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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

Scrabble seems to be a current hotbed for scammers looking for lonely women. One that calls himself William Davis has my wife hook line and sinker right now.

Hi, I have been scammed by a guy named Andre Walsh. He said he works for Kaan Air as a helicopter pilot. I met him on scrabble go and yes, like a fool I sent money. A lot to his so called family in California Sylmar. I do have pictures of him. He apparently works on the Ayazli gas rig in the Black Sea. Watch out for this man. He is a charmer. Not sure if the pictures he sent is actually him. I just want my money back. My concern is he has my address and contact details. He has photos of me and nudes too so I am concerned he will spread it all over the web if I expose him.

ive been on a long distance relationship for 9 months but now this guy asked me to open a IRA account and i did but now his company sent me a check to deposit in the IRA account but i cant because no where on the check its for retirement the bank did make a copy of it and it seems real so the bank said i can deposit it and open a checking account but my long distance relationship guy said no and he said his accountant said to close the IRA account and look for another bank

Someone called David Morris contacted me through LinkedIn and asking to add him in WhatsApp and Hangout, I added him and begin chatting with him daily, He told me that he is a General in US Military and working in Kabul so he couldn't call me or sending any voice notes to me because it is dangerous to do. He shared with me some photos of him when he was in the USA. after 1 week he admits that he loves me and he wants to come to my country and I have to send an email to his department to tell them that he has to come home for urgent family matters, I did that but I worried when the email asked me to pay 3500$ for publishing leave certificates to him.I search through the net about email and send an email to the Department of Defence about what happened and to inquire about the email he provided me, they provided me with information to depict if he is a scammer and how to report him.
After searching about him on Linkedin I found he has many profiles with many different names but has the same information about him. when I asked him about that He has blocked me from all applications used for deceiving me.

Hi there,
I see myself in your story. It seems that our stories happened at the same time with the same person. It's him, Major Gen. David Wood, 3rd infantry in Kabul. 54 y/o American soldier, 33 years in the army. He lost his wife 4 years ago to blood cancer. 13 y/o daughter in boarding school in the US. I got some pics of the real soldier that did steal my heart with his eyes. I started chatting because I admire, respect and appreciate our soldiers. I am feeling lost right now after knowing that I was scammed. It hurts so bad that I still feel the pain. I wish I could have a chance just to see or talk to the real soldier in the pictures once because I admire him. I just can't accept the truth until now. I feel really terrible and can't share with anyone.

Recently, a young woman randomly started liking a number of my fb posts and then messaged me. She said she was in the army working with the CIA for UNICEF. Her english isn’t horrible, but it’s questionable. She urged me to go on to another messaging platform called “Telegram”. We kind’ve talked about nothing for a day then she was insistent that she loves me and wants me. Her “name” is Ava Oliver.

Hi all, do you know chris alvarez?

I think now for the moment i have te seem whit e man from Londen he sad he love me end he never see. Next month im goning to visite him in Londen but now whit te corona you have to stay inside but you also need to fil in e docement to stay insid te house so this men from Londen have to give adress if he dont give he is fake

I made friends with a David Marcus playing an online game. He is now working on an oil rig on the Mexican Border until after Christmas. He has left behind a daughter aged 13 and a son with no one to see to there needs he also left no honey for food or fees for school books or house hold expenses. I have since sent money each month and am sending money for school needs. We can’t really afford this money but I can’t see the children hungry. I’ve got very close to the daughter and she appears to get very upset incase I leave her. Please can you advise.

Holly, stop sending money. If there are people pretending to be kids they are not. He is just stealing from you. Oil field workers and engineers are one of the most common professions claimed for scammers. Please stop immediately and delete any contact with this person after you report them. You are being used horribly and taken advantage of. He is probably doing this to a number of caring, kind women and probably does not have a job at all but lives off the money he steals. I know it will be hard for you but you are a victim. His kids are not suffering. There are probably not kids at all. Please report this guy and stop doing without so he can live a life of luxury off of you and a number of other women.

It's obviously a scam - no father would leave his children like that. If you need proof, look up yourself and contact the school directly and ask about fees and if the children are registered. It's a very common story that scammers tell people. Stop sending money and block the father and daughter and son, they are all scammers working together.

