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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 accepted a friend request on Facebook five or six weeks ago. I don't normally accept friend requests from people I don't know in some capacity; however this guy was SO FINE I couldn't help myself. He was literally the finest specimen of a man I have ever seen, complete with video and everything.

Anyway, he talked to me for two days, wanting to talk day and night; so I had to ignore him quite a bit. I am a grandmother and this guy was younger, but not young enough for me to be his mother. Instead of falling in love I was confused. I am a realist, or I try to be.

I told my daughter, "Dang, I need to quit running my Facebook pictures through that beauty app"

What should have clued me in is how illiterate the guy wrote. I ended up thinking that he was fine, but dumb as a box of rocks.

After two days, I showed my daughter his picture and she immediately said, "Mom, it's a fake profile."

Sure enough she was right. He was from Africa and I'm sure looked nothing like the "Norse god" in the picture.

Normally I'm pretty hip to scams, so I couldn't believe I fell for it.

Any one talk to Anthony Smith

Has anyone spoke to a man name Shaw Williams or Williams Shaw. Met him on fb then we spoke on messenger. H started sending me pics of flowers and pics of his daughter who is 25 yrs old. He then told me due work he does he can't continue to speak o messenger. Wants me to sign up on hangouts. Clsims he working as Engineer on oil rig in Scotland. He never ask for money. However today he said his account was compromised and bank freeze his account til he gets home to do in person verification. I ask him what he's going to do and he told me not to worry about it as it's his problem to figure out. Not sure if he's a scammer. I told him from beginning that im poor. He told me he has enough money to take care of both of us and buy a house. He seems sweet but I'm still wary. If anyone spoke to him let me know

Met James Molly from Finland on Tinder, Molly J Architecture. Lives in San Jose by way of Virginia. Divorced, one daughter, Angela. Doing one last job in Northern Cyprus before retiring. Gets robbed, no credit cards, lost phone, lost laptop, lost passport. Real sweet and loving, will text you, call you, talk for hours, Skype video. Tell you what you want to hear. Knows scripture (so does the devil). Can't wait to come back to you. Hooks you. Then bank account frozen. Needs money to release product through customs.

Have seen him use his photos under a Tinder profile named Matthew, Civil Engineer, that story is a man in San Jose, via Florida with a son.

Nicest criminal you will ever meet.

I made the mistake of giving Jeffery Rogerson my email and mailing address. I have since blocked him and told him not to contact me again. He is on Facebook but using another person’s picture. I found him in another site to be a scammer. My question is that since I gave him my address, do you typically have to worry about these scammers coming after you? He never got to the asking for money part with me.

I’ve been talking to this US Navy in Syria, his name Henry Nguyen. He said he’s single dad with 6 years old daughter stay with her nanny in states in Miami Florida. He said he will mail me a box to keep it safe till he comes home. The shipping company mailed me saying that the box is on hold due to golds. Lol I know it’s funny. At the same time I’m really pissed they made me make payment to get the box out it costs $20,100.00. I’ve make a payment to shipping company $11,000 already through Bitcoin wallet said they. They told me if I don’t make a payment they will report me to police. And the scammer guy been threatened me I will arrest me if I don’t hurry make a payment. I’ve been really stress looking around and find money. One night I prayed to God what should I do god I don’t where to get the money. Then I talked to my dad about it and my dad told me to report to police it’s a scam he said. I did report to police. The police officer told me it’s totally a scam. Those peoples made me sick.

Now these guys are going on pintrest sneaky. My advise dont answer them.

Found out my 64 year old husband had been playing with a person calling themselves Stacey W. on Scrabble. She asked for money saying she would double it. He was home on disability, gave up all of his 401k and then bought thousands in gift cards. Needless to say he lost his mind! Words can’t say what devastation this has caused. Our marriage is over so I hope she(he) gets what they deserve someday.

