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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

BEWARE of man named Bernard Harvey, Madison Wisconsin.
Just had 3 week fake relationship with him. Met on Christian Mingle, and he soon wanted me to be exclusive to only him and delete my online acct. He is supposedly structural engineer, working on construction project in Poland. Needed $5000 from me to help him get equipment released. Ding, ding, ding - scammer.
We even prayed together daily. Be warned, they are clever even with Christian knowledge to trap you sadly.

I just met someone called berg Olsen he is a widower, a son 16-year-old very religious person, he said he wants to be with me the eternity, bald, black glasses in a very fancy car, I look for his photo but is unique... Please tell me if someone knows him

I meet a man on pof he said he works for the navy on sub and he has asked for my hand in marriage I see pitchers of him at work and at home but I dont have is number to ring him at says its not active his name is Mike hall I have got feelings for this man now and I need to no if its a scam can you please help me as worried about it

It's a scam ... delete, block ... get rid

Has anyone been contacted by a male from Miami Florida name is Antonio Vasquez 53 wife died 3 years ago in car accident . Has a son that is 11 but is living with his mom in Spain. He says he does interiors of homes he has asked for money haven’t given him any. He has a dog Louis he has asked for iTunes card which I bought stupidly but that is all he is ever getting.

Yes, just recently scammed out about £700.00. Transferred using Western Union and MoneyGram. Fell for it hook, line and sinker. I feel very ashamed of myself!

Has anyone encountered a petorleu engineer named Ashley Leigh who allegedly has a daughter named Lucie? Might live in Hawaii, but a British citizen?

I am being fooled by a man named John smith says in stuck in London,
He is widowed and has a 14 year old son in Ohio with grandmother. Always needs money wired to Ghana . He is oil rig engineer. His picture is of white German. Has scammed over one million dollars in 7 years. Says he is in love with me and is trying to get my to me to marry me, but customs wants him to pay 39k for taxes on his diamonds

I have met this guy online in Canada, within a week he says he has a job in Cyrus, Greece... I do have pictures. He has now asked if I would send him a new iPhone 11. I told him he could send me the money first, but the more I thinking about it all I am feeling uncomfortable it all. My gut says scam but he seems to be providing information to send it to. I don't know I'm torn

My scammer's first request was for a new iPhone as well. Do not purchase it and send it to him. With all the current covid restrictions, you end up having to buy the iPhone online, which means you have to use your own Apple ID in the purchase process. Then he will want you to ship it to me. Expect that he will ask you to ship it to a mail forwarding service with a US address as there will be some excuse as to why you can't ship it directly to where he is. To ship it FedEx, you have to provide your own ID to verify shipper identity. So now the scammer has your personal information and address plus your Apple ID associated with the iPhone. After that, you will feel exposed and it will be hard to extract yourself when he starts asking for you to wire money to him.

Anyone come across a Benjamin Meyer?
I had been talking to him for just under 2 months. He contacted me via Match and moved quickly to WhatsApp. South African living in England, Widower, adopted 9 year old daughter living with his mum in Jo'burg. UK mobile phone number.
2 weeks in suddenly got a contract in Abu Dhabi, was out there for 3-4 weeks, got caught with the wrong paperwork trying to leave the country to come home. Spent 10 days in the immigration shelter, and then another week sorting out paperwork. On request he sent me a copy of his passport and utility bill ... now I know they were fake! Listened to all my instincts.
Bizarrely, he is still in touch with me, supposedly suffering from Covid. I'm just seeing where this goes now ...

What I am most upset about is wanting to know who the guy in the photos is because he is really gorgeous!!

Biggest message is trust your instincts. They were screaming at me and I was trying to ignore them.

DAISY CAT:
CAN YOU PLEASE DESCRIBE THE MAN YOUR TALKING TOO.

