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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. Same guy I fell for. Said he was an architect from Houston and had a big contract in Atlanta. He has a 15 yr old son and he was divorced because he caught his wife with his best friend. He had an accent and said he was from Austria originally. Needed me to send him money because one of the machines used in the job broke down, he used all his funds and he was starving. I did send him money, but got wise after the fact and told him I couldn't send more. He called and texted me all the time and video chatted once. He kept saying he wanted to meet me but couldn't because of money problems on his job. He was quite the charmer. I finally blocked him, but my heart was broken. I cried. I am sorry I fell for this I feel so stupid.

I think it's the same guy I'm going dating

I am talking to someone who says he’s on a mission in Turkey as well. We connected on online dating app. Wants me to only be with him and wait for him. He can’t talk to me only text since his out there as well. He hasn’t asked me for money as of now he’s saying he wants to be there for me. I tried googling him but I can’t find anything. Just sounds too good to be. Based on his pics he’s quite handsome over 6ft tall man in his late 30’s and amazing physique that’s why I find it hard he’s attached so quick. Claims his family all passed away. Could this be the same guy ? What are the names of yours ?

I too have been scammed, the most disturbing feeling ever, God Help Us, but the guy who has done this to me his name is Roberto Matteo, the same thing Turkey project, 1 child, wife dead, his bank account frozen, is being detained in turkey for over stay on work permit so can't get back to the US w/out frist paying fine of $4550...So degrading,

I too got scammed by someone who said hi name was Antonio Frank Matteo 56 but he was a peacekeeper in Yemen and had to get out of there cause he would die in there if I did not get him out of there.. We had corresponded for 2mos. through Google hangouts,which he talked me into using instead of my e-mail h through yahoo or Facebook Messages..His wife had died 5 yrs. ago and he has an 11 yr. old son named Kelvin...he was a late in life dad cause they could not get pregnant till than and it just happened..He gave me all the usual Love romance dating so on and so on..He loved me so much and needed to come home to marry me and I could be his..man at first I fell for it until he started asking me for charge cards, SS #, and all other credentials they ask for ...the whole thing was an ordeal. he even asked me to rite to UN and tell them he needed a vacation stay,i did but than got a e-mail back that I would have to send them my real name,and again all my credentials which i got scammed with when i tried to borrow money to get him home,I know it was him again that called that day and the days after that..Like a fool I gave the guy that had a heavy accent all the information and had to have all changed...yes they wanted me to buy e-bay cards and than they would give me further after I bought them with the money they sent me on the loan I borrowed to get him home $3,000 to be exact...all calls game from Florida and I was given a bank that was giving me the loan...well,My banked thank God stopped it ..Oh there were plenty more instructions and guess who was helping me end it...Antonio Frank Matteo...i done nothing more they said and drove out of the drive thru at my bank... oh my after that Antonio was on me hot and heavy to get the $2,589 to get him home kept saying the right things but buy now I had figured out it was a Scam,and wrote him off...Alot of words went on in our writing back and forth; but I am sure all of you know what that is like, i was thankful to God and blessed he stopped me that day... (God).. sure was with me...mind you I shortened the events as they happened...Hit and miss I guess one could say....My advice and take from someone who went through it don't fall for it and if to good to be true it is....God bless you all and Tormented I kinda think these guys might be one in same,mine said he was from Italy but had lived in Colorado for a few years...May not be but am wondering!!!!!

OMG !! this sounds like the same person that is scamming me. He says his name is Wilson Antonio McCain, he is a doctor and in Afghanistan on a peace keeping mission. Divorced has an eleven year old son, only want to chat on hangouts app.
Do you have any pictures of this person ??

Wow,almoust same story..a military doctor, with a boy, at the moment attending a bording school in England..
I started a realionship with little boy on Hangout, her father asked me to, he is calling me Mom already, i was kind of surprised, what kid do that , so quickly?..He sent me some photos looking like a young, blond, american boy, plaing football or just relaxing..
My problem is that i would like to find out if these photos are stolen from somewhere..I mean to use kid image in order to ask money on the internet..This is heartbreaking for the family and all the love ones..if they ever will find out..
He uses the pictures of a brazilian brain surgeon, the fake names are Bernard Owens father and Jasper, the son.

