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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


It is a scam they cancel one Instagram and you never see them on whatsapp

I am going through a similar issuer right now. I wanted to ask if anything ever came if the situation? Did you send the minus were the pics ever published?

I am such a fool. I am smart and I know better. I guess I was lonely. This guy named Schounlieni Williams, a "soldier on a peacekeeping mission for th US in Sudan" recently divorced wants to marry me professed all kinds of love and got me for private chats on Hangouts just asked me to purchase an Amazon card for $200 so he can continue to chat because the army is going to cut our chatting off and he is taking great risks. I told him I was going to the walmart today but I knew last night that this was a scam, I am not sending anything, my heart is broken. This scam was very, very elaborate. I cant believe this. I have even spoken to him on Hangouts. Professed to be a christian. I sent him one dirty photo and I am afraid he will blast it. I met him on Facebook via a We Dont Deserve Animals I was following in my feed. I am soooo stupid but now I know I am a professional woman who is lonely. Dont fall for this ladies. It can happen to all of us. It is so easy and they can be so elaborite you eill think it is true.

Don’t worry I’m a smart person as well who knows better and I’ve had someone thevlast month that started to make me believe. It was very elaborate and even though I was skeptical of the random message and the speed at which they seemed to be falling for me I too was so lonely I guess maybe I hoped I was wrong. This wasn’t like other scams, it was weeks before money came up and when I said no they told me not to worry about it and they kept talking to me as if it was fine. This person invested a lot of time into this and is continuing to try and bring up ways to get an iTunes card or wire money to her aunt. I know it’s a scam and I keep asking them for an address to send gifts directly, things I know “she” will never give me because it’s a scam. The thing is I know it’s a scam and I’m not even mad, I’m just sad it’s not real. That’s how lonely it can be at times. I’m not sure if they found me through Facebook. It was a random message through Facebook messenger. That account foes t have a Facebook profile but she’s using the identity and pictures of a real girl on Facebook with an account.

Hi, Keith. Was her name Donna, who's in the service with a sleeve tattoo? Just curious. Story sounds familiar. She's from Louisiana or Missouri. Take your pick. Image search showed she was not who she said she was.

Hi mike. I also met the girl in service w sleeve tattoo.She was stationed at Camp McCain she claimed,then moved home to Pennsylvania.She will never speak on phone or video chat but will invest weeks talking and promising marriage and love. She eventually wants ITunes cards

was she a blonde, was her name jenny, I think my friend is being scammed

I have a “Jenny” who has been working me for two months and finally dropped the “money ask”. Supposedly runs a hair stylist and cosmetics sales company and when I started to pressure for a meeting used some charity giveaway to the poor she was hosting to ask me for money for that and money for a broken phone.

How about a girl named telicia
Helton shes always wanting Google play cards saying she had real estate coming but owes 2000 has to pay it first in Texas and Colorado

I would like to know what they want eBay cards or any other card for. Are they just for games

A he - scam asked me for money. Kind words, l was lonely, nothing new for you. I m asking you for an email address to send you the guy s pic. The scam sent me some pic of a nice guy. Stolen identity/photo. Maybe sounds stupid, but l want to find this guy. So please, help me.

Hi I'm talking to a US marine and he asking for money to get home.I have pictures of him I have found out he change his name. Patrick is his name using at moment. He says he in Syria.

I am talking to a man that says he is in Army, stationed in Sirya. Do you have pics of him, I have 4 different pics, one in civilian clothes. Very nice looking man. I don't want to be scammed.

I have been talking to a General in Syria, have received a number of photos. The photos do not match the talks we have had. I feel sorry for the family of this person as the photos obviously have been stolen. I would like to contact the family.

