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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 — 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


I am talking with a man with similar story. Is James raising his grandson? Does he send you pictures of himself?

My ex is talking to a woman that says her name is Carolina. She is from north Carolina and says she is in Africa taking care of selling some property. She sends him money to have him send her gift cards. Anyone know her?

Does anyone been involved with a James Walker, from Scotland, marine engineer, young son, widowed? i wish i could send a picture
he introduced himself to me on WWF

Met a guy named Darren Chris Hamilton.He said he is an oil rig engineer in Norway,widower and has an adopted daughter in the care of a nanny. Been talking to him for more than three months.He said he retired already and will go back to the US but can't get a floght because of ctedit card problem and he gas no cash. I told him Ican't help him. I never heard again from him but he us chatting in the facebook messenger. I checked two if his photos and found out different names.

Has anyone dealt with Matteo Phillipe?? He claimed to be a civil engineer from Toronto. We met on words with friends and chatted on there for about 2 weeks before he asked me to move to google hangouts. He professed his love for me very early, uses a lot of emojis, called me his queen or baby, every morning he had a sweet message for me, and always asked what I’m eating! took him 43 days before he told me he was trading bitcoin and had a client who couldn’t transfer money to Canada so he needed and American bank account. Wanted me to receive his money transfer.... because he trusted me so much, whatever. That’s when I started to reverse look up his photos.....turns out the pics were of some rich guy in Dubai!!! So I ended all communication with him, what a waste of time....ladies stay away from Matteo!!!

I knew it! This dude is telling me to apply for a vacation process so he can get off the rig that he's working on. I said don't worry I'll wait for you LOL

Hard to believe but theses scammers are using the chat room on the game Wheel of Fortune. Always from a foreign country, now living in USA, but working on an oil rig or an overseas peace keeping mission. Always lost their wife due to cancer or an accident. Always wants to know if I’m “happily married” They are posting poorly written scripts. Kind of funny when you see more than one guy post the same sentence, with the same grammatical errors. Only one asked me for money for his son Patrick, who is boarding school in California.
Now they are on Facebook messenger. Same old scam. I asked one of them, if the president of the Dead Wives Club, sent him to me. He stopped chatting in a hurry!

Beware of a Fabian Gray. FABIANGRAY941@
says hes peacekeeping in Afghanistan son in boarding school
Wife died hes very depressed sent pics of war wounds etc bad grammar , photos of him in fatigues , realized scam.. blocked!

Did a reverse image search on Bing with one of the pictures he sent me and I found the person in the pictures which is a man who is a motivational writer, speaker, and actor with loads of pictures of him and of him and his family online which is why the scammer chose him! I unfriended the scammer on facebook, and blocked him on my phone, but don't know how to block his emails. SO glad I never sent him any money, he started off big by asking for $45k right off the first time. I will NOT be falling for this again! First and last time for me. I have to say, he was good at his game. Scammers have similarities: ask you to go on google hangout, he's a widower, falls in love quickly, is working overseas, is close to retiring and plans to spend the rest of his life with you, has 1 or 2 children, sends poems and youtube love songs, he's wealthy and owns his own company, and then there's the BIG emergency and he needs money. Ladies please stop falling for these men you've never met in person. From now on, if he's not local or near by and I've met him, I will not waste my time.

Contact on Instagram. Christopher Ross 806
Friendly, nice, positive. Picture is a tall handsome dark haired young man. Says he is 48 his wife to be committed suicide after being caught with his childhood friend. Courted me for 2 months asking for a gift card so he can open email for the job he bid on while on a ship owned up BP in Mediterranean.
Said he lived in Winfield town in uk. Was very believable. Is a petrochemical engineer After I told him I couldn’t get a gift card unless I asked my husband. He decided he is wasting his time with me vBeware he is very convincing.

Anyone know of man named David Rasmussen? He friend request my friend to Facebook, she not know him. I feel this a bad thing.

I met this guy online. He goes by the name of Darren Chris Hamilton. He said he is an oil rig engineer in Norway, a widower and has a daughter in the care of a nanny. Recently he told me that he already retired but can't go home to US because of credit card problem and he doesn't have a cash. I told him that I can't help him. I checked on some of his photos from the reverse search image and found out that he used different photos of guys with different names.I didn't hear from him anymore.I'mglad that I did not give him money.

Sounds like same person who has been communicating with me.

I’m wondering if anybody can help. Speaking to a model like lady was under Instagram as Annie Bryan. Named dr Sandra Hannah on certificate. Said originally from CA however deployed in army in South Africa . Photos military perfect and model like says she has a daughter back home switched from WhatsApp to hangouts deleted what’s app to hangouts very strange very weird

Does anyone know a guy called --Giovanni Matteo -- Got series real fast says he is a dr. in Teman Has a daughter 14 and he hates his X wife,
I know he is a scammer just can't prove it.

