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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

That's a huge sign of scammer. They try to say working n through past 9 yrs they say engineers n usually south Africa working. If anyone says too fast love you, your the one, asks for money, has a sudden emergency scammers

A mining engineer In South Africa claims to be widow for eighteen years. Name Elías. Anyone heard from him. He asked for bitcoin

This sounds like a guy who calls himself Dawid Casper. He's Polish and is a diamond miner in South Africa.. Very knowledgeable but he is a scammer.

Is this person in Germany?

Same story for me. Is he in Turkey? Graying hair and beard?

Met a guy on pof. Said he was a civil engineer. Went to Bolivia got robbed needed $$$$. Wanted bitcoin coinbank deposits Itunes Amazon Sephoria . He says hes from Canada. Got an Italian accent. Goes by Paul Jackson. Has a facebook of Paul Grillo Jackson. PLEASE CHECK OUT HIS FB AND LET ME KNOW IF YOU RECOGNIZE

Sounds quite familiar with what I’m dealing with. I met this guy who claim to be in the Army in Africa. He told me he loved me after one week. Then told me to chat on hangouts. We chat for two weeks nonstop. Then he said his son jas to go on a field trip and needs 700. I almost fell for this, but thianm God I followed my gut instinct. He said to send money to his aunt, name is Kimberly. When I ask to soeak to “Kim” first beforebI send her money, this guy claim that he cannot disclose family members info. I told him if I cannot talk to Kim, then i wont be sending out money.
Now he is ignoring me bc I wont send him money.
I also have friends in the military and they helped me with questions to ask this guy. I did that, and he was outraged!! Said I disrepected him.
Oh and I dont think he’s too smart bc the pictures he sends me says a diff last name on his army uniform.

I've seen pictures of a guy that friended me on Instagram that claimes to be in the Marines. The pictures in his acct. have a different last name than the name on the uniform.

Could you send me a pic I know this guy Donald Nelson

Could u PLEASE tell me this guy's name. Omg.. Please.

Omg can u tell me this guy name .and what he look like

Oh gosh, This has happen to me also which i loose $18,000,00 , me and this so called guy that act like a woman has been together for 3 years promising me to she is coming to me not until i came online and read more about scammers, because she always tells me not to go on internet but because i love her i obeyed what she told me.. May God keeps us away from them.

Sorry to say but he is bs those are pathical liar i been scamming with bar gold too with a man i fall in luvs in syria but he my race but they are using same technique to scamming good women god see wat they did turn them in if i were u

Rose2018.This guy sounds similar to the guy I'm talking to.Since we can't share pics on here can you discribe the pics he sent .Describe him and the background of the pics?

OMG @Rose2018: Your story just saved me. I've been chatting with a guy who called himself Tyler Badon for several weeks now. His story was almost identical to the one your guy gave you. The only major difference is that I am gay, so it was an ex-boyfriend who cheated on him and treated him so badly. And now he is in Afghanistan and lonely, without family, etc., etc. He first contacted me on Instagram and then moved our discussion to Google Hangouts. I got all the undying love crap. He even sent me a little video of himself working out at the gym. And I had the same experience with questions. He asked me a zillion questions about all sorts of nonsense. But when I asked him for details about his previous life in the states (or even his life in Afghanistan), he would just ignore them and disappear. Tonight, for the first time, he asked me if I could send him an iTunes gift card so that he could download music that reminded him of me for when he was lonely and bored. I had never done that before, and I was searching for advice on how to send a gift card on a chat platform when I stumbled upon your story.After reading it, I went back to the chat session we were having and I told him I needed to send the gift card by postal service. Of course, he would not give me his address. So I blocked him from Google communications services and Instagram. Ouf. I feel like such an idiot. But I am eternally grateful that you shared your story. You kept me from going down what might have been a very costly path. I wish there was some way we could warn others about these schmucks. Or, even better, get law enforcement involved and rounding up all the profiles until they capture the creeps. Anyway, thanks again for sharing your story. I'll try not to be so gullible next time.

Hey i think i might be in a scam donu have the istagran page of that guy?

I've been talking to this Tyler Badon for a few weeks now myself. Everything identical to what you have described. Yesterday is when he asked for an ITunes card which I did not send as it immediately seemed fishy. I'm proud of myself to see the red flags when I saw them but so embarrassed that I fell for everything else.

I met this guy from Instagram named Ryan Frigate..After a week chatting, he told me he loves me..and I fell for it. We communicate daily. He's story, he's only son. He's Father left them and He's Mother raised him alone but later, he's Mother died..He's in a US air force and have a mission in Somalia..We talked daily and he seems so caring. We shared sexy moments..I'm so stupid. But one day when he asked me to buy him a steam card, I said ok. I never heard of it, so I looked up online..and found victims of this scammers asking for steam card..So, I blocked him right away on Instagram and hangouts. After a week, he contacted me using my other email, he found my Facebook which I never gave..but he knew my real name..He tries calling me on hangouts but never answer his call..so, he blackmail me if I don't answer his call his gonna message my friends on Facebook with my video..He has a video of me, it's not naked, just sexy..But I told him, go ahead I don't care, and told him, u wont get anything from me..I have nothing..I told him before that I have nothing..But still he tries to blackmail me..

