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


Is it possible to share your pictures

There is another guy that goes with Steven_Hendry_Lucas claiming to be a sgt but when he sent his fake military Id. In his ID it says Cpt.

My guy was Dr Mark Williams from London, a medical surgeon working for the UN Peacekeeping Organization in Syria with an 8 year old daughter in a U.S. boarding school in Nebraska. He like some of my tweets then DM'd me casually. Started talking about how he was widowed and both his parents died many years ago. Very believable until I noticed his grammar became poor and very broken English. When I saw this scam I confronted him on Twitter and he became hostile and blocked me. I have since reported him to Twitter. Thanks to all for posting or I might have been scammed.

Hi. I think I have the same story too. Can we exchange pictures of him?

I got a FB friend request from someone with the pic being that of a man in surgical scrubs with hat. When I googled the picture of him one of the dozens of names it popped up with was Dr Mark Williams. I never accept a FB request anyway, but always check to see if I need to report the scammer.

Familiar story, surgeon no parents died when he was 12. Daughter in boarding school, divorced ex wife died . Goes by the name of George wayne on Instagram, then moves you to Google hangouts .

I have the same exact story. He used the name Dr. Henry Blake and he had a UN postman named Jason also. He was stationed in Afghanistan and wanted to send me a box containing gold bars and his medals, awards etc. Unfortunately, I sent money, Itunes cards etc. Please contact me so we can report this guy. I saved all of the proof

Week of November 1st, 2018. I have been talking to a Instagramer who calls himself Terry Walker. He claimed he was a General, in command in Damascus Syria. Said no relatives. Parents died. Has 2 children in states. I noticed his grammar was terriable to be a General. He said he had been in the service 18 years. But kept telling me that things were getting very bad in Damascus, Syria. One day he text me that people in Damascus were being shot and killed. His camp was very unsafe and very dangerous for him. He said he had been there 6 months, and still had 2 more months till his contract was up. He was afraid for his life. He said he had money in the states, but no way to access it from Syria? He had a Military Lawyer to get him a “Certificate of Leave” but he needed 500$. Would I send him the money and I he would repay me when he got back to the states. I had never seen money designated in the format of 500$. It should have been $500. If he really was from the states. He begged me. He said he needed the money to leave Syria and he was afraid for his life.
I said no, and left the conversation. This was too fishy so, I checked his followers. He was following one lady in this profile. He had 5 profiles with the name Terry Walker, with different numbers at the end of his name, This profile was under TerryWalker88. I texted the lady follower and she replied. I told her who I was and ask her if she knew TerryWalker88. She said she was speaking to him at that moment. I told her he was asking me for $500. She said he was asking her for $5,000. Or something like that. I said “Wholly Crap” he is trying to scam you and me! She told me he told her the exact same story he told me. She had already sent him a Phone Card for a month. Why would a General need this? I did not let him scam me, and I was able to warn her. She said that he told her that she was the only woman he talked to. She did not know about the other profiles he had. He wanted the rent one of her Mobil homes she rented when he got back to the states. I advised her that with his salary as a General he should be living in a mansion and bring her with him if he really loved her as he said he did. He should be taking care of her, not her taking care of him.

I met this guy on a unpopular dating site. We chatted and them I asked him to chat on Hangouts. He sent photos that were not on the dating site. He says both his parents passed away, he has a son who lives with his ex. Only child but has family that he does not speak with. He hasn't asked me for anything I mean nothing. When I asked if he could take a early leave from deployment he said he cannot. He has to stay there until it ends. On is dating profile he says he lives in the USA in Miami, Florida. He has no social media. I asked him after I did a thorough search and even an image reversed. Nothing has come up. He is asking me to wait until he gets back from deployment and then we can meet and spend time with each other. He claims that relocating would not be a problem if he ever found someone that he really wants to be with. He confronted him today and called him out about somethings and he seemed to be hurt. In the end he is fully aware that I am not and will not send him anything let alone money. Should I walk away from the situation or should I continue to talk to him and see what happens?

