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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

hi, i am having this issue with my mum , she has bipolar an is in the middle of being scammed, i have got the mental health team an police going round tomorrow xx

I met a woman in Ghana. I met her 1 day then she had issues and couldn't see me again. I've reconnected with her again and have been working to get her Visa. She's had 3 interviews and now has the visa. She's told me I cannot book her flight but the Ghana citizen must book their own flight. I have met her once in person and have video chatted several months. She is a real person and I've even seen her passport. My issue is should I believe that she isn't scamming me. Do Ghana citizens really need to buy their own tickets and does it take 3 interviews to get a visa?

Hi can someone help me i been talking to this young guy for 4 months now he asking for Bitcoin and i screenshot of my id to do our marriage license his name is Greg George but on Instagram its dante whipple please help me oh and he lives in California he says

Do NOT give him your identity details - he will steal your identity and use it to take out loans or to scam other people and then you might get in trouble. Do not pay him any money at all, block him and don't talk to him again.

Well, I’ve got a 19 year old son that’s fallen in love with a girl he met via the internet. This was back in May. This girl has talked him into buying her a plane ticket from Russia to Istanbul, and he’s purchased himself a ticket as well.
Like really, if it were for romance wouldn’t you go like to Paris, Rome, Italy, etc ,etc?
This is an educated young man.
He won’t listen to me. Ever herd of such foolishness

Has anyone spoke with a Mathew Atkinson from Florida who says is a CIA agent?

Lost my heart and $2,500. I broke it off and he sent me a photo of his passport, so I believed and took him back. Brody James Mathison. Very handsome with grey eyes and white/silver hair depending on the light. Photos with his dog... Claimed to be a widower with dead parents and a 14 yo son. Met on fb dating but started texting on my private number. Yeah, he fell in love with me quickly. I thought I was helping him get home from Turkey, sent money 3 times, but it was never enough to get him home. He asked me to take out a loan and to get a credit card...which I didn't do, but I did give him money and all my vitals. SS# drivers licence...bank info. Now I feel stupid, I'm out that money, and my heart is broken. Reported him to fb dating as a scammer, and I'll be persuing more ways to stop him from doing this to someone else, but it still hurts and I'm still in love with the idea of him that I had.

I am responding to should have known. A few weeks back i was in your shoes and i completely understand what has happened to you and how it has affected you. I will share something with you that helped me when i was scammed by a man calling himself Craig Macgregor. Like you, i fell in love with the illusion that Craig created, which was not a real man. When the real man emerged, he was not the same man i thought i fell in love with. The real man was grasping and greedy. He was bullying when i couldnt and wouldnt come up with more money. I told the bullying Craig that i cold never truly love him because he makes a living destroying innocent people. Reality shook me out of it. My parting message to him was that he needed to change his entire life and get saved by Jesus. Ifhe didnt, he would spend all eternity in hell. I dont know if it impacted him in any meaningful way, but it did me because i was seeing him clearly for what he truly is. I dont miss him at all, but i am a bit concerned about his eternal future. This concern doesnt keep me awake nights at all.

Do you have any photos we could compare?

Was the pic of him laying with his dog? Was it a sheep dog?

Positive I’m headed for being asked for. He has a thick accent. We have Skyped but of course lost connection. Says he is Raymond Derrick. Was on Zoosk. Reached out to me. Sweetest words that no one says in a week. Now he is supposedly headed to Canada for two weeks for work. Some sort of logging thing. No Facebook. Comes up on no searches. Nothing. Sends pics daily with nothing in background to identify his location.

Met two other ones online that I knew immediately were scammers. And confronted with their lies and was cut off.

If anyone has had contact with Raymond please let me know.

This guy is Simmon Fasey (951)968- 5231.
This scammer aka Ryan Leister, Paul Blase, Clement Martins, Danil Mazik.
He speak English with strong accent ( russian, Romania... ) speaks Spanish and russian.
He uses more 20 virtual phones

Similar story of my friend’s scammer. Wife was a drug addict. No kids. Lots of $. Owns logging business.

Anyone heard of William Moren in army says from Miami, Fla.

