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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 have bin on Hangout for about 3- months now and I had met this lady named Sarah Smith & she said how she loves me & how she won'ts to come down to my home & marry me, but here are late she is asking me for money , untill she can sell her property, and her three houses, and yet she lives in an apartment in New York and pays $1,200 a month rent , and and she also told me that she self-employed and she only lives three r's and 11 minutes from my home, and I care about her too, she also send me pictures of herself and she held a piece of paper up with my name across the top and her age underneath my name to prove to me that she is real but she asked me for money all the time and she also starting to tell me who I can see or who I can chat to she also knows that I'm single and never married and I live alone ,.

Has anyone talked to a man called "Antoine Krystallos "? He's a mechanical engineer originally from California now working in Kuala Lumpur. He claims he uses Dell Windows phone. We never got to do video call. He asked me to open bank account for him because he didn't want to open it in Malaysia. We've been talking over a year. He hasn't asked me to wire money or ask for money but I just think there's something weird...

I've talked to this guy! He said he was in Europe on a work trip (this was before COVID) exchanged few photos - exact same story and working for a Dutch company but he is not real! He never insisted to do video calls or anything live. Asked him to send me some photos to proof that he is real and always came up with excuses. Do you still talk to him?

Hi Joey, tried to reply to your comment but for some reason it’s not posting :(
Yes, I know ‘Antoine Krystallos’ exact same story working for a Dutch company in Springfield, MA got a contract in Malaysia, originally from California and very good looking guy. This guy is not real. Are you still in contact with him?

Hi Hannah, yes, we're talking about the same man. I'm still contacting him. Would you like to share how did you find he is not real?

Watch out for Kevin Gric; army green beret; lots of social media accounts; Russian native; lives in Atlanta Georgia Hinesville; widowed; has twin boys; oh and sometimes a daughter that passed away sometimes though he spends time with her, moves fast wants pictures and to chat on hangouts; looking for a life mate: met on a game site *. I did not get scammed’ we had 3 conversations and; I knew- peace out, be safe

Has anyone been contacted by Helena from G

Hannah Banana will ask you to PayPal her money, under the name Hannah Boonana. This is fake, just a warning. She is on tinder and snapchat. Just a warning, stay away, it's a scam to get money.

If anyone asks you to use any cryptocurrency including bitcoin, dogecoin, Ethereum or visit a BitCoin ATM, there is no doubt it is a scam.

Met a General, in Facebook, but now asking for money, because he got shot coming hone, now asking for money 5,000$ he was in Afghanistan,

Been talking to man from POF for few months now. Very romantic says starting new business and ran out of funds and Cant ship product. Been asking for money and now computer and phone for office to complete job. Says stuck on island. Any one hear if Garrett Kaufmann

Anyone talking to a peacekeeper in Kabul using the name Simi Simi Ahirwar (Sam Jones) from Albany NY. He says he graduated from West Point and has two adopted children whose mother died four years ago from a brain tumor.

Just contacted by an alleged doctor "acting as an abdominal surgeon" with private contract for project in Indian Ocean 58 years old, widowed 8 years, wife died of cancer. 12 year old son living with nanny in USA. Handsome, salt and pepper hair, with a large poodle. Told him right off I was old enough to be his mother and I would not be sending him any money or my SS#.

Has anyone had to deal with a guy who is claiming to be a 2nd lieutenant in the military and his name is Johnny Hernandez
Or A guy who is claiming to be VICTOR Howard Adams, E5 staff sergeant , both of them are claiming to be in THE MILITARY and have been telling me that they can't access their OWN MONEY in their bank accounts

Has anybody heard of a sergeant in Oman Dubai by the name Clinton Shock?

Does anyone one know a steven williams on Instagram he goes by callme Steve he says he is in Kuwait in the marines and that his wife and mom were killed in a car accident 6 years ago he says he has 2 little boys that are being taken care by a nanny he asked me to buy a amazon card so that he could hack into the nanny phone to talk to his son.

