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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 anybody come across Marcus David on match.com?
He sound too good to me true, so I am already wary. He was a US marine for 23 yrs. Now living and working in Whitby on a mission?

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

I met this man on a gaming site I think he got away a fifty pound gift voucher before i really new what i had done he told he wonted to marry me and i fell for it again this time he. Ask me to open a bank account so he could money in for me but his account was frozen then i relised what was going on it was time to leave he said he loved me this time I got out

Yes I need help, I’ve been chatting with a Steven brown met him on words with friends claims he’s on a oil rig in russia

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

Yes I met him on a game in January wife’s dead daughter in college living in America has a job in Russia got shut when said he loved me and needed me to get his money and diamonds from a friend don’t believe a word he says good luck

I met this guy in a game he said he was America and had a oil contract in Russia his wife had died and his daughter was in college and need my help to get money as his bank account had been frozen now I feel stupid has it was all a big scam do not fall this low life you will get hurt

This sounds like I met on a game site he said he was in love me after talking for two weeks then he wasn’t me to send him gift cards and like a fool i did he then wanted me to pick up a box for him but I would have to pay £800 to get it released I said I could not afford it he said it contain what he needed to come and get me what a load of rubbish he kept on and on insisting he loved me and I fell for it now I’ve got nothing left don’t be like me get out now

Does Jacob Jackson sound familiar to anyone? He hangs out in zoosk dating site. Supposedly lives in Trenton NJ claims to be originally from New Zealand. Has a gorgeous accent . He makes you fall in love right away. Promises to build you a house in your favorite place to settle down. Claims to have a deceased wife and a daughter and grandchild in New Zealand. Tells you he is going to retire and build a life with you but takes one last job, in Alaska! There he gets hurt on a job owned by his supposed company. He of course is worth millions but since he is laying in a bed after a accident he needs you to do a series of things for him. I refused one of those things and the supposed millionaire business owner got irate because I didn’t fall for his 8,000. Scam. Seriously your a millionaire business owner And you are scamming someone for $8,000?
I have turned him into zoosk and suggest if you know him from there then at least do the same.

If you happen to know what happened to Jacob Jackson or you too have been scammed by him, please let me know. He is using many aliases. This is one I personally want to bring down. He is good at promising you everything and making you believe he is a millionaire who owns a company in interior exterior designing. All fake!
How do we get ahold of each other here?

Is st solan Johnson a scammer

Sounds like my Eric knoll . Working in Turkey but machinery broke down. Daughter sending 10,000, a friend is sending 10,000 so he only needs 40,000 to fix broken machinery to finish contract. Then he would get 8.5 million. Begging me to send. Asked for his bank info to see what he will say
Wish I could add his picture . Sure does sound familiar.
Lindy

Does anybody chat with a guy 59 years old and works as a protroleum engineer and work on the oil rig ? His name is Renqingduaung ? Parents are from Kapanese and Taiwanese . Will be retired 4 weeks and retired ?

James Anderson from Sweden claims to live in McKinney Texas it's a real scammer. Please respond if you have information on this romance scammer

Yes, a Mister Smith, in the Army, met through dating site. Asking after a couple of messages money for a sick kid. It is so sad how they use sick family members to get money out of you. Shame. I blocked and deleted. Done!

more a read about it more I feel beaing scammed, to me i found this guy in the app Meeff, he looks asian and claims to call himself Richard Kim, and he said he is a doctor anesthesiologist based in Afghanistan, he said he has a son Chen and he is a widow, his late wife died by cancer and the kid is taked care by his teacher in north Carolina because he was cheated by a woman who spend all his money, he said he can´t have accesss to his bank accounts because he is not allowed in cam, then he dissapear for a few days claiming that he has a dangerous mission and he got a bullet in his leg so he is asking to his superior to retirement, because he succede in the mission he got a bag full of money but he doesnt have anyone to send the money except me, I live in latinamerica... he said that wants to get married and be a father for my daughter...the problem is that he said that a Red Cross volunteer help him to send the lugagge full of money to an "agency" aistomsafeexpress the souspicious agency contact me but not from a domain the contact me from a gmail ask me for all my information included ID , I was so stuped that i gave it to them and after that they said i have to pay fron 2000 usd to 6000 usd to get the luggage, offcurse i dont have the money so the guy told me that ask them if i can make a partial payment of 500 usd... in that moment i feel something is fishy here, what kind of courier send you a parcel without the full payment? so I stopped the mailing and he said that he is worried that i should trust in him ...that he risked his life and the reward was that money and that is for our future family...I woke up last night and off course I am not going to pay for it (part of the mail is this R******.k0147) he send me pictures of his wounded leg by a shoot and when i ask him a new picture he send me a close up of his face with a pin that looks like acupunture...what about acupuncture in Afghanistan??? anyone else recognize this man? he send me pictures of his son too a cute 7 years old little boy . is there a grupu to share this experience? please let me know

OH God, I think we're talking to the same man. can I see him?