I have been scammer by Dr.ps1@ , phone number +441444391255, Paul Steven in the linkedin as Medical Supervisor, now he work with UN in syria , He has daughter 13 years old in the icu in London with a nanny. He didn't ask money to me but he ask me to open his account bank in swissgroupinternational he can't open because he was in syria and He want me to send email to Ethan Aibscher at Swiss Privet bank as his fiancee, He is willing to nominate me as the next of kin and direct beneficiary to his inheritance account. He very angry with me because I investigated Ethan Aibscher..and 4 days a go he blocked my wa number. If someone chat with him becarefull.
I do something stupid sent my passport to him, please help me what i should do..?? Please advise

I've had one named George Matthew contacting me the past 2 weeks. His story has always changed. Never asked for money though. Still the Dr stuck in Iraq story that speaks with very broken English. Handsome and charming, so I know it was probably a matter of time.

I have met many scammers on an online Scrabble game. I generally just wasted their time. But something was different with Justice Barrack. And my heart fell for him but my mind didn't and I never sent any of the money he asked for. Like many scammers he built me up with words of love then ripped me apart with scathing remarks when I wouldn't send him money. He keeps finding me and I give in. But never send him money. My heart is so silly.

My son a college student has been in a relationship with a man calling himself Henry Colton for a year now and has been sending him money. To the bank of Nigeria and now a cash app. He has had jobs and has sold hid few belongings to send $ to him. We don’t know where to turn to for help he doesn’t believe he is getting ripped of, how can I convince him.

I'm worried about my friend, she's been talking to a guy for awhile. He's stationed at camp lemonnier, has anyone talked to a guy named Andrew? Andrew is from Pennsylvania, has a tattoo of a rosery around his neck.

My guy is in Afghanistan, a U.N. peacekeeper, a high-rank; he has said enough that I believe this is true, however, he asked for and received a vacation slot ($6700), now he is into Bitcoin (a no-no for active duty). Now he needs $30,000 for his plane trip home (huh??) anytime I ask for information he goes ballistic and starts accusing me of having another love interest. I know I should not give the $30,000 for his plane trip home, but any other info you all can give me would be so appreciated. He says we will get married in December, if he comes home; ???? So much pressure about money. I'm weary.

They never should need money to come home. Military pays for all expenses when their duty is up

He is scamming you and only wants your money. What do you know about him? Nothing. Being there, done that.

Is he about to retire? Does he have a teenage daughter in boarding school? Wife left him for another man & broke his heart? Italian accent? Is his name Daniel Kaplan? Sends romantic messages and songs? Mine is an orthopedic surgeon with N.A.T.O. Peacekeeping in Afghanistan, and I believe him. I sent over $20,000 I didn’t have . Promises to pay me back if he gets back to the States (used to be when), and he’s a man of his word. Wants to marry me , &and be with me & his daughter. Don’t send $30,000 for plane ticket. It can’t cost that much.

Same Daniel Kaplan contacted me and was about to retire in August of 2019. I also sent over $20,000 I didn’t have. Wants to marry me too. Is his daughter named Natasha? Wife left when she was 5 years old? I believe him too.

Hi, Does anyone had scam by General Richard Benjamin Wesley 57 years old military guy before retiring.

Does anyone know someone using the name Kelvin Lincoln, ExxonMobil contractor working offshore in Canada. From Spain, lives in Los Angeles, widowed one son that's in boarding house in London. Claims job is shutdown this week and needs original contract from "a safe house" back in California. And can't continue job til he gets this document?

I've had a few profiles follow me on Instagram and claim to run orphanages in Africa that were struggling (they posted lots of pictures of African orphans), and lots of profiles claiming to be young African men struggling with their families All of them asked for money. They kept trying to video chat me (I always refused), and would send DMs with their sob stories. I stopped following anyone who claimed to run orphanages and be poor kids in Africa, and I rarely follow anyone who I don't personally know or have any mutual friends with.

Has anyone been scammed by a James M. Meeks, Jr. Claims to be US Army artillery mechanic here in US. He hasn't asked for money yet, but its only been two weeks. He loves me though. His wife passed 2yrs ago. He was born in Griffin, GA, but raised between here & KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa). He has a heavy African accent. I cannot find any information for him online. He has deleted his profile on the dating app where we met. Am I being scammed?

That is a big YES

hi my mum suffers from bipolar an is in the middle of getting scammed by a man who she believes is in texas, he is originally from afghanistan or somewhere near there, he has a 17 year son who lost his mum, i dont want to put the name on here as i have police intervention going to my mums tomorrow, but if i could honestly locate him, i would destroy him for doing this to my mum.