I have one that wanted to make a blood oath a couple of days ago , ( I felt then the next thing he will do is tell me he needs money )
Well I was right he told me yesterday that his 7 yr old son fell down the stairs at the private school he stays at while he is over seas working he tells me that his son is in critical condition as he lost a lot of blood plus broke his leg ... Plus that they will not treat his son unless he pays 1500.£ first ... Who in their right mind would let a child suffer this long before the treat him for the injury’s unless the hospital gets paid !!

I talked 3the same guy. He told me i was selfish because I won't send him money

Hi I have just had someone try to scam me he says he is an orthopaedic dr working for UN in San Fran Cisco.He said he was born in Germany but parents died and then wife died who he met in an orphanage.The way he was messaging just didn’t ring true saying I was right for him after just a few hours he got annoyed as well when I asked him if he worked in a hospital saying he had already gone over all that.I luckily saw an almost identical story on a scammers site and have deleted the app I met him on called scrabble go this is the second time someone has tried to scam me on others on here he quickly asked for my email to go on hangouts I’ve deleted that too. Be careful everyone

I spoke with a Donald Gary that immediately put me on hang outs his pictures looked good he was a pilot and played the piano. Too much sounded too good and I knew he was a scammer but it became nice to hear from him so I just gave myself the rules no pics, no money, no details. The site kept saying it was military power and he tried to face time once but I couldn’t hear him. Again the call was under military power and he was regimented over times he was able to text and mentioned stuff like logistics classes and military terms. When he asked for a computer card for his son (still at American military in America but being looked after whilst Donald deployed after wife died) I just said no but it was a bit upsetting when Donald said after all this you think I’m some kind of a scammer that really hurts. I stuck to it. Then he said you have to pray for me tonight I’m really scared myself and some others are chosen for a very scary mission in Kabul and I just hope we can speak again. I can honestly say in the back of my mind just in case I was scared. He then got back in touch 2 days later and told me he was back but with an awful leg injury and 3 mates got killed. He couldn’t say much about the mission but later he said they had found out where the Taliban had been keeping money, weapons and treasures. My head said As if! But I couldn’t stop thinking about him! He went on to say because he led the mission and got the injury his commander had secretly taken him aside and given him and second in command some of the money, a piece of gold and some jewellery. He needed to get it off base and trusted me could he send it here? I confirmed it with a Legit website travel company (Lariox Linars) . Apparently his mate at Red Cross flew it there. I then got an email from this liner company asking me to pay 1580 dollars insurance to send it. I flipped and said if you have the money you should have paid but got told the Red Cross agent couldn’t know how much was in there or the company. I stuck to my guns and said no way but even if I had wanted to the email given by the company asked for money but said to pay it through the company website but they responded to none of my emails and they didn’t answer the phone no (possibly British phone line). I wasn’t able to pay even though I wouldn’t but Donald blamed me for making him lose all this and get injured for nothing. The companies own tracking showed shipment pending, tracking no, shipment received in U.K. with consignment no but once again was a text to say I had to pay but nobody to pay just a tracking website. Donald then called about how bad things were and said he needed to raise money to get out. His friend would fly him but wanted money. I said why you should fill in a DA31 leave form and being injured the military should be arranging this plus why do this at the end of service he would get punished and lose a lot. I got “just do as I say you don’t understand how bad it is”. Send bitcoin he could use this. I said no and I got told he had all my friends on Facebook and he would photoshop a picture of me naked (my photos were always sent with clothes on!) but I admit the thought he may do this was revolting. Suddenly military lines kept calling and I told him I was gonna split my wrists (I didn’t and wouldn’t) but never did he say dont just I would regret it. Certainly after hardly being able to use phones he had them there to rush to and all came under military power lines (or so it said on my phone). I left him to wonder what happened to me and no picture got put on Facebook. It was a horrid thing to go through and he didn’t sound American when he kept telling me what I had to do and just kept saying you should have paid for my parcel (I don’t think he understood I couldn’t even if I’d wanted to). I blocked him and have heard nothing. He still has my email. The tracking consignment for the box remains possible. We are both left wondering what actually happened and how much was real but I have a nasty feeling in my stomach after all those promises of how he would play John Legend to me and take
me out and spoil me. I wonder who he was, who the delivery company are and even if he was a scammer how bad things are because he sounded very desperate. Not something I want any girl to go through.

