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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

I had a Derrik Mcveigh contact me thru Words.

How can we share pictures of this older man? He send me several. his 65. Older white hair. His voice is from a black dude. With elegant Dialect. But I have several he send me and I can’t find a thing online. Its there a section in the Consumer FTC.giv whether women can upload this pictures and we can search amount all this Scam Artist. Can anybone point me to a portal where I can search amoung scam man pictures?

I would also like to know if there is a website where you can scan names and photos.

Hi , I am presently chatting with someone ,good looking with his dog and said he is orthopendist surgeon doctor. I need your reply if it is the same guy we are talking please

They man I'm talking to says hes as orthopedic doctor . Goes by Jones Peterson. He said he lost both of his children in as car accident and then his wife divorced him just was asking for gift cards but no way did I send sny

Is he look like model..With pics of dog and cat

Sounds like Fred Maupin contacted me on Words with Friends claims to be Orthodepic Surgeon in US army based in Pakistan. Claims he's being posted to Afghanistan unless he puts in for special leave which will cost USD4,000-00. I've been stringing him along for 3 weeks now saying I'm trying to get it but also started asking questions about the military base which he can't answer

I had a guy trying to scam me that used a photo of him and a dog. He took photos of me and photoshopped him holding a picture with four photos of me in it. Very good! It was probably an award in a frame. He used the name Malcolm Merlyn and Malcolm S (strange name). He was supposed to be from Germany and was an engineer. I finally caught on but it was heartbreaking. He was supposed to currently living in Baton Rouge. I had the address he used as his work and when I Google Maps it, it was an empty field according to the satellite picture. I did actually talk to him on the phone and he should have had a strong big voice for a tall, fit man. He sounded like a weasel! Little tiny boy voice. I had another supposed to be an Army General in Afghanistan. His name was Eric Anthony and Rich Anthony and Eric Rich. Picture of him in uniform had the name blurred. Sent pics of his 14 year old daughter putting ornaments on the tree. Both guys profess their love. When I said no to both these guys they vanish or come back later. If their Facebook page has no posts or no friends or nothing about them they are not real! Be cautious and follow your gut and not your heart.
It's a horrible thing.

Kimmy

White headed with a chocolate lab. Claims his name is Christian R. Ackerman. Not a trace of him online and once I asked of a picture of his ID he disappeared. He is Australian according to him and we talked on the phone. Very strong accent.

Was he very muscular black t-shirt Gray hair sunglasses and a goatee Said he was in his 50s also in a picture with a dog
And he believes in god and asks if you’ve been to church.
An American but lived in Germany when he was young so has a German accent but muffled so difficult to understand and when you speak to him has a much younger voice if that makes sense! Says he is in U.N. & NATO us army

Sounds like mine. This scammer eventually admitted he had stolen someone's FB pictures. Had a story about a child who died in a car accident at age 19. His scammer name was Steve Van Der Beek, said he was Dutch and retired from being a chef on a cruise ship. MGD cruise line, something like that. Had a tatoo that said "I love you you" in script on his upper left chest. Some wild story about starting a Dutch restaurant in the US, and could I help with money? Ah, no.

Can you please send a picture I think the same guy is trying to scam me ,

Keith you have to think of it like this - you are a good person and she is not. Block her and save some heartache. There is someone good out there for you don’t be in rush she will come and she will be worth waiting for.

I am going thru this too right now. This is all so familiar. The widowed dad who works outside the states and their child is in a college overseas and they have no other way to get money. No other family or friends. Terrible grammar most of the time and other times perfect, like they copied and pasted something. I wish there was a place you could post their pictures for other people to see.

I've posted on this blog site a short time ago - your story sounds very similar to mine! Wish I could share the photo I have of him so we could see if he is scamming the both of us at the same time! He is VERY handsome, white hair, nicely kept beard, very muscular (photo only shows upper body and he is wearing an Abercrombie red short-sleeved t-shirt with a moose on the front of it. Says he is coming to see me soon.

Sounds like the one I had, Same story. Widow in Texas by the name of Tyler. Went overseas for a contract. Then needed money for taxes. I knew then he was a scammer. But played along. When I couldn’t get money , he became quite aggressive. So I gave it back to him . He didn’t like that. I then befriended all his friends on Instagram. And I warned them all he was a scammer and a liar. He had to shut down his profile. I know it won’t stop him. But I wasn’t going to make easy for him to try and scam others.

