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

Is his last name Gonzalez? Is he a US Marine? Does he call you his queen?

My guy calls me his queen. Sounds Hispanic but says he’s Irish and Italian.

Me too. 50,000 over a year. I'm so lost and confused at my own actions. I believe I need a psychiatrist to see why I'm so soft hearted.

I am right there with you, mine is asking me to send him steam cards to help pay for groceries while he is overseas waiting for a contract to finish that will probably never finish because he's waiting for me to send him money which I won't send, I already tried to wire 10,000 but luckily the bank suspected fraud and stop the process ... he's still talking to me and we use Hangouts but that is the only form of communication, no phone number is given. Every morning he sends me a poem along with a picture of flowers and tell me how much I mean to him and I'm the only one besides his mom in his life and without me he would probably kill himself..... and absolutely tears me up inside because if it's real I would be devastated but in my mind I know that it's not real especially after reading all these stories... Stay strong women

My heart is racing reading these stories. I have a picture of a man I've been talking to Goes by Fred and Franklin. How can I share his picture.

These stories are true I'm a victim to please block them don't send no money or iTunes cards. These people are heartless will steal your heart it's real. I wish I would have know about this to read it please save ur self. Two months and I have took 2 payday loans to help and 1300 in cash

Was this Fred, a doctor in Iraq? The pictures of the man, that talk to me, was a Fred. He wanted to send me $2.85 million dollars. He said he’d be coming home in a week. I blocked him.

I met this guy said his name was dr. Henry somewhere in yemen. He needed iTunes cards and $7000 usd for his sons medical bills. I sent the card but not the $7000. Every morning he would send me song, poems, and pics of flowers. Said he wanted to marry me but I blocked this scammer. I feel silly because I sent him gift cards but thank God I stopped while I was ahead.

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

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

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

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

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

Hi did he go by the name johnson monland.

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

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

My mom has been talking to this "special forces chaplain" who is in a war time zone in Syria. I've told her to stop talking to him, but he says they're going to get married. He just started asking for iTunes cards. He goes by John Henry. Anyone dealing with the same guy? I'm trying to look out for her. Thanks!

My mom has been scammed for a year now. LARGE sums of money. I have contacted lawyers, her banks, her doctors, the local police. All tell me they can do nothing until she gives me power of attorney, which she refuses. What can families do to stop this scamming on elderly parents? Please help.

My mother is being scammed too. We have been slowly gathering details as her lies are monumental in protecting and covering this imposter. He has managed to get her to leave my dad, move away from her entire family, steal from my parents retirement and I can only assume wire at the very least over 15k. We are trying so hard to help her but she is brainwashed. She is literally trying to burn her bridges with each of us and I know it’s because of him! I have an address in Nigeria that her bank gave me when she tried to send money from there but no name, email or picture. She uses a translation app and WhatsApp to communicate. We think too she may have 2 phones. I BEG all of you to please reply if you think you can help. My mom will cause her and my dad to lose everything and my worst fear is it will literally break my dad’s heart (he has a heart condition) when we tell him. He just thinks he failed my mom so she left him. We know we have to tell him but it will indeed break him. My siblings and I are taking care of him every day. Any detail and ALL advice welcome!!!

Your story sounds familiar last name bell?

Sounds all too familiar, wants me to send money to the UN so he can take a vacation from the War Zone in Khalil, Afghanistan to come home to the US to marry me!
The other guy I suspect got thrown out of his hotel room in Yangshou, China this morning, his time because I couldn’t send home $700, we only owe them $1900 and he can come home and marry me!

Hotels don’t hold you hostage if you owe them money. This guy is scamming you. Plus, he is probably scamming more women than just you.

Is he from Instagram? Rob by name?

Hey. I've been talking to a Rob. Is yours a red head or red beard?

