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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

My heart is racing reading these stories. I have a picture of a man I've been talking to Goes by Fred and Franklin. How can I share his picture.

These stories are true I'm a victim to please block them don't send no money or iTunes cards. These people are heartless will steal your heart it's real. I wish I would have know about this to read it please save ur self. Two months and I have took 2 payday loans to help and 1300 in cash

Was this Fred, a doctor in Iraq? The pictures of the man, that talk to me, was a Fred. He wanted to send me $2.85 million dollars. He said he’d be coming home in a week. I blocked him.

Sassy12, I have a good friend who is talking to a Freddy in Jordan, so he says. He wants to send her a lot of money he has "found". Did he say where he got the money he wanted to send you, how he was going to send it? I am worried, she said she has researched him, but this is just to similar and she has to pay to get the money here.

The man I talked to is Fred max

If u have a picture of this Frank would love to see if its the same guy

ive been talking to a guy named fred williams he says. is this the same fred? also a eric jack?

I met this guy said his name was dr. Henry somewhere in yemen. He needed iTunes cards and $7000 usd for his sons medical bills. I sent the card but not the $7000. Every morning he would send me song, poems, and pics of flowers. Said he wanted to marry me but I blocked this scammer. I feel silly because I sent him gift cards but thank God I stopped while I was ahead.

Why do these scammers need money for family medical bills? Especially the military scammers??

May I ask what the scammer goes by?Does he say he’s in the military deployed to Syria? I’ve been talking to someone for over a year now. He messaged me on Instagram then asked me to go to Hangout. Yes I’m feeling like a fool woman too. Thanks.

That same exact thing happened to me today and two of my friends... We all got together and realized and blocked him... I think he stole someone's photos and is up to no good. He goes by Steve Gonzalez... Same Syria military story ☹️

Does he go by the name Cooper George xvi or Cooper fresh in Instagram

Hi
Ladies! I’ve been chatting for. A couple of days to a scammer with the same army/Syria story.
Immediately I knew he was fake and my first question was ‘are you real’ the conversation continued with me pointing out all the mistakes he’d made on his photos/profile. He knew I knew but we continued to chat.. it was hilarious and great fun! Fb blocked him as o guess someone else reported him. Best laugh I’ve had for ages! Like my own little detective game.. such fun! I miss him :)

The same thing with me only Afghanistan. He knew I knew he was a scammer but we had the best time. Hilarious fellow. Then he just disappeared. I miss him. I lost no money.

Hi did he go by the name johnson monland.

Right now I'm talking to 2 guys. One is on an oil rig the other is in Afghanistan and is a Lt. General. Here's a question for ya..... Why would a Lt. General be talking to me? I'm sure he scammer.

I just busted a man, claimed he was a seargent major in us army...found me on pof...name is Ryan Luke quinn...I can't find his pics anywhere...never asked for money, was sweet and acted caring...wanted to come home to me when deployment was over...finally got him to email me, located the ip, Nigeria...

I heve been contacted by by a man who says he is in the army stationed in Afghanistan transfering to Iraq. Wanted to send me a big box with gold bars money and supposedly all his military papers and pictures of him when he was a kid. Mind you this was after he tells me he wants to come back to me in the states and marry me and be a family. When he tells me about this box he wants me to borrow money from any one that will give it to me to get it. Conversation were never about "US" anymore it was all about the box and getting the money to ship it. Anyone have any helpful infromation it would be greatly appreciated.

Hi
I had the same thing happen to me. This box with his treasures and papers from the military. Money too! He tells me he is sending it to me and that I will be arrested because I am helping him with laundered money. His name is Garth Hestilow. He is very charming and smart. I have been reporting him to the FBI. Also there was a Dr.Wilson Potter and a Priest named Charles Nelson. Plus a company called Excel Parcel in London. I thought these people were liget. I am naming these people on this site so others will not be taken in like I was. When all is said and done I was left with just a heartache and I am trying to recover from it all.

I was just contacted by a Hispanic man 2 days ago named Wilson Potter who says he was adopted, raised by a priest And is stationed in the Philippines right now. He says he’s about to retire and move back to his home in California. Is any of this familiar to you?

I had the same thing only it was a woman it is a good scam she got me good she was very patient

I don't suppose his "name" was Brad Unwin?

Omg me too an oil rig! I the gulf. I know it’s a scam. Named Allen??

I’m going through oil rig scammer too
Said someone impersonating him using his pictures yes I lost money. His name Henry Brown
As daughter 12. Nanny wife died 2016 just got taken off Instagram by the real person whose if he took! But he swears he loves me!
Lives California

OMG that is the story I just got from a guy, Fred William, exact to a T.

so the fred thats been talkin to me says he is from uk, but has lived in California for 28 yrs. wife died last year. he has a contract on a oil rig in the indian ocean. other money he says he has is invested in his company. he seems so nice and his words so genuine. i suspect a scam ...but sent 2 20 steam cards ..but iam not sending anymore. would like to know if he is the same person. i got a picture..he says williams is his last name.

Do you know the name of the Lt General you talked to in Afghanistan?

Has anybody come across a guy called Micheal Scott? Saying in the UN based out of Syria?

Hi there...the oil rig guy. Same for me. He came out of nowhere and is "madly in love" All kinds of flags. Yours isn't named Bryan, is it???

My mom has been talking to this "special forces chaplain" who is in a war time zone in Syria. I've told her to stop talking to him, but he says they're going to get married. He just started asking for iTunes cards. He goes by John Henry. Anyone dealing with the same guy? I'm trying to look out for her. Thanks!

