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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.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

Hi there I think I have the same guy as you scamming me and from the same sort of time he says he has a 10yr old in a boarding school in turkey and his wife died in a car accident he works on the oil rigs? He calls himself Jason and has a picture of him and his daughter on Facebook I’m going to save this link as this is scary how similar this story is I hope you see this WILD STANG

I have that same one. Calls himself Wilson. Fake kids. Even one of the "kids" has a fake profile on Facebook. Google imaged his pictures and 'kids' pictures and they turned up in many places under different names. There's pressure to send an intimate photo and it comes right before some manufactured emergency requiring money.

Hi please contact me if you can. My grandmother is in this same situation. With a guy named Michael. On a oil rig. With an 11year old daughter in boarding school. She has sent him thousands. Please respond. We can not convince her to stop helping him. We have a pic of him and his daughter as well. He is ripping her off.

I am having the same problem with this guy name Jeff Scott says he had a daughter that got killed while doing a job in Africa he sued the company that struck her he was back in the US and needed money to send to Africa to release his funds then ask for money for iTunes to activate the account in the US...

I was taking to a guy named Jeff Scott he said he had one daughter n 2 were adpoted his wife was cheating on him n he was in Africa .. the picture his using r very handsome and very build with blue eyes

Hi Bella, how old is his daughter and his 2 adopted daughters. Do you have pictures of him and his daughter. What part of Africa is he at? Can you describe he more on what he looks like in other pictures if you have some more.
Thanks

Wow I too know someone who recently went to Turkey on business, has a daughter in private school and is in the construction business. He is now stuck in Turkey and needs money. Of I’m not sending him any. Can’t find him listed any where he says he is from.

Is his name Peter Kaua Sullivan?

Is his name Ardan Bartley, daughter is Lisa? He told me he is originally from France and is living in Dublin Ireland, he imports lg appliances, he’s in turkey to declare the goods, and tells me today his credit card is not working and he needs $1500 or they will return $500, 000 of goods for his buyers. Wow! And a week ago he gave me BS story they were out of iTunes cards at the mall, and he needs $200 for his daughter to buy movies...I bought $100 after relentless arguing - this is too common???? I’m not desperate, and I can pick up any man here where I live...these scammers are really good salesmen- UNBELIEVABLE!!!! Self worth game ladies, we need to step UP! No man that is honestly interested in you, would EVER ask for money from you NO MATTER THE SITUATION!!!!!!

Sounds like a man using the name of Dante Coolman. Works as Petroleum Engineer using a legitimate business mans photos. Tall, piercing blue eyes. Said he was born in Spain to an American Father and Spanish mother. Has a daughter in Boarding school and wife dies of cancer. He never got a dime out of me.

Hi

I think this is the guy I was talking to. Wesley Hallberg. Salt and pepper hair. Piercing blue eyes. Do you want to exchange pictures?

I also encountered Wesley Sean Hallberg in 2016. Istanbul scam. Same guy. His photo still pops up on POF and I chase him down every time and report the profile.

I spoke with the same guy I think. Do you jave pictures of him. Did he contact you on a dating site.

Hello, is he going by the name dean wood?

Hi I have a potential scammer that just went to Turkey too, same date, the construction business is his too. Apparently he is from Germany and has a son. this guy has asked for my address to send me gifts. Still trying to work out if he's a scammer and the angle. Wouldnt mind more info to compare

Hi- we have the same story but this time it's a daughter.
Went to Turkey, business trip and need Itune cards.
Do your photos have him holding a beer can and a photo of the great wall of China? This guy was German, too. Mark Adams (Armin)

I’m communicating with a “Steve Adams “ says from Boston and had to go to Turkey for 3-4 weeks $7 million dollar job. Hasn’t asked for anything yet but trying to figure his angle. Sweet talker, I’m the love of his life, he’s a widower no children..his
Company isn’t located in Boston where he is supposedly from..there is one in Missouri...any input would be helpful

I was chatting with a man,blonde holding a can of beer went by name Bobbie Serder. He worked on oil rig with 11 yr old daughter in Visalia. Got mean when I refused to send him 1200, his machine broke. Another man Robert Green, needs money for his computer, then his phone broke,needs a ticket home, now acct. Is frozen. Buddy give it up. They need a job. Do not send anything.

