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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

Hi Jane
It sounds like the same guy except went by Jefferey Forsberg.
Total red flag when they don't want to meet in person!
Best Natalie

Met a couple men on "words with friends " Site. Suspected scammers right away but still got sucked in by one of the. Fortunately no money was lost but must admit...I did lose my heart. Has anyone heard of Donald Markson? 66 yo widower from New York state? Would love to compare notes.

Is any one know Liam Christhoper ? He said he is surgeon doctor ,36 years old. American Chinese he said. He want to send me some gifts like shoes,bag,jewelry and some cash.. i think he is scammer where just 3 days chatting and now he told me he really love me. He called me in WhatsApp only in voice call.. if i ask a vedio call he always said he's connection is poor. Please any one can answer me. Thanks

Has anyone else encountered a supposedly twenty something Romance Scammer going by the name Sumaira Saleem Masih from Toba Tek Singh, Punjab, Pakistan? Classic scammer case. She found an older (60) American guy on Facebook, moved him quickly off FB and onto WhatsApp to avoid detection, sent cheap gifts to build trust and then turned the tables by pulling on his heart to donate money for orphans. Thousands of dollars were wired Western Union to her personally and not the orphanage. Then he was conned out of thousands more for all sorts of things like education, family emergencies, yada yada yada. She directed him to use gift cards (replenishable) and send electronics, etc.. Of course all the while saying they are "soulmates" and professing love and intent to marry. He foolishly fell for all of it for years and lost nearly twenty thousand dollars. She is a highly skilled manipulator. Romance scamming is probably her full-time job and likely to have a number of victims.

I've been.scammed a.few times. Only got took for $100. Figured I got off cheap. One was an oil rig. Talked on whatsapp. Another was someone in Texas. Nothing stood out as fake until.a did a photo look up
Picture turned out to be some French chef or designer. So not the guy in TX. Another one was a Dr that wrote long texts as he was over seas and in a different time zone. He was such a narcissist
Checked his photo. The guy was a dr..a German Dr that was not on Facebook. I warned the real guy.
Finally a contract out of Boston. Had 1 daughter. Told me his bank card got stolen. And money removed fro.his account. His account was frozen and didn't have any money to eat...I mean who has only enough in the house for one Day? Plus no.family anywhere to help. I suggested driving food to his place. He got the $100
Noticed alot have a first name like last name
.like James William...

Hello,
Your story of the guy from Boston is very alike the one is contacting me… he goes by the name of Ray Steve and contact in WhatsApp via +1 (505) 226-4847.
First we didn’t have money enough to pay the rent, got fired in the meantime, then the card and bank account frozen, finally he got a job offer but had to pay money to get the job. He’s suuuper cute, piercing in the nose and eagle tattoo in the chest-shoulder-arm region.
Does this ring a bell to you?
I need help to know if he’s real

I am being wooed by William Liam who lives in London and has a 19 year old son, Collins He says his wife died 10 years ago. He flew to Dubai yesterday (showed me his flight details) . He says his father was Swedish snd mother English, he studied in Canada but his accent sounds as if he comes from somewhere in the Far East, as he called me yesterday morning. I am enjoying his compliments but can’t believe his love claims. Yes roses, songs etc . It’s a shame we can’t post photos here but I came across him on Jewish Seniors . He’s very attractive with short mostly grey hair and beard . Sounds like as many have described. +44 7405 809031 This is his phone number. He is presently in Dubai as a consultant engineer after winning a 3.5million bid (oil rig / platform).

Denise S.. this sounds too familiar if you have any pictures of this guy can you email it to me. I met this guy on Our Time dating site...email is buckeye2480@gmail.com. thank you so much,. Catherine

I’m talking to a guy Valentine Alfred. 59. Born in Lund, Sweden. Father was Swedish and was killed two years ago. Mother is British. No kids. Wife died in car crash around 2013. He is marketing mgr for LG Electronics. Handsome. Salt/pepper hair. Blueish eyes. Very much a sweet talker and wants to be married. Sound familiar to anyone??

DeptyDog....I would like to show you some pics of a Swedish born business man.

