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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

Last name seems same Guy I talk to names Nikolaus Müller from germany. Not.sure if same guy but when I did reverse image search there was lots of pics of wheat I had on different date sites under different names, Brian, etc

Has anyone talked to a Wilson Silva in the military divorced with 1 son

Has anyone came across Albert lawrence or ben anderson? He is a scammer and a liar. He found me on Instagram then conversation went to telegram and he deleted his Instagram account. We have spoken for 4 months. He was a doctor who wanted to open his clinic in south Carolina and went to buy scanning machines in Malaysia.. smooth talker made me fell for him.. anyway he sent me his Passport of Aaron john brakefield details and asked for money. Not a nice experience.

Anyone talking to Donald Gregg says wife died and daughter died in child birth good looking very charming said he needed to borrow 500 dollars because he couldn't get into his bank account I sent money today because he said he was desperate now not talking or answering calls

I was asked by a marine who doesn't give me his full name just surname of valenzia,who I met on whatsapp,he asked me for a stream so that he could use it for his connection,I have lots of pictures of him.

Has anyone heard of a Donald house on Instagram he’s called power house I’ve been chatting to him for almost 2 years he calls himself Jeffery Nelson Becker his fone number comes up with California he’s deployed in Nigeria

The name Dave Wong said he is an engineer. The profile he send me is of a Korean guy. He is telling me to send my complete name, address and Number even my ID. But I didn't give out my true details.

I just had a lady from the Ukrainian, try to scam me for $400 dollars be careful guys her name was liundmylacaring@tdmu.club

I believe I'm dealing with a scammer. Name Bobby Chen claims to be a supervisor on a rig and he had an accident and fell into the ocean and lost his credit card. Lost his parents and wife died giving birth to their child. From england. Spoke with him on phone and believe he has accent but it is slight. Basic red flags, calls me queen, cant video call on rig and i asked to take pictures on the rig and he said he is not allowed to rake pictures. Told me originally from Philly but thats a lie and gave me a canadian number. That was odd.

Previously been talking to a nice gentleman named Eric Grant from California..Anyone has been talking to him as well ?

Liam Anderson. Swedish. Originally from Stockholm.
6 foot 2 eyes of blue.
Salt n pepper beard, very attractive.
Lives in Columbus, Ohio.
Civil Engineer.
Been single for 5 years. First wife left him, with his bf.
Was stranded on ship off coast of Malaysia.
8 year old daughter, Amanda, who now has brain tumour.
Calls me his queen and cuppie cake.
Shame shame!!!

Has anyone heard of George Adam’s or Adam’s Howell, George works in Cape Town lives in America, construction contract and needs money for materials, Adam’s is on an oil rig and needs to fix tools so needs money, both have the same picture

Am I being scammed? Has anyone any information on Andrew Jefferson from Union Bridge, Maryland