The little boy will either be him or another scammer playing along to fool you. These scammers are frequently using stolen pictures with kids. They are ruthless and will do anything for a scam. The people in the photos are also victims of these scamming mongrels and it can be very traumatic for them to find out their pictures are been used.
It is also very difficult to have these profiles removed from some platforms.

Hey! I think I met the same guy, his name ist Mateo Alberto, he lives in Maddison, Wisconsin. He says he has an 14 year old son, his ex-wife takes drugs and his son lives in a foster family and his dad is in need of care. He is currently working on an oil rig in the united Arab emirates and wants to come to me an marry me. He was asking two times for money (20.000) for his friend who has cancer. Now he wants to leave his work and I should write an E-Mail to them to submit a retirement request. He's also super religious and we Skyped once for 3 minutes. He texted me on instagram telling me he found my profile and was instantly in love with me and wanted to marry me, now we are texting on hangouts.

If anyone have similar experiences, please lets exchange us and show if the pictures or the stories are similar!!!

How to send you picture so we can compare

Hi gals, I just had a relationship for 6 weeks...John Wilson from JohnWilsonoil !!!! Poor choices talking with him but entertaining. I did not send money.

very similar!!!!

I am still talking to this guy in turkey. He says he is 58 yrs old with a son 19yrs. He is asking me now for 45,000 dollars to pay off his employees that he hire from turkey. says he got paid for the job but now he has to pay off the men that worked for him from turkey and cannot leave there until they get paid or he gets arrested from the Turkish union.

Interesting, a guy contacted me .Sats he’s wining Cyprus. Needs to pay workers because he used their payroll to pay a hospital bill

Hi. Your story sounds very similar to mine. He is 56 years old. One son that lives in Ohio with his mom. He left for Turkey to work on a solar panel job in August. I didn’t meet him in person but he convinced me to send him money to pay the tax on a job he received pay for. He needed to pay the non residential sales tax. The last part of his scam was last month and asked me to open an account and receive a cash shipment. I said no! After all the money I have given him I’m now struggling and he will not respond to me. Do I share his name on the site or report him?

Report him and block him

I think this is the same guy. Age 55 -Says originally from Turin, Italy, living in Fresco, California but won a contract to build a rig off coast Istanbul. First said he had to pay bribes to executives on interview panel to beat other ‘tendons’. Then said bank account frozen - can’t pay his hired help- Turkish workers, he is hungry and can’t get back to his sick 18 yr old son. No siblings, dad died and estranged from mum who lives in France! I got scammed into sending £900 for medical bills for son who was seriously asthmatic-then was asked for money to help him get home to son- another (£500)! Wouldn’t send me a picture of the project he was working on. Very handsome, very articulate and intelligent. Very romantic, wanted to marry me very soon ( this would be his last project and make him very rich)! Wanted to buy a house by the sea and horses on a farm.. said wife died of breast cancer 5 years ago - very convincing. Got me to change bank. I gave him my bank details to put the money back into my account. As soon as I deposited a decent sum of money into my account- within HOURS my bank account was emptied - ( three Amounts taken:- £900 then another £900 then the last £450 that was in my account)! Illinois cell number- ( said used to live there). The money was taken by a Mariam Nimaga! The romeo’s name was Roberto Lorenzo Miguel.
Beware, he steals your heart completely..

I have been talking to the same guy only he called himself Roberto Lorenzo Miquel .

Skooter3 - your guy sounds a lot like mine. He's in Turkey building a gas station, goes by donovan fennando and by nelson fennando on facebook where he initially contacted me on 6-4-20. Says he owns the company, Crest Architect CA in Victoria, B.C. Asked me for $45k to complete $200k compensation for a worker that had an accident and died. I sent him nothing and don't intend to. I am stalling him by staying at the coast with bad cell phone reception. He sent many pics of him, his 25 yr old twin sons studying in Florida, and pics of his mom, dad, brother. He turned 60 on 8/5, has grayish hair, dark eyes, says dad is Spanish and mom Irish. He was born in Spain and came to U.S. when he was 7, says he owns a helicopter and is a pilot. Very romantic with I love you's early on, constantly sends poems, says it's me or no one else. Writes a lot about God. What you'll think?

