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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

Has anyone came a cross with a guy name micheal waxlex from the Philippines but so call live in us

I have met a guy in a popular social media app and he chatted me right away telling me to go to hangout because he will be deleting that account.... We chatted for a day now but im wondering because he dont want to show his self on cam... We video call once but im doubting because when he called me the image is not full screen. I was thinking it as a video recorded already on that app.

Theres no money asking for now because we're chatting for only a day and im waiting what will happen next

I was recently scammed by two men one said he was on a oil rig was kidnapped held for ransom he dranked ocean water now in the hospital in Scotland asked me to help him get home to his daughter and me sent me a scammer check told me to go to atm and deposit it I found out it’s a scam. The other is in Denmark on the sea in the navy been gone for 3 years has a son in boarding school need money to feed his son . Wanted bitcoin, I tune cards you name it I’m done being made a fool of . Thank you all for sharing your story I hope mine wise up other victims.

Peter Wallace Bjorn 3/3/1965 plays a cello anyone else ?

Has anyone been talking with a neo surgeon thats in South Africa started talking with him in states so he says I did a photo check it cam back fine not sure about this one his name is Frank Wright I think we need a list of these people some where we can check out others

I think I'm being scammed by a guy who says he is in the military. His name is Cody Thompson.

hey does anyone know of an "attorney" called sandra williams requesting money on cash app and saying that people are going to sue if you dont send it?

ON November 25, 2020 a civil engineer by the Matthew G Anderson asked to leave the Zoosk site and talk directly. Send many, many pictures of himself: face in car, working out in gym, with a red mustang. Wanted pics of me. Was a billionaire retiring from work and just wanted to have fun and be healthy with a new love. Wife died of Cancer 4 years ago. Daughter married last year and lives in Canada now. He was born in Berlin and brought to the USA as a six year old. Has German accent and passport. Needs money to finalize bills from his project in Warsaw, Poland because his account was frozen. I ended it but he still wants to talk because he still loves me and we can work it out after I told him I thought he was a scammer and it hurt him to be belittled like that! Ha, Ha.

Anyone ever heard of a Thomas bodile? Supposedly a gold broker with his own company bodilemineralsllc Currently in Palau New Guinea being detained by customs for not having proper documentation. Had to bribe the chief customs officer to get out. Well that didn’t work. NOw have to bribe the judge. Also has a “Lawyer” who see he is mediating with the customs Lol. How comical is this situation. He is a sweet talker as well. And the money ask came about 2 months after we started talking.

I would like to know how you resolved your situation with him. Did this take place this past December of 2020? I know someone who might be involved with him . Now. Did you meet on a dating site?
Any info would be helpful.

Anyone chat with Mike Beardwood from pof.com? Does private security work he says. Needs my driver' s license copy to meet. Looks Latino.

The scammer claimed to be a celeb and had all the facts straight about his life, even warning me of scams but later asked could I money gram money to a charity in Italy. I knew it was fake then. When I said I gave on the charity site, they got angry and said I screwed up and don't follow directions. I reported the email, and person.

Anyone hear of a David Federico Anderson who works in construction or is a civil engineer? My friend is being strong-armed to come up with $130,000 to pay the South African government for a construction job he is working on. The pressure has amped up over the last couple of days. I am very worried about my friend.

Protect your friend !!! Even if you have to fly there to meet this imposter. It will cost a lot less than $130k !

I met this guy who says he is an actor I have been talking to him about 5 months now he did tell me from the beginning that he was married and asked me if I had a problem with that and I said yea that I wasn't a homewrecker but we're still talking and I'm in love I believed he's the real deal but I still see those red flags and I'm confused he tells me he's in love with me and he is going to buy me an apt in California but he lives in Australia he talks about his wife and kids alot sometimes he has asked me to open a bank account and asked for my bank account and routing # which he does said he would send me some money to me that was 2 months ago and he still hasn't sent me any money but he hasn't asked me for any money either and we don't never talk about money that much sometimes he ask me if I want some money I always tell him I don't want his money I just want his love and he says ok and that's the end of that but he has asked me to not tell anybody like my friends or family cause he might get to the tabloids or even his wife he does love his wife no doubt but he says he wants me to and we have only had 1 video call the rest r all text he says he doesn't have good signal that's why we can't video chat and he doesn't call cause he doesn't want his wife to hear him talk to another but he hasn't taken any money out of my bank account so help do u think he is a scam hopelessly in love, nita