A guy who was talking to me, from LinkedIn Nicholas Muller, claimed he lives is Frankfurt Germany, and is a freelance petroleum engineer. Has a daughter Sophia, who lives with his Mum, he started off just emailing nothing to much what his likes were etc even day things, after months conversation through emails was more, spoke of driving 4 hours to be celebrating special days with daughter and mum. Also long hours of working, then would mention her and there that to see where our Journey would take us, then messages became more romantic like leaving for work and I thought I would write you to say I'm thinking of you even as I go about my busy day. He sent pics when asked but some seemed blurry background. Handsome tall Geman man he described who he was caring etc, and claimed that he wouldn't do anything to hurt me. He always seemed as a caring father would tell me on whatsapp or hangouts about settling his teenage daughter who is having boy troubles. Hey claimed he was almost his contract in germany, as was preparing for his 1 month contact to Turkey, from which he would leave from There and come to Canada to be with me. Always avoided talking on web camera would agree but them something would come up. Or Say he was not into those things. After he left Germany and went to Turkey to do a job there for someone private I did a reverse image search on some of photos I got on Google, got nothing then on social catfish. I got images, some were ones he sent me and others had same shirt he was wearing just different poses, on all sorts of date sites, tender, caress one, sugar daddy.com etc with different names, when I sent a pic of one profile, to him said yes I was on tender but I deleted all my information I said well whos this, he said me but someone using my pics, then low and behold my phone rings from whattsapp no video but voice, sounded way different, compared to pic, and didn't really have a german accent, kept profess love for me, anyway got me to send an list of drilling materials to a company as his connection in turkey was bad . So I did the place I now know is a fake website called Ogg.metals after I sent ( not knowing it was fake) I received email back with a invoice and method of which to send payment, so I sent to him, he said can you go on my banking I will give you information and I'll will guide you through so I said ok, logged onto his banking entered in the payment method stated on invoice. Iban number etc hit send an it went through. He said great thanks send confirmation to company please, I did, then 2 days later another email for shipping costs did same thing went on his account entered in all info but this time didn't go though a message came up said please contact branch, he sent me a screen shot of text message his bank sent him saying his account is only deposit because of an un known device, and several failed log in attempts. Said he would have meeting with employer to see about getting issue fixed so he could do job and be out in the month. Few hours later I got message employer wouldn't go back on contract would not let him leave turkey to go back 3 hous to Germany to solve bank issue. When I stated they cannot keep you there he said they have my ID, and that he has to find a way to get money to get materials to work and get outta there. When I mentioned I would call turkish consulate or embassy to help he said please don't put my safety at harms way, you don't know my employer. Then after a few days he was sending me screen shots of international money transfer his Mum was able to send, 20,000 euros, then she was able to borrow 5000 Euros, asked if I could help with remaining 2830.00 euros when I explained I didn't have that amount, at all it was find a way to raise it, don't tell anyone why, I don't want to look like that to people, then when I mentioned ideas that would work for him to get remaining balance he would get angry say those ridiculous ideas and if I'm not willing to help then leave it. Then would send a message saying he feels bad never had to rely on anyone for money before and he is truly sorry he got me involved. Continued over next few days on how angry his employer is and how the reaming needs to be done so he can work and get out to come see me,kept continuing asking how I am and kids, i asked him for a pic of him holding a sign saying Team Niko for girls, I got a pic of what I asked looked totally photoshoped that face was replaced by another, and everything in back ground is blurred. I mentioned the blur and got told how does he know, it's his phone, then he asked if I stand with him if I do I need to help him with getting rest of funds he has been in turkey not working since June 24th over a few weeks. Said he assures his employer he will get materials and work, continues to chat on whatapp on how everyone will be paid back once he is done, and when it's over we need to go on a vacation to gain what we lost, anyway I have not sent money, as he said last payment he needs money gram so it can go straight to company, rather then waiting days for international transfer to clear. Im sad because I believed this person, and once it was asking me for money I was like if your an engineer you think you would have emergency funds, or credit card or have stuff in contract stating if thing happen. It was always excuses on card expired I didn't have time you should know how long hour I worked. Etc still professing his love for me, and will keep his word to me and will come. Soon as no money, I couldn't give him I was no longer contacted, I am upset cause he sent me pics of him or someone else he stole pic of and I sent pics of me and sometimes videos of kids playing etc. I feel cheated, lied too, ashamed, and very depressed as he I honestly believed until the end,I'm glad I didn't send money, but after 4 months of communication daily, it's a hard thing to be able to look at yourself knowing that someone was able to do that to you. I wish I knew of a place on the internet where I can share my story and post pics of this person so no one else gets sucked in.

This sounds like the same story I got.

