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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

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?

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.

My dear friend has recently been communicating with a William Reaves. He is originally from the Netherlands, but has relocated to the states. Lost his wife to cancer/kidney failure. Has a daughter in Australia, I believe. He claims to be a world renowned interior designer.

I’ve been contacted by a William Reaves. He hasn’t asked for anything but my phone number which I haven’t given him! So glad my friend saw this! I had a weird feeling!!

Can you tell me a bit about him?

I have been taking to a guy claiming to be a Swedish engineer working in Turkey. He lost his wife and son. He loves me and will buy me a big house but needs money to now cause he can’t access his account while he is in Turkey!
I didn’t send any!

I am glad you didn't! I didn't even let him ask for money, I told him that he needs to figure it out himself how to solve his problem, but that is probably the same guy. I wish people would search more online who they are talking to, just type in the story.. I have reported recently another catfish on POF, once you get tricked by one, it is easy to spot them the minute they start talking, same MO, slightly different stories. They are either not in the city right now but coming in 2 weeks, or they have to leave suddenly for work..But this is huge business, and they are not stupid, I wish we women weren't so thirsty for a romance in our busy life..

I was tricked too. Same person and asked me for money. I literally was sucked in and almost sent the money. My financial advisor said no way, sounds like a scam, dont fall for it. I have made sure to disconnect with this scammer...Philip with an accent in Turkey.

He sounds like the guy I have been talking to. Equipment problems. Credit cards not usable I Turkey. Needs money to pay his labor workers. Car crash. Family medical emergency....

Sounds like the one I’ve been talking to.
Does he have a daughter? Dark hair , handsome, Romanian.

I met a handsome Romanian man on badoo. Had his daughter after 4 years together. He had borrowed money for his business totalling $23350. When our daughter was one month old I found out he has dated other people the entire time possibly for money. I got mine back but I think only because his main partner was done for fraud and still on parole. I found out, called them both cons, got my money back and have to take him to court for child support. Met him on badoo 2015 based in Perth, western Australia. I have found him on brazilcupid as well as other dating sites and have had him removed where I could

Kaytee, is his name David Ardelean or David Lungu? From Romania. Around 40 years old? In the Romanian Army fighting over in Syria ?

I think we r talking about the same gay I was talking with,architect ,widowed has a black haired daughter.

Is his name David ? Had a 40 year old Romanian soldier named David friend request me around the end of July this year. Very good looking guy. Dark hair. Very buff. Works out alot. Says he lost his dad at 20 and his mother when he was 30. He's over in Syria fighting and is trying to get me to help him come to the United states. Stated how much he cares about me and loves me already after just a few months of emails with him.

I too have been scammed by a man who calls himself Pedro Johnson. His instsgram name is pathubert44 . He is a good looking man, white, age 42 . He has a very distinct accent. Uses trux me, instead of trust me, glax... Says he is part German from Hamburg , and part Mexican. Moved to USA when was 12. His mother is Mexican. He is a Civil Engineer. Took a contract in Turkey to build s shopping Centre. The request came first for itunes and Amazon Cards. Next was needing $40k because his building materials were being held by customs delaying his work. He love bombs like crazy and is relentless in his claim about marriage, and a future together and loving only me are endless. Next he couldnt pay hotel bill, had no food to eat,! i sent $3k US. Afew week later needs more Amazon cards I sent him those. Next he had a medical emergency where he was admitted into hosp in Turkey, needs more money!! He sends me photos of himself all the time and they seem legit.! He works out, has a very good body that he likes to show off. I have fallen for him, we have been talking on hangouts for months. I have asjed him to video chat...claims to be too shy. Says I am his only woman but I have my doubts. Has anyone else been scammed or contacted by him?!

He is widowed , lost wife to Breast Cancer, has a son 13 yesrs old, He claims to be from Columbus, Ohio... But knows very little if nothing about USA.
Help please? Anyone know this man?