Has anyone heard of Raymond Foreman? He's apparently on Petronius rig in Gulf of Mexico.

I tracked his email address to Lagos in Nigeria.

This guy maintains he's from NY and is very, very good. I've been chatting for over 5 months on Hangout. He never answered my mails until last week when I was able to track the ip address.

He says he can't answer calls on Hangout there on the rig because his desktop isn't compatible and yet it rings out.

The track information advises he uses an Apple iPhone.

Beware of this guy, he's very good.

Am talking to a David Rice, Staff sergeant in Syria. Alarm bells rang when he said he is not allowed to face time. He said he is in the 96th civil affairs battalion. My first time on a dating site he sent me a message he is 59. Thought he just wanted a pen pal as he had no family. Because I am so many years older than him I am very wary. He says he has been in Syria for four years, with no time off. Does not sound right to me so started to try and get more info on him.

Was messaged by “Marcus” from Morris, MN, on a dating app. After 4 days of brief chats, asked to go off the site. Agreed & 2 days later he contacted me. Sent rapid fire messages and a # of pics of the man from the app. Asked for a pic of me to verify it was actually me . Immediately asked what I am looking for in a man - when told I already answered that in messages on the app site, he replied that he was looking for inconsistencies as he was in military security and this was how they interrogate. Then sent a picture dressed in military gear. Said full name is Staff Sargent Marcus w Allen. Told me he had 2 daughters - the youngest who is 13 (told me she was 14 on the app) and older daughter who lives in Texas and works at Walmart. When I asked if he minded the distance between his home town and mine (it would be 5.6 hours driving distance) he said he was actually currently stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan Wrote: “To be sincere I’m in the military and I’ve been deployed here in Kabul ,Afghanistan for months now and I will be coming home in two weeks time. that’s why I want to meet my best half, the Queen to the throne of my heart to replace the void left by my late wife.” Then went on to say his 13 year old daughter lived with a nanny that he employs - sent pics of a little cutie who looks to be about 8 both alone and with him, as well as pics of his other daughter at what looks like a grad party with him, and a photo of a nurse with him who he claims is his dear, departed wife. When I commented that service in Kabul seemed to be pretty good, he said it’s because the military have things set up during certain hours only on weekends. Said he might not be able to contact me again for a little while. Told him I was in a vehicle with my daughter driving, so service seemed to be getting bad. So he said he had to go but would chat later. Looked up the phone # and it says it comes from Colorado, at some medical clinic. Looked for him on various social media but could not find him anywhere. Now I am worried that he, whoever they really are, will use my picture and my name to scam other people...

I think this happening to me,this man is in Scotland on an oil rig and has been chatting now for a while I think he has taken someone profile..this man is very nice looking age 68, has a 21 year old daughter has been divorced for 4 yrs and now needs money to fix machine his contract will end in December and will repay me then or any one I can borrow it from..talks to me morning noon and night...but I have not sent money..and will not told him I don't have it...say he can't access his accounts...anyone else been contacted by John Inabnitt ,can't find him on fb...please let me know if you have as I feel it's a scam to.. so dissapionted to.. in myself for falling for this. I have pictures

I'm talking to a man on an oil rig in scotland too. Machine broke. Need money to get out of customs. Should be home in time for Christmas. Maxwell

He says from the get go that we will have an awesome relationship. He uses my name in every sentence. Sounds like a scam to me? What do you think?

Anyone talked with 58 y/o Jerry G Michael from Kabul Afghanistan? Says he’s a 4 star General in the Navy and a widower and his daughter was killed by an unknown gunman years ago and his 15 y/o son is in boarding school (med school) in New York.

Doesn’t the Navy have Admirals not Generals? All of this is just to weird!! Hasn’t asked for money but insinuated he’d be buying me a car soon and just told me he has fallen for me.

I have been chatting to a guy met on Tinder but chatting on WhatsApp ( Hervé Lousieau 49.) who claims he is from France & was on his way here to see me, but was mugged in Belgium & everything was stolen.
Caught me at a weak moment as my father had just passed away two weeks before and I wasn’t in a good mental state. Sent him 3,000.00 Canadian. He claims he is divorced, two twin children just turned 5, Clair & Germain, tattoo on his left forearm and up both sides of his ribs. Think it says Tatiana.
Very good looking - grey hair & also said he used to be a model. Anyone else Having contact with him. Still texts me and says he’s in love with me daily.