Sounds similar to a guy called Kelvin Cadman who connected with me through Linkedin back in December. His profile said cathodic protection engineer as I work offshore thought that's why requested to connect. He was born in Germany but now lives in Chicago. As we chatted told me his father died in Afghanistan peace keeping mission before he was born and unaware he was going to be a father. His mother died giving birth to him and his uncle brought him up. He married later in life to a female Evelyn from Texas and they settled in California in a happy marriage lasting 10 years but lost her to wild fires. He married again very soon trying to find happiness but the female cheated on him. He moved to Chicago to start a new life. I did reverse image look ups but nothing about dating sites etc. I've searched his name but nothing, searched his number and is Illinois. However got a contract for work in Cyprus moving to another in Turkey. Just as contract nearly complete disaster struck a massive explosion at the gas compressor station and all his equipment was destroyed - you see where this is going! Needed a huge amount to get new equipment which he managed to scrape together with help from his elderly uncle Christopher. Did ask for help with around $2500 I refused he wasn't very pleased. Then all worked out and the equipment was being delivered to Turkey but he had forgotten there would be tax to pay and he had no money left. Again asked for help as his accountant said was impossible to release any more from his bitcoin investments. I said I'd check with my pension to see if could cash any of it in - I had no intention just wanted to get his hopes up. He constantly messaged about the money all romance had gone out the window he was totally focused on the money - I told him he wasn't getting a penny from me and blocked him on whatsapp happy to see he'd done the same to me as his profile picture disappeared. After a couple of days profile picture reappeared and after a few weeks curiosity got the better of me so I unblocked and messaged asking why he was back? He said he believed there was a reason he'd been led to me and needed to stay until he knew. He went back to Cyprus from Turkey and is still in Cyprus working. He has since suggested I buy him a new phone as his is broken and it's very expensive in Cyprus - I refused. I don't believe he has a German accent which annoys him but I would say accent from Nigeria or Ghana. Still declaring undying love and yes sends links to love songs on youtube. I have told him outright I know he's a scammer etc I can't understand him still being around!! I am only wasting as much of his time as I can plus keep contact details etc to report if I can ever find proof he's scamming people.

Feel the same way. Such a strong person always to have someone do this to me. Feeling very ashamed

Was talking with this guy for the last 3 weeks going by the name of Anthony Garcia. Met on FB then changed to hangouts. Starts calling me "love", professing me as his wife. Well he was suppose to visit me but says he had to go to London for 7 days. He started asking me to send money to him for his daughter who is 14. I started to see a change in his wording when I said that I would not do it. He broke it off with me.

Does this sound familiar to anyone. Mans name of Carmen Fabio and Fabio Jim. Widowed, on an oil rig in Qater daughter Lillian in Boarding school in the States.

Sounds like my man but he has 2 grown up songs Jones the eldest and gareth. Can't talk or video call as it's not allowed on the rig. I was supposed to keep cash as well but nothing appeared itbwas just ignored. Awkward questions are ignored by protestations of undying love. Often he had to go somewhere to check how he should answer because he took a long time to answrr

Does name Alexander Gregg say anything to anyone? He's calling babe or darling often. He works in US army in abroad.

How about the man using dating app and tiktok to make a log gf and after the girls agreed to meet him and he bring at his flat and he stole money from girls this is legit happening here in Oman

My experience was on plenty of fish with a doctor working in Syria by the name of Anthony Bernard, originally from Brazil, 2 kids in boarding school.
Completely fake started talking about raw gold and also needing an Amazon voucher.
Completely blocked

Has anyone received messages from Bryan Kelvin Jones . He has sent me his passport, some photos and special force identity card. I’ve been through situations like this before and I have told him I know about fake accounts and scammers .

