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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

Hushedorchid, not heard from him for a few weeks. But he asked the same of me and for other things.

Yes I’ve heard of him did he ask you to send money through for his son?

Yes he did. He said he was on a contract job and his 12 year old son was in boarding school. He said his kid got “bullied” and he needed money to eat because the food the school provided him wasn’t enough.

Lostinlove, lilly....he’s back at it again. I noticed he hadn’t used his hangouts account for a while. He started using it again because he has a new profile picture on it. But I still can’t find him on IG. Most definitely he’s using the same pictures but with a different name.

I met a guy names Jackie Moe from Houston, TX claim to be an engineer working in Syria. He initially as for a gift card during Christmas to reload money on his phone. Last week, he.asked for $1000 to return back to the US. The claimed to be divorced with two kids. It's hard to believe how they emotionally lure you in.

My guys name Jeffery Watten, he messaged me on WWF 2. He said he was a contracted orthopedic surgeon living on the military base in Kabul, Afghanistan, but he lived in St. George Utah. He said he had a 13 son living with his grandparents beccause his divorced wife had died. Over the course of us talking he changed the spelling and ways he wrote his WWF profile name. He used Jeff W, Jef W, Jeffery Watten, And Jeffery Wat. So I knew something was up, but I played along anyway and had some fun with it along the way. He said they used public phones and signed into them at work. He sent me an email to get a private phone so I could talk to him even when he wasn't working. The email wasn't official at all and the broken English was comical. Although this was fun for me, be careful and don't ever talk to someone who cannot verify their identity.

as anyone come across someone call Craig Olsen he says he a surgeon and he in Germany he will ask for your bank info and amazons when you don't give him then he start swearing and call you all the names under the sun

I met catfisher Williams Wiltord David on catholicmatch.com. He claims to be an environmental engineer living in Milwaukee and has two kids in their twenties studying at Purdue.

His wife died of breast cancer ten years ago. In 24 hours, he went from saying that he wanted friendship first to saying that I was the one. Red flag right there. Then, on Christmas Eve morning, he sent me a video of the breakfast he was making for his son. On Christmas day he sent me the exact same video with the exact same email content, in which he mentions three bible verses and wants me to check them out, when I had already given him my opinion on those verses the day before.

Receiving the same email twice was a huge red flag. No wonder why the emails he sent me would only mention my name at the very beginning of the content. In the rest of each email, he would refer to me as "my dear." He probably copies and pastes the text to send to several victims.

I told him he accidentally sent me the same email twice, just to make sure it wasn’t an honest mistake. When he wrote back, his writing style was different and he did not respond about the duplicate email he sent. I have a feeling that the catfisher is not one person but a team and that the pictures he sent me are of a man who was catfished by these same people.

Oh, and the scammer kept insisting I send him my phone number, but I did not. I told him to send me his, and that is when he stopped writing.

Does anyone know a dan Philip's on a oil rig in Puerto Rico's now or a james cook in turkey

Has anyone ever been scammed by a man named saying his name is Martins John? Claiming to be Italian & working in Dubai? Says he has a daughter in the US?

My friend was scammed by a James Ben Scott on plenty of fish. Claimed to be a contractor working in London. he had the sweet talker thing down and eventually said he needed apple cards to complete his work assignment. Unfortunately my friend was scammed out of $1,000 in apple cards. She went back the next day to get some more because apparently that wasn't enough but the manager at the Apple Store denied her purchase and told her about girls being scammed. I'm so glad he denied the purchase and put seeds of doubt in her mind over this. When confronted, he back peddled, then said he'd kill himself, blah blah blah, and then tried to money again. People are ridiculous. Be safe out there folks.

This sounds like the guy I met named Jackie Moe. I also wanted $1000 iTunes and threatened to kill himself. I wish o could hois picture.

A military soldier wants me to use his email and password to set up account with Shorthop Bitcoin, it's only available in 6 or 7 states didn't do it want to find out more info

David o'brien (walsh, o'callaghan, o'Gorman, ) says he a contractor from FL. He is good at telling you exactly what you want to hear. The english accent, poor widower w/ small child, etc. Liar! Even had his "mum" call me, told me he was working in india and had his wallet & passport stolen. Promised to pay back everything. Businesses, ph # and pics all fake. Beware of this jerk!