Hi.. can you send me some pictures? My mother also has a chatmmate named Austin Randy who is a Civil Engineer in London but has to go to Indonesia to get some money who was left by his dead father. I think he has not asked for anything yet and he also video calls my mother. But I just want to confirm if he is also a scammer. I really hope you can help me. Thank you.

I was chatting with a steven adams on face book then he delete his account told me to go on hangouts he is a sweet talker he also told me he has a daughter in the UK boarding school but he told me he is a doctor but in Afghanistan

Been talking to a guy Rick Billy Stankovic from Boston been in turkey for a few weeks.. engineer.. divorce no kids..
asked for iTunes Cards very small amount 50 bucks
Wanted me to wire money to Missouri.. to top it off wants me to receive 500,000.00 for him and hold it in my home until he comes to Ca for me. Completely in love with me calls me his wife
Says he will be here end of June.. let’s see if he shows up!
No way am I doing anything he wants until I face the guy

Was communicating with a Hale Christenisten said he was from Bronx New York..had a company steel Rod had to go to Turkey.he said I was love of his life and we were going to spend rest of our lives together..Constantly texting me with images of hearts and Roses..
Then when he said he was in Turkey.his American express card would not work and could i pay his Hotel bill€30000 ............
I knew then he was a scammer.I said I don't give money to anyone. That was the end..

Hi my story is very similar I am talking to a Darrien Williams he says he is a contractor on oil rig. Has not asked for money yet. Has anyone els spoke to him?

Hej,
YES, I have it, Gary Wiliamson. He asked me for money. We're talking on the Wats app. I broke up the knowledge and blocked it.
He has a 16-year-old daughter in UK in boarding school. He works on ship at the machines. He is suffering from a mysterious disease. There is no medicine on the ship for his disease. I need money to buy.

I have a person in Houston name is James Oscar Eligar has 2 small kids says hes going to Turkey to wk on an oil rig anyone heard of that guy?

I have contact with the same person I guess. He told me that his name is James. Same story as yours. wanted to send me gifts as well but I refused. tel. no. is 001 6313644583. He said he is reguale living in Dortmund. I tested him and asked for Duisburg but he did not say that it was wrong.

Turkey2,

I have been emailing and talking on the phone with a guy that sounds like the same guy. I have a picture of him and his son. This guy wants my address to put a business in my name. Please let me know if you want to compare notes.

Can we somehow share photos? My friend met a guy via plenty of fish. similar stories. This guy's mom lives in scotland and the mom will email my friend. the guy owns a construction company and is from the USA and is in cyprus turkey on a job but suddenly something is wrong. He needs some paper to get paid. the company won't release money because of him not having the paper. I am trying to help my friend. I cannot find anything on this guy with internet searches.

I met a guy on POF called Samsom Svendsen from Lund, Sweden civil engineer he stays his wife cheating on him with his best friend and died in a catastrophic accident with his daughter 4 years ago too many inconsistents in his information samdsven@ engineer. com

I met this person, if you want to call it that, calls himself, Robert James or James Roberts, from Scotland,via, New Jersey!!!! Which he claims he NEVER WILL return!! His wife and newborn died in childbirth (tragic), then his younger girlfriend cheated with his best friend!!!! Has anyone got nabbed by this idiot??? I do have photos also.

I have been to asking to a guy I met on Our Time. I have fallen in love w him. He has own construction company, is currently in Lamarca, Cyprus. Has no kids, no family, widower. Cannot access bank account sounds familiar can u please send photo
He is also from Germany, and has lived in Rochester NY, Austin , Misquite Texas, Tennessee, LA

I think I am talking to same guy. Has an accent. Salt and pepper hair. Beautiful blue eyes. Says he is in Nicosia Cyprus. His name is Wesley Sean Hallberg.