Hi I recently met a guy on Facebook named Alex byhung-hoon he says he's from North Korea and he's a engineer of some sort I do know about scamming im very vigilant about stuff like that the thing is somethings he says and does are suspicious but somethings do add up like for instance since we started talking I've had him send me a photo everyday he sends them no problem and everyday it is a different photo I've talked to him on the phone and sounds like a foreigner but I'm not sure if he sounds African seeing as I don't speak with Africans he says he travels for contracts he was recently in the UK now he's in Bolivia he claims when h is contract is up in Bolivia he's gonna come to c me I've done reverse image search on all his photos and nothing along with his number and nothing he recently told me he sent me a package and I need to pay custom tax or some such nonsense I looked that up to and it seems legit I and he also has a presence on social media I looked that up too but his profile seems to be only females and thats a red flag I just need help sorting this out

Just found out a man I have been texting is a scammer. Goes by the name of James Crawford from Sheffield in UK. Claims he is in Zurich and needs money for a work project

I was scammed by someone called Ken Donald and his associates are Eric Lucas.

I am currently talking to a Marc Allen Hazen... claims to live in Phoenix but is currently working in Mexico with a return date in August. He just text me that his son was in an accident and needs special treatment and he would pay me back when the project is over in a few weeks. He is super handsome, but I couldn't find his image using Google Image search. Of course I said no, but he waited 2 months to ask me for $, making it seem far more plausible. Be aware, these scammers will mislead you for months!

I have a elder friend who's being robbed of her last penny by a scammer. She's having to beg for money from charities to pay her bills. Refuses to believe that scanner isn't who he says he is. I'm at wits end.

Anyone talking w a guy Named John Williams Hill, engineer in Dubai, widower, 2 children in the US staying w a Nani and wife died in car accident? This also follows the same format of the scammers, but am deep in these and like to see if any with his name and similarities.

I have been talking to a man who says he is Lucas Raphael he is French and working in Turkey He is a civil engineer his own company He had a grownup daughter in Australia
He sends pics etc and phone calls Does this sound familiar to any one

I have been talking to a Marcus Williams, he claims to be a Capt in the Air Force. Divorced with 2 kids Billy and Ava. He sent me pictures of all of them together even his 14 year old when she was a baby and him holding her. He is a bodybuilder too. I just love this man. I've done research on him on social catfish and I've google him so much. But he turns up nothing. Anybody else know of Marcus Williams? He has got salt and pepper beard what he calls squinty eyes and nice teeth.

I´ve been talking to him since March this year. He is asking for money to come to Sweden.

To 2 cox boys ,
I talked to him for years took me to the cleaners. Now I’m broke and broken hearted
Just run away!,

This man from South Africa called George Kruger a petroleum engineer is he real or fake

I met this guy named Richard Khaled on a popular dating site we would talk on the phone, text, nd one choppy video call that lasted for a few seconds. We talk for a few weeks and he sent the most beautiful love poems almost everyday. Until after 2 weeks he all of a sudden had to leave the United States and go to another country for his job and we couldn't meet in person until he returned. He still continued to communicate with me mostly on whatsapp said he was falling in love with me. After 2 more weeks he said he needed help with getting home and needed i-tune cards to get in touch with friends and family. I sent the i-tune cards big mistake, Then he suggested he send a wire check for me to deposit into my bank and buy bitcoin with it and that would help him get home. At that point I didn't feel comfortable doing this which he was not happy about. He also asked for login information to my bank if I was to deposit the check into my bank. I lost money for the i-tune cards but never deposited a check from him. I learned my lesson from this with dating men online and to be more cautious going forward. Hope this helps someone else.

Anybody been contacted by a Richard Williams dark haired really handsome says he’s early 40s military doctor

Here’s a new one. The person finds out there you are in need of money but for “ security reasons” they need to see your ID. Don’t do it. And block them, I have done this twice this week.

Talking to a guy on Tinder named Anthony Walker. Widowed. They always have a sob story. Engineer out at sea. Calling me dear. Poor English. I love dragging these guys and then reporting them.

Has any one come in contact with Thomas J. Mills. He is suppose to be a surgeon in Syria. He is the best con man ever. Please send pictures or information. I found a picture as a scammer. I cannot locate it now.

