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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

Has anyone talk to anyone name Nathan Taylor very sweet talker, says he's from Norway, but now lives in Houston, resently went to Turkey on a job and can't access his account and needs help getting materials for the job. First wanted a iTunes card, then a ipad and iPhone to help with translating to his worker's, and now wants me to open a bank account because he's friend is helping him with the money to get the materials he needs and it would make it easier for him, claims he loves me and wants us to be together when he gets back etc He gets upset every time I refuse and says he don't understand why I won't help him that he's under a lot of stress and needs me. It's really heartbreaking reading all these post.

I Know this man, same history, his name Simmon Fasey engineer LinkedIn. Fake identity, he asked me 4000 dólars. Same scammer alias was Ryan Leister, RyanLeister68 Instagram. Another identity Willem Veenstra Xing . Fraud, scammer.

I have had several guys talking about how much they love me. They would insist on having my email address or use hangout. They were so insistant about having my email address or go onto hangouts. Alarm bells were sounding. One was called James gold. Second was James Williams. Then there was one Karl someone. And this new one is revo Bruce. They have all been posted to either samolia or yemon. Three have been a widower and one is divorced, but in his Facebook he was widowed. They all had a child under 10. They have all been under attack from rebels. They were all ready to retire. This last one is supposed to be retiring in a couple of weeks and wants me to look after his retirement fund as he wants it investing in the UK.

It will likely be the same person or group of people just using different fake profiles. All the scenarios are the same or similar and no it’s not a coincidence. Block & delete and save the drama they will bring to your life.

Arnold Rudy Hilebrand is not to be trusted. Be Ware!! He’s a liar and a scammer! Thank you for posting about this person so I could put a block on him. He’s big on social media.

Hi Ben Hodges asked to be my Facebook friend about 4 days ago. He was super friendly, I made sure my husband joined in our replies. I told him today I had bought an anti cyber product for our phones. Not heard from him since and today he sent several messages. Another lady here also was targeted by him I see. It’s abusing a woman really isn’t it? & that’s not manly at all. Good luck everyone!

I talked to a guy for 7 years he just stopped talking to me since the 23 of August he goes by the name of Kent Havind he suckered me good ouch

Omg 7 years

This man found me on social media, I cannot find his name anywhere. Jamal Akmal Affredo, he also went off line fast, he is love with me rather quick and sets up a meeting with me for two weeks. Then has to go to work in Canada. I don't here from him for two days he writes and says he has a broken leg from the job site. He sends me picture of himself in hospital. He sends me pictures all the time. He sent me picture of his broken leg when I asked. He is asking me to pick up a shipment he is sending back to New York while he is in Canada. He says his assistant would of gotten it but now is with him in Canada to run the job site. When I ask him what it his he does not answer me he changes the subject. He yet to tell me where or when and has not asked for money. We have been talking for 10 days very romantically. Is this a scam?

Red flags are professing love for someone he has never met, went offline he will have blocked you so you can’t see him online but profile will still be up, has to go to work in Canada suddenly, don’t believe the photos they are masters at photoshop, dosnt answer some questions. Do not give him your address or pick up a package! He is romancing you to scam you. They are very skilled at this and fool a lot of intelligent people. Block & run as fast as u can.

I had someone request me as a friend on facebook..that I accepted and his profile says he is in the army at Austin Texas base camp there...he is divorced with custody of his 3 kids...8, 6 and 4...2 girls, 1 boy...he told me his wife left him 3 yts ago and took all his money and left the kids with the nanny when he was deployed...he has since divorced her 3yrs ago..and he is doing his last deployment now in South Africa for a peace keeping mission...and he is retiring next March after 16yrs...then right beforw he was deployed on the 1st of Aug his son lost his wallet and had to go to africa without his credit cards and bank card...so he wanted to have his account transfer in to my account so his money will be there when he geta hime in November..he hasn't asked for money...when I would offer to send some he would tell me he would be ok..and he wants to move to my city when he geta back in November from deployment and have a life with him and his 3 kids...so is this a scam...he is supposed to be 44 yrs old on September 27th and he is mixed with African and Jamaican...his father past in a car crash and his mom passed from cancer when he was a young age...h3 is from New York but station in Austin Texas on base there...anyone else have so.e resemblance to this guys....cause he is everything I want in a man and he is very charming with poems and he has sent me pics 9f him and the kids...he has video chatted me once on hangouts ...but his phone is jacked up till he gets a new one

Be careful. It sounds like a scam. Check out more information on him I had a guy say the same thing but he wanted me to hold a bunch of cash for him and he claimed he was a doctor and was retiring from the service and needed someone to hold his cash. I reported him and never spoken to him again. Some people on hangout a real but a lot of them are not. And the sad thing about hangout Is one you get scammed they wont do a thing about it.or take the person off the site I have been trying to contact the COE of hangout and I have gotten no response from him at all. Just be safe and be careful.

