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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

Is anyone else being talking to a Major General Charles L Moore Jr. US Air Force. Met on Scrabble. Moved on to A new chat Venue and all the usual chat up line. Love, marriage. Etc. Much the same as others I’ve read comments on. Steam Cards. Wife dead. One child. If it is a scammer he’s really good

Same just happened to me online dating sites. More than once. They read books about women, talk to women to find out how to be and what women want . It’s a sad shame.

I was scammed by a guy named Adam Mustafa and claims to be a Merchant Navy Deck officer. Please avoid contact BEWARE.

I me someone, Tom Muller. The usual talk, then love. He said he was getting paid a lot of money and wanted me to take it so we can buy a house when his contract was done. He said he made me his beneficiary so now it appears I have an account in London. They want a lot of money to release the funds. I told Tom I don’t have it. Blocked I’m on WhatsApp but he had a different number and called me. He threatened to post my photos too. My face is on some of them. He says he wants his money but can’t access cause it’s under my name. Getting the account was also very fishy. I don’t know what to do. I’m trying to put it off and delay but time is ticking. Anyone with suggestions? I even thinking of contacting a lawyer. Please, anyone, I need advice.

This man might be using you to help him transfer stolen money. Scammers often trick people into helping them. They meet someone online, create a relationship, and ask the new partner to use her bank account or open a new account. Then, the scammer asks the victim to receive and transfer money to another scammer.

If you do this for a scammer, your name is on the bank account and on the money transfer forms. If you get involved with one of these schemes, you could lose money and personal information, and you could get into legal trouble. The bank may close your account and block you from having an account in the future.

Or, this could be a different scam. The scammer might have made up a story about a bank account with a lot of money, and made up the "fees"  to "release funds" from his account.  He might be telliing that story so you'll send money to pay those "fees."   

If someone threatens you, you can report him to the site where you are communicating, the site where you met him,  and to the FTC at www.FTC.gov/Complaint.

 

This man might be using you to help him transfer stolen money. Scammers often trick people into helping them. They meet someone online, create a relationship, and ask the new partner to use her bank account or open a new account. Then, the scammer asks the victim to receive and transfer money to another scammer.

If you do this for a scammer, your name is on the bank account and on the money transfer forms. If you get involved with one of these schemes, you could lose money and personal information, and you could get into legal trouble. The bank may close your account and block you from having an account in the future.

Or, this could be a different scam. The scammer might have made up a story about a bank account with a lot of money, and made up the "fees"  to "release funds" from his account.  He might be telliing that story so you'll send money to pay those "fees."   

If someone threatens you, you can report him to the site where you are communicating, the site where you met him,  and to the FTC at www.FTC.gov/Complaint.

 

HI! how does he looks like? I'm thinking I'm dealing with the same guy too.

Anyone being scammed by A Jason Lanza?

Nige... What does he look look ? And does he have a young daughter? I have been speaking with a Jason furnam .

Had an experience with some one posing as a doctor in Somalia wanted me to use hang outs he went by the name
Godswill Miles which probably fake and stolen gave me the
Scripted text about getting his money out of Somalia lots of spelling mistakes I blocked him already

Someone knows Harry Richard Morgan Ferguson. Vincent Morgan, Steven Benjamin, Radloff Charles Peter? Too bad a photo can't be sent

I met someone who says his name is Martin Maxwell Anderson, 46, lives in Miami, is a widower, daughter 13 years old, has pictures, I think of someone else...his do I post pics if it's the same guy. I'm suspecting he's from Nigeria...he asked me to open a bank account yesterday...so I'm done, but playing along to see what other information he wants.

Be careful everyone.

I was messaged by a Scott Glen on messenger. He immediately started calling me dear. He wants to chat several times a day and claims he works on an oil rig in Venezuela. That is as far as it is going. Thank you for this website.