Hey! I've talked to a general from Dallas, Texas and he calls himself Jason Seigel. Could it be the same person? He is on Instagram

I have also been talking to a "General" in Syria. Said his name was Kim Williams/Lauzon. When I asked him why he used 2 surnames he said it was for privacy as he was a General. Also said he was a fighter pilot. He never asked for money but said he needed me to help him get leave so he could get home to his 2 children. (His boy was Peter but I forget his daughters name). Said they were 8 and 6. Also said he had lost 8 of his men this week and he needed to get out desperately. I talked to a friend who told me the only way they get leave is to apply for it. No-one else is involved. Gave me photos of him with his children at his house "in Texas". Huge house. Even sent photos of him with fellow soldiers. I feel for the real person who has had these photos stolen as he looks ok. Told me his Dad was Chinese and his Mother was Canadian. Why do they do this?

Same young good looking Ben is his name

Can u send me the photos pls

Please send me a picture of the picture of this guy. The same thing is happening to me.

I'm talking to this guy name Ben. He knows exactly what say to draw you in. He is MP in the Army. Can you send pics so I can see him please

I’m also talking to a guy name Ben said he is in Afghanistan a single dad his son is in boarding school

I am talking to a guy now who is an emergency room orthopedic doctor in Kabul Afghanistan, his son Roland is in boarding school in Seattle. He’s a widower. We met on Twitter, he told me to download google hangout. We fell in love together, and I enjoy chatting with him because I am too lonely and sometimes depressed. told him to prove himself if he’s real, today , He came on video chat for about few seconds, he looks like the picture he sent me earlier . I don’t want to over react thinking he’s a scam if he’s a real person. No financial transactions though. He Just professes his love for me which I like

I have been talking to a orthopedic doctor in Syria with son in boarding school. Maybe same guy.

I think I was talking to the same guy . He’s scammed. He video chatted with me for seconds to proof that he’s real. I blocked him after he asked me for iTunes cards.

Me to he says his name is Frank Micheal

PATTERS, POPS& ANYONE WHOHAS SIMILARITIES: I have been talking to someonewho goes by the name Derrick Williams on Whatts App. My story is almost exactly the same as yours. It's there anyway for any of us to get in contact with one another to exchange information like photos, phrases, promises made, etc. If this person is the same guy, he needs to be stopped. Playing with our hearts it's wrong not to mention taking our money. I've fallen for this guy pretty hard.too.

Pops Your describing a guy that reached out to me just recently. Using different name. Has he sent you any photos?

He is a scammer. To ne hes known as frank roberts,, same story but has a 16 yr old daughter. Says hes from Baltimore, widower and asked me to talk on Hangouts. Ive blocked him and disabled the app.

Me too. Ben James is his name.

Can you post pic of ben i think hes who im talking WITH right now

Can you send me pics, I think my friend is being scammed by this one

i truly think this is the same guy i just got majorly scammed by. met on twitter. sunglasses and a suit. went by the twitter name "Robert michael" told me he helps a ton of people. had me download google hangouts. told he he would pay my credit cards. i said i would NOT give him any information. He authorized me to use " HIS" account info. to pay off my whole card. I have EVERYTHING saved from our conversations. he provided me with a routing and account #. after I paid my card...3 days later the bank returned the payment :( SCAMMER FRAUD! he says his wife died in an auto accident and his son is in Austrailia! HE MUST BE CAUGHT!!!!

In the sunglass picture is he wearing a nice place suit, black turtleneck and black sunglasses standing outside what looks like a nice countryside?

I think he's the same guy meet on Instagram name MichaelRobert7073. Has a 10 year old daughter same name as mines. Works as a engineer on a off shore rig(outside of Norway). Abt 56 years old wife is dead. From Belgium but his daughter is with the nanny in Oakland California. Oh he's a charmer, just wondering if he's the same guy.

I was scammed already by a guy named Roby Helms who stole the identity of a very handsome speaker which it broke my heart and stole money from me too. But now I’m talking to another guy named Patrick that has a son in New Jersey and said he is in Syria too and is an engineer in a oil rig. Can you share his pictures with me. I don’t want to be scammed again.

Was the speakers name David Avrin?

