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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


so what happened after that? did you make a payment to custom?? did police come to your house after accused of money laundering?

It is also happening to me right now. His name is Chris Cooper, architect, from Columbus Ohio.

Hi, I have very similar story to yours.
Can I have his picture?

What about Greg Edison? He's from CA and says he's on an oil rig in Greece. Has 2 children going through a divorce. Has not asked for money yet, but waiting for him to ask.

Do you have a picture of this man you could share?

Even I was scam by the same condition,his name was William,I met him in Asian Dating Site,he told me that he is from south Korea,he work in Italy as petroleum engineer.

I have a picture of my Boyfriend How do I send it to find out if there’s a scam

Sounds familiar goes by the name Jon Alba

I have similar stories, only his name is William Lauridsen nah he is Irish

The guy I'm talking to is also Irish working in Scotland. Broken machine. Divorced.

A guy who says was born in Sweden but lives in Toronto, architect, widower, sun studies in England, works currently on a Hotel in Cyprus (North Cyprus, belongs to Turkey), age 55 (Feb 18 apparently was his birthday).. Goes by William, on OK Cupid - his profile disappeared when I started talking to him. I just found one of the photos he sent to me as Rowland_incredible on Instagram, maybe somebody would like to take a look to see if recognizes him..Hasn't asked me for money yet..there are red flags everywhere, I am just curious to see where this goes...I am sick of these scammers, met one few years back who suddenly left for Turkey on a business trip and was "robbed" and didn't know what to do, was desperate. I told him I hope he resolves his issue soon and to call me when he comes back, which of course never happened. I travel for business, and the story they make up that they are suddenly "in trouble" are just unreal in the professional world, please don't fall for this. If he is a successful businessmen, he would never be in these kind of situations, or if it happens, it is very easy to get out of it with one phone call, even internationally, doesn't need to ask a person who he never met for help.

I'm getting a sense of deja vu. I was contacted on Instagram by a pilot from Houston called David Cromack. He used to be in the airforce but was now training young pilots in Turkey. He said his Father was American and Mother was Turkish. Both parents and his sister had died and his ex wife died from brain cancer. I asked him what type of tumour she had and he didn't know even though his daughter was very young then. It was his daughter who asked me for an Amazon steam card. I asked her if she was on drugs and blocked her dad

Is his name William Reaves? He is emailing my mother and she is falling for all of his fancy words and ploys hook, line, and sinker.

My dear friend has recently been communicating with a William Reaves. He is originally from the Netherlands, but has relocated to the states. Lost his wife to cancer/kidney failure. Has a daughter in Australia, I believe. He claims to be a world renowned interior designer.

I’ve been contacted by a William Reaves. He hasn’t asked for anything but my phone number which I haven’t given him! So glad my friend saw this! I had a weird feeling!!

Can you tell me a bit about him?

He is using his name as David Liam...architect, in Switzerland, widower, wife died in car crush, has a sin studying in London UK, met online, then he went to South Africa to do project came back... stock in Montreal airport... maybe deported... asked me for money ... I have his email, and financial institution in Switzerland banking account number, please help

Do you have his photo?

A man on Whatsapp lives in Cyprus. Said he was in car accident on June 29 2020. Lives in Hotel. Needs steam wallet cards to call daughter. I have many photos. He says his name is Anderson and he is a Geologist! Age he said 59 not true

I have been taking to a guy claiming to be a Swedish engineer working in Turkey. He lost his wife and son. He loves me and will buy me a big house but needs money to now cause he can’t access his account while he is in Turkey!
I didn’t send any!

I am glad you didn't! I didn't even let him ask for money, I told him that he needs to figure it out himself how to solve his problem, but that is probably the same guy. I wish people would search more online who they are talking to, just type in the story.. I have reported recently another catfish on POF, once you get tricked by one, it is easy to spot them the minute they start talking, same MO, slightly different stories. They are either not in the city right now but coming in 2 weeks, or they have to leave suddenly for work..But this is huge business, and they are not stupid, I wish we women weren't so thirsty for a romance in our busy life..

I was tricked too. Same person and asked me for money. I literally was sucked in and almost sent the money. My financial advisor said no way, sounds like a scam, dont fall for it. I have made sure to disconnect with this scammer...Philip with an accent in Turkey.

Do you have a picture of this Philip?

He sounds like the guy I have been talking to. Equipment problems. Credit cards not usable I Turkey. Needs money to pay his labor workers. Car crash. Family medical emergency....

Sounds like the one I’ve been talking to.
Does he have a daughter? Dark hair , handsome, Romanian.