Also we have never talked about his position in the Army. I never asked. He did give me a general idea of his location and it's not in Africa. He told what he does over there (didn't give me the line that it was a "secret mission")

Hi, ishescammingme2018

my story sounds similar as yours. What’s your guys name?

Please be careful ! They sometimes wait very long until they “ have you where they want you “ in the relationship commitment . They paint beautiful pictures of the future life you will have together and are always “ too good to be true “ . They are So Kind ! So Patient ! So Considerate ! And in many cases ... a man of Faith ! They have an explanation for Everything that triggers any doubt on your part ! They may not ask for money . They may ask for your personal information .. Little by little over an extended period of time . They may ask you to accept a check for them or a package for them or to pick up some money for them and forward it . Tell this man to contact you via phone when his deployment is over and then see him “ face to face “ and see where it goes . If he is legitimate ; he will do it . A scammer or someone working a con will not . Best Wishes and God Bless . Be Safe .

This sounds just like what happened to me. He is in Syria fearing for his life. We had texts for a couple of months prior to asking for money.
He needed to ship parcel out of Syria & had no way to access his money in the states. I finally had to block the call, but shipping company still asking for money to finish the parcel even today.
It all sounded fishy, but he seemed really nice. Parents died, so i was the only one he could trust, to help.
Glad i found this site & others that were experiencing the same scam. I didn't realize how many people are doing this scam.
I plan to report this scam so others are not being victimized, not sure if that's what you women did also.
You try to do a nice thing for people in need, then you find out its just a scam.

Hi. Do you have pictures of this guy? I think that might be the same guy.

He uses Kelvin Smith and Lopez Smith...I found out about him in the military scammers website...after l told him what l found out he block me because I offer to send him what he wanted and more...he wanted me to send money to an address in Turkey under the name of Kevin Smith...Ihad some fun making him believe l was going to send what he wanted...

Hey I'm in conversation with a guy at the moment going under name of Michael smith since December 2018 I'm just wondering is this the same guy I did a face check and nothing turned up he's says he deploy ed near Africa and has no means to use credit cards and claims he needs medical attention and if you like he only want 1200 dollars serious what cloud does he think I fell from and yes he cried his undieing love for me do you think I nite have same person ?

I am currently being romanced scammed by a Kelvin Smith, a/k/a Kevin Harry who says he is an Engineer in Turkey. I sent him iTunes cards for his work documents. I have lots of pictures -- even baby pictures with his brother and his mother, pictures of his two daughters and him, pictures of him and his brother, pictures of him in rural Turkey working at an oil/gas plant with his NCC* Sweden jackets with his crew. He has tattoos all over his chest and written on the side of his chest is the words, "I will sacrifice for those I love." We have been chatting on Whatsup since Thanksgiving. Now he says he lost his credit card and cannot pay his staff and needs $20,000, the next day it was $10,000 and now it is $5,000. He wants me to sell my car, get a high-interest loan, or ask my friends. He was on Facebook but is no longer saying he mistakenly deleted his pages. He is on Instagram as Harry Kevin. He gave me his address in LA saying we would live there -- the address is for a house that is for sale. I would love to believe this guy but too much is wrong about his story! Anyone else know him?

Do you by chance have a pic of this dude

I would like to see a picture of this person's identity.

I think i have talked to the same guy..messaged me on instagram, asked me to go to Hangout and I also did a google image search on him and his name popped up Frank P but on instagram his name is henry s. with a goatee wit black and gray in it, says he lives in california, had to go to turkey to work on rig and has 2 kids and wife is deceased..

There also a person I met on Face Book, he said he liked my picture and asked for friend request. I generally don't except people I don't know but I kept looking at his picture and excepted it. His name is Donald Woods in US ARMY/NATIONAL GUARD in Damascus, Syria, Home Town is San Francisco, California. He's very good sweet talker,seems very nice. Says his wife was killed in car accident and has a 12yr old son in Boarding School.after so many messages from him and his sad life stories, I fell sorry for him when he thought he was going to loose his hard earned Contract money and his documents in a package at Atlanta airport, needed money because he had no one else to help him so I borrowed money from Loan companies trying to help a friend out. It was always something happened and he needed more. I was so stupid I kept going to loan companies borrowing more monies because he kept saying he have money in account in states and he will pay me back all money I borrowed. I wish I had read this strip and known about these scammers before I got so deep in debt. I've never talked or met this guy it was only thru messenger. After reading this strip and everything that was done to other women, was done to me. I hope these guys get caught.

