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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

Same guy and he is blackmailing me now

I have been scammed by a handsome man with beautiful gray hair named John Giovanni. We actually had video chats on Hangout and it looked like his photo. But, since I had already been seriously scammed before I decided to do a google image and it turns out his profile pic is of someone on Twitter and his photo on the oil rig is photo-shopped using someone else in an oil rig uniform and his head. I did all of this because after two weeks of beautiful texts, he asked me to buy him an ebay card to buy books for work, however, he had already told me that he was retiring in December.

In one picture, is he wearing sunglasses looking over his left shoulder? The other pic would be horn rimmed glasses & he's looking on his cell phone?

I am also talking to Mark Stevens. He works at oil rig in Romania. Came there from the USA, where he was grown up, but originally he is Vietnamese. Has two children: daughter is 15 and son is 9, if I am not mistaken. He started talking to me on Scrabble. I told that I am married, he told that it's ok, we can be friends. Ok. Today he told that he wants to visit me and my family and needs that I sent a vacation letter to his company. I have no idea what is that. But he told that if I am ready to send it, he will give me instructions. Oh, yes, his wife was doing it before. But she was killed several years ago. I suppose that he will need my personal data and something more. I stopped talking to him.

can i also see a picture of this guy please i wanted to see if he is e same man who is trying to lure me now

My sister in law is talking to a man named frank currently a surgeon in afghanistan. Has a son in a uk boarding school. Can you send me pictures please.

Margaret: I don't know if you are still talking to Mark, but I have been talking to him since April. He is the same scammer. Very good looking, very good at what he does. He does not give viable reasons why he can't access his bank account and the millions of dollars he has in there. Please don't let him talk you into wiring money to bank accounts he gives you. He burned me for a lot of money. I know he gets to your heart, but please don't let him string you along.

I got a friend request from a Mark johnson a engineer on oil rig in mexico. He said he was a widower and had two children. He said he left him with their nannie because he had won the contract for drilling off shore in mexico. But I couldn't tell anyone. He soon asked for me to help him with some of his expenses. I have sent several thousand dollars to him. His nannie and kids also contacted me and said they had no money for food or school projects. I sent them several hundred dollars also

When his time was up on oil rig of course he needed more money to travel to me. Then was hit by bus while walking in mexico. And has been hospitalized for months as needing special surgeon from china. Now he needs more money to pay for Mexican hospital because they wont let him leave until his bill is paid. And they are making him buy meals and his own meds for months now. I have been doing without what I need for him. It sounds stupid now that I write it down.

I think he is the one my friend was talking.
Do you have any pictures?

This in a lot of ways sounds like a scammer i lost over 6000 to. Tom Davies is the name he used, he said his wife was killed in a car accident n he is a widower of 2 kids they spend most of their time with the nanny. He is a contractor oil rig. Lives in Jacksonville Florida, From Oslo Norway. Claims he had to send his daughter there because needed special Dr. blah, blah blah.

My mum is being scammed by a man called Herbert Raymond

Margaret, do you have a pix of Mark Johnson? My Mark Rob Johnson is on an oil rig in Gulf of Mexico, has a son and daughter now living in Puerto Rico. He’s from Chicago. Born in France and speaks French and quite religious. I have been texting with him for 2-1/2 yrs and given him a lot. Let me know if this sounds familiar