I am talking on hangouts with bryan genge same sort of story said his pictures were stolen, he wont. Facetime or skype he said he is stuck in uk as an engineer, It’s meant to be flying back to Australia in two weeks sent me a itinerary which is probably fake I have sent no money he’s asked for Nan but I suspect he’s some sort of scammer he has professed is love over and over very quickly

I am new to this site. I have a man who claims he is an independent engineer and does some form of work on oil rigs. His name is Andrew William say he is from fort laurdale , Fl his phone number is from mill valley, ca. he wants me to open a bitcoin account for him. Met him on yatazee with buddies. Has anyone had any contact with him? says he is 58 and from sweden

Has anyone cross by someone name MICHEAL KARIM WAXLEX

Has anyone cross by someone name MICHEAL KARIM WAXLEX. From the Philippines

Can you help me find someone. I am in a relationship with Adam Michealson for a year now. He is 21 years old and he said he's from England and now he is based in Chicago. He work in an advertising company and he said they are not allowed to used any social media apps. We are using telegram in communicating each other. I can't contact him for a week now.

Tom Rodrigas Phillips posing as a US Marine. He is a text book scammer. Asked to move to google Hangouts right away, texted for a few days then asked for money. He is very smooth says every thing a woman wants to hear. Be careful ladies.

Just figured it out after a month of communicating. Traveled to Alaska and owned a steel construction company. One, 16 year old in London. Gave me access to email and bank account to transfer funds. Most lovely spoken words and I was so in love at first. Did send $3700... but not my money. Too many red flags from the beginning. 3 photos sent. Found drafted emails in email of same documents. Stanley Mount and Michael Nelson... same person. Nothing revealed under background check! Be very careful ladies... he asked originally for $50k, then $10k... most I offered was the $3700... they talk like they care so much about you! Definitely had me going for awhile as I wanted it to be real!

Anyone chatted to Richie Ejovi Omoraka. Been chatting to him for a few months. See his name on here but kind find the remark. Thanks

Scammed out of $2500.00 and my identity. Still in love with the idea of him ...and his face. I feel so stupid and ashamed...haven't told anyone. I have cut all contact and informed some of the services I sent him money through, I included a photo of his (fake?) passport and a current photo. Looking back at the texts I feel angry. Looking at his face still hurts.... He knew I was terminally ill ... still played me like a violin with declations of love, need, and a future. Met on fb dating. So I'm poorer, aching, and feel like the biggest fool ever born. He said his name was Brosy, his dogs name is Max. He claims to be a widower with a son (he barely spoke of which should've told me something) gray/white hair and moustache/beard, gray eyes, big smile, nice white teeth. I pray no one else gets hurt like this, by anyone. Be Blessed

I have had a man going by names Richard Bryan and Richard Byran on Hangouts trying to scam me for supposed love an insisting heavily on my sending him $400 in some fashion. He gave me a bank and routing #, a physical address for sending money, finally demanding gift cards. He called me abusive things after awhile, “stupid,” “wicked,” etc. when I kept refusing to send the gift cards. He sounded enraged as time passed. I figured he might be a scammer, but wondered how far he would go with pretending that I am the “true love,” and with sending the gift cards. He finally blocked me. What a relief, I did not send money. I know he can unblock me and begin again, but no biting on my end this time. He is a one trick scam pony, but he must still be hurting some people!

BEWARE OF MARTIN SMITH!!!
My mother has been being scammed by a man calling himself Martin Smith. Posting just in case there is another woman looking for information on this guy. Unfortunately, my mother is still very much struggling to accept that he is a scammer despite the evidence.

Same story as everyone else here. He messaged her on wheel of fortune gaming app and quickly moved to third party apps like Skype and hangouts, email and text/calls. Widowed, older teen/young adult daughter in boarding school.

Oil rig engineer who has been in the gulf of Mexico for a year and was in Yemen prior to that. He says he is from Nj but originally from Denmark. Once when I had him on the phone I tripped him up and he said he was from "Spain South America". He clearly missed geography class. He also has an accent that sounds Nigerian to me. He has convinced my mother that he needs her money in order to get "his lock box" of money and then he will pay her back. She has been robbed of tens of thousands of dollars and counting at this point. Ftc and fbi reports were made, unfortunately he has his hooks in her.

This has just about destroyed our relationship but I figure if I can share the name maybe I can help someone else out there as he is 100% doing this to several women at the same time as he often gets his facts mixed up.

