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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

I recently struck up a friendship with a guy calling himself, Army General Paul Lacamera. He said he was stationed In Syria. He said lovely things for about a week. Then he asked me to send him steam cards. I told him send me the money for them, I will send them. Of course he said I have no way to send you money. And that was the end of any communication from him.

I had a scammer called jason Heinrich when intact when I did a imagine search he was using a Dave Marlons photos from a Facebook account his well known etc jason even used Dave's sons name but he gimmie some bank details and had 1 million dollars trsnsfreerd anyway when I confronted him and said I found the photos he sent me and screenshot it to show him he blocked me lucky I never got as far as to sending money to him he also was mad when I said i told a friend about us and he said I disobeyed him and friends be jealous bla bla he didnt want me to tell family wasnt happy i downloaded Skyoe on my phone and accessed whoever bank account it was on my phone also he claimed his wife died 5 years ago in a car crash and got a son Owen he did video call me twice once he was on a nice island another time in a nice building he seems so genuine and lovely til he got mad about me telling friend and whatever glad i got rid

Anyone know an Emmanuel Smith who mines gold bars? Reportedly 65 yrs holds German passport & currently living in England? Most likely on several sites.

I met a Randy Clum from Ohio on farmersonly. Within a week, he moved out chat to whatsapp. Then he travels (supposedly) to Ireland for a job in Forestry. He demands that I cancel my acct on farmersonly(which I did). This Randy guy tells me how he has a multi-million dollar contract and will retire after this.
3 weeks into chatting, I ask for him to call me and he says his phone was broke on the job.
I told him I was having doubts about him. He gave me some number to a woman he knows who will verify he is a real person and not a scam.
Then he swndse a picture of his bank account with the balance. Asks me to log into his acct and transferoney to another account. Which I refuswd to do.
Know he says that equent broke down and he cant get money out of his acct to buy the new equipment and needs a loan of $10000.
I refused to send the money, he claims that I dont trust him!
He wont swnd picture of drivers license or passport, of course I dont trust him.
2 weeks later, he is claiming that he cant leave Ireland, because he is in breach of his contract.
Asked for money to pay lawyer so he can come home and straighten out his bank acct. I again refuaed and he said its sad that I dont trust him, as I am the love of his life!
I want to report him, but what if he is telling the truth?

It’s been 2 months since you posted this. Was he real? What happened?
Reason I ask is that I am in the same predicament. We have been online dating 7 months now. I just asked him for his legal documents but he refuses. We tried to video chat and happened 3 times but always “bad connection” in South Africa.

Noah Anderson, Irish, works for WHO, widow and orphaned, non nearest relative.

Scammer with every sob story in the book. Father long dead, he is running on an oil rig in the Mediterranean, and a storm destroyed some equipment Nov 2020. Asked for money. NO. Claims he flew to New York to sell his house, and somehow he was able to get the closing and proceeds in record time to buy new equipment, which got stuck in Tblisi Georgia, and he needed money to pay tariffs. NO. Finally equipment allegedly makes it to Turkey, but now his crew is threatening to quit if they are not paid. A loan? NO. Next, his mother, in Finland, has cancer and requires a $14000 operation. Finland has socialized medicine, so I questioned him about it, and the reason was his mother was too young to qualify. How old is your mother? 45? I thought you said you were 39? By now I know this is a big scam, but am amusing myself with how wild the tales can get. Then, suddenly mother dies, and he needs money for a plane ticket to the USA to get to Finland. Again, NO. She died in December, and he is still asking for money for a ticket to Finland in February to bury the mother. Hunh? How long can a deceased stay on ice? Finally the big one came: He claims to have some gold bars which were given to him by a Saudi Arabian. How KSA came into play from oil rigs off the coast of Turkey was too wild to continue the charade.

I have met 2 men they contacted me on Facebook dating. One is an orthopedic surgeon from Brazil wife died 4 years ago have a son in California. He was in Yemen for 2 weeks has a medical supply company he asked for iTunes and Steam Cards. Has a house in California and works in DC. The other one from NC just getting back from Germany suppose to be rich and is a petroleum geologists... I believe both are scammers!!