Hi! He’s similar to my guy though with a different name. Messaged me on twitter in last week of oct then we kept on talking on whatsapp. Said he doesn’t go to twitter very often ‘cause many random women message him there. A marine engineer from denver but is currently in a ship in mediterranean sea in italy. Separated with a 9 year old daughter who’s with her teacher in denver but when daughter supposedly emailed me, said she’s 11. Sometimes with bad grammars, sometimes grammars fine. After 3 wks of talking, surprised me with the news that his job application in our country has been approved (never told me before) but he needs to pay the agency approx 400 USD. Haven’t received their salaries for many months since the pandemic. Sent me a photo of the contract but suspicious ‘cause there were wrong grammars. But my kind heart gave in so I sent money to the supposed contact person of the agency. After only 3 days he’s got a problem again. Hasn’t sent his daughter money since sept and promised her 600 USD. After several arguments, I gave in and sent 300 USD via WU to a man’s name who’s supposedly the husband of her daughter’s teacher. Daughter emailed a message of thanks supposedly using her teacher’s phone (she doesn’t have her own phone supposedly) and told me her birthday is near and she’s expecting a gift. After 10 days, he asked for money again ‘cause daughter is expecting him to send money for her birthday celebration and doesn’t want to disappoint her. I even argued with him that it’s okay to disappoint daughter once in a while but very insistent. Almost asked him how does it become my problem but then my heart’s blinded so sent another 200 USD to the husband of daughter’s teacher after he promised that he’s gonna get money from the ship in a week. After 1 week, asked money again for his food while in the ship, claimed that their boss has asked them to extend their patience ‘cause they’re gonna have their salaries at the end of Dec. We argued, I refused to send but manipulated me in a way. Told me I’m making him look like a beggar. Sent me photos of him and late father, told me late father was a rich man. I wasn’t convinced but sent him another 250 USD but after 1 week, he claims that daughter is seriously sick and he needs to send money again. I got tired, did not give in. Told him my son is also sick and we need money but didn’t ask from him ‘cause I know he doesn’t care. What surprised me what that he’s so insistent in getting money from me, even telling me that daughter is dying. My son is also sick and I need money how come he’s so insensitive? When I didn’t reply and wasn’t able to receive calls, I received an email from the supposed teacher using the daughter’s email add telling me the same things. The resemblance of his messages on whatsapp and the supposed teacher’s email is uncanny. And the teacher is supposed to be a teacher so I was expecting correct grammars and all but no. And the timing of his last message and the email from the teacher was also suspicious, like 1 minute apart. Do you have a photo of him please? Thank you in advance

Many of the same things sound so familiar from a man that I’ve been speaking with for the past 9 months but he calls himself Juan Williams and only communicates through hangouts and an occasional phone call...
He claims he’s an private contract engineer and has a few people working for him and he’s now working on the Buzzard field platform ship in north sea.
He says he lives in San macro California, approximately 30miles north of San Diego.
He claims to have a 9 year old daughter named Shelley and she was living with a family friend they called nanny until she passed away 7 weeks ago and then nannies sister came to get Shelley... now he needs money to get onshore to bury nanny and get Shelley. In the past he to needed money for Shelley because she was so sick and would die without proper medical attention.
He’s supposedly originally from the Bahamas.
He has sent several pictures of himself and some with Shelley.... She may or may not be his daughter who knows...
Oh, and his wife passed away 3 years ago.
He supposedly has an assistant by the name of Kelvin .
Is there a way to share pictures on here?

MET OIL RIGGER,LIVES IN LA WHEN NOT ON SHIP, CURRENTLY 'ON SHIP IN EGYPT', BIOLOGICAL PARENTS DIED WHEN HE WAS YOUNG (AMERICAN/DUBAI),49,HANDSOME,'CHRISTIAN",WANTED TO CHAT ON WHATS APP INSTEAD OF INSTAGRAM RIGHT AWAY, THEN TELLS ME HIS TWIN SONS' MOM LEFT THE BOYS & HES A SINGLE FATHER...FIRST HE SAYS THEY ARE 8 YEARS OLD, DAYS LATER, SAYS THE BOYS LIVE IN HOUSTON & GO TO A CERTAIN HIGH SCHOOL (LOOKED UP THE NAME ONLINE, IT EXISTS), SAY BOYS LIVE WITH A NANNY....SO I ASKED HIM IF I WAS TO BELIEVE HIS 8 YEAR OLDS,GO TO HIGH SCHOOL & LIVE FULL TIME WITH A NANNY WHILE YOU LIVE ON A SHIP...HE SAID HE DIDNT MEAN TO WRITE HIGH SCHOOL, SO, I CHECKED,THERE IS NO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL WITH THAT NAME...