I don't think it matters what I think he looks like - I'm pretty sure the photos were nicked from someone else's social media profile.
But, he was about 5'10", brown/salt and pepper hair, really happy looking face, cute slightly upturned nose. Really good looking - I's have like to have known the real man whose photos were used!

Brazilian Obstetrician/Gynaecologist AND Oncologist. Shared photos of her 4 year old son. Wants to work in Australia as a Doctor. Divorced. Hmmm.

My mother has been scammed out of large sum of money. Will not listen to family that she is being scammed. Has given bank account and ss #. I think she is brainwashed. How do I get help for her. This guy even has a woman claiming to be his daughter and my mom talks to her too. I just don’t know what to do. Has anyone else had a family member scammed?

I'm currently chatting with a William Matthew who I know for a fact has got to be trying to do the exact same thing to me. Ladies beware ease do not fall for it .

Does anyone know Linda Cosby USA army in Syria

She contacted me through Instagram. After a 10 min conversation I told her I had to go. All I did was look up cosby usmc. You ll find what your looking for there!

Has anyone heard of the name Hakim

Does anyone know Angie Almaida Air Force Syria

Looking for anyone who has had interactions with Christian McDonald. Norwegian currently working in Sweden. Has a home in California. Works as a private military contractor.

Do you know anyone called Frank Logan, he also has a similar story as he is widowed with a son of 10 years old and wants to marry me. I have his pictures with a military camp in Iraq. I guess it is a scam but not sure as his English is not so native.

I need advice, please read.... (thank you) I met a girl on a Christian dating site. She got me to go to Google Hangups to chat. She says she is Lisa from Indonesia, living in NJ. with a 5 year old daughter. She sent me many photos of herself with her daughter and by herself in other settings . She is not a model kind of girl (34 yrs. old and average appearance) however, with hair down to her ankles. I google searched every pic she sent me, even the pics of her mother in the hospital bed) Found nothing matching. I used different searches for the one of her mother in a hospital bed with, "Indonesian senior hospital bed" and various others ways. I found nothing matching that pic.
She said her husband passed away 5 years ago, Anne her daughter never knew him. She is presently in Germany, she had closed her store in NJ in March, because of the pandemic. She said the reason she is in Germany, is because her mother has stomach cancer and is in the hospital there. She is there with her daughter. Her mother is from Indonesia. We have been chatting for just over a week. We also talked on the phone through hangouts. I questioned her , because I feared a scam, and she was angry and wanted to do a video chat so I can see it's her in the pictures, it was. Today, she told me that her mother is getting operated on Monday or Tuesday she said she talked to the hospital cashier and they need money for the surgery, and that she depleted her funds. She didn't ask for any, but she did sound upset, saying her mother will die without the surgery. I told her God will find you a way. I said I would help, but I don't have money. She said she knows I would, and that's ok. She contacted me later, and we chatted about other things, today.
What do you think?

