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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.

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit
Scam Tags:  Romance Scams

Comments

I have been talking to a Chris or Christian Balms from Instagram That did kind of the same thing we talked for a little bit on Instagram and then asked for my number or if I had WhatsApp.. He supposedly lives in Chicago and has been texting me but the number to register is to a landline in Oklahoma.

Yes, Christian Rodriguez Balms. “Living in Summerville, SC. Daughter, Lisa staying with her grandma in Atlanta. Ex wife is Alex Mayer living in Texas. Due to have a 40 day contract in Russia as a mechanical engineer.” Poor English and phone number is also 405 area code. Woman answered. Met online.

Just got a scammer recorded call not a live body from 2 telephone numbers 8582214572 and 7602849982 both were the same recorded voice but different numbers and the recorded voice wants to sell me a extended automobile warranty and I am on a do not call list

The national DoNotCall list is for legitimate US businesses. Obviously, scammers don't pay attention to laws. Hard to catch and prosecute since most are foreign and they simply keep rotating new numbers and trying different scam messages.

I've been getting this same message from many different numbers for about a year.

I had been talking to someone who said he was divorced from his wife since 2015, he said his name is Majid he had asked for money from itune he start off telling me that he will buy me a car and that he has 12 cars, Then he wanted me to open a account but I didn't then he said his bank account was frozen also telling me he is a big star. but he was working from Africa always saying he will show but never did got feed up and had words for him, but now he said he is in the usa but I know it was something not right with him, yes you can get your heart broken , I have broken it off with him several time. I told him if he don't do what's right nothing good will come. yes you get afraid to speak up and I am still somewhat afraid they say nothing will happen. and yes he pray for me on several times, but now I feel sick. because I fell for his lies but I think his name is jose as well. he has like a Spanish way of talking but I also heard someone call him billy

Jackie. I think your guy is my guy. Three weeks ago, Steve Noirac, friended me on Word Buddies. I commented on his picture with his 8 year old daughter, Janet. This began the Hangouts conversations.

He said he is a crane operator on an offshore drilling rig in Nova Scotia. Claims to be Belgian with the daughter living with a tutor in Atlanta, Georgia. As things heated up, I began to send things in Spanish by using Google Translate. He returned my messages in Spanish.

Before the request for money yesterday for his daughter’s birthday in November, I would ask for details of the rig, which one it was and asked for him to tell me things he did at work. He could never provide anything and switched subjects.

I feel stupid. He asked for money, and I don’t have it to give. Not a cool thing.

Have you a picture of this guy. I'm involved with a oil rig contactor out in Brazil. I have sent money.

I have a pic. I am talking to him currently

A guy from Brazil named David?

Venezuela. Goes by David. Says he’s a doctor. Stuck in China, widowed. Kids live here in the states with a nanny. He’s stuck in China with no identification and the embassy will help him get back but he needs money cuz accounts here were frozen

Omg !!! I am talking to the same guy ! He says the kids names ate Alicia & Henry

So the exact same story to a T ....he seems so romantic & caring ....Anyway he originally said he was doing a surgery over in Dubai and then went to Beijing China to get a da Vinci robot and then his bank account was frozen so he needed to get money to ship the robot back and to get himself home. He had a pretty good storyline all figured out but as soon as he asked me for money we definitely spoke for almost 3 months I knew it was a scam.....And now seeing your post that just confirms it...I did not end up giving him money at all he was asking for money to be transferred to a bank account and then he was asking for steam cards and then also Google play store cards

Dr. Chris Evans was in Yemen for me. LOL. I been toying with him as much as he was trying with me.

Mine is similar your, his wife and kid in car crash and killed. Wanted me to be next of Kin because
Oil rig required next of Kin of contractor and asked me to text name,lastname,photo (pastport size) and sign contract. We just texted for 10 days.
How can I do that?

How did you find out his real name? The story sounds so familiar.

Is his name Gary from scrabble go he's been bugging me for money to send his boss documents. When he's done with this job he's going to retire and do his own business. Wants to marry me and be partners with him.

