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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

OMG that is the story I just got from a guy, Fred William, exact to a T.

so the fred thats been talkin to me says he is from uk, but has lived in California for 28 yrs. wife died last year. he has a contract on a oil rig in the indian ocean. other money he says he has is invested in his company. he seems so nice and his words so genuine. i suspect a scam ...but sent 2 20 steam cards ..but iam not sending anymore. would like to know if he is the same person. i got a picture..he says williams is his last name.

I think we might have been scammed by same person. Can you send me his pic to compare?

Hi becca51, i was also scammed on the early weeks of june this year, his family name was also williams, i met him on skout, he said he was working on an oil company, and he said he sent me a gift pack with a lot of item gifts, and if ever the custom would be asking me clearance fee, he said i should pay just to avoid the delay. So was thing that it wad so different coz i never asked him any gifts, so i confronted him that he is a scammer, he got mad at me, then i blocked him and reported to the app

I think we were talking to the same person he called himself Jack Williamson was a contractor working out Alaska, told me how much money he was going to get once the job was done. Caught him a lie and toasted him I have his licence with photo if you want to compare

Hello. Did he say his first name is Marcos?

Would his name be David Walter William's. Sounds like the same guy whose asking me to send play store cards, itune cards. Now he wants 15,000. To dock a boat so he can retire from his project.

I am being scammed by oilrigger. His name is Frank Coherl.
IAM 73 year widow. I have sent him money. I want to believe him.
I enjoy his sweet words. I have accused him of being a scammer, tried to break it off several times. I need to see a picture, I ask God to give me strength todo so. Please send picture

My mum has been talking to a guy called Richard but I think he is a scammer he is now saying he has been stopped by Indian customs and has to pay 10.000 dollars to get his so called drill through and needs my mum to help him he says he has a daughter and works for himself etc omg I'm.so angry with these filthy people can anyone help she has got photos of this con man

Yes I would like to see photos. Is the lady name Alen??? My guy is from Belguim

Alan? Lost his wife 6 years ago!
Yes he is a scam. From Columbia & lives in Jersey City NJ

Do you know the name of the Lt General you talked to in Afghanistan?

The person I spoke to was Lauren Ediger wanting to ship a consignment box.

Has anybody come across a guy called Micheal Scott? Saying in the UN based out of Syria?

I have been corresponding for 14 months with a UN person supposedly a USArmy Brigadier general named Dave Rogers originally from NC with a 16 year son in boarding school inParis. Until a few days ago he had asked for small amounts on ITUne cards to be se not to his son. Then he hit me with a whammy!! He had come into a huge amount of money which he was sending to me from Syria via Dubai but I have to pay the shipping company almost a thousand dollars to retrieve it. I said NO, find another patsy.

Two guys !!! Yes real pros .
One Gulab Ansare Brigadier General in Afganistan with 16 year old son ... constant demand for money to help Alvin.

Other a man with a 20 year old daughter ... in financial disposition ... needing cash until his paid out for a contract his doing.

Both claim love and yet they're abusing y emotionally, mentally .
be warned ladies we are amongst woves in sheep's clothing.

My mother-in-law is talking to a Michael Scott for the last 2 weeks he is out on an oil rig he says he has adopted a daughter lives in Texas I believe he is a scammer but I'm trying to prove it to her

How about Major John Marino For the UN In Syria?

Hi there...the oil rig guy. Same for me. He came out of nowhere and is "madly in love" All kinds of flags. Yours isn't named Bryan, is it???

The guy my friend is dating is Bryan Kelly. Says hes on an oil rig in Afghanistan. His daughter is In boarding school. Madly in love with her and wants to get married

Bryan dale?

how about a David John - engineer on a oil rig in Norway has twins in Houston TX at boarding school - he is hungarian/spanish . anyone talking to someone like this ?? He needs to get documents for his vacation so he can go home

Hi all! I am also talking to a guy names "Brad Thom" who owns his own Petroleum Co and is currently on an oil rig in the Aegean Sea in Turkey. Came to the States 20 yrs ago after his mom past. Is a father of 2 children "Jane" currently 19 and "Kevin" currently 12. Is a widower of 12 yrs. His wife died giving birth to "Kevin". He Instagramed me out of the blue the other day. And by the end of the night he stated the he loved me and wants to marry me. Last night he stated that "Two of my most important machines used for working got spoilt " "It’s gonna be fixed by the mechanics and I’ll have to pay them to fix it
I’ve spent a lot in getting this contract and also since i came on here And am currently having this problem with my account that can’t be fixed until i get back home" and "I just don’t know how i can get help with the remaining of the money to pay to fix the machine i just promise to pay back as soon as i complete this contract and get paid". So i ask him if he was asking me to help him out financial b/c i couldn't and he stated, "No am not
I’ll just try to find help myself to see what i can do about it". So i looked up his facebook page that he stated that he no longer has and I found his picture, along with another picture of a different guy on his facebook profile. I'm toying with telling him but i'm not sure. What do you ladies think??

