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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 — 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


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.

I had similar situation. Man called Bryan Richard Brandon (it already sounded strange) - claimed he is Petroleum geologyst from US on contract in Poland. After a week of talks I found out he is fake one but in the end he admitted he would have asked me about money for some operation. I deleted all pictures and chats, phone number was US. Watch out please on him

So I'm talking to a guy that I met on a dating app. His name is Troy George, is 49 years old, is half Turkish and has a 5 year old daughter named Lisa. He lives in San Antonio and he works with "automobiles," - which he never seems to clarify. He is very handsome, salt and pepper hair, a beautiful smile and blue eyes. We've been texting for over a week. He sends me pictures anytime I ask but he's shy about a video chat. He has an accent but not sure it's turkish. Anyone know him?

One month ago, I met wid someone on instagram , after sometime he purposed me for marriage nd told that he has a baby girl and wife passed away.. I told me he worked in uk navy and from Brazil.. now I have stopped taking to him.

Hey my name is Linda and I’ve been scammed from a guy who I ave been talking too for 1 year. I met him on a dating site and always new what to say. His name was Patrick Luca who’s been stuck in Turkey due to COVID. He’s a jeweler but has been in a tough situation and in need of money. I’ve been sending him money but I’ve never heard his voice or seen him. Texting is the only communication I have with him. He had an issue in receiving money so I was sending money to a friend who would send it to him. I used bitcoin and gifts cards. He would hey angry if I asked to much questions. I finally searched online for help or stories related to mine and I’ve found plenty. I called him out in what he’s done and he tried to deny it then instantly stop texting me . Hope this helps someone out

So there is this attractive guy on Linkedin that says he lives on the gulf coast and works on an oil rig. He says his name is Richard Burk. I am married so I was not 'looking for love', but he was not offensive in his introduction so I accepted his connection. After a couple days of texting with me, he says he has $10M worth of gold bars that he recovered on a diving excursion with his team in Mexico. He sent photos. And says he will give me 10% if I help him sell them here in USA. He could not answer me when I asked what part of the gulf of Mexico he was stationed on. Instead gave me compliments on my looks. I am deleting him as a connection but wanted to warn other women. I looked at his facebook page and it seemed normal, but his "likes" were all Pakistan music and books. Small detail he missed. Like the other reports on here, his profile says "divorced."

How do I report one 's name and picture to expose him for his future victims??

Watch out for some one named Andrew peters or recently changed name to andy p.f he is a PI lives in nyc but had to travel to turkey to take care of a property . His one and only card got hacked and his bank closed his account. Now he had all these bills and taxes to pay before they let him leave turkey. He says he is Australian but his mother is south African so he has an accent. He sends you all the pictures of bills and receipts and make you fall in love with him.

I met a woman on a website, started off as a normal conversation which she later wanted to move to Hangouts, which i had no issue with. A few weeks go by and she claims that she just found out that her mother has heart disease and doesn't have enough funds for the surgery. She states that her relative can send her money by only means of an online banking. I said i can help her set it up in her own name but she argues that it had to be in mine. I straight up refused, but she kept pushing for a few days. When I point out the flaws, she blows it off as if I am confused or I don't understand her situation, claiming that I don't care about her as a friend. She then stated that if her mother passes away, then she will commit to suicide since her mother is her rock. I managed to talk her out of that part, but this is the first time I have seen a scammers story this descriptive and thought out.
I have been smart enough not to send this person any money so far, as well as blocked her on my phone. Has anyone met a scammer this extreme?

Robert Miller on Facebook from saint Paul Minnesota is a scammer

Am talking to someone on google hangouts and she has asked for some money and says she lives in her friend house idk if it's a scam or not can anyone help?

Most likely it is a scammer, my own scammer is on hangouts as well, as soon as I blocked them. They texted me from another hangouts account. I am playing along for now but I will not send money or share anymore info. Let’s see where this goes!

NO! don't send her money. Did you do facetime or a online live face chat? if not don't send her nothing. If they are not willing to do that (live/ face chat online) they're scamming you. Could be a catfish. If you haven't even met this woman in person don't send her nothing.

This guy says his name is freddie steiner and is on LinkedIn, instagram and says he has a 12 year old daughter and is a engineer but now doing a project in Germany and is a contractor but has ran out of money and said he needs 20000 for a engine. The most I did was send a steam card for 50 dollars. Want to know if he's a phony

Yes that is typical scammer story, don't send any more money or gift cards.

Hi all, I am in South Africa and I have met an Alex Melvin on Tinder, he has not asked me for money, he has asked me to make payments for him from his personal bank account, gave me the username and password. He says he is from LA and currently working in Madagascar installing 5G cables under the sea. Widow with a 9 year old daughter, sent me photos of her. I have photos of him when do I upload them to verify


Do the scammers usually give a passport ? I wanted him to prove his identity and asked for an ID

I have asked for passports. If they are genuine, they should oblige. But be alert to cloned passports. We ran a passport through google reverse image search and found the one it was cloned from.

Has anyone here been talking to a good looking guy with a gray Goa tee and gray hair claims tho be a self employed engineer and is in Qata he is a con. let me know if you know him

Has anyone met a Scott Luna says he’s in the military very good looking dark hair says he’s 45

Has anyone on here been scammed by Luis Donahue or Daniel Sebastian Cristobal? It's the same guy, young about 45-46, wear glasses sometimes. Very handsome. Has a cute french bulldog supposedly currently in Turkey. He's a building engineer, divorced because his wife cheated with his best friend. Has one son in boarding school. The kid's name is Larry. Asked for bitcoins.

