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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 met a guy on facebook.He said his name was Mark Johnson government pilot working for the UK government. He said he was a widower with a daughter Mary that leaved in the UK with a nanny. He told me he had a house in San Antonio Texas, and Apartment in England. He said that he had alot of money & money was not a problem. He would marry me and take care of me. He was a very sweet talker. I made me fall in love with him. He told me he lost his debt card in England & couldn't get it replaced until he got back to the united states when his contract was finished with the government. He asked me if i could buy him an $100.00 itune card. I did. Then he told me the itune card i sent him was used. So i brought him anyone $100.00 itube card. Which was very stupid. The we continued to text on google hangouts. He told me he loved me. And we were soulmates. And he wanted to make a life with me & Mary his daughter. He was a government pilot. He traveled all over Europe he told me. He went to west africa an got an infection which land him in Carolina Medical Center in Poland. He wanted me to moneygram or western union him $700.00 for medicine he need. He said they could only get this medicine in Nigeria. I had to send the moneygram or western union money to doctor in Nigeria. And he would come back to Poland and give him the medicine so he wouldn't die from infection. And once he was well he would come meet me and we would marry. I told him he was a scammer and i blocked him from messaging me.
So please ladies beware of this Scammer very sweet talker & handsome too. If photos where real i do not know.

And ladies there is another one out there named David M Rivas i met him on Instagram. He's a widower marine engineer in California. He has a 17 year old daughter named Bella. She is in boarding school. Another one that wanted to talk on hangouts. He told me he loved me and wanted to make a life with me.
He told me he was at sea. And his bank accounting was frozen. He asked if i could open a bank account for him. So his company can direct deposit money into this account. I told him No i wouldn't open an account for him. I do not know this guy that well. It could have been stolen money going into account that would be in my name not his. I told him to have the company cut him a paper check. And he could cash it when he get back on land. And he started insulting me. So i blocked him.

This sound like the same man I'm talking to now. The only thing is he has a son,Kevin,who lives with his nanny.They are in Washington D.C. He work for an oil share company in Scotland.He is a very sweet talker, made me fall in love with him. These only I have one big problem. I'm married. Yes I know that's wrong even if I'm in a abusive marriage. But he really helps me talking with me when I need to talk about my problems. Then he started asking for my help, needing $100 itune cards then Amazons cards .Telling me I'll send it back to you the next day. Then the next day,he would tell me "I have a little problem." I have been dumb enough to send $900 to him and all times "I have a little problem." Now he wants to send me money to get out of my marriage but he has to have $700 to send to his company to have them to release his money to send to me. Now I'm out $900 which $300 was my heart medicine money. Every time I ask for it "I have a problem. Always a problem. He always make it my fault that I don't have the money to send him. I try not to talk to him but I have that man under my skin and just can't stop. Old and Dumd.

Please in the name of God, this person is fake. Do not send anymore money please.

I am talking to a guy name Cleve Baez on Instagram from the US military. He said I was beautiful and I should transfer to hang out app. He has a tattoo on his chest and work out video.He said he loves me. He text me very day and say I miss u. He said he is in Nigeria and from the states. After 4 weeks, I ask him to come see me , he said he need 2000$.

I had a sergeant John goodwin and he sounds similar - wife died , son Michael lives with a nanny
Very easy to chat to , loved me after a week
Contracted soldier , stationed in Niger
Keep fit instructor
Has anyone else heard of him
Frozen bank account , needs to get home and wants a plane ticket

The guy you described sounds like the guy I met via tinder a few months ago, who went by the name of Goodwin Williams. I sensed red flags from the beginning. His story was this: resides in San Diego however currently working on a construction contract in Turkey his native country. He has a young son of 3 yrs, who’s mom had cheated on him, and now divorced. He started telling me he was going to buy me a car, wanted to get married, and also wanted to come visit me, and actually stay with me. I told him that won’t be possible as I never met him, and he quickly accused me of being married, and thank goodness the communication ended. Through two weeks of convo he asked how much I made, asked if I knew what bitcoin was, and even explained a situation where he loan someone money, and it was never returned. Well I am well aware that money, or finances is not mentioned in a two week period of getting to know someone. His pace was too fast for me, he expressed loving me, and how he lost his mother at an early age, and was looking for a mother figure, which was disturbing, and overwhelming. I really wish this guy would get caught, as no one deserves to be taken advantage of. Well stay away from that creep. I’ve read the other posts, and it seems to be the same person which is quite disturbing. This guy needs for his games to be ended. The photo he uses is of a man with dark hair, well trimmed beared, with a safisticated look to him, who works out everyday. Stay away from that creep.

