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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

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.

He contacted me on LinkedIn, asked me to talk on WhatsApp two days ago. He has alreasy told this story about his mother living in New Zealand with his kid because he's a widower. Even send me a couple of pics of his mom and son... Hasn't asked for money, yet. But now I'm aware. Thanks for the info.

I've been txt and talking on the phone with a man nameJoe Edward. Says he is a physical fitness doctor who is stuck in Manitoba Canada. his wife died and his daughter I believe is going to school in California. we have been together now for 2 yrs. What a fool I've been. I've sent a lot of money cards over the last 2 yrs. He wants me to come to Canada to get him and be with him forever. He even had a female manager of a resort contact me to tell me if someone doesn't pay his hotel bill she will have him arrested. Yes, I fell head over heels in love and lust with the person I thought I was txt with. It's over now but after 2 yrs. it is hard to let go. but I am in the process.HE calls himself joe Edward. if anyone has dealt with him please write a comment. and yes he uses GOD very strongly.

Am so upset and shamed all.my self. I see my self as pretty smart guy, but this stated a few months ago. I had out the blue received a private personal message from judge jennie piero on my instragram page. I thought oh wow. Judge jennie piero wants to be friends and talk little did l know that was start as scam it started out simple we talked and then she come out and asked for private donations to give a charity for orphans in new York. I though out how much is this donation and I though ok I cant do much with since I my family are unpacked by corna virus. So though ok I give 25.00 at end of the month after all.my family bills were paid. And she want on to tell me give the donations on a pay pal account .I told my wife and my wife is more aware of this scam and told me not to do it since there scamming around around. So I didnt do. Then a few months later she offered me a job as her delivery driver in New York. She offered me. I know. Deep down inside it didn't sound right. I ever asked my wife about this. She told no is sounds like a scam. So a more weeks past and sent her 1000.00 dollars. Because she promised to pay me back. And I my Bill fell behind no money and more break promises I started lieing to my wife. Tell her that was help out with family members of her. This really put a strain on the marriage. I know my wife know I was lieing. And this women had me thinking she was in love with me and she going to marry and we were going to get house and everything was going to great. My wife found out before I did that this person was not a women but a bunch of guy from overseas and then they brought more people in pretending to the judge cousin to get md to buy a home for them. This was getting too deep. But thanks to my cell phone provider the number was finally blocked and I found out that the government is aware of the fact that scams are out there and they also know that this scammer are using private phone number that belong to other people and thier using thier phone to scam. Not now I dont contact with these people and unfortunately my thousands dollars is gone. And I will never see that again and the sad thing is these people were involved in social security scam about year ago and this people need to be caught throw in jail or prison and riot. And I believe that are being target again. Why cant people just leave me alone

Just blocked a guy claiming to be celebrity Jasom momoa. He message on Facebook using one of jason momoa websites with is really and offical site. At frist I really excite that was talk to jason momoa us it was my brithday. I though wow Jason momoa himself is talking and what a great brithday gift. Well as conversation went on he give his private what up app phone number not thinking it was not him. So we talked for while then he told me he had to go because he was very busy.ok I understand we talked off on for few days. And on the second day he offered me a job as his personal assistant. I though wow. Then maybe about 30 mins he would say he had to go. And all during this conversation I asked him some questions about weather was on location some information about some of this movie and some personal infomation to get know him as friends. Then when the job offer pop up I started to wonder is this really The real Jason momoa and of course I was dumb enough to ask and he get upset .and said he was really him. Then on Saturday this were kicker comes in he wanted me to help him with money for private donations to the orphanages I dont know where he never said . I don't answer him I know there was some funny about this guy. So very charming but he didnt get financial infomation from me.and then sunday December 13 th was the last time I spoke to him say he wanted to visit orphanages. I didnt response and stop talking to him. It sad that scammer have to use kind hearted celebrity to dirty work. And the the sad thing was this guy used one of jason momoa offical websites. And he change the profile photo on the site because the profile photo is of jason momoa but it not the same one. It very sad that this people have go steal from people or use a celebrity to steal from the celebrity fans am not upset. With real Jason Momoa himself is is the scam bag that used Jason momoa to profile to do it. I dont how many other women he charmed to get money from but this women was not falling for it and his wonderful charms he has Jason momoa down to tee with the charm.

Beware of John Bassey on Oil Rig in the Gulf. Uses Viber Phone # and Bitcoins to transfer money. Also, look up Dr. Garth Davis on FB or U-Tube. He is using his identity and is VERY good at it. At least I can give you pictures of what the scammer looks like which I wish I has a month ago!

Has anyone been chatting with a very handsome guy who calls himself kelly brown, and claims to be an army surgeon stationed in kabul Afghanistan?

Hi! I also am chatting with an Adam Johnson. Almost same story as the rest. He’s even given me a photo of his kids. He hasn’t asked me money yet or open a bank account. Can anyone post a pic here for me to check if it’s the same guy?