I met a handsome Romanian man on badoo. Had his daughter after 4 years together. He had borrowed money for his business totalling $23350. When our daughter was one month old I found out he has dated other people the entire time possibly for money. I got mine back but I think only because his main partner was done for fraud and still on parole. I found out, called them both cons, got my money back and have to take him to court for child support. Met him on badoo 2015 based in Perth, western Australia. I have found him on brazilcupid as well as other dating sites and have had him removed where I could

Kaytee, is his name David Ardelean or David Lungu? From Romania. Around 40 years old? In the Romanian Army fighting over in Syria ?

No. His name is Ioan. Uses screen name of klauss.

Sylvester T Barnes - suspicious scammer. Same story, chief oil engineer, 52 years old close to retirement, widower, only child, orphan and just one daughter. The story started on Instagram. He found mi profile and love my photo. Writes like a gentlemen and talk nice. Has not asked for money yet but I am a pro photographer so when he sent photos of himself they I noticed immediately they were manipulated. He put himself on the deck of a rig ( supposedly working for dolphin drilling company in Poland. ) never could provide name of the rig! Or the flag.
The photo is fake cause he was not using helmet. None of the safety gear that should be on a oil rig. He was posing and photo of his face was taken with front light, the rest of shadows of the entire environment were taken with early early light. This is a technicality only pro photographers can detect. So the images are fake and manipulated to make me believe he does work as oil engineer. Too good to be true! Looking for lady to travel and retire with his true love!

I have something very similar. He just had his birthday, so I got two little videos. But poland only son with only daughter. From poland, now on an oil rig. Will be done and home in a few months. Very kind and loving.

I have been talking with a Romanian guy also since last September named David Lungu Ardelean ! Dark hair, very handsome, around 46. Stated he was in Romanian army and he was over in Syria. Was he asking you for money ? He's been asking me. Giving me sad stories. He has sent me pictures and stated strong feelings for me about a month after he friend requested me last Fall. He now claims he is trying to come to the states but is currently being held be kidnappers in Mexico and needs money to get out of there. Did he tell you the same stuff and is he still contacting you ? He needs to be stopped!!

I think we r talking about the same gay I was talking with,architect ,widowed has a black haired daughter.

Is his name David ? Had a 40 year old Romanian soldier named David friend request me around the end of July this year. Very good looking guy. Dark hair. Very buff. Works out alot. Says he lost his dad at 20 and his mother when he was 30. He's over in Syria fighting and is trying to get me to help him come to the United states. Stated how much he cares about me and loves me already after just a few months of emails with him.

Same happened to me this past November with a guy named Maxwell 47-49yrs old from Florida with accent working on the sea drilling oil in UK. Widowed lost wife 6 hrs ago had twins 13yrs old (boy and girl) after 2 weeks chatting and calling. Suddently a car accident happened where the kids was involved. i previously spoke with the kids on the phone and the girl said they going to a school trip to istanbul.and the nanny went with them. 3 days later , i received a call from the (so called Doctor Uzman) telling me he trying to contacted the kids dad but no answered and my phone was saved on the kid phone. He said the kids were in coma! few minutes later. The dad called me asking me for help to do a wire transfer of $5,000 to the hospital so they can started the treatment! And he could not do it cause he was working on the sea wirh an oil company and his bank account online was inactive so he was waiting to the company sent help so he can flight where the kids were. I didnt trust them, cause i asked the doctor the main number of the hospital to speak with nurse station and he didnt. i also called the school he said they went and no field trip to overseas and no kids with their names on system. . I started questioning him and few hours later “he got help fom soneone (a miracle)” He finally flew to Turkey and for his bad luck he ran out of all his money within 4 says . begging me for help so he can eat and pay hotel. he asked for $1,500 but gave me the restaurant guy name for the wire transfer, haha. i said: “ok, i gonna send money but send me your photo id”. He made an excuses that his cell wasnt a smartphone so doesn’t have camera (yeah right) So he stated he will sent me a copy of one of his files! He sent me a Florida driver license and the USA passport. I checked both and they are fake, they actually edited with his name. He forgot I’m a graphic designer so i saw right away the mistakes editing picture and the pixel and the unmatched font used, so when he calked again telling me he was starving and need help. i askied him “ who is...? ( the real name of person on the passport ) and he hanged up and never calked back. i didnt send money but put my story out there to help other. this people are actors they know how to cry but not how to edit, lol i have pics of this person cause everytime he did a video call i did screenshoots just you need all their names and banks info and pics i have it all.

Omg! Sounds exactly like the same con man- I would love to exchange photos- how do we get this guy!!!????

I;d be willing to exchange pictures.