Anybody knows Capt Isidro Luengo Gomez? He said he is from Florida, a pilot of a commercial airline in Taiwan. Has been working there for 15 years. A widowed, because his wife died because of cancer. We had an intensive online communication for 2 months, then he proposed & would like to marry me. He would like to resign from his job & need a 'spouse' to receive his settlement benefit. I didn't want, because i feel he's unreal person. I stopped communicating with him

Has anyone had any hits with a Marcus Louis? Pics sent are of a white male, gray hair, beard, moustache, but on the phone, sounds totally hispanic?

That's what my guy looked like. He looked american, his english sucks.

I had a Marcus Johnson that sounds like this description. He has photos with he and a little girl with blue hair.

Do you know of a Miltary Sgt by the name, Jorge David depolyed in Syria, Very goodlooking came on my facebook started messaging me and then wanted me to come google hangouts so that he can know me better also he cud not use messenger due to military rules. Said his wife died of a car accident 4 years back and has a daughter. Sent me pictures of him and his daughter. He was full of love, sending me videos and love messages telling me that he has never felt this way for any other. Recently he said they were leaving on a dangerous mission and after 3 dys came back and said they were successul and his commander rewarded him and he has a box he wants to send me, I do not know whether it was the same person in the pictures I was talking to or someone else. Anyways I did not want to talk to him anymore since I knew that he was trying to get money by saying that he wants to send me that box, so I just blocked him. I am heart broken but not stupid. These men think that they can profess undying love and get away with their schemes. Can anyone let me know if he has contacted others. His pictures are always with his daughter and supposed to be religious too.

Has anyone been contacted by a Daniel who said he is Italian by birth but now lives in the UK following the death of his parents. He said he is an Engineer is widowed and has a daughter aged 14 called Rosabel? He was talking me on the website then switched to email and send long long messages- probably copied and pasted. He then sent me his mobile no and asked me to add him on What's App. Was there any significance to this? When I declined to speak on What's app - he suddenly did a disappearing act. He said he was 52 and sent me a photo - profile of a guy with grey hair with a black dog!

Daniel Bucky was this the name he used, sounds like the guy I'm texting only with,, just curious

If you are a big fan of Korean/Taiwanese/Chinese looking guys and girls who resemble celebrity idols, please beware. These scammers would prey on you by using unknown model pictures (which they grabbed). Someone followed me on IG and I questioned him about his pictures that didn’t match his age. I looked at his list and he targets fellow Asians. His lines: I migrated to Canada, thoracic surgeon, parents who died early, sent his daughter to boarding school and prefers google hangout. He is 48 but his photos were that of a millennial. I bluffed and annoyed him to make my day. Then he blocked me. This is his IG name: jrbcc05819 or Cheng-han.

I met Howard Chang /Cheng 48.in Scotland how can I send pic? Let see if we are talking to one person

Someone who claims to be a Lt. Colonel in the Army in Aleppo. Claims to be in the artillery division.
Says his name is Jamie Hayes. Been in the military 25 years. Claims he's now 62. Apparently did a grad degree at Westpoint at the age of 35!!

Profile immediately disappeared from Match when I gave him an email address I use only for the site. When I asked him to send me a picture, I was accused of having insecurities.

Watch out for this person.

I have a guy who contacted me on LinkedIn. Called Chris Howell apparently sub contractor for BP he is on gulf coast drilling. Has set times he messages me. Really odd added to what’s app he did ask if I use hangouts, anyway it’s a business account and when o first added said Sergio and picture of an older lady. Said it’s his mum and Sergio his middle name! He says he is Hispanic American, lives in Fresno but is working away. His drill is broke but not asked me for money but did ask about do I use Bitcoin I made it very clear to him that I come from a banking family and would not use anything dodgy at all. I just find him odd. Also 16 daughter called Maykayla!

