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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 did he go by the name johnson monland.

Right now I'm talking to 2 guys. One is on an oil rig the other is in Afghanistan and is a Lt. General. Here's a question for ya..... Why would a Lt. General be talking to me? I'm sure he scammer.

I just busted a man, claimed he was a seargent major in us army...found me on pof...name is Ryan Luke quinn...I can't find his pics anywhere...never asked for money, was sweet and acted caring...wanted to come home to me when deployment was over...finally got him to email me, located the ip, Nigeria...

I heve been contacted by by a man who says he is in the army stationed in Afghanistan transfering to Iraq. Wanted to send me a big box with gold bars money and supposedly all his military papers and pictures of him when he was a kid. Mind you this was after he tells me he wants to come back to me in the states and marry me and be a family. When he tells me about this box he wants me to borrow money from any one that will give it to me to get it. Conversation were never about "US" anymore it was all about the box and getting the money to ship it. Anyone have any helpful infromation it would be greatly appreciated.

Hi
I had the same thing happen to me. This box with his treasures and papers from the military. Money too! He tells me he is sending it to me and that I will be arrested because I am helping him with laundered money. His name is Garth Hestilow. He is very charming and smart. I have been reporting him to the FBI. Also there was a Dr.Wilson Potter and a Priest named Charles Nelson. Plus a company called Excel Parcel in London. I thought these people were liget. I am naming these people on this site so others will not be taken in like I was. When all is said and done I was left with just a heartache and I am trying to recover from it all.

I was just contacted by a Hispanic man 2 days ago named Wilson Potter who says he was adopted, raised by a priest And is stationed in the Philippines right now. He says he’s about to retire and move back to his home in California. Is any of this familiar to you?

I had the same thing only it was a woman it is a good scam she got me good she was very patient

I don't suppose his "name" was Brad Unwin?

Sadly, the same thing happened to me and I was foolish to send money to help one claiming to be a Commander in the US Military stationed Iraq. He wanted me to help him receivet his property until he has a leave in August. He claimed his unit received compensation from their Commander for successful mission and money was stored with a security company in Syria, that was closing down due to imposed tax increases, and all account holders had to claim their property or it will be turned over to the Government. I STUPIDLY agreed to help and in order to get his property the papers had to be transferred to my name which cost $$$. However, it didn't stop there, but more money was being requested for certain certificates for the diplomat delivering the box to get clearance at JFK Airport, otherwise I would be in trouble should the authorities scan the box and my name is listed as owner. Well, I got fooled once, but not again. They even have a fake Anti Fraud Agency with a gmail email contacting me for this money. They can keep the alleged box. I am NOT touching it or paying for nothing else! I have filed a complaint with the FTC and provided all details and contact info.

Omg me too an oil rig! I the gulf. I know it’s a scam. Named Allen??

I’m going through oil rig scammer too
Said someone impersonating him using his pictures yes I lost money. His name Henry Brown
As daughter 12. Nanny wife died 2016 just got taken off Instagram by the real person whose if he took! But he swears he loves me!
Lives California

OMG that is the story I just got from a guy, Fred William, exact to a T.

so the fred thats been talkin to me says he is from uk, but has lived in California for 28 yrs. wife died last year. he has a contract on a oil rig in the indian ocean. other money he says he has is invested in his company. he seems so nice and his words so genuine. i suspect a scam ...but sent 2 20 steam cards ..but iam not sending anymore. would like to know if he is the same person. i got a picture..he says williams is his last name.

I think we might have been scammed by same person. Can you send me his pic to compare?

I think we were talking to the same person he called himself Jack Williamson was a contractor working out Alaska, told me how much money he was going to get once the job was done. Caught him a lie and toasted him I have his licence with photo if you want to compare

I am being scammed by oilrigger. His name is Frank Coherl.
IAM 73 year widow. I have sent him money. I want to believe him.
I enjoy his sweet words. I have accused him of being a scammer, tried to break it off several times. I need to see a picture, I ask God to give me strength todo so. Please send picture

Do you know the name of the Lt General you talked to in Afghanistan?

Has anybody come across a guy called Micheal Scott? Saying in the UN based out of Syria?

I have been corresponding for 14 months with a UN person supposedly a USArmy Brigadier general named Dave Rogers originally from NC with a 16 year son in boarding school inParis. Until a few days ago he had asked for small amounts on ITUne cards to be se not to his son. Then he hit me with a whammy!! He had come into a huge amount of money which he was sending to me from Syria via Dubai but I have to pay the shipping company almost a thousand dollars to retrieve it. I said NO, find another patsy.

