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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

Hi...same thinghappened to me as well ...I want to send you picture of him so you can verify

Hi...same thinghappened to me as well ...I want to send you picture of him so you can verify

Is his last name Gonzalez? Is he a US Marine? Does he call you his queen?

My guy calls me his queen. Sounds Hispanic but says he’s Irish and Italian.

My guy called me his queen, honey, babe, his wife etc.. he wanted apple cards, I sent one $50. He keeps telling me he needs to replenish minutes on his IPhone..load of crap. Along on a fishing trawler, needs 43k to replace a fishing robot. Keeps bugging me for it. Also said he has 3million dollars in an acct in UK, and needs to pay taxes on it before he can withdraw it..(fake acct) a real liar. He went by the name of Ben Richard. I contacted Instagram to report him as a scammer, and his profile was removed. Now goes by Wilfred James Todd. Stay away

My scammers name is Gabriel Entrekin. I have all the same red flags, although this is the first comment that I’ve been searching for. Gabriel said he has 5.5 million in cash to deliver to my house. I started the process with him until he told me I had to pay the shipping charges if $550.00 before they would set up the delivery. This is where the rubber met the road. I told him it was his responsibility to pay these charges. He then turned from the sweetest charming man to a mad man. Guilting and shaming me for not helping him. I was hurt as I believed all his wonderful promises of our good life together. This man moves fast. It only took him 8 days to put the scam out there. He told me earned this money delivering hospital equipment. He was retiring and coming home the end of July.

Still a scam right? I’ve never been through this before. If the box of cash was sent (from Ghana), he would be able to come to me by this coming Thursday. He said his bags were already packed. He was planning to fly into DC to pick up His 14 yr. daughter from boarding school. Stay overnight and fly them both home here to meet me.

Need advise. Have not read a story similar to this one.

Clmoz, Gabriel has just recently contacted me also. And I already told him that others have attempted to scam me and to not even try it. He is being charming so I am sure him asking for money will come soon. Don't send him any money. Let's both find a real man and dump this ass.

I have the same one but goes by a different name and used honey , Queen, babe, says he loves me so much. Been chatting for 2 months now and says he has 5 million in a UK bank, calls me his wife and made me beneficiary and needed to move the money from the off shore bank to my account and wanted to help me and wants to retire and marry me . I started the process and then I got the email from bank asking to deposit $2800 to activate to the gold account, that’s when I stopped. Asked him why should I deposit that money and he says it’s service fee. I asked him why should I pay service fee when he has so much in his bank, he can pay it. I don’t have any money. He got mad and stared to say all kinds of stuff . Saying I never really loved him and so on. Says he has a daughter with a nanny and his late wife died in a fatal car crash. Well , he ain’t getting any money now

I just met one. He said he was a petroleum engineer and his wife cheated on him. A nanny took care of his daughter since he worked abroad. Several days after he texted me, he began to call me love, baby, queen and he said he closed online dating account for me (actually he blocked me so that I couldn't report him). He said he was an orphan and then he said his parents were retired. I found something wrong with that. And whenever I asked him for a picture, he would get mad at me. Now he is persuading me to invest bitcoin. He just sent me a link today which I didn't click. Really horrible.

That sounds like a guy with same story about the family but different name that works for government in a secret mission somewhere, but same story, can you send me the pic so I can compare, he contact me by the social media, let me know, Share pics if you can , thank you

Healthy girl can you send me a picture

I got the same contact. Said a nanny takes care of his 8 year daughter. His story was his wife died during childbirth of his second child. Thomas Walter. Said he was born in France, and moved to D.C. when he was 7. Started with the honey, dear crap within one day. I have deleted and blocked him.

I am talking to this guy name Chris Thomas and he said the same thing that you did about the wife and daughter and nanny. Do u have a picture. I have one and I would love to know if it's the same guy.
Please reply thank you so much.

did he say he was structural engineer by chance???

I’ve been talking to a man sounding just like your man he said he’s a marine from Italy has a daughter in boarding school Sonia

Im speaking with scammer im sure, says hes a diamond trader, daughter caller Sonia, says he's Italian calling me babe Queen,,, wants to be with me forever, he says he's going to Poland to do his deal but hasn't asked for money yet...waiting, going by name of Diego also has cat called Sassy!!!

Hi Chori
Can you please tell me what is his name?
I think i am bean scam with the same person.
Thank you very much.

Clmoz- This is definitely a scammer. Block him on phone, and wherever else you met him and move on. You did the right thing by refusing to send money or pay the fee. Nobody has 5.5 million in “cash delivered “ anywhere. Don’t let him continue to hurt you.

This sound similar to some I have chatted with recently the amount is the same want Amazon voucher sonhecancall the company he went by the name of Walter Christopher and speaks French I have now found the pictures he sent are fake and the guy he has taken from has had its one loads oftime
. When I say have on money he get very angry and says I have not looked everywhere to get it

How do you contact Instagram

A man named James Mark add me on Facebook I confirm him to be my friend.after tomorrow he told me to register on whatsapps or HangoutsApp.we exchange messages on hangoutApps until he propose me and we become lovers .after a month he want to see.me but he need me to send letter to thier boss he taught me what will I write so I copy the letter that he send to me and I send to thier address.after an hours I receive already reply telling me that I will pay $500 dollars so that my boyfriend can leave to meet me. I did not give but I promise him to pay.Now I am thinking if it is scam or what.He call me voice call almost everyday but not video call.i ask him a favor to see him on video call but he didn't.i did not see his face .Is it a scam?