Hello now I am really scared reading all these comments I have been communicating with a guy for 12 months meet him on a dating app Cupid or BBW CUPID and his name that he is going by is Warren Kaylee Hayri-ishan he says he has two girls iam not proud at all but I have sent money to his family and have gotten emotional attached he is now in Dubai in a imfammery he sick he say he work for B P Atlantis I guess it is an oil company has any one came a cross this person I am getting a feel that I mite be being scammed since I have been reading about bitcion and moneycards he knows I am broke and I don't have money at all my job doesn't pay alot so I don't know what I have that he would want thank you for reading I scary out here

Anyone heard of a Leuitenant James Reinitz
Says he was a Combat Engineer deployed in Iran
Has a son Michael
Keeps asking me to help him cos his mom is dying
I don’t believe him
Haven’t been able to finf much information on him
Please help

Has any ever heard of Jack Lawerance am thinking he's a scammer says he works on oil rigs in Mexico but lives in flordia

Has anyone dealt with a Jonas Wyatt claims to work on an oil rig and knows all about it he will send u pictures of someone on oil rig. He will even tell u the name of the rig n where its located it's TRUE. He says he has a daughter n a nanny that take care of her in the US and she wants to go to design school. He tries to get u to send him money claiming all his money is locked up n he needs to get himself n luggage back home then he will send u a lot of money to an account u make.

Has anyone had communication with someone calling themselves Jacob. Says he is south African and currently staying in Amsterdam. Cant get home due to passport issues. He conned my mum out of 19k a few years ago over a 6-9 month period

As soon as these people ask for money block them. Real people dont ask for money off people they have never ever met. If you cant afford to loose it then dont give them it. Never ever take out loans to cover their debts. It's their problem debt not your's, end of.

This is so true - my scammer told me that his company required 2k for me to communicate with him....what the?! I scorched him first then I deleted the app and can’t remember the password.

I am currently being targeted by someone called Marten Aurelio Nelson Mahdi Portuguese working in Manchester.

Anybody talking with a Philip Daniel? Always uses 'my friend.' Oil rig in the north Pacific. Can't get any real personal info. I've checked the phone number he gave me. Of course no info with that. Of course, he's got no real info from me either.

Dear FTC I’m talking to a girl here on Facebook messenger!!. What do you guys over there all think about his and what must I do if in order to get this person to put a hold on everything that they do?!!

This is my comment:

Her name is Mary Laisietey and she Says: “I was born and raised in Maryland Baltimore but now here in west Africa Ghana to visit my Sick dad”

I was and still iam a victim of a very emotional and vicious scammer goes by the name of williams thomas supposedly a cop from douglas ma has 8 yr old daughter named Florence mom died of cancer lives with her aunt he is away in turkey but got locked out of his bank a day before he left to turkey he scammed me of a total of 3,000 via bitcoin machine and is threatening to expose inappropriate pics of me if he doesn't get 5,000 from me also went as far as threatening to hurt me and my daughter if he doesn't get the money .So heartbroken that there is people out there ready to ruin people's lives. The pic of williams is a white male , bald ,very handsome ,charming ,smooth talker ,fit in his forties please ladies be careful

That sounds exactly like what I have been going through. After 2 years, he still finds ways to contact me with threats. Always uses different names. I report every new name to the FBI, not that it will do much good.

Do they tell you to be careful next time?

Anyone knows Michael Kentaro Chen? I got to know a guy from Tinder and his name is Michael Kentaro Chen. He claimed to be an US citizen, only child and parents have passed away. His mother is from Japan and dad from Macau. He said he is a drilling engineer working as an contractor for KNPC and is at Kuwait oil rig now. he cannot video call/ voice call as restricted by KNPC due to he is in rig. He said he tried to get marry with ex but her parents didn’t accept due to he is Asian. He feels racism in U.S. He also said he graduated Stanford university. He claimed to be in love with me and will relocate to Japan after his project ends. He stole a lot of my money!!!! May I know how can I report him? I’ve submitted to FBI file but no response.

