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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

Is he look like model..With pics of dog and cat

Sounds like Fred Maupin contacted me on Words with Friends claims to be Orthodepic Surgeon in US army based in Pakistan. Claims he's being posted to Afghanistan unless he puts in for special leave which will cost USD4,000-00. I've been stringing him along for 3 weeks now saying I'm trying to get it but also started asking questions about the military base which he can't answer

Sounds like robert dosier same thing wanted 700 from me not in this life time

Have you been in touch with a Robert Dosier a Major in U.S. Army in Kabul Afghanistan?

Fred Maupin contacted me through Words with Friends too same story orthopedic surgeon for the US Army based in Pakistan (in a dangerous war zone). He said he was from California. It took him a week to ask me for a gift card to pay for a test that he was needing to take. An orthopedic surgeon asking for a gift card to take a test... give me a break! As soon as I told him I couldn’t help him. He cancelled out our game & got out of our friends group. Ladies please BEWARE of this scammer!!

I have a good looking guy also that sent me a picture with his dog and said he was an orthopedic surgeon working in Syria. That he's a widower and has a teenage son in Italy at boarding school

I got someone called William David thru IG who declared he is an orthopaedic surgeon.. His wife died and he has a 4yo daughter in Italy.. He wanted to chat in LINE instead but I refused... Already knew it was a scam.. How can we share photo to confirm if its the same guy..?

I felt bad for the guy in the photo as his photo got stolen by scammer to do sth wrong...

Hey Linda, got a guy named Dave claiming to be a doctor with the UN in Somalia. Nice looking of course, wife deserted them, two boys in boarding school in the UK. Claiming he needs money for vacation because his next assignment is Syria. Wears glasses in most pics. Birthday Jan 9th. Would love to share pics of this guy.

Hi this happened to me in the last few days although he hasn’t asked for money yet told me to get the hangout app. Saying he is a dr in Iraq working for UN. HAs daughter in boarding school and he lives in my state and will be back from Iraq in August. Very good looking man already telling he loves me and I’m the only one. Sending pics that look somewhat fake. It took me few days to realize SCAM.

I am also talking to a guy that I met on IG. says his name is Dave Lucas(dav_elucas) Extremely attractive. says he's 40 and is a doctor working for the UN on a contract in Poland. Says he has a daughter named Zoe who is off in school somewhere. Said he was born in South Africa and lived in Chicago for 10 years while studying to be a Dr. Said his dad died when he was 7 and his mother died recently. He has told me that he loves me way too soon. Wants to spend the rest of his life with me. I have several pictures of him. NOw he wants me to send him a Google gift card because he claims he needs to pay for a wifi connection. He also told me his ex-wife cheated on him and they are now divorced and she is pregnant with another man's child. We've spoken many times on the phone through the hangout app. and video chatted once. He has a severe accent. Does this sound familiar to anyone?

Yes....very familiar...do you mind sharing pictures if you have any? I have lots of pictures of him and his daughter. Is he a black man?

Was the dog a little Jack Russell sitting in the car with him?

I think I've been scammed by the same guy. Gorgeous. How can we exchange photos?

What is the name this guy is using? Does he say he is in Afghanistan?

Once again I do believe it's the same man but with many different identities might he calls himself David but he's supposed to been in the hospital due to a car accident and that he was in ye men on the way to come here to me I think this person has many identities that he is using but I think it's the same man but I only know him as David Lee he is an Asian man supposedly

I had a guy trying to scam me that used a photo of him and a dog. He took photos of me and photoshopped him holding a picture with four photos of me in it. Very good! It was probably an award in a frame. He used the name Malcolm Merlyn and Malcolm S (strange name). He was supposed to be from Germany and was an engineer. I finally caught on but it was heartbreaking. He was supposed to currently living in Baton Rouge. I had the address he used as his work and when I Google Maps it, it was an empty field according to the satellite picture. I did actually talk to him on the phone and he should have had a strong big voice for a tall, fit man. He sounded like a weasel! Little tiny boy voice. I had another supposed to be an Army General in Afghanistan. His name was Eric Anthony and Rich Anthony and Eric Rich. Picture of him in uniform had the name blurred. Sent pics of his 14 year old daughter putting ornaments on the tree. Both guys profess their love. When I said no to both these guys they vanish or come back later. If their Facebook page has no posts or no friends or nothing about them they are not real! Be cautious and follow your gut and not your heart.
It's a horrible thing.

Hi I am curious about the person you met from Germany who said he was an engineer. When he first DM's me on Instagram he said he was an engineer from upstate New York and originally from Germany. He did the photoshop thing as well with a personal message and tried to do a Skype call which didn't look right at all. When we spoke his accent was so think so didn't believe him. I ended up finding the real guy whose pics he was originally using and he later confessed and started sending me pics of the "real" guy he claimed to be. Did he wear glasses late 30's early 40's? I have a lot of pics he has sent and video but still have not met him after 5 months.