Hi please beware that I was almost scammed by someone claiming to be Jeffrey Scofield, using the images of a Jeffrey Sorenson. Jeffrey Sorenson is a real person and has had his profile pictures hacked and reused for scamming purposes. Poor guy....anyway this was on the dating site Tinder. You can verify this if you google Jeff Sorenson.... The dude or dudette claimed they were in the Marines, was divorced with a 12 year old daughter and was from LA. They stated that they resided in Devens MA. Devens MA was a former military base in Ayer Massachusetts that was closed down in the late 90's it does have some active duty members still on base, army reserve etc. and a military hospital. Now this Jeff said that he was being deployed to Lebanon...nice timing. We know our fraudster is up on current events. He mentioned that he was trying to get gift cards so he play games when he was over seas. I didn't buy into that. He then talked about care packages and lieu of care package I could by him and ebay card for 100 dollars....but not just one two cards in 50.00 increments...hmmm. Easier to resell no? Warning this person is kinda ok with the military jargon. So he can be a bit believable. He is also the love of your life that you never found, was cheated on by his wife with his best friend while deployed and is in special ops. Well when I asked him for a picture because we were now communicating via text he said that I could not tell anyone he sent this to me because he needed to get me on his familiy list to facetime...He pulled out all the stops....almost fishy because no American man use the term "Dear" over and over. Anyway...please beware of this...and for god sake don't tell him how you found out.

Adam Gonzalez Legit Military guy laid on the love thick. I know who his ex girlfriend is. His sidekick, another legit Military guy, goes by David Kelvin Steve on FB, is a veteran who was injured and is in a wheelchair or something after injuring leg/foot in Kabul. David has a wife (Sarai?) who is a nurse and 2 teenage sons. Both legit military men who found a loophole to make money from vulnerable single women....enlisted the help of a Nigerian (or Mali) worker when Adam was stationed there. Constant pressure to send money from both Adam and David, the African man ended up crushing on me and spilling the beans. Money divided three ways at least - 4th player another Military person - a woman who is the recipient of the money into her US account. Letting karma take care of things... don't know what else to do.

Can’t add picture think I had this guy on Facebook last night othapedic surgeon saying he’s from San Antonio but working in Yemen in the military. Under the name Frank Allen. Thanks to this page I haven’t got sucked in

Have been emailing this guy from Penpal world who says his name is Thomas Walton from UK whos pretended to be Irish American stranded in UK as a costume designer, pretending to be a widow wife died same yr as his dad. With an 11 yr old son. Uses numerous photo of a guy.. sounds very genuine and kind on his emails. Eventually spoke to him over the phone. Obviously not who he says he is... blocked all communication

Anyone hear from Henry from Switzerland? Living in US for 17 years?

Beware of using Instagram to make new contacts .. it is full of fakes!! I recently starting using as a photo galllery and was approached by Jojo Marine 2000 claiming to be Aaron Goldberg an oil rig consultant from LA . We switched to chatting through Google Hangouts and seemed a nice lonely guy who was widowed with a teenage daughter. He knew I was married and not looking to date but started to get romantic and I saw some flaws in his story but I played along for a bit to see where it was going. Eventually started to reveal problems with his contract and couldn't get back home if didn't pay for machine parts. He then asked me for financial help in form of iTunes or Amazon card codes. I'm savvy enough to check out his ID .. no digital footprint and no evidence from phone of who he is? I challenged him to provide evidence and he got all defensive and refused. I have reported the accounts to both Hangouts and Instagram.
Around same time I was also approached via Instagram by a pilot called Alex who also switched to chatting via Instagram.
His account disappeared off Instagram after that. Again I was highly suspicious that he was contracted to support a UN military initiative in Libya but chatted as he seemed lonely out there. Another single dad from Amarillo Texas with a 3 year old daughter back home with nanny. He started asking if I would make a charity donation to refugees out there, then to join a bitcoin plan and finally to buy him steam cards to contact his daughter as couldn't access his bank account. I refused all requests and then he started getting upset and refused to show evidence of who he is. Another one reported to Hangouts!

Is there some way we can share photos? My guy has the same basic story but is working in Belgium on contract with ExxonMobil and has a 12-year-old daughter in Utah. I kept asking for pictures and got a collection that appears to have a 5-10 year range of his age. Only three of the pictures appear in photo searches, and they are on only two dating sights. Both sites say he hasn’t been active in several weeks. He approached me through Words with Friends. I don’t belong to any dating sites.

