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


Omg I’m talking to one guy nowadays and he calls himself major Sean Dunaway. US army currently in Afghanistan. He’s got 14 years old daughter, who is in boarding school in Dublin Ireland. He Irish with USA citizenship

Oh my!!!
The guy I just started chatting with his by Sargent Sean Dunaway...daughter Florence is 7 in Dublin with "Granny" .
Lost wife and 2 children in car accident.
(Rolly eyes)

I have spoken to Sgt. Sean Dunaway for a few weeks now online and he told me he has a 7 year old daughter going to boarding school in Ireland while his mother-in-law is in a nursing facility taking care of her. He lost his wife and 2 children in a car accident. I believed him. He wanted to send me money and to put into my account or keep at my place.

From Dublin Ireland wants me to open a bank account in USA so I can transfer his money to a gold investment client... wife died.

Does anyone know a Jeffery Martin's Gill from Keller, Virginia he says he needs money for airfare back 3000 he is stranded in Lagos, Nigeria for 13 years

The guy I have been talking too says he is Italian. Can you send me a pic?

I'm talking to this guy and he said that he is Italian he is working in Africa. He wants me to let him have a package sent to me from Italy he said that it was his dad's that it has gold bars in it and also 12 million in cash and he wants me to hold it for him until his job ends next month

I want to send a pic of my guy. From Dublin Ireland Italian handsome 60's. Starting a gold business in the USA

Hi brenda was his name Antonio s

I have a similar story, only this guy is in Kuwait. Can we exchange pictures?

This sounds like a guy i am talking to now on hangouts, he calls himself Curry Grandi, said his parents died in a car crash in poland, he is an only child, he tried to get me to pay for his daughters nanny as he had to stay on the oil rig longer than expected, the story now is that he needs £4000 to fix a crane, says he lives in Detroit, his wife died, he has a 17 year old daughter who has actually emailed me to say how happy i make her daddy, he had a picture on facebook, grey thinning hair, goatee beard, looked polish, in his late fifties, does this sound like your guy?

I'm sure this is the same guy I'm speaking with please I'm speaking with him now and wants money he said his name was Mike please let's exchange pictures

My guy sounds and looks similar to yours. Mine has a 15 year old boy in boarding school in the UK. He is supposedly getting out the end of March

Have been talking to a guy on an oil rig, lost his wife in 2012, was raised in a orphanage after losing parents at a young age, and has a 15 yr. old son in boarding school in UK. Supposed to be retiring soon, and needs money to have his savings parcel sent to me to the tune of 3,800 pounds. Have only been communicating for 3 wks. Goes by Nathan. 61 yrs. old, beautiful blue eyes. Ring any bells??

I think I’m talking to same guy how can we share photos

This man sounds very similar to a man I have been speaking to for almost 3 weeks. Ready to retire, 61 one yrs old with beautiful blue eyes. He is now asking for $3,000 so he can leave the oil rig and come to meet me. Is there anyway I can get his picture to see if it is the same guy?? Thanks

Nathan Anlon?? Italian looking handsome 60's . Wish I could post a pic of him

This Nathan has about 10 different names, his names were George, James, Nathan, Michael etc ,met him on words, ask me to open bank account after talking to him for 9 months,itune cards. I told him he is a scammer and didn't send anything, funny how he fell in love in a week. Please be careful

I really wish someone would share photos with me so I can find out if this guy is the same guy I've been talking to. different story but it sounds like he looks the same and as I said before I'm sure they change their stories all the time so I was just like you check it out I mean how can we go about this? please!

Sounds like one I just blocked works as a surgeon sounds black just got transferred to Nigeria retired feb 28 and needs money to get to Arizona he got me for 1100 in steam cards

Hi i meet someone recently with the same background, same with a daughter actually sending me message how happy she is and convinsing me to say yes to hes message proposal..the description you said on how he looks seems the same person , can you send me hes pic to confirm if hes the one...

Don’t talk to this man please! Sounds like the man who ruined my life. I just recently within the last two weeks quit speaking to him and he is making threats to me. I gave him more than 10, 000 that I didn’t have over a years time. He ruined my life. Exact same story different city.

Never mind I figured it out for myself

Does any one no soner hill sounds so familiar all these story’s I hate been scam but I never sent money just my heart

This one poses as a doctor
Send you is so called banking details pin the lot. You open his bank and photo appear with all his Bank account balance.
He ask you withdraw everything.
10 minutes later bank ask your bank details with a heck of a fee you must pay.
If you don't pay scammer cry.
Lol I gave fake bank details
Mister still begging me

He is still trying to get me to pay

Hey Nunnu, I think someone is trying to scam someone I know. He sent his bank account info and she opened it and said there was almost a million in it and she had to take out the money and transfer it to pay for something for him. And it sounds kind of real to me, but I'm not sure. He said it was bank of Germany or something. What was the fee they asked you to pay?