I was the victim of a scammer I fell in love with sweet words for 5 months later he asked me for money and I sent it 4K his name is nicholas jonathan hult and his nickname is NICK, he told me he was working in a rig near to fiji, he told me he was oil engineer, and then he call me to send him more money because he had a big problem in the rig, and i said NO and then 3 days later he just broke all communication with me...I meet HIM IN TINDER....beware...the ie a thief... and he sent me a lot of his picture and also with his mom

My best friend has been talking to a guy named Dr. Kevin P William. Says his wife died and his son David is in boarding school because he works out of the country. He tells her he wants to come home and asked her to apply through NATO to bring him home. My friend applied and it cost 4500 dollars now they want 6000 to replace him because he is a Dr. He has sent her a picture of his passport how do we validate it’s real or if he is real?

Get passport number call state department in Washington and they will tell if the number is valid. Thomas Roland number was not

I have been talking to a Steven Adamu tried looking him up not found anywhere. Claims to be an orthopedic surgeon on a 2 year contract for the UN in Somalia! Daughter 12 in Georgia at a boarding school wife passed away 5 years ago Leukemia. Parents killed when he was 3. Brought up by a friend who is a priest. Seemed Christian!
I sent copies of letters sent told him to get new Lines.
I had just gotten out of a sram and friend knew him but acted totally different to her. Even told this Steven about it said I need to put it in the past. He said he was a counselor asked for money but the doctor never did was coming back to build a new hospital! He was very convincing ! See I worked for several Ortho doctors and could find out things. Also my son works for United Health Care so new how to look things up!
Mean, crazy , people out there never give any money!

I have been chatting w a man from the dating app Zoosk who says he is a sailor from Bulgaria and now lives in IL , has two girls and said his wife died of cancer. He called me his love pretty early on and said he can only chat on Hangouts for now and that when he gets back to CA he will video chat w me. His ship he says is going to Belgium. Anyone chat w a man w a simiar story or do you guys think it is weird that he cant videochat till he is back in California?

I have been chatting w a man from the dating app Zoosk who says he is a sailor from Bulgaria and now lives in IL , has two girls and said his wife died of cancer. He called me his love pretty early on and said he can only chat on Hangouts for now and that when he gets back to CA he will video chat w me. His ship he says is going to Belgium. Anyone chat w a man w a simiar story or do you guys think it is weird that he cant videochat till he is back in California?

Still happening in 2020, all same scripts being used. Mostly Nigerians, have had same experience 10 years apart, 19 year old professing to be 55 year old engineer on a rig in Gulf of Mexico and 31 year old also from Nigeria pretending to be another 55 year old from USA working on a rig off Toronto. US cell numbers can be bought and used anywhere in the world so dont be fooled by that. These ones are now coming through on the online scrabble game.

Ok so I met this German man supposedly living in my hometown on Hinge. The name he used was Max Schmidtke. He claimed to be a geophysicist working in Venezuela but unable to renter the US on his work visa. Supposedly he had been stuck in Venezuela since March. He said he was a widower with a 13 year old son Mike that lives in Germany with his grandmother. Send me tons of pics as him as a child, young man, of his mother and pics of his son. He then started to ask me to buy him steam cards so that he could continue to play online games because he claimed to be stuck in Venezuela. He also then said that his credit card was expired and that he was unable to get a new card because he was outside the US at the time. Said his hometown was Düsseldorf. Also claimed to have two houses in the US. I did a background check on him and couldn’t find anything. Then when I asked him for his address here in the US he tried to gas light me. This guy spent over a month talking to me and was incredibly warm and romantic. I have reported him but wish I could do more. These stories are heartbreaking and unfortunately I was duped initially into thinking he was legit. He spent some serious time grooming me and attempting to manipulate me. If this story could possibly help someone else, I am happy to share it!!!

I have read the comments , has anyone seen picture of a 62 year old male tall 6’2 grey hair says his name is Paul Hensley a engineer has a grown son tall to black hair lives in Fla.Went for a job in Cape Town He sends pictures but not a selfie which I have asked said his gadgets were stolen on board wanted me to buy them of course a NO.I have found his texing words are from somewhere else writings. So look that up . His son supposedly is a medical student 22 and goes to college out of the states . One why would you send a kid out of state when you come back to the states with a degree you have a hard time to get a license to practice.He has a accent and cannot get face time have not met him and as usual just when you want to meet he said he’s on his way .He has all his hair square chin a silver thin watch on left wrist said his wife died of cancer.