I have been talking and texting with someone working overseas for over a month. He has not asked for any of my personal information or money. But when I search online for his name, I can’t find him. We also video called. I am perplexed since I can’t seem to be able to prove his identity. What do you think?

Sofie, run away from Marcus Williams he is totally a scammer, he got me good.

Has anyone talked to a Jeffery Selles? Says he works with the UN. He's porta Rician. I have had video calls with him . But something just does not feel right.

Does anyone has been scam by Grayson Schofield from Liverpool, uk with company Grayson Enterprises, inc.,divorce 2 kids.Tall 6' 2" skinny ,bear mustache. Very handsome pics. Has a profile in LinkedIn with his name and pic.Please be aware .He ask for last of money. Has a fake license, company and divorce papers

I have been scammed,the other day,a guy I was involved with,Claimed he owned a company in Atlanta,Georgia it looked legit,after telling him not to text me anymore, Annde Paul conractor was taken down,he had a thick accent sounded African. He wanted me to transfer money from his offshore bank account. He Claimed his offshore bank account wasn't working for him. His name wasn't on the bank account he claimed to own it didn't work. please don't ever open a second bank account or send money or gift cards to anyone online .

The same thing happened to me and he use the name Harry proctor. He had a woman involved in this scam named lois stachelrodt.
There was another party involved he went by the name of George he had a picture of himself and a girl whatever the heck he was and then Harry who comes up the name on Google Kyle w Norman was the one who was scaring me and scamming me they scare me out of $6500. I lost my friendship people didn't understand I was being scammed I went to the police about this in 2019. I was on a game words with Friends and they started messaging me on Hangouts.

Anyone in contact with a Russian guy named Shaun Ivan Avros? He says that has a son named Kelvin, living Dubai, his wife died 4 years ago and he is 6 years old now

He is a scammer!, be careful!!!

Anyone else talking to a David “Dave” Wood? He was born in Spain but lives in the USA (Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma), with other homes in Australia & Spain. Says he’s a gemologist. Met on a dating site. Handsome, early 60’s. Talk and text and did a zoom call once. Pictures and zoom call all matched up. Has a heavy Spanish accent. Professed his love quickly and took down his dating profile after 3 days. No social media accounts and nothing comes up on a reverse image search. He’s divorced. Wife cheated, no children. Never met in person. He had to leave town before we met and go to Denmark for work. Has asked for money several times to help with his work project because bank account is on hold due to hackers. Emailed me the notice from his bank that is account is on hold. Tried to verify the bank but didn’t get very far. Presently in Australia to take care of his bank account. Now says he has Covid which he honestly sounded very sick. Didn’t hear from him for over a week. Located him in a public hospital in Australia but was discharged. Communication has been spotty throughout the whole time until recently when he said he needs money to pay for a doctor & medical care. Either he has the worst luck or this is a very elaborate scam.

Anyone heard of Raymond Anderson
He reached out via LinkedIn
Says he lives in Philadelphia

Anyone in contact with a Russian guy named Shaun Ivan Avros? He says that he has a son named Kelvin, living Dubai, his wife died 3 years ago and his son is 6 years old now

I've recently dealt with someone similar. He was on a US gov contract, on a ship drilling for oil in the sea. He claimed his son and wife were killed in a car accident. Always asked if I've eaten. He wanted access to my Netflix account and I said no. He asked what would I say if he asked me to marry him within a few weeks of talking and then he asked me again about a month later. Both times no. He said he would buy me my dream car and kept asking for a picture of it. Said we were meant to be together, blah, blah, blah. Religious, supposedly. Two months into the chatting he starts asking me for money. He has twin granddaughters, one with an eye condition. He needed to get money to her so she could get the "lens" she needed before going blind. Then after a week of me not helping him out with that issue, he asks me for an iTunes card for his network. I told him no and that you can't use an iTunes card for networking. I've done some research on the photos he sent me and I called him out. I told him I was done and blocked him. Funny thing, he said he was going to have me arrested for calling him a scammer...lol.

