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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 havent fallen for these, but i recently created a fake account and many people have tried to scam me. ive dealt with all of them in a comedic way, but today it turned more into a threat, and he said that he will hire a hitman against me. i'm not necessarily worried, since i didnt use my name, address, number, country or even picture for this fake account (its one of those fake boomers account and i sort of mock them with it) but i'm wondering if there is a source for these scammers? once i accepted a video call so i could hold up a picture of a meme to the camera, but i heard several men speaking in tagalog in the background. does anyone know of any corporations who do these things?

I am in a love scam and it is terrible the experience I'm having four people getting attacked with me saying that they're the same person anybody in contact with somebody by the name of David Lee he also says that he was in the Army and he needed money to come home on and that he wanted to come be with me and buy a house he needed money for this and money for that anybody have encounters with this man

Where does he say he is stationed?

Why my comment do not show up here?

Has anyone been approached on Scrabble Go by a Wills G or Graham W? Says he's a marine geologist, then also in construction is widowed with 3 grown children, Lives in Santa Barbara but is currently working in Texas. Send pics of himself, his children, him as a boy and at 20. Says he fell in love with my humour. Chatted for 3 weeks then asked me for money to finish a job he had in Mexico. I said no, asked him to prove who he was by sending a picture with him holding a piece of paper with my name on. He did and I have reversed imaged every pic he has sent and nothing comes up. But I also can't find him anywhere either. I'm beyond trying to figure this one out.
And like others Scrabble Go is rife with oil rig workers who are scammers. Caught two and got them before they got me LOL.

Hi I think this maybe the same guys am talking to, do you have pictures I have pictures . Let exchange

I matched with a guy using the name Luca Nicholas, claims he is a ship captain, started chatting 4 days ago, one day he would be in one ocean the next a different one that is not possible. His feelings escalated quickly to I love you, then he asked me what time I finished work this evening so we could chat, told him, minutes before that time he messaged me an sos message saying his ship had broken down and has taken out the comms I was the only person in the world that could help. He gave he an email address to contact which generated an invoice. He gave me his bank account login so I could pay the invoice from his bank account. It failed! He then wanted me to pay the invoice and he would pay me back. I googled the ship, it is moored in another country, I googled the company the invoice came from, couldn't find it. I haven't paid it. He then sent videos of a ship being struck by super high waves and said I was going to be responsible for all his crew dying. I googled wave height on the Mediterranean Sea where he was supposed to be stranded, those wave heights are not physically possible in that sea. Don't fall for it, he claiming to be 36 and his pics look super hot, he rang me briefly once and his voice sounded much older.

I have been talking to a guy on line for 3yrs he has taken me for a lot of money is there anything I can do

So I did some more digging on Wills G aka Wills Graham and through social catfish found pics of him on 4 other sites. Also goes by Peter on Charm and Gabriel Jones. One says he's 40 the other 64 which is what he told me. I did ask if he was on any other sites and he must have clued in I found him and now he says he was on Facebook, found out he was being used so got off Facebook. Great way to explain why he's popping up all over the internet. I asked for a video call and all I got back was how I didn't trust him and how insecure I was blah blah blah. So beware ladies. Block him.

This guy also goes by David Hawkins, engineer, from Perth, dead wife, dead parents, only child, college in England, business w
owner in Need Jersey. Got all his belongings stolen when he went to Turkey and is now stuck there. Oh and also he got really sick and wound up in the hospital with no money to cover his expenses. He
Uses the same story with a little variances with each different person.
Funny. If these people are so very rich, why can't the company get them home?
So many holes in their story

hi my friend is talking to someone who is in the army as a surgeon his name is robinson he has a child frome nine years old who has passed away but i think he is a catfish he never calls with her he makes excuses and say i wil meet you soon but on the date that he should come he never show up and she wait for him like hours anyone who has a similar situation

Hi all, my dad recently reveived he’s been having an 8 month online/phone relationship with someone claiming to be a 40ish year old woman named Mavis Larry, lives in South Africa with a daughter 10 yrs old. Sounds like no money has bee propositioned, but they have been discussing her visiting my dad (who lives in the states) and I’m pretty certain this is a scam. The met online, have never met in person, she sends lots of pics, claims she cannot video chat because she doesn’t have a phone to do that, but she can use friends phones to send pics. I have one pic of her I reverse google searched with no results, as well as an email address that doesn’t show up either. My dad is intent that she is real, they will meet, and even said he hopes he can visit her in Africa sometime. Anyone have a story similar to this one?

