. One of them tried to add my Google account to their device. I also got 2 security codes I was supposed to enter. One lady needed $132 for bus fare but was short $50. The user kept getting mad because I wasn't trusting her. 2 sent me nude photos I did not ask for or want. Another 2 outright tried to solicit me on the site itself. I am so frustrated because I want to find love again after the passing of my wife. I am very lonely and also want female companionship. The last one to ask for money was supposed to be in South Africa and wanted $100 Amazon gift card and this came from a paid site. Most of the scammers seem to be on the free sites like Plenty of Fish.

I just met someone online his name is brain Matthew on ig, he said he is one of U.S army but right now he has duty on Afghanistan. He was so sweet and we speak for 2 weeks, and he said that he needed my help to receive some of his personal documents and box with gold bars. This is so scary, in my gut I feel like there is something wrong. How can someone just knew for 2 weeks and want to send a box with gold inside, this doesn't make sense to me until I googled and found this page. He kept asking my details like address and such but I refused. If anyone has an idea what to do, please let me know. Thank you

William Orozco or Edwards williams pretending to be military from Benin Nigeria

It is possible 2 person work out to scam me asking me money sending money to the bank account... For transaction...

On the 29th October 2019 I was introduced to an online dating called bumble and I met a guy by the name of Vega Benjamin. I’ve to say it all started with romance in a sense that Vega kept on telling me that he loves and of which I myself I’ve told him up to this day. He told me that he’s a geologist divorced and have a son Jake that’s leaving with ex. He said he will retire end of January 2020 because he has made lots of money. We carried on our love journey till he asked me to go look for a house and I said whose house he said ours. I said wow man you move very fast. I did go viewed the house and sent him the purchase to offer, well he had said that I can chose anything that I want. OTP were sent to him and he kept on saying that he’s having problems to get his money out because he’s is in iran and the Iranian monetary fund does not allow him to have access his money that’s in UK, so he suggested that I end an email to Butterfield Cooperative Bank giving them to open an account in my name with Vega’s permission of which was done. Well the account was opened and money was transferred into my Butterfield Bank. The problem started when I was asked to transfer money into my account of which I did and I did not know if it pounds or rands. Fortunately I did not transfer the whole amount that was in the Butterfield account. I chatted with Vega and told him how much I’ve transferred the problem is that they need COT cost of transfer R18,908 for them to process the transaction and I said no way Vega that I will not do and I refused because I received an email from Butterfield Bank stipulating that I must transfer the money into a South African bank account Capitec to Mrs M Minne. I refused and I told him that I’ve emailed Capitec fraud department and also alerted Bumble about him. Vega use to communicate with me on email, hangout and he once Skyped though it was not clear.

What if a soldier takes his German Shepherd dog on deployment as working dog went into combat got shot, him and dog, soldier is telling me military he has to pay for treatment for dog because he's his personal dog, is that true

Military soldier uses his personal dog in army, they were deployed got shot him and dog, military won't pay for dog to get treatment because he's soldier personal dog but he fight in deployment, want s me to send money , I did video chat once he's real

Dr wong samson. Have anyone heard of him?

I am worried about an acquaintance of mine. I'm sure she is being scammed but I don't know her well enough to tell her. She doesn't have any money and is on food stamps but I'm worried it may be money laundering or something. Scammer is "stuck in Africa" after visiting relatives. The scam is her father passed away and left her gold bullion. She is going to ship one brick to my friend so she can sell it and send $ to her in Africa. Is there anyway I can report this and stop it before it happens? I hardly know this lady but met her through a cat rescue friend and I don't think she would listen to me anyway.

My friend is being scammed by a guy online using names Russell yess or Russell Ironsides or Russell yess Ironsides he's being getting her money for over a year now sent her 2 engagement rings says he has a son and a nanny and lives in Pennsylvania and she won't listen to anyone about it

What about Lee Gate Plastic Surgeon from Houston, Chinese/Asian Male in his late 50's. He states he has a daughter, works in Houston but was transferred over seas to work on a mission. He asked for money to help him cover the expenses over Traverler's Insurance. Has several pictures of him, and communicates via email. Please help.