Name of my pursuer was Harry Anthony. Please beware of anyone who might be talking up a story similar to above. Check the photos, image search on Google.

Guy named Aron James said he’d pay me $1500 a week just to talk to him. He made me show I deleted my seeking arrangement account and now is saying he is going to add me to his payroll once I fill out jotform. I haven’t filled out anything. It sounded too suspicious to me. Has anyone else had encounters with this man. And do you also believe it’s a scam?

Be careful about James Roy!!!! Religion men

I met a guy on a game site called
"Words with Friends"
Right away he asked me to go install WhatsApp on my phone to message "better"
He has asked me for $200 Amazon gift cards 2 times now.
The first time it was for his daughter in a boarding school for a new laptop computer...which I did not send
Now...here's the kicker...
Hes telling me I need to send him an Amazon gift card in the amount of...yes...you guessed it...$200. So he can process "something" through his work so he can "have access to his $15 million dollars"
His says name is Steve Mason Jones from Ocala, Florida...but he works as an Engineering supervisor on an oil rig in the Santa Barbara Channel
Does any of this sound familiar to anyone???

Anyone been chatting with a scammer called Renato Rivaltini?

Beware of Jeff Thomas on Scrabble. Talking about Capt. in Army, 11 yrs old son with nanny. Says stationed in Syria, SCAMMER!!

Hi I’m talking to a buff army guy who says he is an attack pilot with US Army. Both parents are dead, his daughter back home has a nanny, broke up with ex who cheated on him before he was deployed. Has an older brother and younger sis who just got married. Started off using proper grammar but lately he has some flaws in speech. Can only communicate on military device using hangouts. Sent me a couple pics of him in army head never civilian clothes I sent him pics of me which can also be seen in my social page. But the thing is, I caught him early.. he is a stickler for trust and love and his quotes he sent me I googled search it and it was taken off some site so I saw that it back to him and of course he had a reason got going that lol. His face good is pizza and back on the base he was eating a hamburger for dinner. He tried to call me . Quickly cut off and tried again after an hour had passed but I never answered.?told him I’m afraid to get my phone hacked as it’s my only device for my kidd to call me on lol. He was like “oh you are safe”. Smh. Reverse pics check and email check showed up nothing . When he realize I’m investigating him he profess he’s legit and if I don’t want to talk with him anymore that’s fine. I’m going to test him some more till he gets tired of me.

pay very close attention to the words and how they use them, its a dead give away when a foreigner tries to talk English because they use proper English rather than slang, like we do and don't use the words like we would,,,,, I am stringing along a scammer now, I think its funny, at least he is leaving someone else alone for now.

Anyone heard of Garrette Kaufmann
Been talking a while, something doesn't feel right

How do I find the real identity of the person who's pictures are used on a scam? Just to let them know that they should protect their pictures because it's been months the same guy is popping up all over the internet from different states and oversees, scamming people.

I was scammed by a man who claimed to be in the army in Afghanistan. He went by James Travis Henry from Dallas, TX. Met him on MatureDating in October of 2020 and quickly started texting and immediately falling in love. I was vulnerable at the time as I was going through a divorce after 30 years of marriage. It went on for over 7 months and scamming me and claiming that he is real. I eventually gave up and turned him to FBI. There was no reply from the FBI on the status and he is still out there possibly scamming other women. I have gone past the financial loss but wish that I can get my message about him out there with a picture.

Lamon Yuthakon is now on the dating app eastmeetseast going by the name Patk. Thai guy age 38. Definitely a scammer!!!! Be careful out there ladies.

Hi! Anyone contacted by a man named Nick Stern? From TX, in the middle east?