I met a man on our time claims he lives in S.D he has called me three times a day he says he works as a minnor he is working in Canada he says their currency is different than ours an asked if I could help him with groceries till he got back from the states an he would pay me back I told him I was broke he still text me an calls I learn my lesson from Facebook Raymond Marsh we can't even get on a dating site without getting scammed

Beware of Jefferey Forsberg from AZ Swedish widower in Cypress Turkey. He claims he's working on a construction job. Got stuck paying fines and needs money! Total scam! Successful contractors don't ask people they barely know for money. Met him of Plenty of Fish. If you have a similar story contact me at nattycatt

My mother in law has been texting this man who claims to be in the Air Force and has been for 20 years! They’ve been talking awhile and they started saying they love each other! He hasn’t asked her for money but instead has offered to send us money and pay for her divorce that she is trying to get with her ex husband!! Well I started doing some research and found the man that has been going by the name Marcel Gonzalez.... I’m sure people have heard of him by the name Greg Gonzalez, anyways when I screenshoted the pictures off of google and sent them to her she sent them to him and asked if he was not who he said he was!! He texted back upset and said that he couldn’t believe that she doesn’t trust him.... Well she said sorry but she couldn’t believe him until he showed her for real if he was fake or not so he video called her and it was the guys face! Me and my husband still don’t believe if it’s real or not any help would be great, because I don’t want her to get hurt she is really falling for him! I’m not sure what to do!!!!!

"Caitlan McDermott Kelly" - anyone familiar with this one? It should be called Lamprey fishing instead of cat fishing. They are more like the Lamprey, gross parasites.

Watch out for Eric knoll. Back on pof with same picture but different email address, age and place of residence.

I have been corresponding with a Nigerian student of law, who says he is an orphan, he is constantly asking me for my picture, every time we speak, I have sent it, until one day I just stopped doing it, it got to be so annoying! Also, when we speak on whatsapp, he calls me when its dark where he is, so I dont get to see him, his screen is always pitch black, but he can see me. I think that is so rude and one sided. He views me as some kind of mother figure. I have been sending him an allowance of $25 for the 3 years we have known each other, lately he is asking for more and more money. Now he only contacts me through messenger, to save on his data. What I want to know is why do they ask for your picture, is it to do some encantations? I feel I dont want to continue sending any more money, everyone tells me this is a scam. He is very sweet though. I have no children of my own, and it kind of filled a gap, but i could easily drop the whole thing. What do you think?

I hope you have stopped sending money.

Add Gray David from Finland. Messaged me through scrabble game. Work on oil rig and lives in Texas USA. Apparently he's in Aberdeen working . What a joke. His written english caught him out. Makes it harder to fine someone genuine!!

David Gray or Davis Gray?? Did he share any photos ! I have photos of him and his daughter in case you want to verify! I havebeen talking two months and very kind and awesome messages! At times grammar here and there but overall good messages , too good to be believed in short span!!

Yes, sounds similar here too. I have.pics too

i am chatting texting with a guy named Jonathan said he is living in Houston Tx but born and raised in Italy.
Iam from Germany living here in the Us 10 years.

His wife died like 4 years ago has a apparently 8 year old daughter who lives in Greece with his Sister.
He deleted himself from the dating side right after he had my #
i got suspicious and did my research. He uses a voip phone number no name and no address associated to it. He for now did not ask for money but i know he will, well i will ask first not playing that game

What does he look like? Did he send you pictures of himself with a french bulldog? Tall, tan, and handsome, wears glasses sometimes? I have a guy that claims the same thing, except he has a son, not a daughter.

He will ask. I had one that used a voip also. Took him 2 1/2 months of his time invested in romancing me before he asked. Called 2-3 times a day, texted regularly, emails every night. He was good. Had me convinced up to the point where he asked for money. He was an "Architect" working in Tampa when we met, but supposedly had a home in Tulsa. Supposedly born in US but grew up in the Netherlands, moving back to the US when he was 23, hence his accent. I did background checks and he came out way to clean. Couldn't find divorce or marriage papers on him. Just before he was going to "ship out" to Peru for a 6 week contract, I asked for his home address. The house number didn't exist on the street. No property owned by him in or around Tulsa. He claimed the water and power were being turned off at the site he was working at. His accounts had been "Locked" back here in the states and couldn't get them unlocked until he returned. Don't ever send money or give out personal information, especially if you've never met the person face to face. As good as they sound, as much time as they invest, they don't care about you. It's cruel and heartless.