Jason Allen sought me out. I accepted a friend request on Facebook. Immediately he wanted me to open "Hangouts" and chat there. Supposed to be a surgeon working for the United Nations in Somalia. Loves me, wants to visit me, and even ask me to marry him. Now is asking for money for food. I asked if the UN had emergency fund. No. Am I being scammed?

Hi Jennifer
I was talking to a French surgeon in UN in Somalia Nathan Liuwis -. it actually took me over a week to realise... they are very clever at tricking you. Take care

You are surly scammed. Just this person made this story for me. He told he was a surgeon and originally from Italy his accent was similar to Italian people too. He was telling was in love with me and then wanted money for food and drugs. I searched and got there arent any people work this way for UN! He is a big scammer.

It so sad that how people can scam you especially when you are trying to find true love

Hey I think I have also been chatting with the same girl she is going by Amanda Rudolf we met on Facebook dating app with turned into Facebook messenger then WhatsApp after she stole my Facebook account and is now impersonating me and asking my friends for money using pics I sent of my credit cards..she claimed to be very religious and in the military/navy she also claimed to be a nurse 35 yrs old no kids father was supposedly a preacher in Cuba who recently passed and left her a bunch of money. I sent eBay cards she also stated she was trying to help me get into the Bitcoin business. She could never video or call me staying her camera and phone was faulty..she also sent packages to my house in someone else's and wanted me to send them to someone else which I was smart enough to send back to the post office..please don't fall for this person..does anyone else know how I can get this person to stop impersonating me with my Facebook account and how to regain control???

If someone took over your Facebook account, contact Facebook.

Don't feel bad, I thought myself of being smart too and pretty intuitive and got fooled also by how elaborated this scams are, I'm really amazed, this site helped me to see that, so I decided to share to help others too. I got contacted in a language exchange site, and the guy ask me also to use hangouts "soldier on a peacekeeping mission for the US in Sudan", named Clark Hartley after getting me in hangouts he deleted the language exchange app. Similar tragic story as the ones here, his wife died in a car accident 3 years ago, has a 6 year old kid, who is taken care by a nanny in Phoenix, dad also died the same year as wife curiously. Said couldn't call just chat since using a military configurated device for signals that only allows him to chat, and that he gets bored and lonely thats why he ask me for steam/ itunes card to download games and listen music, so luckily where I live they dont even sell those, and I told him so, he said if I couldn't get it was ok, but later on kept asking about the cards. Well, I ignored his request and he notice so, one day he asks if I could do something for him, if I went shopping anytime soon if I could make some shopping for him and send it to Sudan, (I'm like what?!) He told me he got supplies there, but he needed some few personal things, I asked to send me the money, list of things and adress and maybe I could DHL it (aint spending no money on a guy I dont even know), he later tells me he has no money with him, just his card but was afraid to do online transactions. I told him to buy his things online and I may have them fwd. Even tells me "so you're suggesting I pay the things with my card" . He ask me if I could help with the shopping, but if I couldnt if was ok, that he would figure it out how I may send him things. Here's where I got really suspicious, search for the pics he sent me and found two on random websites. So he is picking pics from websites, what surprised me was he had a really good english grammar, and really fluid sweet conversation, so girls be really careful, protect your hearts, search on google reverse image, ask for video calls, dont fall for this scam artist.

Has he ever sent you a picture in his military uniform? I’m so unsure of whether or not the guy I’ve been conversing with is telling the truth. Says he’s retired from the US military but had to travel to the UK to retrieve items. I keep trying catch him lying. I don’t military people without a bank account and bad credit. Not to mention supposedly a victim of bank fraud while he was completing his last tour in Afghanistan so he says.

He was on a site and did just what I’ve read moved the conversations to hangouts now before that it was text. It was my 1st time on a dating site and I should have did more homework. He is going by the name Steve Lovingood (should have known by the name). I have several pictures of him.

What name did he go bye

You know what's funny? I had an almost completely identical thing happen to me on grindr. Parallels like "peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan", tragic past story, deletes the app that he was originally using, and wants an iTunes gift cad.