Here's a little twist on the usual love scammer profile that I have never heard of before but I am posting this on hopes that others will be warned. I was on a dating site and lost $2744.60 to a military scammer. Said he was in Afghanistan and retiring soon and could relocate to my hometown. Ok that really happened and I was stupid. Supposed to be for a commercial plane ticket but he got busted in France for smuggling gold bars and never arrived. Today's warning is about somebody else that I met somewhere entirely different... I posted a comment on an animal rescue video and he wants my personal contact information. Which I provided like an idiot. Then we go to Google Hangouts... home of almost all scammers! He say MOST of the typical scammers greatest hits... father dead, wife dead... he's a pilot raising his son alone. Gave the name Shun Kyle Wong, always these guys are mancandy and he was 41 years old living in Singapore. But he piled on the charm. I was suspicious about the intensity of the guy. Then he says he is going to Doha Qatar on a business trip for three weeks and when he gets back he's coming to my town to visit for a month. GREAT right? Then about two days after he gets to Doha Qatar he sends me a screenshot of the email saying that his son is in a medical crisis. He had to leave him with the child care agency. The NEXT day he sends me another screenshot of an email saying that his son has a brain tumor and needs immediate surgery radiation and chemo treatment. But they can't do anything unless they get a deposit of $1687 Singapore dollars first. BUT ...he strangely enough forgot ALL of his bank cards and other identifications back home in Singapore! What a shame! So he can't access his pilot account (what's THAT?) Well, I happen to be a professional researcher and I looked up the phone number for the child care agency and contacted the hospital business office. I got a response from the Senior Executive from there and she copied 6 other people who work there as well. It's also posted on their website that if you are a permanent resident of Singapore you can get $30,000 in free medical treatment! I emailed ALL of this back to him! Ooopppsie! That's what happens when you are a stupid scammer and you underestimate the victim you pick! He claimed he was about to kill himself so I quickly looked up the number of the Doha Qatar emergency mental health Crisis control phone number and they also have an English speaking option! So, I solved the problems that he faced and didn't have to send any of my personal funds! His English was terrible...and strangely enough the child care agency used the EXACT SAME misspelled words and terrible grammar! Completely nonprofessional! Because I checked their website and they really do look okay! However it doesn't appear that they offer any type of 24 hours long term sort of arrangement for clients. Hhhhmmmm heeeeyyyyyy this looks suspicious right here... but I seriously doubt he thought I would be checking up on the facility! Hahaha! Funny how when I sent him their phone number...he didn't recognize it! Seems like he would know it if it's where his son is really enrolled! But...of course..we really know... there's no son...no trip to Doha Qatar...no job as a pilot... just some lowlife sitting in an Internet cafe trying to ripoff people the easiest way possible. But be advised...these guys are branching out...they have glutted the dating sites and they're moving on... They're no longer just pretending to be American people or Nigerian Princes ... it's a great big world out there and...you need to be careful!! I'm the voice of experience redux!!!

Has anyone been contacted by a Raymond Lawrence Pascal. Claims to be on a Oil Rig in Italy? Wife and oldest son killed in car accident, by drunk drivers. Has a 7 year old girl!

Why do Nigerian men tell me they need my money because they have none but the photos they show ( real ) they have nice clothes and gold watches

Just a warning to avoid a Facebook profile by the name of Eric Cuang. It’s a pic of a Chinese/Taiwanese guy. Claims to be a pilot for American Airlines and to have bought his own private jet from his dad’s money he inherited from a company in Turkey. Scammed me $700 on a fake date. I reported him on here and to my local police. Sent me a fake plane ID he claimed he was part owner of that goes by C-GAQG which is a Canadian airplane, not American.

I have been scammered please watch out for a Zack Romero. Very good looking guy salt & pepper grey hair & beard. He claims he is an oil rig contractor out in Brazil. He sent me a message on Instagram... then moved quickly to Google hangouts. His Instagram account had been hacked apparently. He is incredibly smooth cling always concerned if you have eaten & your wellbeing. Calls you baby, his Queen, Angel and his love. After about 4 days of constant messages he says he loves you. Then he says it's his birthday (26.08.70 DOB) would like stream cards worth between £300 to£500 pounds. After more lovely words of love, how he wants to marry me I'm his world etc... He finds treasure while drilling 250.000.00$ & precious stones. Of course he wants me to keep them safe in the UK. This Box hits Belfast Ireland & prime logistics the courier service needs money for its release £3500, which I pay, because this is for our future new home, because he loves me desperately. It then hits another problem £17.000.00 to be paid to obtain an anti terrorist certificate. I know now this is a load of rubbish & a scam. I have reported this person to the Police. I'm still talking to this person as I want to know his next angle for money. Apparently he is coming for Christmas with his 7 year old daughter Alexa. When he is working she is looked after by the Nanny. His wife died 4 years ago during childbirth with their son.

