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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 wish there was a way to post pictures on this, I think we are all falling for the same "man".

I been chatting with this guy on Hangouts he said his name is Chris Brooks he said he's from Madison,Wisconsin,He said he was 57 years old,He told me he works in the oilfield I don't know where..He said right now he's working the oilfield/right..I do have a picture that he sent me it's of him..I met him on Tango...We are just friends

It seems they like hangouts a lot....must not be as many controls on that ap.

I met him on Instagram also he said he was a staff staff sergeant and been in the US Marines for 10 years is currently in Iraq Wilson McDaniel

My neighbor is a widow and I believe she is being scammed from a guy on a dating site. Anyone know of a Richard Marc Tedson owns an oil rigging company. Retiring and lives in Lake Villa but was born in Australia? Has a daughter Mia?

I had a persons that said they were the dad of a girl who was now in the hospital and I owe them medical bill money or they were reporting me to the police though I searched there phone area codes and they were different and a police officer friend of mine told me they were a scheme and not two weeks later the same thing happened to a friend of mine they acted like a dad two saying they wanted my side of the story while still Threatening and acting concerned about the person but looking back there language was that of a professional and when I found out the account did the same thing to my friend I was sure I immediately reported them on the app and deleted all dating apps. This is something that needs to be regulated I was terrified that I could have hurt someone but than I calmed down and realized it was a scam I believe that these apps need to be held responsible for scammers they seem to be getting a lot better at manipulating people they also like to say that they are not what there profile said and that is a red flag for me they said they were from South Carolina on there profile told me they were in Baltimore I also learned the app keeps your location But then the phone numbers didn’t match up with either of the places or each other the fakes need to stop I just wanna warn others and definitely don’t send money that is what I was told the irony is they said they talked to the police but also kept saying they were gonna contact the police and even though I did nothing wrong that’s still a scary thought and makes u go into panic mode I think that’s how these scammers work they scare u to make you not think straight I am just glad I hesitated but seriously there needs to be a way to track these people down this quarantine seems to be making things worse and though it is necessary there needs to be more internet regulating

Has anyone had any contact with a Austin Richmond claims he's from California city California in the army and overseas he never told,me where he was at met on fb talked a couple months and one day got a message off messenger from his page saying that his page has been hacked and supposedly it was the hacker who messaged me well we moved to email and talked that way he did ask for money but I never sent it to him always for leave or phone card to call me never would send me a pic of him the ones he sent was always old ones off his phone he claimed just wanted to know if he was a scammer or what i ain't talked to him in almost a year just lost contact with him of course he was very handsome no kids never been married parents dead and had one brother that he didn't talk to told me he wanted to get to know me better about a week after we started talking and about a month to tell me he was falling for me when i told him that I couldn't send him money cause I didn't have it he never did what u say get mad then he wouldn't ask for a while then he would ask again then the last couple of months we talked he didn't ask for money no more

There is a scammer on Tinder named Steve claiming to be a pilot for Emirates. Beware ladies. I caught him when he never could videochat or talk on phone.

I met someone who message me on facebook asking me to be friends and he said my smile attracted him. samun started messaging me everyday and offer me to go to all my favorite places. I was cautious but he always say he is very lonely man and one day he told me his mother needed money to have surgery. I gave him a lot of money. Then end of the year he was crying to me because he said he have to stop going to university. I helped him again because he promised to support me after graduation. But when my brother found out more about him, he disappeared. My brother think he has does this to others as he was illegal in Uk. We tried to find him but he changed number and must have shifted. Please everybody stay away from this horrible man.

