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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

Tom sharkey can u send me pic

Hi Angryog,
Did this man in SA said his name is Greg Weber and he has a daughter staying with her aunt aunt in Texas?
I am trying to figure out this guy who asks for money to survive since his bank card was stopped.
Also have photos of him and daughter. Wife died few years ago.
Want to help him but now I am not sure if I want anymore.

Hi just wondering and Angryog
I only yesterday started chatting to a man
Daughter lives in Florida with aunt. He's working on oil rig in West Australia. His parents are passed. He's Iranian/Sth African. Already I'm his queen. I'm just waiting for the punch lines.

Don't give him any money. Michael Oliver is out there asking for money in bitcoins. He deposits fradulant checks to people's accounts then asks to donate money somewhere or buy and send him bitcoins. He uses fradulate checks with name on it T.T. Buckhous, something like that..his email address is michael1442oliver@ Pleasebe careful people. Don't meet ppl on line.

Hi could you please send a picture of michael oliver.please .think this could be same person I'm talking to ?

Did you say you're his "queen???!" Omg. Have I been scammed? Does he say his father called him King? Parents dead. He's from Nashville but originally the Netherlands. Engineer on an oil rig on the Gulf of Mexico. One son. Wife had affair with the neighbor and ran off. ?????

Hi your story is the same like me.
Can we exchange his photo.

This sounds like someone I’m talking to. How do u send pics?

I have pictures id love to find out who it is as I really think after reading all this I was almost scammed and my heart is broken He said he was an architect and his phone is from California his sister died in a car crash His mother died while we were chatting he has an accent claims its Italian. I am sad tonight cause we did part he has no way to show me anythung to prove who he is and he knew this I almost sent him the 320 he wanted to come here to marry me. Boy I am glad God stepped in on this but did I cry all day. He did call to say he wished I would take care of myself etc. He was always very polite and calm always talked about God and he even knew I was a minister. They have to hurt after they pull this on people They have to have feelings? He did know the bible?I want to know how I can find out who he is can anyone exchange phone nimbers if this sounds like your story? His number I can give it is a 619- Can you help me? Nancy

Sounds like a classic scam story line. They always appear caring and wonderful but thats how they scam people. They like to use god as well. Dont waste any more of your time trying to find out who he is just block him and move on. And no they have no feelings doing this to others they are ruthless. They use apps to make the phone number appear as if its coming from the country they say they are in.

After reading SO many of these stories I can only guess either there are only a few working overtime...or many with the same general sob script. whether widowed or divorced they all have a child or 2 that has need for school supplies or something.

Need money to get package thru customs with very important papers and some money to be reimbursed when it arrives, yadda-yadda.

Can't video. Can't do a selfie!!?

They ARE smooth and yes I got hooked.

But the phone no. Is 619. How do we exchange the full no.?

There’s also this guy Alexy Wilson works in oil rig says he’s from Dallas to I lost close to $70.000 from this jerk he wanted gift cards I lost my car and wrote checks in my name which I had no clue how scammers figure it
I ended up basically homeless in my apartment

I had the same story, he has found me on LinkedIn and fall in love, had to finish project in Turkey and after in Dubai but his bank account is blocked and he’s out of money. Asking bitcoins, conversion is the same: have you taken your breakfast, take care of yourself etc. Unfortunately I believed but at the same time not. He asked someone to send money to my bank account so that I transferred par bitcoins. Unfortunately I helped, but something forced me to search scammers information and thanks to God I have found your conversation. Now I see all these terrible lies. And yes he has American number, handsome, his wife betrayed him with his best friend, after she fall dead and he’s alone with his son 12 years old , which stays temporarily with his mother

Was his name Lucas Smith? Lucas Johnathan? Same person I believe who contacted me.

can u pls send me the picture of this smith pls? my mother is talking to same joseph smith the same story with the comments here..pls help me..my mother is a firat time uaer of facebook and she is hooked with this guy.pls help me.

I would love to talk with you. I'm sure we are dealing with the same man. I have plenty of pictures. I don't know how to post pictures on here. Or how to contact you without my info being public. Does he have beautiful blue eyes, bold, a stunning smile clean cut mustache and beard very sweet hairy chest?

