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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

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Hmmm sounds very familiar also..artifacts that range a bell.. would love to see a picture of this guy sounds just like me he one I’ve friended

Well do yourself a favour and delete him I’ve been talking to him for 3 months before he asked for money he’s very convincing.
He said his card had been cloned at the atm and they had wiped him out.

i was online with this woman for more than a year i never would belive it was a scam but i keep say ing its a scam and she would get upset and denying it it supose to be some gold bars involved only find out in end that it was a perfect scam im shame to tell anyone i only want to post her picture so she dont scam anyone else

I have quite a bit of information on my scammer my heart is sad for all you ladies. I showed my sister after a few weeks I don't even know how to start out reporting this because it's a sick cycle of how many names they use as and change. My scammer said everything all of yours did being engineer faith in God will come find me I found this web page today do God gave me a sign to find this. I used my brains right for once

Do you have a picture ? This guy told me he’s a military engineer deployed to West Africa

Im curious about the pictures. I have been talking with someone that was in Tx but then got deployed to Mali, Africa. First it was an explosion he was hurt bad then all of sudden food was poisoned and it was gone take take time for the military to get them food. He needed money for food. He quickly said he fell i love and wants to marry me. I know this is insane

Talking with someone named Daniel Austin Tx. Deployed to Africa in April phone stolen then could not eat the foods made him sick then tried needs $ so we can chat army wont supply wi fi anymore. Yet he calls me once a week at least on a secure line. Doesn't ask for stuff but hints at it. Idk. What to see pics of these men. This go is so sweet Intelligent charming ... too good to be true

Can you tell me her name it

what was her name by chance how much gold bars was she talking about and how did she get it

Hi I am talking and fell for a woman in Accra Ghana her name is ethal ankomah I feel a like a fool started talking and quickly saying that she had fallen in love with me and that she didn’t think she would find love again after being hit by her ex she told me she was a trainee nurse I’m from the uk and she told me she had lived her for ten years before going back to Ghana To finish her nursing at school then she asked for money for her exam witch I sent then a little later it was for food then her rent now over the last three months she wanted to come live with me but needed money for a medical and and plane ticket witch I stupidly sent and I did not hear anything for hours she told me her bags where stolen by a taxi driver while she got out of the taxi to buy snacks for the flight I stupidly believed her then the next time she was apparently stopped on a layover flight for carrying gold with no paperwork so they held her in cells when I told her I did not have the £500 her lawyer need to release the paperwork I could not understand why so I asked her a load of questions about it she got angry about it and she blocked me for a day then she came back saying she still loves me and that they had sent her back home and her mom had been taking to hospital and she needed money for medicine and that the hospital would not give her it until she had paid them even got some to call me claiming to be a doctor I have still be a fool and sent her money and now this week I sent her half my wage for the month £850 for her flight to me again and after hours again was told she need £1000 in travel money before leaving the country I her picture are her I got her on a video chat for all of a minute I feel such a fool I opened my heart to her and have been mentally manipulated By her promise of love where did you put her photo up because I have quite a few of mine I still do t well I do t what to believe it’s a scam but in my heart I think I have always known something was not right about it all thanks for listening

Could I see her pic. Please

I was she from Texas because I have been scam from her asking for money and asked me to open a new bank account and keep telling me she needs money for food for her 11 years old daughter

I have pictures
Need to find out how to send

Adoptive kids rang a bell with me also.
He went by Mark Howard

Beware of Heinrich Powell Woodson very handsome very educated and a sweet talker. Has a Daugther and uses his Mom. He ask for a I tune card then 3500$ for the IRS he didn’t get a cent from me. Blocked him on Instagram and hangouts. He also gave me a fake passbook!

Sounds similar to the Swedish engineer who is working in Turkey. He sends pictures of his mother and daughters. Do you have pictures?

The guy I blocked from dating site claimed his name was Glen from CA, an independent dealer with kids in Amsterdam with his mom. Went to do business in London and lost atm card. Asked me for 15k to pay expenses and get home. I said no, he said he had gold I could cash in if I spoke to his attorney. Googled name and other info he gave me...SCAMMER! Glad I saw episodes of Dr. Phil.

I have been talking with an engineer working in Turkey as well. Is he bald with a dark beard? Suit and tie holding a cell phone?

Do you have any pictures of the engineer? Does he have a daughter?

Yes I think I’m being scammed by someone who is an engineer with a daughter 13

Sounds familiar. Engineer from London stuck in Turkey has a 15 year old daughter. Apparently Turkish hotels doesn’t take debit then he doesn’t have enough money to get his equipment out due to taxes. Yada yada yada.

Sounds like Brandon Muller.
Sly guy whom I sent over $4K to. I can't believe I fell for his lies.
Same story engineer finishing up job in London goes to Turkey can't get his heavy equipment out of customs. Credit cards don't work, gets mugged, sends pictures, is hospitalized in Turkey for 3 months.....
I'm such a fool! But never again!

I have one with the same story, stuck in Northern Cyprus
Thomas J James

Similar in Nicosia, Cyprus. Any other details or pics. I have lots

Ah Nicosia, does he use the Name Hendrick???

Do you have a name? My friend has a Nicosia, Cypress scammer as well.

Same story, sinqapurian men stock in Turkey, no money for duties for machines to finish off shore contract

Is he a FBI agent

What was his name? I think I’m being trying to be scammed by the same man,an engineer with a 13 year old daughter

This one sounds very familiar to me said his name is mark Brandon what is name you have

is mark brandon a scam?

My mother has the same story like yours... He said he is an engineer from uk. Has 1 kid 11yrs old boy..hes name is harry graham

He’s not bald.