This sounds similar to the guy I've been talking to he says he's in the U.S. army stationed in iraq.his wife cheated on him he has a 1t yr old adopted son in boarding school.He originally sent me a Facebook request which I accepted and within a week was telling me he loved me and wanted to but a house together.not long after he got me to switch to hangouts to talk to him.Three weeks in he says he dropped his phone & broke it & wanted to know if I could get him an iPhone 6s.which I told him no to because I don't have the money.He claims he had to borrow a friends phone to talk to me.He never called me because he claimed the phone lines were terrible there due to the rebels attacks.He had in the beginning sent me 2 pics that were older plus a pic I got from his fb request.He never would send any others even though I asked repeatedly ..claiming his friends phone didn't have a working camera.ok! The pics I did get were of a white male dark hair wearing a shirt that says good story babe now make me a sandwhich he's in shorts that say army on them with a background which looks like a military environment.Then he sent a pic of himself supposedly... squatting with some dogs around him and he's petting them ..he's got a beard & a hat on and there's a military looking building behind him.The Facebook pic is of him sitting on a bench in a room with a black fitted knit hat on sunglasses on his head he's got a gun in a holster at his side ..a polo type short sleeved shirt & part of a tattoo showing on his super arm the rest of tattoo is hidden by the sleeve.he says his name is Goodman graves he's 46.Does any of this sound familiar.do the pics sound like the ones you got?

Tamb51.....
Do you happen to have a photo of this guy, sounds similar to who I'm chatting with now.

What is a Bitcoin a friend as me to use that to get money fast to pay his worker? so he can get this project done

I’ve been dealing with a guy named Ben Alex Great. He works for a Bitcoin company called Gennius Mining Bitcoin company. I believe I was scammed for $4000.00. He found me on Instagram. I would love to get feedback. He contacted me on January 24 of this year.

That's a huge sign of scammer. They try to say working n through past 9 yrs they say engineers n usually south Africa working. If anyone says too fast love you, your the one, asks for money, has a sudden emergency scammers

A mining engineer In South Africa claims to be widow for eighteen years. Name Elías. Anyone heard from him. He asked for bitcoin

Is this person in Germany?

Sounds quite familiar with what I’m dealing with. I met this guy who claim to be in the Army in Africa. He told me he loved me after one week. Then told me to chat on hangouts. We chat for two weeks nonstop. Then he said his son jas to go on a field trip and needs 700. I almost fell for this, but thianm God I followed my gut instinct. He said to send money to his aunt, name is Kimberly. When I ask to soeak to “Kim” first beforebI send her money, this guy claim that he cannot disclose family members info. I told him if I cannot talk to Kim, then i wont be sending out money.
Now he is ignoring me bc I wont send him money.
I also have friends in the military and they helped me with questions to ask this guy. I did that, and he was outraged!! Said I disrepected him.
Oh and I dont think he’s too smart bc the pictures he sends me says a diff last name on his army uniform.

I've seen pictures of a guy that friended me on Instagram that claimes to be in the Marines. The pictures in his acct. have a different last name than the name on the uniform.

Could u PLEASE tell me this guy's name. Omg.. Please.

Oh gosh, This has happen to me also which i loose $18,000,00 , me and this so called guy that act like a woman has been together for 3 years promising me to she is coming to me not until i came online and read more about scammers, because she always tells me not to go on internet but because i love her i obeyed what she told me.. May God keeps us away from them.

Sorry to say but he is bs those are pathical liar i been scamming with bar gold too with a man i fall in luvs in syria but he my race but they are using same technique to scamming good women god see wat they did turn them in if i were u

Rose2018.This guy sounds similar to the guy I'm talking to.Since we can't share pics on here can you discribe the pics he sent .Describe him and the background of the pics?

OMG @Rose2018: Your story just saved me. I've been chatting with a guy who called himself Tyler Badon for several weeks now. His story was almost identical to the one your guy gave you. The only major difference is that I am gay, so it was an ex-boyfriend who cheated on him and treated him so badly. And now he is in Afghanistan and lonely, without family, etc., etc. He first contacted me on Instagram and then moved our discussion to Google Hangouts. I got all the undying love crap. He even sent me a little video of himself working out at the gym. And I had the same experience with questions. He asked me a zillion questions about all sorts of nonsense. But when I asked him for details about his previous life in the states (or even his life in Afghanistan), he would just ignore them and disappear. Tonight, for the first time, he asked me if I could send him an iTunes gift card so that he could download music that reminded him of me for when he was lonely and bored. I had never done that before, and I was searching for advice on how to send a gift card on a chat platform when I stumbled upon your story.After reading it, I went back to the chat session we were having and I told him I needed to send the gift card by postal service. Of course, he would not give me his address. So I blocked him from Google communications services and Instagram. Ouf. I feel like such an idiot. But I am eternally grateful that you shared your story. You kept me from going down what might have been a very costly path. I wish there was some way we could warn others about these schmucks. Or, even better, get law enforcement involved and rounding up all the profiles until they capture the creeps. Anyway, thanks again for sharing your story. I'll try not to be so gullible next time.