Was his name serrano James it sounds just like the one I am talking to now he only as one daughter I have all kinds of pictures of him this hurts so much

I have been scammed by Alexandre Eithan Ahmed, goes by Alex, his 38 born in August and he misspells his name all the times ,Alexender, now is Alexandre M Eithan, he lives in fresno,CA
he has a son named Mason and a sister named Nancy, dead wife name Nancy too.
his was in “Berlin” Germany and now his Mexico, got robber, shot and whatever else you can say. He will asked for $5,000 first cuz he bank is frozen, his mother watched his son and mother lives in Texas. He will video chat you but only few seconds and its so fake and he will always talk to you on the phone. He will ask you for money 2-3wks later. He will sent u a gift, he cried on phone really bad and i felt so terrible and i gave him total of $1,500 not at once but I didn’t and I never given him my bank account he wanted that so badly. Oh his aunt name is Clara boyd on PayPal and i just saw him on another site.

One thing I noticed about the scammers, they are all widows and they are never divorced. I think that’s the biggest thing and another thing they say, they live in use but always on business trip. I hope someone can help this. Please run now days anyone can fake videos chat

This scammer and his girlfriend scams people on YouTube his name is VPGLOVES he pretends to be homeless and takes peoples money and his girlfriend his admin helps

Anyone heard of a Martin Giovanni on an oil rig in England?

Michael marino. Doctor. Stuck in Syria works for the un. Can't get his hands on his wages. Son is poorly and needs money to help costs for his medical fees. Then claims he is on his way to his Italian house which he wants me to come stay with him. Can I send more money. Now stuck at a border can't get back. No calls for days.

my story is 63 y/o veterinarian from CT, went to CA for a pet rescue mission, then to Turkey because of a shipment of veterinary supplies from J and J in China stuck in customs with high VAT tax, demurrage fees, and then jail fees due to fighting with the customs agent. Does this sound familiar to anyone. Claims to be Austrialian, coming to US to start a practice.

Met a guy on tinder said he is an oil of shore engineer in the Philippines he said he has a daughter named Becky she is 16 years old and she has a nanny also said his wife died from cancer 3 years ago.and hes coming home soon he wants all income tax money. Anyone know him? Saw a site looks like he lives in Florida, but he said he lives in the bay area?

what does this individual look like?

Do not have any dealings with anybody called cecilia lowy from albany n.y. she requested money and used emotional blackmail professing very strong love after knowing me for only a few days.

This guy saw a profile picture of me years ago and messaged me that he was interested in me and thought I was pretty. Then said he loves me and wanted a mother for his little boy I told him I am married he said he wanted to secretly date me anyway. But he is a Doctor in some other country but over here in the USA working under a contract. He wanted me to send him an itunes card because there are a lot of robberies there and could not get his check yet. This is all he talked about and tried to convince me he wants to come and get me and make a happy life with me. He said he was going to by his own hospital building ( I was cracking up ) He didn't know I am 70 yrs. old I did not send him any money but I understand now how they can get you to believe they care.

Has anyone been scammed by Dennis Elise?

I was in a relationship with a guy who told me he had cancer. He didn't have insurance so I paid for his chemotherapy. I helped with his bills. For a year and a half this went on. I found out he had another girlfriend and never was sick. I don't know what to do. I want to press charges. I have emails and text messages proving how he supported his claim of cancer to keep me believing his story. It wasn't just me he told these lies to. I need advice. Thanks

Hi...just dealt with a Steve Alekos...chated for 3 weeks, he clamed to have been robed and asking me for $1000, just asking if any one has dealt with this man?

What can I say this man claim to be in the military, single parent with one son, wife died in a car accident that happened in Austin, TX. Met him on Facebook and now he's on Hangouts but I had blocked him on both. He said that he's looking for a long term serious relationship NOT I didn't give him anymore opportunity to carry on this conversation because it's just like the other ones too

I've been chatting with a lady who said she was a model and that that modeling agency needs a insurance policy for her to date and is asking for a$500 deposit is this possible for the agent to ask for?

Is anyone talking to a guy called Marcus Ransom? Claiming to be a 42 year old American Airlines Pilot from California who is in the UK at a Pilot Academy. Has a 13 year old son Alvin who is back in Cali at a missionary school. He said he is widowed for 6 years. I have so many pictures. Started on IG. Now we are talking on Whatsapp and Hangouts. He keeps asking for money as a leaving fee from the UK. I was so stupid and paid 1200 euros already through Moneygram. But he keeps asking for 2500£ now..

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