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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

I am curious about what Michael looks like. How donwe see pics these scammers have sent us? I was talking to a European oil rig guy... much the same

I feel as though I am being scammed by a 'Michael Dunbar' claiming he stuck in Alaska on an oil rig and needs money to get home. Anyone else have interaction with this fellow?

Was this oil rig guy in Europe(UK), named Martin Giovanni?

Hey I just met this Donna girl total scam, she is supposly in Syria in peace keeping mission

Keith it happened to me around the same time frame. Sent a pic of a handsome older.gentlemen who professed his love for me. And how pretty i was. It was elaborate also. But when he asked for money i reported him to the fbi. He contacted me and apoligized but i knew at that point that was a scam as well. I am lonely too so they prey on us single people. Taught me a lesson. I just wish i knew who the handsome man in the pic was

This is me how did I get on here

You really don't want to know who the handsome man in the photos is. I found out and mine was an International Italian model. I looked at his life thru all the women hanging on him for photo shoots and pictures of his current girlfriend and the beautiful clothes and huge bed and breakfast he owned and here I was sending someone money for plane tickets to get out of Africa and money for food. I wrote the real person and he wrote a quick note. Fake Photos/stolen. Sorry" I think I felt better before I knew as this guy would not give me a second look and guessing he was not into women anyway except having to do photo shoots with them???? Be careful what you wish for!!

Was this older man white headed and very handsome. Had picture of him and his dog? One older man hit me up two years ago online and just recently got me up again using a different name. Immediately wants me to add hangouts app. I play stupid to his request, but know what is going on.

I'm going thru this right now with a white guy with a dog licking the of his face eyes ate green and gray

Does this go by the name of Luiz Fernando Da Costa from Sao Paulo, Brazil?

I think i have the same pic. Dog licking the face.

Was his name Erik ?

He says he has a daughter Jasmine, a dog Simba and lives in Bath, UK . I found another woman in Belgium who told me exactly the same story he was telling me.
Did he send you pictures?

if his name is Erick outs definite scammeed my sister she's barely 18 and naïve he still try's to contact her on hang outs I wanna catch this guy he told her how his wife n child died and that he wanta to be ther father my sister kid doesn't have got her with her online account info bbva and mobile deposited a check

He contacts me too

Hi guys. Has any of you scarred men come across the name, Belinda Olsen, using the pics of Eva Lovia on Instagram? I have been doing some searches it's what little information I have gathered and always coming to a dead end. Before my help goes any further with this person I need to put my suspicions to rest. We did a video chat once in Hangouts but I can never hear her voice and the video was a bit scrambled. The first image of her show the face had great similarity to the pictures she showed me in Hangouts. I really do need to confirm if anyone is able to help me out there.

I have recently had the same experience using Eva Lovia pictures. This girl was Gladys Mills... does this sound familiar??

What was his name? German Shepard dog named Max?

I met a scammer called Erik who had a German Shepherd called Max . Beware !

How do you look up a picture

google, reverse image

Download on your phone Image Search and select the photo you wish to search. That is how I found my guy but it was too late b/c I have given him 2,600. But now I am more aware. First time on a dating site. Good luck.

Would you willing to share a picture? I think I'm talking to the same guy?

I believe I’ve been talking to the same guy. I believe I found the real person he has been stealing photos of too...is the dog a brown poodle?

Is his name Henry? An engineer working on an oil Rig in Asia ?

I believe I'm being scammed by a Henry James wang, added me on Instagram then wanted me to carry the conversation to whatsapp. He is from Alabama but Chinese, says he is an oil engineer has a shiba Inu dog in his pictures and he works in Harrow, england for Exxon. Very good looking, tall and slim. Says both his parents died when he was young and his fiancee cheated on him with his bestfriend and the fiance and best friend work in the same company still and he sees them every day. He sent me a link of a bank account together with his username and password. I logged in and it said he had 6.2million dollars but the whole website looked fake and he says those funds are from the company for a contract he has to start either in Bolivia or Tokyo and that he loves me and needs someone to lend him 50k so that he can complete 500k and be able to get the contract going. I blocked him and called him out on being a scammer he got offended and blocked me on WhatsApp, but then said he missed me and I still bombarded him with questions regarding himself and his story and the fact that I can't see him properly on video camara so he blocked me again and before doing so said he would unblock me once his video is fixed. What should I do? I want to upload his photos, maybe someone here might have the same situation with this same guy.