Do you have any pictures of him?
I think is the same guy my friend was talking to. Michael David.

Talking to this guy for ten months, his name is Patrick David he told me that he have three children and that his wife passed away giving birth to their third child. His mother and dad died in a car accident.
Very nice looking guy. Wanted me to send money to invest he pay

half and I pay half so that it can rise quicker. And he was going to
come to my city so that we can get married,we buy a house after he sale his house in South Dekota. This guy is 42. And the story is not true. The video chat wasn’t clear when we talked a little cloudy.

Omg Susan he told me the same story except he was divorce , has a girl and his name is Burt Asner a very good look man.

What is this scammers name
From Turkey? And do you have any photos?

Please Is his name. Mark Harrison he is extremely good looking working in Canada as a dr. Ladies help me out??

I am talking to a guy for 7 months been trying to get him here were i live 'he says he love me dearly he been asking 'me for money for 7 months i have gave him no money so when 'he try in one way it another way 'all about money' say we gone get marry 'send me emoji of roses an a lots 'songs ' he say he work on an Island 'with offshore. but i need to give him 2000 dollars to come home an write a letter so he can leave 'i wanted to believe him 'i really felt in love with 'but i can't see myself sending a man no money. all these stories sounf so familiar to me he got 2 kids 'an divorce 'but sometimes he doesn't text an he know my real name 'its MESSING my mind up 'i am very puzzling about him his name is as he call himself Ted Levi if any of you 'or someone been talking to the same guy please help 'its my heart ' beginning to have feelings for him

I am afraid i was scammed by this man as well.....

What name did he give you. I am going through the same thing. Sounds like the same guy. Please help.

Girls do you have picture

Not sure how to send a picture but would gladly do so. Mine right now says he'd in Cyprus. Odd right?

I met this 58 yr old on ok Cupid in Sept. He had to go to turkey on a contract for a water treatment project. He says he us and Oceanographer from Poland. Lived in California, now lives in Portland Maine. Asking to send him $32,000 to pay tarriffs and taxes on equipment he needs to finish project. He goes by name of Jack Adsmczyk. Bald really handsome guy with a nice accent.Will not send him the money he is still hanging in there talking with me.

I meet this guy online it's LINE app. He said he is in the military Air Force and has a son and wife died. One friend said he is legit. I don't know. He's name is Matthew D. Baxter.

This sounds familiar. Had a guy using the name Taylor Smith said his wife was murdered and his son is living with her brother. Scanned his photo and it had be used for several scams. He said his facebook was compromised. I didnt believe it.

Did this man ask for address so he could mail you his personal items because he is going on a special assignment? He states that he cannot take these items with him.

Think I have same guy, Singles 50 hes an Architect, parents dead no friends, divorced 5 years, got big contract off Turkey on oil rig last week, asked me to get him iTunes voucher for €100 which I did foolishly, as soon as I did it I knew! Then he said he could not get equipment for to repair the oil rig in from Abu Dabi as he had transferred all his money and now he has to pay customs. Name is Maurice Ray said from Germany! Mentioned €40k but said he is trying to raise money so he won't lose contract. He has been contacting me via WhatsApp and phoning me, love bombing me. He has sent me pictures, ginger hair, blue eyes 5 11, handsome LOL!!!

hi. Sounds like I am being scammed by the same man. Goes by the name Will Spader. He sweet talked me into sending him $4 K . Said he was an architect from Houston with a 15 yr old son. He had to go to Atlanta for a job, but the machine they were using stopped working. He used all his funds and could I send him money. Now he is saying he doesn't have any money to eat, of course pulling on my heart strings. I told him I didn't have any more money to send him. I told him he was a scammer and he blew up and got very angry saying he wasn't and he was going to block me. Yada Yada. Met him on Instagram and he took me to Google Hangouts. After awhile he pulled his Instagram profile offline. He sent me a few pictures which I can't find anymore. I think he deleted them. I learned a very hard lesson.