Do you have picture of him it sound some to me that I’m talk to I got him $50 amazon card so his go online read his email and chat with me and also steam cards too I send the code through Messenger he says that Afghanistan for basic training the back home in Florida soon.. that we will FaceTime his tell me his love me his want be with me for rest my life and his went be get uncle iPhone XR because his uncle car was stolen with phone in so his can’t get whole of his uncle or talk his 6 year son can send picture I’ll give my email address send to me I want see the same guy his say his 39 his parent dies in car accident 25 years. I told him his better be truthful and be real with me

Do u have a photo of this person?

I have been with this guy he calls himself Daniel Hoffman.. Ships captain in Italy!! He says they can't use Wi-Fi all the time cause of the pirates picking up on it also!!! He asked me to please by an Amazon card for 200 I only had 75 and that's all I spent ( idiot I know) he is now asking me to open an acct to transfer funds to me I said no.. We don't talk about it for a day and then he can no longer use the Wi-Fi and unless I do this we will be cut OFF.. Very sweet man could sell me the moon and yes I am falling hard I just want to know for sure is he scamming me?? Or the real thing?

Do NOT send him any money! Even if you did he will still have your pictures and will threaten you again and again. Please contact the FBI help line, easy to do online, and file a report. Don't worry about your pictures being revealed, it is not likely they will post them because their IP Address will be known if they do and if they really do post them it will most likely be on a site that none of your family or friends will ever see. In the future, if you decide to send provocative pictures, omit your face, they only want to see other parts anyway right? You can also notify Facebook who can monitor or cancel his account and access to your friends can be limited as well. Don't panic! The threat to you is not as great as it seems, but the person is a real threat and you should cut all ties to them immediately. Best wishes to you for a happy conclusion.

Lost and confused I’m facing the exact same thing. He gave me 1 hour and he was going to post all the photos. He had multiple names and the amount he wanted from me was $4500.00, every time it was being sent to a different account with a different woman’s name in a different state. So, if he post the photos it’s my fault. I’ve deleted all my social media. Sadl

Scammers do not use their own pictures! They steal them.

Im.going through the same thing now and I dont know what to do any suggestions

Were any of the names Carolyn Matott or Alice Eldridge

Has anyone ran across a scammer named Harry Cafferty???

Block him, he can't do anything to you

Is your face showing in the pictures? If not then don't worry. It's all blackmail though and I'm pretty sure it will never happen. Especially if you're not the only person he is doing this too. If your face IS showing, alert your son's school and let them know you got blackmailed and they photoshopped your face onto the body. That way they will not be surprised if something comes through.

I had a very similar experience as you have had. The person said he’s a marine and his wife died and he has a 5 yr old daughter that lives in Huston Texas where he is supposedly from. This person immediately said he’s in love, he said I put a spell on him. He kept asking me to pick up steam wallet cards in the amount of $200 I told him I don’t have any money then $50 I tried to stop talking to him and he kept calling me and “his friend” tried to friend me to tell me this guy really is missing me. I realized that 2 different people were pretending to be one. Both from Nigeria, I believe it’s a business there where they are targeting a lot of people. They are still harassing me. I’ve had to delete my social media, change my phone number. They never got a dime out of me.

I didnt know women in europe also fall victims of those foolish stories of scam. I used to think it happens to african gals. But scammers dont mind they do it to both male and female

Hilary- I have been talking to a guy that sente a follow request on Instagram and he started messaging me and ask me to go to Hangout. Our guys stories sound similar. Mine says he is a doctor working for the U.N. in Syria, is a widower with a 15 year old son from Rome but currently living in San Antonio. I knew by looking at his Instagram and seeing over 3,000 women he was following that he was a scammer but I have played along with it. When I realized that he was a scam I did a Google image search of him and saw that his identity belonged to a doctor alright but his name was totally different than the one he gave me. Yesterday he posted several "new" pics of his alter ego and in every one he had a wedding ring on. I ask him how long his wife had been gone and I was told five years, I then ask him why did all the pics show him with a wedding band and he tells me that he "wears it BC it keeps the nurses from fighting" over him! Lol. I've done nothing but play along BC people like this really piss me off! But, I am happily married and would have sent him on his was if he had been legit. He has already told me that he is in love with me and thinks about me all the time! Haha. He too has a goatee type beard that is black with gray in it.

