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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’m talking to the same guy. Same story.

Omg! The guy I'm talking to is from Malta. Lives in Dallas. Is ready to retire soon. Says he is a pilot. But now he's in Israel and needs money. Ugh!

I might be talking to him now. Comes from Malta. Antique dealer. Wants to come to my house. Loves me and wants to marry. Lives in Houston TX .

I’m talking to the same guy, Jerry Carl Siebold, Antique dealer in Houston, from Malta, now in Las Vegas To get a contract related to clocks. Wants to marry and And show me the world. Tried to call on Hangouts twice, but always something wrong with his phone for the video. Deep accent. Several different pictures on Facebook with this same name.

Is he still calling you? Calling me too. On hangouts. Same story.

I’m currently communicating with a man named James Maxwell who is from Sweden and on an oil rig in the golf of Alabama. Says his assignment ends July 3. Has an asked me for money yet but is laying it on thick with how he feels and professing his love for me and wants to spend the rest of his life with me once he gets off the oil rig. I’d love to share pictures but I’m not sure how to do it on the site. Have you figured out?

I’ ve met the same guy named James Molony from Ireland or Sweden on Facebook. He said his mother is Swedish, father Irish. Also claimed to be an engineer in Iran. But he asked for money for he had to pay for the oil construction haff-way.

I have had exact same story except calling himself James Malone. It’s a scam. Do not send money. Block him

So I’ve been talking to Brian Molony who says he has Swedish mother and Irish father who is a financial analyst and golf course designer. Both parents died of Covid and no friends. Professes his love within a day and started talking about my 401k on 4th day. I knew he was a scammer from some pics he sent. His accent was not Swedish or Irish. He sounds middle eastern. Ughh.. these scammers

Ann - mine may have picked up where yours left off. Started first week of June on Match. Claims to be Danish and American citizen with Danish accent but wouldn’t speak Danish. Very convincing, soft spoken, handsome, clever, sincere, and pretends to be Christian. Daughter age 19 in college in Charlottesville, VA. Wife deceased five years ago with cancer. Civil engineer with job in Istanbul. He provided a 6 page contract with a hospital there. Was in Turkey last week with the earthquake. This started with him allegedly in Delaware but I don’t believe he was ever in the states. I found an almost identical profile of him on Match and inquired. The head of their fraud unit was impressed with how sophisticated this one is but she did find a match on one of his pics I hadn’t checked that linked him to a Russian dating site under a different name. Goes by the name of John Hedrick and Damian Berkins. Total scam, full of lies and asking for money. Deserves to see the inside of a Turkish prison. I’m not finished with him yet.

Ann I have someone very similar I am talking to. Can you tell me more like about his family? Where does he reside normally? How long has he been in Sweden? What formum do you talk to him on?
Are you still in touch with him

I'm talking to an architect named James. Lives in AZ. In Cyprus to build a Hospital. Says he's German. Has a daughter. Divorced.

This is a scam. Have had James the architect before.

Told me the same, have been talking with him for 6 weeks. He said he needs $800 to get his software. LOL Did he tell his ex-wife took him for a bunch of money as well ??
I told him there was a site about him this morning, and he said and you believe that about me? … smh….

Yes wife cheated with best friend & took all his money. Has one daughter. Love bombs you with messages & songs morning, noon & night. They are master manipulators & have an answer for everything! Block & delete. Its all lies & a scam

Samiar story
Songs morning, evenings
Did you eat breakfast
What time you’ll have dinner
All the time to chat
So hurt and heartbroken

Sounds similar to my guy. Donald Mark . The YouTube songs asking if I have eaten. Tells me how much he loves me wants to be a family with me and his 12 yr. old daughter who is in the U.K. at a boarding school because his wife died 4 years ago and he has to travel for work. Very handsome we talked on phone. I saw him on video it was the same person in the pictures. Engineer in Madrid has a contract in Holland get to Holland and his phone doesn’t work right wants me to send him Steam gift card. Of course I said no.