Hi I got scammed by someone putting a fake job list , they have my everything my passport , national insurance number , bank details , home address , birthdate EVERYTHING and when they sent me a link to pay for a disclosure check I done it and i checked my bank statements it came up as STEVE FIELD and I realised it was all fake after the fact now I have contacted the police if anyone has had something like this done to them with a Steve field please come forward and we will together with the police catch this guy!!

I am a victim of scam. I lost a of money to that scammer. The scammer nicely pulled my emotional strings. I was going through a breakup and that was the time I met him on Instagram. He said his wife died due to kidney disease and he has a daughter. He said he is from Brazil and working in London and his daughter stays with his mother in Brazil. I never fell for that guy, he was so serious about loving me, marriage, house and stuff. I asked him a lot of questions and he answered all of my questions with loyalty and honesty. He said he want a mother to his child and he has seen that in me. He was loving, caring, understood what I was going through. He supported me. He then asked my address, because he said he shopped for me I said I do not want anything but he was like no baby, he wanted me to wear the one he bought as he was coming to visit me from London. I really thought it was all true, the way he expressed I thought I found the man of my life. All my life I was rejected because of of weight. I do not look good, I am fat and it never bothered him and I thought he really loves me. He was pulling the strings and I was dancing to his tunes. I trusted him so much. When he sent me the package details, he said I had to pay for the package for customs I also told I do not have, he said that I will get back my money once I get the package because out of love he put money in the package because he did not want me to spend any of my money.While I was paying also I was begging the scammer that I cannot pay and he said he was worried for the package as he had something special in that package, he begged me to save the package and I was thinking that I was just saving the package and I paid to the customs guy who pretended to be one until I got broke, but still I had to pay money to receive the package. I begged the scammer to give me my money back, he kept on saying that I will receive when the package will arrive. I cried, I literally begged him. I also questioned him that he is a scammer and this is all fake. He kept on saying baby, please my love, do not say, I am here for you, I am worried for you, etc etc..I realized very late. I was thinking how can anyone lie and scam people for money, I was thinking how can a father lie who wants the best for his daughter, I was going through a lot of mixed feelings, I still am going. I am now battling and struggling to get my money from the Bank. The Bank is upfront not to refund, as I physically deposited the money in the Bank. Someone had a fraud account in the Bank and the Bank instead of taking action and refunding my money, seems like they are encouraging. I even told the same. I told them I have nothing to eat, I have to pay my bills, I have to pay my school fee and it is my money. I even gave a complaint to the Police and the Bank is asking me to do the same. I said I did and I asked I want to reach out to the higher officials, I got the address and I have to file a written complaint forwarded my complaint I have submitted. Not only that I was having suicidal thoughts ,when I was going through those thoughts I was thinking if I did something to myself the scammer would win and I reached immediately out to therapist and talking to my therapist. My family is disappointed and I cannot talk to them about it. My family lost trust in me and hope in me. I am disappointed but I am fighting because I do not give up. I am taking my final exams and also thinking and making sure I get my money. I am really traumatized and I do not know how I will survive if I do not get my money back. I will be approaching the higher officials of Bank and write a letter and talk to them, I am broke financially, emotionally, mentally. I am embarrassed . I have filed a complaint with FTC website as soon I knew I was scammed. A lot happened between the scammer and the fraud who pretended to be from customs. I was threatened, I still have nightmares the fraud threatening me. There are lot of things I went through and I am embarrassed to tell. I was emotionally fooled more like I was blackmailed emotionally. My family is dependent on me, I do not know how my family and I will survive because I have nothing. I am really not proud of myself, I do not know how I got into this mess and I do not know how I will come out of this mess of thoughts and fear.