The last week in August, I got scammed. Reading through on these comments...there are the same as myself. A guy, Alexander Lucas he started following me and soon he sent a text message. We converse a little then he ask me to go in What’s App. He was 53, he was married for 20 years. Wife was killed in an accident 6 years ago. He was born in Spain, parents migrated in Savannah, GA. He is in the Navy stationed in Athens Greece. He’s been in the Navy 20 years. He has two sons, ages 10 and 17 (Mike and Eric). The sons lived in boarding school. He was the only child, his parents were deceased. I questioned him after because on What’s up app, he had a different name, Lucas Fernandez. He said his name is Lucas Alexander ( named for his grandfather) Fernandez. He would always send me pictures of himself. He said he love going beaching. On the two day of conversations he told me I was special. I said that’s odd, he didn’t know me. The third or fourth day, he asked me a favor. He said his colleague who is on another ship at sea would give him Kindle credit cards. I asked him how much, he said $1500 to $2000 Weekly. I asked him I US dollars. He told me it is in US dollars. I was shocked and said no. He asked, why not. He said if I wouldn’t do it for the amount he was asking then what amount was I willing to give...I immediately blocked him and deleted the app.He was definitely charming!

I was sent a friend request from a stranger on facebook three months ago. His profile picture was nice, so I accepted the request. He texted me on facebook messenger on the first day and quickly asked me to keep chatting on hangouts. I agreed. During three months of chatting, he has never ever asked me to send money to him. He tells me he is a vehicle retailer and an mechanical engineer. He lives in NY. He divorced and his 8 year old daughter living with his ex wife. His english writing skill is very professional. I checked his posts on facebook and found out most of his facebook friends who liked his posts were from Nigeria (?!). He states he is vietnamese, only one child of his parents. Now his parents reside in vietnam. He has been living in US when he was a little child, so he cannot speak or understand vietnamese. His facebook was created in january 2020. He said his facebook was hacked in several years ago and now he decided to use facebook again to contact his close friends. He posted just five pictures on facebook, I saw only one vietnamese friend on his fb, the others are from Nigeria. For some reasons, I blocked him on fb and hangouts for five days and then unblocked. He was so angry at me for that. I have to explain the reason to him. He was ok with me, and added me on fb again. Later I noticed he blocked me on fb but not on hangouts. However I felt ok. I did not get mad at him. He asked me to provide my address for him to send flowers to me. I denied him and told him that I didn't need any thing from him. He also asked me to send some more pictures to him. I denied, either. He refused to chat webcam with me. We never call or chat webcam. He sent me his picture with his daughter when I asked him. We used to argue so much because I told him I did not believe the man on the profile picture was him. I though he used picture of someone else for safety on fb. He always got mad at me whenever I said so. I'm still doubt of him if he is real or fake, because recently I accidently found out he has changed his profile picture on his fb (he blocked me on fb, but in messenger I still have our conversation there. I just didn't see his conversation, except mine). He updated another picture of another man. I used google image search to check if he used picture of other. I was so shocked to know that profile picture was from a dating site. I did not tell him what I know about him. He has just voluntarily sent me his picture again without my asking. The man in the picture was the one before, still handsome and gentle. I feel confused. Since he never asks me for money or does anything bad towards me, I want to keep this relationship as long as I can (actually I want to know at the end he is a scammer or not). Right now, he and I still have good relationship. P/s. I have told him scammer stories, and he said that his pictures were stolen by the others. That's why he didn't want to chat or post many his pictures on fb. I tried to search his picture sent to me on google, but no result existed.

I met this same loser on wwf! Love, marriage, single dad all the same BS. When he asked for cards I told him no, and he got aggressive and mean. I reported him and blocked him. He wasn't a very good scammer, I've met far better.

This sounds very familiar. I wonder if it's the same guy I was talking to? Not sure if my comments (Replies) are appearing on here. We need a place to compare notes and photos.

he uses name Adrian Henry nice looking black hair brown eyes well built video of work out wife dead has daughter and dog. Broken machinery needs money or going to jail says

Same story... 6”2 salt and pepper hair brown eyes... daughter and dog needs money to fix machine or going to jail. Can’t find anything about him.