Hello is anyone been talking to someone named Gabriel Linds? Claims to working on oil rig . 2 kids widow. Has not asked for any money we text early morning then he’s off to work he checks in at lunch and after work then calls every night before bed. Has pictures. I want to believe he is telling truth if you have heard of him please share so I can stop this now if he’s a scammer

I met a guy thru a game said he's from Florida and works on an oil rig on gulf of Mexico widowed and had two sons. We have been communicating by email on hangout and after a month ask me for a $1000 dollars I told him I didn't have it he got angry. He said how can I be his woman as and not help him. I said I don't give men money. He stopped emailing me got another two weeks then he started again. This time he apologized and said he loved me and ask for $100 I told him no and he sounded like a romance scammer. Haven't heard anything yet he said that this afternoon and I ended the conversation. Not sure what he's gonna do. His job on the rig is suppose to end in December.

Hi, I haven't heard of the specific name however I can tell you these scammers have pretty much the same MO. Their divorced or widower with 1 or more children. They will text early morning ask you how ur night was, more is....they love you and miss you so much. They change their name and location most have two profiles on different dating sites. They use apps to get different phone numbers, they allocate to that name. They have great jobs, million $contracts then get equipped break and will ask you to help especially if you're committed to the relationship. Beware they're scripts, they change their stories a bit believing no one will figure them out. You can see articles and pics of scammers on the net . I was heartbroken but luckily caught on and didn't give in to requests for money. They will tell you what you want to hear. DONT send money my scammer stop contacting me after I refused to help. So much for loving me soooooo much. After that I saw his profile 5 times different names and location, they just move on to the next.trust me they talk to multiple women in 1 day you think they are at work or in meetings busy when they dont talk to you. I did my homework never again will I fall for the fast loving words etc . I know it hurts deeply as we all want love but these guys know it and will say anything. Pls be alert to the red flags I almost ignored mine as I didnt want to accept the lies .

Sounds like my guy, he goes by the name of Wesley Lewis Park

Omg . Your story is identical to mine he rings me at 6am hue was your night? Have you eaten breakfast
He’s a surgeon but has been sent to Yemen ive lost £6,000 to him . But he was so charming and good looking . I’ve been such an idiot

He is def a scammer. I haven been texting with a man for 10 months and did send money unfortunately. He started asking for more and more and the story got more and more cray. The scammer uses pictures of good looking men and butter you all up with their sweet talk. Dont fall for it please!

I've been chatting to some Gabriel. I'm not sure if he's the same guy. He claims to have 2 kids but was divorced 4 years ago. He says he's from Belgium and works as an engineer contractor for British Petroleum. Do you have his pictures?

This guy is also trying to scam people by selling non-existent puppies on Facebook :0 ... They'll try anything!

Is there anyway you can send me a picture of the guy you was talking to cause this might be the same one. I had almost killed my self over this guy please help me .

Think this is the same guy who been talking with me . But said he’s in Norway has daughter 9 with grandma asked for stem cards or eBay cards ... do you have a pic ?

I’m talking to a guy in Delaware his name is Harris Walter . After two weeks he texted me to tell me his only daughter died , he doesn’t know what to do. His ex wife cheated on him his parents died . They are all liars and scammers

I think it's the same guy told me very similar story. My guy's name is Jefferey Forsberg. He claimed to be a Swedish Architect from Sweden stuck in Turkey because he couldn't pay fines. Total scammer. If you have the same story you can e-mail me at nattycatt@gmail.com

Hi I have been chatting with an American Chinese guy with a Nigerian accent, photos that he sent was in his 60's, claimed to me an offshore oil rig engineer. His name is Richard. Anyone heard about this guy. Has recently requested for $9500 to be transfered to a company's bank account.

Hi! Is he contract at Istanbul turkey, and he is from California , San Jose . I been chatting with him for 3 months. And now he said his equipment is broke down,and his bank is suspended so he need help for a money asking me to send money , you have his photos can you send to me

Hi what’s his full name? Does he called himself Richard Wong? As might be same guy that’s chatting with me

This Richard is a scammer....Pretty sure same guy same M.O...turned out to be a nigerian guy. He even sent me a facebook greeting after I had sent him money. do not continue speaking with him.