Dear Paris Chic,
I’ve made the same experience with Dr.Gillberg Larsson who has been working for the UN in Damascus. A widower from Sweden with a 12-year-old son who is in a boarding school in Italy. He wanted me to get a box with goldbars and some money. I was supposed to pay 2000 Euro for transfer and such via Western Union. When I go there to pay the money, the company denied the payment as it might have been a fraud. Thanks everyone for sharing their stories, now I’m sure he’s a scammer.

I have the same scammer. I've been talking to him for 2 months never asked for money just sends sweet quotes and pics of him and his son saying his wife died in car accident t and he has no family and friends and he don't like talking to women because they lie and cheat. His name is Steve William, his birthday is September. 25 1967 he's 42. And he says he well advance to play games or be a fake. He's a charmer. He's on Instagram.

sounds like my guy said he had sick kid mom died in accident was in the middle east he had bald head with beard and tats

hello this guy sounds like the guy my aunt is talking to do you happen to have a pic ? but he goes by woods diego campbell

I would love to see a picture of this guy be cause I have a guy I'm talking to on hangouts. It first started with an iTunes card, now it's up to 600.00 dollars toward plane fare, of course I am not doing it.He is a sweet talker plays with your heart and sends songs.

What name does he go by

I think this may be my guy..name is Kevin william..hes a real sweet talker..sends songs and just reasontly asked for $100 iTunes card..even said he was flying in to see me...said his wife died in a car accident and has 2 girls living in a boarding school until he completes his contract where he's working out of state..wouldnt give me details..said it wasn't safe..he sent me a friend request on Facebook and asked me to Talk on hangouts then deleted his facebook..my daughter had reservations so I looked his picture up on google reverse and a bunch of names came up.im not sure how to send u a picture of him..

Sounds like the same guy that scamed me. Name Marvin Davis (or Donald ) Chan from Brooklyn, NY. Army, Brigider General in Demascus,Syria. With One 14 yo daughter in boarding school has picture of the two together, wife killed in car accident when daughter was 7, his parents both died when he was young and taken in by fathers best friend who raised him . Started out on Fb, saw my profile and chose me to talk to because same faith. Wanted to switch to hangouts. Started talking sweetheart then wanted itunes card. I sent him one feeling sorry for him for being military and far away and in danger zone, i ask and he told me his MOS 35 Tango Damascus, Syria under the UN orders, I checked it out online sure enough word for word that was the job discription, he then wanted to send me a parcel with some private personal possesions to keep safe not knowing if he would loose his life at any moment, there would be instructions with it. Was to be shipped to me from SHAHAT SHIPPING and hand delivered to my door by special couriour. I agreed, they wanted my picture ID and address, i sent it, next thing was i needed to pay for 2 documents at customs $5950! I refused to pay that. He apologized said he had already paid all his available money to ship it but didnt know they had extra fees. So that was that.
He kept talking to me and the danger got worse and he told me he had a back injury that he would have to have surgery but didn't want to have it done there wanted it done in the US but UN wouldn't realease him so he wanted out of the army and out of Damascus now. AWOL was the only hope because of the pain. He arranged a flight ticket, from Syria to Cypress to Dubai UAE to Houston Texas. He wanted $1000 to pay for the ticket, i scraped it togetfer and sent it after he sent a picture of the ticket. Then he needed $800 more because the ticket was $300 more plus he needed $500 traveling money or something, so i sent it wanting to get hin back to the states for immeditate back surgery.He texed me when he left Syria to Cypress and from Cypress to Dubai to let me know he made it that far. Next i was expecting him to text me from Houston Texas but he text me the next day, 18 October 2018 from Dubai UAE saying he has been arrested for gold smuggling. I also recieved a text from Airport Authority al Maktoum International Airport Mr Mohammed Abul Sulayam saying he needed to pay $5450 for 2 documents for the gold or be charged for gold smuggling and serve 2 years in prison. One docoment was for power of attorney the other was for ownership of 5 kilos of gold. While being held in detention at the airport he gets aquainted with Reem Maryam Abadi, guard who befriends him and lets him use her phone to text me. She was going to help him out with part of the money for the 2 documents but wanted $1000 from me...i didn't have it so then $500, i didnt have it. Then he sent me pictures of her and him in hearts an said Reem would probably help him if he didnxt have a " wife" thats what he called me because he ask me to marry him(made all kinds of promises to love and take care of me, grow old with me, make me the richest happiest woman, ect). Then signed off final on hangouts an told me i could try getting in touch with him through Reem if i wish, but didn know if she would give him the message. Thats after i said looks like he wants Reem and her daughter more than me since she has money and i didn't.
He was real romantic sent me video love songs, poems, pictures and such. Swore before God to love me with his dieing breath, sent prayers, scriptures said he could live without me. Called me 2 times once to ask for the $500 and once for me to pray for his back...sound like he was crying, desperate for the help...sounded so sincere but tried to make me feel guilty for not getting him the money through a loan.
Im leaving out some details but there are some more.
I dont know how or cant do a picture check to find out more. All this took place basically between August 2018 and 24 December.