Military personnel only fly non commercial, to and from war zones or non commercial ships

do you feel something for him?
do you know him too well that you want him to come over and meet you?
do you trust him ? this are the questions you should be asking yourself my lydia..because i believe they're still good men out there..you just have follow your heart my dear lydia

Lydia , is the workout video is about lifting heavy weight? And wearing a green sweat shirt and black trouser?

Does he have a bunch of tattoos? And has videos of his being a body builder.

Sounds like a guy I talk to called Tyler Dean. Says he’s from Belfast but is doing construction engineer project in Germany. His wife of 5 yrs cheated on him/he’s been divorced 4 yrs now. Muscualar man with pics of him with a dog and also a workout video of him at the gym. Says he has a daughter aged 6 who is in the care of his aunt who is disabled. He has asked for steam gift card or if not Amazon or iTunes.

I'm currently being scammed by a guy named Williams Smith from Detroit Michican. Claims he is in Thailand working to repair pipes under water . He recently wanted me to contact the United Nations to help him get a vacation I said no he got told me I didn't want to meet him . I said I'm not comitting fraud for him . I'm still texting him just to see how far he will go .

Good thing you didn't allow yourself to fall prey to what he wanted from you. Going to jail/prison is so not worth it for these losers, a real care honest person wouldn't want you to go the extremes for them like a scammer would in order to meet them. United Nations deals with terrorist (I think) not pipe running LOL.
I hope I can meet this loser (scammer) so I can grill him on Detroit Michigan, I am from there LOL.

Mine is Smith Williams?may I see a picture.ty

Mine is Scott Williams anyone know him?

Are you still talking to him? I think I’m talking to the same person.

I have a Williams Smith from California messaging me. Says he is working on an oil rig in Finland. I would really like to see a picture. This guy has short dark hair with a beard, super fit.

I have been talking to this man name Allen Smith Williams but he says he's from Syracuse New York and he's goin to Africa and he stuck there unless I can help you with money and food kind of dark hair and a beard and is well Belt do you have the picture I do let's see if it's the same guy I'm not sure if that is my username on Tagged I can't remember it I haven't been there in a while so I would like back for you or reply on here I really think it's the same person thank you

Think I’m talking to that one lol

I also had almost fallen prey to a guy named Kelvin Albert, sent message on social media and then hangout. After being very sweet and in love with me sending such lovely messages, I too fell for him. He said he is a widower from Houston and out on a project in Iceland. Has a son and daughter living back home. Finally wanted money for his ailing son. His card not working. But I was smart enough to to play around and refused to pay. In turn told him to give me details of hospital and home my cousin there will help him. Have blocked him immediately.
Please be aware do not send money. I am worried because I sent him some family pictures after he sent me his family. I hope he doesn't misuse.

May I ask you his name please?

Barry Eckenwiller scammed me out of R800,000 using his child to make me feel sorry. Said child was to have urgent heart surgery. Promised to pay back all my money. Then he changed his email and just disappeared. Been trying for 4 years to track him down without any success. Does anybody know this man?

Is this real,, r just a scammer trying 2 get me ??

we are the same.. he said that he has a son kevin living with his nanny but they are in U.K. and He is a head of operations and logistics at benzik oil company... he asked me to open a bank account for him. the name that he uses is Dave Forster on Facebook. but we first chat on Words with Fun2...

