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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

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

Has anyone heard of or corresponded with “Wayne Carson”, who supposedly worked on an oil rig from last August to this spring”.

Sounds almost like the man I've been talking to 2 years sent him a total of $15,000 goes by the name Michael Watchman says he is 54 with3 sons i fell deeply in love with him and he shattered me

I wanted to warn everyone of a man named Eric Bohr originally from Sweden supposedly. He’s an engineer from Missouri who gets jobs in different locations that last anywhere from 3-6 months. Right now he’s in Japan and tried to get my bank account info wanting to deposit money for a charity using Bitcoin and having me send it. He had the nerve to ask for my SS number, birthday, address, credit card info you name it. Very good looking and a sweet talker. If something seems to be too good to be true it most likely is.

Robert Miller devear Kelvin from Minnesota are romance scammer

Anthony Abrue is a scam artist says he’s in the army it is a commander somehow I never gave him any of my information believe it or not he got all my information because scammers are good at what they do and scammed me over $44,000 and I’ve been going to court pleading innocent as a victim

I was given to money to scammer, His name is Derek Dun from Netherland, Amsterdam on facebook. He said that he gave me present to my country. He asked me to send money of tax clearance of package. After i send the money, package should deliver to me. But i sent my money of 1075$, they didn't give my money, and didn't delivered package for me. They said, if you don't pay pay 3000$, i will go to jail. i Feel lost. And i never beleive those handsome pictures and scamming for me. I lost my 1075$. i was foolish. From Mongolia

Does anyone no a Stefan victor … in army in America originally from Germany and has a son names jeff

I just started chatting with a guy. He told me off the bat that he may have to travel for work. I was thinking like just short business trips. Then 4 days in to chatting, he said he won the contract and had to go to Italy for 2 months. He asked me if I would be willing to wait basically. I asked him too met he said he would try but was very busy because he was leaving very soon. I asked him to call and he did. Very thick accent had told me he was from Oslo Norway so I expected an accent. The call was very short. It was hard too hear him and understand him. He has sent several pictures all seem to be legit. But I do feel like he avoids answering some of my questions. He hasn't professed his love or anything like that, he only says he wants to continue too get too know me. He has given me his name and even his birthday. He says he lives in the same town and he has even given me the name of the company he will be completing the project for..........but I am still VERY Skeptical....Nothing comes up when I search the pictures and nothing comes up when I put his name in been verified. Even my name comes up on been verified. Looking for honest insight. Or suggestions.

Is anyone talking to a James Walters, dr working for the UN in Syria

I have been talking to a man, James Miller for about a year. Wife died 5 years ago. He has two sons, Wayne and Rooney,in maritime academy in California. Also an Aunt in North Carolina. Shortly after we started talking on Instagram, he wanted to change to texting. Then he got called to go to Yemen for UN forces. We then started talking through Hangouts. He has gotten money from me for his Aunt when the last hurricane hit North Carolina. Also money for the boys to continue schooling. Now he wants money to pay insurance on gold bars to US..... Does anyone else talk to him? I know he's a scammer now....

What can we do to bring justice to these criminals? I just had one social engineer phish me for 4-5 hours last night pretending to be a female US Army soldier. Isn't that a federal offense? I gave my email and phone number but luckily no account info, but I'm still worried about what they do have. I think I could get more information about them if it would help catch and prosecute. But right now they all run rampant and no one is busting them so they keep doing it! I think this is pretty low behavior, to fake love in order to steal someone's life savings! Show the public how to put them behind bars, please!

I think I’m being scammed too. Does anyone know a Dave Johnson, an Army Captain stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan in a peacekeeping mission. Has a young son in boarding school in NY. He was born in Germany but moved to Holland where his parents were poisoned. A priest took him to the USA where he was raised. He’s very intelligent, seems to be a Christian. Has asked for no money. I met him on Instagram and then we just did regular emails. We are on Hangout. He’s off of Instagram now.

Had a man became a friend on facebook of course i got sucked in to a relationship for awile then the texting started to tword wanting money well almost did then i was getting unsettling feeling i kept telling him i would go and get the gift cards the last text he sent me was not a very pleasent one he called me a lier and i didint intend to help and me to leave him along and dont text him again if u become friends and they say their in military dont friend them they r scammers they asol will say they work on oil rigs r doctors and their working overs seas just becare full aware it will screw ur mind up so beware even if they tell u they work in the US i advise every women to watch on who u r texting r talking too

There is a man on Facebook claiming to be deployed with the Navy and stationed in Libya. He has been getting my friend to send him money via prepaid credit cards. He goes by the name(s) Arnold Wat Kins, Arnold Kins, Jack Markt, or James Lucas. ( I did a google image search and these were the names linked to the pictures he had sent her). I think I have her convinced for the time that he's a scammer, but if anyone else has had contact with him it'd be nice to know.

Has anyone been contacted by a US Marine that calls himself Bryan Burleson stationed in Egypr and a Crypto Broker that goes by Jordan Hagan with Digital Trade Asset.? I think they're either the same person or they're working together. IDK what to do or think, if at least, I could get confirmation that they actually are scammers

Does scammers say widow and inmiltary doing a.job over seas

Karl muller- professed his love after a few weeks of daily “interview-like” phone conversations- after he was awarded a large building contract in some distant land. Talked about his granddaughter, his son was in the navy in some land-locked country (lol). He claimed to be a widower originally from Germany but in US for many years-
Reverse image search revealed his scam! I was tempted to play along and ask for money first, but really- life is too short! DO YOUR HOMEWORK! If they aren’t able to meet, they aren’t real. This guy had a (minimal)social media presence that initially seemed legit. Do a little digging! Have since met a great guy who is real, is present and available!
Be safe out there!

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