How do you take the picture from hangouts and Google search it

Ray-Ban glasses, picture of him with a tooth bruch in his mouth? +1724....number?

I think I`m being scammed from a guy who says he is on a ship in Austrils and he is a marine engineer and wants all my info and social security number so he can fix this engine and the only family he has is a grandson in boarding school he needs me to open a bank account to use it to fix his motor and how much he loves me and is a real sweet talker

My sister is being scammed by someone named Daniel Roland that works on ships. He was coming for Christmas but a fire on the ship prevented the visit. He was burned so I expect he will hit her up for cash soon. She was taken before and nothing we say changes her mind Crazy stuff, I tried several ways to find out about this guy but surprise, nothing out there.

My friend is being scammed by a Ethan Micheal baker says he is in zUSA army and is in Syria. He wife died and / children are looked after by a nanny now I found out today he had been asking for money and she went to bank and transferred £ 2000 into account in boulgaria any one who can help with reporting this I have the details that she sent it to and I have 2 photo of him.

This sounds like the person I am speaking with I am gutted . I have photos


This sounds like same guy just scammed me $770 works on rig son in army boarding school, wife died, needed help to pay his legal fee to process retirement fund. Charmed the pants off me, songs, poems, confessions of love list goes on.

Sounds like guy I talked to for a bit..worked on oil rig. Had son..wife died. Was contractor on rig needed money for repair engines. Asked for 26,000. I did not comply. Them asked for iTunes cards. After not getting this he lost interest but now someone else is texting me saying they are friend.,NOT. They are ruthless.

I wonder if this is the same guy I talked to for over a year. The name he used was Kelly Ernest McGill. He is 57. He said he was a mechanical engineer on an oil rig off the coast of Texas and needed money for parts for the engines. He was working on a potential million dollar contract. He said he had a daughter and was divorced. He charmed me, made all kinds of promises. I thought he was real and sent him money I should not have. I had no idea of this horrific world of scammers.

I think I have been talking to the same guy, met him on pof. He sent me proof that two other woman have sent him funds to help pay for his broken equipment but he needs more. Promises he will pay me back, won't stop calling. I blocked him but continues to call. He sent me multitude of pictures with his kids and his parents.

Yes same here. He was mechanical engineer on a contract in the Ukraine drilling for crude oil. Said his wife died 5 years and he was looking for someone to as a friend companion. Finally ask me for ITune card for $100 so he could talk with his son while in the middle of the ocean. I have blocked him!!!!

What was the guys name Sara? I was scammed by a guy out of $8700!

Ethsn Micheals scammed me as well. Said he was on oil rig and was from Australia with twins. Charmed the pants off me too. It's the photos they use I blame. They are always Lovely family men and that's how we see them.