Does anyone heard of eric craig

I have a man that I met on a date site claims to love me immediately says he's in the UK but at sea wants me 2 open a cash app in his name so he can send me money his name is Owen Mason anybody know him

Over 60s dating - LUCAS AARON HERMAN supposedly CEO of SinglintConsruction. Same picture but goes as LUCAS A FARRIN. no mailing address. He is registered on the dating site as living in Hugo CO. Phone number 408 412 1289 as per Spokane shows it is registered to Danny P Nguyen in Campbell CA. Within 24 hrs he was promis8ng forever!!!! Only text messages no calls. Only 2 photos. Says he's on work permit and owns this company. And he is from Malta. Lived and worked in Uk,TURKEY,GERMANY ETC. Said he was getting an inheritance from his dead father. Upon questioning he said I had trust issues. I have not reported it to the dating site cos I'm not sure if they are in on it. No one in that site seems real. Wish I could attach the photo.pls look into it before some one gets hurt. I did not believe anything just played along to see what happens. Stop this person. Don't even know if they are even in the US. If they are they should not be. Thank you

Hi guys, my new man is in India. He is a filmmaker with a son in the states. Food poisoning, starving dog, and frozen accounts. Sound familiar? I want to believe home but my little voice says no. He needs $3500 to pay hospital bills and return ticket....

Hy...I was scammed by a handsome looking guy called Michael Guzman Owens who I know he is in Minnesota Richfield (America) he has a daughter called Kylie who has a heart problem and his wife passed on two years ago,he sent me his pictures of his family and friends and he used to call me even do video calls and he told me that he signed the contract with the company called Patrol SA here in South Africa then he supposed to be here on the 4th of September he then tells me that he bought some gifts for me he even showed me the video of it and he asked me my personal details I told him I'm not comfortable of what his asking me he then insist that how can he shipped this package so I don't know what happened to me I gave him all my details so I'm worried he might do something stupid with it please help me what can I do?

meet a man said he was working as a marine engineer, has a son in boarding school, working offshore of the western coast. Says his name is James Christian but goes by Chris as his last name. I reversed google image his pictures and image that another name with the same picture came up kennethgray097on Instagram so watch out ladies, I blocked him on google hangouts.

I have been talking to this guy for about a week I commented on a post on Instagram and he responded and agreed with me we have just moved to Google hangouts he’s not ask me for money or anything like that it’s just a casual conversation. After reading most of your comments I’m getting a little leery he seems really sweet I think we need to start posting pics and see if we’ve got some of the same pics. On Instagram his name is Garrett Raymond on Hangouts is Raymond Garrett. I am very careful but I enjoy him talking to me.

Your Garrett Raymond is a scammer. They always use 2 first names, guess this makes it easier not to get caught. Block him now and don't waste your time!

I need some help.
I was messaged on Instagram by a Korean guy called Andre a few weeks ago. A few days after we started chatting on to WhatsApp his Instagram profile was removed. He said his account was hacked as it was a new account. He told me he wanted to get married to me etc etc l, He is from the UK but currently working in US. He told me that he has paid an £8500 transfer fee to come back to UK to see me but the construction company he works for want him to pay a £1400 clearance fee before he goes. He told me he did not have the money to pay for it and wants me to send the money to the company’s secretary. He said he hasn’t got anymore money to pay the fee as he has gone over the limit for account withdrawals in the US, therefore his account cannot be accessed for 2 weeks. I have spoken To him on the phone regularly and he seems like a nice guy but hes making me feel bad about the clearance fee because I’m the reason he’s coming back to the UK.
Has anyone else interacted with a Korean guy called Andre?

I have been talking to a guy using email, he always send sweet thoughts, he said he is the only child of his parents and both parents were dead and he is divoreced to his ex wife.we been writing to each other until we gather information to each other, but not sure if he is real. Until he opened up about having business in my country, and he wants to ship appliances and ask for id's .

My last scammer, Henry Sharply asked me to take possession of new cars to start a new/used car business in my town. Said he was from here but works a lot in TX. He said WE were going to own the business and I would handle the money and the books. When that didn’t work he wanted me to accept a package with gold jewelry from the UK

I too am getting scammed. I kinda knew it from the beginning, but didn't want to believe it. We've been chatting for about a week and he gets into very deep stuff and has told me of his undying love for me and please wait for him until his stay in Afghanistan is over in about a year. Has asked me to marry him, WHAT, but I watch him and he says he has to go to work and he is still getting on Instagram and Hangouts when he says he's working. He is a doctor supposedly, as they all say to make you think they have money. He hasn't asked for money yet but I think I am reading between the lines and it is coming. Sadly, I'm crazy about him and I know that my heart will be broken. I have reverse searched his pictures and nothing fake pops up. I have had other guys and did the reverse picture and yes another man popped up. I'm going to bust him soon.