Maybe we got the same person. Very good looking and slim. But it was funny, I called him scammer and he get offended, even he said get off from his phone. Haha

Hilarious, I believe I’m talking to one now. I’ve said so many mean things to this guy, he keeps coming back forgiving me, but he got really mad when I accused him of being a scammer and wanted specific selfies of him. He then looked back at the previous conversations and got mad again lol. Now he’s back asking me to call him on WhatsApp (if I care)lol. He never directly asked for money, but complained he was $1k short of monies needed to fix a construction machine. I started thinking he was fake when he started saying “take care of yourself for me “ and “don’t forget to eat” so lame. I decided to torture this guy cause me made me care for him with his sweet and loving words for 5 mos. he sent a “nude” but I didn’t, he didn’t continue to ask when I said no. Sadly I found his story was the same as everyone else, raised abroad, been in the US only 14 yrs. not good at English speaking, but is a busy construction engineer in charge of a mall project in MI, has one son, first wife died, second marriage ended so tragic he can “never talk about it” I find it’s really sickening spelled out like this. I’m sure he would blackmail me with any nudes I sent him.

Hi, I think I may be talking to the same guy. Everything you say sounds exactly the same. What name does he use? Do you have photos?

I think this maybe the same guy trying to scam me I have a phone number and pic

The guy messaging me called james winner from Scotland now in USA works on rigs as engineer, wife died in accident and daughter in boarding school.i have a phone number and a picture

I've been talking to a Scot who says he's a US citizen, marine engineer, 17 year old daughter with Aunt in Washington DC. He contacted me first on FB, then IG, we mostly talk on Hangouts and sometimes WhatsApp. Tall, good looking, thinning hair, beautiful voice, ship engineer. Accounts are frozen due to a tax issue, had an explosion on the ship, Dad is sick, daughter needs help, stuck because of Covid...sent me pics of a passport, driver's license, contract, lots of pictures, none come up in reverse images, can't be found anywhere else on the net.

Hi: I think I’m talking to the same Guy! He asked me for money because one of his construction machines broke down. He needs $4.100.00 for repairs and I refused to give him any money yet he keeps messaging me. He first contacted me through Words with Friends the asked me to switch over to Google Hangouts. He goes by Josh Mark or Josh Marks. He’s not sure how to spell his last name lol. He’s always asking “did you eat” or “make sure you eat” He sends me lots of pictures and he looks like a model. Has a brown lab mix named Jack. He lives in El Paso, TX, divorced and currently working in Miami. But....he can’t work because his machine broke and he needs 4100.00. He said he’s “positive” he will get the money soon.

Hi I think I am also talking to the dame guy. First messaged me on Instagram beginning of June. Said his name was Richard James. Working as a marine biologist on an expedition for National Geographic off coast of Scotland. Has a 15 year old daughter. Says he's born in Paris but raised in Scotland and Netherlands. 61 years old. Says he has a home in Sacramento where his daughter is at. Very vague about who is taking care of her. Sent a lot of selfies. Good looking silver hair and brown eyes. After talking to him for 2 days he is already professing to be in love with me. Wanted to call me and after speaking to him a few times I was hooked. He has a very sexy voice that is hard to place the accent but sounds sometimes French and other times Australian. He is very charming. Always texts me what did I eat today and nake sure to take care of myself. After talking to him a week he asked for a $400 Itunes card. I got him $50 one instead. He waits a few days then adks for it again. Actually called me on the phone to plead with me. I hung up on him. And he kept trying to call me back. I finally talked to him latet that night and he text me his account info and says see how much money I have? You can transfer into your account. But I didn't feel comfortable giving him my account info solike a dummy I go to the store buying his $400 in Itunes cards. He's very grateful saying I love you baby etc. We talk some more. He keeps telling me I am tbe one and he will be home in 2 weeks to come for me. Start looking at properties for him to move into etc. Then he calls back the next day and says he bought me a car. And zends me the tracking info. It is supposed to arrive tomorrow but I seriously doubt it. All in all I have spent $1000 on this msn
He has convinced me he is really on an expedition by sending photos of a National Geographic boat. And his workers. But he is not in the photos with them so I am skeptical. Last thing he said to wa he wanted to buy a private island with the millions he supposedly is making with National Geographic. Wznts me to go live tbere with him and his daughter. I am thinking to myself yeah right. I have gone on tbis charade for this long because he caught me at a very vulnxtime in my life. I sm going through a divorce. He says a lot of poems and nice things to charm me. But sadly I know he is a scammer. And after reading all of your comments it definitely looks like he gets around. I feel heartand stupid for falling for it.