Sorry you were scammed, you should cut contact now otherwise it will just get more difficult to walk away.

Anybody been scammed by a barry christian rolf?

I'm chatting with a woman who fits the profile of a scammer but she hasn't asked for money "Yet". We did a video chat over Skype, but her audio wasn't working. Over the phone, audio call, her voice doesn't seem to match her. Gut feeling something is rotten. I'm google-ing like crazy to find out if there are similar situations. This is becoming more of a puzzle or challenge, not so much of a romance.. Any comments?

Ive been scammed big time and finally woke up. This has happened several times with different women, sending raunchy photos or videos and creating a crisis. The give away is that video chats don’t work or they are deaf so will only text. They always want you to move to hangouts or WhatsApp and then the demands for money as they tell you your gods gift to women and want to come and live with you!
Just be careful guys and girls.

I'm chatting with a woman who fits the profile of a scammer but she hasn't asked for money "Yet". We did a video chat over Skype, but her audio wasn't working. Over the phone, audio call, her voice doesn't seem to match her. Gut feeling something is rotten. I'm google-ing like crazy to find out if there are similar situations. This is becoming more of a puzzle or challenge, not so much of a romance.. Any comments?

Hi there I believe I'm being scammed out of money there is this lady she says her name is

I’ve been talking with a guy by the name of “Jeffery Forsberg “ who I met on POF. He says he is a green restorative architect from Sweden. He grew up in Utah has no children and is divorced from a 10 year marriage. We talk text and we did this K one time but it was a “bad connection”so it only lasted moments. He is working on his last project and will be retiring at the end of the year. He claims to live in Paradise Valley Arizona and he has an Arizona phone number. He is leaving this week to go to Cyprus for this last project. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I am on to him but still want to see what he does while he’s out of the country.

Has anyone encountered these two men, morrison Aldelbert Gilbert and Morgan Russell. I met these two men on Scrabble Go. Total scammers. Please let me know. I know the gentlemen who own these real names probably have no idea they are being used. Thank you

If it sounds too good to be true, IT IS!

I have only fell for ONE romantic scammer back in Feb 2016, a very handsome, wealthy man that only wanted me and no one else, he even sent me poetry!

When I asked him why he always messaged me at 3am when he lived in the same time zone, he disappeared. Then he resurfaced with no explanation and I bluntly said if he wouldn't reveal his name, phone number or anything personal then this is not a relationship and it is a scam. I gave him the opportunity to prove me wrong and instead he vanished. I reported him on the dating app and he had been reported by several other women during the same period.

I completely avoid anyone who looks too handsome and has too much money now!!

I had a guy dm me on instagram saying he was from Paris and lives in Florida and works as a independent contractor for the oil and gas companies. He did have pics of his son on his page and multiple pictures of him, but something felt off the whole time. We only talked for 3 weeks off and on and he kept wanting a picture of me so I asked him to go to the bathroom with a pen and paper and I told him what I wanted him to write on the paper and then take a selfie that way he couldn't photoshop it. He told me he was in the bathroom I told him what to write and then silence, waited 10 minutes and sent him a message still nothing, then I told that's what I thought nothing but a scam. He blocked me. The problem I have is, I think someone is using this guys photo and his kid is in it and I have no idea who the real person is and to let him know his identity is being used to fraud people. Cause I did a reverse photo search and the one that is used as his main picture is the one that I found being used over and over again. I did a reverse search for the pic of him and his kid and couldn't find any other versions of it, Thank God.

I'm mailing with a person who has a 10 years old son, this son lives in Manchester with his nanny and he is working in Ohio as an chemical technican, He is devorced and his wife don't care about the son. He asked me very soon for Whats app but I don't trust him and don't gave him. So I was google him and found him with several other names. He found me over linkedin. I don't know what I should do. Because the scamer use this picture with a other man private pictures with there son.