My 88 year old dad has been involved in this exact scam for years! His current scam girlfriend claims she's in a concentration camp in the UK and has to come up with $1400 a month or she gets beaten!! My foolish dad gives it to her! He's gotten us evicted because he wasn't paying his share of our rent! We lived in the last home 20 Year's now we're in a apartment and he's still doing it and worse!

There is a woman out there as well. I had to take a VRO out in only 5 weeks of, got sucked right in. And found at least 5 different names so it’s not just guys

Has anyone run into a Michael Sander? That both his parents died one year after the other has a little girl named lorrie that lives with her mom in Las Vegas. that is on special mission in Lagos Nigeria but he's in the army from Addison Texas stationed out of San Antonio???

Has anyone had any dealings with Thomas Ranger? I met him on online dating site.

Has anyone been contacted by someone with this number. 1 505 278 0693. They use the names ken west or ellis goldberg

I met someone on a dating site, his name is Jas Thiara. He claims to be a hedge fund director and is from the UK. He will pretend to be amazing then slowly start showing how amazing his fund is doing and then ask you to invest. Then he’ll be gone once he has your money.

Hi, where can I find their photos?
I guess the pictures they send us are not real their.

Scammed by an Erick Jorgen who said he was Norwegian living in San Jose. Working on an oil rig in Texas. Lucky I found out early.

Has anyone had a run in with some named Amanda Rhoades? She claims she is an exterior/interior designer who recently took a contract in Nicosia, Cyprus. She immediately started asking for money to pay Customs to release her goods that were ordered for her design project. She's always saying that she loves me and that she will pay me back after the project has been completed and the client has paid her in full. She also says that she can't wait to be with me and that as soon as the project is done she will come and visit. But the demand for funds have been relentless.

I started talking to a man about a week ago his name is Frankie. First he was from New York looking for a relationship, marriage or intimate encounter. Came from New York.when he contacted me pushed me offline to a phone number, I called him on the intimate encounter thing. He removed it from his profile.
Few days later now he comes from North Carolina.
You stalked me for days calling me on the phone sending me messages that he loves me and.
Allegedly his wife died in the 9/11 tragedy.coincidentally his daughter's name is the same as mine she's 25 years old going to college.
Things seemed okay but he was too pushy with the love. Buy his daughter a BMW for her birthday. Asked me what I would buy her?
I said I don't know her and I don't send gifts or anything to someone I don't know. He was angry with that.
Went back on the dating site because I hadn't heard from him.
Told me I was too stingy and selfish.
He claims to own all these homes he's in a decorator of interior.
Very defensive when I question his changing where he came from.
I've had several men be widowed.
They wanted me to send gifts to their children.
This guy is the total con artist.
he has two phones which he claims one is business and the other is personal. Phone numbers are 516 400 370 + 516 308 6080.
I have photos of him and his daughter he sent me.
I blocked him from the site and reported him and I blocked him on my phone.
They're getting very clever. On how they approach you even on Facebook post comments. They claim they try to friend you.it wouldn't go through would you friend them and they have only one photo and little to no info please be careful.

there are scammers that get on fb messenger and let you see them. Don't let that give you a false sense of security. I talked to one for over 7 months only to find out he was just after money.

Women scammer Mabel Grant. From Georgia wants to get life together needs help moving sick mom absent dad scammer

I met a scammer on the hinge dating app. He said he was 44, single, no kids and works as an independent contractor on an oil rig. He goes by David Xhaka from Switzerland, but lives in Charlotte, NC. We conversed every day for nearly two months until he stated one of his machines broke and he needed money via bitcoins to send to the logistics company (JPL Logistics). He was quite the charmer and good looking. Ladies beware. I did not send him money.

