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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

My “scammer” is Cole Williams. A US Marine in Afghanistan. It’s not proven but I suspect it.

Talking to a guy on hangouts and now he wants me to open a bank account in my name for him. He has threatened me to come and do harm to me. I don't want to do it .please help me
Give me some advice

Please dont do open accounts or send money!!!
He is trying to frighten you into doing it.
I promise it's a scam!!

What name does he go by?

Please don’t be scared and absolutely don’t do it. Block him immediately and report it. Then you need to move on

I have also this kind of expetience, two of them are asking itunes gift card and amazon gift card, amazon, they were both "military " man, the one is active in service
I dont know if it is true, both of them are proposing me to be their wife, thats the time i search th truth of this

Just to share with all the ladies, met someone over at OkCupid and switched the chat over Viber. And boy was he a sweet talker and I the convos were interesting and he was very spontaneous. Similar plots like the rest here. Oil rig engineer in Cape Town. Lives in LA. Has a son named Jack. Brokenhearted from a 14-year relationship with model girlfriend. Has his apartment rented and can get irked when you doubt his identity. He also mentions honesty and doesnt want his heart played. Pressuring me to take the connection to the next level but I was really not into it coz I was sensing was off. And because you dont crank romance just like that. Anyway, things got weirded out when he wanted to borrow money the other day to fix bank troubles.. Good thing, I am a good researcher and found out that he has been using pics of an Italian model/ dancers.. So in case you stumble upon this man with a very big voice and a bit of think accent. Just be careful. He goes under name Charles TImbertop in FB. And he said his name is Charles Kadaver at first then corrected it and said Charles Devante. Great talker. Smooth operator. Please dont fall for this person. If anyone encountered him, please let me know so we can exchange notes. Thanks

Hi all hope you are all keeping safe. My story began in March met a guy on Instagram US army soldier i had only just downloaded it to follow my favourite band and he popped up with a message had nice conversations told me his girlfriend left him and married someone else and was rather distraught but wanted to move on. He was also part Belgium in nationality. We texted on Whats App for a while he then started to phone me and i could not really understand him he put it down to his Belgium accent so thought nothing of it he asked me everything about my life what i liked etc. He then told me how much he loved me and wanted to meet me dont get me wrong i was smitten. I was still concerned about his accent and told him numerous times that i did not understand him and to speak slowly. One day he asked me for money i said no as i did not have the funds so i started to investigate abit further. The next time he phoned i confronted him and he told me yes he was a scammer and from Nigeria he sent me his picture so i flipped at him over the phone and gave him a good telling off and hung up on him and blocked him. A minute or 2 later he phoned from another number and he was crying on the phone saying he was so sorry but he had fallen in love with me and that he would not do it again as he knew he had hurt me and that he loved me so much i asked him his age he said 27 i was 51 then which he knew as i told him the truth and i gave him the third degree and blocked him again then again he phoned using another number again i blocked him. About a month ago i was cleaning up my phone and tried to delete the blocked numbers but must not have done it correctly and unblocked him he immediately texted me sent me his photo and saying how much he loved and that he is a changed person and does not do scamming no more as now it was wrong but it is difficult in his country. He is constantly texting me phoning me when im not busy i have told him he is too young for me he tells me age is nothing he sends me lots of pictures and videos of him with his friends and also video chatted with his family in the background he has said he told his family and friends about me and that he wants to marry me and sends me pictures of older women with Nigerian younger men that look happy. I still feel very wary of him as i told him he lied to me in the first place. He has not yet asked for any money from me and wants me to go to Nigeria his family asked me too on video call (if they are his family) Im confused advise please if you dont mind.

Hi Joan. My advice is donor ever go and met this guy. Ofcourse we are all human we fell in love like others do and fall into There sweet mouth. My advice nver ever met him. Once a scammer Will always be a scammer .they will nver change. If it happen that u give him chance. And take them to your country and marry u. But they don’t really love u in pure heart only using your heart and trust. Delete him a forget him. That’s the best choice And advice I can give to u. Real man is out there and they will come without asking anything’s in return.

What is his name? His real name. I too fell for a "story". He got some money. Found out he was in Nigeria. He came clean. Said he's 26 is in love with me (I'm 50) and wants to change. He claims to want to be with me. He won't send a real picture though. I am beginning to feel taken again. Is this the new twist on the scam? He claims he wants to pay me back. Wants my new bank info. I refused. He fooled me once. Ive been playing along to see where it leads.