Wow, I just discovered I was catfished by this petroleum engineer working in an oil rig whose name was also "Maxwell", 49 yo. Lost his pregnant wife in car accident 10 years Ago. No family at all.
My story is different, the dream guy, with lots of money. Got me into the bitcoin thing and along with a company scammed me into investing money. This guy has also an accent. He sent me pictures of a very notable public figure from Brazil. I know better, I should have looked this way sooner, since that is how I discovered it. Shame shame shame "Maxwell".

Hi scammed,
I met a guy in a dating app. Photo was of a 35yrs old, dark haired guy with an accent. He is supposedly and american from Florida but has a thick accent. Currently in Dubai funding real estate and into bitcoin as well. The bitcoin thing is i think the modus operandi. Gives you a link to a bitcoin platform that is supposedly from a reputable UK company but i emailed the company and said they are not dealing bitcoins. You are supposedly to deposit 5,000 euros into the account. Intelligent, seems to have all the right answers when asked.
Just thought i’d tell the story in case same or similar pattern of the scammed is use again. He uses the name Mike Juan Adley. Can provide picture.

I have been o a online dating site and have come across 5 men that our scamers ha e not met on guy that wasn't somethi g needs be done. Names come across Raymond Thomas Jeffery Herenado,Scott Richardson PAscal Ukpabix the last one only know king of hearts. Ladies any one hear or dealing with these men let me know they are active now. Been threatened one tried blackmail. I'm talking 5 men in a row this is a big problem any advice

I'm also talking to a Maxwell in the UK. Different story though. Does he have an accent? If so, what kind? Please help

Hi. Is there a way to see those screen shots? I think he is trying to scam me now

Some guy going by the name of Scott Maxwell made comments on my IG account. We started a friendly conversation which went on for a few weeks. I asked a lot of questions which I could tell he got annoyed with. He said his mom and dad were killed in a car accident and that he was raised in an orphanage. He also said his ex wife had remarried but died of cancer. His "son" lives with him so he says. He said he's a Project Manager for a company in Dallas, Texas. He said he works for Plumb Engineering, which I googled, and is out of business. And it was located in New York anyways. He said he was working on a contract for a job in Turkey. He was smooth, but I just kept asking questions. I could tell he was getting annoyed with me. I asked him for his phone number and he gave me a number with an area code of 440 which is in Georgia, not in Texas. I called the number to see if he would answer. It went to an automated voicemail. He never asked for money but he quickly professed his love for me. He said his heart was beating for Scam! Terrible that people troll social media apps to victimize others.

he says the same name scott, parents both dead. Mom died in Brazil. wife left hom for another man. works in oil rig company.., think we have the same guy. also found my ig account

So much like the guy I wad talking to. He found me on Slovenian social media. His wife dead, has teenage boy. Parents died in the car accident. Orphan. Was adapted and grew up in Australia. He using pictures of admiral John Michael Richardson. He pretending that he is in Syria in the war zone. Retired in February but cannot get home couse of corona virus. Needs money to fly home. Army not flying him home cause he didn't arrange the flight home on time. Asks for bitcoins to pay for Internet. He deposits fradulant checks. Be ware of this guy.

Have you heard of Julian Graham?
Very good looking and is a “Mining engineer”. He lives in Asheville NC.
A very smooth talker. His story is a combination of many of these. Ie widower for 6 years. No kids, born in Hamburg Germany.

Sounds like the guy I’m talking to now? Cap Phillip Nicolas, cargo ship man, from Malta, been talking to him for a few weeks and now has a broken bit on the ship and needs me to send him money cause he can’t pay the parts place, I’m not doing it, but he gave me his account details but looks dodgy as.. anybody else had a Phillip Nicolas??

I was talking to him also since 11th of June
Captain Phillip Nicolas from Malta and sailing on cargo ship and after 3 weeks of conversations he also said that there was some engine problems and he needs me to write an email to this company and I will have to pay the bill for this part he needs in order to get the ship back sailing.
Does anyone know whose pictures is this man using..? So the real man on the photos can be warned ...

I’ve been talking to someone who took a job in Turkey, equipment problems, doesn’t use credit cards, Turkey, I got a call two nights ago that he and his driver were in a “fatal” car accident and either he was in a coma or at the brink of death. He is Italian whose wife cheated on him with his best friend. Does this sound familiar?

This is a scam. Heard the same story many times. Turkey, equipment problems, car accident, wife cheated all classic lines.

Report any online crime now. A lot of people have been hurt on the internet and kept mute about it, if you don't report the crime, how do we deal with that crime? and put an end to it. Feel free to report today to the email provided below.

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