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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

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?

I never thought this would happen to me. I saw the shows and thought those people are silly. I went on the MMD dating app for military. One of the first people to reach out to me was this beautiful man. His profile said he was 51 years old and his name was Larry Mark Piero. It said that he was German and stationed or living in the UAE. He quickly got me off the site onto hangouts. And when I kept protesting that he wasn’t real and he was some guy from a Third World country trying to get me to pay for his goats, he sent me pictures and then we had a video call. The video call I was extremely happy because it was him! He had a beautiful voice and a beautiful German accent. He told me that he was very interested in me, he was very serious about me at Cetera and so on. It quickly progressed to a love relationship. I really honestly thought it was the best thing that ever happened to me. He called me his little goat. And it was our little pet nicknames for each other. I’m crying As I write this. I’m not a stupid person. But I know now that I am a very vulnerable person. I am an empath. And these people are narcissists. There’s no way they can have feelings and do the things that they do. I don’t care about the sexual Photos. He told me he wanted to marry me and was planning to come here in about a month. He asked me for an Apple iTunes gift card for $100 and I knew I was being set up. I made a decision to do it, and hope that I was wrong. I cried all the way to the store. I cried on the phone to him and I told him to please stop hurting people and to please not talk to me ever again. But he convinced me that that wasn’t who he was and he would pay me back. The relationship got even deeper. Folks I’m talking one week total! What an idiot I am. it wasn’t until my friend told me that you can get Apple iTunes gift cards in the UAE that I started looking around and I found this site. You guys have told my story. I’m completely crushed and devastated. Even during the Apple iTunes incident I begged him not to ask me for money anymore because I told him he would destroy me. I told him that I didn’t have any money, I had maybe $2000 in the bank and that he would devastate me if he asked me for more money. He told me such wonderful loving things. We talked for hours! Hours and hours and hours! He asked me every single little thing about me and told me everything about him. I can’t even begin to tell you how heartbroken I am right now and how much of a fool I am. I felt I had to write him one last time of course, and told him that I’d love him forever. And deleted all the apps. I feel like I’ll never find that type of love… Probably because it isn’t real.

Has anyone else been scammed by Mike Peden Railway Engineer ? I am thinking I am not the only one. I would like to share stories.

Ok so the man I'm chatting is a doctor for the UN working in Frankfurt I asked for photo and he sent us it right away yesterday I asked for one with his mask and yup I got one he says he doesn't get paid till his contract is up but he wants to come visit me but I need to send 1350. To un for certificate of travel cause hes under contract he just can't go without someone applying for his vacation time his name is Patrick Beall very handsome I mean when I ask for photo he sends it right away but I dont like the idea of wire transfer help a confused lady out

Sounds like typical scammer nonsense - don't send a wire transfer - that's how scammers like to get paid. Why would he need someone to apply for his vacation?? Rubbish. He's a scammer but you could research everything, ask for the official invoice and see the official documents and ask for the government department details, look them up and contact them directly to see if he is registered etc, etc. It's all the usual scammer tricks so it's definitely a scam.

we found each other on a dating web site do not trust dating web sites if you are on one and the name Reuben Harrell comes up run he is a very smooth talker and he will steel your money he is very handsome when he does not smile, when he smiles he has very ugly teeth. if there was anyway of showing his picture I would do it in a heart beat. I have found out he goes by THOMAS HANSEN run as fast as you can.....

Wrote a while back in August/ September wondering how it could be a scam, when the woman “Janet Arnold”claimed to be a divorced British nurse ( naturalized American) in Syria, who fell in love with my widower step-dad after barely meeting him on Christian Singles website. He said she sent him money to pay off his credit card. We were worried . Seemed suspect, but didnt seem to be a scam, if she sent him money. Truth came out. $15,000 later, he told us the details. . After Scammer Janet sent him money to pay off the credit card balance, she then asked him to buy IPhones and laptops to convert to bitcoin which she would pay back to help her pay customs to get gold out of London. Claimed she helped some people in Syria who gave her gold as a gift. Step-dad did what she asked for 5 days, but then the payment she made to his credit card, bounced. He was then over his credit card limit by nearly double the amount, plus had purchased a bunch of snap gift cards which he gave her. Scammer had convinced him she was on her way to visit him ,but stuck in London with, so he borrowed money and increased his credit card limit to get money to her. After trying to talk to her on FaceTime , with a poor connection and then realizing that it was a different voice than the first time, he finally realized he was scammed. Scammers were slick and got him to give his bank account info and password, because scammer claimed she needed it to wire in the funds. She also convinced him to authorize her to have third party access to his bank account. He finally told us in the nick of time , so we were able to stop her from draining his bank account. But it was an expensive lesson. Scammers need to be caught and go to prison for preying on vulnerable people, and getting them to go into debt.