Has anyone ran across a scammer named Presley Martin from Houston???

This might help people to identify romance scammers, here's what I found to be the scammers playbook:

1. Ask you to switch to Hangouts or similar app
2. Gets romantic quickly
3. Is originally not from America and was raised in a different country, parents from other country (this will account for his unusual accent).
4. His wife died a few years ago
5. He was cheated on and was deeply hurt
6. He has children in a different country from where he's currently
7. Sends romantic poems and youtube songs
8. Has a deep faith in God and says God brought you together
9. Uses pictures from somebody that has posted plenty of pics so he has a lot to choose from.
10. He's a very good person who helps elderly uncle etc.
11. Feels that you are "soulmates"
12. Says "my dear" and constantly calls you "baby, babe, hone, sweetheart, darling"
13. You will "break" him if you stop communications
14. Emergency happens and he needs money from you because he has exhausted all other options
15. He's well off or wealthy and owns his own company.
16. He's going to retire soon and he can't wait to travel with you and spend the rest of his life with you.
17. Use several variations of his name on social media, sometimes his nickname, or his middle name, or his first name
18. There may not be any evidence that this made-up name person exists when checking it on ancestry.com etc.
19. Wants to know your finance situation, career, etc.
20. Checking images on bing.com instantly shows the pics he sent you are actually of somebody else.
21. Guilt-trip you into sending money by saying things like he will be put in jail in a foreign country, etc.
22. Acts very concerned about you saying to be careful when going out due to the virus.
23. Bad grammar - like writes small caps "i" and wrong use of verbs, etc.
24. His accent is not distinguishable, not British, or Australian because he's likely from Nigeria
25. Quotes from the Bible so women think he's a good Christian
26. Messages are often long and written in a confusing way. Like they were copied and at the end he adds 1 sentence with a message directed to you by name.
27. He has told his children about you and they're excited that he's finally met "the one".
28. Says things like "I will always be here for you, no matter what" and "I'll wait for you forever".
29. Their romantic approach is so strong that you've likely never had a man say those things before because normal/real men don't act like that, they wait until they've met you and truly know you.
30. They have interesting hobbies like climbing mountain kilimanjaro and flying helicopters.

a user on Snapchat named micheal_sand20 is a scammer currently attempting to seduce a friend currently and attempting to gain access to their bank account. Need help removing this user

Has anyone heard of a Tantolet Perez, said she is frm SanDiego, calif. No family. Father died and left estate to her, /went to Dubaii for a jeweler class and her lawyer stopped communicating. She has no money, is stranded, visa expired, then when got money for a ticket, tested positive in Amsterdam, and was sent back to Dubaii. Cam on phone is broke. Lives is park when doesn't get money sent to her. I don't know what happened to her house in San Diego. My relative has send $thousands in gift cards. Sounds fishy to me. Always something happening to need money.

My brother just recently learned a hard lesson .he has been warned about scammers. The sad thing is he can fiqure out a scam on the phone or follow a letter. But not this one. He meet a women on a app he should have been after a weeks as of today he wired her $500.00 and just recently of about 2 weeks he send this women a $25.00 apple i.tune card and get scammed on that and lied to his wife about the whole situation and now he out $525.00 and told the family that money was going to his daughter from his frist married to help her with school supplies for college unfortunately his wife and the rest of family member dont believe him now he wont see that money or probably wont hear from that women again. His wife fells bad but she Hope's that he has learned this lesson about going on dating apps and looking for women and then he scammed the family fells that she fit the scammer mold.

I was scammed by a guy named Gary Lucio who I met on a dating site. He said he was 50 ...lived in Detroit. He was traveling to South Africa as a Geologist . We talked for a year. When he first asked for money I my scammer ears peaked. I did everything I saw on catfish. But I didn’t listen to my senses. I think now he goes by the name Luciano in Ca. Beware!!

Beware Susie I on scrabble go. Starts a nice friendly chat then tries to sell you bitcoins. Had scam written all over it. Politely told her I don't play scrabble to hear sales pitches, whereupon she stopped the game. We have a saying in the West of Scotland: do you think I came up the Clyde in a wheelbarrow?

Has anyone been in contact with a guy mamed Robert Coleman who claims he is Canadian but lives in the US? He also works for a company called Analytics Recruitment Inc. its a Linkedin profile.

