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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 Jolly, did he say his daughter is 8 years old? And that he is a widow . Age 53. Says he is Russian but he has a Nigerian accent.

I have a collage of photos The scammer sent me of him and his daughter. Is there a way we could share? I’d love to see if it’s the same photos.

California Girl, I'm with you , I too am a highly educated professional women. This guys was the best I've ever seen. He was local, just 180 mile north of me and supposedly an architect. I checked out his office and website, it all seemed legit. It went on for six months before he asked for money, twice daily phone calls, texts and emails and the he left the country for work and yes that's when it got interesting. I wont bother with the story but i lost 24,000 and i could not afford to lose that much. I thought i checked him out pretty well, asked for pictures from where he was at the moment either his home, cab, hotel and he always sent them, even asked if i would meet his Mom and gave me her contact info...that i didn't check out i wish i had but doesn't matter now , haven't heard from him in two months and can't find him anywhere, website no longer exists and and phone number rejects calls, last call i got was from Cyprus.

i have come to realize that special time are better when share with good hearted people

Does he go by the name of Charles Luke??

Now a days I also meet a girl name Susan... She confessed her love with me and suddenly his brother got accident and she has not enough money.. she asked me for help so what I do now please help me.

There are woman on there doing the same thing, wanting amazon cards for their phones. Had 3 try to scam me last week alone. Telling me they love me, can't live without. Blah blah blah...we all need to be vigilant.

I just came across your message some how but can you explain the ITunes thing better to me? I had some ITunes come out of my account and my wife said she didn’t know anything about it. When I questioned her about it , they quit coming out of my account. Please help , Michigan Boy!

Hi
I am a 62 year old male and I have been looking for someone to share my life with. Through a dating site I received a lot of likes from people with gmail addresses and they asked me to contact them on 'hangout', which I did.
I have seen them on video calls but can never seem to hear a voice..which concerns me. I have recently been asked to send cash via Western Union to Anaheim in the States, which I did. I then received a message to say that there was a technical error and that I should go and collect my cash from Western Union as it had not been collected and then send it on to Ghana. That is where I am right now.
I seriously want to believe what the lady says..you all know what it's like...but deep down I know its a scam! when I call to talk to her, the phone is never answered. Another thing is that all these people somehow keep coming up with Ghana! I guess that must say a lot, but it's hard to accept especially when they ask you if you don't trust them...and even though you want to, you still know you should not.
Is there any way that you can avoid all this and know that you are speaking to a genuine person. I have been scammed before and it makes you into a hard person...which I don't like.
Dating sites can be very expensive..I am talking about from the male side. I don't know about the female costs..and it actually puts you off and with that finding your true love. Don't we all deserve that.
Anyway, thank you for your website. Guess I will just have to be hard and until I meet someone face to face I will never again trust them. So sad!

I had a man try to scam me. Said he was a widow and father of twin daughters age 17. Said he is an engineer who does contract work. I told him, repeatedly, that I wasn’t interested, wasn’t looking, have a full life. He convinced me to email with him, then phone calls and pictures for two months. Then came the request for money. I accused him and he said I am paranoid. It was very heartbreaking but luckily I sent nothing! Story over but my heart was broken.

Did he use the name Raymond LaFleur? Or say he worked in an oil rig? This guy sent me a pic of a really handsome guy with light eyes. I never sent money. I suspected him, did research, and found complaints from others online.

I’m so sorry to hear about your experience. I too am so unhappy. It is just as expensive for women as men. I’m not out a lot of money yet but I do still have my scammer reaching out asking for money everyday. He speaks lovely to me and it is hard to say no, I’m sure you know what I mean. I’m glad l can come here and read stories of people who are experiencing love with the wrong partners. I hope it get better for you soon and I can let go of my scammer. Thank you for sharing

They play with our emotions and many times they will work for 6 to 10 months being your “friend”. Just never ever send them money and especially never give them bank account information. One man told me he was an engineer and had all types of homes and such yet he wanted me to buy a “US” iTunes card for him. I told him to wire ME the money and I would do it. Guess what... he didn’t do it. LOL
Use every advantage you can think of to save yourself the grief later. If your gut says it’s a scam...it is!

Not all these people are scammers

If they not scammer then what are they doing by pretending to have money problem and making you feel guilty, this is their stay at home working, business, scamming of people for a living, if they can money out of any one is good enough for them, if not they just move on to another person, and another, til they get some money or more. To me all these people are scammer.

My experience is similar. Told me he needs a document so he can contact me without getting into trouble. Said he lives in California and deployed till October, then changed it to November a few days later. Sent pictures, even one of a wound received. Says he's a Marine. I have a name and what he says is a birthday. But can find no other information anywhere about this person. I'm not out any money but need to know if he is legit. I have no problem with blocking a scammer.

I also recently lost $1,500 to this Kenyan guy who I had been talking to for quite some months. He was so convincing and after a couple of months, he came up with a story of him mum falling sick, and he is the only child born of a single mother bla bla bla. He said he's also a farmer and had recently used up all the money he had for the wheat planting season. He was however waiting for a cheque to come through from his sale of milk which he would use to refund me and pay his workers etc. It was also approaching end month so he would be getting his salary too. I was out of Kenya working so I just wired him the cash directly from my bank account. When the day of repaying arrived, he told me he is in the bank but afterwards put off his phone and deleted whatsapp for a whole weekend. He came back and said how sorry he was, i.e was caught up in something bla bla...we continued talking for a month but he avoided a face to face meeting...at one time though I pressured him to show me his face, which he did. He continued asking for money for other unnamed emergencies but once he realised am not sending him anymore, he said bye and that he wished me well. I have since reported this to the Kenyan authorities, they know his location, I hope they get to arrest him, so that he does not continue scamming other women online while all along thinking he can always get away with it. Am trying to move on too.