Anyone have encounter this guy?

@MarkD,
I think I may be talking to the same guy! He followed me on Instagram and asked to chat in Google Hangouts! He hasn’t asked for any money yet, but he laid the same sad story about his ex cheating on him, along with his life in Portugal before coming to the states when his Dad died. He says that he is in the Army and stationed in Afghanstan.

This man keeps asking me every day send email so he can go on leave so be with his kids thinks going too marry him hell no everyday send message too me following me on Instagram said from start don’t give my money away he says just need help get out of army see his kids ask can ask anyone else he says your my queen say his wife died can’t see his kids email I will send where let him see his kids not send email he says don’t care I over it

This man asked me for money o blocked him then my Facebook page got hacked so I went back to hangouts to tell him off, he started out saying oh god honey iwould not do that, then he got mean, and said i know where you stay I got people watching you .i am going to kill you. You got 3 days to buy me a ITunes card or I am going to have you kill.and I am afraid because I don't know if he is telling the truth or a lie, but he is still on my pages

I was scammed out of icer$26K by Andre Chris claiming he was an Oil Rig Engineer! The Foe followed me on Instagram and later sent me a message he immediate asked me to communicate w him over Google Hangouts and then said that his exit papers for the oil rig along w money were in a parcel in Belgiumand he wanted me to be the heir to help him get his parcel - Andre Chris (He also goes by Andre Cristian) declared his love to me told me he wanted to marry him and I said yes! This scam of him forcing me in a nice way to send money via money gram, Western Union & also through my own bank wire transfer went on from Oct 2017- Oct 2018 u til I caught him lying to me by sending me a fake airline AA ticket to my hometown!! People pls flee from these types of scammers

The same thing happened to me the same story oil rig engineer Nelson Andre.Need money for shipment

I’m dealing with Andre Chris Robert right now. He says he is working on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and his account has been on hold while he is away. His life is a serious of calamities. First it was money for his sick son, then his phone needed updated so I sent iTunes cards, then his son was robbed and needed a new laptop to continue his schooling. I’m out &1400 with this guy. Now he wants me to accept a package with money and precious jewels inside. I have told him many times no he gets angry and calls me names. He has my old address, email and phone number. Now I’m getting messages from a commissioner of police in Ghana wanting my current address to send the package to. Should I block this guy?

Yes!! Block him, and delete him from any of your online accounts. You are what the operation calls "tagged for a fool" in other words, meaning once he's gotten all the money he can get out of you, he will pass your information & details of your personality on to the next scammer; who in turn will prey upon you also under a different fake profile. You were lucky to get out. My advice stay OUT! that police would not demand your new address for any pkg. It's just one of the operation working with him. Run and don't be like Lot's wife in the Bible-- DON'T LOOK BACK

Same guy, calls himself Justice Packer. Oil rig in Dublin. Same package dilivery request. Son in boarding in TX. Parents dead. Wife dead. He got mad at me cause I told him I sent his security problem to me detective nephew & Chgo cop brother. He blocked me on hang outs!

I hope you blocked him because all of it is lies. The Ghana police would tell you it is a scam even and not to send him anything. He is scamming you.

Dont do that. Im pissed off with this guy also from oil rigs. Were in hangouts for 4 months now. Lets talk.

If I send my email to you can you send me a picture of this guy?I think he is scamming me as well.

H says he is working on the Katia for China Petroluem company

pro

I have been chatting with a man that sounds so similar too this, I too would be intrested in finding out if these two guys were one of the same. I could send you my email and we can exchange photos please

I think we might meet the same man that he said he is a oil rig and worked at Saudi Arabia,He needed the money for pay shipping,and even sent me his fake travel itneary to come here for Christmas.I cut him off and he didn’t get any money ,But he used the name of Anatol Bobak .
If you can ,I would like to see the pictures that he used on you ,The pictures he used with me all faked Asian man pictures ,He said he grew up in Poland .
I would like see if he used the same email address or not .
Thank you .

ususally they go to another country, waiting for their shipment that they should pick up the next day, then next day they send you a text saying they are in panic, the shipment is costing them more than what they budgeted, and ask you that they need let say 50k, they are trying to call friends so asked you if you can send anything you can afford, and they say what would I do without you my queen, honey, etc.

Do you have a name for this guy?

if u can,i would like to see his picture.im dealing with mchanical engr.now frm US and currntly lving in syria he asked me to help him and he will send me the money by a parcel

Funny.. I am talking to an "oil rig Engineer" right now who wanted me to send him $3000 because supplies were held up at the coastguard. I wouldn't send it but I did send Itunes card..
and Chris is also part of his name..