Hi. I was wondering if your Patrick Captain Patrick Ewing Lesnar? Because the one texting me is named Patrick in the Marines and he is in Yemen over in Asia.

I had this woman named Sarah in the Army in Kentucky. She was very endearing in her conversations vowing to be exclusive in our cyber dating forum; All of a sudden she claims to be deployed to Syria and starts messenging me on Hangout. Says she is bored nights shes not patrolling and asks for $50 Steam cards to buy video games for her lap-top. Claims she only gets paid 1x month os can't afford to repay me right away because she has a daughter in teh USA who stays with her mother; claims she sends her money to her mother in her absence. I sent about $150, but when I told her I couldn't afford more, she became mean telling me I was an insensitive person who has been hurt by so many women, I can't trust a different woman. She actually changed her Facebook profile page and used my last name as her married name. I finally blocked her and I never heard from her again.

I too was scammed a few months ago from a US Marine on deployment in Syria. He went by the name Thomas Casado, he had contacted me on Instagram. He was a widower, supposedly, had a 20yr. Old son who was in Australia, he was saying the sweetest things and I was Leary and told him that but after talking for a couple months he asked for $100 Steam card, I told him I couldn't do that cause I'm a single mom of 3, he said oh do what you can. So stupid me I did $40 the first time, and did it a couple more times only totalling $120. I googled his name and seen some other guys name with his picture. You are not alone and they are very good at what they do, they are heartless.

My scammer asked for steam card for his phone minutes I looked up steam card can’t be used for phones I told him . Would say romantic things then once again asked for a gift card reasons always changing

Going thru the same now..a David Garth.. Looking for cards and bank account passwords.

was it Patrick McCoy?

I might be able to locate them, if they are using another account with that same identity, please everyone needs to be careful with them, because 45% of account online are scammers. Thanks

hey guys..i have been talking to some blonde hair blue eyed girl with a sleeve tattoo saying shes in the navy, in syria on a aircraft carrier rn and cannot video or reg call. First name is Tiff..the last name on the uniform looks like Taylor.she knows great english and a lot about military lingo so if sh is a fake its good. says shes normally in north jersey but has a Illinois phone number. I do reverse image search but nothing comes up. asked me to send her 200 in steam cards to put more wifi on her phone. Anyone know anythinf

Hi, has anyone encountered a name Simon Hobbs Cantu, claimed to be a US Army in Syria right now for peace keeping mission? I cannot find him in any social media platform. I even googled/reversed image his photos but nothing.

No one in the military needs money and they have internet. Dont buy into the scam. Military people are given everything they need, as well as access there bank from the internet. Theyre scamming you if they ask for anything.

I have been scammed also. Text and talking to him on th he phone for 5 months. I was looking for love in a Christian dating sight. Michael Harrington the scammer has a European accent. Long story short. I turned his info over to the police. He says he lives in N.Y. but working in India in exports .
Guys like this makes it Really hard to find a nice guy .
So I'm educating myself about this.
And yes he mentioned everything that all the other ladies have mentioned. We need to stand up and be more aware of what these Dirty RATS
We need to tale control Everyone.

I’m a guy been scammed twice. I’m wondering where a real guy can meet a real Lady. I’m really confused. Some things I wonder how can this be real? But other times , through things. She has to be real. Something caught my eye earlier. Someone said something about they seem to disappear on weekends. And other random times she’ll disappear from five minutes to a day. We make plans to meet but it hasn’t happened yet. Rapture take me home.

Mike sorry to hear
Your story sounds similar to mine
I thought exactly the same
A friend convince me to try a match site
And I can believe first time I try I for caught by a scammer
I just think I don’t want to meet anyone any more.
Ay times the tú sounds so real that makes it hard to be believe there can be such evil
people .

I'm sorry to hear that. I've been scammed twice. But the first, I busted him first, so I didn't lose any money and I finally can contact the real person whom he uses the pictures with. The second, with the help of voluntary organization, I can know the man I'm talking to isn't real. Always use technology to help and good luck with the love searching


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