He is a scammer. We are suppose to be intelligent women!

We are intelligent women. First, I like to let them think I'm star struck. Then they start him hawing about financial. I let them think yes I can do that. I play they game right back. Then I finally let them have it. I asked him if he really thinks I'm dumb? Then I tell him I played him. Works like a charm. Then I block them.

Hi I am in UK just about to do same thing! My scammer pledging undying love met on dating site Plenty of Fish. Says he is called Diego brought up in Bahamas but Italian. Has 2 daughters Sonia and Emma, his wife had affair with his best friend. Is a diamond dealer, flying to Poland today to do deal, will take a week for diamonds to be cleared then needs to go through bank account! Waiting for him to ask me im going to give him incorrect bank details then ask him how it feels to be duped...then name and shame him on every site I can think of...these men think us women are stupid, however he has met his match with this blonde!!!!

I have a Russell Williams who claims he works on an oil rig. He also says he has no access to a phone because his company don't allow them. I asked for proof of his ID and he sent a photo of his ID badge. His picture doesn't match the one he uses in words with friends 2 - which is where 11 men have spent their time proclaiming undying love for me haha. They're all widowed and have kids. Sometimes they say the child died too. It's disgusting what lengths they'll go to.

Nice touch for him to use the name Russell Williams. Russell Williams was a former Colonel with the Canadian Forces. Was convicted of killing two women. B&E into many homes and stealing women's undergarments and 80 odd more charges.

I’m going thru the same thing. I was contacted thru words with friends 2 out of the blue. His name is Williams Theodor. 56 year old, widowed, two grand children who were abandoned by their mother. They live in boarding school in Oslo. Deceased son also. Good conversationalist and makes you feel like you’re the most wonderful woman in the world. Calls me his queen, honey, babe, wife. I’ve fallen totally. Wasn’t looking, i’m Married but he drew me in totally. His WWF profile shows he is Norwegian. White hair and profile photo showed him in bed with a small dog looking like a French bulldog. His WWF profile has disappeared. Supposedly works on rig in Irish Sea at present but going home to Oslo in January. I wired 5,000.00 to a bank in Istanbul for expenses for his grand kids school excursion. Now he wants money for them to get back to Norway and more school expense money and food for them. I feel like such a fool!!!!

Is there a way you could send me the oil rig guys pic? I met a guy on a plane, total love at first sight kind of deal, and he works offshore. Some things have popped up that make me question his motivation and I'm wondering if it's not the same guy.

is his name Scott Owen? his wife died & has two children name Roxie & Tyler. Says he's from Charlotte. Ready to retire after 31 years in the military. He's a LtGeneral. in the army.

What is the name of the guy from oil rig ??

Hey, I also have a US Army Sgt by the name of Matthew Acosta in Afghanistan telling me he has a gold reward for saving someone’s life. He wants me to pay the storage fees and shipping to get it to can get it to Canada. He professed his love for me, and wants to spend the rest of his life with me. The cost is ONLY US$8,550. He lost his iPhone and tells me he’s using an office computer. I checked his picture he sent me on photo recognition system and came up to another guy who’s been posting on Instagram since 2017. He told me someone stole his ID. Still in love with him. Having Dubai police confirm the existence of the storage company in Dubai. Can he be telling the truth? We’re hopeless romantics.

Mine also states he is Us Army Capt however FB says General which he says someone hacked. His insta started in 2017. Has a 6 yo daughter madly in love w me ... i just cant stop mu doubts anyone have stories like this. ?

Yes, this has happened to me recently. Guy in service stationed in Oklahoma right now at camp. Says his name is Steven Alex Tillman. Says he has a little 6 year old girl named Rose who he wants to find a loving mother for. Says he loves me and sends very romantic texts to me. The pictures he sends are never current ones like as in while we are chatting. Also he says he can’t make voice calls unless I follow procedure. I called the base he claimed and they said they never heard of the supposed link he sent to secure my line. I was afraid to do it and told him I was not going to unless he gave me a name of the his supervisor and a number of contact at his camp for such inquiries. Also he could never voice call me. And I looked into his number and it was a voice text number. Very sketchy. His words of love grabbed me in but the story was only considered for a second because I thought maybe there was these rules in the military. And when I investigated on the info he provided I started to open my eyes. He never got to the point of asking me for anything but, he promised me a lot of things. But he couldn’t deliver me basic requests that would prove himself to me. Ladies be careful with yourself and remember to do your homework. Things should add up. Find ways to test someone. I was so heartbroken I stayed in bed all day. Foolish for thinking I may have found true love. He came on strong and I thought wow, god works in mysterious ways. And then the poor little girl with no mom. (Said her mom took his money and ran off with another man.) Just wanted to marry me and find me to love his daughter too. But he can’t send me a current photo? Or call me? And the supposed link he wanted me to “secure my line with” was a communications something USA.com. I erased it already. He said I don’t trust him. And no trust no love. I told him the things I ask you to provide are very reasonable. Like a picture current, holding my name. Or your supervisors name. Or a phone number to your military camp to discuss of the “ securing the line” Just did my homework. Still wishing for true live but not with someone who is totally fictitious.