I'm talking to David Paige. from France. His accent is different I don't think he is french. Deep voice,, has a studder. Using God, music very polite, a naval architect from little Rock , Arkansas. HS a daughter in KC, Mo. Wife died 5 years ago from ovarian cancer. He flew to CA the company sent him directly Qatar to finish a ship. He sends pictures of ships. Pictures of him, gray hair, 54, brown eyes, uses love you to the moon and back, queen. He needs 5k to pay taxes and wants me to buy bitcoin. Loves me I am everything to him is going to marry me when he returns and make me so happy. I am so glad I saw these comments because I thought I was in love, well I am, but he won't get any money out of me.

I want to send you picture but I don't know how..

Do you have pics this sounds like my guy he told me he was in South Africa to bury his mother but he lives in California

Hi curious... I think my mum may be talking to the same guy, handsome bald guy but he claims his a private investigator currently in NZ working on the mosque massacre.... Says his dad died recently has a daughter and ex wife that he is constantly trying to get my mum to send thousands and thousands of dollars to. He goes by the name David powell

Can you share his name I think I know the same guy

The guy I met off ok cupid goes by the name Jack Adamczyk. 58 yr old baldish very handsome guy. He says he owns a house in California long beach his wife died and he has a son in UNH. He is currently on a job in Turkey.

Sounds familiar to me. My guy says he in india. Same description..

I am currently talking to someone who sounds very similar to your guy. He is also no working h in turkey.

They always start off in USA or Europe then suddenly get a contract on a rig or construction in Turkey. They will all be widowers with a child or two who are in boarding school or with a nanny. Next it’s need money for equipment, or to finish a contract or some medical disaster for them, their workers or their relatives. It’s a SCAM! Don’t send money. Block them!

Good day. I have read many pages of posts here. All are very similar in the start up of THE conversation; and then the details are slightly different. This person is requesting that I go on another app to chat, etc. first warning sign. I have not done so. He had/has been chatting with a friend of mine [as I even asked about him] so I had no idea this could be a scam. I have been trying to vet him one way or the other which is looking like a waste of time. I am not getting anywhere with his pics. I can't even surmise if the pic is his or he has taken another's pics and uses. It has been about 2 weeks or so; and not texting everyday as I have done some pushback. Part of me would like to see if he asks for $$ then block him[?]. I am taking this as a learning experience to protect myself and recognize the various red flags . Thank you so very much for your information and insight.

Agree, as I had a similar situation based on stories I have read, similarities: they all have great jobs, then have a contract (mostly in Turkey) , the equipment broke and they need alot of money for repair, they love you so much and just want to come home and meet you, love you, spoil you, their documents are lost, they hate to lower themselves to ask you for money but they need help so they ask you if you're committed in the relationship you would help. If you challenge them, they'll tell you they're embrassed to ask family/friends. MO: they love you "so" much they'll send you songs, poems, ask you if you've eaten, how was your morning/ evening, text or call you certain times (note the pattern) I did . I didnt want to believe it was a scam but it was, I didn't give money requested, he ended relationship. So ask yourself if they have this big contract worth millions why do they need money? If they love you so so much, talk to you for months, why end the relationship? If their documents are lost can they not contact agencies explain their situation get new ones? Why are they solely responsible for the equipment broken is there not contingencies in the contract? Do they really ask questions to get to know you, why in a short period you are all of a sudden the love of their life they want to marry without seeing knowing you? Trust me they are scammers, excellent at what they do. The names, locations and a bit of their stories will change but they are scripted, read articles on online scammers scripts. You will be surprised how your story/texts will be so similar . I was very hurt emotionally but I'm healing reading up on the truth and thankful I didn't give money ladies plz dont be fooled. We all want the love we deserve and these ppl know the "exact" words to feed us. The faster you read up on the tactics the easier it will be to heal. Trust me I saw more than 5 profiles of my scammer, different names and different locations I know he scamming more woman as he was talking to others pretending loving me RIGHT !!! Pay attn to the so called lies you challenge, they get mad and give you excuses you "want " to believe they dont think of you, your just a number like I was . Hopefully they get what the deserve.