How about the name jason bojing did you encounter this man. He scam me and he said that talk to my lawyer to process your visa. Play this amount and i will pay the remaining balance. And also he use a photo a hood looking man he always sending photo to me and he also scam me that he send money to me but its edit i really now it cause i search in google and i notice the tracking nunber i just the same on the google. He always said that western union has a problem to send money. He has so many things to make you fall in love to him. Please take care to this man

Has anyone given money to Kenneth Jack from Missouri ?

Has anyone given money to Kenneth Jack from Missouri ?

Has anyone given money to Kenneth Jack from Missouri ?

Is anyone talking to Gerald Donato Ainsworth?

My mother-in-law is currently being scammed by one Tom J. Wilson who is allegedly based in Libya and has needed money for all sorts of things to be "allowed" to retire early from the army/ CIA. He is using a profile picture of a Miami-based entrepreneur, Jeffrey Shaw. We can't get my mother-in-law to accept the general is not real. I don't know how else to convince her. Anyone else been scammed by something similar?

Someone knows Ethan Gauge, his fiance left him for his best friend, Marine Engineer.

Berto, 50 y/o. Met him on bumble. Born in Spain, grew up in UK, moved to California to take care of his 83y/o mom, architect, divorced, his wife cheated on him and upsets him to talk about... one son 14 y\o. Conversation very scripted at the beginning. Got very affectionate quick: lots of beautiful, honey, my Angel, my baby. Suddenly he left to a one month long contract to Northern Cyprus. Texting mainly in the morning and night time. YouTube songs, what did you eat? Don’t stress too much my Angel! Sounds familiar? Mainly texting, can’t hear him on the phone and one short WhatsApp video call from a different number.

Does someone know a Raymond (Ray) Pak? He needs 2000 dollars per Western Union. Can't pay his hotel bill because his credit card was declined. Unfortunately the hotel is holding his ID... such a pity! He has no family or friends who want to help him... he must be an asshole...He said he's from Dallas, Texas and travelled to the Emirates for Business. Of course he loves me and told me that after we talked 2 days lol, he evrn calls me his wife...what else! I can just laugh about it. But it's serious others give them money. So I want to warn you guys. Sorry about my sarcasm

Girl named Vannesa tried working me for a couple months. Single girl from Oklahoma living with her uncle cause both parents are dead. Red flags everywhere so just decided to play along. Always had emergencies, try starting a business or wanted me to buy Iten cards. Keep an eye out gang

Conversing with an Orthopedic surgeon, named Carlos Miller worfor the UN in Ukraine. Is a widower with 16 yr old daughter in boarding school in Omaha Nebraska. Asked me to help ship a case that contained money to the US so he could help buy needed items for the kids in their orphanage. I fell hook line and sinker, shelling out 10K and then threatened me with money laundering which would have cost me another 80k.

I believed that I have been scammed many times during this year with similar stories when meeting someone online.
Please be very careful.
Now I have realized that you should get them to send you their verified ID by a registered lawyer before agreeing to help them if you are willing to. Better not do anything before face to face meeting each other or you have done cross- checked with the company they worked for or the army they served for.
Don't be fooled by their worries, excuses and sweet words anymore!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

Anyone talking to greg sandilla?

Greg Sandilla.. Yes..
He scammed me for $10,000.00 US dollars.
Said he was going to marry me and take care of me..
Never showed..stood me up 3 times..
I asked for my money back..told him my son was ill..and i have became homeless due to him borrowing and refuseing to repay me..he did not care...almost 5 yrs bow..not recieved anything...
Total scammer..be careful.!!!

Currently chatting with Dr Danny James. He private messaged me on Instagram and almost immediately asked me to chat on hangouts because he is in Kabul and the terrorists can trace his location Instagram. I haven’t believed a word he has said but it has been fun playing along. He said he is a widow (wife died in a car crash 4 years ago) and he has a 16 year old daughter named Celine who is in boarding school in Austin TX. He says he grew up in Austin but his dad was from Spain and that’s why his English is so broken. Both parents died when he was young.
He changes the subject or just plain doesn’t answer when I ask him about his daughter and where he worked when he lived in Austin. Sometimes his comments sound like he is a bot. It’s so obvious this is a setup.
Be careful out there ladies.

Has anyone heard of a Oliver Louis or Spencer Thomas/Thomas Spencer? He claims to be on a UN mission in Syria and is a US marine. He has a secured box with $700k USD and needs to pay for the box to travel with it to the US, back home. He has a young daughter in Manchester, UK, where he is originally from. He lost is wife a few years back and he is an only child, parents are deceased. He has no other family.

Started online dating a month ago. Have met these scammers:
Dr Gilbert Alexandros Army surgeon in Syria, needs bitcoin to keep his sattelite phone going, very handsome
Dr Mike Valdemar, UN vascular surgeon in Afghanistan, 49 y.o. wife is dead, kid in boarding school in California.
Robert Gene Smith, engineer on oil rig Gulf of Mexico, name and images stolen from DR Robert G Smith who posted a disclaimer. Profile states divorced, no kids.

There are other scenarios that I did not interact with, and none of these turkeys got anything from me.

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