Someone named Bill Benjamin and I can’t even find that if some called US FAST INVESTMENT thing and I can’t tell if it’s a scam or not and tells me about my bank information and everything and wants to give me $100,000 and everything,can someone help me plz I already got the phone number of that person

Gomez, Praise a Marine in Special Forces in Afghanistan. 35 Years old. Any one being scammed by him? He claims that both parents died when he was 15 years old, was raised by his mom's brother in Texas who was a Priest in the Military. His fiancé died of cancer and his son died at birth.
He declared his love on the first day, his loyalty on the second. He is often asking money in form of gifts cards to be sent to his Commanders wife Tiffany Gold. He claims his birthday is April 13, 1985. His birthday is coming up.
He says he is a Marine and speaks very sincerely about his love and faith in God which makes this deception all the more cruel. He often prays over me and my family. He has contacted my mother and speaks with her. Also, he has his "friend" contact me as well.
I feel this is a total scam!!! God help me! The pictures of Gomez he has sent me of the service man are spectacular. So gorgeous. Please watch out for this guy!
Also, he has an African accent.
Any advise?

Someone name Richard Williams is trying to move very fast with after conversing with him on Tinder.
He immediately asked for my email address since he was about to go to Dubai for a contract job.
After responding to his emails, he’s excited about meeting me. He also sent his favorite Bible verses.
Also, he’s from Houston but raised in Germany. Anyone knows him?

A guy named Richard Williams sent me a friend request on Instagram. He said he was an Orthopedic Surgeon from Dortmund, Germany. He asked me to move to Hangouts as it would be easier to communicate. He also said he had lost his wife and son in a car accident 5 years ago. His only family was his 14 year old daughter Ella. Different things he said just didn’t sound right to me so I started searching him up. Of course there was no doctor under that name in Dortmund and the pictures he was using were of a Turkish handsome doctor, stolen from his Instagram account. I reported him and blocked him on Instagram... By the way, stolen photos and fake Instagram accounts are very common. Beware!

I sign up wt Expat/Internation, this dude sent me twinkle, I reply to his twinkle, next he send me a message to become his friendn this happen on February 11 untill now, this person gave me his name and ask me to move over to "hangout. I did so, his name he gave me is Harry Andersen, age 60, said his wife pass away with cancer for 6 years now, he has 2 kids, he said he is an Enginear work out in the Gulf of Mexico, Rigs worker, next he gane my confident and ask me if I could send him$4.500 to buy electric jackets for he and his men, cause he's having problem with his offshore banking, I played the game cause I heard about them. When I told him that I have no money he called; my surprise his voice gave him away voice sounded like a Nigerian very persistant. He even send me pictures of this lovely handsome man. Somebody need to stop these people from trying to use photos of people in order to do their scmming.

I have a similar case guys name Bernard Andre Kruger, stuck in spain with out money needs urgently. Hss a daughter staying in USA with aunt anyone heard somethink like this. A engineer work in scotland now stuck in spain and needs to get to South Africa. Have pictures

A month ago I met a US soldier he told me he was Cabul afeganisthan the first two weeks were amazing he wrote so many beautiful things, we use to send pictures of each other , but I've noticed the pictures were not taken at the moment I ask him why, he said he had army rules.. My nightmare started when he gave me his bank details and told me that I needed to transfer money for his leave, so I did I did not mind because was his money well so I thought. The next day he asked me to do a transaction to my account , I said no but he put so much pressure on me that I accepted but I was very afraid , I didn't put all the my bank details correct but it was approved and his bank winstrusth sent me an email saying that in order for the money to be deposited in my account I had to pay 5%fee because I did an international transaction and his account was pending due to that and he said he could not help me me do the payment because his account was pending I emailed the bank with the email address he gave it to me many time and the answer was the same that I had to pay the fee I did not had much money in my bank account I had to borrow from friends but wasn't enough I've done half of the payment and he promised me his friend was going to help but he lied I lost ten thousand dollars , I've cried so much , I was so naive, I was fragile because my marriage wasn't well he made so many promises , but I know I lost my money I want to show his picture to the world but I don't know how , if I had money I would pay someone to help me find this horrible man .. Looking back there were many loose ends , I don't want this happening to any woman on the planet, because I just cry every day. Thank you