He claims his name is kayland Berger, goes by Kay Berger, with an email address of bergerkay119 @gmail.com, an text mail phone number of 817-668-8634, on “Hangout” as Kay Berger… I meet him “Plenty of fish”…. This is what he sent via email about himself.. I'm 58 years old but very young at heart and physically. I was born and raised from a Catholic home at Linz.. I was married for 14 years. I'm widowed for 9yrs now looking for that special woman of my dreams to bring back the joy and happiness I have been missing since I lost my late wife (companion). I have one adopted daughter called Adjoa who lives in Austria now with my Aunt, she’s black and in college at the moment, I adopted because my wife couldn't bear kids... I 'm a retired Automotive engineer; I worked specifically on Trains; I'm financially stable and living without stress..

Do you have a picture on this guy?

My guys name was Mark Robinson and he definitely was a sweet talker. He seemed so real but there was still red flags. Especially the thing about falling in love so quick. I figured he was a scammer but he never asked for money and told me he owned a house in San Diego and the one in Germany. He also talked about a huge contract he had with Exxon and how he was going to be making a Huge profit. I Called him out on it because he wouldn’t prove who he was and he did not have a paper trail. He was a older widower and had a very young daughter. Picture of him and his daughter who seem like she was Spanish or mulatto. He also sent pictures Wearing a red diving suit and also a black rubber suit. He worked a crane under the water and he Lied about his faith in God and how he was told he was going to meet me and take care of me. He knew I was a recent widow but I really didn’t want anything serious but he wouldn’t leave me alone. He looked like he was in his 50s or 60s very handsome white guy but I called him out on it and wouldn’t stop. I asked for his ID I asked for a picture I asked for a video. Think he got sick of me bugging him to prove who he was and he sent me a video with him and a few other people men and women holding a gun in his hand in the song was playing bad boys bad boys what u gonna do when they come for u. I stopped all communication.I wish we could put pictures on this site. Is there a place where they don’t charge for reverse lookup?

The man i am talking to is younger 40s young daughters discription similar sandiego new york Texas he claims but grew up in Germany. im a widow also so very cautious. I wish we xould share photos

Did he send you a picture with a purple shirt and wild patterned shorts on a golf course?

I have recently met a guy who says he is a pilot also. He does not say that he has kids. He reports he is locked out of bank account, has to use company spyphone, and has no access to his money for flight. Met on Tinder. He has sent several pics. He even talked to my mother and niece on phone. Accent is legit. I'm confused

What is his name? Is it Jon??

Got Scammed, youre not alone. I lost more than you did..more more more sent to these criminals. I wanted to shout but realized it wont help. I am highly educated woman but I am trying to move on. Same story as yours. God bless us.

Today, I am writing to say, yes, highly educated means we are just as gullible as others. I am out about 16,000 to a scammer maybe more. Sweet nothings and an occasional online playmate and what a dupe I have been. Yes, Romania, said to be involved in medical... original facebook listed out schools, none of which would confirm his attendance. Name is dubious, cannot pin him to any locale. Cell number untraceable, sends him iTunes cards, the list goes on and my face is permanently red. Slick moves and honeyed words promises of a car(?) marriage, a future complete with adopted kids... slight variation on themes, but sad all the time.

bunny, yes I'm gullible highly educated woman. I gave a lot to these criminals ...more than what you've lost. when all my savings were drained I went to bank loans...huge loans in my hands right now. Nothing came as what promised. What a fool I am...I wanted to shout over mountain tops. God bless us

Thanks17. I have lost a lot of money as well. How did you recover. My situation is fairly new. Having to file bankruptcy as well. It is so devastating

I know how you feel also I’ve been scammed out of a lot of money lost my vehicle and about to lose my house and don’t think I will recover I’m so devistated I cry every day think it’s all over

You are not alone. I took money from my mom thinkinking my man is paying me back. I have spent $56,000 in itune card. He said he could turn into cash for what he needed , to fix his problems b.p said they have no record of my guy he says he does and he claims he is still coming to me. I m not holding my breath