OMG! This is almost exactly what I am going through at this moment. Navy, wanted to send me a "stash" b/c he had to move bases. he paid $1600 for it to ship fast with a private logistics company, which was a non-existent company according to the research I did, but he insisted I needed to help. I got duped into paying $730USD in bitcoin for the package to be released. Late last night, I get another email from the logistics company telling me its stuck in Turkey customs and for $4650 USD, they can get it out. I am not paying that! How stupid I have been, but all was fine for almost 2 months before he made his move. My real bad, I sent shared compromising pics of myself. I have a strong feeling that I will now be blackmailed.
He is supposed to be coming to me for Christmas as well, with his 11 yo daughter, Isabel, wife died 3 years ago. Isabel lives at a boarding school in England. Do I call the police or FBI? what can I do? we are still talking because all of this has just begun within the last week & 1/2. Swears he loves me, wants to marry me, will do anything to protect me. How do people live with themselves???

Ladies please watch out he is back on Instagram.... ZACK ROMERO

You could report him as a scammer to Instagram and they might suspend or delete his account.

I think i was scammed by this same guy, he came on facebook as Jorge David and later switched on to Hangouts. Same story," have you eaten", dont stress yourself and also using sweetheart, baby, mostly my love and my queen. Sent me pictures of a very goodlooking mexican guy, said he was a sgt in the military and deployed in Syria. I got wise to him and when I questioned him he was all hurt and was trying to convince me that there are people like that but he is not. It was always undying love and he wanted to marry me. To make a long story short he later tried to convince me that he went on a mission and was successful and brought back a whole lot of gold bars and money and handed it to the commander and the commander gave him a reward of gold bars and 300,000 dollars which he wanted to send me in a box with his retirement papers from the military. I knew then for sure that he was a scammer and the pictures he had sent me were not his. I blocked him imediately before any harm could happen. Before blocking him I told him NO and he said he was surprised that I am acting this way. Anyways I thank God for saving me. This happened in mid January to 18th February 2021.

My mother has been doing alot of weird stuff lately acting weird and constantly broke but got a full time job and 20000 well I found a receipt western union to some man named PATRICK WAWAWA ON A MONEYGRAM RECEIPT 1,800

Poor Lady... you really do behaviour out of character. They are so convincing. Try & get her to open up.... before like me thousands have been manipulated from her. Watch out for Luno money pank & bitcoin.

Does anyone know of Alexander Bowman of Singles50

Im also a victim of romance scammer
And I don't know what to do.
Scammer told me her personal life and real picture s of her . But I don't know if she is a actual romance scammer.
One time she blackmail me she going to deport my family if don't give her the money at night because I told her my family are not from United States and Im stuck being with her right because I'm scared losing my family because they are illegal .and
Because her aunt's need money for medical bill at time of night when her aunt sick badly.

Help i gave her almost my information

Has anyone dealt with a James Thompson on a dating site

I believe there is a guy calling himself by the name of James Williams (Jr) Wang. Claims he from Australia but in Ukraine extracting hydrocarbons. Oh, his mother died during his childbirth. His father raised him and recently died. He grew up with a chef and butler.

At first everything was going well until an extraction machine broke down. Then he said due to unstable wifi on the rig and due to relationship between Ukraine and Russia he was unable to access his bank account. Ask if I can wire money from his online banking platform (http://ersparnisseonline.com/en <--- not https and can't find other websites to verify this bank exist) to his client's account for him (Sber Bank). Entrusts me with all his personal information. So, he trust me with all his personal information in return gains my trust. And I now think he's independently wealthy and wouldn't need money from me. But then something goes wrong with wire transfer from his account. Email he sent to his bank saying he was going to authorize transfer somehow failed to be sent. And he can't go back to Australia to set the record straight. So now he needs to borrow money from a Ryan his best friend. (They both went to Princeton University). That doesn't seem to work. Now his parent company is pressuring him. And somehow it ends up with needing me to wire money from my account to his client's. I think I'm dealing with a very charming scam artist.