I’ve been talking with a guy for 5 months claiming to be a Marine Technician currently on an oil rig in German waters. His name is Anderson John Stuggart. I know his photos are posted all over the net as a scammer but he is adamant that he is this person and his photos were stolen. He said his parents were killed in an accident and he is an only child. Has anyone had any communication with a man similar to this description.

He’s a scammer!!!!!!! Please spare yourself !!!!!!

Hi my friend has met a james king online he had money put in to her account which then had to be wired over to him as bank card was blocked

Does anyone know anyone by the name of William Barry King? He also goes by the name WilliamKingAndrew2020 on Instagram. My friend is currently speaking to him and she has been forwarding messages to me and he is being creepy saying he is in love with her and he needs an amazon gift card to the amount of £25 which you can take a picture of with the reciept and send him the picture. Sounds a bit odd. He says he will move to the UK from the USA to be with her and will always be by her side.
Can anyone help please?

Reverse image search some of the photos. It might show he has used someone else's photos. Never send anything to anyone you haven't met ❤

I have been communicating with a David Patrick. He sent me a photo of himself (2nd picture I've seen) holding a sign saying his first name, that he's real, and not a scammer. He asked me if I had credit cards and offered to make a large payment on my balance. Gave me his "aacountants" phone number and told me to text him to get the account information to use for the payment. I processed the payment today and it still shows pending, but it does show available in my balance. I know checks can take a few days to return. But he did ask me to purchase some gifts for his son and send them to him. I let him know I was not comfortable making the purchases until the payment cleared. He seemed to react well, but I'm still very nervous.

I feel that my mother is being scammed. This man says he is a Captain "for one of the largest cruise liners in the world". He states he is around 61 years old, born and raise in Logan, ohio, his son is 16 living in the UK, and his ship is floating around off of the Bahamas. He asked my mother to send him money for his son for virtual learning classes in the UK (she didn't send it, thank Heavens), however, he is still texting and video chatting with her saying he loves her. It is the same guy that is in the picture. But, he has a really thick accent and has explained that by his mother was Spanish and Father was in the American Military. Here's the rub, if he was born and raised in the US, I couldn't see why his accent would be so thick. He happened to call when I was with her and he asked her to call her back when she was alone. My alarm bells started ringing as soon as she started talking about him. I am trying to explain to her that this is a scam, however, I am not able to. If anybody has had an experience with a "John Brown" or his son "Jason John Brown" can you please let me know. Thank you so much.

This guy (Muller Michael) started texting me calling me darling, saying how he wants to get to know me and asking me what I find attractive in men. He tells me he lost his parents in a car accident when he was young and raised by his grandma till she dies, he has no one. He was married but she cheated on him. It seems like a scammer so fsr but here is the weird thing. His fb page has been active for 4 years with constant friends who talk to him and conversations with his ex wife in the past. He recently posted about his birthday where one of his older friends commented. They have been friends for years it looks like. He has not asked for money yet but his fb has been deactivated as of now. Do scammers has long running fb pages with actual friends or was his guy actually real? I checked to see if any of his photos were online but there is no match. Any opinions would be great.

I have a new instagram account. I t
received a message today from a "Amos Hilton 7". The message was hello pretty lady. Figuring it was a scammer (I watched Dr.Phil) I played along for a bit. He asked what the weather was like in my country. I asked where he was. He claimed he was from Atlanta Ga. a podiatrist stationed in Iraq to treat soldiers. I asked what branch of the military. He replied "Army Forces". (I did not mistype. ) I retyped what he said and he did nothing. He then post some type of social question that was an attempt to determine my weakness on social justice. I told him at that point he was a Nigerian scammer. He then asked where this "rubbish" was coming from. I didnt answer any more, reported him as spam and blocked him.

So sad - I have had contact with more civil engineers than you can believe. They immediately ask for my email . I always say I don't give personal info until I meet . Then they are all over meeting but they are working on a big project right now . NO KIDDING I have had about 5 guys with the same details . They are always such good looking guys . Usually Europeans, I want to believe that one is for real . I got burned on the 1 St but the other guys bail when I won't give out my personal info .These people are such awful people . So indesent .

Have any of them been called Dwayne Wilson who is supposedly stranded in Taiwan . Been talking to him for 8 months. It was supposed to be a 3 week project. Delays , catastrophe s etc . Looking to find out more.