I have been reading the comments posted on this site. It really takes courage to tell what happened. I took the courage and wanted to share mine too.

Anyone heard of a Sarah Joel? My dad insists he’s flying her out to Cuenca where he lives to help her out and she’s apparently going to care for him. She is supposedly a starving modeling student and she needs $700 in steam gift cards to get a covid test and have traveling money or some bull. He already bought her a plane ticket and will not listen to me!!!

Just blocked a Benjamin in Navy trying to send a package for a lot of money. Talked to me morning and night. Loved me too fast and said I was his wife. Whatever? Then asked for $2000 for package fees. What out for this gorgeous sweet talker!

Currently chatting with a pike smith. Friended on facebook by accident, quickly asked me to hangouts. Have been cautious and honest with this person. His story is that he is in a Texas halfway house for causing the accidental death of a man he found with his Wife. And has served 4 years and may be getting out in February. Has a Daughter in college in the UK needing school supplies, has not asked for money, but professes undying love. I have pictures and he is a nice looking man, looks to be Spanish, in his 50's clean cut built very well for his age. Glasses tattoos on both arms. Also pics of him in a very nice setting leather couch. I have spoken with him on the phone the voice is deep and appears to be Nigerian. Not in line with photos. When pressed he said his real name is Ramiro Gomez, said not a US citizen, born and raised in the uk. Daughter valentina in UK. Wants me to speak with Daughter ring any bells?

I met him on a Scrabble online game. We talked for a few months before he told me that he was a oil contractor. Now he is in Aberdeen, Scotland and now his router isnt working and also his camera. I know because I saw the issues he was having with them. He asked me for some money so he could borrow someone else's. But then a machine broke down and he didnt get his mobilization fee. Now he broke a rule with communicating with other people in order to prove to me he wasn't a scammer. And he looks exactly like his pictures but now he is in serious trouble because the supervisor caught him using the camera! And now he asked me for another 100 so we could talk. ???

I met a guy online dating and name is James Wilson. He claims he is a widower and has a daughter living with her grandmother. He is working at turkey. He supposed to done this week and will return on Dec 18th. He even booked a hotel in my town, I saw it. He even have someone in PA call me on Video to chat. She said she is the mother in law. I actually saw her face. this is crazy. I became suspicious when he claims that he is in love with me after 5 days. I told him that he is scaring me LOL. I tried to break it off but he could not let me go. He even called me on the phone. Now I am just waiting to see if he actually going to fly here which scare me or if he is going to ask for money which I will never give. LOL. Should I end this or keep going to see if he really coming in on Dec 18th?

i think he will other reason can't coming and want you help him at that moment.

Does anyone know the names of Murphy Ray or Gloria Adams?

Be aware of a guy named Chris Christian working of the grid with a daughter in California liar liar lia

I am trying to find out if Ian Stout (orthopedic surgeon) is a Scam. He is on instagram under ianstout679. Does someone recognize him as a scammer? Working on an oil rig in TX , no possibility of video call but I have pictures, he didn't ask me for money yet! Your help would be very appreciated as I am falling for him !!

He's a scam. Do not fall for him. There is no reason an orthopedic surgeon would be working on an oil rig in Texas. The oil industry is depressed now and only experienced rig workers have been able to keep their jobs. Cut your heartbreak losses now and extract yourself while you can.

I meet this man on the messenger and he told me he loved me after about 4 days and now he asking for money to keep his phone on. Say he in Germany working and all his money tired up in Nre York and he can’t it now and by the way his wife died ok

Is there anyone in a relationship with Mark William that say he working in Germany on the high sea. His wife is dead and he has one son. Ask me for money after a few days of talking to pay his Apple bill and he’s so in love with me. It’s been 17 days only. Now he needs me to help get his passport and paperwork done so he can be home for Xmas. Wow people will do anything.

Do you have a picture of him? A Mark Williams reached out to me but he hasn't asked me for any money. He has been in the army for about 30 years and is from North Carolina.