It kills me that all we’re looking for is love and that someone feels the need to take advantage of that for their own gain. Handsome man in his 40s on a peacekeeping mission overseas. Doctor says his name is Matteo. His photos he is fair skin green eyes tattoos on left arm. All photos are of him including passport. He asked for money twice in which I had to decline. Third time he asked if I would except money From his ex-wife to help him get out of there. I had to decline. He’s stop texting but occasionally sends a message. I’ve spoken to him on the phone and more recently he is offering to video chat however says I need to provide personal details before he can which obviously red flag means I will not. Has Anyone else had a similar story? I wish we can upload photos here. Maybe we can work together to track down the people in the photos so they are aware someone is using their identity. But then again I thought, this person says he can prove he is who he is. What if the person in the photos is the person you’re talking to, however the stories are not real and the photos are faked. They can prove who they are physically anytime and we wouldn’t be able to find information on them elsewhere but they’ll still be trying to get your money.

Does anyone know a man named Brian Jeti? Supposedly from CA but now working in Zurich as a supplier of construction equipment? I'd love to hear if anyone has had contact with him or been scammed. Met of POF. Thank you!

Just recently, yes, I logged onto PC and blocked them the other day. I won't communicate with anyone on that site long distance anymore, and wants to go right to texting and emails/phone calls & refuses to meet in person or send pictures. Tons of scammers on POF.

So here we go I was recently talking to an oil rig guy who promised me the world said he wanted me to start looking for a home and wanted to marry me after he retired from his last contract from the rig in Scotland. Anyway he said all the right thg things but would get upset if he wasnt able to contact me. So about 2 weeks into his contract he claims he needed to update files on his computer or he would loose his contract. Even took a blood oath to show his love. When I refused to send money he stopped talking to me then a friend request came through a couple weeks ago a man named Michael Christopher guess what same pictures as George Miller be careful out there.

recently went through this on instagram, she got my bank account info off of me, which was my fault, and she deposited 10,000 dollars from a stolen work check. It turns out that the check was fraudulent and bow my account is suspended for four days until the check is returned . Why do banks not report this stuff to the proper authorities when it happens. Yes she promised all of this stuff and i fell for it

This person has gotten my pension money 80,000 I cannot retire now

My mom has been scammed out of over $75,000 in the last year from a guy she met on an online dating site. He goes by the name of James Morgan. He says he’s from California & claims he’s a jewelry maker. He has scammed her by claiming he has this gold he needs to get home. Anyways after the first scam I told her she was being scammed. She swore she’d never have contact again. Well she has continued to have contact. This week HE had her send money to “global shipping freight” to have HER gold released. Now the gold is supposedly in her name. I swear. She’s 70 & vulnerable. I wish there was a way to get this guy!!

Yep was doing this in Europe trying to retrieve n wanted money. Same name sent passport and this was a year ago! Same name from las vegas and is a total scammer!!!!

Is there any rules about a pilot you want to date, chatting to you on the app WhatsApp?

I met a guy in Tinder by the name of David, he pretended he was part of the army, i was not showing much interest at him, it seems like he didn't mind that after 4 days him telling me how beautiful i was and how much he wished to come down to Canada, i noticed something fishy about him, Sunday after all he dropped the bomb that he was really sad bz his mother was diagnosed with cancer and asking me for 2500 dolars, rushing me to wire the money through different apps, he used the name David Protor. Pls be careful, he is using pictures too

I have been talking to someone for over a 1 year now and her name is Taylor lily Williams and from all the research I've been look at this it's the biggest scam I have heard of. Because I have been stupid and have sent card's and my banking information and have had to change my bank accounts multiple times I am truly a victim of this scam. They will tell you a truly sobbing story about a family member that has passed away and they are all by their selves now and this world abd need your help. They may have kids and no other spouse in there lifes unfortunate accident. But a sick grandma or grandpa to take care of there kid or kids well they are away. And they will tell you that they will pay you back in double or make your dream's come true. You can do what ever you want just as soon as they get home and you pay a tag leave fee that can be up to $5000. US Payment to just to get home from where wherever it is that they claim they are. If they will even tell you. I have spent over 10000dollars Canadian because this person keeps on saying that the plane has been delayed. And that the plane will be coming in a couple of days don't worry. I'm coming home soon. Just so you fork more money out.