Anyone know of a guy white man with glasses and a beard. Wonderful accent says he is a widower and wants me to meet his son who's in boarding school. Says hes a Christian and he works as a surgeon in Africa. Something is off. He asked me for an iTunes card today. I feel so stupid!! Talks about God and says he loves me. Says his assignment will be over soon and he will be coming to see me.

Hey this is too familiar. Everything sounds perfect except he’s an gas and oil engineer! I fell for him so hard but never sent any iTunes cards got rude even demanding 2 iTunes cards for $100 each. Has 15 year old son. I went along for 3 months then he finally asked for money. My heart he was very good. Today is first day he hasn’t written since I said no to iTunes cards!!! He’s 59 and description above is perfect. Talks about God a lot. He called me said he’s Norweigan hard to understand says he’s in Florida oil rigs. I’m still in love w him but no money honey!

I am talking to an Icelandic guy on oil rig in turkey. We have talked 3 weeks fell madly in
Love sends songs poems everyday a 2 page love letter professing his love for me.
Today first day he mentioned money
About the contract and refining oil very detailed amounts I have been involved with scams before but never one like this I almost turned around and said how much do you need and where can I send it ( j never would) to see if he would take the bait. but I just said good luck
Am waiting for reply but sounds all to familiar from Brooklyn New York widowed 14 year old son who he hardly mentions and goes by name Michael sigurdsson boys name John currently working in turkey Antalya city oil rig
I never knew this scam existed but am a smart girl when it is too good to be true on the net it is usually not!!

I do he told me his name is Thomas Michael Cory. He told me he was a dental surgeon. Does he have a unibrow. And a freckle on his forehead?

Sounds just like the guy ive been soeaking to says his name is Dean Rice. What was this guys name?

I just finished with a scammer, same stories, only changed a little. I refused his friend request on FB, but he "liked" one of my posts and asked if I would chat. Has a gray beard, Cuban, two kids, one in boarding school in Atlanta. He is an engineer working for Exxon Mobil on a ship at sea in Turkey. But his ex wife left them all so he's a single dad. Checked his profile on FB for info, checked his friends and they were all black from the Middle East. Immediately when we were on Messenger, he deleted all his FB information. When I asked him why, he said he had found the love of his life and didn't need it anymore. Also immediately got me on Google Hangout. I wasn't even familiar with this and didn't know why, but agreed. Everything I questioned him about, he had a perfect explanation. Oh, right after I got on Hangout, I hit the location icon and Nigeria popped up! That was explained away too. I knew all about scammers, but all the love poems, videos, songs, sweet talk from a Latin Lover took over. All my common sense left this lonely widow of six years. He didn't ask for $100 ITunes card for over a month, but then it became frequent. He needed it for an app for his job. I refused, but he was so desperate. He wouldn't be able to complete his job and leave on time, etc., etc. I sent the numbers. Soon after, there was another problem and I balked. That I lived on Social Security meant nothing to him.
More sweet talk, how he couldn't wait to get home to me and his boys...I relented with another $100. But now I started researching things he told me, like his address where he owned his home in a tiny town in Alabama. I went Google, county record, then Zillow. He didn't own this $700.000 farm, nor did he live there. But I kept quite for awhile. Then came more demands for money to repair his equipment he used on the job. If I didn't send him a money gram for $500 he couldn't complete his job and get home. After many nights of arguing and begging, I told him I knew about the house and farm he didn't own. He asked how I found out and I told hîm don't trust a retired senior with an IPad. He started with it was all my fault, I was an evil, ungodly woman, and worse. I told him He had conned me out of two hundred dollars, but no more, that he would have to go back to FB and find another unsuspecting woman. His last words to me were "just hope I don't meet a stingy woman like you in my next search". I guess I'm lucky I only lost $200.

OMG, I think my mother in law is being scammed. She too found love ok FB and it doesn't make sense to me. Would you share any pics of this guy? Very similar story.

hi I also have been talking to a guy named harris mason , he found me on instagram, his name is harris mason, wife died three years ago , son goes a boarding school, he has a nanny. he works on an oil rig, claims to be very wealthy


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