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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

Hi I'm just curious, has anyone heard from a James Tedd who is a Commodity Trader and Engineer working on a contract in Ghana?

Has anyone heard of Ryan lukas. I would like to know thanks

I recently started talking to a guy that messaged me on Instagram, his name is Raymond Conn, i think that was his last name. He didn't have the account shortly after having me go on the Whats app then hangouts. He said hes widowed and has a young son named Henry. Also saying hes in the marines stationed in Afghanistan. Hasn't asked me for money, but I expect him too. Also is in love with me lol. I won't be scammed so easy.

I have been reading your stories and it saddens me to see what you have all experienced.

I from Australia and I haven't been scammed, however my friend has and that’s how I’ve come across this website and wanted to share my story .

About 4 weeks ago it had came to my attention that she had been talking to a person offshore. Straight away I knew it was a scam. It’s the same stories that I’ve read on this page. Wife has died, child in boarding school etc.... I knew I had to do something as my girlfriend was in denial. So I searched and searched his fake name and finally I found him on Facebook. I snap shot the pic and saved it. I then sent her the image for her to confirm if this was the guy she had been talking to. She confirmed with a yes. However I didn’t have much more to go by however I kept searching until I found evident that he was a fake. I came across an app called google lens and uploaded the image..... well there it was a pic of a guy who was a hair model. It was off Pinterest. After scrolling through the pic there was another pic of a guy who had made contact with me via LinkedIn some time ago. However I was lucky enough that I didn’t fall for it. I knew he was a fake.

So my suggestion is, please search these low lives that come in contact with you and don’t be ashamed to speak to your friend a about it. Don’t sent any money and soon as they ask just delete and report then to your authorities. My friend is out of pocket for about 20,000, however it could if need worse if I hadn’t stepped in.

If I have saved one person by writing this, then I have done my job. Please take care and be strong. As the saying goes...if it’s sounds to good to be true....

Has anyone just had strong gut feelings that something is not right, but has spoken to their potential scammer many times on the phone, and a couple of times via video chat? And, obviously the pictures he sent match his face in the video.

The only way to end this for good is for someone to give up and why should that be the one that's using deception? It's just one more tactic to get money. Money is in the middle and were all running for it everyone's different. Get rid of money don't take people's lives and change them for something that's completely not able to be controlled

Has anyone been in contact with Chris Nathan Moreno been chatting with him for a while met on POF moved to Hangouts

Let's not forget everyone.
So many men are engineers?
They keep repeating, it can't be true
They would not have that kind of time unless there on a vacation.
I like Facebook chat because you can keep everything and report it if you have to.

In MN, I had several dates with con man Gianni Rodriguez before he returned to home to Costa Rica for a few weeks. I was love bombed during COVID from a beautiful country and was led to believe the money I borrowed to him would be repaid when he returned home. He returned home, and has continued 'reasons' why he is unable to repay me. I've had it - papers are being filed in small claims court tomorrow. One of his prior girlfriends did the same thing. He has a definite pattern.

I met a man 2 men seemed very charming well educated with an accent 1 claiming to be from Norway the other from Russia. The fist one name is Aleks claimed to be a independent contractor had to go to California for a job. Shortly after we started talking a few days letting me know how much he loves me and wanted to marry me. Divorced lost he’s son in a motorcycle accident. Then the bomb shell he needed 10,000 to complete he’s job. Also wanted to deposit money in my bank account after the job was finished . The second guy he’s name is Kim also an engineer from Russia living in Florida where I’m at as well. Claimed he was working on a oil rig and needed gift cards to complete he’s project and be able to talk to me. In the mean time he sends me a contract from Scott land that he got he’s bid for 3 million dollars but he won’t get
The money until said contract is completed. Also asked me to send him gift cards. He immediately after our initial contract started talking to me from hangouts. No phone calls at any point . Be aware everyone he will steal your heart.

