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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

what was her name by chance how much gold bars was she talking about and how did she get it

I have pictures
Need to find out how to send

Adoptive kids rang a bell with me also.
He went by Mark Howard

Beware of Heinrich Powell Woodson very handsome very educated and a sweet talker. Has a Daugther and uses his Mom. He ask for a I tune card then 3500$ for the IRS he didn’t get a cent from me. Blocked him on Instagram and hangouts. He also gave me a fake passbook!

Sounds similar to the Swedish engineer who is working in Turkey. He sends pictures of his mother and daughters. Do you have pictures?

The guy I blocked from dating site claimed his name was Glen from CA, an independent dealer with kids in Amsterdam with his mom. Went to do business in London and lost atm card. Asked me for 15k to pay expenses and get home. I said no, he said he had gold I could cash in if I spoke to his attorney. Googled name and other info he gave me...SCAMMER! Glad I saw episodes of Dr. Phil.

I have been talking with an engineer working in Turkey as well. Is he bald with a dark beard? Suit and tie holding a cell phone?

Do you have any pictures of the engineer? Does he have a daughter?

Yes I think I’m being scammed by someone who is an engineer with a daughter 13

Sounds familiar. Engineer from London stuck in Turkey has a 15 year old daughter. Apparently Turkish hotels doesn’t take debit then he doesn’t have enough money to get his equipment out due to taxes. Yada yada yada.

Sounds like Brandon Muller.
Sly guy whom I sent over $4K to. I can't believe I fell for his lies.
Same story engineer finishing up job in London goes to Turkey can't get his heavy equipment out of customs. Credit cards don't work, gets mugged, sends pictures, is hospitalized in Turkey for 3 months.....
I'm such a fool! But never again!

I have one with the same story, stuck in Northern Cyprus
Thomas J James

He’s not bald.

Oh he is till out there Peter Edison is the new name

I was scammed by a JASON GREGOR JOSE COUNTIHO SIGURDSSON. I was scammed for $8K. Found him on the dating site Zoosk in Los Angeles. He claimed to own a company called JJS Constructs. He was supposedly working off the Endicott Islands repairing pipes as a contractor for China Oil. He had me access his bank which is located in London called Standard Chartered Bank which had his name on the account and about $3M in it to transfer $1.2M to this Chinese company. His London Bank required a PIN number which was sent to his personal email in which I had 60 seconds to retrieve in order to input that PIN number on the wire page. Well I did it and the wire went through. Then he asked me to do another wire but I made an error, I understood his request as sending the wire right after the first one and I did. However Standard Charter Bank blocked his account (supposedly). I actually felt so bad that I screwed up. And he could not wire the remaining balance he owed the company because he’d have to leave where he was (supposedly, fly to Anchorage then fly to London. So of course I feeling guilty wired $7K and a friend of mine wired $1K and he supposedly got the rest from his Father and best friend name Greg. He was supposedly flying back to Los Angeles . I got a text at 2:57am that he arrived and I never heard from him. He was suppose to reimburse me the money and never did. I have pictures although I don’t know if they were really him.

I had a similar incident ; OSHA engineer on endicutt island in Alaska; had me pay for some pipes using his bank account to show me how much $$$ he has . Lol . Then it was time to pay for shipping and same thing happened ; somehow his bank account at Berkeley Bank was frozen; I didn’t sent any money and he got upset but whatever ; everything is fake with these scammers ; banks account ; certificates, email addresses, phone numbers etc. I just wish I could contact the actual man behind the photo ; I did reverse image search but this is a stolen photo with fake names .

It is happening to me right now, a guy who has been called Eric Keeler, contacts you, asks you to speak more intimately, when he manages to make contact he describes himself as a widower, sends photos of him, foolishly sends several photos of me and with some relatives, the He says he has fallen in love with me, and that he wants to give me some gifts that he wants to send me by parcel service, he says being an engineer who works on oil platforms, and that only uses cash, I gave him my data to send me the package, 5 days later They send me an email informing me that they retained the package at a customs office, and I have to pay the taxes so that I receive the gifts that I send, when I tell them that they ask me that he tells me that within the package I send he carries a cash, and that if they discover that package I will be accused of money laundering, and he will disappear and deny everything, and that they only have my data to locate me, but he does not stop pressuring me to pay that money, and The parcel also presses to pay taxes. It was really scary to see me is the situation of being accused of money laundering.