Please don't send this guy any money. One of my best friends who passed away was involved with a man that sounds almost identical to your situation and she fell for him. He always made excuses up not to video chat. You already know I think that you are being scammed because you are on here, I know it hurts so bad and you just want to believe that he is real. But he's not all of these messages all sound alike. Find a man in the USA, I promise you that this guy isn't real. Good luck

Does anyone have a picture of him saying he is a orthopedic surgeon, has five year old son lives with Nanny in Africa. Claims to be in trouble in London and is being held at the embassy I have a picture and his name isn't the same that I just read but I know they change their names his mother and father and siblings were killed in a car accident his wife died giving childbirth to their second child, he has blond hair blue eyes a very handsome I need to know is this man is someone knows him I have pictures but I would like to see pictures that you have to check see if it's the same person please contact me

Hi my Swedish love interest working in Turkey as a Civil engineer. Swedish accent. Moved very quickly. Asked for money within the second week. Did not send it. The things he said just didn’t make sense to me. He goes by the name Jake Mitchell from South Dakota.

I from past couple of weeks I hve been talking to a guy from Baytown Houston Texas,he found me in Instagram,he told me his a drilling engineer,his wife died of brain cancer n hve a 14yr son,last week he told me that he needed help ,he told me to send 700 hundred dollars iTunes card which I did but today he wants 5000 dollars for his new contract which his wrking in Venezuela,I ask him to talk to me in video call but he made a story,I asked him abt his home address but he give me wrg address so ths all made me thk abt smethg fishy

I from past couple of weeks I hve been talking to a guy from Baytown Houston Texas,he found me in Instagram,he told me his a drilling engineer,his wife died of brain cancer n hve a 14yr son,last week he told me that he needed help ,he told me to send 700 hundred dollars iTunes card which I did but today he wants 5000 dollars for his new contract which his wrking in Venezuela,I ask him to talk to me in video call but he made a story,I asked him abt his home address but he give me wrg address so ths all made me thk abt smethg fishy

I had a bit of a run in with heinrich powell woodson. And yes he is not a very nice person at all. He started off being very nice, talking about he's daughter and mother. And saying what he's ex wife did. And tells you how he finds it hard to trust women now.. And he thinks that maybe you could be the right woman for him. He would like to get to know you more and see we're it may go from there. He will give you an email address for he's mother so that you can talk to each other. Which he did. But you don't know if its he's mother or not or he is the one that your really emailing and getting emails back from her / him. And after a few months of talking. He started asking for help cos he was working away and he could not get into he's bank account, cos it had been hack into. So could you maybe get him an iTunes card, just to help him out. And when you say that you can't do that cos you don't really know him, cos you have only talked by emails Instagram, Facebook or hangouts you can't do that, that is when he turns nasty. So in the end I had to stop talking to him block him on all the sites. But a few days ago he was back on Facebook and I just had to block him again. So lady's please if you every come across this man. Please don't get involved with him just block him right away. Thank you and please keep safe...

I am an educated man but fell for the scammer bought itune cards belived the lies because i was looking for a date which never happened tried video call but her phone was working properly feel like a fool girls it can happen to men too this started on Instagram and moved to hangouts what a fool i have been.

I just fell for the same thing; not as a love interest, but a good friend trying to support a deployed soldier in Syria. I believed the communication to be all about moral support and then it came; a request for ITunes. When I confronted the person he went from really sweet to angry and hostile. How could I have been so duped. There were signs, I should have know. A very bland facebook page with little to no activity, only a few photos of what appeared to be a soldier in Syria. The story; deceased parents, A little daughter in boarding school, waiting for his retirement papers (there over one year). Graduate of WestPoint but not a lieutenant. Didn't understand the question "enlist date?). Guess I just wanted to believe this person needed a friend. Private email also suspicious. Not sure who's picture is really used on facebook, poor guy is being used as a fake soldier. , Syd

Do you have a picture

is this his Email address believelife2019

Hi I’ve met a woman on instagram started off just talking the usually stuff. Then she wanted to move to WhatsApp we’ve been getting on well but she has told me she is widow and struggling and has ask me to send her money and gift cards She says she wants to met and has fallen in love but when ever I ask for her address or other details she avoids the answer
I’m hoping this is not a scam as we seem to get on but how can you tell

It’s a scam. Usually they take you off the site to a private chat where they try to gain as much info about yourself to see how much money they can gain from you and possibly use your details to scam others. They usually tell you the most devistating lies so you feel sorry for them and make up fake documents and stuff to support their fake stories. My scammer kept saying he would commit suiside if I didn’t help him. I highly suggest you report it.