Hi I want to make everyone aware of a scammer he currently goes by the name of Thomas Patrick white, prior to this one of the names he went by was Charles Luke. You can go to the website it’s called classified gems and he says he’s in the gym stone business. This is a scam previously the contact person was charles luke. The phone number and email address is changed over time but he’s a total scammer that never changes. He scammed multiple women. He says he’s a widower,He claims to be in turkey. He claims he has an adult child. He is a scammer he has a personal contact here in the states for you to send money to his name is Nicholas. Also scam. Don’t fall for him he’s very smooth and He will claim undying love unless you don’t pay him what he wants. He is a complete and total scammer please report report him to the government.

This guy scammed someone I know out of a lot of money. Glad to know the new name. Charles Luke is the worst.

8 months ago a Syrian military contacted me and he told me a story! that I was scammed with 35,000 and Sunday was the last day that I txt and from there I blocked.

hi, i meet one guy 9 months now , like you , i give him 40000 usd already. sad
can you give me his photo , i want to know is it same guy

anybody know of a scammer named Jane Fields , say in military, and has conned my friend out of sephora cards. wanting him to open bank account for her

I have been talking with this guy for a month and I have called him out on him lying and using somebody else's picture that wasn't his and right from the rip I knew that he wasn't even American because even though I cannot hear him talk he is definitely speaking broken English. Initially he asked if he could put $14,000 in my account to pay his son's medical bills and then he asked me if he could put his allowances into my account and now he's asking me to get him a gift card for his phone and I explained to him that I do not have any extra money and he is walking up the wrong tree I was simply playing a scrabble game and was not on a dating site looking for love I have a boyfriend and I do not understand how anyone can fall in love without actually physically touching and seeing and smelling and knowing a person it's a physical thing it's not a fantasy so I'm still talking to him and he's still trying to ask me for money and I just keep fucking around with him and he gets all defensive when I call him a scammer saying how can you do that to me how can you say those things and I can say I say those things because I do not know you I will keep chatting with you if you would like but you are not getting any money from me and I did a reverse image search and found the man in the pictures that he was using and I emailed him to inform him that he was using his last name and his images to try and romance scam people but he never got back to me and he is actually a public figure kind of he was a professional MMA fighter and a sniper special forces for the army I just think it's funny you can't fall in love with someone you've never met and I cannot believe that people are still dishing out money to these fucking idiots

Scammed by a Colonel Chaplain Jason J Fisher who’s says he is widowed and has 10y/o daughter. Lots of pictures so I feel sorry for the real Jason J Fisher. Supposedly from Durant Oklahoma, born 1/1/66. Lived in Germany until 12 years old but still has extremely strong accent. Was stationed in Syria, now in Ghana leading a group of chaplains . Needs $12k to get his 55kg of gold out of Syria . Tugs on the heart with his motherless daughter. But won’t video chat because of sensitive army issues. Lol. Got some money out of me for his little girl.

Watch out for Antonio Stefan Massaro dob July 7, 1955 phone number 612-502-7204 said he lives in LAS but his son lives in Minnesota with grandma. So he goes to visit them then the grandmother dies and has no money fir the funeral. So sad so sorry he claims to be a widow. He was on OurTime. 65 years old from Zelarino , Italy says he has enough money but funds are tied up.

Thanks for posting this Winnie. We've got the same guy over here. He had us log into HIS bank account and asked us to check if a money transfer had gone through yet bc the website wasn't working in the country he was in. I think the idea was to see how much money he had in his acct. Many buttons on the site weren't functional. He had the same story, including that his wife died years ago in a car accident. He said that his son stays with his grandma in Minnesota, but they have a great relationship still. He's sent photos and videos but the video didn't have sound to link up to his voice. Only after reading other stories on here have I learned what a classic story line this is. Thanks again!

Winnie-
So what else happened, do you still talk to him?