Very interesting reading all these post. Recently I've met someone via an online dating site, very sweet, and loving. Supposedly lived very close to me in Georgia, but within in 10 days of starting to chat with him, he left for Cape Town South Africa to renovate a beach property. Didn't have time to meet before he left. He says he will be gone for about 6 weeks. He is divorced, has a 27 year old son that lives in Texas names Harry. He is originally from France, moved to the USA when he was 30, is now 62. Mother French, Father from Texas. Still speaks with a heavy French accent. Good looking, at least in my eyes, salt and pepper hair with white temples. Claims to own several homes, in Georgia, Albany NY, Cape May NJ. He is a ghost on the internet, can't find anything on him. I've checked property records, there is no name associated with his phone number. Gave me the name Ralph Fillon. We chat several times a day via text messages, he calls every couple of days, and we've video skyped a few times. The pictures he has shared, and what he looks like via skype are the same. He hasn't asked me for any money, or talked about needing money, apparently is comfortable financially. But I'm waiting for what seems inevitable. He is using phone number is 929-227-2947. Has a skype account Ha.fink. Does he sound familiar to anyone? Very curious!!!

I have been talking to a Wilton Santiago. He claims he is in the UN Peace Military out of the states for the US Army. Yet he has an accent. I called him out on being a scammer. He had asked for money for an children's fund in Africa. I said no. He now is making threats to me. What should I do?

I don't think there's much truth in their threats so block him and delete your profile if necessary so he can't contact you. If he's in Africa, he can't do anything anyway.

I've been talking to a guy called Mike Dave Rowe (Scott); has anyone had dealings with this one? He reckons to be in the US Military on a peace keeping mission somewhere in West Africa he doesn't know where exactly but suggested that I could send a care package to a red cross worker friend of his based in Nigeria as he couldn't give me his APO!
He has sent me a parcel that I have got to pay for the shipping and it been over weight! He call's me baby, ask's me if I have eaten and tells me he love's God. I have called him out as a scammer he has yet to admit to this. He almost immediately after starting to talk to him he asked me how much I earned and has been asking for gift cards. It does sound nice hearing him call me "baby" telling me how much he loves me and everything else. However I wasn't born yesterday. I sent him an article about scammers so he know's I know his game. It's sad that people make a living from this activity. Especially when your falling head over heels in love!!!!

This does really sound like the guy I have been talking to since August 2020. He calls me baby & his Queen. He is very smooth. But unlike you I did give money. Have you a picture please.

What about a white male name Antonio Evans. In Syria a surgeon.

Terry Bob on Instagram. Do anyone know him.

Anyone talk to a guy from England that is Captain of a freight ship that wants to retire? Wants you to ask for his retirement and you pay the fee to end his contract?

People never need somebody else to ask for their retirement, and you never have to pay to end a contract. It's a scam, block him.

Has anyone heard of a Mark Edward Kent in Nigeria and/or New York? I know he is a scammer but my friend is so desparate for love that she believes everything he says. She says that she has never given him money but I am 99% positive that she has. He has made plans to come to visit her several times over the past year and something ridiculous always happens to prevent him from coming. If anyone has any information on this guy, please let me know. Thank you!

I am new to the on-line dating scene, and met a gentleman (?) that supposedly live very close to me. He quickly professed to be in love with me, was very sweet and loving, good conversations, texted several times a day. Within a week of he was off to Cape Town to renovate a property into a guesthouse/B&B. He continued to text several times a day, and would often actually call to wake me up in the morning. We skyped one time. He claims his name is Ralph Fillon, has a 27 year old son named Harry. He claimed to own homes in Cumming GA, Albany NY and Cape May NJ. The phone number he is using does not have a name listed to it, I had a "deep" search done. I cannot find any record of him owning any property in any of the 3 cities. He is ghost on the internet, as is his son. How many 27 years old have no presence on the internet. When I started questioning him, he kept telling me to wait until he got home. I asked for a specific address of the homes he owned in Cumming and Albany and he would not give me the address. If he was legit, he would have been forthcoming with the information. He is using the phone number 929-277-2947, his skype sign on is ha.fink. Anyone else encounter this person?