Someone send pics. I got a man doing same thing he supposed to come next week he wants to send me money blah blah

My 80 year old female relative is currently in the clutches of an online romance scammer but will not accept it. He claims to be called Christian Antoine, late 50s, Norwegian by birth but based in USA, widowed of course and has a 15 year old daughter Amanda who needs financial support. He claims to work on North Sea oil rigs and is almost at the culmination of a very lucrative project which should yeald thousands once completed. Yeh, yeh!! There have supposedly been two major accidents recently on this oil rig which have caused delays even though one of the videos sent as evidence can be found easily on YouTube ‘Blow Out on Oil Rig’ and is actually over three years old! He has proclaimed undying love and has even proposed to my 80 year old relative and even sent rings! He has made numerous failed arrangements to visit her but obviously he has no intention of ever meeting her. He almost immediately moved the slushy chat off FB to Hangout and took down his FB account once he had found his girlfriend! Obviously making it harder to trace him. Unfortunately, money has already been sent to him via another females bank account. Most probably someone he has already scammed. Trading Standards, the banks and the police are aware of this happening but she is so brainwashed that he is genuine not much can be done to help. Very frustrating for everyone concerned.
Christian Antoine or whatever your name is you really are lowlife!

This guy I've been talking to for a couple of years , his daughter's name is Alison tho. At the moment hes in in hospital with 2 broken legs, says he needs 10 grand to pay the doctor before they'll let him out. Told me hes relocating over to New Zealand . If it sounds to good to be true it is listen to your inner voice I wish I had .

"MARK FORSBERG" - YES "MARK FORSBERG" - SCAMMING FOR YEARS UP TO CURRENT DAY! YES "MARK FORSBERG" - MOST CURRENT STORY: ENGINEER IN CYPRUS /SWEDISH/ GROWN SON/ WILL HAVE WORKSITE ACCIDENTS, LAPTOP ACCIDENT, WORKER ACCIDENTS, CREDIT CARDS STOLEN, MATERIALS TIED UP IN CUSTOMS - WILL EVENTUALLY ASK FOR MONEY - LOTS OF MONEY, EVEN THOUGH HE WILL SHOW YOU HIS FAKE BANK ACCTS. - (APPEARS HE WAS ABLE TO PULL ALL THE COMPLAINTS THAT HAD BEEN LISTED FOR YEARS ON THIS SITE AFTER HE WAS MADE AWARE OF THIS SITE) - AVOID MARK FORSBERG HE IS A CATFISH/SCAMMER & A CHARMER - WILL COPY & PASTE LOVE POEMS DAILY, CALL & TEXT DAILY & FALL IN LIVE WITHIN A MONTH. YES STAY AWAY FROM MARK FORSBERG!

Hello! Has anyone ever been scammed from someone named Jason Anders that lives in Toms River, NJ. He’s opposed my is from Sweden and works on boats. He goes to the UK and the Ukraine to work on them too. He said his wife cheated on him and his daughter was killed by a drunk driver. Has anyone had an encounter with him?

Has anyone spoken with a soldier in Cairo egypt by the name of Victor Howard?...

I met a major n the us army and he sent me wedding rings is he a scammer he is I n Affgainstain we talk n i see him and he wants to marry me i got the rings last week i love him with all my heart

Do you Skype or videochat? Was the address from an APO?

I met a man named Richard Ricks on FB. Says his real name is Richard Dickson. Claims to be working in Kuwait, widowed and has a 5 year old son named Jacob who is living with his sister. Very handsome photos, so I started to having feelings as soon as he professed his feelings. We moved onto Google Hangouts. He romanced me for a time, then after only about 2 weeks started asking for a copy of my credit card. Did not do that. Then he asked me to buy him a JBL mp3 player. I also did not do that. I told him I knew he was a scammer and he got very indignant. He videochatted with me for about 4 minutes and all I saw was a video of the same guy whose pictures he had originally had on FB, which was taken down by the way. The man in the video was not looking at me face front and all I heard was a man say hello honey, which did not match the voice of the man whose pictures I had been seeing. I again confronted him and he wound up calling me a hooligan and now won't speak to me because he knows I am not doing to give him a thing. However, bottom line is I am very hurt and still suffering from it, even though it's only been about 5-6 weeks total. It is one of the meanest things that has ever been done to me. Faking love. I'm just glad I didn't give him a thing. But I kind of did give him my heart for a while.

