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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

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.

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 ❤

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