I also met a guy the same description as you've said. Can I have his name pls?

Your story is very similar to mine. The guys name is Jason Francisco Diamond, we met on IG. Very good looking, said his wife died 5 years ago and has a son in LA....

What does this guy look like. The guy I have been chatting with is bald, good looking, with a son in Long beach and his wife died 10 yrs ago. He is on a job in Turkey but now held up in the hospital from and accident he was in. Needs money to pay off hospital bills so he can get his passport back. Says the hospital is holding it till he pays off hospital bills.

I had been chatting with a guy with similar description; He is bold, from San Jose California, bald and good looking, never married and no kids. He traveled to Turkey or Cyprus supposedly since last week and needs help due to his workers' accident. He said he paid hospital expenses. I refused to give him money and he is very persuasive, he does not take no for an answer. Is there a way we can exchange pictures? maybe is the same guy.

These stories sound so familiar to me. A man who said he was a USMarine in a mission in Afghanistan has been texting me in Google hangouts. He said he lost his wife and parents and has a son in LA. He's been very kind, romantic and gentle. He sent some pictures and looks very handsome. However I found a person with a different name but same photos on the web. He makes many grammar mistakes at writing. I'm not an English Native Speaker but I know about English grammar that's why he seemed strange to me. He's just asked me to buy him a gift card.

I think it's the same person I was talking with him for a month he ask me for a gift card but I get mad and he told me he love me and he wants to marry me his name is Octavio González I have pictures of him

Block him and dont send money! He is a scam.

can u send me a picture of him because I believe I'm in the same vote

Guy out for solar panel construction and asked $100 guftcard. It took 3wks he asking me money. I asked his full name and received fake id. Could not find anything about him in the web

whats his name did he say hes's from Houston.But working in India,African American with a British accent.

My story sounds very similar to yours
I am embarrassed to admit I gave him some money and he asked for more but I deleted him
I don’t know how these people became so evil

Sounds like the person I was talking to. Had to go to Turkey. Connected on a dating app, I’ve notified them of the fake profile. I did a google image search and found where the photos came from. It took a bunch of photos and tries before google found him. The “real” pictures are of a man from Spain whose profile says is a physical trainer/therapist. Claimed to be Australian. His dad and brother died and mom is sick.

Definitely same guy...used Richard Langham as hie name. We even messaged that person in the "real" pictures he used. Wish we could post photos of the scammers that have deceived us and stole money. He hung onto me for 1 year and thee other person simultaneously for 6 months.

He claimed himself as an architect/ property developer and a private investigator living in LA. Named himself Henry Rich Archer. I couldn't find his photos on reverse search. He said he is an Australian from Perth. His dad and brother died. His mom sick with Amnesia in Australia. His dad left a huge property on Istanbul Turkey and he went to change the property to his name and apparently had to redo the house. After two weeks of finishing the work on it, he had to pay the contractor some money and asked me to somehow get some otherwise they wouldn't give him his passport back. I did arrange some money and sent him, but the bank in turkey rejected the money. I was saved by god. Said that he was 34 yo. He definitely didn't sound like an Australian, but stressed some Australian accent here and there. He also said that his model ex girlfriend cheated on him with her manager. And he kept saying that he won a lottery ticket when he met me online. I was so much into him. He never appeared on video call. I thought i found real love. He made me feel so good about myself and when I realized all of these in was left heart broken. However, he once said he won a huge contract worth half a million and he called me on Skype, during then, I felt like a video of the person he claimed to be was played for 30 seconds with no audio. I can say that because it replayed at one point. While I was finding ways to help him, I called the turkey Australian embassy to help him and they told me about similar incidents and ghats when I realized this is a scam for money and he also said that he contacted the embassy but couldnt get any help. But the embassy did not get any calls from the person named Henry Rich Archer. God was definite with me. When I asked him to go to yhe embassy to get help, he got mad and me and broke up with me. It's been a week for today he did that. I feel stupid to have dreamy about a life with him. He even said that after he returned to LA, he will find a 4 bedroom house for us to start out life and marry in India and have babies. He sounded so realistic while he said all that. I cried after realizing it was fake and coping up from the disappointment.