I have been talking to a doctor is is on an off shore rig by Russia made me a beneficiary of 5.7 million dollars with ussr global bank which I cannot find first this fsa told me I had to pay 1700 to get the activation code first not its 12000 his name is dr Jeff bezoar from Egypt wife died has a daughter we talked about the Bible a lot I told him that it was a scam he told me it was back wages anyway I blocked him and got rid of hangouts and BBM he emailed me I won’t answer

Hi I just started talking to a man who also asked to transfer money from his account to mine and very rich as well

It would be helpful if all of you sent a picture of the guy so we all could verify ours

That guy your describing sounds like mine. Loves me very much and wants us to be together forever. Got all of that after chatting for a week.

Same here

There is a new guy i am chatting up with, and he been loving and telling me he loves me and i am the type of wife he is looking for, so far he never asked for money from me or anything at all, except telling me his bank card cant be use now, and the bank block his card, and couldnt unblock it, and will get alternative ways to sort it as needs to pay a shipment that is stuck in customs. I was waiting for him to ask me, but he didnt.. can i get some feedback if this is also a part of the scheme?

Don't and I mean do not trust this person. Get out of this now!!!

This guy it's been talking to me send me a video from the gym as yours send me a video of a night ride with a very loud music, tattoos , American flag an eagle , he is bold , very nice looking and said he is from Virginia and it is stationed in Bermudas .

What name did he give you? Because it sounds very similar to a guy I've been talking to since last May or so.

In the Navy, girlfriend was killed in a car accident a few years ago. He's rich and yet can't come up with enough money to pay to get his leave request paperwork expedited, supposedly from Virginia and yet has a Welsh accent. He's tall, dark blonde, both arms have full sleeve tattoos, extremely good looking, built like Jason Momoa. He's been asking me for months to open a new bank account so he can transfer money into it for me to send back to Command so they can process his paperwork and he can go home. I haven't done it and have no plans to.

Send me the Pic coz I think my sister has been victimized. Coz he sent him a video of his so called daughter

Can u please send a picture.

You cannot get your leave expedited in the military by paying money. Otherwise every soldier would be broke and on leave.

Also, to everyone else ... These frauds often use scripts. That's why they all sound alike.

Former Military Brat / Wife

Hey, if you don't mind what name did he give you cuz I got the same video that you're talking about. Is there any way you can show me the pics that you have.

This person sounds familiar. Did he tell you he in in Afghanistan and his dad was a contractor in Thailand and waiting on 2million and attorney came to Thailand and he does not understand why not next of kin.

Omg I think hes the one I'm speaking with right now hes waiting for money as of now the same tattoo and all very muscular please kets exchange pictures please

Same here. Sounds just like him I've seen the video I believe you're talking about I would like to share pics.

I have been conned by cannon j Powells
Works on oil rid has daughter brass

Can you please help me to find a site where I can upload a photo. I think I'm also being scammed. Haven't paid anything yet, but he has already asked for it.

Thomas mats is also working on oil rig and has a 15 year old daughter that is making my grandma believe he wants to move with her to alabama. anyone know how I can stop this from happening, she lives alone in a different state.

I had talked to a guy who didn’t know me. And we didn’t each other. The first thing, He also asked me to send a 100$ iTunes card. But I just sent a 50$ card. He said he cant online if he doesn’t have. The second thing he made me confused: he had the mission in Allepo-Syria with his colleagues collected 2millions usd and a lot of bar gold. His own share is $54600 and 5 bar of gola. He would like to send me this amount from the third person (his friend) to kept it safe for him untill he back home from Syria. He said he served in Us Navy . I just ask him this amount legal or illegal. He assured that 100% legit. But im still confuse. If is that legal why they cant send it to their bank account in USA and not have ask somebody else’s hands???? I need to you guys recommended or advise

You can't use an iTunes card to go online. The iTunes card is used only to buy music, apps or books.

The story about finding gold bars is not true. The US Army has warnings online about scammers who pretend to be US soldiers. The online warning says soldiers do not find large sums of money and do not need your help to get that money out of the country.

Scammers tell people they found money, because they want people to pay to receive the "shipment" of money or gold. But there is really no shipment of money or gold. If you pay the taxes, fees or import duties to receive the "shipment," you will lose money.

They use iTunes to subscribe to services like SmartLine Second Phone Number to create more local numbers to trick other people and pretending they are from that state. So my advise it to STOP sending ITUNES card to all. Same for Google PLAYSTORE.

My concern is regarding a beautiful young woman who professed her love for me. I have text messages, pictures, of our conversations. After a few days she said she loves me. Sent me videos and pictures. She had my belief for a short time until I started digging. Supposedly she has cash from hundreds of acres of land she sold in West Africa. She even sent me a picture of her passport. Has two travel boxes held by a security company. This company is legit but the email address is a bit different than the company name. Sent me details of the shipment. Said she is aware of African government officials will take her money if they knew she had it. She wants me to pay to have these boxes shipped to me. Then she will feel comfortable to leave the country and join me. Then we can be together. My concerns are wouldn't 15.8 million weigh quite alot? Also wouldn't the security company hold her boxes without intruding for a period of time? I'm just curious and will hear from her in the morning or when she sends message. I want to share my detailed info with the correct agency to stop this person from taking from anyone else.


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