Have been scammed by a man called Glenn salmeron . I was just looking for a pen pal. I have lost the family money because I was so so scared ( using photos of s man in Facebook)
Then believing in people I have tried to find another pen pal
Another scammer named James Garth the rest of the family money .
Yes I’m really stupid and I can’t talk about the worse too ashamed
Today I try to heal myself
I don’t trust people
So be careful
And I can help if someone need some help

I Been where you are!! Remember you were a victim of a crime!! Scammers want your money and will say anything to get it. Don’t let them win! Hold your head high and live your life!! It was a crime, plain and simple!!! God bless

Has anyone had dealings with a Richardson Matthew. A Swedish guy working on an oil rig in Turkey. Wife died 4 years ago and has a 14 year old daughter called Micelle who is at boarding school?

I have met an online friend lately, said he works as a petroleum engineer in a huge oil and gas company in Texas. Now he said he's flying to Bolivia for an offshore contract there. He sent me some photos and even voice called me just yesterday. During our call, he told me he's sending me gifts thru vortex delivery express, and added that he was informed that I should pay a clearance tax before receiving the package, so he included a sum of money to cover my expenses. He seems to be so consistent, so gentlemanly. Now I am not sure whether he is real or fake. Can somebody give me advises.

I am suspicious of a man I met thru a dating site. Too good to be true, right? How long do scammers woo you before asking for personal or financial info? Thx in advance for your response.

Took my scammer about three weeks to come up with his sob story. It's coming!

Does anyone know engineer Christopher Clinton? I have read a lot of comments on this page and sounds like the man I am dating. He is a tall man 64 yrs gray/silver hair, brown eyes med/or so built, wears no rim glasses but also wear black/dark rim glasses. His wife died of breast cancer 14 years age and has a son who just turned 15 in boarding school. He is Canadian live in Toronto. Right now he is in Denmark working on oil rig contract up in Dec of this year. His stories match many of the post I am reading. Loves to flatter me with how much he loves me send flowers. Skype and face matches his pictures he sent me. We are to getting married in Dec when he is done with his contract and retires. I did some research on what he has been asking me to do and all is bogus. He says he is a Godly man and knows the Bible well. We talk for hours in the middle of the night and will do hello chats in the morning before work. I paid for his luggage/box of personal belongings to be delivered but of course there are problems with delivery (more money) I refused. I really need to know if this man is for real his pictures are but is he. I am usually a smart woman when it come to being scammed, but he won my heart. Christopher wants to buy big house with lots of land for just the two of us and promises to always loves me and will take good care of me. He likes as he put it "fat" women and wants to eat well and stay healthy for him, I am a little above average weight and he says he will love me even if I am not fat. We are supposed soulmates and meant for each other. I am wondering if anyone else may know him. Oh yes, his middle name is William and his late wife's name is Monica, found this out the other day and this is why I need your help ladies. Thanks

Ladies wake up this is a play with the same script.

I have been scammed twice. One requested me as a friend posing as Sylvester Stallon. He asked for a gift card. I blocked him. Another scammer Ray Luigi stated I was going to jail if i did not go get a gift card. I blocked him to and Sanz Calad Luera Luigi.

Becareful who you accept for a friend.

Anyone have inter action with scott allen.hes as for me to send a little money to get him out of situation and to get put of isanbul turkey. Right now I think he's in a jail in Turkey needing bail money .I don't have money .I've told him to call the states ,talk to his bank and use his own money .he showed me his account 3million dollars .maybe just a screenshot of something. Buti feel the love hooks for him that now I have to get over .yell are right .these scammers really know how to sell them selves

Has anyone heard of a George Oliver or George weber or Aviti..says he's from Germany now in Turkey to hearing on his daughters inheritance money was put in my name but have to pay 1200 dollars to pay fees to customs..wife died in accident he was in coma a month daughters name is Kate is 6 years old..very handsome man with dreamy blue eyes..told me he loved me right away sent me poems asked for itune card one time..needs the money to come back from turkey to the states..

Has anyone met a man calling himself Craig MacGregor? In the pictures he sent to me, He is an older attractive man who is an engineer.He gave his age as 62. He appears to follow the same pattern as men described here. He first contacted me on face book, cancelled his fb account after we started texting. He is very persuasive and i fell hard. I am pulling myself back now. He said he is a widower with 2 older children. He says he lives in Syria and needed financial help getting his portfolio out of Syria. It is a long complicated story and i lost more money than i should have but not nearly as much as i could have. He moved fast and my feelings for him were intense. He hasnt contacted me in awhile, and i believe we are done. I was unable to come up with $5000 he wanted to supposedly pay off a bureaucrat. If anyone knows of him i would like a few pieces filled in. Meanwhile he is a good and effective talker. Be careful.

Does anyone heard about a Dr Stephen Allen. Apparently his wife passed away from cancer 5 years ago. He said he is with the peace mission in Syria and an orthopedic surgeon. His son is in boarding school in USA whilst he is on deployment. He went quickly to say he'd fallen in love with me. ..

A guy named Franco Callabero is in UK on oil rig needs money for lawyer. He Argentina but lives in US orlando any one recognize the name

Anyone talking to a handsome 57 year old names Eric George from Austin Texas?


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