Oh he is till out there Peter Edison is the new name

I was scammed by a JASON GREGOR JOSE COUNTIHO SIGURDSSON. I was scammed for $8K. Found him on the dating site Zoosk in Los Angeles. He claimed to own a company called JJS Constructs. He was supposedly working off the Endicott Islands repairing pipes as a contractor for China Oil. He had me access his bank which is located in London called Standard Chartered Bank which had his name on the account and about $3M in it to transfer $1.2M to this Chinese company. His London Bank required a PIN number which was sent to his personal email in which I had 60 seconds to retrieve in order to input that PIN number on the wire page. Well I did it and the wire went through. Then he asked me to do another wire but I made an error, I understood his request as sending the wire right after the first one and I did. However Standard Charter Bank blocked his account (supposedly). I actually felt so bad that I screwed up. And he could not wire the remaining balance he owed the company because he’d have to leave where he was (supposedly, fly to Anchorage then fly to London. So of course I feeling guilty wired $7K and a friend of mine wired $1K and he supposedly got the rest from his Father and best friend name Greg. He was supposedly flying back to Los Angeles . I got a text at 2:57am that he arrived and I never heard from him. He was suppose to reimburse me the money and never did. I have pictures although I don’t know if they were really him.

I had a similar incident ; OSHA engineer on endicutt island in Alaska; had me pay for some pipes using his bank account to show me how much $$$ he has . Lol . Then it was time to pay for shipping and same thing happened ; somehow his bank account at Berkeley Bank was frozen; I didn’t sent any money and he got upset but whatever ; everything is fake with these scammers ; banks account ; certificates, email addresses, phone numbers etc. I just wish I could contact the actual man behind the photo ; I did reverse image search but this is a stolen photo with fake names .

It is happening to me right now, a guy who has been called Eric Keeler, contacts you, asks you to speak more intimately, when he manages to make contact he describes himself as a widower, sends photos of him, foolishly sends several photos of me and with some relatives, the He says he has fallen in love with me, and that he wants to give me some gifts that he wants to send me by parcel service, he says being an engineer who works on oil platforms, and that only uses cash, I gave him my data to send me the package, 5 days later They send me an email informing me that they retained the package at a customs office, and I have to pay the taxes so that I receive the gifts that I send, when I tell them that they ask me that he tells me that within the package I send he carries a cash, and that if they discover that package I will be accused of money laundering, and he will disappear and deny everything, and that they only have my data to locate me, but he does not stop pressuring me to pay that money, and The parcel also presses to pay taxes. It was really scary to see me is the situation of being accused of money laundering.

An Asian girl worked as Head chep on a cruise ship sent me a friend request through fb...her name is Linh Jade Minh....watch out everyone they are very clever and smart .....I think they have a tac team....At least 1-3 people. One of the girls know how to flirt extremely well with romantic words and i had feeling for her....i was very lonely at the time ....she talked romance to me in length for days and asked me to private message her through her number.Finally she said that she lost her wallet with credit card on the ship and could not find it....she was so desperate and not able to get to the airport from the ship. At first i offered help to test them out...They were so clever not accept in the first place to again your trust even more. She needed 500 money gram to hire speed boat to take her to the airport.

Omg same thing happened to me recently.. An engineer working on oil drilling in Uk. Sent me gifts but was hold in another country's customs. I actually knew he was a scam from the start but i was riding along.. Never paid for the supposed duties and taxes but he is now threatening me cause he doesnt want to lose his money and certificates he sneaked in the package. I told him i dont care and blocked all contacts.

so what happened after that? did you make a payment to custom?? did police come to your house after accused of money laundering?

It is also happening to me right now. His name is Chris Cooper, architect, from Columbus Ohio.

Hi, I have very similar story to yours.
Can I have his picture?

Do you have a picture of this man you could share?

Even I was scam by the same condition,his name was William,I met him in Asian Dating Site,he told me that he is from south Korea,he work in Italy as petroleum engineer.

Sounds familiar goes by the name Jon Alba

I have similar stories, only his name is William Lauridsen nah he is Irish

A guy who says was born in Sweden but lives in Toronto, architect, widower, sun studies in England, works currently on a Hotel in Cyprus (North Cyprus, belongs to Turkey), age 55 (Feb 18 apparently was his birthday).. Goes by William, on OK Cupid - his profile disappeared when I started talking to him. I just found one of the photos he sent to me as Rowland_incredible on Instagram, maybe somebody would like to take a look to see if recognizes him..Hasn't asked me for money yet..there are red flags everywhere, I am just curious to see where this goes...I am sick of these scammers, met one few years back who suddenly left for Turkey on a business trip and was "robbed" and didn't know what to do, was desperate. I told him I hope he resolves his issue soon and to call me when he comes back, which of course never happened. I travel for business, and the story they make up that they are suddenly "in trouble" are just unreal in the professional world, please don't fall for this. If he is a successful businessmen, he would never be in these kind of situations, or if it happens, it is very easy to get out of it with one phone call, even internationally, doesn't need to ask a person who he never met for help.

I'm getting a sense of deja vu. I was contacted on Instagram by a pilot from Houston called David Cromack. He used to be in the airforce but was now training young pilots in Turkey. He said his Father was American and Mother was Turkish. Both parents and his sister had died and his ex wife died from brain cancer. I asked him what type of tumour she had and he didn't know even though his daughter was very young then. It was his daughter who asked me for an Amazon steam card. I asked her if she was on drugs and blocked her dad

Is his name William Reaves? He is emailing my mother and she is falling for all of his fancy words and ploys hook, line, and sinker.

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