hi.i got scammed.i dnt normally fall for such things.i was in a very dark place in my life.i was in instagram one evening deleting all the follow request.till this day I dnt know how I managed to press accept.the man goes by the name DAVID WALLACE.he told me he was a special operation soldier and is currently deployed in Syria.this ordeal went on for 16months.he told me his girlfriend had died of cancer.that his sister looks after his boy the months went on.he told me he son was really poor and needs medical attention.i started to send money.he knew I cudnt have children.he knew I had just lost my father he knew my gad list my nephew at such a young age.yet this evil man.pulked at my heart strings.making me believe that soon as he is home.wer gonna be a family the 3 of us.he he would send me quotes.he would put pics of me him and his son on his own instagram page.he epidurals beg for money to be sent via bitcoin a fool I did.i picked up loans from he said he had dropped his rifle and it has to be replaced.any as time went on.the day he was flying back to the states.he told me he got shot in the arm.few days had passed I never herd from him.someone rang my fone and claim to be abdul in turkey airport that David has been arrested as he was carrying MORPHINE.something started to tell me.thus is not right.i got in touch with the embassy who told soldier or civilian has been arrested.that I have been heart sunk.the scammer try to rectify it all.he had sent me voice notes. one evening the scammer called my horror he was an African or Nigerian.after a lot of pleading with him.he gave me the real soldiers real name.the scammer told me that he knew the soldier personally and knew evesbout him ,as I dnt do any other social networking.i had to register on FB .i found him.i message the real soldier to reach out to me.not that I wanted any money off him or expected him to pay.i just wanted to warn him.but the soldier reported me and blocked now I wonder if the soldier knew of what was going on .i do anything to get hold of the real soldier.

sorry I forgot to ment he said his sister lived in New Hampshire us that he was from Indiana us .im just sicken by all this if some can help please.the real soldier is a national gaurd

Has anyone come across sarah yattran she says she's part of a peace keeping force in Afghanistan. Says she wants to get out, asking for I phone cards, wants you to pay for her to go back to the states because the army won't let her go and that's how it works.

Hi, is there a way to know who really owns the picture that was sent to me? i tried google image and other online image search but i can’t find that person.

Did you see if they would send another? I snipped a few different ones, did reverse searches on GOOGLE, and got quite a few hits on the fake pictures from like Instagram and lots of other sites.

He says in they army an he need to get his suitcase home and he needs my help to get it home to Altanta

I ran into a guy who name is william roger he wanted me to buy bitcoin to bring him home he send me a email address to buy it

To all ladies and men on this site: You already at the least suspect your online love interest is a scammer since you are on this site. I was taken in by sweet words and professions of forever love. I was lucky as I never gave money or gift cards. Texted for many months before he asked me to send him a gift card to pay his phone bill so we could continue talking. These scammers are very good and well rehearsed. A couple times I got red flags but they were not enough to make me block him. We want so badly that we talk ourselves out of believing they are not scammers. When I questioned him about being a scammer he called me with a video of him having a conversation and he was the same man in the photos he sent. I was going to try to send a gift card when I decided to research him some more. Found his photo on a website that had photos of scammers and he was using a different name. I am lucky as I lost no money. I called and reported this to my bank and FBI. This all occurred today and he doesn't know that I know. Ladies please trust your best judgement and when it might seem like something isn't right know that is not right. And forgive yourselves for falling for them. You are not stupid and these scammers are good at what they do. Never send an online friend money or gift cards.