He looks legit with all the constant pictures of whenever i ask, however he has asked me for money because he is in debt

The Linkedin profile looks legit as well and so does the company he claims he works for

Does anyone out there know Evans Alessandro Andersen? Met him on POF about a month ago. He claims he is a doctor/surgeon and is with the White Helmets currently in Aleppo Syria. He has already asked me for an Amazon gift card, which I did'nt send. I am assuming it's a scam!

Has anyone heard of a man named Steven (Steve) Caddle of Georgia? I met him on POF, we have talked on the phone and we have video chatted and looks like his pictures he sent me. He is now asking for money to get home from a oil rig saying his crew didn't finish their part of the contract and the vessel from Seacor Marine picked all of the men and they were left to finish their part of the job. He is asking for his part to hire a private boat to pick them up and take to Texas where they were picked up from.

Hey l have a similar problem am not sure if the guy is scamming me he said his name is Paul Casey he said he works in the Army force at the moment he said he in Baghdad.. we been talking for a good 3 going to 4 weeks he sound like a really nice guy and I just don’t want to be fooled. He says he has a daughter and he is divorced cause his wife cheated on him and he trying to find the right woman to settle down once he is back, someone who would accept his daughter as well. I have a picture of him if there is any way we can share maybe someone can help me out.
He hasn’t asked any money from me. He has asked me once that if I wanted to video chat with him but with the time change and me working I haven’t be able to to.
Let me tell you he found me on face book and from there is when we started talking and now we talk from hangouts. He cancel his Facebook account and he said he didn’t so I wouldn’t think he was talking to other women which tell me nothing . Just wanted to share that info
But if there is way to share pictures please let me know cause , I am really starting like him and don’t want to get hurt

Hi, I have the same guy his name James Walker . If you interesting I can you his picture. He is 53 years old very handsome. Live in UN camp in Yemen. Surgery doctor, can not call or video call because of security reason . It’s already one week, but today I see that he deleted his Facebook profile and I want to ask him why?

This sounds like almost exactly the person I was chatting with. Wow same type of story. I wish I knew I was being scammed when it was happening. I was completely clueless.

Anyone know of a Giovanni Alberto. Claims to be have been in USA now on oil rig west if scotland . Italian but luced in usa from young age. Wife died and has 12year old daughter?? Given all the hearts and flowers and got me believing but still doubting. Promising to visit!!!

Is his daughter away at breading school?

Has anyone heard of a guy that goes by Richard Woods says he's on peace mission overseas and lives in California has a 10yr old daughter that stays with a nanny.... Talks about building a motel and has lots of money but bank account is froze until he gets back into the US and talks like he's in Love with you and calls you his precious wife????

Sounds like the type man I met, same story. Also call me his precious wife. bank account is frozen until he gets back into the US.
But the name he used with me is Duc Nguyen.
Love scammer change their identity a lot

Has anyone heard of a guy that goes by Richard Woods says he's on peace mission overseas and lives in California has a 10yr old daughter that stays with a nanny.... Talks about building a motel and has lots of money but bank account is froze until he gets back into the US and talks like he's in Love with you and calls you his precious wife????

Yes, but this one has a son. Lives in California, nanny is with the son taking care of him. Wants to build a hotel and will move where ever I am to be with me. Do not send him any money! He is a fraud. I have played along with his game, he could not keep up with his own lies that I have called him out. He is very evasive when confronted. Asked me for $1500 for him to keep his internet on due to the military was going to shut it down. DO NOT FALL FOR IT!!

We think this is happening to our mother, 85 years old, recently widowed, about to sell her house. I told her NOT to give this guy any money for any reason. Says his name is John Tyler Reed - 73, US Citizen, working in Canada about to close a big contract and move back to the States. Has a daughter with 3 kids living in England going through a divorce. Who plans to move here as well. I want to run a background check on what info I have but I'm not sure which sites to use.

Colleen JUNE - DEC 2020
Same name and sad convincing story. His age used 71. He was good at his crime, did make you feel he cared deeply and coming home as soon as he had his financial situation in Canada cleared up. I was duped into sending a considerable amount. I could go on and on, bear in mind this continued for 7 months. He even sent photos of his job location daily.

His daughter (probably him) and I even communniicated by Gmail, this guy was a professional at lies and I fell in love with a man I created in my mind over the months.