I just got a insta req and person told me he is from Turkey working in uk as pilot.. he asked me my whatsapp number ..I denied him because I suspect it is fake profile with some handsome pictures posted on today at same time. . before today he never uploaded any pic since 2017.
And I tried to search him on other plateform and did not find him. Then I landed on this page. How can I post his picture here ?

My story started 18 months ago. We met online and everything progressed very quickly. This is a beautiful man who speaks beautiful words. His story is born in Milan, Italy and came to the states at 30. He was married 26 years and his wife passed away from cancer. They have a 27 year old daughter. He has a master's in Industrial Engineering and he too left for a job in Turkey about 2 weeks after we started talking. I fell hard for this man. It was like a fairy tale come true. The money thing started when customs was charging large fees for the supplies he had there. I had no money to contribute. Then he paid off my credit cards in exchange for using the available credit to have gift cards sent. This man continued with his wonderful words and I trusted him and believed he would never bring me any harm. I am an intelligent woman but when people read these scenarios, there is a lot of disbelief that the scamming could happen. I had a relationship with this man for 18 months, we had many many plans for the future. And then one day the Secret Service was at my door. I had opened a couple of accounts for Fred Phillippo to use to receive money. His own bank account was frozen and there were deposits and wires made to the new bank accounts. Those banks reported ME for wire fraud and money laundering. I was known as a money mule in the eyes of the secret service. I did not question what he needed. There were so many more aspects to our relationship, many loving and intimate conversations. I was treated like a queen, something I had not experienced previously. I say all of this so that hopefully I can get you to understand this scamming process and what can result. I still cry with a broken heart and broken spirit.

does anyone know Steve Baker,says he is in Kabul Afghanistan,working for the United nations.lives in los Angeles California.

Have been scammed nut out times by Steve Lawrence $650 , John mark, $350 Johnson Frank,$350 dr Collin smith Just vicious names wicked wick , Susan matheison $100 , James Leviton, $300 James Ross $50 plus kids Sanda mark ,$150 Kimberley Smith Sympathy

Steven brown is he a scammer

I think I’m being scammed too this guy say he is a doctor and has a son he wants me to sent him money for his son. Has told me how much he loves and wants me. Something is telling me that this is the same guy.

Ellabella can you send a picture of the guy you are talking to please,so I can confirm if he is the same guy who you are talking to.has he asked for money from you?

Can you tell me anything about a man called Steve Baker,claims he is military and deployed in Kabul Afghanistan with United nations,asking for almost twelve thousand pounds for replacement officer so he can come to England.

How do I report a scammer

I’ve been reading everyone’s stories here. I’m appalled and stunned and speechless! I’m 48, married have a family and I never ever ever talk to strangers on social media except for 4 weeks ago! I feel so stupid and so foolish. This guy messaged me on Instagram. And he caught me at a weak point in my life. So I thought it was harmless. Boy things moved fast! And the pictures of the tattooed guy. The ID card for the Air Force. The son with the grandma in Florida. He has custody of his son?! His wife cheated on him and she’s married with her own family. He’s stationed in Libya?! His son’s birthday was coming up and I go buy and send him a google play card. What?! And then I sent him pics of myself. Omg. And the Bitcoin story. Then he says he wants to retire early he wants to come home. They’re going to start going on serious missions and many will die and he wants to get out. Needs and account. Whoa. I said I can’t help you with that. I slowly tried to pull away and then told him I can’t talk to him anymore. He went ballistic crazy. Said I was wicked. Said he’s going to expose me. I was so scared. I still am. I hope he doesn’t do anything stupid. As My mind is blown at the pictures. The same guy. The google hangout app. He also FaceTimes me on the google hangout app and he had an accent so that threw me off but it was the same guy in the pictures with the military uniforms. The same moles on the neck and face. I’m so confused. His latest email was that he needs a new phone and is pleading with me so he can stay in contact with his son. He said a friend was coming to the base and to send him a phone. I am going to ignore him and pray the to Lord he goes away. But even when he was on Instagram his pics were there in normal clothes. Same guy same tattoos. With his son. Hurt confused and foolish.