It’s a scam! Architect or engineer suddenly gets a big contract in Turkey and has to depart. Usually says from Norway , Switzerland or Sweden. Has a daughter. Lives in Texas or Houston. Wife cheated on him with best friend, or took all his money, died of cancer or had a car accident. Next will need iTunes or steam cards or new portable electronics to continue talking to you. Then it will be money for tools, equipment or supplies to finish contract. Or money for child’s school or nanny. Can’t video call from rig. When they do it’s 5 secs and no sound and blame poor reception. Blah blah blah. Scam. Block & delete it’s all lies

Hi. Same guy I fell for. Said he was an architect from Houston and had a big contract in Atlanta. He has a 15 yr old son and he was divorced because he caught his wife with his best friend. He had an accent and said he was from Austria originally. Needed me to send him money because one of the machines used in the job broke down, he used all his funds and he was starving. I did send him money, but got wise after the fact and told him I couldn't send more. He called and texted me all the time and video chatted once. He kept saying he wanted to meet me but couldn't because of money problems on his job. He was quite the charmer. I finally blocked him, but my heart was broken. I cried. I am sorry I fell for this I feel so stupid.

My man i been talking to for 2months and broke up with last night says he was from Austria too, but that he is divorced for 3yrs now with 2girls ages 13 and 9. I'm broken too and felt bad since i have invested much feelings on this guy.

The Austria guy wasn’t named Nathaniel was he?

I think they are using the same tactics, this guy from Australia and also mention he was awarded a big contract and need people help him to transfer fund to his supplier for building material in Thailand because of network problem. He also keep mention wanted to meet but last minute always changes. He will chat up frequent and sending sweet notes. He mention he was divorced and with one daughter because his wife had an affair with his best friends. He was quite a charmer too but I always told myself where on earth can had such a person. I finally blocked him and move on.

This happened to me. Talked for two about two months. This man used the same story about working on a rig off CA and needed money for logistics to deliver the equipment . He text, called and played songs in a daily basis. Had a very strong accent. Did sent him $$$ , 4 times to be exact until i finally wised up "a little too late". I learned my lesson.

Sounds like a guy I text. They will give you an e-mail to you telling it is their daughter or son. Really it is them that you are writing to. This guy go by many different names.

I think it's the same guy I'm going dating

I am talking to someone who says he’s on a mission in Turkey as well. We connected on online dating app. Wants me to only be with him and wait for him. He can’t talk to me only text since his out there as well. He hasn’t asked me for money as of now he’s saying he wants to be there for me. I tried googling him but I can’t find anything. Just sounds too good to be. Based on his pics he’s quite handsome over 6ft tall man in his late 30’s and amazing physique that’s why I find it hard he’s attached so quick. Claims his family all passed away. Could this be the same guy ? What are the names of yours ?

I too have been scammed, the most disturbing feeling ever, God Help Us, but the guy who has done this to me his name is Roberto Matteo, the same thing Turkey project, 1 child, wife dead, his bank account frozen, is being detained in turkey for over stay on work permit so can't get back to the US w/out frist paying fine of $4550...So degrading,