Hi,
I think my brother is getting scammed by a lady in the Ukraine. He's sent her a lot of money. The last 3 lots of money she sent him she said she didn't get. What to do? It's very hard to talk to him about it. Thanks, Rosy

Ok. I was talking to a guy that called himself Leonard Wong. something was suspicious. He said he was an American pilot and after three weeks he said he will send me a gift. Then another person called claiming to be the courier and saying that he needed to deposit 1000 USD for expenses. They got the wrong lady since I work in geography. I blocked them but I really want to make sure they don't scam other people. What can I do to report them?I am in Belgium but I am just an exchange student.

Sounds familiar .. same story.. except his name is Andrew Wong, American Pilot.

Dr James Adams is a scammer. He tried to
Get $12000. Dollars for his son's kidney operation be careful he's smooth I didn't give it to him. His cell phone is from Norwood california

I met someone on Facebook dating website. He said his name is Wolfgang Jonas. He said he is a private contractor but now has to go to Turkey on business. He hasn't asked me for anything yet, buf I am treafing cautiously. He told me he wants to take me on vacation when he comes back.

I have been talking to this guy for quit some some time now. About 5 months. He says hes in the army and is of the 3rd infantry or something like that. He's asked for money before but that was only once. He said he didn't and doesn't need my money it was just a test because he knows what he can offer me. Of course I have been doing my investigations and haven't found anything with his pictures. Although i did find this address when I looked up his phone number and the number is not registered in his name. His name is Jeffrey rose. Also says he's a sergeant and we talk but just not all the time because he says that he can't be on the phone while he's at his desk. He is 55 and says that hes coming home in November somewhere around Thanksgiving. Tho I am not keeping my hopes to high about it I do hope he is real.

I met a guy in dating app, but we mainly contact in what’s app. He said he lives in Uk, he said he sent me a package for my birthday gift. I later received an email from shipping courier that I have to make payment to a personal bank account for import duty tax clearance. I did. Then, another email from courier that after scanning, they found $55,000 in the package. Courier asked me to contact a what’s app number who said he is FBI bureau and I must make another payment to the same bank account previous to get government stamp. If not, it will be money laundering and I will get arrested imprisonments soon by sending me pictures of my house from GG. I blocked them all and reported to local non-emergency FBI, ic3. Later, another what’s app number who said he is another FBI want to warn me that I only have 48 hours to follow their instructions to avoid money laundering. The guy I met also tried to contact me with different number.

any updates

who knows one ella rose walker

Has anyone heard of Cindy Bill's? My husband has given her over $20,000 so far and is continuing to give her money. I'm trying to get him to understand that she doesn't love him and he is being scammed. Would love feed back from others who have come across her.

It seems I got one on Instagram whose photos aren't showing up on a Reverse Image Search. I'm thinking they are using customized photos (supposedly this person is with special forces in Afghanistan with the army) probably hired some ladies to be used in these photos as the scammers, the smart ones anyways, know we all know about reverse image search. Be careful out there guys!!!!

I was talking to a gentleman named greg sandilla..
He told me he lived in Norway..when we spoke on the phone he sounded Nigerian..
I had a two year long distance relationship with him..
During this time he called day and night..he soon asked for steam cards and eventually money..he ended up steelimg $10, 000.00 and i never heard from him agian.. I did research and he is nigerian..and married..

Good morning,

So this isn't me but my mom has supposedly been talking to a middle aged man from the US but is some sort of construction worker currently in Nigeria. She has spoken to this person on the phone but it seems like there is always an excuse why he is not here or can't get back. His name is Alex Thomas and supposedly has a younger daughter. I just found out that she has sent him money but I just have a feeling this is a scam and am just not sure how to go about finding the truth and explaining it to her.

So ive been chatting with a Nigerian guy for a year he started off not asking for anything but recently he decided he wants to marry me but he needed help with his visa his passport and his school aide so ive sent over about $400 now hes asking for funds to purchase data for his phone ....i know it sounds crazy but i wanna help again but deep down something says dont send anything else....i need help and advice cause ive fallen for him but i don't think he feels the same though he says so

Hi.
What's his name, email or facebook profile?
Maybe Morgan Jasper?
He's been asking me for the same things, and recently when I said I'd never pay again he cheated that he broke his leg on his bike and needed $10,000 for surgery. I ended that contact. No more scammers.