Has anyone had contact with a Steven brown oil rig worker in Russia

My boyfriend is from Ghana we have been dating for 4 months now. He's asked me to send money to him so he can do his passport so he can come be with me. He's asked me to send $200 which adds up to $1,000+ in Ghana. We've done video calls and we've talked a lot so I know him pretty well. He's real but how do I really know if he's scamming me or not? My friend brought this to my awareness that he may be scamming me, do you have any advice?

I am in a very similar situation to you at the moment. I have had doubts about whether he is scamming me. I have given him money for living expenses but have now said I will no longer help him financially. He said he is fine about it but I will wait and see if he still continues our online relationship. I think if your gut tells you there’s something wrong then trust it!! They will tell you to trust them and they are not scamming you. They will also play the long game with victims. At the end of the day they do this for a job and are skilled liars and manipulators. They are also looking to get out of their country any way possible. Plenty of examples online of 20 something year old west Africans marrying women old enough to be their grandmothers!!!! There is a Facebook page showing profile pictures of plenty of west African men scamming women for money and visas. Even if they do get a passport it’s unlikely they will get a visa as most do not have legit jobs or finances to support the application and they come from known countries with high levels of fraud for visas. Next will come the request for money for airfares and visas etc and none of it will result in him coming to visit. Likely the applications are never made and the money spent elsewhere. They are very good at providing all sorts of fake documents for all sorts of things. Sometimes this initial request is just to see if you will give money. If you do then there will be more requests in the future for all sorts of problems in their lives.

Hello.I just want to know if the person im chatting right now is a scammer.He is so kind and very gentle.He doesnt ask for money yet.He is claiming that he has been cheated by his girlfriend and he has a three year old son.I am confused because he was telling me that he could not call me because he is just using a military device and his cp has been damaged thats why he could not send pictures.He said that his salary is directly given to his bank and the govt.is giving all they need thats why he doesnt have cash to buy a new cp.pls help me so that i will know if this person

Sounds fake. Want to know? Spend $30 on a no contract cell phone and mail it to him. He probably cannot send photos, because what he described doesn't match what he looks like.

Hes playing the pity card. His girlfriend, he is a single father, his phone broke. sounds very sketchy

Be careful of a Tony , says he works in the UN , met on Instagram wanted to go to WhstsApp . Says he was going to Iraq airport photo said Montana ! Phone registered to Sabrina ! Photos someone famous wanted a steam card got mad when I wouldn’t send it blocked him

Been talking with a man in the "military". Uses the name charles williams. Says he's a master sergeant in the army. Hasn't asked for anything but lost his wife to cancer and has two kids to raise. I have reverse image searched all the pictures he has sent and nothing comes up. Claims he is from Bristol, PA. Anyone hear of this one?

His name is Grey Collins & he claims to be a general surgeon doctor in Amsterdam The Netherlands. He claims that his wife died during childbirth ‘ he has an 18 month old a five year old. He claimed that he was starting his own hospital & due to COVID his government would not allow them to spend a lot of money. Therefore, he needed an American bank account. He is the person in his pics on his Facebook page (I believe). I believe that because I asked for random pics at random times based on what he said he was doing. He claims he wanted to marry me when the airports open back up. I researched him & found his exact name on a scam alert site with different pics and a different t story. He claims it wasn’t him, but the name was the same! He claims that his real name is Greyggory Mark Collins. ***SCAMMER ***SCAMMER ***SCAMMER

Adrian Henry says he is 43 has a dead Asian wife, and he has a daughter 13 years old. He supposedly works in Germany as marine engineers but the crane machine broke and he needs 30k he has tricked me into 16k already supposedly for food and ect. Good looking guy but I think he is a serious scammer.