It’s another scam. I also fell for a story and sent money. Then when I called him out on it he admitted he was a scammer from Ghana. Claimed to be in love with me. Sent pics and messages and video called constantly. Then came the sob stories about how hard life is there and requests for money for food, clothes,bills etc. It was all a big lie. These people are professional conmen posing as romantic guys. Don’t give bank info he has no intention of paying you back! Delete him from social media and your life.

Beware of someone who have looks like real profile in the LINKEDIN. Fredrik Olson, mechanical engineering www.
linkedin. com/ try to know you in person. First he tried to looking for investing (as he has an investor friend) with 50% 50% yield, if not succesful tried to be your friend, then admit being cashflow difficulty under his own business. Share picture with her daughter name Peggy, he is widowed with wife passed away due to cancer. I then reverse search his profile and found someone had reported him as scammer.

Jonathan Martin Albret - never ever trust& believe this guy.

I met a guy on a dating sit. Broke my heart his name was Steve Duff. States that he was a petroleum engineer. His wife died of leukemia. He has a daughter named Susan. Works on a rig in Dubai. I was worried that he was a scammer. He was suppose to be coming home.emailed me a letter from his company about his retirement. The next day he write that there was an accident on the rig and he had to pay $9,000 to replace the equipment lost. Asked if i could lend him some of it. I said no and told him that I knew this was coming. I actually fell in love with him. How stupid huh. This bunch is good. Then he disappeared.

I've been talking to a USN diver, charles newton, who wants 5k for his brother, benjamin who got in trouble with an iraqi, I have pics and videos of charles..loads. can't find anything on him. He claims to be born in portland oregon, parents deceased. Has two kids a boy and girl. Fishy? Tells me this is a secret between just us.

Lolifever, I met “Charles Newton” recently. If you happen to see this we should compare photos.

In fact I am talking to him for about a month now,he sent me plenty pictures ,videos his hangout I’d is divernewton78@

I met him in tagged he said he is a USN diver

We met the same guy,Charles Newton USN diver,2 kids a boy and a girl Nanny is taking good care of them while he is in deployment,fiancée died of car accident.sending me plenty pictures and videos of him

Can we compare photos and videos of this USN diver Charles Newton,

Sharing my experience as well. I was invited in Linkedin by a certain Dr. Peter Wang as a connection. I accepted his invitation and long story story short, we became chatmates and eventually got close. Just like what i have read in the other comments here, he said that he grew up in Ukraine, studied in UK and eventually earned his degree there as a doctor. His parents died at an early age, his auntie was the one who took care of him and he was cheated on by his girlfriend. after a month he said he has a trip to Cambodia for a contract with UKAid. When he was there, he told me that something went wrong with the machines he was trying to install there in a hospital and needed money to buy a new or else he wont be paid for the whole contract. I have had initial doubts on him and tried to google him but unfortunately did not find anything at that time. So yes, i was scammed as i sent him money which i thought he needed. Only much later that i learned how to do the reverse image search in Google where i discovered that the profile pic he used (and all the photos he shared with me) belonged to another doctor. I saw all of the photos he shared with me in the instagram account of the other doctor which appeared to be more legit. When i confronted him, he cant answer directly and eventually stopped chatting with me. Its a hard lesson for me and it's still fresh as of this writing. I was really hurt that i cant believe i'd fall for a scammer. May this be a lesson for everyone here.

i met a woman online from accra ghana. always asked for steam cards, and money, and that she needed food. so many lies be careful. she goes by janet nti......

Hi guys anybody chatting to a guy named
Stephen Lennon Webb on Tinder uses Lennon .pretends to be US army on a un peace mission in Yemen. Very good looking like george clooney .then claims to love you and wants to marry you but needs to have his exit form shipped to your address then emailed to his camp co ordinate..I played along and the shipment cost was $1539 .I told him to jog on .was quickly deleted ....I wonder why ..just be careful ladies an extremely handsome guy .has lots of photos .