Has anyone had dealings with a Matt Anderson will be 62 in July has a 15 year old daughter named Sarah in a Florida boarding school they live in Miami he is widowed and his son was killed in a car accident. He was working on a rig in Louisiana for Noble Gas and now on one of there other platforms in the North Sea in China. He now needs money to take a helicopter back to the states and when he gets back will fix his bank account because it is locked and can only fix it in person per the bank. He constantly asks for money and calls me his wife. He also cries a lot.

Hi I think my friend is being scammed his name is Eddie work on a cargo ship has a son uses bitcoin buys and sells cars. Think he has got my friend hook line in sinker.
In his photos he wears a black bean hat grey beard, anothef of him and his son standing up.
I know these are stole photos provably from some innocent man's profile.
Any way I can convince her as we will end up having no friendship cause she is gullible.
Any advice will be great cheers.

So how do I check if the name matches the face? I have a young lady asking me for my personal number so that we can chat in private. I am now suspicious after reading these comments. I haven't given my number yet.

I am just starting to chat with a guy from Instagram on "hangouts" he is work at a oil rig on the Mediterranean sea by Israel. He goes by the name Donald Anthony does anyone else talk to him? He's got a daughter that is living with her teacher in Toronto Canada right now. I was just wondering if he is also a scammer?

Hi everyone. Does anyone know a Mark Gibson, claimed to be Oil Rig Engineer. Had one son. Lost daughter and wife in car accident. He's from Austin, Texas. He and his friend Perry Maxwell cheated me out of £30,000 in total.

Has anyone dealt with a Kevin Liam on Facebook. Divorced, 2 kids and lives in Tampa, Florida and he’s a Financial Analyst

Has anyone had dealings with Andrew Newson?

For five years, my relative has been sending money to a "girl" in Romania. She always has a reason for the money so he sends it. We warn him she is scamming him but he won't hear to it. He thinks she is going to marry him next May (2022.) I heard he has put her name on his checking account. Since he is doing this willingly is there any way to put an end to it?

I have a friend I'm sure is being groomed by a man she met on Instagram. He says his name is Tommy Lucas , a computer programmer from California working in England. Tommy says his family is from Germany and they immigrated to the US. He also has a twin and his father died within the last 6 months. He is handsome and around 39 years old. He has set up a Bitcoin account and checking account with her name own it. She tried too deposit one of the new checks into her account and it was returned for fraud. She will not listen to me and is about to ruin her marriage for someone she has never met. Does this guy seem familiar to anyone?

I was approached in a yatzee game chatroom. Anyone heard of JAMES GATES...civil engineer in Germany....or
PATRICK DARRAGH....oil rig gulf of mexico

Hi. I'm glad I found all these comments. Jurgen Mike wrote to me. An engineer working for an oil exploration company. He flew out on a contract to Turkey. After a month, he asked for a loan of 2,500 Euro to repair a broken cylinder. Of course, he didn't get anything from me. He tried to play on my feelings, but I saw it quickly.

I got contacted by "Christopher Malachovski" He said it was accidentally, but he started making conversation. after a few texts on Whats App, he told me he was not allowed to text in Syria US army base where he supposedly works as Soldier, so the only safe way to text was G mail-Hangouts. he said he is Sweden an lives in Orlando Fl. since he was 20 y/o. I got him immediately after he said he doesn't have any social media account because i had already looked for him everywhere !!! besides I got very suspicious because his phone number is from Nigeria.

There is a person that is saying that they mailed me a package and in it is a wedding ring his passport and some things he brought for me he said that he did a federal express from some company called SeaShore express this person is useing the name Terry Petrova and says he is Italian but I can't tell because I heard him speak the language. Now Sea Shore is asking for $840.00 dollars to retrieve the package when I told them I did not have it than they said they would take $500.00 and the rest could be paid later to deliver the package. They are saying they can take Bitcoin, Paypal, Moneygram and bank transfer after seeing how they want to be paid is this a scam.