Ladies all you have to do is google oil rig scammers and they pics of everyone you are talking about they have a section for military me too. Hope this helps you

I met a woman (?) on POF and she said she was buying Antiques and gems from Egypt. Turns out she scammed me out of thousands of dollars. I bought computers and sent to UAE ,wired money and gift cards. All was promised to repay (trust me to the end) was what she always said. Then after all the money end no response . DON'T trust pof!!!

Hi looking for some help.. been talking to a man for 2 years now.. goes by the name Harry Richardson says he’s from Seattle... is a lieutenant and is in Afghanistan... said he could access his cards etc over there. Then finally flying to see me he says but now he’s claiming to be held in turkey customs and is needing bailed out... said he has a lot of money on him and cause he has t declared it there holding him.. he’s needs 2000 pounds... just wondering if anyone has heard this name and story

I am so Heartbroken, I believed this man Tinder.His name is Michael Copeland & he wanted me to wire across WorldRemit. To another Person of the name of Terry Sande who lives in Kenya. He confessed his Love, we made Promises only to find it was all lies, Stupid Vunerable me gave my Bank Details . Now I am scared & heartbroken. I cant believe that i have been sucked in, like i did. I am so hurt by this as today, I also found out one of my mates just died from Cancer, so not good at all.

I have resisted several attempts at romance scams via Tinder but want to remind everyone that it might not just be requests for money but also identity theft so do not give out personal details, including your date of birth

James Rowland or James Row or Rowe it changes. Is using grindr to scam elderly gay men. Please be aware there is no real "Gold" he is shipping. He asks for money because he is an overseas doctor that cannot get into his accounts. AVOID him he is a scammer and took a family member already.

what do you mean took a family member already? what did he do?

Hello. Anyone got lovemessages from Max Taylor, Idaho Springs. US military in Afghanistan. Now it suddenly costs money to meet him in person. I'm sure it's scam!

My Mother has been getting scammed by a Miller Peterson for several years. I have found on the internet that he is a scammer and have been trying to educate her, but she won't talk about it. She has sent him money. Seriously, I would like to find that guy myself and report him. My Mother is turning 74 in April and thinks she getting married to a younger man who is successful. He's out of the country in Scotland, by the way, so he doesn't have access to his money. How convenient. I get so irritated and worried about her, but she is so emotionally involved that she won't listen. Not sure what I can do.

I’m having the same problem with my mom. Her actions have led to her and my father divorcing. My heart goes out to you. I want to find the men my mom talks and sends money to as well.

I am texting to a General we have been communicating for 6 years he tells me he has two names and one is General James Terry has anyone been in contact with him

Hi,
I was scammed by a man on Facebook who quickly moved to Hangouts. Said his name was Davidson Lee which became David Pour Anderson on Hangouts. Very similar background to what others have said. No parents, wife dead small boy back in Oregon being cared for by a nanny. Cost me $6000 in the end. Do not get into conversation with him.
Now on Tinder for one week and already my match is asking for an iTunes card. He’s a US General waiting to go on a peacekeeping’ mission to Yemen. Despite me telling him what happened before, he’s telling me I am his future wife and believes I will send him the card. His profile is that of a US Ambassodor. He is going to get nothing from me apart from being blocked and reported.

The guy I've been talking to for about 3 weeks goes by the name Rob Stanley. Claims he lives nearby but got called out of the country for work as a civil engineer doing an expansion on an oil refinery. Has an adult daughter who is sick and in the hospital but she too just got transferred to another hospital out of state when I offered to help her while he was out of the country. He sounds Hispanic, claims to be American and Moldovan. Love-bombed me - over the top and today asked me for an Iphone 11 Pro and an IPad Pro - uhm, nope. Met him on Match; claimed he closed his profile but I think he just blocked me so I couldn't report him. Glad I found out sooner rather than later. Be careful out there, ladies!

Hey guys. This girl has an obsession with me. Her name is Vida Amegbe and she found me in Facebook. We were talking for a Long time. She is from Ghana and told me a los of nice stories. I actually was not interested in a serious relationship. However, I did a mistake. She asked me for my Whatsapp phone number and I gave It to her with the Excuse of Someone hacking her Facebook account. At that moment, she was told me about her dreams and goals. She told me that in her country is hard to get a job and Colleges are expensive. She was pretending first to begin a relationship and I said no, let's be friends. Then, we begin having trouble because she did not ask for help to get a job or affording College. Just two Days ago, she asked me for money and I told her I cannot send it because I don't earn too much money. That is why I ask for some organization for help in those circumstances. In that moment she felt some nervous in her mails. I knew what was the real deal. I have sent a report to FTC and I had Block her phone. This girl have used today, again a new phone number asking me to talk and I have Block this new number. Is a very serious booth operator. I am thinking in change my cellphone with a new phone number.

