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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

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

Thank you for posting this. Me too met a Morten Anders on Hinge and then WhatsApp with him for a month. Briefly Skyped but could not hear him. White men looked like his pictures from the side. Short after asked me for ITunes card. Once I asked him more questions he blocked me. He needed card to fix his pilot device in order to keep communicating. He was really good in conversations made it super personal. Send me his pilot license but deleted quickly. I retrieved the license and it was a copy from Internet. He said he lives in Florida send me pictures of his Address and House which was fake of course to gain trust. Terrible was an awaking.

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.

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! Anyway....it 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 there.like 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?

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