I too got scammed by someone who said hi name was Antonio Frank Matteo 56 but he was a peacekeeper in Yemen and had to get out of there cause he would die in there if I did not get him out of there.. We had corresponded for 2mos. through Google hangouts,which he talked me into using instead of my e-mail h through yahoo or Facebook Messages..His wife had died 5 yrs. ago and he has an 11 yr. old son named Kelvin...he was a late in life dad cause they could not get pregnant till than and it just happened..He gave me all the usual Love romance dating so on and so on..He loved me so much and needed to come home to marry me and I could be his..man at first I fell for it until he started asking me for charge cards, SS #, and all other credentials they ask for ...the whole thing was an ordeal. he even asked me to rite to UN and tell them he needed a vacation stay,i did but than got a e-mail back that I would have to send them my real name,and again all my credentials which i got scammed with when i tried to borrow money to get him home,I know it was him again that called that day and the days after that..Like a fool I gave the guy that had a heavy accent all the information and had to have all changed...yes they wanted me to buy e-bay cards and than they would give me further after I bought them with the money they sent me on the loan I borrowed to get him home $3,000 to be exact...all calls game from Florida and I was given a bank that was giving me the loan...well,My banked thank God stopped it ..Oh there were plenty more instructions and guess who was helping me end it...Antonio Frank Matteo...i done nothing more they said and drove out of the drive thru at my bank... oh my after that Antonio was on me hot and heavy to get the $2,589 to get him home kept saying the right things but buy now I had figured out it was a Scam,and wrote him off...Alot of words went on in our writing back and forth; but I am sure all of you know what that is like, i was thankful to God and blessed he stopped me that day... (God).. sure was with me...mind you I shortened the events as they happened...Hit and miss I guess one could say....My advice and take from someone who went through it don't fall for it and if to good to be true it is....God bless you all and Tormented I kinda think these guys might be one in same,mine said he was from Italy but had lived in Colorado for a few years...May not be but am wondering!!!!!

OMG !! this sounds like the same person that is scamming me. He says his name is Wilson Antonio McCain, he is a doctor and in Afghanistan on a peace keeping mission. Divorced has an eleven year old son, only want to chat on hangouts app.
Do you have any pictures of this person ??

Wow,almoust same story..a military doctor, with a boy, at the moment attending a bording school in England..
I started a realionship with little boy on Hangout, her father asked me to, he is calling me Mom already, i was kind of surprised, what kid do that , so quickly?..He sent me some photos looking like a young, blond, american boy, plaing football or just relaxing..
My problem is that i would like to find out if these photos are stolen from somewhere..I mean to use kid image in order to ask money on the internet..This is heartbreaking for the family and all the love ones..if they ever will find out..
He uses the pictures of a brazilian brain surgeon, the fake names are Bernard Owens father and Jasper, the son.

The little boy will either be him or another scammer playing along to fool you. These scammers are frequently using stolen pictures with kids. They are ruthless and will do anything for a scam. The people in the photos are also victims of these scamming mongrels and it can be very traumatic for them to find out their pictures are been used.
It is also very difficult to have these profiles removed from some platforms.

Dontdoit I must have it the pic how to sent it?

Hey! I think I met the same guy, his name ist Mateo Alberto, he lives in Maddison, Wisconsin. He says he has an 14 year old son, his ex-wife takes drugs and his son lives in a foster family and his dad is in need of care. He is currently working on an oil rig in the united Arab emirates and wants to come to me an marry me. He was asking two times for money (20.000) for his friend who has cancer. Now he wants to leave his work and I should write an E-Mail to them to submit a retirement request. He's also super religious and we Skyped once for 3 minutes. He texted me on instagram telling me he found my profile and was instantly in love with me and wanted to marry me, now we are texting on hangouts.

If anyone have similar experiences, please lets exchange us and show if the pictures or the stories are similar!!!

How to send you picture so we can compare

Hi gals, I just had a relationship for 6 weeks...John Wilson from JohnWilsonoil !!!! Poor choices talking with him but entertaining. I did not send money.

I think I might have the same guy! Do you have picture? Was he waiting on a contract approval? He is trying to convince me he is legit! Wanted a card he said to update his phone!

very similar!!!!

I am talking to a guy who's out on an oil rig in Florida. He says he lives in Madison, Wisconsin and is a 60 yr. old widower with a 15 year old daughter (Becky). Met him while playing Dice with Friends. He asked me to talk on "Hangouts". He is moving way too fast. Attesting his love and wanting a relationship. I informed him I work in the Judiciary but that hasn't stopped him. I will be cutting him off ASAP.

This sounds very familiar. Do you have a pic that we can compare?

I am still talking to this guy in turkey. He says he is 58 yrs old with a son 19yrs. He is asking me now for 45,000 dollars to pay off his employees that he hire from turkey. says he got paid for the job but now he has to pay off the men that worked for him from turkey and cannot leave there until they get paid or he gets arrested from the Turkish union.

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