BEWARE MARTIN SMITH and any of the low life scum like him.

Some body add me at Instagram ..look good looking guy Chinese Singapore that he post himself.and start conversation for couple weeks. he ask my number because I love child.and he said he have a little girls 6 year old.so cute. As I'm a mother I feel more close after he talk about his mom being sick and he been devorve for 2 year ..and he said he love me
I tell him that I'm married even my married is still problem. He said he he rich engineer from Singapore live at UK.. then he planing want to come to my country Indonesia to meet me to buy me house and will sent the money to me I'm very curious about this between believe or not. He said he going to turkey sea for work in genesis oil company from there he will come to meet me. he plan to sent the money while he work there and the company will message me for wire transfer money ask my detail for confirmation. my stupid thought that I do replay then send my passport and my bank acc. To be his benefersey acc. Then the company email me and will proses his salary to sent to me with form need to sign. I do sign . The next day the company say I need to pay the tax 10 % from the total his salary before the companies release the money with form and head stamp by oil gas company. that time I know something not right. But the person keep said ask me to hel because the money will be belong to me and him. 800.000 euro. ?
He keep beg if I really love him ask me to prof that I can help him by sent the tax money first..I keep said No No..please let me know when f someone in here have issue the some story.
Thank you

Anyone have photo guy says he's from Brazil tats good looking uses name Allen Marcus but sure he uses other names. Please send photo to Instagram flyingtheskies1

My friend has been talking to a guy who says he is a Cpt in the Army, returning from Kenya. He said he’s bringing back gold bars and had all the paperwork in order but now he got detained in Amsterdam. The customs people are holding him until he can get the missing paperwork. He got an international attorney. But it’s still taken over a week. His name is Captain Richard Owens. Does this sound like a scam or real? He’s never asked her for money.

Until tonight, I "knew" a "Stephen Richard" of mutual following on Twitter. He DMed me tonight and asked "how are you doing, where do you live, if you could wish for one thing what would it be," etc. Which I, fool, thought was just making conversation. He said he was "an orthopedic surgeon on a peacekeeping mission in Sana'a, Yemen." Said it is a dangerous place (doh). Said he was a widower from Minnesota with a son, who "cannot be here," in boarding school. I felt sorry for him - he seemed lonely. He expressed Interest in what I did for a living, if I were married and/or with children, what my religious interests were, and what kind of car I have. I told him I am married with three kids, which did not deter him. He volunteered that he drives a Range Rover.

Soon he asked for my email address (not given), and wanted to move the convo to Hangout. At which point I *finally* became suspicious, offered an excuse to leave, and logged off, but not before blocking him. Then I Googled his name + "orthopedic surgeon Peacekeeping in Yemen" - which led me to this site.

Watch out, ladies, for these lonely orthopedic surgeon-widowers with children in boarding school, posted in the Middle East!!

Yes, that's the guy I chatted with on Facebook today. Exactly the same story except he was posted in Syria. I had a feeling it was a scammer.. I didn't accept the request.

Has anyone gotten a Luke Atkinson claiming to be from Southampton, England. He was in the MCA merchant marines for the national coastguard? He’s 36, birthday Dec 22nd and his dad died, now his mom has cancer. And he’s supposed to fly here on Monday.

As I’m typing this, I feel really dumb. I am not sure yet fully if it’s a scam, hence why I’m asking anyone who has gone through a similar thing with this guy?

Did he ever ask to text or WhatsApp using an US base number?

A man contacted and said his name is Dr david f janes is a widower with a son 15 years old works for the un in libya his f ace book says md sk excel says he is 69 but the photo he us using looks about 45 to 50 the pho b e number is n I t valid and so us j I sbemail address h ave done searches on him but I can m I t find anything on him eventually h e asked for$1000 for him to come to Australia which I have not done so beware ladies of this man definitely a scammer in my mind

Someone @match.com introduced himself by name of Joshua saying he is helping his cousin John to match with a good woman. Then his cousin intro himself as us army in Afghanistan for peace keeping has a daughter and he is a widow 5 years wife died of cancer. After a few emails and chat he said he fell in love with me in 2 days and within a week wants to marry me. He wanted me to Trust him completely. He is Italian American. Everything seems real, it’s hard to say that’s he’s a scammer but most emails are borrowed from poemslovers.com.
I am really in debate whether if he may be one in every thousand of scammers there. I really don’t know.
Anyone has similar story???

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