My mom has been scammed for a year now. LARGE sums of money. I have contacted lawyers, her banks, her doctors, the local police. All tell me they can do nothing until she gives me power of attorney, which she refuses. What can families do to stop this scamming on elderly parents? Please help.

My mother is being scammed too. We have been slowly gathering details as her lies are monumental in protecting and covering this imposter. He has managed to get her to leave my dad, move away from her entire family, steal from my parents retirement and I can only assume wire at the very least over 15k. We are trying so hard to help her but she is brainwashed. She is literally trying to burn her bridges with each of us and I know it’s because of him! I have an address in Nigeria that her bank gave me when she tried to send money from there but no name, email or picture. She uses a translation app and WhatsApp to communicate. We think too she may have 2 phones. I BEG all of you to please reply if you think you can help. My mom will cause her and my dad to lose everything and my worst fear is it will literally break my dad’s heart (he has a heart condition) when we tell him. He just thinks he failed my mom so she left him. We know we have to tell him but it will indeed break him. My siblings and I are taking care of him every day. Any detail and ALL advice welcome!!!

Yes . My friend also chatted with Henry John. He told my friend to call her sister name Linda to prove he is real . He asked for ITunes card then need 1200 for retirement fee. We searched his pic, those have been use since 2009 on Facebook and dating apps .

Your story sounds familiar last name bell?

I’ve been talking to a retired soldier. He contacted me off Instagram. We’ve been talking from day to night. Made me fall for him. He says he has two children and he’s divorced. She ran off to Florida. After reading about ITunes cards I wonder if everything I was building with this man is a complete lie. He’s 44 and goes by Chad Manis. Has anyone else been contacted by him. He also knows I’m a designated mother and have no money, yet he asks me for 50$ iTunes cards every once in a while. Im so torn especially with all these stories. Can someone help me find out if this guy from Texas is a fraud. My heart can’t take another heartbreak after the year I’ve had. Thanks

Sounds all too familiar, wants me to send money to the UN so he can take a vacation from the War Zone in Khalil, Afghanistan to come home to the US to marry me!
The other guy I suspect got thrown out of his hotel room in Yangshou, China this morning, his time because I couldn’t send home $700, we only owe them $1900 and he can come home and marry me!

Hotels don’t hold you hostage if you owe them money. This guy is scamming you. Plus, he is probably scamming more women than just you.

Is he from Instagram? Rob by name?

Hey. I've been talking to a Rob. Is yours a red head or red beard?

I’ve been talking to a Robert Williams in Yemen . He says he’s in the army . He’s bald big green eyes . Says he’s been there since January

I have been conversing with a guy overseas that said he needed money to get equipment so he can finish his job. He goes by the name Jason Brian, Email’s he was using: jason brian cares@ gmail or Jason rian carzes @gmail. Keeps asking for more n more iTunes and the price went from 100 to over 400. Days he lives with his mom

Where is he supposed to be. I also received request for help to buy equipment for an oil job in Turkey

I had a man who said he was from Italy I have been KNOWING for 3 years he said that if I was no longer friends with him that he would kill himself ( he told me he was married after 1 year of being friends and I dont like to have friendships with married persons) that's when he told me that if I dropped him as my friend he would kill himself ..he hasnt asked for money but always let's me know that he doesnt have any ( which I dont believe)

This sounds similar to the guy I've been talking to he says he's in the U.S. army stationed in iraq.his wife cheated on him he has a 1t yr old adopted son in boarding school.He originally sent me a Facebook request which I accepted and within a week was telling me he loved me and wanted to but a house together.not long after he got me to switch to hangouts to talk to him.Three weeks in he says he dropped his phone & broke it & wanted to know if I could get him an iPhone 6s.which I told him no to because I don't have the money.He claims he had to borrow a friends phone to talk to me.He never called me because he claimed the phone lines were terrible there due to the rebels attacks.He had in the beginning sent me 2 pics that were older plus a pic I got from his fb request.He never would send any others even though I asked repeatedly ..claiming his friends phone didn't have a working camera.ok! The pics I did get were of a white male dark hair wearing a shirt that says good story babe now make me a sandwhich he's in shorts that say army on them with a background which looks like a military environment.Then he sent a pic of himself supposedly... squatting with some dogs around him and he's petting them ..he's got a beard & a hat on and there's a military looking building behind him.The Facebook pic is of him sitting on a bench in a room with a black fitted knit hat on sunglasses on his head he's got a gun in a holster at his side ..a polo type short sleeved shirt & part of a tattoo showing on his super arm the rest of tattoo is hidden by the sleeve.he says his name is Goodman graves he's 46.Does any of this sound familiar.do the pics sound like the ones you got?

Tamb51.....
Do you happen to have a photo of this guy, sounds similar to who I'm chatting with now.

What is a Bitcoin a friend as me to use that to get money fast to pay his worker? so he can get this project done

I’ve been dealing with a guy named Ben Alex Great. He works for a Bitcoin company called Gennius Mining Bitcoin company. I believe I was scammed for $4000.00. He found me on Instagram. I would love to get feedback. He contacted me on January 24 of this year.

That's a huge sign of scammer. They try to say working n through past 9 yrs they say engineers n usually south Africa working. If anyone says too fast love you, your the one, asks for money, has a sudden emergency scammers

A mining engineer In South Africa claims to be widow for eighteen years. Name Elías. Anyone heard from him. He asked for bitcoin

Is this person in Germany?

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