An Asian girl worked as Head chep on a cruise ship sent me a friend request through fb...her name is Linh Jade Minh....watch out everyone they are very clever and smart .....I think they have a tac team....At least 1-3 people. One of the girls know how to flirt extremely well with romantic words and i had feeling for her....i was very lonely at the time ....she talked romance to me in length for days and asked me to private message her through her number.Finally she said that she lost her wallet with credit card on the ship and could not find it....she was so desperate and not able to get to the airport from the ship. At first i offered help to test them out...They were so clever not accept in the first place to again your trust even more. She needed 500 money gram to hire speed boat to take her to the airport.

Sounds familiar goes by the name Jon Alba

I have similar stories, only his name is William Lauridsen nah he is Irish

A guy who says was born in Sweden but lives in Toronto, architect, widower, sun studies in England, works currently on a Hotel in Cyprus (North Cyprus, belongs to Turkey), age 55 (Feb 18 apparently was his birthday).. Goes by William, on OK Cupid - his profile disappeared when I started talking to him. I just found one of the photos he sent to me as Rowland_incredible on Instagram, maybe somebody would like to take a look to see if recognizes him..Hasn't asked me for money yet..there are red flags everywhere, I am just curious to see where this goes...I am sick of these scammers, met one few years back who suddenly left for Turkey on a business trip and was "robbed" and didn't know what to do, was desperate. I told him I hope he resolves his issue soon and to call me when he comes back, which of course never happened. I travel for business, and the story they make up that they are suddenly "in trouble" are just unreal in the professional world, please don't fall for this. If he is a successful businessmen, he would never be in these kind of situations, or if it happens, it is very easy to get out of it with one phone call, even internationally, doesn't need to ask a person who he never met for help.

I'm getting a sense of deja vu. I was contacted on Instagram by a pilot from Houston called David Cromack. He used to be in the airforce but was now training young pilots in Turkey. He said his Father was American and Mother was Turkish. Both parents and his sister had died and his ex wife died from brain cancer. I asked him what type of tumour she had and he didn't know even though his daughter was very young then. It was his daughter who asked me for an Amazon steam card. I asked her if she was on drugs and blocked her dad

Is his name William Reaves? He is emailing my mother and she is falling for all of his fancy words and ploys hook, line, and sinker.

My dear friend has recently been communicating with a William Reaves. He is originally from the Netherlands, but has relocated to the states. Lost his wife to cancer/kidney failure. Has a daughter in Australia, I believe. He claims to be a world renowned interior designer.

I’ve been contacted by a William Reaves. He hasn’t asked for anything but my phone number which I haven’t given him! So glad my friend saw this! I had a weird feeling!!

Can you tell me a bit about him?

I have been taking to a guy claiming to be a Swedish engineer working in Turkey. He lost his wife and son. He loves me and will buy me a big house but needs money to now cause he can’t access his account while he is in Turkey!
I didn’t send any!

I am glad you didn't! I didn't even let him ask for money, I told him that he needs to figure it out himself how to solve his problem, but that is probably the same guy. I wish people would search more online who they are talking to, just type in the story.. I have reported recently another catfish on POF, once you get tricked by one, it is easy to spot them the minute they start talking, same MO, slightly different stories. They are either not in the city right now but coming in 2 weeks, or they have to leave suddenly for work..But this is huge business, and they are not stupid, I wish we women weren't so thirsty for a romance in our busy life..

He sounds like the guy I have been talking to. Equipment problems. Credit cards not usable I Turkey. Needs money to pay his labor workers. Car crash. Family medical emergency....