Says he's from Switzerland widow . wife died in car accident 13 year old girl in boarding school Georgia. God fearing man
Sending me his contract money from Shell Exxon 2.5 million. But customs got it along with United Nations diplomat who was bringing it
To US airport in New York. Customs wanted fees over and over paid out wired close 200,000. My life is a mess still talking to him and still in love. Says sweetest words on earth. Anyone involved with
Alex Dominic? White man late 50's very attractive trimmed beard. I have many photos of him and his daughter

I was scammed by a person who used photos by Michael Rosenberger. I have seen in the comments that I am not alone and I am reporting everything to the Police but I need to know if Michael Rosenberger is extraneous to these scams or not.

I can’t believe I just fell for a scammer. I was at a vulnerable time in my life and fell for a fake USAF General through Facebook. I feel so stupid, but have learned a lot through this awful experience.

This just happened to my mom . His name is Benjamin Gray from Roosevelt Island NY. Went overseas to work. Met on plenty of fish. He was charming and sweet they went back and forth with texts and calls for serval weeks. Suppose to meet up in Miami Florida after he got home. Instead asked her to go to the Apple store to purchase laptops that he needed for work . When he asked her to use her credit card she realized it was a scam.

There has got to be a way to prosecute these people. And, for the people asking have you heard of so and so, they do not use the same names or pictures. This is unfortunately their "job". These are the lowest forms of criminals. It is easy to say "this would never happen to me." Yes, it can.

Hi, I just want to check if anyone ever talk to a guy name Morgan Mendenhall. He said he is a US marine, no wife just a child with someone. Half American-half Vietnamese. He said he cant show me pics cos he is on some duty but admit that the pic he used on Tinder is not his. I met him on Tinder, by the way. I asked him upfront if he is a scammer and showed him reasons why I say that. And he keeps denying. I told him if money that he wants, I have none so he might as well walk away but he insisted that he really likes me. However his English is quite good. Mostly grammatical and well- structured. Does anyone have idea if he real or fake?

I have the comments
My story is over a 2 year span, in 2018. I was contact by Facebook
His name is James Preston Casper or James Morison Casper. I doubt that either of these names are real. Texts were the first time he contacted he told me he was Trama and Othepetic surgeon in " Afghanistan Facebook page has been hacked " texting and then he called asked me first for $2,500. 00 euros. The reason for this was his son Wilson need the money to write an exam as he was going to school in Italy like asked for the of the school if need help lower would it to the school. NO NO put in bitcoin, is faster for me to get it to him. Then the son called crying on phone call me mum and he will make me proud. Lauren if you can send $1,500.00 it really could send. I called Police to my notes and recorded all the conversation text, phone, email l wanted no part of it. On January 14th, 2020 he contacted again this time it was different he professed his love wanted to spend his life with. Now l spoke to him on the phone, he was a widow, with 14 year son. We texted a bit each night asking questions. Sending me picture of himself. Over Christmas he was back in the states now know that Military l come from a Military family.
Then asked to buy him a gift card from Google, eBay, Amazon
Proceeds to tell that $ 50.00 is not much, l work had for my money. I ask him to call me on video chat that was yesterday. Have heard nothing. I told him talk to his CO. He got really pissy with me. He a most had me but the stories were not consistent.
So now he's gone ladies or men beware.
His profileyes Only child Both parents dead Single father
Widow Surgeon Born in Sweden Thick west African Accent
Very poor grammer

Has anyone been speaking with a man Richard Grey working on an oil rig in Netherlands. Needs itune cards to boost poor internet service. Fell in love after 3 days and now seems like a stalker. Warned of coming to my state and finding me because he is in love with me . Help!!!