I met a " christian" man Dave Halbert. in the beginning he was all nice and loving. Then he started asking for a calling card. Then another one. He said all kinds of things, marriage etc. He asked for money saying he needed it for his broken engine. He said he worked on a rig in the golf of Mexico, sending me photos etc. At first he sounded sincere but then the money question came.
So if any woman meets a Dave Halbert, be aware. He is not Dave.
He is someone from Bulgaria, is what he said. Now he uses another name Steve Gilbert.

I met him through MetMe dating site. He goes by James Donald Enzo. He sent me many goodlooking pictures of himself. He is from Italy. He asked me after 3 weeks to set up a cashapp. He is from Texas. Anything sound familiar to anyone?

Have any of you encounter a Steve Manseek Choi? Says he's overseas, has one son (13 yrs), wife is dead. Right away said he wanted to marry me. Met on FB, then went to Whatsup.

Yes, the same story here. Dr Mark Williams, cardiothoracic surgeon from Sweden but now works in London. skyped me, then moved me to whatsapp. his 15 year old son is in a boarding school in Switzerland. a widower. when he said he likes cooking (in the present tense, not in the past tense) with his wife and asking me if I am married and if my husband is treating me fine, I blocked him. total scammer.

Watch out for a Scott Parker from Texas. Met through Silversingles. Says he is a consultant for solar energy. American father, Turkish mother. Been emailing, talking and texting since early July. Had to go to Cuba last week to check on his rental properties-asked for me to send him 2 IPADS last night. Very charming and intelligent. He sent all types of pictures. Feel free to reach out to me if you think you have encountered the same person. He is a scammer!

I want to share with everyone my cousin’s experience. She matched with this guy on Tinder and invited her to chat immediately on Whatsapp last July 26 with this guy named Remmy. Chinese looking guy with curly hair, about 170-180cm tall, with cross tattoos on his right and left shoulder and dragon on his right waist.

He pretended that he loves her and will marry her after few days of communicating. He even asked her to look for a house they could buy with budget of USD 700,000 and asked her if she could give her share amounting to USD 100,000.

He was also asking for nude photos but my cousin is too smart not to notice he is a scammer. He was persistent to know how much she was earning and how much employees she have.

There were a lot of red flags so we asked for a valid ID. He sent my cousin a fake passport after more than 20hrs. He took a while to edit his passport. My cousin works developing websites for years that’s why it was so easy for her to spot the difference fonts used in Name, Date of Birth and Gender fields.
It’s good that he did not get any money from her but there must be someone else he is trying to scam now online.

Claims to be Chinese born and raised in Brisbane, Australia:
Fake names: Raymond Cheng / Reymond Cheng / Remmy
Name on Tinder: Remmy
Age: Claims 34 and 39yo
Landline no used in an unverified Whatsapp business account +61 2 8607 7119

I have been on Zoosk dating site. I have had 4 women try to scam me. Usually I can figure is out but I did fall for it once. Her name is Daniella Sander. She said she was picking up some antiques from South Africa and would be returning by the end of the week. She said she had her own company. She had me fooled because she sent me pictures of herself but one had a sign saying hello to me. She also sent me photos of her passport and bank statement. I even got a check for her that she wanted me to keep for her. She even had a police report after she was "robbed". In the beginning or our "relationship" she seemed totally legitimate. We would talk about relationship issues. She even sent me a picture of herself and her "14 year old daughter" She gave her U.S. address which was five minutes away from where I live. Because I believed her documents were real I started to give her money. Here is what I did wrong:
1. Gave her money using Money Orders, Gift cards and Bitcoin.
2. She had a picture on her profile that was not her.
3. She claimed to be 42 and I am 60
4. I never saw here face to face only text. She rarely answered her phone and the person had an accent. She said she grew up in Ireland and did not have an Irish accent.
5. Wanted my bank account number.
6. Said that when she got back to the U.S. she would pay me back.
If you are not sure about whether you are being scammed or not as soon as they ask for money no matter the sob story that is a dead giveaway. Don't be a sucker like I was.