Sounds familiar I met a guy from Instagram as well named Jeffrey Wang also owned a dog shiba inu. He is claiming himself an engineer working in oil rig from USA, San Francisco. Also after follow on Instagram then wanted to further chat in Whatsapp. Few days ago he said wanted to send me gift but the tracking slip looks fishy because I couldn’t track the tracking number. The post company looks fishy as well because there’s only a website( Royal Express Security Vault) I asked him is it a handling fee need to be pay up upon receipt because the slip is showing a handling fee of USD 773. I just told him I couldn’t pay for that sum and requested him to collect the parcel himself. But yesterday someone from the local called my cell and whatsapp me to give further instruction as the parcel had reached their office. I blocked the post company and he still Whatsapp me to ask the post company to return the parcel. Ya he is tall and good looking and Chinese. I stop replying any of his Whatsapp till now and will block him . Can you upload his photo? I saw he is following a lot of people on Instagram.

Hi, I think we are talking of the same man, he's good looking, tall, and Chinese but said he's a mixture of a Turkish and a Chinese person, also he said he's engineer, can someone put a picture just to make sure?

Kita same person who chatted with me email me so I can send you photos videos etc..

now i saw same story ...but on his IG he use piras_utt

Can you send me the pics?. Pls.. Thanks

I've been chatting to this guy for months, I met him on Our Time dating website, kept replying because it amused me. Right from the start was very serious says his name is Brian Pail, and communicated via Whats App. I reported his account and it was taken down. Then he contacted me againsaying he'd dropped his phone in the sea on an oil rig. He told me he lived in Manchester England, but a week later he was travelling to Singapore, to finish off a contract. He's now on Covid lock down, and one of his workers needs a blood transfusion (for Covid, really!!!) Gave the same story of wife cheating with best friend. Was deeply offened when I called him a scammer.

I got a honey James scott tall fair and good looking. He send me a photo of him and his wife who died. Parents dead early from cancer. He has a number 505 209 9... talk on WhatsApp but I see photos but no video photos. So far has not asked for money. The number is coming from New Mexico. This could be the same guy but how can I see your photos

i also am talking to a james scott. hasn’t sent me a picture of him and his dead wife but he said she passed away as well. He won’t video chat either .

Sounds like the guy
Im talking to now Avon james
Playing his game is fun. Won't give him not a dollar.

Henry James Scott is a scam, he says his parents died when he was young. His wife and daughter died in a car crash. He is a diver offshore. From Instagram to WhatsApp. But there is a few Instagram names that are similar and think it is him

was this Steve Franklin or Steve Gatlin stuck in a hospital in Istanbul Turkey needing Money to pay his way out of the hospital ?? Well he burned my wife good!!!! Ladies stay safe

I think I have the same going by the name.Albert Marcus. He has a picture of a black dog licking his face. Says he has a daughter named Lucy and no other family. We've been talking for a month and he just asked me for money for his PayPal account. Has anyone else dealt with this guy.

Do you have a picture of this man. I am sure I chat with him also

I think i’m Involved with same man. He contacted me thru words with friends and almost immediately asked for email address so he could add me to hangouts. We’ve been talking for over two months and i’ve Wired money and sent gift cards. Do you have a pic? I feel so stupid but I was lonely. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks

I had a Derrik Mcveigh contact me thru Words.

I met a guy through a dating website and we moved onto hangout straight away. He said he was part of doctors without borders, in Libya (he claimed US was his home though) but he needed $2600 AUD sent to a delivery company as they all get paid in cash they can't touch and he only had 1k leff before he returns in June and needed a safe delivered to me lol. I never sent money...to many red flags...tall short brown hair. Went by the name of Mark.

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