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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.

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit
Scam Tags:  Romance Scams

Comments

I have been talking to a Chris or Christian Balms from Instagram That did kind of the same thing we talked for a little bit on Instagram and then asked for my number or if I had WhatsApp.. He supposedly lives in Chicago and has been texting me but the number to register is to a landline in Oklahoma.

Just got a scammer recorded call not a live body from 2 telephone numbers 8582214572 and 7602849982 both were the same recorded voice but different numbers and the recorded voice wants to sell me a extended automobile warranty and I am on a do not call list

I've been getting this same message from many different numbers for about a year.

I had been talking to someone who said he was divorced from his wife since 2015, he said his name is Majid he had asked for money from itune he start off telling me that he will buy me a car and that he has 12 cars, Then he wanted me to open a account but I didn't then he said his bank account was frozen also telling me he is a big star. but he was working from Africa always saying he will show but never did got feed up and had words for him, but now he said he is in the usa but I know it was something not right with him, yes you can get your heart broken , I have broken it off with him several time. I told him if he don't do what's right nothing good will come. yes you get afraid to speak up and I am still somewhat afraid they say nothing will happen. and yes he pray for me on several times, but now I feel sick. because I fell for his lies but I think his name is jose as well. he has like a Spanish way of talking but I also heard someone call him billy

Jackie. I think your guy is my guy. Three weeks ago, Steve Noirac, friended me on Word Buddies. I commented on his picture with his 8 year old daughter, Janet. This began the Hangouts conversations.

He said he is a crane operator on an offshore drilling rig in Nova Scotia. Claims to be Belgian with the daughter living with a tutor in Atlanta, Georgia. As things heated up, I began to send things in Spanish by using Google Translate. He returned my messages in Spanish.

Before the request for money yesterday for his daughter’s birthday in November, I would ask for details of the rig, which one it was and asked for him to tell me things he did at work. He could never provide anything and switched subjects.

I feel stupid. He asked for money, and I don’t have it to give. Not a cool thing.

Have you a picture of this guy. I'm involved with a oil rig contactor out in Brazil. I have sent money.

I have a pic. I am talking to him currently

Dr. Chris Evans was in Yemen for me. LOL. I been toying with him as much as he was trying with me.

Do you have a picture of him

Since you have the same issue. The person you talking with is a scammer. If you have pictures I can help you to locate the picture cos is not real.

I have a guy photos that I talked to. What website to I go to, to make sure he's real?

Can you share picture? I think I might be talking to same guy. Met on OKcupid

Will you help me? I have pictures. I am so heart broken. I love this guy and he swears he is not who they are talking about. I need peace of mind please

I have the same, yeah i have the pictures he sent, how shall i send them? omg, this one said he owns a hedge fund and is an investor in Makati but is from NY Staten Island but i looked up his number and it's from Canada, found his IG too and why his location is Toronto, said he lived on-off the last 2 years there in his cousin's place. too many red flags and lastnight i 've had enough, i asked him if he has tattoos, he said none. but in 2 photos he send me (one with his daughters) he has got 2 tats in left arm and right inner arm. a complete lie, he forgot that the picture he was pretending to be has tats. the guy in the photos is a handsome fellow, said 42yo, half puerto rican and half austrian. divorced for 3 yrs now and has 2 daughters back in NY. too good to be true, has got sweet words, loves books for he kept on sending me Ebooks, believes in God. Good thing he has not ask for money or speak about investing yet.

Can you please help me to locate a picture ?

Yes , I have photo and I havebeen talking to him since 2 months, never asked for money yet! But some red flags avoiding video chats, internet call etc. His email is is not pulled in search engine!!

How can we do that, please?

I've been chatting with a Mark David that says he is an orthopedic dr in yemen. He says his daughter died from cancer several years ago. She was 24. His wife cheated on him with his best friend. They died in a car crash several years ago. He has a son named Kelvin in boarding school in Georgia. He is wanting money to end his contract early with the UN. He is a very niceooking man and wants me to marry him. I have pics of him.

Sounds like my James willaims that has a son named kelvin!! I have pics but I believe that are probably stolen. I had to block him

Do you have a picture of this man??? He sounds exactly like the man I’m talking to.

Can I ask if he is Brett from Idaho?

What was his name? Did he give you his son's name? Did he tell you how his wife died? I think the man I am taking to may be the same man who scammed you.

Oh my gosh! This sounds like a guy I have bee messaging for nearly two years! He is supposedly 55, an engineer and has grey hair and has a nephew to take care of.

Paula,
I met a guy on OKC In October. He says he is 55 and has a young son in boarding school. He says he is an Engineer on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. There are definitely some red flags. I have some photos and would like to compare them with the ones you have.

I have been talking to a man for two weeks who claims.to be Australian and an engineer with his own construction company, who's sister has died and has a nephew that he cares for.

What is this man's name? I think he is using me too?

Do you have this persons name??

Did he say his name was Francis Albert. Son named Roy from NY?

What was the mans name he used. I think I’m being scammed by the same man. Using Lucas Edward. Is an engineer on a ship and the ship is having problems wants to ship me a package of all of his money but I have to pay $400 for shipping. Says he has no kids but is widowed and from Germany

I think he could be my scammer, have you any pictures?

Susan, I have spoken to this same man and the story is exactly the same.

It look the same. Is it any way to have privet contact with you? I want to see picture of the guy.

Can I see a picture of this man

This sounds like a guy that goes by Greg Josh Clinton. He has been an engineer in Turkey, but now he is an engineer I am oil rig in the California ocean. Says he is 62. He had a son graduating and a mom in Bulgaria that is very sick needing brain surgery on a tumor.