Happened to me was talking to a guy for week and tonight said can you send me money I'm running out he also said a marine so as I'm quite on it soon as asked me for money I went on line did my research and all what I'd heard from this person was everything on the tick list
Say there military
Ask for money
Also I asked for a military Id card and more evidence he wouldn't so don't believe anything if ask for money straight way go look on net and your fund it all and question these people they get defensive and try to say your something

I have a friend who is in a psychiatric hospital due to a man named Harry Gavin. Who is single on an oil rig in Sweden. He told her he dold his shares of oil worth $900 thousand dollars..she fell for it and then he was sick and was not able to be released off the ship and asked if she would accept this money through a shipping company that starts with an a..i want to say ameritic...sonehow tge package contains the 900k did not get to her apartment so he needed money to find it...Guess what $67,000 of her life savings from the sake of her home went to him...she will now be going to a homeless shelter after they get her deprssion under control....his name is Harry Gavin...is usually on instragram...be careful of him. He's a crook...He claims he's from Chicago with a birthdate of November 7, 1967..a black pug dog and he lives with his mother who's name is Theresa....and he's single ..i want to friend him and tell him off but I am afraid I cannot get her money back for her...

I pity your friend. This scammers have no heart and they have no souls. They are evil people. Why don't they work to earn money rather than playing with the emtions of innocent people who just want to be happy in having a soul mate. The sad part id they extort money from their victims.

Do some of you guys know a soldier called Anthony Good? He is in Afghanistan for a peace mission and adopted a son called michael. His wife died and he need a good wife to pay the amount so that he can go on vacation to meet his son. I think it’s one of those fake id.

This man now says he is an engineer working on oil drilling in Falkland Islands- says machine has broken down and he has zero balance in account- wants me to purchase a machine part on a website which he has sent and send him to an address in Stanley, in Falkland Islands- this fakester's number is +18506331966. He says he is chief engineer based in Florida and has a 9 year old son, says wife died in car crash.His profile is there on FB and Instagram as well.

I know not to send money or gift cards etc and that most of these guys have a smooth tongue and know how to romance your heart BUT, I have been talking to a man Steven Hughes. He is supposedly in Investing and needs my address about something with retiring. I have given him nothing but email. Does that sound like I am bring scammed? Can I send an address?

Do not accept money from him! He may be trying to use you to launder money, making you an accomplice. Anyone you haven't met, don't give or take a dime!

No no no do not give your home address to anyone, nor a main email address. Its a scam for sure.

I’ve been talking to a man named Morten Anders. He’s a private pilot who works internationally. He was trying to fly back home to Florida and got stuck in Venezuela and Ecuador. He asked me for iTunes cards and to wire transfer money. Unfortunately I did both before I realized it was all a scam. Met him off okcupid, even video chatted him briefly for a few minutes with a bad connection. My red flags - he always forgot conversations(even from the day before), he always had an answer, he wasn’t tech savvy... the list goes on. Lesson learned, I guess

Anyone talking to a guy that goes by Nelson Pedro. Claims to be from Corpus Christi Texas overseas in military mission. Has son in boarding school. Bank account is frozen so he needs money for his phone to talk. Promise to get married once he completed his mission. Claims to be 60 years old. Pretty sure he is scamming my mother who is on social security .

Definitely a scam, military would not have anything frozen and son in boarding school can always call him.

Was contacted by a guy who claims to be Korean American on POF, and he said he lives in NYC but then has to go to Australia for some delivery business (yes, right now during COVID pandemic). I was already skeptical when I found his spelling and grammar not matching up with someone who claims he only speaks English and not fluent in Korean. He also mentioned he was scammed by a lady he was trying to date from online by sending her money. He wanted very specifically to go on google chat, no FB, no IG, just the dreadful google hang out. Then comes the part where he talked about how his parents passed away a few years ago and also his fiancee cheated on him with his best friend. All these sounds soooo similar to another pretended military scammer that contacted me just a few months ago. I mean seriously, no one's life is so dramatic and so filled with sadness. If it is the case I don't think I wanna be with that unlucky guy anyway. I did not fall for that one, I ain't falling for this one either.

