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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 — click on Scams and Rip-Offs, then select Romance Scams.

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit
Scam Tags:  Romance Scams


I am talking to a guy that is on the bullwinkle oil rig and his daughter just turned 17 in September and is at a boarding school in California and his wife died of cancer six years ago. He is using the name Steve Johnson and his cell is a roaming cell out of Florida he just turned 56 in October. Does he talk with an accent that is not from Houston, Texas. Yes he cannot access his account because people were selling oil on the black market so the locked all their accounts

he also uses hangouts

This Petroleum Engineer does he have beautiful gray hair? wears glasses in some pics??

This story sounds very close to what my neighbor is experiencing. She met a man named “Adam” who only communicates through Hangout. He says he has sold his environmental company and is coming back to the US to buy her a home on the ocean and to get his daughter (named Mitchell) out of boarding school. He claims to be worth millions and she is expecting a diplomatic courier to arrive this week with his financial documents. I know she has sent some money but I am most concerned that she has given access to her accounts. She gets angry if anybody questions this man’s intentions but she has been waiting to meet him for 10 months as he is overseas. I am very worried but she doesn’t want to hear it.

Mine does., mustache and beard too, very handsome, engineer, oil rig, Gulf of Mexico. He asked to park 3 M in my bank acc't I said no. Then he asked for $20,000.00 I said no. I ended the relationship yesterday. He texted me today again. I texted him it was over again that I knew what he was doing.

These are all the same guy, Johnson Williams or whatever he calls himself. FTC could have easily caught him by now. He better hope I never run in to him.

He contacted me a couple of months ago. Johnny Williams with daughter that lived with sister-in-law while he was in the Gulf of Mexico. LIked to cook pasta. Very handsome. I ended communication after about a week.

I'm talking to this guy too. Same story. He is going by Paul Busby now.

Does he have a beard

Yes. Full beard with some gray.

I’m communicating with a man who sounds similar, with beautiful white hair, wears sunglasses in some pictures...has beautiful blue eyes, and he’s about 55 years of age, and is in Canada, working on a project. Needs funds to finish...broken equipment....sound familiar to anyone?

I am communicating with a man with nice grey hair and blue eyes, said he was 59. He sent me a photo where he is wearing sunglasses. He left today for Germany for five weeks?? He plans to comeback since this will be his last contract working on oil contract, he wants to give his daughter a real family. His story is his wife passed four years ago. Does he show pictures with a daughter? He is in love with me after a few days of communicating. He has not asked for funds but its coming.

Yes, almost exactly the same. Goes primarily by James. Text are not good english, poetry is perfect english

I’m pretty sure his poetry is perfect English because he is copying it off the internet. If you google some words from the poems you should be able to find out who actually wrote it. That’s one of the ways I figured out I was talking to a scammer.

I, too, was scammed by James, James Edward. Found him on; he's also on Linkedin. Came one strong, asked me to marry him the next day. Perfect english and grammar, until today, when the grammar went all to hell along with spelling. There are several guys scamming us. They take turns talking to us. It's easy to tell them apart. After the guy with the poor grammar stopped texting, I got another guy talking about sports. So, there are at least 3 men scamming me. I finally texted, "Where is the James with the good grammar?" No one ever responded.

Lol that's so funny, because my husband has been talking to some chick on Facebook messenger with a number of scammer hallmarks. I told him to ask her why she responded to him with the phrase 'so nice to hear that from you' she said that was per best word... I typed her ack; ok sister that's a sentence, not a word. English is not your native language is it?
That was a week ago she still hasn't answered.

Is his name patrick James

He sounds very similar to my Mark Johnson!

I think I am being scammed by the same man, except mine is 65, have pictures and he has google duo me several times, trying to prove he is the guy in the pictures. Wife has been passed for four years, he has not worked during that time because he was busy taking care of his daughter who is now in college in California. he was supposedly moving to Alabama from Ohio, but then took a contract for drilling with Schlumberger off the coast of California, and then he suddenly needed 10, 000 for something in the drilling, then something else broke down, and he needed money for that, which I have not given. I have seen copy of the contract, but do not know if it is real. i have pictures of him and of his daughter with him, even one of his daughter and him when she was around 6. I would love to see if our pictures are the same ones.

I have been in a similar situation ..white hair ,beautiful blue eyes.likes to wear sunglasses his name is Bruce Mateo...he is in France..he worked on a project,,wanted me to pay to move his equipment. Then he was in a car accident he wanted help with his hospital he wants $10,000.or he will expose me on Facebook !!


Im talking to one now says in canada to get his team up and running on rig..we have the dead wife..and 14 yo kid..oh.. And the broken machine..
tells me he doesnt need anything from me..he makes great money..
Is looking for a life mate...hes supposedly coming to town this week...yeah we'll see about that...he even sent a copy of his contract with oil co

oh yes i think we were talking to the same imposter. He is an engineer in an oil rig and his new pipes felt into deep sea and need to rent a new crane. asked me for an urgent help and promised to reimburse back at the end of the month. I said no. He said he wants to marry me and will come to visit me before end of this month. But now he is in Brunei sea working on another new project tender and it seemed he cant visit me that soon. We will see what he will be doing after this...i m sure i have been scammed when he asked for money and now i what to play along and scam him back!!!!

Cheryl, can I show you a photo to see if it is the person we think our mom maybe talking to?