OMG!!!! That is the exact story I was told. The only difference he was from South Africa and he’s name is Gorden, he has an accent and he sounds so real, I’m talking to him for almost 3 months every single day. When the exactly the same thing happens to him like you described, I send him money, but he still didn’t come. The man is gorgeous and so professional in what he does. He make feel so special, he never missed to call me or text me., he sounds so caring and loving.

They are very good at what they do that’s why so many people are scammed by them. They are very attentive and loving and say all the right things. He will keep stringing you along and asking for money and he will never show up. It’s a scam and he is not the person in the pictures or messaging or calling and it is all lies. Block & delete him and then heal your heart break.

I was in Iraq for a whole year and we still had phone and internet access, so don’t believe that

This 52 y.o. guy claims he is doc with WHO stuck in Iraq now cos about to be sent on dangerous mission. Widowed with 2 kids and mum. Our 22nd day and already saying he is disappointed that i can't pay 13k euros to fly him out on early retirement cos his joint account is locked due to female friend trying to steal all when he is in Iraq. 9 more weeks to go before contract ends. All sounds too convincing, but you get a bit weary when all poems, writings he sends you are copied and pasted from online sources. I am telling him stay on till contract ends; nowhere is safe.

I have met a good looking man that I'm his queen within a week. not even sure he knows my name. says hes traveling anesthesia nurse. wants me to recieve money from cash app. wondering how yours ended up

I met a guy sounding very very similar to this- very hot with an incredible body! Can only text cause of his work in Turkey. I am pretty sure he is real, but doesn't change the fact that he could be a scammer! I have pics- do you? Brown hair and eyes. I even got a video of him, but supposedly got in trouble. What was his name? Please respond!!!

Is he always in his car or at Starbucks in the pics??

Hi, your story is exactly the same as mine. He said he was an US Navy, in late 30, super handsome with good body. Their parent died in ghastly car accident, 60ft tall and confessed very deep love for me within only days and promised to marry me in my country!? He said he was deploying to turkey to peacekeeping mission and he succedd to save the live of the oil company boss from kidnapper and the man reward him $423.760 and wanted me to make him a new online bank account using my email because he forgot his own's email password. But the number of money that the teller agent deposite is not the same ammount of it, i dont know what will he do for the next. I am still talking with this "suspected scammer". His name is ALEX MICHAEL. Is it the same guy? Hope to get your reply please

Hi, your story similiar with mine. Do you have a picture of him? Or does he had some tatooes on his hand (full on the right and a half on the left hand)? Because now i still texting with him and i am afraid if he was a scammers.

Hey I was also talking to a Alex Michael from New Jersey. Your description sounds exactly like him
Do you have a picture or how do I share a picture?

Hi there ,

The guy Im chatting too I met on Instagram . Albert Earle. His from New Jersey he says. He send picture almost everyday and mostly selfies can see as I am asking him to send me. His in communications also landed nog contract on his way to Turkey to sign..I want to believe his for real. He deleted his instagram acc shortly after he requested we connect via hang outs. Does this sound familiar. He never asked no money yet To trick him I complained about not having enough. He video called once. Tried 2 other times I missed calls. Divorce a daughter Carrie. No fb or Google profile which means his on no social network.

Where did he say he was from? I met a guy on a dating site. We been talking for about over a month. After 2 calls on the 3rd call I had a huge feeling he is a scammer. By the 3rd call he called me " Dear " scammers use that word a lot because they are from other countries. This man says he is from Sweden, he was telling me he loves me. Of course I didn't believe a word he says, because that's what they want for women to believe they are in love with them. I told him, we haven't even met, you don't know me is not love, he says " I can't help what I feel: I have deep feelings for you. I love you baby. Friday he sent me a copy of a contract of a job paying 15,million, now why would he show me that? Then he calls and says he has to go to Cypress, Greece for the job. He told me Friday and has to live Monday. He said the phone may not work well so he will email me. I am trying so hard to catch him and report him. I am waiting for the day he ask me for money or anything else. He was talking about stocks and that he has a guy that helps him with investing. He has send me pictures. Calls me in the morning and at night. I know it's a scam, but I want to lead him on to see how far he goes and have him reported.