I have current boy - friend who is being scammed and he doesn't realize it. He's in denial of any signs. Her name is Gail from Australia. She has a son in the US. She has gotten him to open a bank account in both of there names. She's asked for bitcoins bought with that account. She's asked for itunes for her son. She offered to pay for him to go to Australia at Christmas time but he said no. Now she claims she's coming to the US this summer. He also is holding a check she sent. She's asked him to go get a car in Louisiana?? The address she gives as her "US home" links to a storage facility in the US. I've tried to tell him it's a scam but she's FaceTimed with him. Has anyone else had one do video chat. He really thinks they're in love.

How about a guy named Lucas Enzo from Match, anyone heard of him?

I got scammed by someone name shannon white on instagram a few years ago. Anybody else know this lady?

Almost Every guy on Scabble is a scammer. Can't even play a simple game.

I met this man on Facebook, and now we chat on WhatsApp several times a day. His name is Nicholas Coleman Rico, he says hes a US army Captain. He says that he cant get home from deployment because he needs money to arrange for the travel agent that works for the militiary to fly him home because the militiary wont fly him home. I have talked to him on a video chat and he looks exactly like all the pictures I have of him. Also his voice matched his character. I love him so much but have my doubts. Has anyone else heard of this person?

Okay glad to know not the only one hearing the video chat thing!

Military personnel don't have to cover their own travel expenses home from deployments. Sorry -- hope you didn't buy this.

I don't know if you have found out the answer to your question yet, but I just recently found out that military personnel are flown on non-commercial planes/ships for FREE to and from war zones. Hope this helps you.

Did you ever come across a guy called James Henderson Scott who’s a marine engineer and is a widower with 14 yrs old daughter Hannah , he met a friend of mine in Netherlands and started talking and planned to get married and said he’s got a project to complete and borrowed a huge money and he said he lives in New York and asked her to send money to Lubbock Texas on his colleagues name Lynda Tungate account in city bank Texas and after recieved money he disappeared and no response from him

Embarrassed to admit but this just happened to my wife. I just found out a week ago. She met a guy on instagram by the name of Shannon Wheeler then the conversation moved to hangouts. He claimed to be from Sanford, Maine. They talked almost everyday for the last 9 months. He worked for some sort of construction company traveling all of the world. He always had something happening to him (had his paycheck stolen, got covid, mother got covid, work accident, car accident). He asked for her to send him money thru cashapp, greendot cards, itunes and other ways. She did send him $200 cash to 35 Pierce Avenue Sanford, Maine. I knew she was getting scammed 2 minutes into seeing their conversation but she was too blind to see it. Pictures were too good to be true and his english was a bit off and broken. Needless to say she is out $200 and possibly a husband. Be careful out there everyone.

Hi my friend is talking to a soldier from the us (supposing)
His name is James and ment to be 43 ( photos look like his early 20)
she met him on POF
he was in Afghanistan then was on route to her (for Christmas) but ended up in Malaysia (as you do ...) a commander has even took his time to text her ....
she is being very quiet now about her new lover and I'm concerned . I know she has bought iTunes vouchers recently (telling me they were gifts for family )...
what scams are about ?

This just happened to me. Been single for forever and I guess 2021 would be good to start dating since I'm getting too old too fast. So I set up a dating app account. Immediately a guy saying he's a ship captain hits me off and we started to chat. The thing is, I've been researching visual seduction and even published academic articles about online dating and its deceptions. So my alarm went buzzing inside my head.

I did some detective works and found the real guy, a handsome ship captain and an instagram influencer with 24k following! I knew the scammer is pretending to be the real guy (why would someone with 24k following date through apps? lol he can easily chose anyone) so I dig deeper and finally sent the real guy a heads up that someone is using his profile to set up a scam account.

The scammer then went to profess his love and said that he is on his way to meet me. He just need my home address and full name alongside my landline phone number to send me some cash and luggage for the vacation. Whelp, to the block list you go! Reported him to the admin.

I've only started using dating apps for 4 days and got a scam artist already lol. What has the world came into. I guess there is a reason I've been single all this time. Can't trust any stranger.