I’m so glad I came across this thread. I’m in the process of being conned by a man that claims he is US Army, working for the United Nations, out in Afghanistan. He said he was cheated on ‘badly’ by his now ex wife. He is now divorced, has zero family and zero emergency contacts oh and zero bank account. He’s not asked me for money yet but has asked for my address so he can apparently have a personal cheque delivered to my house for $450,000 which he says is back pay that he is owed for the past 3 years and does not have a bank account. He said that the cheque would be couriered to my house and though he’s never met me, he would trust me with it, nor would he mind flying to the UK for it.

I am 40, in a relationship and he has contacted me via Facebook. I rarely accept random requests but seeing he was a service man, thought he may have been family that I didn’t know existed as I’ve recently found out I have family over in the US.

The messages mainly comprise of him declaring his undying love for me, thanking God and bad spelling and grammar. I asked many times what rank he is, what his job in the army is and could he video call me to confirm his identity. All he could say was he was a soldier and that due to him being closely monitored by terrorists, all cameras had been disabled. Didn’t even answer me with which rank. I also asked him if he was a United Nations soldier would that not make him a nato soldier, he once again did not answer and that was a wild guess to which I knew any proud soldier would be happy to correct me.
So after a few messages were exchanged I suddenly remembered Facebook voice messaging. I asked him to send me a voice message and promised if he did I’d give him my address. So I am waiting to see what his next excuse is. I mean I knew it was a scam all along but I could not work out how. This guy is a looker, well the photos he is using anyway. In my experience, good looking guys from a different country don’t just befriend you and say you are their soul mate, but if they do then god bless America. He hasn’t asked for money but no doubt that is to come.

I’ve tried to trip him up constantly and he has an answer to pretty much everything. He must have even researched who the forces use as their main courier. If all the microphones have been disabled then I’m going to ask him to write my name on his hand along with the date and take a selfie in the mirror. And considering there are so many women getting scammed, it’s not exactly clear where we can turn for advice. I was actually looking for a number that I could call in the US to ask if it could even be possible that a service man could be without emergency contacts and a bank account.

He’s clearly taken a service mans identity from Facebook because there is more than 1 picture and it makes me a bit sick that it could be a soldier that’s been killed in action. These cowards are from third world countries and don’t even see women as equal, I’ve visited and I know from experience, but they’re making all kinds of money from us. I wonder how many embarrassed women tell anyone that this has happened, because I honestly had not known it was so common until I decided to look online
I really hope this comment helps someone. Almost forgot, the guys name on Facebook is Keith Elvis.

This happened to me for 3 months now. This guy approached me through a text from a social media and I accepted it and then started talking everyday saying sweet things to me and I gave in. He asked me money for $30000. I asked him if he’s going to pay me back and he said yes So I got a loan of 28000 and sent it to him. He kept asking for money because somethings are always coming up and I never thought this was a scam because he was a sweet person. And when I was on a social media looking a pictures and I happened to see the guy that I thought i was talking to all this time. I looked at this guys pages and he is married with a baby who lives in Hong Kong. Then that’s when I confronted this fake guy trying to be this person when he is not him. He told the truth and said yes that’s not me and I’m only after your money and this is when I reallized and I just recently found out that I’ve been scammed. The sad thing is I sent him $31000 through wire transfer. I’m so lost of words right now because now I am left with this huge debt on my hands. I don’t know what to do.

You can report this to the wire transfer company you used. Call the Western Union Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492 or the MoneyGram Customer Care Center at 1‑800‑926‑9400.

Also, report to the FTC at FTC.gov/Complaint. The information you give goes into a secure database that law enforcement uses for investigations. You can also report to your state Attorney General, and to the social media site where you found the profile.