Hi ladies I was on a dating site when I got a message from Dave telling me he had met his soul mate here and now he was getting off. But he was showing his best friend, Greg, the site and my profile came up. His friend is very interested in me, but he wasn't registered yet. Here is his email and phone #. Naturally, I was curious so I emailed. First Greg sent me pictures so I could approve whether I wanted to continue speaking with him. Then he was the sweetest widower you had ever met. Fortunately, I got another message from another dating site from a guy named Rob telling me the exact thing Dave had said. He had met his soul mate, but his good friend who was a widower and not on this site yet wanted to meet me. Rob gave me his friend's email and phone # as well. This hit me like a brick wall. I realized Greg was part of a scam. I immediately blocked Greg and thanked God for protecting me.

anyone knows Giovvani P Ortiz?we met on POF. For 2mo just talk by text phone FaceTime. He never asked for money since he said he financially free and wanna give me support, but never happened. He said he was in SoCal. Then one day got a call for his daddy got COVID-19 plus brain tumors. So basically for these two month just talk about his life families and how much he loved me, want a family with me balabala. For couple of times he wanted to buy my air ticket or something, but when I asked, he did not. He said his father suddenly passed away. His father in Orlando area has 2 McDonald’s and one car wash... I felt something wrong, then asked him to give a physical address l. He gave me a home address belonged to totally someone else. The house also looked different than he showed me before.
What his purpose to scam ? No money No sex?

Met scammer Winford H Miller. He says he is a Marine deployed in Germany and needs money because of the pandemic. Has a LinkedIn account and is very convincing. Met on POF and moved to WhatsApp. Beware he is very handsome and charming. People can be so EVIL!!!

Thank you for this. I just matched with him tonight and of course we chatted for a very long time. I was leery due to some of the details and a few language goofs, but his conversation skills seemed to be okay. Glad I trusted m my gut and did some research. Searched for the LinkedIn profile you mentioned and it’s definitely the same photos.

I chatted with guy named Rummenie Eric Lopez oringinally from madrid spain, grew up in Kentucky and now living in California. He told me he has 2 sons and his wife died in accident. He add me on facebook. He said his work is a military medic and will send a package woth $45000. And due to pandemic I need to pay little amount for the cost to ship in my country. How was the plot? So much for love scam.

I met this man online via LinkedIn named Harrison Soyun. He said he is a 38 year old, lived in Singapore but before he came he was living in Manchester, England. His dad is a Korean and mother a malaysia. We chatted since mid May and he shared few photos of himself - he looked Asian. He is the sweetest man I have ever met, encouraging, loving and positive. He said he cannot wait to spend the future with me and my kids. We have a few call and 3 video calls. He has a british accent I think. One day he told me he had to leave to Romania to help a friend in a water infrastructure project. His friend has been incarerated for domestic violence and hitting his wife. After he took over the project he continued to send photo of him in safety hat, video call when he was onsite. He even spoke to my 12 years old son. Shortly he shared that the friend he was helping had borrowed money from the loan shark and they are mafia. And 1 day the mafia's rivarly went to the project site and created chaos, stole and damage the supplies. As he has been using his bank account to repay the loan shark, the bank contacted him that they have to freeze his bank accounts just to ensure he has not been kidnapped and involuteerily making fund transfers. He said he had only shared this incident with me and his mum's caretaker. One day, he called me and cried to me that his mum's caretaker had related his predicament to his mum and resulted his mum who is in stage 3 pancreatic cancer to collasp and had to be sent to ICU. He asked me for GPB10,000 as a deposit for his mum's hospital procedure and he will repay me with interest once his bank reactivate his bank account. What do you all think of his story?

That is a scam. Don’t transfer any money to him. Same person I met in LinkedIn and same story he told me like his mom needs a surgery because she’s in the hospital and have stage 3 cancer. he is an engineer. He also told me that he is having a project in Romania and he have this close friend from WHO who gave that project.
He is also sweet and caring but when I keep on reading his messages and connecting the dots I felt that there’s something wrong and when he sent me a video and play it slowly I saw a pregnant woman in his side, its a quick video but I intend to watch it in slow motion.
That’s why i decided to investigate him and I saw your post. My gut is always true. Don’t let this man manipulate you with his sweet and caring words.
I already blocked him in LinkedIn.
Be vigilant.

Hi, edique_iggy,
I live i UK and if you're a resident or even a citizen of UK, you are entitled for regular NHS treatment, certainly you dont have to pay for it unless of course you dont use the private health care, but it is not very likely. Certainly it's a scam. Beware. Ignore. Block. Goodluck

Is there anyway I can contact you,as I feel this same guy called me yesterday.do you have a pic of him?

