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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 — click on Scams and Rip-Offs, then select Romance Scams.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


They will tell you anything to get you to send money or iTunes cards or gift cards. Some ask quickly others wait months. Most use untraceable phone numbers through services like Google Voice. Most tell you they are Engineers or Oil Workers etc. (which begs the question... why do they need your money then?) Use your instincts. If he said he’s from Canada then really look at the pictures he sends and see if it matches the location he told you he lives. Google has a reverse image search. Use it. Never take what they say at face value. Maybe after meeting them face to face and actually dating... but not with video chats (which can be faked by the way) and not with phone calls or texts. It’s quite alright to use them as friendship and share music, movies, etc. but never lose sight of the fact that they are working to scam you. It’s a harsh reality.

Same, he said he’s a pilot and pictures and vid seemed to be the same person, then asked for ring size and shoe size, and said I will need to pay taxes when receive the packages.

Katy the pilot guy you are talking about..where does he live and what name did he give you?

Hi katy i want to send you the picture of the guy who scammed me.he said his a pilot in can we share the picture ?

Hi chen.I think its the same person who almost scammed me.He use the name Fred max .And he said he works in netjets as a pilot.He said he will send a package ,and someone emailed me that in order to claim it i need to pay for taxes before the package will be delivered.I can sense that there's something wrong.Good thing i was not able to fall in his trap.I want to let you see the videos and pictures that he sent me.
I actually send a message to Netjets if they can let the real pilot know that a scammer is using his pictures and videos.

Hi yen, he told me the same, Fred max, pilot of NetJets, he send me videos and pics. Thanks you because when I read your text and Katy texts I realized that he was totally a fake.

Hi marcy!i was able to find the real account of the pilot.when in told him thats someone is using his pics and videos he blocked me.i think the real account is handled by the the way,how can we be able to share pics and videso?i want to send it to you lets see if its the same person

Hello, I’ve recently talked to this guy on Instagram, can you share the photos of the guy and we can compare whether it’s the same guy or not? Thanks.

Hi, may I know which guy you are referring to? What is his name?

Hi Katy his name is David Fred by any chance?

How about David Frederick Barclay?

Hey this same thing happen to me recently.... when i told him i donot have that money to pay for customs he got angry ... Thank God I didnot fall for it

Me too. 50,000 over a year. I'm so lost and confused at my own actions. I believe I need a psychiatrist to see why I'm so soft hearted.

I am right there with you, mine is asking me to send him steam cards to help pay for groceries while he is overseas waiting for a contract to finish that will probably never finish because he's waiting for me to send him money which I won't send, I already tried to wire 10,000 but luckily the bank suspected fraud and stop the process ... he's still talking to me and we use Hangouts but that is the only form of communication, no phone number is given. Every morning he sends me a poem along with a picture of flowers and tell me how much I mean to him and I'm the only one besides his mom in his life and without me he would probably kill himself..... and absolutely tears me up inside because if it's real I would be devastated but in my mind I know that it's not real especially after reading all these stories... Stay strong women

My heart is racing reading these stories. I have a picture of a man I've been talking to Goes by Fred and Franklin. How can I share his picture.

These stories are true I'm a victim to please block them don't send no money or iTunes cards. These people are heartless will steal your heart it's real. I wish I would have know about this to read it please save ur self. Two months and I have took 2 payday loans to help and 1300 in cash

Was this Fred, a doctor in Iraq? The pictures of the man, that talk to me, was a Fred. He wanted to send me $2.85 million dollars. He said he’d be coming home in a week. I blocked him.

Sassy12, I have a good friend who is talking to a Freddy in Jordan, so he says. He wants to send her a lot of money he has "found". Did he say where he got the money he wanted to send you, how he was going to send it? I am worried, she said she has researched him, but this is just to similar and she has to pay to get the money here.

The man I talked to is Fred max

If u have a picture of this Frank would love to see if its the same guy

Does he go by mikefrank178 it chrixtopher_ryan 211 on Instagram? Engineer, with a 13 year daughter , went to turkey for a contact, needs money to get equipment , he’s good looking , says he’s Romanian,

No Hungarian civil engineering lives in Hardford conn has a daughter in Italy 22 Darn he was good sole my heart just need to get a little harder sorry this happened to u also goes by alexagato567@ needs money do hospital bills was mugged in cyprus had an interpreter and a doc on on it supposley. Even used my faith

ive been talking to a guy named fred williams he says. is this the same fred? also a eric jack?

I met this guy said his name was dr. Henry somewhere in yemen. He needed iTunes cards and $7000 usd for his sons medical bills. I sent the card but not the $7000. Every morning he would send me song, poems, and pics of flowers. Said he wanted to marry me but I blocked this scammer. I feel silly because I sent him gift cards but thank God I stopped while I was ahead.

Why do these scammers need money for family medical bills? Especially the military scammers??

My guys says his name is Adrian Humberto Rivera. He sends me songs and poems everyday He says his internet costs $500. he has a son Jaime his Grandma Elena and a nanny to take care care of his son. He claims he is stationed in Italy , intelligence so he cannot video chat or call me. Does he sound familiar to anybody ?