Hello. I was contacted in mid-September on Instagram. We started a very normal, light conversation through DM in Insta. Navy guy, widower, with an 11 yo daughter who went to a private boarding school in England. Dad was American & in the Marines, Mom Scottish, so he was raised in Scotland. Both parents deceased now, only child. His name: James Ethan, residing in Texas. We then switched to Words with Friends, my suggestion, after he told me a hobby was playing Scrabble. We continued chatting between there and Insta for about a week, only messaging. He then told me that he had to go away on a secret mission in Iraq for 3 months. Kept asking me to "wait" for him to return and then said he would find a way to keep in touch with me even though he wasn't allowed cell phones, etc. After he left, within 36 hours, he messaged me in Words saying that he had a device that he was using from drone equipment that would allow him to message me secretly. At his prompting, we switched into Google Hangouts when he attempted to video chat me. I briefly saw him, he looked like his pics, but the connection wouldn't take so we could only continue DM'ng. He has religiously messaged me 2-3x/day at odd hours that would match his location halfway across the world. Began professing his love for me after about 3-4 weeks, and he is always so sweet and loving. It has escalated, and I'm embarrassed to say that I've sent him photos of myself (which I'm now feeling certain will be shared, not sure what to do with that right now), and he has been swearing that he will be home and coming to me at Christmas time. Here is where the plot thickens: About a month into his tour, he shared that they went on a secret mission, and that he & his team found some valuables, that they were supposed to destroy, but divided up & kept instead-diamonds &gold. I told him to get rid of the stuff, he insisted it was hidden & would be fine. Fast forward to about a week and 1/2 ago, he told me that he was being re-assigned to another base since that team leader had died. He wanted to send me a package, the stuff he obtained. I agreed to let him send it to me provided I didn't get into trouble. All seemed fine until I got an email from the logistics company for $730.00, the "balance" after he put up $1600, for the package to be shipped. The logistics company was shady, especially since they wanted payment in bitcoin only, but I did it, after much cajoling from him and me flat out asking him what the deal was. He insisted that he was sorry, and that it would be all good, just get the package. That was 5 days ago. Late, last night, I get another email from the logistics company stating that the package is now "held up in Turkey at Customs" and they need $4650.00 to get it released. I told him that I do not have that kind of money and cannot pay it. I am so sick, and I am pretty certain that I have been made at this point, but am now afraid that I will be blackmailed due to pics. Cant believe I was such a moron. This is not settled though as I emailed the company, at his prompting, telling them we already paid their fee and no more should be expected. He is telling me to be calm, but I'm thinking this will go south very quickly. Please, someone, how can I search the pics that he has shared with me online to see if they come up with other names associated with them as suggested? He shared pics from a "thumbdrive" he had of his dad & he when he was a kid, younger man, some photos of him in his tactical gear as well as some more recent ones. He is a very muscular, gray haired, bearded guy, with lovely brown eyes, very attractive, in his pics. The Instagram account remains up, and I believe that he has been accessing it still, though he made up an excuse that he "tried" on the army server and almost got caught, when I asked him about it.

The man was in Tinder, 45 years old, very solid, a neurosurgeon in California, a woman died of cancer years ago and he is raising a son. Long letters, 2 weeks later he was very much in love and wanted a common future. He wanted to send me a small gift. It was then an iphone, ipad, gold ring, gold necklace and 18,500USD. The shipment had arrived in Turkey when an e-mail came in that money had been found in the package and in order for me to receive the package I would have to pay 2700 €. Of course I did not agree to pay it. Tried to put more pressure on me to take a loan, etc. When I said I did not pay and not my problem, blocked me and disappeared. The name was Hugo Fernandez at the time. Kris is now 44 in Tinder

Im worried for my mum as she is talking to an Andrew Thomas. He first messaged her on instagram and has told her to delete instagram and install another chat app. They have been talking for months and is love drunk and im worried for her as she's already sending Steam cards to apparently pay for a flight here. He has a dimple on his chin and has a German shepherd named Bazooka and claims to be in the military out somewhere. She has contact with his 'comander' If anyone can come across him please reply as I need help in believing he's a scam and try to get her to stop.