Hello. Does anybody have an experience with a chef who is on a mission from Dallas to Syria? Working for a four seasons hotel to cater for UN employees? He says he is 33 and all alone. His parents have passed away when he was 17 and he is alone from that time.

Sounds like a scam right when I read ” a mission from Dallas to Siberia.” These guys will always claim to be stationed in a foreign country. This sets things up for later when they ask you for money to be wire transferred. Or to be put on a green dot card. Do a reverse search image on his photo. Type his name into a search bar also. I’ll bet you won’t be able to find anything on the name that he gave you. And if you do the picture will not match with the name. You will find The info you are looking for with a little minor investigating . Be very careful and always investigate a love interest who you meet online. These guys are real first class idiots and creeps. They will look for weakness in you so they can rob you. Don’t allow that to happen.

I was scammed last year fortunately only £250 but I feel so stupid . Now when I look back and see how he manipulated me I hate him . Goes by the name of Joel cook . Was also talking to another person Doctor Parnell who gave me a sorry about being held in Mexico for accidentally killing a child in a car accident . These people make me feel angry because of the people who vulnerable to them

I have been using Scrabble GO for 3 months and in that time six guys have attempted to scam me. Anything from ,399 dollar iTunes voucher to 58,000 dollars! All claimed I am or was the love of their life: the names they used were:
Major General Tempel. Still on Scrabble altho I reported him.
David Daryl. On a rig in Gulf if Mexico. Great liar. Good-looking with inevitable tragically dead wife and son. Guilt tripping into helping him
Roberto Orlabdo from LA. Currently in a rig off Africa and without Internet. Very insistent then very abusive;
Ruiz Palma. Claimed to be gas tech with boat for exploration. Oligarch. Flat in Moscow. Wife died with breast cancer when child born. Very wealthy but I must prove my love by sending a PS4. Very authoritarian. Beautiful looking and sulky.
Finally Robert William. A soldier CSM in Afghanistan. Very convincing. Fake photo. Guy was Nigerian when I confronted him. We are weirdly still in touch as we liked each other! Beware military scammers especially. If they cannot send an email from their US army site they are fake. If they can't send a photo in uniform. They are fake. ..anyon e come across these guys?

I meet with my scammer on fb after he spoke with me on Google hangouts.. First he try speak with me about his childhood.. He toold me he is alone. He don't have family only one daughter. He told me he is us military soldier.Couple weeks he ask me about pay his military vacation or emergency leave... I been suprise.. If i told him i can't. He start attacking me and he told me i selfish and terrible person. His name is Donald Patrick... So unaviablle

James avalos is asking me to contact his nanny who is watching his kid. He send a email to contact her. I think it is a scam.

This guys name is Kelvin Anderson 44 years old. Says he works for a military organization. He was sent to Ukraine for 3 weeks. Just send me a link to a fake Discover card page and asked me to login and check his account. I've only been talking to him for a week, so sharing such personal information set off red flags. I noticed that the link he sent me spelled discovercard wrong. Called him out on being a scammer right away. He also claims to be a widow, without access to food where he is, says he was feeling ill. Sent pictures of him in snow, however, its summer in Ukraine. Keeps your wits about you ladies, if your gut tells you run... RUN!

I think my friend might be in a potential scam? Has anyone come across a dr frank smith? Lives in texas but had to go away on contract to South Africa? Has a son in boarding school? Manchester? Same story line as most of the other stories lost his parents etc half German half American?

CAUTION: A guy called himself Daniel James on Linkedin, claiming being an Orthopedics Surgeon at United Nations under contract in Badgdad, Iraq. I told him yesterday before blocking him it is extremely challenging for a foreign scammer to fake an American doctor! I have never been on dating sites and do not use social media, either. I have a Linkedin account though and was approached by this scammer who stole a photo from someone who is very nice looking and probably is a real doctor. I never believed in him basically because of his English which is pretty good and still not good enough to fake a native American doctor. Never spoke with him on phone, as I have been busy enough with my work. I just wanted to see when and how he would start to ask for money. It ended up his personal hospital equipment (did not bother asking what they are) being confiscated at Malaysia custom, on his way to come to see me (what a joke). Then I got a call from Malaysia and rejected it then blocked the number. Before he opened his dirty mouth to ask for money, I blocked him and reported him to Linkedin. So, the scammer is from Malaysia which explains his weird schedule. Claimed his wife died 7 years ago, his only daughter (named Monica) is at high school and lives with a family friend at LA (what kind of parent may do this to their teenage kid), very God fearing (they should because there is a spot in hell reserved for them) . The scammers have scripts which are well written with no grammatical errors. But the scripts do not work when conversations go further and specific. Grammatical mistakes are always obvious to me though I am not a native English speaker myself.