Ive been chatting to a Matteo Phillipe engineer from Toronto via words for friends followed by hangouts. Ive just googled his name and job to find a lady who posted about this petson back in july 2015! wish i could read her entire text. Ive slso googled a photo which showed him to be Bryan Brochu who has 2 instagram accounts with same photo but also username of Frank Joel! I confronted Matteo yest he came back with a long explanation about being hacked..then surprise surprise...he blocked me ...

if we can post their photo on this web site, I think more people can know those scammer .

I have been talking to this guy Romeo Romina for a few weeks now. He lives in London, widowed for 8 years , father Italian . Really good looking, said he is petroleum ingénier , works for Aramco. A few days after we started talking he said he got a contract to go work on an oil rig offshore in Red Sea.
Now he started having problems with machines and have to buy new ones. Haven’t asked me for any money yet but he said that his credit card expired before he left. He brought cash. He sends me pictures and short videos . He looks same like his FB pictures . I am reading the stories here and it’s very similar to many others. He is very handsome , super sweet, fall in love right away, appears wealthy , wants to marry me. Red flags : has very strong accent which resemblance of African , says that his accent is because he speaks many languages ,...credit card expired ! If you are wealthy you have several cards, showed me picture of bag with cash which doesn’t look like money at all. I don’t know what to think . His FB has a few pictures but when you look at them they are all uploaded on one day in November. Posts go 2 years back though . I tried on line paid searches with images and phone number but nothing comes up. He sends me selfies but the voice is so weird it just doesn’t match the image. Asked him to send me video talking to me but don’t know if he will do it.
Has anyone encountered this person ? I am not completely sure it’s scam but it has too many similarities with the stories shared here.

Hi, I think you need to be careful. Mine had a strong accent, said he was on assignment, equipment broke need money. Cards, documents lost . Same MO , loves me want to marry me. Poems, music. All sentiments were copied from net. Has i
I refused to give money he ended it. Now I'm positive trying to scam other women. Trust me they talk to multiple women a day. They only make you feel special. Thats their goal so you will fall. Im glad I noted the red flags my. They will block if they get money or you refuse they kove on while you try to heal your feelings

What does he look like? Guy I was talking to said he was a petroleum engineer from Norway also widowed and was about to go to work in Dubai. He was using photos from the instagram account of a Norwegian designer named Halvor Bakke

Has anyone been contacted by a Benjamin Orton who is supposedly a civilian surgeon from New Zealand who is currently in Yemen working at a military installation. He's supposedly "divorced" & has a teenage son living with his nephew in New Zealand.

Started talking to this guy on LinkedIn by the name of Leo Dorman from New Zealand. He contacted me and suggested we talk on WhatsApp. Of course I questioned his interest in me. Leo is supposedly 42 but graduated from college around the age of 16 according to his profile on LinkedIn. Profile says he lives in Denver but he is doing contract work in NM. Felt the need to send pics of the progression of his work along with the address he resided at in Denver for two weeks. I did not ask for proof of this info. Poor grammar initially but as I questioned his word choice he became offended and started using better language. I believe this is a team of people working as this individual since the conversations vary in grammatical skill. Also has a mother and daughter in New Zealand. Claims to be religious. Refuses to call or do a Zoom conference. I questioned him twice on who he was. Each time very offended and called me fake when I was willing to connect in video chat. Beware.

Yes, poor grammar. I wanted to do a video chat call & he stated because of him using a "government laptop", he didn't want the "employer" to look "true", meaning through, our conversation(s). Some religious statements made. Also, when he sent me a picture of himself, it was of 2 different white males....Go figure!!

Hi DanaC. I’m on poker in. Not sure if we are speaking of the same person from New Zealand but I updated my profile on LinkedIn and he messaged me. He wants me to get back on WhatsApp. He has a new number on WhatsApp. I told him I was not interested bc there are too many scams.

In touch with this guy for a few weeks now. Apparently 37, widower with a son. Changed his university recently on LinkedIn. Asked for money in many ways also. Refusing to do a video call or sending videos via What’s App. Sweet guy, but probably unreal. Do you have a picture? I got loads by now.

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