Ive been talking to a lady who is madly in love with me but has asked me for money and she is in the military I don’t know wat to do

Is this person a scam he said his name was OKENNA ANYIKAMBA

So my mother in-law has been talking to guy named Patrick Luca. He’s from Enfield CT and is separated from his wife and has 2 kids and pets. He’s a Jeweler whos been in Turkey for the past 4 months and has trouble to come back to the U.S. He’s attempted many times to come back but there is always a problem. He apparently got fined $30k and has been asking for help and also to my mother in law. He’s been always sweat talking her and been telling her things she wants to hear. The guy only texts because apparently his phone doesn’t allow him to make calls or video calls. ( I know its B.S). My mother in law has sent money and also and has been receiving money to send to this guy. She has used Bitcoin and I believe gift cards. I know this is a scam from the start but she has a HARD time believing it. All the signs points to scam but has anyone have anything similar.

I met this man on Yahtzee with Friends. Transferred to Hangouts. His fake name is Major General David Mark. He told me he was in Kabul, Afghanistan, then going to Syria and coming "home" to US at the end of this year. He is retiring and prayed to find someone he could spend the rest of his life with. Said he has a daughter in the states and a house in Santa Monica, CA. Said all kinds of loving and sweet things. At the same time, he was asking for gift cards and involved me in a scam where I paid him a lot of money. This is the scam: He has $5.3 million in a box at Global Security Co. in UK. The Board of Directors had a falling out and the company is closing. He needs to get that box delivered to me ASAP or he loses his "life savings". When a diplomat delivers the box to me from UK, the scammer gives me the code to open it. I then get all my invested money back plus all the gift card money and 20% more on top of that. For 3 months, the beautiful words continued and so did his pleas for gift cards and money to get his box delivered to the US. He said he was going to marry me and I would be a good mother to his 18 yr. old daughter (he doesn't have one). I caught him in many lies. His spelling and phrasing was horrible. He is NOT an American. I can't believe I fell for this guy. I was vulnerable at the time and he knew it. He learned many things about me which I now regret telling him. Also, he has a picture of my driver's license. I am not a stupid person, but feel like a fool now.

I am a University teacher. We are working on a school proyect on the dark side of internet. Funny, I got an invite from a guy claiming to be a UN ortopheadic surgeon, on a humanitary mission working for the UN. He used the name Norman Peterson. I started texting him for the proyect, to see how far he would go. He very quickly started saying how beautiful I was, and that he loved me, sending loving messages and virtual flowers every day. I went along with this game, until he asked me to contact the UN so that he could get leave to see his daughter in Washington DC. He claims to be a widower with a 14 year old daughter. Throughout our interaction I spotted a lot of red flags. When he asked me to write to the UN so that he could take a leave to visit his daughter and me I had enough and told him ouright what I thought about him. Never a video or a phone call. He asked to use Hangouts, because it is the only application the military allows to be used. Total BS. We did our research for the proyect and found that this type if scam is used a lot more than one might think, and worse, how many people fall for IT with extremely bad consequences, financial, identity theft, and a broken heart. Never ever believe in someone like that. Its all lies.

I am talking to a asst manager in oil rig! He gave his rig name , widow , daughter photo similar looking and also gave name of daughter’s boarding school where maid visit her once in a month ! Maid is from Mexico ! But show he earns a lot and unfortunately very consistent in his communications since last two months! I fell for him ,but never shared any address or phone number or accounts! I love him but few things didn’t added up! Name Davis Gray! Email did not tag to real person in search engine!! But I have his photos! Even school confirm after lot of insisting no girl of such name!!! But, he sounds genuine but again at times no!!!Nothing asked from me yet!

I think I'm being scammed? His name is Johnson Williams (John) with broken English. I met him on yatzee. We have been talking since June on hangout. He said he owns Rig 6 and located in middle of the Gulf. Of course his wife died and daughter Sofia is 17 and lives in California in a boarding school.
He had his account manager Tyrone Jeremy send me a check for 3k through Validcheck which was returned account closed. It's like he didn't have a care in the world. They closed my account for fraud. He still blames me for taking to long. 3 days is not long.
So many red flags. Etc.....
It really sucks to go through this cause I was craving what he was saying to me.

Hi am man that likes to call himself Agent Kelvin just texted us to tell us he is going to come over to our address from California if we don't pay the price of 1500 in charges. And he will arrest me. He than mentioned he was Agent David Kelvin but did not provide me with his bade or registration number. Which is online for anyone to see. He said he can't do that. This is the worst scam ever. He says he will charge us with money laundering. Please keep in mind when they show you things or text like this they have no right to harass people. We have been scared for a minute when he showed the badge. But the FBI badge wasn't even his signature. So I am reporting this. Beware of scammers wanting your money

I too was ripped off from a romance scamming female. Please don’t EVER give a person on line that you’ve just met any money.

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