Think I have been talking to same guy. Want to exchange pictures?

How can I send you a picture to see if you are talking to the same person as my friend?

I met an intelligent man on Instagram who was polite and very soft spoken with an accent. He said his name was Shawn Hallberg from Auburn, AL, and was a widower with no children or family. He fell in love with me instantly and sent love songs and messages often. He said he owned his own construction company. He went to Texas for a week to vie for a bid on a huge job in Cyprus which he said he did get, but he needed a $500 iTunes card and a $500 Vanilla card to travel because his banking accounts were being scrutinized by the company who awarded him the bid. Of course, I turned him down saying that I had never met him and didn’t even know if he was who he proclaimed to be. After he got to Cypress he sent a couple of photos that looked legitimate, however, it didn’t take long before he asked for money because the Cyprus authorities said he had to pay taxes on the property that he was constructing and his workers had been arrested. He feared for his safety and had changed motels. What a scammer!! I blocked him, but he still had my phone number. Later he called and asked for just any amount I could give him. What a jerk!

Hi

Same story here from a guy on pof. Want to exchange photos?

My guy goes by the the name of Frank Leon or Piero Leon. Birthday is 3/23/65. He is also in Nicosia Cyprus stranded (for 3 months). Has a daughter, Lisa, 16, who lives in Sweden with his mom. His wife died. Has asked for iTunes. says translator told him how to do it. Yesterday had a banker send me a check to deposit in my account to send to him. Fortunately, I recognized it and had my bank hold the check.

I just can't figure out why he is still professing his love even after I told him I knew the check was fake.

IMY friend has been talking to a Shawn Leon, who just changed his name to Frank Leon, he said he is in Turkey also, do you have a picture?

I just stopped talking to a man who was suppose to be in Cyprus Turkey working on a construction job. I met him on eharmony. His name was Wilson Scott. He also goes by Eric Johnson. Someone else mentioned that she talked to a Scott Wilson. Same sad story. He talked about someone named Dennis Abbott a lot as well. Please report to anyscam.com, the FBI and the FTC. We have to do what we can to stop these people.

Do you have a picture

I am so sick to my stomach...i am talking to guy that claims he works on the in water oil rig platforms. I know he is most likely to be fake...but when he calls we have great conversations... yes he keeps asking me for Itune cards which I don't understand...i told him I was on to him and he reassures his love for me...i even have told him if we can't be lovers let's just be friends..because he does make me laugh. He has back stepped on where he lives and even his Name.. he goes by Nicholas Watkins Juaquin. Nicholas Smith..from Michigan. Brazil Atalnta and Florida...

I have been talking to one named Roberto Lorenzo from Dublin, lives in St Louis. But is in Turkey on business, construction is an engineer. Has a daughter in college in Canada. Told me he lives me by day 2, met online dating site. Have video talked, talking via Viber app. Hasn’t asked for any money yet.

Hi I think this guy is messaging me as well, I have a photo of him, if you don’t mind would you post the photo so I can see if it is the same person?

my mother in law same situation with a ship captain and a daughter in boarding school. we have a pictiure also and i’d lime to compare.

I am also talking to a captain of a ship that has a daughter in boarding school and I do have several pictures of him. How can we compare these pictures? Does he have a beard and wears glasses sometimes? Please let me know.

I'm also talking to captain of a ship with a son in boarding school would like to a pic. Of who your talking to

Hi I was talking to captianof ship also went by the na.e Thomas .Did reverse look up he was married and gay even.Got a hold of real guy. The scammers keep using his pictures.

Hi Is this man suppose to be working as engineer in Texas?

Yes I had same thing engineer working in Texas off shore say He can’t use his card to get home just not right his name is Chris Met him on Christian Mngle it’s sad can’t trust Christian Dating sites either I guess I wasn’t suppose to find true love I’m ready just give up on it since can’t find any good men That doesn’t want money or iTunes

I am.talking to a guy named Chris Woods on words with friends who is supposedly on oil rig who was robbed in Malta Spain and a widow with 2 girls who says hes in love with me
Always asks for money

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