This is a total scam my guys name was Jefferey Forsberg! Ask yourself if these guys are rich and successful why are they asking money from you!

I had the same James & he is a fake. He even faked his own death on his way to meet me.

Sound like the same guy that was trying to scam me by the name Albert Matthew he was in turkey cypress and need money to pay for a rental car He was a engineer He had a son who was 14 years of age wife passed on from cancer..He was building a hotel in Cypress. He was to be from Winnipeg Manitoba. But i caught on to the scam and told him up i cant and i will not help him out atall ...he keeped changing his telephone number and changing his story...But ya if you want pictures of this guy i got 2 i can share

James, the architect in Cyprus is currently talking to me. Fortunately, I was on to him from the beginning (thanks to sites like these). He doesn’t know I know he’s a scammer. I should probably block him. I am just too fascinated by it all. I’ve reversed checked the pics he’s sent and they’re all from the internet. All the red flags are there. He hasn’t asked for money, but he’s setting it up...talks about his job and the money he had to “front”.... Anyway, I sure wish there was a way to catch this guy. If anyone else “meets” him, beware!

Hi there
I wonder if it is the same guy from Sweden thick accent? Do you have photo's my email is nattycatt

Do you have photo's? My name is Natalie my e-mail is nattcatt@gmail.com. Similar story his name is Jeff Forsberg from Sweden claims he is an Architect he needed money to finish project in Turkey or they were going to throw him jail. I told him if he was really rich all he had to do was sell his assets to get the money. Total scammer met him on Plenty of Fish

Lyn please let’s share privately

May I see pictures. my mom has been talking to someone who says he is from New Jersey and is in Egpyt for a contract. Claims he is an engineer. Said he was going to visit her for Xmas. Missed the flight, because his boss won't let him leave. Has a 14 yr old boy. Says his wife passed from covid in February this year.

Same story Architect from Sweden Jefferey Forsberg came on strong. Contract in Turkey could not access funds Luckily I am connected and told him I could get him a bridge loan. His lawyer never called me back. Had another lawyer who he claimed was representing him email from Turkey. He said if I didn't email him money he was going to jail for not paying fines. I basically told him if he was really wealthy he could have sold his assets in Scottsdale where he claimed to live! Ask yourself if these if these guys are so rich why are they asking you for money? I met him on Plenty of Fish. Beware he is a total scammer!

Greg David Muller is in Turkey too. Says he's going to jail if he doesn't get $20,000 for pipes to fulfill his contact. He's gotten $500 before I realized I was being scammed. He's still trying to get money but I chalk that $500 up as my temporary loss of sense lesson. He keeps asking if I'm trying to help him and I assured him I am. NOT!

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.

It sounds like the same man im currently talking to is there any kind of way you can send pictures to me please

How do we send pics to each other? Becz I think I'm talking to the same guy, SMH. This is insane. He's going by the name Christopher Harry Williams, from Sacramento, CA.

The person I’m talking w goes by Christopher G i from Alabama.

Sounds similar .This guy bald too. How do we send picture to see

I’ve been talking to Richard who is an architect. Lived in Hayward, gave me a legit address. Then had to go to Overseas for a job, he call day and night sent me flowers. Then he spilled coffee on his computer and his bank card was locked. I talked to his Son supposedly who also had an accent but was suppose to be american. Then there was an accident on his job site and two workers got hurt and he is now in jail. Keeps asking me to go on different money apps or ask for my bank info. None of these things I’ve done. He is very good looking bald, blues eyes. Different picture with his son and standing in front of a Christmas Tree, sitting at a couple different desk. I asked him to send me pictures of his hotel and he did send them with him in his room. He says he is Danish and was raised in England. But his accent almost sounds German. Does he sound familiar? He also has a profile on LinkedIn. I wish we could post pictures

Is there a way to trade pics because I am currently for last 3 weeks, talking to someone who claims to be stuck in south Africa. Claims he is there for 3 week project but 2 days ago lost his wallet and documents. Now has no money to eat or travel. I have several pictures of him. Says he lives in California. Handsome bald with strong accent.

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