Turkey seems to be the popular spot for these big contracts. So watch out for James P Harrison originally from Sweden but lives in California and is now in Cypress where he is building a 5 star hotel. Meanwhile his building goods are held up at the port and he must pay 20% on 1 million dollars of goods and he only has 10%. He didn't ask me for money yet. Too bad James from "Sweden"

I think I was scammed late last year by the same guy.
Would love to private message or attach a picture for everyone to see.

Does anyone know if photos are allowed?

This same storytooth me is probably the same man.i found the guy who's pictures he uses.I'm just not sure who all is involved. I have pictures with both their names, ones a fake...maybe both?

Hi you said you had pictures if you could send me the pictures that you have I would appreciate it I want to see if this is the same scammer that I have and I’m talking to thank you for any information that you can give me

I am being scammed right now by a guy on an oil rig. He took a picture frame and put pictures of me in the frame and held it up to take a picture. He is asking for money from me. I have a feeling this might be the same person. I have pictures of him.

My name will remain anonymous but I feel like my friend is being scammed by the man that has to do with an oil rig does he use Bitcoin transfers with women does he meets on dating websites

Hi kitty a guy called Jefferey Forsberg claimed to be an architect from Sweden stuck in Turkey for not paying fines. My email is Nattycatt@gmail.com He is a total scammer.

Nattycatt I think I’m talking to the same guy. Can you tell me more about his story? He is about to go to Cyprus Turkey for his last job. He claims he’s never been there. He says he drives a red Ferrari.

I am chatting to a guy he say he is working on a oil rig he sent a request in Facebook he’s asking for a permit to be able to come and see me is this a scam can you send me a photo want to see if it’s the same guy

Could you send me any photos want to see if it’s the same guy I have been talking to Gwen

Kitty Can we share the pic same guysame with me

Do you have a picture, someone I’m talking with did the same with a picture

Ive been approached by a male on a oil rig through Linkin. He calls himself James. Very good looking aged 55 and from Italy. He first contacted me in aug and we began sending messages. Then he stopped. I did not bother sending any other messages and then last week he contacted me and said that he has been unable to contact me as the oil rig had an incident with armed robbers and he could not use his phone. He has been very charming lots of compliments. My radar picked up on sat when he said he.could not access his account to give to his son money who is in boarding school and its his sons birthday. I did not offer anything. He sends me pictures of roses each night and wishes me sweet dreams. He has not been in touch now for 2.days. i am wondering now if this is a scam and he has now moved onto his next victim. Does this sound familiar

I have been talking to a "James" for about 6 weeks. On oil rig. Family died in house fire. Very handsome. From Portugal, moved to Texas 20 years ago. Met him on Tinder. Professes his love for me and longs to have a life with me. Says all the right things. Sends poetry. Links to songs. I have felt from beginning it is a scam and have been talking to him to see where it goes. Has asked for money a few times. First wanted to set up "virtual wallet" for us to buy a house together. I did not send anything. Now asking for me to pay for and receive a "package" of expensive items. Again. I have sent nothing. Some of his pics are photo shipped and others have different names. For me he goes by James Leo Gustav or Leo James Gustav.

If your meeting men on line and they ask you for a penny you should run. Not just for the fact that they are scamers, but who wants to get involved with a man who has nothing. Once the subject of money comes up RUN and don't look back.

military woman pictures, named as Sheryl Steele, I gave her my direct phone number , and she disappeared for half a day, came back to ask about my address.. I talked to her or so one time, I refused to give her my address. I do not know if she is true or fake

I think this James might be the same one from Sweden
Contact me and romancing quickly. Civil engineer Working in Istanbul. Sudden emergencyCan we exchange pictures? How to do that ?

Im probably taalking to the same guy, james from sweden now living in houston, tx. Antiqities dealer for muzeums. Took care of his mom b4 she died, wanted to trade pictures, had feelings for me after two days. Called me tonight, sound Nigerian but certainly not Swedish.

My persons name is Jerry Carl. Antique dealer, museums, clocks, living in Houston texas comes from Malta

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