I just asked this question about him. Exact same situation with me. Talked for like six weeks and that exact scenario came up. I didn’t give him any money either. Well he wanted me to transfer money from his account to somewhere

Has any heard the name Jim Wesley? Norway oil worker too.

I have friends one that is being scammed and a couple that someone tried to scam, common denominator is there always out of the country for one reason or another. Military or work.
I say, why do they want to start a relationship if they're out of the country even if it's only for a few months they would I think wait to come get back home before they start a relationship. I think it's a red flag.

Hartley Smith smith_ hartley 250 messaged me on IG and within a matter of minutes wanted to move the conversation to hangouts. I created a new account under a fake name to chat with him because I was already highly suspicious and it was very obvious he was not who he said he was. Claimed to be a Spanish man but was born and raised in North Carolina, terribly broken English. wife died of leukemia 5 years ago, both parents died and he was raised by a neighboring teacher (that just doesn’t happen in America). He claimed his mom was American and dad a Spanish man but he was not proud of his dad’s background so he took on his mom’s last name (Smith). I quickly saw through his attempts to sway me into believing he was the handsome, blonde hair blue eyes staff sergeant I saw in the photos and each time I questioned him he would get angry and swear at me. I let the conversation play out an entire day catching him in lie after lie with a complete disregard to my pointing it out before I really shut the conversation down. He also claimed to be on relief assignment in the states but would be return to Ireland in two days to finish out his last month before returning. He also mentioned an oil rig which appears to the theses scammers MO. (I assume had I continued the conversation I would have been asked for money after his return to Ireland). Unfortunately a reserve image search came up empty with the photos he sent and the ones I pulled from IG. He was also very quick to block me on IG after I chatted him on hangouts. smith_ hartley250

What’s happening if a romance scammer is not asking for anything from you?

GIVE IT TIME , IT WILL HAPPEN EVENTUALLY

Just be patient ... it might be a money mule scam which takes longer to establish as they need to get confident enough to put large amount of money on your account (in case YOU would be a scammer too and disappear with their money) ... so they wont ask you money, they will give you money, then you will transfer it somewhere and you will be associated with a fraud

GO very slow and make sure you tell them your flat broke and they have to get to you on there own merits. That tends to weed them out pretty fast.

Hi I'm talking to a marine name Anderson Bonilla he asked me if I can have his personal documents mailed to me but I have to pay $1250.00 to the deliy service to have it mailed to me I'd this a scam

Anyone here from a George Daniels?
Works as Head of Operations for Transocean Deep Water Drilling in the UK
Wife killed in a car wreck 6 years ago.
Son-15 years old
He creates a very convincing story!

I i am talking to a Lt James Reinitz he is a combat engineer deployed in Iran he is Divorced
Has a son named Michael
His mother has Alzheimer
We are romantically involved
Has anyone heard of him

Dear Tanis

Unfortunately, your Lt James Reinitz has just lost his heart to me on Scrabble GO. Beware girl! Run as fast as you can from this scammer.

PS: He has a picture of a young army personnel with a small boy in mohawk cut hair.

I have been talking to a Mary J Wattson profile on Facebook. Anybody else talking to her? I think it's a fake but the reverse image search only shows one result. I hope someone else out there is being put through the same scam.

I have been reading these comments. What stories these men create. I joined a dating site, Elite Singles, 3 weeks ago. First time doing this. What a joke. In the last 7 days two scammers have been in contact with me. One is named Russell H. Williams, email: Russ Williams013 . Age 59, Civil Engineer, wife killed 7 yrs ago in auto accident, dtr 26 one day and 27 the next day. He states he lives in Lost Springs, Wyo(population of 4). Bald, attractive. Very good with words but English is his second language. Born in France to a French mom and Australian dad. Raised in Australia. Came on really strong with romantic talk on first day. Immediately wanted to talk on phone or email. I wouldn't give him phone number, but gave him an email that I only used for the dating site. Dtr getting a Master's degree in Australia. He sends very long lovey emails. The second day he got more lovey. Didn't engage like he was including my info in his emails as you would in a normal give and take email. Anyway, the third day I asked him some questions like where he worked, how he liked living where he did, where he got his Master's degree. Nothing. No response from him. He never asked me for money, but I didn't give him time. There were red flags. I sent him an email telling him that he shouldn't try and fool a female who had worked with hundreds of prisoners. The reason I did that was because he took his name and pic off the site, but a new guy named Russ popped up and got a hold of me. He too was attractive, sort of, age 60, was working in Montana as some kind of property type management person. He also wanted to go to a private email or use a phone without even talking to me. I told him that English was a second language for him and he said he was French! Didn't bother to get any more info from him, just told him he should meet Russell from France and Australia. End of these guys. So beware. I think it was the same guy and he didn't remember my name or picture. I reported both to Elite Singles and they will check them out. Two weeks ago same story with a guy named Dave. Told him I wouldn't give him my phone number or email. Really bad vibes from him. I cancelled my membership. I had my age as 65 so maybe the older females re a bigger target. Beware!!!