Sounds like some one I may have once met. Is it possible for you to send pictures? Would like to know. Not sure how this could be arranged

Yes he sounds familiar to me only he said he is in the Gulf of Mexico and can't pay for the equipment. wants $100,000.00.

Yes! Very familiar!

This guy's name is Tamres Lindsey, he wants me to open a bank account because he made me his beneficiary and can't change it now. He needs my bank info so his money can be put into it or he can't leave Afganistan until i do this for him.


Guy named William Walker on Facebook. Saying he’s 58 and in love with 80 year old MIL. Need proof it’s a scam. Please help.

Very handsome. Says his name is Gilbert Robert. Wife died seven years ago of breast cancer. He was born in Houston, Tx but raised in Milan, Italy. He is project manager on oil rig with 6.5 million contract. He has invested all his money. He is short $5000. To finish paying for drilling equipment which is mandatory. He is honest, a Christian, honest and would never hurt me or let me down. Sweet nothings. Could never pin down an answer. He was so excited to be retiring!! Said he didn’t want my money but he was crying all day. Sent fake documents and passport. Good looking guy, whoever’s picture he is using.

I’m talking to a similar guy! Wife died 7 years ago breast cancer. Born in Italy. Daughter is 18 in London. On his last contract, wants to retire and spend the rest of his days with a wife. His name is Michele Romano.

I'm talking to someone who says his wife died 9 years ago of cancer of the breast. Life hasn't been the same. His daughter and grandson live in England. We met on WWF and now we communicate only on hangouts. Now he says he is in Israel because he flew soldiers there and cant fly the plane back until skies clear. Oh yeah he also loves me and wants to marry me even though we have never talked on the phone. Because he is in Israel. Couple weeks ago he needed $300 on Amex gift card so he can extend his communication connection to US. I fell for it. Now he sent me photo of a 12 karat diamond necklace that he has sent to me from Israel. Lo and behold it is now stuck in transit in "Navada" and I need to send $2,100 in bitcoins only or the necklace will be "seezed". He goes by name of Micheal St John. Glad I came across this website!

Exactly the same... Wish we could post photos

How do I send you a photo. If this James Thomas with reddish hair

I think
It’s the same guy I am chatting with.
Similar guy with good English but Italian accent

Did u have a pic the guy I chatted with in the summer was 43 asked for things and said he was a dentist. Lived in USA but I knew the English n accent were off n said where r u really from he said Italy

Civil engineer independent contractor James Sandro Thomas from Milan Italy. I’ve got his picture. Reddish go-tee

This sounds all too familiar mine is name Malcolm Merlyn an engineer in the Gulf of Mexico. Couldn't leave to pay for the equipment he needed for the oil rig and wanted $100,000.00 from me. Took 4 pictures I sent of me and a great granddaughter and put them in a frame and sent me his picture with the frame of my pictures. And he had delivered to my home a check for his work on the oil rig for over $500,000.00 that I now believe is fake to convince me he had the money to pay me back. Then I saw his name on here and same situation with the picture and knew he was not real. I can't believe grown men would do something like this.

Sounds like the same guy that has been communicating with me. Good looking, oil rig contractor. Machine broke- needed 47,000 then another 84,000 to ship his equipment back to the states. Says he’s going to retire. Also asks for money for his internet service- 2800.00 every two weeks. Says we won’t be able to chat if he can’t get service. Wants to marry me when he gets home. Promises big houses and expensive cars. Goes by Bill Bryan. He stole his profile pic from a man in Florida.

My story is similar. He's currently stuck in Turkey and needs $20,000. Said it's his own personal contract but he can't access his Houston account. Had me try and now claims he's going to get arrested if the doesn't fulfill the contract. He's gotten $500 from me but no more. However, I do enjoy our talks. He's still hanging in there trying to get more money, "bless his little heart.". Says he's retiring when he returns and we're going to live a great, comfortable life of traveling together. I'm so in love, NOT!

Almost identical story .

What documents did he provide? Who was the contract with? The 6.5 mil contract sounds familiar. Who signed the contract papers? Sounds like my guy.

Does he have a dog, and a son going to school in Texas
Can you please send me a picture sounds like someone I have been talking to for 18 months
From Norway

Is he dark haired? Son named Kenny in Wichita Falls, Tx? He's working on rig in Rania. I accused him of being a scammer and told him of he asked for $$ I'm gone.

I'm talking to one man of that description. He has beautiful grey hair and is trying to get me to open a bank account to send me money so I can send it to his daughter. I'm like much nope.

Can someone send me a picture my friend is talking to someone who has some of the same story and it just seems to good to be true.

Yes, similar to my guy. 60 yrs old, nice blue eyes and salt and pepper hair. Sometimes wears glasses. Met on Instagram but he recently took it down. Started calling himself Prince Alex. Sound familiar to anyone

I fell for a scam like this several years ago fortunately I got suspicious before the request for money came up..but it did eventually. So this time I knew when it started. This guys name is Daniel Depiero Williams says he lost his wife and kids in a car accident 8 years ago. He’s in love with me from my picture we have only been emailing for a few days but he’s coming on very strong. Also watch the times on your emails he said I will dream about you all night and will write again in the morning. The text was sent to me at ten thirty am. Doesn’t add up

do you have pics with him can we share pics?

What is it with the grey hair? We must all have been scammed by the same guy.


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