Im talking to a woman. Its hard to distinguish. She seems very well versed in the bible. Very beautiful pics. Some things dont line up. I caught her ip address from Nigeria. She says same time zone but send me her mailing addy of georgia thats a 3hrs differcence. Her personality seems soo real and unique. She claims her phone is broken and thsts why we cant talk on phone or video chat. All on whatsapp. Send money only on crypto currency cuz bank account is in negative. No pics or friends on fb page. I only hear from her in the morning and sometimes at night. I asked her to show send me a pic with a note to prove something. That didnt happen. So would an ip address lie to the whereabouts of this person? If someone says that they cant stop thinkin about a person would u think they would constantly text u or try to call on another phone? I think i know this could be a scam i would so much like to believe he existance. I think i i am fooling myself

Nearly exact situation just happened to me this week. Wanted me to relocate, gorgeous - model-like photos on whatsapp but refused to video chat. Escalated temper and tried to gaslight me on claiming she had a kid elsewhere and that her dad was a "great man", but wasn't forward with the information outright. Morning and evening/late night communication only, but did not ask questions, didn't seem interested or dismissive of my own interests. Claimed different occupations on two separate occasions, constantly confused by simple expressions or conversation flow - very sporadic at best. Did not even know types of vehicles - an easy quick google search. I feel your pain though.

I've been talking to man name David Lee too since September 2020. He says he is divorced has a 13yr old daughter. He works on an oil rig rig and asks me to send him Itunes and BTC because supposedly he got robbed at his hotel when he first got to Malaysia. And now he says he needs my help because his client is suppose to pay him and he wants them to wire it to my account. He wants me to provide him with my bank login information and debit card info.

I think. It was a scam itvwas a name mark c nowland and it was not he retired 2018 oct 1 . This person used his name and profile and said he loved me and that i was his soul mate and i think try to blacknmail me with pics i sent and saying i needed to get money fir the fbi also he was sending a box from bagram air base said he was vacating camp and coming see me for two weeks i never game him any money. But never saw his face just the guys face who was retired so sad and hurtful. So it was a scam right unfollowed on twitter once i never paid a tax fee of two thousand nine hundred but never paid it was to be a cash deposit. So depressing and very mean . Be careful social media is bad

How do you tell if the guy is really telling the truth? I’m dealing with “what if” questions in my head. Met someone who says he’s an orthopedic surgeon working for the UN in conjunction with the Red Cross in Yemen. Same old romance stuff. Now claims he was given an award from the UN which also included cash, which is substantial (that was a red flag to me). Wants to send it home to me as he has to stay another couple of weeks. Says I’ll have to pay the courier and he can’t do it due to the bad internet there as it’s all done online. He’s sent me many pictures but I can’t find anything by searching them online. How can I find out for sure if this is all truth or lie?

The guy’s name is Morgan Lane

I think the same has happened to my friend. He goes by Michael Devine.

So I was chatting with a guy from a dating site by the name of James Ryan. He’s not real but I can’t find out who the person is in the pictures he’s sending me. I feel bad for the guy cause they are very personal pictures.

I am ready to meet up my people

GiovanaBrace - brace is another Instagram scam girl. Allegedly works offshore in a Brazilian drilling company whose name is spelled incorrectly. After two days of communication, how the day passed and what happened for lunch, it finally came to a request for me to buy an iTunes card. After that, I sent a complaint to Instagram and blocked it. The photo is most likely taken by a real girl working in a Brazilian drilling company.

wow, FB dating app is just swarmed with these guys. I was overwhelmed at how many "likes" and messages I got on the first day I posted my profile, until I started actually talking to them. Some were easy to spot, but one in particular is really good. His name is Brian and in his pics he is so handsome. But his grammar, spelling and some of his vernacular give him away. He was talking about his travels, and as soon as I asked if he had ever been to Nigeria....he went silent.... LOL

I got told the ahem lady i was chatting to got robbed in London and could i give my address and send her the train fare to where i live. (which she didnt get) She told me i wouldn't regret it as she would make it up to me when she arrived.

Has anyone been talking to Sean or Shawn Lucian from California?

How about a Michael Andrews. Sent me a message via Instagram. Said he lives in Texas. His wife was killed in a car accident. Raising 5 children on his on. He asked me to send him ITunes card, immediate red flag.