By any chance was his name Morris Mchawia? Or Jackson Desmond Sihuli?

Got Scammed. youre not alone. Mine was huge money taken away from me. Im lost but thanks that I have God with me. HE is more than enough to start all over again .God bless

I gave up all my savings and retirement - communication had been going on for 1 year. I am bankrupt, devastated and ashamed

I did the exact thing as you, all lost, he provide me fake bank accounts and so charming,I wish I had asked others, I am angry now, still cannot tell my family, these guys make this a living, and we are sincere and honest, I know Karma will be their fate.

I understand you completely I have one with me I try to believe him because he confessed 1 year ago. It sounds good. But I don't know if it is real
Go ahead and be happy.

I have been with one for more than 4 years was 1/1/2 years wen he confessed he was one.I was close to find out .by then only 7,000:I had lost I no the family,and soon next month to go.he promissed to stop as that was my condition to help him.but now I read from others has Charles really stopped or have I been duped again .before he was more attendive ,from 4 calls drooped to one call.from 7/9 messages to two per day .my instenct is telling me im right.

Shy girl, I was on a dating site about two weeks ago, n this nice looking man named Charles Andrew asked me to go to hangouts. so I did we started talking, he told me all this mussy stuff everyday, can't live without me. then one day he told me that his internet connection was going to be disrubted and asked me to send him 200.00. he says he's in Syria right now, n will be home in august. I never sent him anything, I called him out bout scamming me. n he magically diapeared.

Curious to know if you have picture I got contacted by Charles Andrew on Tindr

Yeah have you got a picture sounds similar to someone I’ve been talking to

Anyone know Charles Luke?

I know Charles Luke, he is in Turkey, gem stone buyer/ seller. Professes undying love but wants money

Wow I’m talking right now to “Sam” who stated he was here in California, a gem stone dealer , and now he’s in turkey making the deal. He hasn’t asked for money yet but has asked me to do transfer for him. Of course I said no I wouldn’t do it.

The deal will go bad, and he will need money. Does he have a website?

I bet charles and Sam are one in the same. Does he have a website, he will show you his bank, he will show you the shipping details but he will take your money, Charles scammed me out of a lot of money. Does he have an accent and love you already? His wife died some years ago?

Holy cow! I met a guy named Ivan Kyle or Ivan Herman Kyle on Plenty of Fish. He claimed to be a widow with a 3 year old son. He went to South Africa on July 30 to buy rough diamonds. Had trouble logging into his bank account, asked me to log on for him and I saw a sizable amount of money. Next day says he has a traveler's check, no cash, and he has to fly to Capetown to cash it. Then he asked for money for the flight. I blocked him and reported him, but I wonder if it's the same guy!

You wouldn’t happen to have a picture? I have been talking to “Mark” a gemologist who is supposedly in Turkey mining a rare gem. Barely know each other. He dropped his laptop and asked if I would buy one and send to him. Of course, he would pay back every penny. Said no and asked if he was trying to pull a scam. He accused me of assaulting his character. Has a Apex NC phone number but says he moved to KC about eight months ago.

Charles Luke is scamming by Aunt as we speak. She won't listen to anyone, but him.

My mom is having that happen too & wont listen to me either. I haven’t told my siblings yet but getting ready to real soon. It’s so sad.

I know Charles Luke, where is he saying he is? I got scammed out of a lot of money by him. He is a total scammer. So sorry to hear about your aunt. If you share the story, I am sure it will match mine.

He doesn’t by chance go by Chally does he?

Hey brother I just got scammed for $2200 Went on for 5 months
I love your attitude... Im taking that on now because I've been angry about it all. God bless, and thank you for saying it right

This man about three months ago try he seems so sincere and loving he called me every day and night and text constantly until he wants me to send my ring size and shoe size then he send me pics of stuff and tell me I have to pay custom fee of$400-420 when it delivered to me, I told him not to send me any because I didn't ask for it, he was so mad and stop calling.

It sounds familiar to me. Asked ring size. Shie size. iTunes started off. He saied he loves me and I am his wife and treasure. I told him he was a scammer. He said he was not .sounds like it to me. I'm still talking with him on video chat and calls and texts does scammers use video chats. His pic and all marches his video looks. He plays keyboard and talks about God alot. How do I know. This guy is real. He knows I have no money. I love this man it really hurts this man is 39 will be 40 in October I am 60 does that even sound right. Read this and give me some advice. Should u believe him, especially talked about God , or is this man the devil himself

Honey, he is scamming you. Run far, far away. They will say anything to play on your emotions and to get sympathy. Just because he talks about God does not mean he is legit. He only wants your money. Then he will disappear and you won’t be able to get ahold of him or find him. Also, he is probably scamming multiple women at once.

This souds so familiar, the guy I talk to I can video chat and they all seam to be the same, can you send me pic of him

I have pictures

Yes run. My guy says he is a doctor but has 3 different names. So handsome, says beautiful things and send videos I fell really hard. Just don’t send any money

My guy says he is Dr. Jason Brandt on twitter. I have seen him on video chat and many photos on scammer sites. He must have over 100 different names and email accounts. I have found hem to be very active since 2013 and most likely before. Glad I never sent him money. Wish we could share photos

Scammer for sure .. they tell you want you want to hear because your missing it in your life they are so good that they make you feel your the only one .. it’s so sad that these people hurt other people

They are more than SAD dear, they are working for the DEVIL in hell, satan himself I think. They are disgusting and the low life scum of the earth. But remember, WHAT DOES AROUND WILL COME AROUND EVENTUALLY. These CROOKS will get their due and the sooner they do the better. They'll get it, and if not in this life, in the next... KITTEN

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?

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