Has anyone come across the name Anthony Miller.

I know someone who is speaking to an Anthony Miller at this time. Would love to hear more on this guy.

Hello I don't know if I am in on a scam I am talking to. Her About year Now no video chat with her still And even no voice call just once I pay her rent and food And plane ticket to comeback to Canada All$ sent to her is buying cards gift cards or western Union so And she's living in Istanbul turkey but she is a Canadian citizen so I have called her out many times About of being a scam just has a answer for everything help me

Sounds like someone I know. She is a scammer. What name does she use?

Please be aware of an offshore worker called Charles Williams, 57 year old, lost his wife 6 years ago to cancer. He was born in Dublin, now lives in Brooklyn, New York but on an oil rig in Germany. 2 children Lisa & John who live with Grandma in Paris, France. Plenty of photo's and one even photo-shopped after trying to check him out on line. Only blocked him yesterday when he asked for 4,000 euros to pay for machinery to finish his job. I met him on Scrabble Go, the scammers are such charmers.

I think he tried to initiate conversation with me. Met o scrabble site. Wes an independence co track to. An oil well in the gulf. Lived I. Texas I think. Was a real jerk when I told him I didn’t want to continue texting. Said my boyfriend was scamming me.

Has anyone heard of Luigi Fox? I met him online but things started to not add up. Very sweet, all photos professionally done. Tried to do a revers image of it but nothing showed up. Tired of paying sights to check out a person you met on a dating sight. Says he is a widow, never had kids, from Italy, moved to Texas from California, has a sister that he doesn't get along with or talk to. Has his own aerospace company and was offered a job to go work in Spain for a few weeks on company planes. Leaves this Saturday and would like me to take care of some business for him and asked me for my banking information so he could put some money in there so I can send it to a 3rd company because he wont have great internet service over there. I just wanted to put this out there because I have a feeling he may be taking to several people because he made a slip on one text by putting another persons name on there when he said hi. Let me know if someone else has. His pictures he uses is a very nice looking man. Grey hair, looks like hazel eyes more brown. Wish I could post a picture. Good luck out there, be smart, no good guy is going to ask you for money if they haven't even meet you.

I was scammed by a man named Dalton Jerry he said he was from Germany and had a daughter that was ill wife and sons killed in accicdent in California he said he lives in Los Angeles but I think he lives in Texas now . funny that he worked on oil rig and had no money I went broke because of him and he didn't care everytime he was to come to see me he got sick or he used the ticket I bought him and went to see another woman. he had a so called lawyer tell me I had to pay his taxes so I did and I got squat and so I took everything and now I am trying to get some of my money back but I found out that all of my money went to a bank in Nigeria so I doubt very much if I will see nothing. I just wish I would of listened to my gut when he asked me to be friends with him on FB because I would of turned him down if I would of known there was a oil rig dating scam site

Is anyone knows Mike Davies? He claims that he is IT specialists working on security codes. He also said that we have son who lives with his auntie in Texas and he’s working in Chicago.

Has anyone been scammed on League of Legends gamer app by anyone?

Have you noticed a lot of scammers 2 first names- fir example Paul Frank, John James, Michael Nicholas, Jimmy Lee, Derek Mark - these have all contacted me via LinkedIn. Although John Townsend was a definite LinkedIn scam caught out by a reverse search

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