I have a sense he is the same person I am chatting with!! Mine is geologist in oil rig! 13 yrs girl in TX boarding school! Widow ! Can I see him! Have not asked for money yet, always showed he is wealthy enough ! But the red flag is always avoid phone calls or chat and almost 2 yrs in offshore rig not believable !! We can match photos! Mine has beard, blue eyes and vodka lover!

Did he sent you a picture of mother/daughter wearing both yellow clothes standing on a Christmas tree or both lying down in the couch?

Has anyone ever heard of a Lucas Leroy Hansen. He's an antique dealer from Pennsylvania?

This person replied to my Match.com post. Within 3 days he had to travel to UK for 3 months contract - he is an engineer. His name is Felix Marvin, he is from Rome, studied in Germany. I tried to reverse search the pictures he sent to me, but they are not used anywhere else. SO, I am a little bit confused. His wife died from lung cancer and his son and his daughter-in-law had a fatal car accident.
So far, didn't ask for money- but I feel like its coming

My friend was recently scammed by Felix Marvin. He had exactly the same story for her. It took months but he asked her for money.. He was building a mall in the UK. He made so many promises to her about coming home afterward and how they would spend their life together. Right when the job was supposed to have been completed there was a problem with air conditioning units that he had to install and he needed money to get correct units. Then Customs held units so he needed money to pay customs. He is a thief and a liar..sent fake documents as proof. Please be careful and don't send him any money.

@Kiki...please be careful. My friend was scammed by Felix Marvin. He went to UK to build a mall in Manchester. All along making so many promises to her..he would come home and build a life with her, buy a house, take her to Greece...then of course he ran into "problems" in UK that kept delaying his return. He was scammed on air.condioners needed for his project and needed money, then Customs confiscated his delivery and he needed money, then fraud on his bank account here so could not access funds. He is a a thief and a liar. Please be careful and don't send him any money.

Jackson henry - with pics of military, young man, supposedly in California, Instagram: jack.sonhenry7
When they talk so much about mission and when back, when the only pics are just in military uniform and the pics don't match the marine personnel - check all those details. Is a fake, usually they keep talking to you for a few weeks, then they have a sad story or an amazing chance for investment. Do not fall for it.

I have been scammed by a woman called Marelin Russell. She wanted to come and be with me. Said she loves me. But needed the train fare. So I paid £50 through PayPal and it went to.a Michael Stone. She said it was her naighber . Then she needed the taxi fare. £30 . I waited all day and she said her mom had died. I feel a fool and now find it very hard to trust women on dating sites and Instagram or Twitter

I have been scammed by a man named Steven Tom gros. Met him on Zoosk over 6 months ago said he was working on Pipeline in Prudhoe Bay Alaska engineer for the job. He said that his connection on the internet was not fast enough had me go on to his bank account euronet in France and transfer money to buy pipe materials the second time I went on to transfer money he gave me the wrong number to the account and was locked out of the account. I felt so bad that I wired him $45,000 and then again $33,000. Also sent him some money for cash as for food. Yesterday as he told me he does not have my money to get back to me I accused him of this being a scam and he disconnected his phone that I've been talking to him on for the last 7 months. I have no money left I am devastated I care deeply for this man and still do

He sounds exactly like Jacob Jackson who I actually meant in zoosk also!

I had a very similar story almost word for word so look my story up to and you will see. My guy uses a different alias but I googled him and believe the name you mentioned is one of his aliases. Look at my story and you will recognize the similarities.

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