This guy added me on facebook, he is handsome and told me he fall in love to me, unfortunately I was scammed because he ask me to send him money through bitcoins. I bought a bitcoins and sent to the address he gave me, so tragic that I was being scammed by this person. He's living in North Carolina now. I have a picture to him. I hope other girls would be aware on this kind of scammed.

Fake profile on Hangouts: James Andres claims to be
Widowed, lost his wife in car crash
Son named Kevin, claims to be from the US and on a mission in Afghanistan
Using stolen pics of a Russian soldier, the photos show up on several fake dating profiles including one from LovePlanet
Lures victims to Hangouts for chat.
Sends the following copy and pasted garbage to victims
.
I am an honest, kindhearted, hardworking man who does need the support of a loving woman. Ideally, l am someone who is confident in what he want and who he is. We all face tough situations in our lives and we sometimes tend to be mislead by it. A lot of times we often tend to give up. In this life, I have chosen to give up numerous times but I am proud to say that I have also chosen to stay strong and be patient all these years..... no being in any relationship since I lost my wife the. I found you who am happy I could share lots of things about me me always expecting you to do the same being honest and sincere with me. He who seek happiness; they say, by changing anything but his own disposition will waste his life in fruitless efforts and multiply the grief which he purposes to remove. Your living is determined not so much by what life brings you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens. This is the reason I have decided to move on in life in spite of my incalculable loss hoping for a better future.
https://www.facebook.com/cybereducationpage/posts/1119245395156808
Thank god I got across this post on facebook. He also has been with on Hangouts since beginning of November 2020. Has not yet asked for money or anything, but has started expressing deep feelings after a few days. Will block him right away!!

How can I do the image search? I can't seem to get it to work unless you pay for a "report".. I was contacted by a pilot named Larry who wanted to immediately switch to text because he is "looking for something serious and true". His phone number is from a different state. He is overly complimentary and vocabulary phrasing off just a tich where I suspect English isn't primary language. Seems nice and hasn't asked for money but I'm a bit skeptical and would like to check out his photo.

I have a friend who I think is being catfished. This person contacted her on Facebook. He says he is in the military getting ready to retire( was supposed to retire last year but his commander wanted 50k to let him retire) Has received money from a prince in Afghanistan and wanted her to open an account to receive it. She has sent him money since he supposedly cannot access his. He has been in Afghanistan for 5 years without time off. He did supposedly video chat with her with his Military buddies behind him when he asked her to marry him. When they do speak, he starts off in English yet switches to a foreign language. He says he is 38 and she is 57, overweight with major health problems. He says he will be returning in December. The saddest thing is this is not her first time for being catfished, the other person who was also supposedly in the Military took her for over 100k. Everyone has tried to tell her that he is fake, yet she wants Love so badly she will listen to his lies. She has also supposedly spoke to his grandmother who is in a nursing home.

Johnson Williams with daughter ( or maybe not) Mary scammed me out of over $ 10 thousand and I am handicapped. I can’t believe there are people out there who don’t even deserve to breathe the air like him. What goes around; comes around . Remember that whatever your real name is.

Hey anyone come across a King Lukas Mario from USA military ?? On google hangouts???

I am glad to have found this site. I was scammed in July and August and fell for someone named Brian Geel who was a retired aircraft engineer who now is a Gemologist who lived in MD. I am humiliated to tell you that he ended up getting a lot of money from me even though I saw red flags. He was so convincing I kept doubting myself! It's like I was under a spell. When I started to wake up, I broke it off and changed my bank and credit card accounts just in case and then he called me to say his son had died from a ruptured appendix with Covid complications and I fell for that! I'm sick admitting it all, but want to save anyone else if I can.

Does anyone know a Teri John Giovanni working on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico?

Does anyone know of a Darrin Harris.. engineer.. has a contract in Kenya Africa??

Bald beard good looking tattoos on arms chest ( these pictures used)

Be careful with a man called Gunnar Marcus playing on Scrabble go, he said he is an engineer working at BP oil in Houston TX and with a man called Randy Erazm on Facebook who changes often his pictures and where he works.
Both of them are fake profiles.

Yup, same story. A man is friend of a friend. So I accept the request. He deletes his profile and asks me to talk to him on hangouts. Widowed man in LA with a son. He is a mechanical engineer on a naval ship in Scotland.

Has anyone been talking to a Philip Noah. He says he is 55 and is from Germany but lives in Clearwater Fl and is an engineer with line shipping. His wife died and has a daughter. Currently says he is on the high sea embarking on a delivery trip to Japan.