Hi there,

Anyone scammed by a Martin Bridge as a Merchant Seaman?…. My sister in law who has a intellectual disability is been scammed but doesn’t believe she is been scammed… She is been sending money to this person for over 2 yrs now and have so many excuses not to come and see her…

I was almost scammed by this guy who claimed that he was realtor/architect/engineer. How come if one has a out of the country project they will use their other bank account outside US? Is it because it will be questionable when it has millions? I didn't know that even though we talk on camera using google hangout, one can still present as a fake person. Even a fake driver's license for that matter. Can i trace who this person is using his SSN?

Hello ladies,
I’ve been contacted by a beautiful guy via WhatsApp… he presented himself by Ray Steve. In the beginning he said being from Michigan and after he started mentioning Boston area. He has a 6 yo daughter, Lucy, but he never agreed to send me a picture of her and him together. His wife passed away during Corona pandemic. He proclaimed his love way to soon for what I’m used and in this times of confinement is always good to have something to make you feel nice. First thing was that he was reminded to pay the rent and he had forgot to budget it and didn’t have enough money. He fought because I told him I wouldn’t give money to someone I didn’t know that well and was not showing me prices of who he is.
After some time he started mentioning that he was afraid that he might lose his job, which end up happening. Then his bank locked his account because his card was cloned and is more than 3 weeks and he doesn’t have access to his money. He got a job offer that he had to pay, first was 3000, now he got to a agreement with the company is “only” 1500$, to get the job. I said I never heard such thing. I kinda agreed to help him out but because I’m in Europe everything is different and takes longe, so he mentioned that I could send him money through gift card or ITunes.
I tried to investigate him, checked the pictures no result and tried to do a reverse phone number (+1 (505) 226-4847 but doesn’t allow me cause I don’t live in the US).
Can someone help me out over here, please?

Can anyone help us to do background check from US citizen.. Because we are from different country.. We are not allowed to check it.. Pls help us..

Just wondering how far these people go. If they say they want to marry you, would they actually do it? Then what happens? Also if they want money would they keep talking to you if they knew you didn't have money and had no way of getting money? Like maybe you were a retired person.

I have had the exact experience of being messaged by a guy with one of two stories. Either they are some sort of engineer on an oil rig or they claim to be an orthopaedic surgeon in the military stationed in Syria or elsewhere in the East, sometimes on a peace-keeping mission. He always has a story to tell about his wife who died recently - usually in a car accident. He either has one son or one daughter who is tween-aged. He will ask right away if you’re married and if you have kids. Next question is your occupation. Then they ask for your phone number for WhatsApp.
They won’t actually play scrabble. They add a letter or two every so often to get you back and to re-message you.
I have met at least 20 guys in the past month or so, on a Scrabble app called WordWars. They are all blocked!
Ladies, don’t put your details on here … the scammers can read this page any time they like!
Do NOT send money EVER. Stay safe ❤️

Do yourself a favour, anyone chatting on any site even a singing app, they will prey. Talked to a fellow stated was from Johannesburg. Even the video looked real, but, eventually after image search with pics, turned out they belonged to a deceased celebrity. I looked the other way and reported him to authorities. Folks as soon as they ask for anything block and run. They are big time scammers who think that we are dum. Be careful cause people fall prey to their kind words. But they live a life of crime.

Army special forces, 39, in Afganistan. Wife and mother died in plane crash around 2018. Father died last year from Covid. Has 6 year old daughter living with nanny as there are no other relatives. Name is Smith Andrew.

Ring any bells?

How did you do an image search

Anyone know about scams originating from 501 or 720 area codes? I've got one who says she lives nearby but those are ARK and COL area codes and I'm in MI

Someone I know set up a checking account online in their name for someone he's been talking to. He met them online. There's supposedly something going on with her social security card ...... I don't know what info he put in the checking account because he didnt need a id and his is expired.

I know a guy name david williams in UK is asking for money is he fake or real

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