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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

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.

Same chat that I have now.. he’s a Japanese both parents died.. he’s working in oil rig.. he’s ex doesn’t married her because he’s Asian and so on.. he’s asking me money because the machine he’s using is broke.. but I do not give him any amount it’s not my problem anymore.. he is scammer..

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..

Does anyone know Shawn Hallberg? Says he owns Senlon construction. company originally in Dallas Texas but according to all internet records... Senlon is now closed as indicated on-line. He Set up an on line profile on Bumble... he is real charming and handsome like a model. Said he lived in Pa. Said he was divorced. No records at all of a Shawn Hallberg in Pa or Texas. “Suddenly” he was awarded a big contract in cyprus to build condos and flew out. A Few days later he said he needed 5 grand in apple computers to be shipped from the usa to cyprus to help him; or 5k to his bit coin account.

There's someone who goes by the name of Jeannette Bangoura from Senegal,
She have been talking to me for the past few days on my email.
I don't know where she got my email but she claimed she contacted me because she trusted me. She said her late father died on a plain crush and stuff.... and he left 6.5million dollars for her in an account with Capital One Finance
Someone from the bank contacted me wanting my personal and banking details
I did as I wanted to help the young girl not realizing it might be a kind of scam
And now she was asking for $350 to get a letter from attorney as it was requested at the bank
I haven't sent it yet and am glad I came across this blog

He told me that he is an actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan :) And he needs donations for orphanage. I sent him 300$ but we said that I have to pay it each month. I denied and he told me that loves me and wants to meet me but I have to pay for tickets. I understood that he is a romantic scammer...

When I Google David Oscar James in Yemen, it brings me here. Is someone else finding this person to be a fake/scammer??

Anyone know man named David Anatoly

Any one been scammed by someone e goes b y Honda Franklin claims he is an engineer and from Europe with a heavy accent and claims he has a son, is widowed and living in Canada

I have been contacted by a man Honza Lubos Franklin with the same story that you are telling.
Is now in Germany where his passport has been retrieved until he pays taxes.

The scammers won’t make a voice call and their spelling errors are laughable and immediately they ask for money and gift cards they first use Facebook and chat rooms and apps

Has anyone heard of Andrew Morgan, 66 from Texas? Currently working in the Gulf of Mexico? After reading so many comments here it really put my head in a tizzy and got me thinking. I tried doing the reverse lookup with his various photos but nothing is coming up. He says his contract is up at the end of April and wants to meet up. We have spoken a few times shortly as he says they get into trouble for being on the phone. Haven't tried to video chat yet. Anyone come into contact with this name yet?

Andrew MORGAN is a NASA astronaut. and scammers use their photos for fake accounts. proposing to make you a "BENEFICIARY OF YOUR BANK ACCOUNT". He asks you to write to the manager of a bank with a branch in NY- ICICI BANK. I don't know what that means in US law.

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