I saw pic of him on army scammer I am chatting with him just waiting to ask for money. say he is coming home end of dec we will marry. I am going along with him see what else he says

I saw pic of him on army scammer I am chatting with him just waiting to ask for money. say he is coming home end of dec we will marry. I am going along with him see what else he says Same pic I have

I joined Instagrm in August 2020. Since then at least 9 guys, all with the same story, contacted me to chat. All widowers with one child in a different location. All claim to be on an oil rig or in middle east as a doctor for peace-keeping missions. I needed someone to chat with so it goes ok for about 2 weeks. Only 2 asked for money, of which one wanted a $100 game card called "Steam" for his son's birthday. He finally gave up on me! The other was impersonating a famous country music artist , that for 2 months began demanding money on the first of the month. He even sent pizza to me !! No contact since 9/29...he gave up on me also.
Stupid naive, gullible me for allowing someone to touch me emotionally so thoroughly. I am single since 1989, so yes I get bored and lonely.
All these guys used photos of famous celebrities to reel you in. I bet females scammers do the same.
Dr Phil has shows on all week of people scammed by all kinds of thieves. Be alert!!

I met a man named Adrian Ivan Mazur on the Our Time dating site on 9/28/2020. He lived an hour away but his profile caught my attention. We messaged on the site for a few days but it was an awkward platform so we began texting. We talked on the phone a few days later. His wife had died from cancer 5 years ago. They were from Australia but had moved to NYC shortly before she got sick. No kids, no family. After her diagnosis they moved to Toledo, OH. Of all places in the US, why Toledo? He said the cost of living was lower. That is still an illogical location for an international to choose.
He said he was a petroleum engineer who started his own contracting company and landed a project in Dubai/Abu Dhabi on the largest underground crude oil storage facility in the world. The project was due to complete on 11/1. He planned to retire and buy a little coffee shop somewhere.
He began professing his affection early and in less than a month, he knew we were destined to be together. We were supposed to meet in person but his project manager in Dubai was in a coma after a horrific accident and he had to leave immediately to finish the project. There were many red flags in his details and his accent was not all Aussie.
2 weeks into the project, he spilled coffee on his laptop which fried it. He wanted me to locate a new logic board but I couldn't. He decided to buy a new laptop but the morning after he used a computer in the business center of the hotel, his bank account was compromised and his account at Lloyd’s bank was frozen. His laptop order was cancelled. He asked me to look for the replacement but noone had it in stock. He miraculously found “a guy” over there who had a brand new one. He asked to borrow the $2700 and he would pay me back when he got his 2 million dollar payment. He wanted me to send bitcoin to this other guy. I agreed to send it to him. Dumb move anyway. Fortunately, the transaction was flagged and the transfer of funds was stopped. All I lost was the $540 fee. Yikes!
It could have been worse! He was
Supposed to fly home today and he asked me to pick him up at the airport. I agreed but we never talked with about the details. I texted him late Friday night and Saturday am at 4:30 but he didn't reply until 8:15 am on Saturday my time (5:30 pm in Dubai). Said that he was in a meeting and would call me as soon as it was done. By 11:30 am my time no call and after numerous conversations with my friends and reading the posts here I blocked him. He called and texted via Whatsapp (which he didn’t have previously because I asked) late Saturday night, but I did not reply.
Be careful. He was smooth, really smooth.

Do you have a picture of this guy? All of this sounds similar to mine, but the name.

I COXE i meet a man on tagged called Justin Philip Leed see what he was trying to tell me i think he he a conman .he will send me the following that i give him my address .

1. Teddy Beer Big one
2. A gold wrist watch and neck-less
3. D & G perfume
4. A set of make-ups
5. A rose flower [very important to me,because its from my heart to you my love]
6.Apple Laptop
7. Ipad mobile and
8. $100,000 (you will use the money to secure and furnish a new apartment pending my arrival OK) Because after my one month contract assignment there in Africa... i intend spending my up-coming three months vacation with you in your country, so that we will have much time to plan for our future and family Ok

Ladies beware of Justin Philip Leed

If you meet a person online, you MUST confirm their identity. If you keep coming up empty, this is a red flag!! If they owned property there will be a public document of the transaction/s. Look at the Registry of Deeds in the location (county) that they say they are from, are living, or lived in the past. Secondly, if they claim to be from the same area you grew up, ask a question about the area that only people who live there would know. This should be asked during LIVE conversation. A certain locally-owned store or a past event or festival that everyone knows about that is specific to your area.

There is a website called words with friends. There are at least 20 men on here using the same stories and scams that you have been talking about. You might want to check it out see if they match the ones you are mentioning here

Happens everywhere, the buttomline is never send any money to anybody, they always comes with pitiful stories ,

Anyone talking to someone named Nilson Morgan he says hes in the army he's a first sergeant he says he's from Dothan Alabama he's 48 years old and has a daughter and he's been a widower for 6 years ago,

Anyone talking to fredrick blain. Really good looking
Wants my cc image so he can send me money to buy him a steam card. Mor talking now as he is mad at me for not doing as he wants. Says he is s marine engineer on a ship , of which there is no name. Beware. Wish we could post their pictures

Has anyone successfully tried identifying who the pictures the scammers are using? im really curious.