I wonder if they don't stalk retired women or widows. An org that uses others ID to hide behind, while the criminals continue to victimize people. BEWARE LADIES OF MEN WHO SAY THEY LOVE YOU EVEN SEND GIFTS AND FLOWERS AND DON'T REALLY KNOW YOU!!!

Has anyone ever asked to send money via cash app ?? Do you know if we can find the person money was paid to?

Does anyine have contact with a Mark Richardson working on Gas rig in Norway?

A person going by the name Michael Wilkins friended me on FB. We had a few mutual friends. He wrote to me & we started chatting. I did some homework on this guy & I couldn't find him on any of the sites such as beenverified, etc. He speaks w/ what sounds like a German accent, writes German, nice looking. Same old scammer story - wife dead, has a lot of money, no kids, no immediate family, professes love, etc. He took his profile info. from a scammer site! When I confronted him about being a scammer he took his FB site down. Says his middle name is James, lives in Spokane, jewelry designer, 61 years old, birthdate June 17, 1959, has a dog named Bruno, etc. Says he is a God fearing Christian man, would never do anything wrong, blah, blah, blah. Just giving other women a heads up about this guy!

Hi Ruth the guy I was talking to is german as well. Do you have a pic of him?? He says hes in the navy.

I am talking with Christian Hartman on oil l. He wants money vacation leave for chopper. Does anyone know him. Or a Curtis Morgan? Never enough money. I am in love and I know should not be doing this. Telling me to stop doesn't work. I need strong evidence. Please anyone.

Well my story is similar yet different. I was scammed by a guy named Maxwell Sebastien. Met him in words with friends 2. Same story, wonderful man, pregnant wife dead 10 years ago. Been alone for that time. Turns out he was not only a chef, and a travel agent. He was also a petroleum engineer. With an assignment in an oil rig the gulf of mexico.
Long story short he introduced me to a bitcoin invest emend company (fake) and hooks me up with a broker who I'm convinced now was the same scammer.
I needed money so I invested. My return was great but they asked me for so many fees I stupidly paid for. They also charged for taxes and other shot they claimed I would get that money back. Anyway I lost close to 25,000. Have a loan to pay because I loaned money to pay fees to withdraw supposedly $126k (profits). They came with other excuses saying I needed to send the payment again in its entirety because the bitcoin value changed.
I did an image search and found out I was lied to. It is then when I realized. So stupid. I deserve it because I knew better at least to make reverse photo searches but his lies and the way he weaved his story was masterful.
He sent me pictures of a Brazilian personality named Jayme Drummond. For whomever wants to check it maybe we have the same scammer. I wish we could do something to get these people what they deserve.

Sounds like the "James Alveno" or one of his associates (since they trade playing cards) I met in January 2020 on WordsWithFriends. He had me so convinced he loved me that I agreed to open up a Coinbase account for him so "we could invest together". Anyways, I found out he was using someone else's pictures, a mining photographer by the name of James Hodgins. I blocked him and he found me on WhatsApp. He pleaded that he got arrested between May2020 and late June2020 because he got framed. He would mentioned he had to wire money to Dubai.

Perhaps, if our scammer are the same; it's really notorious flashy Instagramers Hushpuppy or Mr.Woodbery or one of the associates arrested with them around June 21, 2020. Since then, I haven't heard from mine.

My mom, told us she met a man name Rex from Florida through her Christian dating site. He is French and his wife died 5 yrs ago. He is 62 and has 3 children who are 16-20 yrs old. He also is an oil engineer. He has told currently he is in the Middle East working and needs her to be his beneficiary for some thing would happen to him. She has only been talking to him for 6 weeks. Supposedly he is coming to visit her and wants to buy house to be close to her. Has anyone had a body like this.? Please help if you do because we are trying to prove this to her

Do a ReversePhoto. This guy sounds like the mining engineer I met on WordsWithFriends who claims is from Orlando, Florida. Even send me a pic of a Bible on his night stand.

Sound like same man i m currently in communication. Name larry walker. Widower with 1 daughter who stays with nanny in kansas. He is prtroleum engineer on oil rig in gulf of mexico.
Stupidly, has sent him around usd8K.
Now, telling me that will go back to Kansas anytime and starting a big project, and want to put my name in the contract as I am his future wife.
Luckily I came across this site...

I have chatted recently his name Harry hndrick, he said he is a sergion in Yemen, he has 150kg of gold bar from Yemen government gave him as a gratitude of his job. He want to send me, but he wants me to pay the shipping fee. He even sent me his certificate that he is the owner.. what do you think of this? I think he wants me to scan.

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