Sounds like the one I’ve been talking to.
Does he have a daughter? Dark hair , handsome, Romanian.

I met a handsome Romanian man on badoo. Had his daughter after 4 years together. He had borrowed money for his business totalling $23350. When our daughter was one month old I found out he has dated other people the entire time possibly for money. I got mine back but I think only because his main partner was done for fraud and still on parole. I found out, called them both cons, got my money back and have to take him to court for child support. Met him on badoo 2015 based in Perth, western Australia. I have found him on brazilcupid as well as other dating sites and have had him removed where I could

I think we r talking about the same gay I was talking with,architect ,widowed has a black haired daughter.

I too have been scammed by a man who calls himself Pedro Johnson. His instsgram name is pathubert44 . He is a good looking man, white, age 42 . He has a very distinct accent. Uses trux me, instead of trust me, glax... Says he is part German from Hamburg , and part Mexican. Moved to USA when was 12. His mother is Mexican. He is a Civil Engineer. Took a contract in Turkey to build s shopping Centre. The request came first for itunes and Amazon Cards. Next was needing $40k because his building materials were being held by customs delaying his work. He love bombs like crazy and is relentless in his claim about marriage, and a future together and loving only me are endless. Next he couldnt pay hotel bill, had no food to eat,! i sent $3k US. Afew week later needs more Amazon cards I sent him those. Next he had a medical emergency where he was admitted into hosp in Turkey, needs more money!! He sends me photos of himself all the time and they seem legit.! He works out, has a very good body that he likes to show off. I have fallen for him, we have been talking on hangouts for months. I have asjed him to video chat...claims to be too shy. Says I am his only woman but I have my doubts. Has anyone else been scammed or contacted by him?!

He is widowed , lost wife to Breast Cancer, has a son 13 yesrs old, He claims to be from Columbus, Ohio... But knows very little if nothing about USA.
Help please? Anyone know this man?

Please don't send this guy any money. One of my best friends who passed away was involved with a man that sounds almost identical to your situation and she fell for him. He always made excuses up not to video chat. You already know I think that you are being scammed because you are on here, I know it hurts so bad and you just want to believe that he is real. But he's not all of these messages all sound alike. Find a man in the USA, I promise you that this guy isn't real. Good luck

I from past couple of weeks I hve been talking to a guy from Baytown Houston Texas,he found me in Instagram,he told me his a drilling engineer,his wife died of brain cancer n hve a 14yr son,last week he told me that he needed help ,he told me to send 700 hundred dollars iTunes card which I did but today he wants 5000 dollars for his new contract which his wrking in Venezuela,I ask him to talk to me in video call but he made a story,I asked him abt his home address but he give me wrg address so ths all made me thk abt smethg fishy

I from past couple of weeks I hve been talking to a guy from Baytown Houston Texas,he found me in Instagram,he told me his a drilling engineer,his wife died of brain cancer n hve a 14yr son,last week he told me that he needed help ,he told me to send 700 hundred dollars iTunes card which I did but today he wants 5000 dollars for his new contract which his wrking in Venezuela,I ask him to talk to me in video call but he made a story,I asked him abt his home address but he give me wrg address so ths all made me thk abt smethg fishy

I had a bit of a run in with heinrich powell woodson. And yes he is not a very nice person at all. He started off being very nice, talking about he's daughter and mother. And saying what he's ex wife did. And tells you how he finds it hard to trust women now.. And he thinks that maybe you could be the right woman for him. He would like to get to know you more and see we're it may go from there. He will give you an email address for he's mother so that you can talk to each other. Which he did. But you don't know if its he's mother or not or he is the one that your really emailing and getting emails back from her / him. And after a few months of talking. He started asking for help cos he was working away and he could not get into he's bank account, cos it had been hack into. So could you maybe get him an iTunes card, just to help him out. And when you say that you can't do that cos you don't really know him, cos you have only talked by emails Instagram, Facebook or hangouts you can't do that, that is when he turns nasty. So in the end I had to stop talking to him block him on all the sites. But a few days ago he was back on Facebook and I just had to block him again. So lady's please if you every come across this man. Please don't get involved with him just block him right away. Thank you and please keep safe...