Anyone been scammed by men using....clifford edward? Chottu sahani?? My mother has been scammed by this man. I think it's the same man because he has the exact same story. Thank God I'm not gullible and fall for it. I got on there and told him he will not get $1 from me y mom. Thank God she had me!!! She got very mad at me because he quit talking to her. She is 80 and very long er ly as nd really fell hard for everything he said. Thank God we live in a very small as ll town, I told the mgr at every store in our town not to sell her any cards or let her send any money
She tried but I got a call from the woman at the store telling me she was trying to buy a card for a man she met online. I have to work and cant watch over her all day and night. HELP PLEASE!!!

goes by the name of Daniel Martin Thomas...says he is French but has a heavy African accent...from new York...divorced with 4 children....wife cheated...gorges photos...and i caught him out n cuz i commented on his pic and my friend called me and asked me if i knew him well, because he had been sweet talking for months...eventually bought her a gift and sent her a link to pay for receiving the gift....she then called him to explain that she had no money to pay...he said he had sent money for her in the package lol....why wud u put money in the post wen u can transfer...lol he proposed marriage to me n i thot wow...that quick..just a few days n he asks me if i ate etc.

Anthony Leacock, Chase Scott or Scott Chase, Richard Jackson all scammers from Africa

What is the name of the site you can post pics or see pics of the scammer. I am from Canada and the guy I am talking to name is Roberto Piero Says he is in Cyprus on work but only for 2 weeks. He asked me to send him an I phone 11... and was very clear on the phone he wanted, and very pushy about saying just get it done. I knew he was scamming me, so I gave him a phoney DHL tracking #. told him I would be out of town for a week, no internet service. I think he is feeling something is happening, but oh well. I plan to report him today to the RCMP. He is supposed to be from Calgary, AB... and 60 years old which I highly doubt, I would love to submit pictures of him for others to see, just need a site name

Were you ever able to locate a site where we can publish pictures of the people we feel have scammed us?

I met a man online who says he is a doctor out of california working for the United Nations. Over 18 months ago he was sent to kuwait. After six months because of fighting over there he was then sent to Nigeria. I have been sending money to him because he says his pay is sent direct deposit and he can't get to it until he gets back to the United States. He needs data when internet goes down due to weather. He also needs to buy his own food because local food makes him sick. I sent money for him to go on leave. While on the way to airport he was attacked by thieves who stole his phone and laptop. They beat him up and he was in hospital for three weeks. Then he needed money for a new phone. Then he was going to come home on leave but I had to pay for the two medical personnel who had to get paperwork signed for him to go on leave. I sent it and then we have never heard from him again. This is happening during the pandemic. Now he wants more money to buy airplane ticket to come home to marry me. He professes undying love for me. He hopes I will get a second stimulus check to pay for his ticket. He says I should share with him because he is my husband (he will marry me and we are one heart and soul) and I should help him get here so he can take care of me. He goes by the name Bradley John. I have googled his name many times but I haven't found him. I also looked up United Nations doctors and I can't find his name. He says for security reasons he is not listed. Also I forgot to say I cannot send him money I have to send gift cards. I sometimes have to send again because whomever I have to pay sometimes tell me the card is no good. I am trying to ween myself, but I have to tell you he has a very convincing story. Just as I am convinced he is not real he makes me feel special. I am thinking also that he is portraying different people to me in emails. Therefore can someone tell me how to find the IP address on the emails please. I need help getting away from him and I feel that if I can prove he is same person he won't be able to scam me anymore. Please help me in this!

You don't need to prove anything, you know he is a scammer so just block him, and delete whatever profile you have so he can't contact you again. You have to walk away or he will just take more and more money, that's is all he is after. As soon as you say you won't give him anything, he will disappear anyway.

Does anybody here scammed by a guy named Joe Clinton?

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