Also a Franklyn Carter from California. Divorced father of an 18 year old. Started talking via Instagram. He wanted me to get WhatsApp because he was working in Paris. He asked me to send him a iTunes card for $100. What’s up with these people? Told him absolutely not.

Has anyone been contacted by an Aston Carlsson? He is a scammer... very convincing, claims to work as an engineer on an oil rig.

My engineer from the oil rig is Greg Harrison and he badly needs money now

Anybody talked to a guy named Mark McDonald, claiming to be a system analyst in Turkey. Says he is 62 and has 24 year old daughter in Scotland. Also a widower and has a house in New Mexico.

I met a guy named Franklin Natale on scrabble in May 2020. Talked on the phone, texted and video chatted. Said he was a logger In Canada. All of the sudden his equipment broke and needed money to fix it. Said when he was done with the contract he was getting 3 million dollars. I am a college educated woman, but fell for his pain. I sent money through Bitcoin. I think I can recover some, fingers crossed. He has a grey beard and dark hair, says he is from Turin Italy, lives in Long Beach Ca. Wife and daughter dies in a car wreck. Man he is really good, tears and all. I am glad I am not alone. Did some research and found many names from his face .

Has anyone had a jason Heinrich contest them on Instagram claiming he works on a oil rig and his wife died in a car crash 5 years a go and his had a 15 year old son Owen?
He declares his love for you and asks you to move over to USA in his so called big house and be a family and new mom to his son and get married I've been reading these comments and I think his a scammer too also we video called once but signal was so bad I could make out him wearing glasses and looks like his photos but didnt look like he was on any island to me was in a nice building. Maybe this guy has so many different names and tells so many stories he also de activated his Instagram and I downloaded Skype to speak to him he sounded so real and convincing lucky his not asked me for money etc...

Less than a week ago contacted on messenger. Immediately began love relationship. Then asked to send card to daughter for.her birthday. Today he professed his love and wanted to spend life with me. All of this and never one has he.asked questions about my family plus I am 20 yes older than him Did not spend any and blocked him on Facebook.

I know this lady maybe scamming my man..
I'm trying to tell him but he thinks he's in love
We broke up a couple of times and got back together
She goes by the name Tahlia Leworthy
She told him if he marry her they get her dads WILL.
So in the mean time I found out he was sending her Amazon cards
The one time i texted her to leave him alone she claimed she was pregnant for him! Im thinking she saying she's pregnant for him
But hes never met her before..she says she lives in Phoenix but I dont believe it..
When she asks for money she says $700usd

I think this is what happen to me right now,. Asking money for help..

I've been taking to this guy for a month. He's pretty sure hasn't asked me for money. He keeps asking me to be patient and trust him. When his mission is done that he will come for me. When I tried to end the relationship he said not do it and that he's not a scammer.

This guy, named David Kings started texting me on my instagram account. Said he worked on an oil rig in the united kingdom. Once we had talked just a little bit, he deleted him instagram account . He didn't ask me for any money.

Hi give him time he will ask

How to you go about checking for a photo

Hi, you can download reverse images apps on your phone. I didnt realize I was being scammed until I analyzed alk the red flags. He loved me, called me continued for mths. I beleived it. He ended when I eefusedvto give money the second time. OMG after it ended, did reverse images one of the picture he used his on different sites, different names, age, and always independent job. I was shocked with all the fake profiles he had out there. If I only did that when talking too him. I would tell him off do bad for playing with emotions and thank GOD I didnt give money. Plz do tou research save yourself the pain. And DONT send money. Theybuse tge same broke, they love you So much, send songs etc. I've learned so much. Even ask yourself.. if they have huge contracts why do they need our money!!!! WIDOWERS sad stories etc

I guess I am afraid to hear the truth. He seemed too good from the start and then everything went so fast. His name is Raymond Brody and he just went overseas to Turkey to head up a job. He just asked me this morning to get into his account and if I could send him the money. My heart hurts so bad. I tried to do a reverse search of his picture but I don' t know if I am doing it right. Can someone please give me some pointers.

Hi, please, can we exchange the mails or pics. I have currently the similar situation and I was so stupid to send him money to Turkey


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