I'm scammed by the name of saquidilio chouto saquidilio chouto he pass by my timeline for how many time so I wonder asking for friend request so I add him all I thought that was the relative of my brother in law.so he chat right away thanking for my acceptance in facbuk.his intro was how I cope up with pendemic
I answered that we are ok. Then I'm forced to loved him till I fall on him .expressing all his good feelings to me he is in uniform us army sap .in syria , he told me to pray for his life, I'm so crazy praying asking for his protection till he send me his photo on the battle telling that his one men die and one hit in the neck.so lastly he is sending me money and gold watch inside the luggage.i told him I'm not after for those valuable things I need to see his personal because I was nervouse already feeling that I'm scarred of loosing him ,till he send luggage only five days said that the luggage will arrive. Then somedy call me that the luggage was arrived, but he said I have to pay the custom for 25k I said why I pay , ur paid already by the sender he the custom wants me to pay that amount so that they can deliver .all promises he tell me that he is retiring in two months time.he is angry with me he said I betray him.im idiot he said..why tell him scammer i block him right away . I hope you can do something for that scammer so that no one is victim.thanks.
.

This is a major scammer, cut the chord now, the customs issue is used constantly, these are a well organized group.

I need help my friend has been talking to this woman he's in UK she's in USA they been chatting for a little while now a few months or so but it didn't take her long to start asking for money for various reasons like medical bills and bail money and plane tickets and food for her and her child she has also said she's comming to see him a couple of times them made excuses that she was in hospital he is absolutely besotted by her and he dont think she's scamming him but the rest of his mates and family think she is but they can't say anything to him as it starts an argument she's deleted her Facebook profile and we have searched her name on Google comming up with nothing can anyone help he will go mad if he finds out but he needs to know he's already given hundreds of pounds

Have been in romance scam with a Henry Federick for about three months. He friend requested me on facebook, then messaged me. We started talking,He is the usual sweet talker. Fell for him, sent me pics of flowers, music videos, morning and goodnight messages. Claimed to be on ship at oil rig in India ocean, with no access to money. Started asking ffg or steam cards then google play cards to keep his "internet connection" so we can talk. Sent him a few. Came up with story about having a trunk with 3.7 million dollars in it that he got as compensation from the UN for defending the ship at one point. Wanted to have it sent to my house. Then he would be sent home. Asked for my personal info. Would not give it. Claims is coming home soon, then we can be together. Wants another card. Keep telling him no. I have been onto him for a little while now. Have been researching and did a reverse image search on his picture. Definite scam. It's hard to let go, but know I will have to.

They might introduce themselves as a Civil engineer and being sent to the conflict area to do construction work. When they arrive on the site, they said they don't have cash to do the transaction and they might ask us to transfer some money or to pay their hotel bills

Hi.. Anyone know chun yeung Patrick?
Korean guys but migrate to New York since young.. Work as civil engineering.. Recently go to Turkey to get contract and have to pay in advance before win the project of power plantation.. His mum is sick too.. Have some credit card issue to deal with and need to pay urgently to get the contract.. think that he is a scammer..

I have been talking to this guy and he asked me to use the app hangouts so we can talk he told me he is a petroleum engineer in Dublin Ireland. But he lives in Oklahoma City Oklahoma. And his Name is Thomas Davidson.

Has anyone been speaking to a Steve Allison claiming to be from Houston, Texas. We were chatting for a few months then he had to go to Mexico for work. Usual story, can’t video call etc. It’s almost like 3 or 4 different people are involved as the different levels of English and grammar are different. He needs £10,000 off me, his ‘wife’ for a new machine! The brass neck is incredible on these people.

I have been communicating with a man who claims to be a pilot from Seoul Korea he goes by the name of Wang Wei. He seems to be very handsome from the pictures that he sent me and he’s the most romantic man I’ve ever spoken to. I believe he has scammed out of $700. He asked me to purchase google play cards so could update his phone but he never did. Then he asked me to purchase some iTunes cards so that he could continue to talk to me because he said his internet was running low. Now he’s saying that he wants to marry me and move to the states and share his retirement money with me. He wants me to pay $1000 to finish his retirement paperwork and supposedly send his money into my bank account. I refuse to give him anymore money until I do live chat. But after reading these posts I’m going to stop talking to him all together. Please someone let me know if you have had anyone with this same description trying to take advantage of you.

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