My girlfriend has not asked for money yet but now that we have fallen for eachother she says she cannot video text or send photos or can I call her, I can only text because her internet is off and she can only use data. I looked at an old web site that shows a picture of another girl and her standing together her name is different and the other girls name is the name she uses for me she said there sisters. But it does not make sense. Her so called sisters name I ziehj tenedero catalon and her name is jeihz Kate catdel. Today my girlfriend uses the ziehj tenedero catalon as her name to me since 5 mo

I have been scammed by someone called Donald Greg he sent friends request on Facebook and got me to download Hangouts told me he was working on a contract on an oil platform and was locked out of his bank to cut a long story short he has had £6000 off me and and stopped all communication I accused him a few times of being a scammer which he denied and said people were using his pictures we talked on vidio talk he said it was to prove he was who he said he was. He gave me his log in to his bank but I am not sure it now it was his he wanted me to transfer 10,000 Dollars to my account. Be careful ladies he is very convincing he will tell you what he thinks you want to hear and when he got your money he will be gone.

Did he send you a picture of his supposedly bank account? The one I’m talking to is from Norway but lives in Florida

Has anyone dealt with a Fredrick Hayes who claims to be a freelance Senior project manager that works drawing up blue prints for major international construction companies? Apparently, he has s as graduate degree in architecture. He’s been a widower for 3 years, and his wife died of ovarian cancer . He has a 21 year old daughter in British Colombia, that is in her 2nd year of medical school. She is living with his elderly mom. He is currently in Cyprus, working on a major contract that will allow him to retire. He is in “love “ with me and wants to look after me, and buy me a house. Of course, this fredrick, first needs $190,000 to pay customs duties, to complete his contract obligations, and guess what? His bank account was frozen, so needs my money. He apparently originally comes from Croatia, and has a heavy accent, and broken English. Does this dude sound familiar to any of your scammers?

very similar story from a guy that tried to scam me LEAVE HIM ALONE, MOVE ON

I had one on Facebook said his name was Chen a rig engineer said he was widowed and had 1 boy lived in Oklahoma he sent a picture which I was dubious about, called him out and he said it was him so I downloaded a reverse picture app where you can put a photo in and it will tell you who he is , he did not send another till a few days later so scanned that one and it come up with a Dr from Brazil .I photo shot that and sent it too him to show him I knew he was a scammer , he called me did not even sound American never mind someone born and bred in Oklahoma , be careful people .

My wife started chatting with a guy named Conner who claims to be an orthopedic surgeon from Serbia, who lives in Texas, and has a business in New York. After a couple weeks, he started pressuring her to invest thousands in some project. He has sent lots of pictures, video chatted, and even provided references and family history. He has a 15 year old son named Darren. When my wife suggested he might be a scammer to him, he immediately wanted to end things, saying she could never trust and making her feel as if she were in the wrong. She relented, and sent him money. This continued for several months before finally leaving with over $12000.00
of my wifes savings. We later found out, that her banking information had also been posted on the dark net for anyone to find.

It sounds like a man who was romancing me for months. He called himself Conner Stone, and said he was out of the country working on a new diagnostic device. He needed money to get the project finished, and then said the device malfunctioned after I gave him $6k. He then said he was coming home and wanted to be with me, but he needed me to buy his ticket.
Don't fall for this ladies! It's a scam!

Beware of the scammer Andrew ralfh newson, he on Facebook dating now as an invester but when I talked to him he supposedly worked for equinor. He comes across as nice, caring guy but all a fake. I wasted 8 months talking to him, never met, spoke nearly every night on the phone, text constantly, video chat, loads of photos and live locations Fake. Police involved because he was supposedly kidnapped and held to ransom although he says none of that was true. Still trying to text me telling me he loves me, sent a couple of songs to make me feel guilty. Be warned 58, widower 1 daughter lisa(mellisa).

I think I may have been contacted by this same person via LinkedIn - he is using the name Raymond Anderson - I have exchanged a few emails with him but have not given him any personal information - he told me he lost his wife 4 years ago and has a daughter Melissa who lives in Germany.

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