No, but I'd love to know whose pictures the scammer I encountered used - he's lovely looking and I'd really like an intro ...! :-D

yeah! me too! oh well. sad.

Are these guy/s religious? I am talking to one and this time he is saying that he is claiming a an inheritance from his dead father in law for his daughter. He did not ask me any money yet, but keep telling me that his bank here in the US has been hacked. I have pictures of him( not sure) if it's really him or just using someone's picture. I want to keep prettending that I have no idea about scammers until I get to the bottom of this.

Hi guys
I am from india
I am going through the same problem i have started chatting with a guy online and he asked me for amazon gift card to gift his cousin
Please temme how to retrive that money
It was a matrimony website called jeevan saathi
And the guys name was addinath kothare
I am still talking to him

I have been talking to a guy named mark Davies who is a civil structural engineer. He claims he lives in Palm Springs and just recently traveled to instanbul turkey for a contract for 1 month_he is 43. Anyone have the same experience? I have talked on the phone with him every day but when try to video...it cuts off after 10 seconds. Strong accent...not sure where from.

Hi I think I’ve been talking to the same guy have any more details on him

So I was lonely in college, I thought I found the perfect woman. All said and done I filled out the report. I was younger a dumber I didn't realize it was scam until too late, I did what you're supposed to and cut them off. Sadly the emotional connection from being so young is hard to break. I hope you all have an easier time moving on than I

Has anyone chatted with a Jeffrey Williams? says he from Brooklyn, NY works as a rig engineer. He's been using a picture of a professional boxer.

Please be advised there is a person using John Foreman who suppose to have a 15 year old daughter Mandy. They both are scam artist who quickly escalated the sweet words, of I love you without even meeting me. Just recently I was asked to send $1500 for her schooling. When i played their game and asked the name of the school. They are not very smart because they gave me the name and I called to find no one with that name went there.

My scammers name is Rudolf Arthur Weiss, wants to be called Art, works in the oil industry, on a rig in the Gulf of Mexico, and because of the radioactive material is not allowed to make phone calls or take selfies. Charmed and romanced for three weeks and then started asking for money- said no, and broke off, but he came back, apologized and romanced some more. then asked for iTunes cards, which I gave, did not say thank you, no mention of returning the money. Then just asked for a personal loan to pay for lawyers for a very lucrative contract. His FB is fake, only African friends, picture of him sitting in a private jet reading a newspaper, or one of him sitting at a table eating gnocchi. Met him on eharmony.

I matched with a guy on hinge Scott Lobon who said he was in Syria and worked as a marine. He told me to talk with him on Skype. It started out innocent with just getting to know eachother and then the romantic questions started and he stated that he was getting a really strong connection with me. At one point he asked for nude pics which I refused. We talked about past relationships. Then yesterday he was telling me that they could not get supplies because the government was backed up. Both his parents are dead and he is an only child. Then today he asked if I would go to the Bitcoin store and send him Bitcoin. He would pay me back as soon as he got back in the states. I told him no. He was adamant at first but then seemed to let it go when I refused. He changed the subject and then told me he loved me. After that he asked how I felt. I said I thought he was a nice guy and would like to meet him. He asked why I would not support him then. I deleted the conversation then.

This just happened to me with the same guy. Starting talking on hinge, seemed normal and then I got a weird feeling. He came on real strong, real fast. Downloaded Skype to talk to him and decided to google him once I saw the last name. So thank you so much for this comment because I immediately deleted the app!

Same thing happened to me with the same guy, Scott Lobon. Pretty much the same exact story. Matched on Hinge, downloaded Skype to communicate with him. Came on real strong then asked me to help him out and send Bitcoin. I also refused, saw this post and cut off communication. Thank you for speaking out about this.

I was found on a very popular site that millions of people are on every day. This person found me and asked to be friends as a nice person as IAM said sure he wants to be friends sure. After I started talking to him he asked to go on another site. Again as stupid as IAM I said ok so I did he shows love candy claims to have kids I asked for the address to send Christmas cards to these kids but the kids never gave me there address. The "kids" where under the age of 18 living by themselves while this guy I'm talking to is out at sea as a Marine oil engineer outside of Florida. This "guy" starts asking me for Google play to turn in reports for his "work" and to update his phone. I just need some kind of help I am someone that has a learning disability and a vulnerable adult!

Just stop talking to him, block him on all sites, don't give him any information about yourself. If you have to, delete your dating profile for a while so he can't contact you.

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