Yup, found this clown on pof. Same story. Wasted 2 weeks talking to him till I dug deep and realized he is a scam. Gave me the story he gave you. I got tons of pictures from him but can not find the real guy through google images. He didn’t get no money from me lol

Omg, I just got flowers and chocolates and a teddy bear delivered by the local florist from Adrian Humberto Rivera, I’m freaked out!!

Show pictures. Please

He wants to send me flowers , too. I want to see his photo please

May I ask what the scammer goes by?Does he say he’s in the military deployed to Syria? I’ve been talking to someone for over a year now. He messaged me on Instagram then asked me to go to Hangout. Yes I’m feeling like a fool woman too. Thanks.

That same exact thing happened to me today and two of my friends... We all got together and realized and blocked him... I think he stole someone's photos and is up to no good. He goes by Steve Gonzalez... Same Syria military story ☹️

Does he go by the name Cooper George xvi or Cooper fresh in Instagram

Ladies! I’ve been chatting for. A couple of days to a scammer with the same army/Syria story.
Immediately I knew he was fake and my first question was ‘are you real’ the conversation continued with me pointing out all the mistakes he’d made on his photos/profile. He knew I knew but we continued to chat.. it was hilarious and great fun! Fb blocked him as o guess someone else reported him. Best laugh I’ve had for ages! Like my own little detective game.. such fun! I miss him :)

The same thing with me only Afghanistan. He knew I knew he was a scammer but we had the best time. Hilarious fellow. Then he just disappeared. I miss him. I lost no money.

Hi did he go by the name johnson monland.

Right now I'm talking to 2 guys. One is on an oil rig the other is in Afghanistan and is a Lt. General. Here's a question for ya..... Why would a Lt. General be talking to me? I'm sure he scammer.

I just busted a man, claimed he was a seargent major in us army...found me on is Ryan Luke quinn...I can't find his pics anywhere...never asked for money, was sweet and acted caring...wanted to come home to me when deployment was over...finally got him to email me, located the ip, Nigeria...

I heve been contacted by by a man who says he is in the army stationed in Afghanistan transfering to Iraq. Wanted to send me a big box with gold bars money and supposedly all his military papers and pictures of him when he was a kid. Mind you this was after he tells me he wants to come back to me in the states and marry me and be a family. When he tells me about this box he wants me to borrow money from any one that will give it to me to get it. Conversation were never about "US" anymore it was all about the box and getting the money to ship it. Anyone have any helpful infromation it would be greatly appreciated.

I had the same thing happen to me. This box with his treasures and papers from the military. Money too! He tells me he is sending it to me and that I will be arrested because I am helping him with laundered money. His name is Garth Hestilow. He is very charming and smart. I have been reporting him to the FBI. Also there was a Dr.Wilson Potter and a Priest named Charles Nelson. Plus a company called Excel Parcel in London. I thought these people were liget. I am naming these people on this site so others will not be taken in like I was. When all is said and done I was left with just a heartache and I am trying to recover from it all.

I was just contacted by a Hispanic man 2 days ago named Wilson Potter who says he was adopted, raised by a priest And is stationed in the Philippines right now. He says he’s about to retire and move back to his home in California. Is any of this familiar to you?

I knew Chris Harrison. But he said he’s adopted by a priest. Originally from Berlin, Germany. And now in Florida. He said he’s a electro-petroleum engineer.

I had the same thing only it was a woman it is a good scam she got me good she was very patient

I don't suppose his "name" was Brad Unwin?

Sadly, the same thing happened to me and I was foolish to send money to help one claiming to be a Commander in the US Military stationed Iraq. He wanted me to help him receivet his property until he has a leave in August. He claimed his unit received compensation from their Commander for successful mission and money was stored with a security company in Syria, that was closing down due to imposed tax increases, and all account holders had to claim their property or it will be turned over to the Government. I STUPIDLY agreed to help and in order to get his property the papers had to be transferred to my name which cost $$$. However, it didn't stop there, but more money was being requested for certain certificates for the diplomat delivering the box to get clearance at JFK Airport, otherwise I would be in trouble should the authorities scan the box and my name is listed as owner. Well, I got fooled once, but not again. They even have a fake Anti Fraud Agency with a gmail email contacting me for this money. They can keep the alleged box. I am NOT touching it or paying for nothing else! I have filed a complaint with the FTC and provided all details and contact info.

I’m in dealing with something similar. Anyone got pics the can share?

I have someone I talk claims to be deployed we are connected at times it feels real ...other times I feel its a scam. He's sent me gifts, he's also sent me items to mail to.him.
Who has pictures...lets weed these guys out.

Iv been scammed the same saying.i must spend money over so his treasure box has all his things I'm it his name was jon Bowen bew8he bad news said he was a general ha ha which put for him

Omg me too an oil rig! I the gulf. I know it’s a scam. Named Allen??

I’m going through oil rig scammer too
Said someone impersonating him using his pictures yes I lost money. His name Henry Brown
As daughter 12. Nanny wife died 2016 just got taken off Instagram by the real person whose if he took! But he swears he loves me!
Lives California


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