I am an educated man but fell for the scammer bought itune cards belived the lies because i was looking for a date which never happened tried video call but her phone was working properly feel like a fool girls it can happen to men too this started on Instagram and moved to hangouts what a fool i have been.

I just fell for the same thing; not as a love interest, but a good friend trying to support a deployed soldier in Syria. I believed the communication to be all about moral support and then it came; a request for ITunes. When I confronted the person he went from really sweet to angry and hostile. How could I have been so duped. There were signs, I should have know. A very bland facebook page with little to no activity, only a few photos of what appeared to be a soldier in Syria. The story; deceased parents, A little daughter in boarding school, waiting for his retirement papers (there over one year). Graduate of WestPoint but not a lieutenant. Didn't understand the question "enlist date?). Guess I just wanted to believe this person needed a friend. Private email also suspicious. Not sure who's picture is really used on facebook, poor guy is being used as a fake soldier. , Syd

Hi I’ve met a woman on instagram started off just talking the usually stuff. Then she wanted to move to WhatsApp we’ve been getting on well but she has told me she is widow and struggling and has ask me to send her money and gift cards She says she wants to met and has fallen in love but when ever I ask for her address or other details she avoids the answer
I’m hoping this is not a scam as we seem to get on but how can you tell

It’s a scam. Usually they take you off the site to a private chat where they try to gain as much info about yourself to see how much money they can gain from you and possibly use your details to scam others. They usually tell you the most devistating lies so you feel sorry for them and make up fake documents and stuff to support their fake stories. My scammer kept saying he would commit suiside if I didn’t help him. I highly suggest you report it.

It’s a scammer. Sorry man I ask myself what is this world coming to.

please run dont look back

Jpatalano, sorry this happened to you it’s happened to me as well. There are good women and men out there. We just have not found them yet

Hi Jpatalano; I am currently talking to a woman now who claims she is a nurse at hospital and was told she and 5 others are being transferred to go to Vietnam to help out a hospital to take care of children with heart troubles. I know in my gut she is not telling the truth because you don't get transferred to another country to help out unless your in the military. I was wondering if you have a picture of her by any chance? The one I am with is tall, slim, blonde hair, blue eyes wear red frame glasses that covers her eyes. I also believe she is married and her husband may be a part of it. Some the pictures I have had to be from someone else taking the pictures. If it sounds familiar please let me know. As of right now I have not given any money. She is suppose to go to vietnam and I suspect that is where the trouble will begin. Another thing she claims she is from Texas, but, wears New York t-shirts and ball cap. Another red flag.

Hello , this is very similar to my friend situation now he's met a nurse sending phone and money for bills / taxi / visa ect... she claims to be from Texas in ghana and her passport ran out and she's been in a car crash and needed money... he's never spoken to her only pic with hospital bed which I think looks strange and another hiding up a piece of paper saying happy birthday...??? do you have any pics it's sound very similar this ... worried for my friend need to do some digging on this thank you

Thats messed up!

I just escaped from a Con artist.

She said that she owns a Ranch in Mississauga and her father had secretly bequeathed her with two chests of Gold Bars. She wanted me to come to Quebec to transport the Gold Bars.

She couldn't understand, why I don't want to be part of this treasure. She also forwarded me a photograph. Initially, I thought she is truly looking for love until she started talking about Gold Bars.

Please don't fall for these

My guy asked for money. I accused him of being scammer. He got mad. I asked for a picture of his
Us drivers licence. Of xouese he refused. Blocked and reported. Ask for selfie of him holding his us id or open passport id. Send money to embassy for them if they show proper id.

What is wrong with us to believe these guys? I for one was rolling my eyes at the stuff coming out of his mouth after only days of messaging! Oh and what is it with the iTunes cards? This guy even sent me his Military ID! Looks legit but I’m having it checked and know it’s just photoshopped because the guy is way too young for so many medals!

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