Hey i think i might be in a scam donu have the istagran page of that guy?

I've been talking to this Tyler Badon for a few weeks now myself. Everything identical to what you have described. Yesterday is when he asked for an ITunes card which I did not send as it immediately seemed fishy. I'm proud of myself to see the red flags when I saw them but so embarrassed that I fell for everything else.

@MarkD,
I think I may be talking to the same guy! He followed me on Instagram and asked to chat in Google Hangouts! He hasn’t asked for any money yet, but he laid the same sad story about his ex cheating on him, along with his life in Portugal before coming to the states when his Dad died. He says that he is in the Army and stationed in Afghanstan.

This man keeps asking me every day send email so he can go on leave so be with his kids thinks going too marry him hell no everyday send message too me following me on Instagram said from start don’t give my money away he says just need help get out of army see his kids ask can ask anyone else he says your my queen say his wife died can’t see his kids email I will send where let him see his kids not send email he says don’t care I over it

This man asked me for money o blocked him then my Facebook page got hacked so I went back to hangouts to tell him off, he started out saying oh god honey iwould not do that, then he got mean, and said i know where you stay I got people watching you .i am going to kill you. You got 3 days to buy me a ITunes card or I am going to have you kill.and I am afraid because I don't know if he is telling the truth or a lie, but he is still on my pages

I was scammed out of icer$26K by Andre Chris claiming he was an Oil Rig Engineer! The Foe followed me on Instagram and later sent me a message he immediate asked me to communicate w him over Google Hangouts and then said that his exit papers for the oil rig along w money were in a parcel in Belgiumand he wanted me to be the heir to help him get his parcel - Andre Chris (He also goes by Andre Cristian) declared his love to me told me he wanted to marry him and I said yes! This scam of him forcing me in a nice way to send money via money gram, Western Union & also through my own bank wire transfer went on from Oct 2017- Oct 2018 u til I caught him lying to me by sending me a fake airline AA ticket to my hometown!! People pls flee from these types of scammers

The same thing happened to me the same story oil rig engineer Nelson Andre.Need money for shipment

I’m dealing with Andre Chris Robert right now. He says he is working on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and his account has been on hold while he is away. His life is a serious of calamities. First it was money for his sick son, then his phone needed updated so I sent iTunes cards, then his son was robbed and needed a new laptop to continue his schooling. I’m out &1400 with this guy. Now he wants me to accept a package with money and precious jewels inside. I have told him many times no he gets angry and calls me names. He has my old address, email and phone number. Now I’m getting messages from a commissioner of police in Ghana wanting my current address to send the package to. Should I block this guy?

Yes!! Block him, and delete him from any of your online accounts. You are what the operation calls "tagged for a fool" in other words, meaning once he's gotten all the money he can get out of you, he will pass your information & details of your personality on to the next scammer; who in turn will prey upon you also under a different fake profile. You were lucky to get out. My advice stay OUT! that police would not demand your new address for any pkg. It's just one of the operation working with him. Run and don't be like Lot's wife in the Bible-- DON'T LOOK BACK

Same guy, calls himself Justice Packer. Oil rig in Dublin. Same package dilivery request. Son in boarding in TX. Parents dead. Wife dead. He got mad at me cause I told him I sent his security problem to me detective nephew & Chgo cop brother. He blocked me on hang outs!

I hope you blocked him because all of it is lies. The Ghana police would tell you it is a scam even and not to send him anything. He is scamming you.

If I send my email to you can you send me a picture of this guy?I think he is scamming me as well.

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