JenD0823 please can you send his foto or how do i find out more... I have a story to tell... i wrote a long message her... but not sure how it works here.

Hi can you tell me more about this guy from Germany? Name? Story line. I have someone i meet on WWF named Sam Schmidt.

The guy I met on Coffee with Bagels. Sam Schmidt..VERY handsome. Gray hair. Has been in Atlanta (near his daughter) since COVID. From Germany...raised most of his life in New Orleans.

Geophysicist?

I was talking to Sam Schmidt too! Do NOT send him money!!

Kimmy

White headed with a chocolate lab. Claims his name is Christian R. Ackerman. Not a trace of him online and once I asked of a picture of his ID he disappeared. He is Australian according to him and we talked on the phone. Very strong accent.

Bees marrying me too!!

Was he very muscular black t-shirt Gray hair sunglasses and a goatee Said he was in his 50s also in a picture with a dog
And he believes in god and asks if you’ve been to church.
An American but lived in Germany when he was young so has a German accent but muffled so difficult to understand and when you speak to him has a much younger voice if that makes sense! Says he is in U.N. & NATO us army

Sounds like mine. This scammer eventually admitted he had stolen someone's FB pictures. Had a story about a child who died in a car accident at age 19. His scammer name was Steve Van Der Beek, said he was Dutch and retired from being a chef on a cruise ship. MGD cruise line, something like that. Had a tatoo that said "I love you you" in script on his upper left chest. Some wild story about starting a Dutch restaurant in the US, and could I help with money? Ah, no.

Can you please send a picture I think the same guy is trying to scam me ,

Same thing with me / he had me fall in love with him / but it is the man in the picture / I wish I could find him !

I think I have been scammed myself. I am SICK.

Hi Phyllis, I'm at the tail end of a scam. I'm playing the money game with him right now that he needs me to pay $4,720 in airfare for him to return to the states from working on an oil rig in Germany and for an airline ticket to pay for a replacement person for him. Same as you, I'm crazy about the man in the pictures he was sending me. I'll see how far he's willing to go as I keep telling him that I don't have extra cash to send him. He's like demanding that I go out and get a steam card for him. Sad thing is, I told my husband that I wanted out of our marriage for this guy. Fortunately, he knew that it's a scam and is helping me research this scam. "Alex" asked me to contact the UN, he provided email address, to have them release him from his contract to be with me and his 12yo son, lost wife due to short illness. I actually contacted the real United Nations and they informed me that the UN does not have any thing to do with oil rig contracts. I'm waiting on a response from the oil company that he says he works for for confirmation of employment. I have a good husband. Guess I'll stick with him.

Keith you have to think of it like this - you are a good person and she is not. Block her and save some heartache. There is someone good out there for you don’t be in rush she will come and she will be worth waiting for.

I am going thru this too right now. This is all so familiar. The widowed dad who works outside the states and their child is in a college overseas and they have no other way to get money. No other family or friends. Terrible grammar most of the time and other times perfect, like they copied and pasted something. I wish there was a place you could post their pictures for other people to see.

I've posted on this blog site a short time ago - your story sounds very similar to mine! Wish I could share the photo I have of him so we could see if he is scamming the both of us at the same time! He is VERY handsome, white hair, nicely kept beard, very muscular (photo only shows upper body and he is wearing an Abercrombie red short-sleeved t-shirt with a moose on the front of it. Says he is coming to see me soon.

Sounds like the one I had, Same story. Widow in Texas by the name of Tyler. Went overseas for a contract. Then needed money for taxes. I knew then he was a scammer. But played along. When I couldn’t get money , he became quite aggressive. So I gave it back to him . He didn’t like that. I then befriended all his friends on Instagram. And I warned them all he was a scammer and a liar. He had to shut down his profile. I know it won’t stop him. But I wasn’t going to make easy for him to try and scam others.

Sounds like the same guy I got. He's on an oil rig in Scotland and fell and needed money for his meds. He's from Texas, he is a widow with a 14 year old daughter. His wife was killed in a car accident and his parents died when he was young. He asked me for steam cards for his internet connection and later asked me for money for his medical bills at the hospital Health Services. I have 3 pictures of him and it's the same guy oh, I've talked to him on the phone as well as on video chat. And he is the same guy in the pictures as the video chat. I'm on Hangouts with him and he's always on Hangouts all times of the day. I know he's a scammer because I've caught him in a few lies, and he says he doesn't lie hahaha. Very strong accent he says he's from Denmark and he wants to marry me any loves me and he's coming here to take me on the vacation around the world, I think not

Deborah scamming is real I have a 67 year old friend who met this Colombian chick 34/35 years old Paulina Lopez in Monteira. Are there any other men here who has been scammed by this girl she is smooth like butter.
Ever since she has not stopped begging if it’s not medical bills it’s ticket to come to USA.
He sent her money for airfare 3 times and she never came. Now she’s asking him to marry her to come to USA.