Thank you for this

Liz have you also been speaking to someone by the same name or story?

I have been talking with a guy Mateo Davis says he’s in Yemen in the navy and found gold bar he’s had it sent to me because there is no one he trusts now I’ve had an email from the delivery company asking for 3500USD and because I haven’t got it. He is now threatening to post pictures that I sent to him and destroy me. He also asks for google play card of 50 or 100 but I never sent any I only ever sent 2 x 10 play cards.

I’m chatting with a man who is a oil rig engineer in Turkey. Chatted for about one month then the chatting stopped. Started chatting and wanted $50,000 US dollars so he could send luggage to me . The $50,000 were clearance fees to be paid by me before the luggage could be shipped to my house in the US.

I have been talking to some one who had professed his love who was military... now a few months later.. he has asked for a lot of money he stated he has an inheritance put in my name. He states he needs the money for insurance on the money or it will be turned over to an agency that investigates money laundering .He is now telling me to watch out.. sounds very threatening. I sent one pic that I shouldn't have... I am concerned he will post it... help?

Any one heard of a chally David's??? Trying to help my mom

It is not just guys, have had two gals, if they are gals playing this same scam, get you from the site and in no time there profile is unavailable on the site, plus they seem to like going to work in Malaysia. Red flags fly for me very fast!!

Was contacted by Kelvin Rogers - a doctor in WHO- wife died - 2 daughters boarding School - Lots of writings in messenger. Sooo sympathic!!. I Night have fallen a loyale in love...he wanted me to help him - so i transferred money in western union bank..but it was never enough... Always problems.. when i didnt have more money, he first got angry - then cut me off...

My mum is currently being scammed by a man named Daniel Hook. Starting off with iTunes cards and now money transfers through western union. He has told her his daughter Frances Burke is in trouble and mum has wired through money to an account in New Jersey.
My mum believes this is all real. She has lost everything our family home, her marriage, every piece of jewellery she owned and even taking money off my elderly grandmother.

Please help me prove to her that this a scam. Any information is appreciated.

I have been talking to a very romantic guy. His name is Hammond Clark. he told me he loved me to quickly. He said his wife has been dead for 6yrs. He's a sub contractor in Dubai and in Scotland. Ask me for itunes card,pictures The pictures look like Anthony Durhman. The day before he was suppose to come to St. Louis and meet me. He needed $3000 for Taxes. They always make an excuse. I did not give it to him. Step by step he did exactly like a scammer would. Please don't accept him on hangouts His name again is Hammond Clark

I only chatted for a day to a guy who claimed he was a UK medic in Yemen, widower. Had millions in the bank, wanted to retire at 49 and buy a house in Ireland and marry me. Yeah right. Did reverse Google search and a black ladies name came up with scam alert warnings. He used training photos from an army manual. I mean please. Blocked him, before he could even got the chance to ask for money.

Look out and be aware for a GERHARD HUDSON and a CHRIS THOMAS.. stollen £10000’s

Gerhard Hudson, in what way. Have been talking to a Chris Thomas, how does he look.

Has anyone been speaking with a Luther Thomas in the Army?

Has anyone been scammed by someone named Richard Benson?

Has anyone been scammed by someone claiming to be overseas working installing new HVAC for a factory in Hidalgo, Mexico in which some equipment emergency arose and they need to borrow money until they return to the US?

Anyone scammed by someone claiming to be an HVAC installer on contract in Mexico?

Does anyone know a man named Simon Yudhy Alexander

He emailed me from British worldwide Customs. Needed $700 to receive a package.

What does it mean on dating site kim added to your contacts even though has not sent a message to me

So my dad starting talking to a woman who goes by Patricia Mafoah She is claiming she is from California but living in GHANA! Because her mom does missionary work over there. They met on plenty of fish. So I’ve looked the number up and its from bandwidth.com! So then I looked up the last name on Ancestery .com and it say there is no geographical disruption on that name!! He has been sending her money and helped her get a “visa” to come back to the U.S! Now why would she need a visa to come back to her homeland? I need more help. I have a picture of the “visa” he got her and went to know if it a fake! Please help!