I wonder if he is related to my scammer Mason....they could be twins!!!

Carly, I think my friend may have been scammed by a man named Mason Steiner. He represents to be an Australian engineer living in the US. Is this the same guy you’re talking about?

I wasn't scammed but I did have an experience with a Mason Steiner. Very nice, Australian, living in the U.S. for work as an engineer then has a project in Cyprus. No money involved but was invited to Cyprus not picked up at the airport, and can't get through on his phone number. I'll have a nice week in Cyprus but be careful ladies - not sure why people do this but apparently it happens.

hey I have somebody talking to he name or last name is Mason can be the same one, he said, he is an engineer and he is in the black sea right now, he has houses in Texas and bla bla bla do you have a lic of him almost sure is the same one

RUN - if it's the same guy he's slick...he's a predator and it won't amount to any good. Don't let him get under your skin or in your head...he has no moral compass!!

Mason jackson?

Hi I had spoken to a guy that claims to be manson has a very strange accent pretends to have be born in nz but working as a submarine engineer on an undercover misson lives in Wellington has a son Kyle , had a daughter die in car accident , wife was a nurse and died three years ago , found his bilogical father in australia just before his death , currently on undercover misson Cape Verde

Hi I had mason same story , son Kyle, wife died on private mission send photos on plane to mission , he’s rung couple time , he’s got a weird accent , a scam wonted money , said lives in Wellington I have photos he sent , wonted money .

Hi Carly, is he by the name Mason jackson on instagram? Has sent picures of him with his 2 sons.

what was his story? did he follow up for a period of time and then disappear. All the while presenting as honest, believable and kind? did he ask you to visit him?

what did he tell you he does for a living and what's his life story, his age etc. Did he regularly speak with you throughout the day, skype etc?

This guy on IG contacted me about seven weeks ago. His profile shows he is a US Marine and he is in Kansas. He is 34. He calls me queen, dear, baby. He has a 3 year old son he sent me a picture of. His mother has cancer and is in a nursing home. He keeps asking for STEAM cards to upload a map from his account as he needs data. He showed me his bank account and wants to transfer money to my bank. He wants more cards. He is super sweet and seems to genuinely ask the right questions and keeps up with details but I feel like something is off.

Hey I was just reading about all the scammers and came across yours, my guy sounds Hispanic but says hes german and Hispanic. I know I'm being played but he hasnt gotten anything from me although he did try to get me to open a back account...nope not falling for that a bit...wonder if it's the same guy?

How can I sent u a picture to Check if is the same guy that I have been chatting for 6 months. The similarities are Hispanic-German and soldier. But has not asked for money yet.

My guy too but says he is Russian but sounds like a lack and he sent me his photo. How can we share to see if he is one

Same thing happen to me... he went by the name George Philip... he is on instagram...have pics is it the same guy... would want to find out ...can you guys send pics so I can verify...

I spoke to him for 9 months, he has various names, George k, James George k, George Krantz, James K. He is definitely a scammer, I never gave him a dime. Thank God

Hi i hsve been chatting with this guy ..uses this name George Philips..has 15 yr old son..i have pics..please text me back so we can verify pics

Sounds like same guy i have been talking to.i have pics also please reply back..

George Philips..15 yr old son..wife died car accident ..son in boarding school..needs money to fix computer ..retiring soon..wants i tunes money..scammer!!..have many pics ..but its Dr Jones ..in real life! Run!!

same thing happen to me n he told me he is an orpharage and worked in offshore. anyone encounter the same ?

Yes me. £2,400 later he still in contact wants to marry me! I’m married my husband is sick. Goes by the name Henry Brown! American rig contractor needs flight money home but things go wrong and he always needs more!! USA Italian accent I had one call pics are from another man who said he is a scammer and got him blocked on Instagram but he remains it is him
He’s a liar

Yes Little lamb. Mine was on a rig, orphan with daughter in boarding school

Offshore, as in on a rig/big boat? He’s a contractor of some sort?

He goes by multiple names, he is a scammer, same story grew up in orphanage, I talked to him for 8 months until he asked me to send money!

Is his name Glenn Patterson?

Same mine said works on oil rig ready to retire, father of twins Susan and Henry who r in boarding school UK since they where 9 and he lives in Miami, currently working in Turkey at Batman oil refinery.
Wife died 2 days after childbirth, mother brother died.
Wanted to buy me a car for my bday a Lexus.
Said he’s wealthy then asked me for $1200 to buy food on the ship because he doesn’t like food there blah blah.
Said I had to send money to his colleague.
I asked why and he said he would bring him cash.
Then asked me why I was being insulting when I said ur a scammer.
He Advised to get an app called hangouts for chats only because he’s very private man.
Called me honey, babe, wanted to marry me after 4 weeks blah blah
He was on Instagram then removed his account.
Goes by Johnson Lawrence

Sounds like Kenneth Webster to me.

Does he look younger than he says? I had a man from Ghana tell me he was from Europe. He said he was 38, he was actually 23. We face timed so zi believed him. He was a singer who played keyboard. But he was a scammer who asked me to help him with a box full of documents and gold. I laughed and hung up on him. And that was after 8 months of communication with him.

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