Has anyone come across Perez Dylan Hall us Staff Sargeant was in Afghanistan and is now in Iraq? Both pare ts died. Has for young kids home with a caregiver Cecilia in Texas. Sound familiar?

Anyone run in to james w. on scrabble
Picture looks like he is wearing hospital scrubs, salt and pepper beard. Can’t see his hair really since he has scrub hat on. Poor English
Wants to get to know each other on another site. Hasn’t answered any of my questions.

He might be on the German dating site also or Facebook dating. I’ve seen several guys matching that description. The one in blue scrubs is on Facebook dating

My wife has fallen for a scammer from Scrabble too. He quickly moved the conversation to the chat/phone app Hangouts and uses a generic gmail account. He goes by the name William Davis which I know is fake and uses an accomplice named Audrey Sydnor to pick up the money from Western Union. Apparently the Scrabble game is the new way to meet potential scam victims as she as received similar message from other guys on there too.

Almost got me! Almost! Josh Chesterfield, birthdate given Oct 20, 1959. Lives in San Francisco. Widower for approx. 4 years. Really played up that part. Is out on a "ship" & temporarily li es in Hong Kong & says he's out there for a 6 week contract & is halfway thru. But he also talks about how they transfer oil. That would be an oil rig. I'm from Oklahoma & this is oil country. And reading thru some of these comments I see a lot of similar bs stories. He got all upset when I brought up scammers after lonely womens' money. Even used like 15 crying emojis. Accused me of making him out to be something he's not. Acted quite hurt. And that he wants us to be in a serious relationship. The one thing that set off alarms is that he asks all the questions & ignores mine. I just blocked him everywhere and cut him loose. He's on Facebook. At least for now. WATCH OUT!

I was scammed using the tinder app by a asian guy saying he is from Hong Kong but is living in LA. He claims to have an export goods company in China. He doesn’t mention cryptocurrency until like a month in. He says he will teach me. Ended up losing 25k. Ladies don’t fall for that. Be aware

Been talking to this guy for 3 months, from California, but assigned in London for a business contract. Says he is 31, blue eyes, with full sleeve tatts on right arm, and a small portion on his left shoulder. Asking me to pay for customs fee for his parcel. When I refused, he got mad.. waited for like a week or so, to tell me that he will be paying for the fee but i needed to buy him some itunes gift card.

sounds familiar?

My mom is currently in a scammed relationship right now. This has been going for apparently several and I didn’t know about till a couple months ago when I had to deal with wire transfer dilemma involving her bank account where he transfer her $149,000 in stolen small business loan money. I got that situation sorted out by slipping a note to a bank teller when me and her went into the bank so she can all the money to him. It’s even shadier that he told me use the money to buy and transfer him bitcoins. I was forced to do all this because my mom is adamant that he is real but I told her many times he is not. He hasn’t even FaceTimed her once! He even lied and told the banker that was talking to him that he was a “loan officer”. I thought he told me he works with cars and oil companies but I already know that was a lie and him lying about being a “loan officer” didn’t make his situation any better. I found the real person who he his impersonating and I took that information and asked him about his hobbies and such since the real person he is impersonating does watching making as a hobby. He also works with cars but he’s a magazine editor so he drives these cars and write about them. He also does tech reviews. I asked the scammer regarding his hobbies and what activities he does in his spare time, he either doesn’t answer or gives a really vague question. As of right now, he is apparently coming to visit us today as in to see my mom or whatever but I doubt he’s ever coming. My mom got into another situation in the past where she went to Los Angeles to wait for this guy who never came and ended up wasting a ton of money on a hotel just to wait for him and she made my sister go with her. But I’m not going to lie, a part of me from my doubting side, is saying this is all real, he is really coming, and I’m taking out of proportions. I’m just worried is all. I’ve been dealing with this for a while now and it’s getting to me. Just wanted to tell you all my story. Thank you for taking the time to read it.

How about anyone with a doctor that works with drs without boarders. We have talk on the phone and text but he says he is out of the country right now for 3 months nd wanted to quit texting and go to what’s up appt. he is widowed and lost his wife don’t know when never ask and then he lost his only daughter last year in a car accident but she left behind a 6 year old granddaughter that is being raised by her other grandmother.!

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