My friend started talking to a girl name Laura Stefline George. Her Father just died and apparently she needed help getting her inheritance out of Egypt. They met through Facebook dating App. They don't video chat. She doesn't have a phone and no computer. He had sent her money for hotel accommodations and bank fees. Always in Steam Cards. She is supposed to be Irish/,phillipino. Apparently she is 37 no kids, no parents and is looking to deposit 7.5 million usd into his account .

Ladies beware of a guy name Mathis Heinz.
He lives in USA had a home in Germany and is working in Hong Kong as a Petroleum Engineer.
Very sweet man. Had me at hello! Parents both died within months of each other in 1982. About the same time he met his wife. She got sick. Lung cancer and wanted to come back to her home town. Saint Augustine Florida. She died 3 years ago. He emailed me long letters everyday for weeks. Then I got the money request for 35,000.
He sent me copies of his bank account in Germany showing his account had been blocked. He had a 1.8 million dollars in this account. Sent me copies of his passport. He had to leave Hong Kong to go to Germany in person to straighten out bank issues. He needed the 35,000 to pay employees to continue to dig for barrels of crude oil while he was gone. Thank God I did not send him the money. I almost did!!! He is really that good with his words. I am not a stupid women but he really pulled on my heart strings.
When I refused to send the money he would always turn it around and try to make me feel guilty for not trusting him after all we had shared together. I could not locate anything on the internet about him. Not even reverse pictures in google imaging. He gave me his home address. It was an apartment complex. He said he and the wife had only lived at this apartment for 3 years. No where else in the USA. I search the complex and called to verify information. They did not start renting apartments till September 2019.
You do the math. Lol
I knew for sure that he was a scammer right then and there. Deleted him immediately.
So please ladies be aware of this silver tongue man. He is very good at what he does.

I have a serious problem someone who is claiming to be a play girl who goes by the name Linda Roberts from Houston Texas and is asking me for vanilla gift card for payment method to travel I even have a picture of her her photo on hangouts app is blonde but I see red hair

Hello. I met a man named Anthony Blake online recently.
He was on the zoosk dating website. VERY smooth operator. Claimed to be a Portuguese civil engineer living in Beverly Hills, CA. Widower whose wife died from cancer with a daughter in college-Princeton. Claimed to be going to the Ukraine to bid on major contracting job. Of course when he got there, began to have issues with his U.S. bank account and asked me to send money which I DID NOT DO!
The day before he asked me, he actually sent me log in information to what looked like a real bank. The account showed there was over 3 million dollars in it. This was his bait. He used it to,try to convince me that he had the money and that he would pay me back-double if necessary.
I have been doing some research and Anthony Blake has been using this same scam for over 5 years. Buyer beware!

Hi..Anybody had a scammer by the name Arnis Florien. Approached
me on a dating site.Nov.15th 2019.he is a Marine engineer..Says he has 2 daughters in private school in Houston..2 yrs ago moved his business to Canada..selling rig parts. Recently went to Turkey..now asking for $3975.00 ..Bald ..nice looking..soft spoken..accent..broken english..from Lativia originally..no family..except the two daughters..widowed 4 yrs ago..I refused..and he said for love I should sacrifice the money..lol..
Finally today I blocked him on whatsapp..after 5 days of pestering and mad at me. I sure wish I could post pic..Wears suits..has sent me tons of pics..has a Instagram account..arnis_florientodd...but is it really him? Also..I ve tried to catch him on little things..he had dark hair on arms..yet I asked him to send me a pic of his dog lying on couch with him and the arm in pic had long straight blonde hair. This is what put my guard up. I told my girlfriend..we ll wait and see when he gets to Turkey if he asks for money..and sure enough..2nd day..So..Anyone else encounter this turkey in Turkey?

Has anyone heard of Lieutenant General David O Bryan (Army 30 yrs) stationed in Iraq? He sent me a pic of him and his son, 16. Said his wife and other two children died in a car accident a couple of years ago. Has anyone received pics from anyone? How have you found out if they are scammers if they haven't asked for money yet?

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