In any case, I pushed for an in person meeting soon since we live in the same state. He kept saying "if" his work is not too busy then we can meet. I had enough of his bs and confronted him that he is most likely a scammer, maybe some dude in Africa pretending to be a Korean American. Then to my surprise, he actually called?! Ok, I was wrong about him being African, but yea he has Asian accents - definitely not English native speaker though. But I am a bit confused and surprised by the audacity of today's scammer. They are gonna let you hear their voices now?

My potential scammer calls

And I did 1 short video chat with him
I was like I need to make sure that who I talk to matches face in picture I see... but we had several 'fights' before... but that 1 time I confronted he called within the minute.. man matched the picture the very least... I wasnt wearing my glasses so I said that outloud he was like can you see I was like yeh (I can still tell the face match the pics without my glasses) and then he's like good. I was like oh it's the same or something then he said I'm hanging up.

But there's been things that makes me feel like I'm still being scammed... so yes potential scammers might let you hear their voice and see their faces

Met a guy on Instagram named Ethan Daniel. I did some digging and found another page with the same face, different pictures and a different name- Clark Smallwood. He hasn’t asked me money, instead he tried to PayPal me some money but it didn’t work. He asked that I get an amazon card and send him the info on the back so the PayPal fee is paid. He hasn’t pressed the issue about sending me money, but he keeps saying that he wants to help me. He also said that he works on an oil rig in Ireland but lives in LA. Has anyone dealt with this person before?

Yes they all have different names. I came across same name with umpteen FB and IG accounts. The paypal and needing gift cards to set up a bank transfer s a common ploy dont fall for it. I ask who they are working for and email the company asking if they do. so far I have always received replies and always a no.

Does anybody come across DAvid Smith
He is an orthopedic surgeon, he is the head surgeon in UN in Damascus Syria

Anyone ever heard of a Kelvin Raymond Chris? Supposedly he’s an MD and medical director of a hospital in Amsterda.

Anyone ever come across a guy called Richie Ejovi omoraka who I am chatting to now. Or some one called Henry Don whose name I believe he uses sonetumr

I want to share with everyone my cousin’s experience. She matched with this guy on Tinder and invited her to chat immediately on Whatsapp last July 26 with this guy named Remmy. Chinese looking guy with curly hair, about 170-180cm tall, with cross tattoos on his right and left shoulder and dragon on his right waist.

He pretended that he loves her and will marry her after few days of communicating. He even asked her to look for a house they could buy with budget of USD 700,000 and asked her if she could give her share amounting to USD 100,000.

He was also asking for nude photos but my cousin is too smart not to notice he is a scammer. He was persistent to know how much she was earning and how much employees she have.

There were a lot of red flags so we asked for a valid ID. He sent my cousin a fake passport after more than 20hrs. He took a while to edit his passport. My cousin works developing websites for years that’s why it was so easy for her to spot the difference fonts used in Name, Date of Birth and Gender fields.
It’s good that he did not get any money from her but there must be someone else he is trying to scam now online.

Claims to be Chinese born and raised in Brisbane, Australia:
Fake names: Raymond Cheng / Reymond Cheng / Remmy
Name on Tinder: Remmy
Age: Claims 34 and 39yo
Landline no used in an unverified Whatsapp business account +61 2 8607 7119

Has anyone been talking with a James Walker, marine engineer , he has a young son, from Scotland, working on subsea 7
He refuses to facetime

I was recently scammed by an Italian lady, she told me to invest in bitcoin, we’ve talking for few months and we video call, suddenly she asked me to invest in bitcoin, I really loved her and I did.
I lost $62,000 last week to this lady and she blocked me on Facebook and Instagram.
Please be safe .

Hi I’m talking to this guy named James Leonard B said his wife cheated on him with his best friend and is currently deployed in Syria will be going home in November anyone else talking to him?

Sounds familiar. Daughter died of cancer? Raising grandson. Oil engineer. I've been talking to one. Sends pictures of self and others.

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