It’s a scammer. Sorry man I ask myself what is this world coming to.

please run dont look back

Jpatalano, sorry this happened to you it’s happened to me as well. There are good women and men out there. We just have not found them yet

Hi Jpatalano; I am currently talking to a woman now who claims she is a nurse at hospital and was told she and 5 others are being transferred to go to Vietnam to help out a hospital to take care of children with heart troubles. I know in my gut she is not telling the truth because you don't get transferred to another country to help out unless your in the military. I was wondering if you have a picture of her by any chance? The one I am with is tall, slim, blonde hair, blue eyes wear red frame glasses that covers her eyes. I also believe she is married and her husband may be a part of it. Some the pictures I have had to be from someone else taking the pictures. If it sounds familiar please let me know. As of right now I have not given any money. She is suppose to go to vietnam and I suspect that is where the trouble will begin. Another thing she claims she is from Texas, but, wears New York t-shirts and ball cap. Another red flag.

Hello , this is very similar to my friend situation now he's met a nurse sending phone and money for bills / taxi / visa ect... she claims to be from Texas in ghana and her passport ran out and she's been in a car crash and needed money... he's never spoken to her only pic with hospital bed which I think looks strange and another hiding up a piece of paper saying happy birthday...??? do you have any pics it's sound very similar this ... worried for my friend need to do some digging on this thank you

Thats messed up!

I just escaped from a Con artist.

She said that she owns a Ranch in Mississauga and her father had secretly bequeathed her with two chests of Gold Bars. She wanted me to come to Quebec to transport the Gold Bars.

She couldn't understand, why I don't want to be part of this treasure. She also forwarded me a photograph. Initially, I thought she is truly looking for love until she started talking about Gold Bars.

Please don't fall for these

My guy asked for money. I accused him of being scammer. He got mad. I asked for a picture of his
Us drivers licence. Of xouese he refused. Blocked and reported. Ask for selfie of him holding his us id or open passport id. Send money to embassy for them if they show proper id.

What is wrong with us to believe these guys? I for one was rolling my eyes at the stuff coming out of his mouth after only days of messaging! Oh and what is it with the iTunes cards? This guy even sent me his Military ID! Looks legit but I’m having it checked and know it’s just photoshopped because the guy is way too young for so many medals!

I have been scammed since October of 2018 his name is Davis his email is DaviskMontalvo @gmail. com; he worked with a courier company I have the site and the name of the delivery manager, Samuel Chris, plus even a red cross agent they ripped me off over 53 thousand dollars. Then I met another guy Alex Cole his email is Alexandercole7777 @gmail. com; who said he would help me how stupid am I ???? I feel so stupid and helpless I helped him because he told me he would help me with sending me money I lost!! such a fool I am. I am scared to report them but I have sent a yelp notification not to use one of the courier companies Alex used MNGCourier.com in Turkey. I lost almost 100k.
but they still sent me emails and Davis even asked for a 100$ i tunes card I told him to go to hell. I tried to stay friends with him but when I questioned him if he was a soldier that is trying to rip me off he said dont listen to them its not true and he loved me and I never heard from him again.
Omg!! now I am trying to get a second on my house to payoff all my loans. its been a terrible year! I wish I could meet with one of you ladies so I can cry and tell you how sorry I am for all of us!! I am a good person and just want to help people. Now i can never trust anyone omg!!! feeling devastated!!!, humiliated!!!

I think i get the same thing like u, i'm just a student and got being scam for this girl she said she working on the ship as a chef and then she lost all her money from someone stealing it, then she asking money to help her, but in the end the money keep going and going up, and she said she will pay me back, but after this every thing still continue until now, i'm so stress right now idk what to do or talk with someone else, if you still on this blog or this website, if you can message me your phone or your email then i can share or help you something...

I am sorry to hear that this all happened to you. I have been searching on the Internet myself and have run into many scammers professing love after a short time of correspondence. I’ve learned that to never send money to someone you have never met before in person. I have been on Internet dating websites for months and have never met someone who was actually real. You seem like a very nice and wonderful person. I hope you find what you’re looking for here on the Internet.

I also just happened to me this guy pretending to have a daughter sending me pics of him and his daughter so annoying. Just yesterday pretended to have send me this and money which I declined as I was quick to realise that it was a scam. Oh thank God

I think we all should post the photos of the poor victims they are claiming to be. Wish there was a way the victim could know there photos are being hacked!

i was just being scammed :(
now Im trying to find this guy with the photos that the scammer gave me.. How can I do that? Now I really want to get to know this guy that the scammer send me..

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