Does he say he works in the engine room? How can we share photos?

Is this your Chris? He tells me that he works in the control room as well. From Denmark, is in Texas in oil rig. Says he lives in Nashville TN? Hasn’t asked me for any money or cards yet.

Do you have e snay photos please?

hey is his name chris becuasce chris lane is married the singer thats what happened to me.

I have just had a narrow escape thank the Lord for Google and this site. I have recently lost my husband and feeling very lonely when i got a Hello in IG and we were off!
His name is Ashley Scott, from Texas and working on an oil rig in Tblisi with six months on and three months off Very early in the conversation he said that he had a problem with his bank account which had unauthorised transactions on it and had been frozen (oh the irony).
Things got quite heavy and i was a silly old woman who told him all my life history and fell madly in love with him, the things he said just made me feel fabulous. And he was so Godly too, always quoting the Bible in earnest. He said he was studying for something or other to get promotion at work. apparently he'd worked with his company for 25 years and was 53, so I did swiftly think that was a little odd that he hadnt already been promoted lol!!

Then a few days ago he asked me to buy him some Itunes cards because he needed books to study and couldnt get any money from anywhere. I said no but couldnt bear the thought of losing my gorgeous Texan hunk so decided after a couple of days that I would get them but, I googled Itunes scams and it was like a script had been written. I told him in no uncertain words to clear off and blocked him on IG and FB but this morning he managed to contact me by messenger and it all started again. I was almost on the hook again when I found this page and to my horror and relief realised I wasnt the only silly woman in the World. You'd think they could come up with a different script by now but thank goodness they havent. Im so thankful that I found this article before rekindling my affair with the Texan hunk!

Uh oh....we might have the same hunk. What's with the oil rig story? Can we privately chat??? I wanna see his pic. Mine asked me to send Google Play cards to his daughter. He calls me daily but his voice is very foreign. Flags everywhere.

Yes I was scammed, he claims to be an Exxon contractor working on a oil rig, professes love and marriage in less than a week, but needs iTunes cards to complete his paperwork, $150.00 , then comes back a week later with I need $500.00 more I ask for pictures of the oil rig he’s working on and low and behold they are the exact pictures from the internet, now it gets better his security company is closing and he wants me to be his beneficiary and accept a 1.6 million dollar paperwork and to hold it safely like the bank, so I ran for the hills not going to accept anything nor am I going to go to jail for this enormous lie, please be carful these people are so slick

I am dealing with a guy that is foi g this to me.. security company closing, beneficiary. The whole nine yards.. Can i ask what his name is??

I think I am talking to the same person, he has been talking to me since September of 2017, confesses his love for me and wants to marry me and is coming home to me. I have sent ta an address for his kids he says phones, ipads and money. But, I recently found out from my phone service that the phones where being used in Nigeria, they took the sim cards out and put in sim cards that have a Nigerian phone service. All phones have an IM number that can be tracked no mater if you switch the sim cards or not. Now he has asked me to pay $25,000 to this Security company that is closing and he wants me to be the beneficiary because he has no one but two children and they are off in boarding school. He assures me everything is legal and that he would never do anything to hurt me. He is a sweet talker..... But then I get a friend request from someone else who looks like him or is him with a different name. This guy says he was hacked by the other guy that I am chatting with and he said don't talk to him anymore he is trying to steal my identity. then the one I am chatting with I told him and he said that most me the guy that took my phone and all my pictures and he knows about you because of our chats and your pictures. I am so damn confused. I know that they are both the same person . Big fat liars...... I wish I could talk to you and compare pictures .

Eric Flint or Ryan Paul or Robert

I’m talking with a guy with the same story line. Needing money .. Has a daughter in boarding school in Italy . His security company is closing their doors. Wants me to be his beneficiary to accept his money of 1.2 million but it’s being helped in Germany at the airport. But if I send a large amount of money they will release the money to be forwarded to me.Working for BP in the Gulf if Mexico and can’t receive it . The company that is closing is called Safegold. His name is on the Hangout site is lovely man. He is a scammer.

I also deal with a guy who is civil engineering. he told that has project at Turkey for 3 weeks. He did send photos about the project and he went around at Turkey. Suddenly, sent an email to tell me his has big problem because this equipments are seized by ministry of Turkey. He has not enough money to get back the equipment and want to lend money from me. Lucky I did not do that. Not sure whether we met the same person.

Dealing with a man who claims a veteranarian and was in Turkey to treat sick animals. Was a 3 week contract. Suddenly, email claims his equipment kept on ship and he doesn't have money to get it back. I sent money. He was working for the ministry of Turkey. The story goes on today. Name he gave is Michael Wong. Originally from Hong Kong, owns home in Scotland.

Me too!!!!!!!!!!! Did he send you photos? I got word that his laptops weren’t working in Turkey and he needed me to send them to Cyprus...?

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