Hi there...the oil rig guy. Same for me. He came out of nowhere and is "madly in love" All kinds of flags. Yours isn't named Bryan, is it???

The guy my friend is dating is Bryan Kelly. Says hes on an oil rig in Afghanistan. His daughter is In boarding school. Madly in love with her and wants to get married

Bryan dale?

Hi all! I am also talking to a guy names "Brad Thom" who owns his own Petroleum Co and is currently on an oil rig in the Aegean Sea in Turkey. Came to the States 20 yrs ago after his mom past. Is a father of 2 children "Jane" currently 19 and "Kevin" currently 12. Is a widower of 12 yrs. His wife died giving birth to "Kevin". He Instagramed me out of the blue the other day. And by the end of the night he stated the he loved me and wants to marry me. Last night he stated that "Two of my most important machines used for working got spoilt " "It’s gonna be fixed by the mechanics and I’ll have to pay them to fix it
I’ve spent a lot in getting this contract and also since i came on here And am currently having this problem with my account that can’t be fixed until i get back home" and "I just don’t know how i can get help with the remaining of the money to pay to fix the machine i just promise to pay back as soon as i complete this contract and get paid". So i ask him if he was asking me to help him out financial b/c i couldn't and he stated, "No am not
I’ll just try to find help myself to see what i can do about it". So i looked up his facebook page that he stated that he no longer has and I found his picture, along with another picture of a different guy on his facebook profile. I'm toying with telling him but i'm not sure. What do you ladies think??

He is a scammer. We are suppose to be intelligent women!

I have a Russell Williams who claims he works on an oil rig. He also says he has no access to a phone because his company don't allow them. I asked for proof of his ID and he sent a photo of his ID badge. His picture doesn't match the one he uses in words with friends 2 - which is where 11 men have spent their time proclaiming undying love for me haha. They're all widowed and have kids. Sometimes they say the child died too. It's disgusting what lengths they'll go to.

Is there a way you could send me the oil rig guys pic? I met a guy on a plane, total love at first sight kind of deal, and he works offshore. Some things have popped up that make me question his motivation and I'm wondering if it's not the same guy.

Hey, I also have a US Army Sgt by the name of Matthew Acosta in Afghanistan telling me he has a gold reward for saving someone’s life. He wants me to pay the storage fees and shipping to get it to can get it to Canada. He professed his love for me, and wants to spend the rest of his life with me. The cost is ONLY US$8,550. He lost his iPhone and tells me he’s using an office computer. I checked his picture he sent me on photo recognition system and came up to another guy who’s been posting on Instagram since 2017. He told me someone stole his ID. Still in love with him. Having Dubai police confirm the existence of the storage company in Dubai. Can he be telling the truth? We’re hopeless romantics.

My mom has been talking to this "special forces chaplain" who is in a war time zone in Syria. I've told her to stop talking to him, but he says they're going to get married. He just started asking for iTunes cards. He goes by John Henry. Anyone dealing with the same guy? I'm trying to look out for her. Thanks!

My mom has been scammed for a year now. LARGE sums of money. I have contacted lawyers, her banks, her doctors, the local police. All tell me they can do nothing until she gives me power of attorney, which she refuses. What can families do to stop this scamming on elderly parents? Please help.

My mother is being scammed too. We have been slowly gathering details as her lies are monumental in protecting and covering this imposter. He has managed to get her to leave my dad, move away from her entire family, steal from my parents retirement and I can only assume wire at the very least over 15k. We are trying so hard to help her but she is brainwashed. She is literally trying to burn her bridges with each of us and I know it’s because of him! I have an address in Nigeria that her bank gave me when she tried to send money from there but no name, email or picture. She uses a translation app and WhatsApp to communicate. We think too she may have 2 phones. I BEG all of you to please reply if you think you can help. My mom will cause her and my dad to lose everything and my worst fear is it will literally break my dad’s heart (he has a heart condition) when we tell him. He just thinks he failed my mom so she left him. We know we have to tell him but it will indeed break him. My siblings and I are taking care of him every day. Any detail and ALL advice welcome!!!

Yes . My friend also chatted with Henry John. He told my friend to call her sister name Linda to prove he is real . He asked for ITunes card then need 1200 for retirement fee. We searched his pic, those have been use since 2009 on Facebook and dating apps .

Your story sounds familiar last name bell?