The guy from Texas is also going by Zack James. Tried to scam me, but it didn't work. Hangouts....always Hangouts. He also said he had a contract he had to go to Germany for. Tried to get me to transfer A LOT of money out of a British account into my account. Get this, he told me the bank contacted him and since he has left America he couldn't leave his money in his British account anymore. That did it right there because no way is a bank going to get rid of 1.5 million dollars. Watch out for this one, he is really really good.

Jason Allen sought me out. I accepted a friend request on Facebook. Immediately he wanted me to open "Hangouts" and chat there. Supposed to be a surgeon working for the United Nations in Somalia. Loves me, wants to visit me, and even ask me to marry him. Now is asking for money for food. I asked if the UN had emergency fund. No. Am I being scammed?

Hi Jennifer
I was talking to a French surgeon in UN in Somalia Nathan Liuwis -. it actually took me over a week to realise... they are very clever at tricking you. Take care

You are surly scammed. Just this person made this story for me. He told he was a surgeon and originally from Italy his accent was similar to Italian people too. He was telling was in love with me and then wanted money for food and drugs. I searched and got there arent any people work this way for UN! He is a big scammer.

I also talked to James Allen who found me on Linkedin. A surgeon from the US, his wife died and he is currently working in East Africa.

It so sad that how people can scam you especially when you are trying to find true love

Hey I think I have also been chatting with the same girl she is going by Amanda Rudolf we met on Facebook dating app with turned into Facebook messenger then WhatsApp after she stole my Facebook account and is now impersonating me and asking my friends for money using pics I sent of my credit cards..she claimed to be very religious and in the military/navy she also claimed to be a nurse 35 yrs old no kids father was supposedly a preacher in Cuba who recently passed and left her a bunch of money. I sent eBay cards she also stated she was trying to help me get into the Bitcoin business. She could never video or call me staying her camera and phone was faulty..she also sent packages to my house in someone else's and wanted me to send them to someone else which I was smart enough to send back to the post office..please don't fall for this person..does anyone else know how I can get this person to stop impersonating me with my Facebook account and how to regain control???

If someone took over your Facebook account, contact Facebook.

Don't feel bad, I thought myself of being smart too and pretty intuitive and got fooled also by how elaborated this scams are, I'm really amazed, this site helped me to see that, so I decided to share to help others too. I got contacted in a language exchange site, and the guy ask me also to use hangouts "soldier on a peacekeeping mission for the US in Sudan", named Clark Hartley after getting me in hangouts he deleted the language exchange app. Similar tragic story as the ones here, his wife died in a car accident 3 years ago, has a 6 year old kid, who is taken care by a nanny in Phoenix, dad also died the same year as wife curiously. Said couldn't call just chat since using a military configurated device for signals that only allows him to chat, and that he gets bored and lonely thats why he ask me for steam/ itunes card to download games and listen music, so luckily where I live they dont even sell those, and I told him so, he said if I couldn't get it was ok, but later on kept asking about the cards. Well, I ignored his request and he notice so, one day he asks if I could do something for him, if I went shopping anytime soon if I could make some shopping for him and send it to Sudan, (I'm like what?!) He told me he got supplies there, but he needed some few personal things, I asked to send me the money, list of things and adress and maybe I could DHL it (aint spending no money on a guy I dont even know), he later tells me he has no money with him, just his card but was afraid to do online transactions. I told him to buy his things online and I may have them fwd. Even tells me "so you're suggesting I pay the things with my card" . He ask me if I could help with the shopping, but if I couldnt if was ok, that he would figure it out how I may send him things. Here's where I got really suspicious, search for the pics he sent me and found two on random websites. So he is picking pics from websites, what surprised me was he had a really good english grammar, and really fluid sweet conversation, so girls be really careful, protect your hearts, search on google reverse image, ask for video calls, dont fall for this scam artist.

Has he ever sent you a picture in his military uniform? I’m so unsure of whether or not the guy I’ve been conversing with is telling the truth. Says he’s retired from the US military but had to travel to the UK to retrieve items. I keep trying catch him lying. I don’t military people without a bank account and bad credit. Not to mention supposedly a victim of bank fraud while he was completing his last tour in Afghanistan so he says.

He was on a site and did just what I’ve read moved the conversations to hangouts now before that it was text. It was my 1st time on a dating site and I should have did more homework. He is going by the name Steve Lovingood (should have known by the name). I have several pictures of him.

What name did he go bye

The guy I'm talking to says that he is a widow after he divorced his wife. He says that his name that his name is Steve Duff and he is a petroleum engineer in Dubai
. He has not asked for anything yet, I'm waiting. He states that he has a daughter and he sent me pictures of him on a rig. Would be nice if he was for real.

You have to be careful and watch out for the story line..

You know what's funny? I had an almost completely identical thing happen to me on grindr. Parallels like "peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan", tragic past story, deletes the app that he was originally using, and wants an iTunes gift cad.

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