Hi Roxanne,
I went through the same thing . I send more money than you. Now Im filing Bankruptcy. Every morning day and night I cried. Cant let my family knows nothing plus have a sick child and he knows it and it wasnt nothing to scam me. Now Im try to work with the authorities to get him in Africa. It will be over. Just file Bankruptcy its not going to be no where out. They only think about them self only. I knew him from June 2015 and he start the money scamming from April 2016 until July 2018 was the last he got over $7, 000.00 out of my hand . The money he said was to come here instead he took away the money so I curse him out which he decide to pay me back. The last message was a 2 sentence txt from him December 1st 2018 then he block all incoming call. He was living in Cyprus then he move back to Africa and scamming a lot of women in the USA and other countries. He uses a USA phone number.But Im going to bring him down because I have so much info on him he dont know. So try and bring him to justice. Our authorities here working with the EFCC over there. He dont call any more because he was a scammer. So do the right thing. Romance is not easy for us women. If you want you can reply to me and I can help and tell you what to do.

I was scammed by the man I believe who live in Kenya. I had been catfish. During 10 months course of the scam Mar 18- Jan 19, I had wired US 40 k to this con man through the banks in Turkey Plus 20 K through western union in Kenya . Is there any way to track down this con man

You could contact the Western Union Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492 and explained what happened. You could also report this to the banks you used to transfer the money. If you met this person on a dating site or social media site, you could report the person's account to the website administrator.

I was being scammed too. For 13k. What should I do now to get it back? It was so stressful and how idiot i am..

Hi I'm talking to someone saids he and Afghanistan I didn't try I haven't really give him a lot of money but he says he's coming here in April to see me cuz he wants to marry me but I'm just wondering what was your names the name of your gentleman what was his name I can't I see pictures of them but when I scan him it sounds like he's a scammer and somebody else is using his name but then he really doesn't ask me for any money I sent them a couple bucks here and there but nothing major I just feels too good to be true need a little help

What was the names of the guys u tlkd too?

What name does he use? I’m talking to a guy right now sounds the same but just started. Just feels leery that’s why I started researching. He’s sent pictures even video. But if you look on FB Page it goes against everything he describes about himself.

Hi Loulou,
I think I’m scamming by Man from Arizona. He is security but has a contract with UN in Vietnam. He asked me to apply for his Vacation. He gave me UN email and they send me the form with UN logo and everything on it. They asked me to pay 2345€ on bitcoin wallet. I still talk with him because he is waiting for me to pay. When I check time of email that he sent me. Time zone is Los Angeles not Vietnam. Every picture that he sent me I check it say that is original and can’t be found on any site. When I asked him about fraud and that on web says that I don’t need to pay anything for UN. He always told me that he is security has different contract from UN employee etc... his wife died 13ago during the birth of daughter. And daughter is in boarding school. How can I check and found who is he, where he is and who is the man on the picture. He cant call me or make video because everything is secure. He also doesn’t have an online access to his account. The only stupid things is that I sent to this UN adress copy of my driving licence and I filled in this form. He has some of my pictures even with my son because I didn’t doubt until he start to ask for money. Can you please tell me what to do?
Thank you

I’m talking to a guy right now that his story is very familiar to yours.
He says he works for the UN and is in a special mission in Yemen right now.
His mom died during childbirth with your younger sibling, dad died later because of a heart disease. Lost his wife 3 years ago in an accident and has a son who lives in London.
He asked me to write an email to his sons school become he had a nightmare and had bad feeling about it. But can’t email because it isn’t secure. But when I asked questions about what to write in the email it was weird.
He says moves to Canada when he was 3 but his English is a little off too.
He says he loves me and wants to get married already. And gets upset when I tell him I don’t love him
It’s been about a week. But I don’t want to over look the little things.

sounds like my scammer, describe him physically.

did he have a strong Italian accent, do you have a photo

My friend and roommate is being scammed I believe by a man with a very heavy Italian accent. His pic is a 30 ish man dark hair dark beard. She has wired money. His name is Jacob. Not sure about last name. He says he’s an engineer building a mall in Russia and couldn’t use American credit cards. Flew there from, like man others, New York. I need to show her absolute proof so she will believe me before she sends anymore money!!!!!!! Do u have a pic????

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