Has anyone came in contact with a man named Mark Ethan? He claimed to be a single father of 2 girls.. and works on a ship carnival cruse.. that he is currently working on now.. his girls are in a boarding school in Turkey.. says his parents are deceased. And was raised in Australia..he is a great talker calls me Queen, goddess, says he so in love with me.. but today asked for money.. that he needed it for his girls that ran out of resources?? And can’t get money too theM from the ship... I feel in my heart this is a scam..

has anyone heard of Steven lowerly. Bad British accent, has a son in boarding school in England and is a widower

Does anyone know the guy who goes by the name Sandro Romagnoli born in Italy, who works in British Petroleum UK as an engineer. He said he have a daughter named Sonia who stay with his mom in Australia. His wife died in a car accident 4 years ago.. He also sent me his pictures he's a handsome guy who doesnt grow hair and beards... He never asked for money.... Help

Similar story. A man contacted me on Facebook this morning who called himself Alexander Clements, said he is an orthopaedic surgeon in France, widower with a son. I asked why he reached out Since i did not know him. Said he saw my profile on FB and wanted to learn more about me. I tried to be courteous but told him that i would remove him from my friends list out of caution since i did not know him and wished him well. We exchanged a handful of messages (mostly me asking questions to figure out why he was trying to connect with me. It felt off. After I ended the conversation, he persisted in asking if we could still be friends, and I blocked him all together. Took me five minutes to find this thread after trying to hunt down if this was a fisching scam. Life has taught me that if it doesn't add up and your gut is telling you something is off, trust those instincts. I'm happily married but love learning about other countries and nationalities. That is the only reason he made it past my first question. Be careful all!

Has anyone been scammed by a man named Mark Ethan? I’m pretty sure he is playing me.. met on WWF.. convinced me to talk to him on hangouts. Said he was a electrical engineer that has worked for carnival cruise for the past 20 years. He is currently offshore on contract and has 2 twin girls age 11 in a boarding school in Turkey. He is incredibly charming.. calling me his queen, goddess...and so on. Has even had his daughters email me.. and had sent me multiple pictures.. he’s very good looking.. He asked me to send money due his daughters running out of resources at school and can’t send money.. for some stupid reason.. I have not and never would send money..I’m so disappointed he seemed so amazing.. has anyone ran into a similar situation.. I wanna be wrong.. but my gut is telling me to run fast.

BEWARE of STAHL BURNETTE on Plenty Of Fish, total scammer. I reverse searched his photos he finally sent, along with phony passport, and found these pictures being used all over. Also, I found no information on him when doing Identity searches. Claims born in YUKON, OK, supposedly living in Melbourne, FL. I found nothing on this either. Supposedly, family got killed in a car crash in Canada, and only child, and father recently passed in Florida. Owns OIL PALM Plantation in Malaysia, etc. on and on fake garbage, wanted $65,000 to bail them out or would lose all money stuck into his harvest, due to COVID-19 virus and not being able to get loans anywhere. Please be careful everyone. If they don't want to call you, have multiple reasons why they can't provide info like pictures, address, business, probably are scammers and once they rope you in with all the nice compliments and poems, every morning, will come up with some tragedy or emergency and request for money. They'll eventually hound you daily. Just block them, it's not worth the heartache. Make sure you meet folks in person and at a safe place.

I had the same experience a month ago. He sent me DM on IG, well since I was trying to break the routine from work I engaged myself in a conversation with him, he asked lots of question mostly personal, though I answered them all but I did not gave him full disclosure of the things he wanted to know. It’s all a one word answer to his queries , 3 days after he asked to converse with hang outs, there he senta pictures before he goes to work and after work he sent me messages. For a woman, I find it interesting. On the 4th day of our exchanged conversation he start processing his love. I have trust issues so I did not believe him, on the 5th day he told me that he has an inheritance that he can’t get without a partner so his looking for someone to partner with in able for him to have his inheritance, he said he wanted to put up a football academy or a foundation in my country (Philippines), and I told him if he wanted to do that he should come to my country in able to materialized his plan and have a meeting with me, that’s when he started feeling agitated and somewhat irked him and later on blocked me. He goes by the name of Markyryan26 on IG, a three stripes pilot In American Airline. He lives in Philadelphia. I can send you his photo if you need it.