I met a guy on facebook.He said his name was Mark Johnson government pilot working for the UK government. He said he was a widower with a daughter Mary that leaved in the UK with a nanny. He told me he had a house in San Antonio Texas, and Apartment in England. He said that he had alot of money & money was not a problem. He would marry me and take care of me. He was a very sweet talker. I made me fall in love with him. He told me he lost his debt card in England & couldn't get it replaced until he got back to the united states when his contract was finished with the government. He asked me if i could buy him an $100.00 itune card. I did. Then he told me the itune card i sent him was used. So i brought him anyone $100.00 itube card. Which was very stupid. The we continued to text on google hangouts. He told me he loved me. And we were soulmates. And he wanted to make a life with me & Mary his daughter. He was a government pilot. He traveled all over Europe he told me. He went to west africa an got an infection which land him in Carolina Medical Center in Poland. He wanted me to moneygram or western union him $700.00 for medicine he need. He said they could only get this medicine in Nigeria. I had to send the moneygram or western union money to doctor in Nigeria. And he would come back to Poland and give him the medicine so he wouldn't die from infection. And once he was well he would come meet me and we would marry. I told him he was a scammer and i blocked him from messaging me.
So please ladies beware of this Scammer very sweet talker & handsome too. If photos where real i do not know.

And ladies there is another one out there named David M Rivas i met him on Instagram. He's a widower marine engineer in California. He has a 17 year old daughter named Bella. She is in boarding school. Another one that wanted to talk on hangouts. He told me he loved me and wanted to make a life with me.
He told me he was at sea. And his bank accounting was frozen. He asked if i could open a bank account for him. So his company can direct deposit money into this account. I told him No i wouldn't open an account for him. I do not know this guy that well. It could have been stolen money going into account that would be in my name not his. I told him to have the company cut him a paper check. And he could cash it when he get back on land. And he started insulting me. So i blocked him.

This sound like the same man I'm talking to now. The only thing is he has a son,Kevin,who lives with his nanny.They are in Washington D.C. He work for an oil share company in Scotland.He is a very sweet talker, made me fall in love with him. These only I have one big problem. I'm married. Yes I know that's wrong even if I'm in a abusive marriage. But he really helps me talking with me when I need to talk about my problems. Then he started asking for my help, needing $100 itune cards then Amazons cards .Telling me I'll send it back to you the next day. Then the next day,he would tell me "I have a little problem." I have been dumb enough to send $900 to him and all times "I have a little problem." Now he wants to send me money to get out of my marriage but he has to have $700 to send to his company to have them to release his money to send to me. Now I'm out $900 which $300 was my heart medicine money. Every time I ask for it "I have a problem. Always a problem. He always make it my fault that I don't have the money to send him. I try not to talk to him but I have that man under my skin and just can't stop. Old and Dumd.

Please in the name of God, this person is fake. Do not send anymore money please.

I am talking to a guy name Cleve Baez on Instagram from the US military. He said I was beautiful and I should transfer to hang out app. He has a tattoo on his chest and work out video.He said he loves me. He text me very day and say I miss u. He said he is in Nigeria and from the states. After 4 weeks, I ask him to come see me , he said he need 2000$.

I had a sergeant John goodwin and he sounds similar - wife died , son Michael lives with a nanny
Very easy to chat to , loved me after a week
Contracted soldier , stationed in Niger
Keep fit instructor
Has anyone else heard of him
Frozen bank account , needs to get home and wants a plane ticket

The guy you described sounds like the guy I met via tinder a few months ago, who went by the name of Goodwin Williams. I sensed red flags from the beginning. His story was this: resides in San Diego however currently working on a construction contract in Turkey his native country. He has a young son of 3 yrs, who’s mom had cheated on him, and now divorced. He started telling me he was going to buy me a car, wanted to get married, and also wanted to come visit me, and actually stay with me. I told him that won’t be possible as I never met him, and he quickly accused me of being married, and thank goodness the communication ended. Through two weeks of convo he asked how much I made, asked if I knew what bitcoin was, and even explained a situation where he loan someone money, and it was never returned. Well I am well aware that money, or finances is not mentioned in a two week period of getting to know someone. His pace was too fast for me, he expressed loving me, and how he lost his mother at an early age, and was looking for a mother figure, which was disturbing, and overwhelming. I really wish this guy would get caught, as no one deserves to be taken advantage of. Well stay away from that creep. I’ve read the other posts, and it seems to be the same person which is quite disturbing. This guy needs for his games to be ended. The photo he uses is of a man with dark hair, well trimmed beared, with a safisticated look to him, who works out everyday. Stay away from that creep.

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