I have been scammed three times on a dating site. Didn’t give money until this last one, even though I knew I was being scammed. Didn’t give much but am angry with myself. How do people find out their real names? He claimed he had no credit card because his disabled son had made a major purchase. He had me running around buying Best Buy cards because his computer was destroyed on the flight from the US to Cypress where he had a contract to search for gems. He claims to be a geologist and gemologist. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Do you have a picture of him

Since you have the same issue. The person you talking with is a scammer. If you have pictures I can help you to locate the picture cos is not real.

I have a guy photos that I talked to. What website to I go to, to make sure he's real?

let him capture his ID\DRIVERS ID for you

Can you share picture? I think I might be talking to same guy. Met on OKcupid

Will you help me? I have pictures. I am so heart broken. I love this guy and he swears he is not who they are talking about. I need peace of mind please

I have the same, yeah i have the pictures he sent, how shall i send them? omg, this one said he owns a hedge fund and is an investor in Makati but is from NY Staten Island but i looked up his number and it's from Canada, found his IG too and why his location is Toronto, said he lived on-off the last 2 years there in his cousin's place. too many red flags and lastnight i 've had enough, i asked him if he has tattoos, he said none. but in 2 photos he send me (one with his daughters) he has got 2 tats in left arm and right inner arm. a complete lie, he forgot that the picture he was pretending to be has tats. the guy in the photos is a handsome fellow, said 42yo, half puerto rican and half austrian. divorced for 3 yrs now and has 2 daughters back in NY. too good to be true, has got sweet words, loves books for he kept on sending me Ebooks, believes in God. Good thing he has not ask for money or speak about investing yet.

Can you please help me to locate a picture ?

Yes , I have photo and I havebeen talking to him since 2 months, never asked for money yet! But some red flags avoiding video chats, internet call etc. His email is is not pulled in search engine!!

How can we do that, please?

I've been chatting with a Mark David that says he is an orthopedic dr in yemen. He says his daughter died from cancer several years ago. She was 24. His wife cheated on him with his best friend. They died in a car crash several years ago. He has a son named Kelvin in boarding school in Georgia. He is wanting money to end his contract early with the UN. He is a very niceooking man and wants me to marry him. I have pics of him.

Sounds like my James willaims that has a son named kelvin!! I have pics but I believe that are probably stolen. I had to block him

Do you have a picture of him?

Sounds similar.. dr. from Nashville texting asking questions, romantic sending songs.. professed love after 3-4 weeks, spoke of marriage?! Latest USDH assignment in Yemen.. wanted to transfer funds over for me to buy his ppty to set up a practice in the UK. I called him out on all. Blocked

Do you have a picture of this man??? He sounds exactly like the man I’m talking to.

Can I ask if he is Brett from Idaho?

What was his name? Did he give you his son's name? Did he tell you how his wife died? I think the man I am taking to may be the same man who scammed you.

Oh my gosh! This sounds like a guy I have bee messaging for nearly two years! He is supposedly 55, an engineer and has grey hair and has a nephew to take care of.

Paula,
I met a guy on OKC In October. He says he is 55 and has a young son in boarding school. He says he is an Engineer on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. There are definitely some red flags. I have some photos and would like to compare them with the ones you have.

I have been talking to a man for two weeks who claims.to be Australian and an engineer with his own construction company, who's sister has died and has a nephew that he cares for.

I would love to see photos of this man. Have been talking to someone for 4 mi the with similar story...how can I send them to you??

I knew a man similar like engineer civil in New zealand. I sent him much money. His name is Liam Matic, 52 years, with barb, Brown eyes and muscles and athletic body

What is this man's name? I think he is using me too?

Do you have this persons name??

Did he say his name was Francis Albert. Son named Roy from NY?

What was the mans name he used. I think I’m being scammed by the same man. Using Lucas Edward. Is an engineer on a ship and the ship is having problems wants to ship me a package of all of his money but I have to pay $400 for shipping. Says he has no kids but is widowed and from Germany

I think he could be my scammer, have you any pictures?

What did he say that his name is?

Susan, I have spoken to this same man and the story is exactly the same.

It look the same. Is it any way to have privet contact with you? I want to see picture of the guy.

Can I see a picture of this man

This sounds like a guy that goes by Greg Josh Clinton. He has been an engineer in Turkey, but now he is an engineer I am oil rig in the California ocean. Says he is 62. He had a son graduating and a mom in Bulgaria that is very sick needing brain surgery on a tumor.

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