I’ve been talking to a retired soldier. He contacted me off Instagram. We’ve been talking from day to night. Made me fall for him. He says he has two children and he’s divorced. She ran off to Florida. After reading about ITunes cards I wonder if everything I was building with this man is a complete lie. He’s 44 and goes by Chad Manis. Has anyone else been contacted by him. He also knows I’m a designated mother and have no money, yet he asks me for 50$ iTunes cards every once in a while. Im so torn especially with all these stories. Can someone help me find out if this guy from Texas is a fraud. My heart can’t take another heartbreak after the year I’ve had. Thanks

Sounds all too familiar, wants me to send money to the UN so he can take a vacation from the War Zone in Khalil, Afghanistan to come home to the US to marry me!
The other guy I suspect got thrown out of his hotel room in Yangshou, China this morning, his time because I couldn’t send home $700, we only owe them $1900 and he can come home and marry me!

Hotels don’t hold you hostage if you owe them money. This guy is scamming you. Plus, he is probably scamming more women than just you.

Is he from Instagram? Rob by name?

Hey. I've been talking to a Rob. Is yours a red head or red beard?

Hi... I'll be talking to Robert too... Grey hair from Germany... Talk to me to see if is the same person please

I have been talking to a Carlos Roberto Mentor Rodriguez He said he was selling his business, then he got a bid for his work went to Dubai, to do the job he is 70. Says he has a 19 year old daughter in England studying physical therapy. His wife died 8 years ago of breast cancer. He has a thick accent, says he is italian/ Spanish came over here when he was 17 to finish his education. slowly worked into saying how much he loved me over about 4 weeks. Now he said he got hit with taxes in Dubai for $25,000. He knows I have no money I told him that from the beginning. He had me check his offshore account to see if a sizeable amount had been deposited which it had but he claims he can't access it until he returns to the states. Anyone else know this guy?

I’ve been talking to a Robert Williams in Yemen . He says he’s in the army . He’s bald big green eyes . Says he’s been there since January

Hi there this is the same guy who told me his daughter Lisa is ill back home and now he is having wifi issues. Let me know and we can swap photos to see if it is the same one

Hi Trix,
I have someone I'm talking to that is working on oil rig in Alaska. I am more than willing to share photo. I only ask because he has a daughter named Lisa. But wants money to get supplies shipped.

I have been conversing with a guy overseas that said he needed money to get equipment so he can finish his job. He goes by the name Jason Brian, Email’s he was using: jason brian cares@ gmail or Jason rian carzes @gmail. Keeps asking for more n more iTunes and the price went from 100 to over 400. Days he lives with his mom

Where is he supposed to be. I also received request for help to buy equipment for an oil job in Turkey

I had a man who said he was from Italy I have been KNOWING for 3 years he said that if I was no longer friends with him that he would kill himself ( he told me he was married after 1 year of being friends and I dont like to have friendships with married persons) that's when he told me that if I dropped him as my friend he would kill himself ..he hasnt asked for money but always let's me know that he doesnt have any ( which I dont believe)

I totally agree with you. I have thought about signing my finances over to my son to manage. My guy claimed to be from Italy, named Douglas Bianconi.

This sounds similar to the guy I've been talking to he says he's in the U.S. army stationed in iraq.his wife cheated on him he has a 1t yr old adopted son in boarding school.He originally sent me a Facebook request which I accepted and within a week was telling me he loved me and wanted to but a house together.not long after he got me to switch to hangouts to talk to him.Three weeks in he says he dropped his phone & broke it & wanted to know if I could get him an iPhone 6s.which I told him no to because I don't have the money.He claims he had to borrow a friends phone to talk to me.He never called me because he claimed the phone lines were terrible there due to the rebels attacks.He had in the beginning sent me 2 pics that were older plus a pic I got from his fb request.He never would send any others even though I asked repeatedly ..claiming his friends phone didn't have a working camera.ok! The pics I did get were of a white male dark hair wearing a shirt that says good story babe now make me a sandwhich he's in shorts that say army on them with a background which looks like a military environment.Then he sent a pic of himself supposedly... squatting with some dogs around him and he's petting them ..he's got a beard & a hat on and there's a military looking building behind him.The Facebook pic is of him sitting on a bench in a room with a black fitted knit hat on sunglasses on his head he's got a gun in a holster at his side ..a polo type short sleeved shirt & part of a tattoo showing on his super arm the rest of tattoo is hidden by the sleeve.he says his name is Goodman graves he's 46.Does any of this sound familiar.do the pics sound like the ones you got?

Tamb51.....
Do you happen to have a photo of this guy, sounds similar to who I'm chatting with now.

What is a Bitcoin a friend as me to use that to get money fast to pay his worker? so he can get this project done

I’ve been dealing with a guy named Ben Alex Great. He works for a Bitcoin company called Gennius Mining Bitcoin company. I believe I was scammed for $4000.00. He found me on Instagram. I would love to get feedback. He contacted me on January 24 of this year.

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