We haven't been talking long. Met on POF. Now we chat on Hangouts. Tells me to never buy online and only order over phone or on store because internet is not safe; not even the government sites.
Sent me gifts and my children gifts,(very expensive).
He knows I have 5 kids and support a household of 10 and have no money. He sent me his bank account with a date/time stamp and balance. He's pretty loaded.
He was going to wire me money to pick his son up a google game card from CVS tonight. Then asked me to buy 3 but said if I could only get 1, that would be fine too. He'd mail me a check or money order tomorrow.
I called him out on his pics and he sent me his location. He was in VA, not MI like he said. We were supposed to meet that day but he never said a word. Got upset about trust because I was asking questions, then sent me flowers the next day to apologize?
He know this area well. Types and talks very educated. Can't find him on any reverse image search. He said he was a financial consultant and he doesn't want any money. Has a son moving in with him next month from CA.
Sent me family pics and a short video of him and his son. Speaks clear and precise English. Reads books, etc. He won't talk over the phone or video call though.
I am being cautious.
Does not talk sexual and is very very respectful. The card thing got me though but when I reminded him I didn't have any $ he didn't get upset. Just wants me to get better cuz I'm sick.
His name is John. I can't find him anywhere on the internet. I am praying he's legit! He tried to order him and us groceries today but couldn't get them to process his card over the phone because that's his rule and he's on crutches from hurting his foot.
But why no calls or video chats?

He is a scammer. They know exactly what to say. He will hurt you.

Any one ever dealt with a Nicholas Wayne? Claims to be a private contractor out of Troy NC currently working on a construction project in Turkey.

I’ve talked w him. He is a total scammer. Run and report him!

Got one she wouldn’t show pic on wwf wanted to go to hangouts to see her pic. Sent sad pics very blurry. Said from England named Sarah. Then she said had problems with daughter. Did like a 11 sec clip with a little girl and four shorter clips of her with make up. ask for money. Wouldn’t give her any still kept chatting. Sent smiling happy short clips with make up on. Just wondering if anyone else has chatted with same

Mark Denise ? Anyone herd of him

I saw his passport and also ask him to take a photo of his face holding a note saying my name he even sent me his location! But he is traveling to the UK for two months for work! Haven’t met in person and he said he can’t video chat now!

Has anyone heard from an Albert Anderson that is widowed with two daughters and from Norway?

I have been talking to a man named Brian Foster. Says he's an orthopedic surgeon from New York. Has a son who is 13 in boarding school in New Jersey, sons name is William. Parents died when he was young and his wife and daughter died in a car crash 3 years ago. Has anyone come across this?? His pics are bald with a salt and pepper goatee and glasses

Do you have pictures of Albert anderson

I have a friend who got on a dating app plenty of fish and instantly started chatting with. Jason Kyle James supposedly a Col in the army deployed in Afghanistan.

Late 50s salt pepper thin hair says he is a widow no kids no family .. has already told my friend he is looking for a long term relationship and is over the top sugary sweet Romantic saying how they are going to be together forever after he retires in May . Btw she is a widow her husband passed 2 years ago .

He emails and chats every day and she did send him a care package for Christmas but when he let her know it arrived at the address he gave her , he then said he was out on mission and the only way to get it to him was to pay 300$ which she instantly refused to do . Reading all these comments I
See the names James Kyle & Jason are common .. I am inclined to think he is a scammer.. tried to post pic but it won’t come thru

Definite scam. Don't send money.

I met a scammer on Tinder and he almost had me fooled but I knew the warning signs and too many inconsistencies. He goes by the name Toby Zahel and he has two facebook pages - one with about 7 photos all oddly posted on the same day and another FB page with two photos. He told me he was in the Marines, his fiancé and dad both died during their respective Army deployments and he just lost his best friend during a mission. He said he’s an American-born (NJ) Australian. Wanted to quit military after current deployment ends in January. Just told me he wouldn’t be home until February except that he would have to pay for ticket home himself and be reimbursed three months later. He wanted to start his own business and said he spent life savings on gems that got caught up in customs; lost his two credit cards during the mission where his friend died and wanted me to him him by sending his new credit card to him that I would have to go to pick up at bank because the bank refused to mail a new card to a war zone. He said he was stationed at Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX (except that no one calls it that - I am a native and everyone calls it Ft. Sam...and it’s an Army base so not sure why a Marine would be stationed here. He made a mention about being used to the cold because he was from Australia. Since when is Australia cold?! Be careful out there, ladies. The scammers are getting way more elaborate with their stories...

I’m glad I looked his name up in google and found your post on this before our conversations went further along and I’ve reported him on POF. Thank you!

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