Hi, im from Asia, i think im scamming by a man from US, fist time he chat me on IG, and now we chat by Google hangout. He said he's work in oil rig, his wife died when birth the son. And his son was live with her aunty, her mom was already passed away and i dont what happend with his dad. First time i know that he go to Germany, and than he got a news that his son was in hospital, he asked me money to him for the hospital, because his bank account was closed and i dont know why, but i dont send it. He angry and than he back to me again. And than theres a project, but something bad happend to his company so he got jailed, and after a few month he back to chat me. And one day he asked me to assist him to buy steam card bout 100US for opening his bank account. Well... than i give him.. After a long time.. he promises me bout future,married, and many.. i feel like ok.. his fine..but the last.. he tell me bout how to make visa and he will help me make that visa but i have to send my money bout 1420US. I didnt do that . And he angry with me. For many ways he asked me to do that. But im still say no. Maybe he give up with that. Than he back to me with all romance story.. and the last.. he asked me again to give him steam card again. I think its enough for me to not trust him anymore. Do you think i do the right? And than he said hes in US .. well hallow i though he was in Thai, and now he said that he was in new york now. I check his IG account its blocked and try looking for his name in google i cant find it. I really want to stay away from him now.

This is my story...
I met this guy on Tinder in February this year. Physically speaking he was my type. We matched and start to write emails. He said he was from NY and oil engineer. Lost his dad, mom and wife. No child.
He fell in love with me and I fell in love with him too. He said he wants to meet me soon in my country and marry me.
Few weeks later, I got this mail from him saying he had to leave the States for 3 months for a contract in Australia and he will be visiting me in my country after he’s done with this contract.
He said he bought me things which will be delivered to me. Then he left to Australia and had arranged shipment of the package before he left.
The shipping company asked me to pay for some transit charges (ca 2000 usd). I told him I couldn’t pay for it. He gave me is online banking ID and I made the payment through his account. Few days later, another mail from the shipping company asking for custom clearance fees. The package was on hold in Turkey... and the customs scanned it and saw cash inside. Unfortunately transfer from his account was rejected. His account was locked by his bank.
He asked me to send an email to his bank on his behalf and as his wife asking for information. The bank replied that the account has been locked by the IMF because he didn’t renew his account ownership certificate. They sent attached a letter from the IMF asking to pay 3500 usd to renew the certificate and immediate unlock of the account.
I was so trustful that I made a loan to my bank and paid for it. But they were asking for 7000 usd afterwards as a remaining balance to unlock the account and to provide the 2 last documents to the IMF. I asked another loan to my bank and paid.
I fell hard with this man and didn’t see this coming at all. I was so stupid until today.
I made reversed image research previously on Google and didn’t find anything until today. One of the picture he sent me was photoshopped. He put his face on it.
All the pictures he sent me has been stolen and I have found the real person they are belonging to and this person has never been in touch with me. I am so sad and devastated because I fall in love for a man who doesn’t exist.
I have reported him this morning.

Panda do you have a name of this man you mentioned in your story?

Yes but will give you his initials: D S

Watch out for Benjamin Vittello

I am curious about one thing i had a chat on wechat with a girl claimed that she is in US army and through secret mission she has got 63 million dollar and she has no place to keep it and she wanted to send it through courrier but i dont ubderstand this thing first that how can anyone send money through courrier? And secondly the main thing is that how can this thing can lead to scam? Because she has not demanded anything and wanted to send the money through a locked box

Any one been scammed by steve Harris us army stationed in Afghanistan, just wondering

so my grandmother meet this guy on a dating site he says his name is doctor kevin williams and he is from syria. My grandmother and him are kinda in a relationship thing and he video calls her and texts her all the time . He has been asking her and hounding her about getting this 20 to 100 card from the store. I knew from there that my grandmother was being scammed . Also when he video chatted with her after i called him out for being a dcammer he turned his camera off so i wouldnt see him, but i seen him and have pictures of him. I tried to look him up and couldnt find any information about him or him being a doctor. Everyone needs to look out for peoplike this , this is so heartbreaking and messed up .


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