Same.. Lost no money but its fun...lol

How do you find someone phone number when they call you and all you get is a name and no face.

My mom has been talking to this "special forces chaplain" who is in a war time zone in Syria. I've told her to stop talking to him, but he says they're going to get married. He just started asking for iTunes cards. He goes by John Henry. Anyone dealing with the same guy? I'm trying to look out for her. Thanks!

My mom has been scammed for a year now. LARGE sums of money. I have contacted lawyers, her banks, her doctors, the local police. All tell me they can do nothing until she gives me power of attorney, which she refuses. What can families do to stop this scamming on elderly parents? Please help.

My mother is being scammed too. We have been slowly gathering details as her lies are monumental in protecting and covering this imposter. He has managed to get her to leave my dad, move away from her entire family, steal from my parents retirement and I can only assume wire at the very least over 15k. We are trying so hard to help her but she is brainwashed. She is literally trying to burn her bridges with each of us and I know it’s because of him! I have an address in Nigeria that her bank gave me when she tried to send money from there but no name, email or picture. She uses a translation app and WhatsApp to communicate. We think too she may have 2 phones. I BEG all of you to please reply if you think you can help. My mom will cause her and my dad to lose everything and my worst fear is it will literally break my dad’s heart (he has a heart condition) when we tell him. He just thinks he failed my mom so she left him. We know we have to tell him but it will indeed break him. My siblings and I are taking care of him every day. Any detail and ALL advice welcome!!!

Hi! My mom is also being scammed and I don’t know what to do. Is this still going on with your mom.

Yes . My friend also chatted with Henry John. He told my friend to call her sister name Linda to prove he is real . He asked for ITunes card then need 1200 for retirement fee. We searched his pic, those have been use since 2009 on Facebook and dating apps .

Your story sounds familiar last name bell?

I’ve been talking to a retired soldier. He contacted me off Instagram. We’ve been talking from day to night. Made me fall for him. He says he has two children and he’s divorced. She ran off to Florida. After reading about ITunes cards I wonder if everything I was building with this man is a complete lie. He’s 44 and goes by Chad Manis. Has anyone else been contacted by him. He also knows I’m a designated mother and have no money, yet he asks me for 50$ iTunes cards every once in a while. Im so torn especially with all these stories. Can someone help me find out if this guy from Texas is a fraud. My heart can’t take another heartbreak after the year I’ve had. Thanks

hello ladies, i would like to warn you for a guy that I met on dating site called dr breny, says his name is Brenel Cort, 38yrs, surgeon. I've been chatting with him for 5 months. He never called me as he told me that he was not allowed to call due to his confidential work at Canadian military hospital. just 3 weeks ago he announced that he was transferred to Syria to work as surgeon...he wanted to visit me and even sent me a screenshot of the approval of his vacation, which I found very strange. I blocked him immediately. After 5 months of chatting with him, I feel very stupid, but I'm glad that i realized that it was a scam before he starts harrassing me..

It happen with me to. The nicest man and then I know people in the US Army. The guy talked to me ALSO on hangouts then he ask me to buy him a iphone xs and the watch. Then I got a wake up call. I Google got pics of the soldier. Very handsuman. But this kelvin bradley is using this soldiers photos even with he's daughter. I did inform my friend sister as they are deployed and that I actually almost lost 2100 dollars that's 5 salaries in South africa

Sounds all too familiar, wants me to send money to the UN so he can take a vacation from the War Zone in Khalil, Afghanistan to come home to the US to marry me!
The other guy I suspect got thrown out of his hotel room in Yangshou, China this morning, his time because I couldn’t send home $700, we only owe them $1900 and he can come home and marry me!

Hotels don’t hold you hostage if you owe them money. This guy is scamming you. Plus, he is probably scamming more women than just you.

Sounds familiar but never give your address to anyone

Is he from Instagram? Rob by name?

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