By the way, there are a couple of other Linkedin accounts which is very similar to this one. Please be Alert!

Fell for an oil rigger by the name of Sam Nguyen in the Gulf of Mexico. He claims to have a 15 year old daughter who loves me and wants me to be her mom. He loves me and wants to marry me after a month and calls me his wife. Asks me to send his daughter gifts and send him gift cards. He can’t get to his money because he is off shore. Makes 800,000 a year. Said he wanted to come visit me and I pay for the ticket and he gets into a car accident on the way to the airport. Now he needs money for hospital bills. I’m so stupid. Says he’s from Canada. Oh and his fake doctor name is Dr. Tim Wesley.

Utterly devastated. I am a highly educated, successful woman who embarrassingly got caught up in an online romance scam. I have been messaging and conversing on the phone with a man who claims to be an engineer of Metallurgy currently on a pipeline job in Alaska. He claims to be from Denmark and relocated to Phoenix about a year ago. Claims he is a widower of 3 years and has a son who attends a college in Maryland...supposedly the reason he relocated to the US. I have been in communication with this man for 9 months. He claimed, early on, to have been caught off guard not having internet service in this remote area of Alaska and he gave me his banking log on info to wire money from his account to pipeline vendors. Then claimed his bank froze his wiring capabilities. for international wire...his bank is supposedly in Acotland where his mother resides. Yes, stupidly, I wired my own funds to the tune of six figures to help him get the necessary pipeline valves, tariffs and other expenses so he could finish his contracted project through BP. This man comes off as such a sweet, loving, God fearing man. He was supposed to be out of Alaska back in Nov....but is still there claiming he now needs funds to do some others required work mandated by BP, the company he said he won the bid from to do the project. I have always had some lingering thoughts regarding scam......but this guy is good! This week he said he is getting funds from an old friend but was shy $17,000. At this point I’m extremely suspicious and went along saying that I would wire the $17K. He suggested his friend wire $70,000 to me, then I ride the 87k to the vendor. I started reading on this platform and learned about Google reverse photo search. To my utter amazement and extreme disappointment, I found out he was using pictures from a well-known Canadian speaker/author’s Facebook page....even baby and childhood pictures! I called him out on it....but to this moment he claims everything he’s told me, other than the pictures, is true and that he is disappointed in himself . He still say he loves me “now and forever”. He is refusing to send me any real pictures of himself and says he feels “unattractive” and wants to wait until he “comes to me” to work it out. I keeping the lines of communication open because it want to mail this guy. I would like to know if this sounds familiar to anyone else and want options I have to have this guy prosecuted. I feel reasonably confident I will not see any of the money back despite his assurances he will pay me back. What recourse do I have?

I never received a Emerson pay would like to know what it it go to and how can I get it

Friendship on any site you talk to this person for while and first thing they fall in love with you and ask if you have whatsapp and want you to join delete immediately faker scammer report and delete I sometimes delete 4-5 guys a day

does any one know about a building engineer called Jeff from Texas, He is going to close down his company and move to Sweden and merry my girlfriend after they known each other two weeks. Its of course not thru but she is so scamed i cant talk to her,

Be careful also I got scam I met him in a smule app he used the name Mark Thompson and pretend tobe a military doctor.

My Mark Thompson is a general who has been in Syria for 6 years! He has not parents, his sister died and he isn’t married, but has adopted a child who is 16 and lives in Cyprus while he is in Syria.
He said he is in love whit me from the first week. I knew him through Tandem, an app to practise languages.
First he asked me for money because his son was ill. I refused it.
Now, he said he wants te send me 3,1million dollars in cash from Syria. I cut the communication.
I’m sorry for my English, but is not my language

Has anyone been contacted by Trevor Phillips who says he is a road and bridge construction engineer working in Africa

Be careful, online Scams gets sophisticated as the day goes by.

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