What name did he go by?

Were the instagram pics of a good looking man who takes several pics of himself a day, salt and pepper hair with a nicely trimmed beard? Lives in Cadiz, Spain. He goes by the name of van_sur_vw.

Richard Langham who scammed us both at the same time sent us dozens and dozens of pics from that page.

We have turned info over to the FBI, writtten a letter into the attorney representing the FTC, spoken with bankers, called place of business where he claimed his contract was from, and have located him by an IP address. We have texts, emails, voice mail messages, photos, banking info in Turkey, and addresses in Turkey.

Oh my word! That sounds like my guy I met apparently he’s in the Navy. He just turned 41 and his parents died in a major car accident doesn’t really talk about it. He has no family and immediately expressed his feels for me almost instantly. He was deployed to Bahrain and since then we’ve had major problems because I’ve questioned him more about the fact things don’t add up. I’ve been very forward about it. I have so many different pictures of him and a 5sec video. Hhmm... he has an apparent lawyer who handled his finances, he’s invested in real estate, and other things. However, many things don’t add up to show he’s well off.

It is a scam they cancel one Instagram and you never see them on whatsapp

I have a man I’ve been talking to for 3 weeks. We were chatting on Instagram first. This man is the most gorgeous man I’ve ever seen in my life. Says he’s from Turkey but now lives in San Francisco. He told me to get Hangouts so we could text and talk on the phone. When I wanted to video chat he says he can’t because his ex wife is trying to get their daughter away from him and so he has some security system that doesn’t allow him to video chat. What??? It’s his security system, he should be able to video chat. I just let it go and now we spend over half of the day talking and texting. He knows I don't have a lot of money so he sent me the link to a bank called Tab Bank and said he’s going to deposit money in there for me to get pedicures, clothes, whatever I want. He also had me get CashApp so I can have two accounts to use. He hasn’t asked me for a dime. He said he’s going to deposit $5k this week so I have all of the extra money I need. Never has asked for money or has had me transfer money, nothing. Within a few days we were telling each other “I love you” (I actually said it first). Now we’re talking about marriage. He supposedly has an 8 year old daughter. He sends me pictures of them together, some of just her with her new kitten, always sending me pictures of himself. When I was having doubts about everything one day and was texting him about it, he called me back hysterically bawling. He could hardly talk because he was crying so hard saying “I can't lose the love of my life baby” sobbing the whole time. He sent me a picture after we got off of the phone and it was pretty clear he had been crying because his eyes were puffy and his face was red. We have continued talking every single day for nearly half of the day. I received my debit card for Tab Bank and he said he’s putting $5k in there for me and he wants me to buy whatever I need and want. Then he said he would deposit it sometime this week. That’s as far as this has gone but from what I’m reading, we have only known each other for 3 weeks and he’s just giving me $5k?? He said he’s putting his house up for sale and he’s bringing his daughter, two dogs, his bird, and her kitten and he wants us to live wherever I want in my city. He said money isn’t an issue and he wants me to pick our house out and he’s going to buy it. Also find a job here and he said I won't need to work I can stay home and take care of his daughter during summers and take her and pick her up from school and basically have to do nothing but be a wife and mother. This is too good to be true right? I keep waiting for something to come up about me doing something with money for him but it never has. And if he is a scammer , which everything I’ve read on her definitely points to that except he hasn’t asked for anything..... yet. I’m head over heals for this man. I fell for him so quickly and now I don't know what to do. As I said, if he hasn’t asked me to transfer money or do something with the money he puts in the account, do I just keep developing stronger feelings for this man or cut it off now???? I don't have a clue what to do. And like I said, if he’s a romance scammer, he’s very very good at it because so far he’s worked his magic on me. HELP!!!!!!!

Hangouts scams beware!!!
Anthony Edwin works as a petroleum engineer.

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