Hi this sounds the same as me, do you have a picture? We can share

I actually.going through something like this. I have meet someone online on dating site. His name is engr. Seong.Jin Lee he said he had a xgf and cheated on him. Dont want to tell me what happened and juat told he sued her and he doesnt have any apps like fb,instagram and whatsoever because her x blackmailed him. He said he is a Christian and prayed for me. Saying sweet things and everything. And ask me to pray forhim coz he will close a bigdeal theb he was able to be chosen and then he was given and want me to rcve the money for praying for him. He said he will swnd me but i didnt agree and still force me now he put 50,000&$ in a package with some goods and ask his friend frm a company to do it. He said that ill write to the company abt rcving the parcel and ended up asking me to pay 1250$ for a package. Ask him abt whats insde only few things and he got angry force me to pay. But it was bad,fake the grammar of the account and courier are not the same. So ended up asking me to pay. And debating with him. USA accnt but turkey bank and the courier didnt match with the gmails. And force me to ask to pay half and they agreed right away. Same time he message me onky 30mins difference. He cant even show me his face and now blackmailing me to post my naked pic all over the internet. Through facebook and other things. Now dont know what to do.

Tanya I have the same
Told me courier reach me within 1 day - during this Covid-19 period - they will contact me on delivery time but before the parcel comes to me - asking me to pay us$5000 for a package of two boxes. I recall Ask him abt whats inside he say only few personal item - clothes.
After it went to half deposit and now left $1k
So disappointed
Korean - He work & stays in California too but born in swiss.

I think the same thing happened to me. Korean but moved to US since young. Was left by ex. Talked to me about a month and now asked me to pay thousand dollars for the package he will send to me. Always ask me to send him nude pictures but I never did. Do you have the picture of him? May be we can exchange what happened to us.

Hi Caroline , did by any chance said his name is Ken Wong or Ken Yang Han or maybe Kyoung Mark?? Korean moved to NYC since very young, cheated by gf , works as a gemmologist?
Cus i've just been scammed by this individual , chats and calls , no video , for a month since 11th October and then wanted to send a package to London as very important for a client and found at being asked to pay custom clearance and taxes in Belgium for 15000gbp
I have pictures that i've received from him.

Pretty sure it's the same guy here. Red flags all over! Pictures, he has talked to me even dropped my city (as I know how small and poor my city is), he now claims that he has a client in my city which I know is a lie because there's no one in my city that can afford a gemologist. Korean moved to cali at 5. Both parents died. Ect. But his accent is suspicious for someone who live in the us for so long. Met on a language app. Even gave me bank info to send money to someone (not myself). Now trying to send me gemstones, to avoid VAT charges. Will not give information.

Yeah you'll be scammed by them

I believe we may have the same person. His name is Southerland Cardbell, age 60, oil engineer from France, lost his biological parents young, and was adopted by another couple who was friends with his biological parents. Attened school in Cairo Egypt. A widower 4 years now. She was a nurse who died from cancer. Has two daughters in boarding school. He is currently on an oil rig off the coast of Vancouver, British Columbia. I was skeptical at first. All the sweet words, met him on Instagram, and then wanted to get off this site and email me. Eventually ended up on Google Hangout. We have been corresponding since September. I have never met him. Sent me many pictures and some I felt were taken off the internet of a Hotel he stayed at in Washington DC to negotiate the contract. I didn't hear from him. Soon I received pictures of the his room, the lobby, the meeting room, but no pictures of him with his other engineers. Not long on the rig, he sent me an urgent message that he had a parcel in China that was worth millions of dollars and he wanted help getting it sent to me by a representative. Yes, all the excuses about him unable to get the money out of his account. Blah, Blah. How can a revered prestigious oil engineer not have access to his bank account or his business lawyer. I gave in. But that was the last time.

Same thing cept I got sceptical feeling RIGHT AWAY cos a few points didn’t add up. And the advice here confirms their tactics. Very interesting. Can’t just assume everyone is honest because you are. Many red flags right away.

My oil rig engineer 's name is Mark Johnson. He says he 54. He was in Houston at first then went to the oil rig because a machine broke down. He has come up with all kinds of excuses why he cant access his bank himself. He has a 12 yr old daughter and is divorced.

I think I am possibly talking to the same guy who started talking to me on Scrabble!! I don't know his 2and name yet but he's called mark, is widowed and has a 12 year old daughter. He says he lives in Chicago but I googled his number and it's based I Florida. Ive told him I'm skint and not to bother me.

Can I have him number please

Where arebtge pics of these people whats the purpose posting hows that going to help with no pics smh

I think he's using a new name now. Left Tampa to go to Norway for aker bp. I will neither let my heart be broken nor send money. He hasn't asked yet but I know that's coming.

I have the same scammer. Mark Johnson. 12 year old daughter. He was supposedly in Houston then had to go to an oil rig North of Canada. Petroleum engineer. I fell for it. He's conned me out of 17500. Thank you for sharing. Now I am positive he is a scammer. Watch out for Mark ladies. He is charming and good looking, very convincing.

I Think this is the same guy know as Johnson Williams and 57. His daughter is now 17 in a boarding school and his wife died 6 years ago. All fake. I wish I could share his pic. He just said his phone is broke now no food left and he's going to starve. Big time flags. Oh can't access his bank account cause in the past people were abusing them with the black market. He just tried to call again. He also just uses whatsapp

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