How does he look like? Curious if it's the same guy I am talking too.

Is his name Dr Martin Cruise?

this sounds like the guy that i am talking to. what does he look like? mine sent me a picture of him in his military police uniform in front of a helicopter, sound familiar?

Hello! I am from Romania and I have been approached by a few scammers on my instagram account.
Last year, an enginner from California, widower, with a daughter. Sent me videos of him and the little girl. After 2 weeks he wanted an expensive gift for his upcoming birthday. I suspected he was a fraud because he was like: I love you after 2 days, asked me about my income and berated me when I told him and I don't have savings, but he could't give me details about his income because apparently he worked on contracts of thousands of dollars. He said he was 47 but pictures and videos showed a man in the early 30's. One night he was messaging me insisting on the birthday present, event sent me pictures of products that were between 600 and 1000 pounds so I tried to do a better research on his pictures. I have tried initially and had no results so I did another thing: checked the backgrounds in his pictures. In one he was at a gym and I googled it. Apparently, the pictures belonged to the owner of the gym from UK. I looked him up on his real instagram account and informed him. I tried to confrom the scammer but of course he denied everything and stopped talking to me.
I am writting now because he or someone else reappeared on my instagram again. First, DouglaSmith, a doctor from I don't remember where, that workes in Turkey and does humanitarian word. Searched the pictures. The person in the pictures was a doctor from South America, not the one who contacted me. Confronted him so he blocked me. Now, I have Steve tanner that introduced himself as George. Apparently his nickname. Widower with 3 kids, Engineer from California, works in Kabul as a contracter for the US Army. He plays the piano and other 10 instruments, is a romantic at heart, fell inlove with me from my profile picture, wants me as his wife bla bla bla. The only pictures he has are as a worker for a transportation company and with 3 kids. I got bored of his loooong texts and told him that I had no job, no income, no savings and if he loves me I will come with only the clothes on my back. Haven't heard from him again.

In conclusion: be careful, don't get fooled by the beautiful, sobbing stories, the qualities they say they have and so on. Think logically: If someone needs help they will ask family, friends, people they have in their proximity, the authorities.
Also, no one falls in love in 2 days of watching someone's profile picture and exchaging a few words. They prey on our insecurities, on our need for romance and validation.
Take care.

A man claiming to be a marine named danny stalker scammed my mother out if 1000$ a year ago and shes still in a "relationship" sending money to him refusing to believe he's a scammer...I need help

I think I am. Currently talking to a scammer. He said he works for the Government as an engineer. He is on a mission in Turkey he said he lost his card that they gave him to pay for his ticket home. He will chat but sends the same pictures over and over . Will not call. Said he loves me and wants to be with me if he can just get the money to. One home. He has only 2 weeks left in Turkey. I won’t send him the money he keeps trying to get me to. Sending me how much he loves me even though we never met. He is using a different name. Says he is from NY both his parents died and he has a 12 year old son. No one to help him because he is in Turkey.

Someone added me in a dating site. His name is Frank Gabriel from Liverpool, England. He is in his early 30s's and an engeneering contractor of road and and building. He travelled a lot due to his contract working abroad, but i doubt to believe that he easily confessed his feelings for me. i have got a feeling that he is scammer because he ask me money for the clearance release of his parcel. Anyone know this man?

Hi, I have encountered a guy named Frank Vugar from Liverpool, England as well. He said he is an interior designer and works in the construction field too. He and his team won a big contract in Dubai for decorating a hotel with 250 rooms in it. He also asked me to pay for his clearance fee for his luggage that stuck at the airport. I am sure he is a scammer now. maybe we are talking about the same person.

I'm in Australia and think I'm being scammed by two men on a dating site...both lovebombing me, saying I'm the only one within a few emails, one a petroleum engineer who says he owns a drilling company based in the US, but has a contract in Australia on a rig in Bass Strait, the other says he's a "package engineer" and travels around purchasing land and helping architects design their buildings....

I started talking g s guy who is in Baghdad. Said wife died in a car accident. Has a 14 year old in boarding dcho n California. Says because he's I. The army, he can't use Facebook. Wanted me to use hangouts. Now he tells me in order for him to leave Baghdad he has t pay the camp 30,000. Said he will get money from this company and they will send me 100,000. Then he wants me to transfer money and send him, 39,000. Kelvin Louis is his sons name. In boarding school in California. Calls me darling wife all the time . Says he can't wait to see marry and be husband and wife. I think he us scamming me. Anyone know this guy? Joe Louis from Austin Texas


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