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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

This one sounds very familiar to me said his name is mark Brandon what is name you have

is mark brandon a scam?

My mother has the same story like yours... He said he is an engineer from uk. Has 1 kid 11yrs old boy..hes name is harry graham

A guy added me an Facebook Anderson James from Georgia now in Kabul Afghanistan
Parents died and lost his wife in a car accident 5 years ago...has a daughter with is 7....living in a boarder school
He didn’t ask for money yet...but I am not sure if it’s a scam....
But we are only texting about a week
Anybody knows the name

Very similar story. This one’s name is Robert Cooker from Ohio. Same sob story. Same obvious falsehoods. Block him immediately and report it.

Also goes by Zach,Zachary Williams .Daughter7has failing kidneys.Absolute scam dog

I guy contacted me named Anderson Boodee similar story, from California now In turkey, parents died, wife died from cancer, has a daughter and son , wanted money

He’s not bald.

Oh he is till out there Peter Edison is the new name

I was scammed by a JASON GREGOR JOSE COUNTIHO SIGURDSSON. I was scammed for $8K. Found him on the dating site Zoosk in Los Angeles. He claimed to own a company called JJS Constructs. He was supposedly working off the Endicott Islands repairing pipes as a contractor for China Oil. He had me access his bank which is located in London called Standard Chartered Bank which had his name on the account and about $3M in it to transfer $1.2M to this Chinese company. His London Bank required a PIN number which was sent to his personal email in which I had 60 seconds to retrieve in order to input that PIN number on the wire page. Well I did it and the wire went through. Then he asked me to do another wire but I made an error, I understood his request as sending the wire right after the first one and I did. However Standard Charter Bank blocked his account (supposedly). I actually felt so bad that I screwed up. And he could not wire the remaining balance he owed the company because he’d have to leave where he was (supposedly, fly to Anchorage then fly to London. So of course I feeling guilty wired $7K and a friend of mine wired $1K and he supposedly got the rest from his Father and best friend name Greg. He was supposedly flying back to Los Angeles . I got a text at 2:57am that he arrived and I never heard from him. He was suppose to reimburse me the money and never did. I have pictures although I don’t know if they were really him.

I had a similar incident ; OSHA engineer on endicutt island in Alaska; had me pay for some pipes using his bank account to show me how much $$$ he has . Lol . Then it was time to pay for shipping and same thing happened ; somehow his bank account at Berkeley Bank was frozen; I didn’t sent any money and he got upset but whatever ; everything is fake with these scammers ; banks account ; certificates, email addresses, phone numbers etc. I just wish I could contact the actual man behind the photo ; I did reverse image search but this is a stolen photo with fake names .

It is happening to me right now, a guy who has been called Eric Keeler, contacts you, asks you to speak more intimately, when he manages to make contact he describes himself as a widower, sends photos of him, foolishly sends several photos of me and with some relatives, the He says he has fallen in love with me, and that he wants to give me some gifts that he wants to send me by parcel service, he says being an engineer who works on oil platforms, and that only uses cash, I gave him my data to send me the package, 5 days later They send me an email informing me that they retained the package at a customs office, and I have to pay the taxes so that I receive the gifts that I send, when I tell them that they ask me that he tells me that within the package I send he carries a cash, and that if they discover that package I will be accused of money laundering, and he will disappear and deny everything, and that they only have my data to locate me, but he does not stop pressuring me to pay that money, and The parcel also presses to pay taxes. It was really scary to see me is the situation of being accused of money laundering.

An Asian girl worked as Head chep on a cruise ship sent me a friend request through fb...her name is Linh Jade Minh....watch out everyone they are very clever and smart .....I think they have a tac team....At least 1-3 people. One of the girls know how to flirt extremely well with romantic words and i had feeling for her....i was very lonely at the time ....she talked romance to me in length for days and asked me to private message her through her number.Finally she said that she lost her wallet with credit card on the ship and could not find it....she was so desperate and not able to get to the airport from the ship. At first i offered help to test them out...They were so clever not accept in the first place to again your trust even more. She needed 500 money gram to hire speed boat to take her to the airport.

Omg same thing happened to me recently.. An engineer working on oil drilling in Uk. Sent me gifts but was hold in another country's customs. I actually knew he was a scam from the start but i was riding along.. Never paid for the supposed duties and taxes but he is now threatening me cause he doesnt want to lose his money and certificates he sneaked in the package. I told him i dont care and blocked all contacts.

Omg I going through the same thing... I accidentally give the guy my name and my house address....he threatened me to bring the package to police and bring me to the court if I don’t pay 20,000...Then how? Did the police came after you?

so what happened after that? did you make a payment to custom?? did police come to your house after accused of money laundering?

It is also happening to me right now. His name is Chris Cooper, architect, from Columbus Ohio.

Hi, I have very similar story to yours.
Can I have his picture?

Do you have a picture of this man you could share?

Even I was scam by the same condition,his name was William,I met him in Asian Dating Site,he told me that he is from south Korea,he work in Italy as petroleum engineer.

I have a picture of my Boyfriend How do I send it to find out if there’s a scam

Sounds familiar goes by the name Jon Alba

I have similar stories, only his name is William Lauridsen nah he is Irish

A guy who says was born in Sweden but lives in Toronto, architect, widower, sun studies in England, works currently on a Hotel in Cyprus (North Cyprus, belongs to Turkey), age 55 (Feb 18 apparently was his birthday).. Goes by William, on OK Cupid - his profile disappeared when I started talking to him. I just found one of the photos he sent to me as Rowland_incredible on Instagram, maybe somebody would like to take a look to see if recognizes him..Hasn't asked me for money yet..there are red flags everywhere, I am just curious to see where this goes...I am sick of these scammers, met one few years back who suddenly left for Turkey on a business trip and was "robbed" and didn't know what to do, was desperate. I told him I hope he resolves his issue soon and to call me when he comes back, which of course never happened. I travel for business, and the story they make up that they are suddenly "in trouble" are just unreal in the professional world, please don't fall for this. If he is a successful businessmen, he would never be in these kind of situations, or if it happens, it is very easy to get out of it with one phone call, even internationally, doesn't need to ask a person who he never met for help.

I'm getting a sense of deja vu. I was contacted on Instagram by a pilot from Houston called David Cromack. He used to be in the airforce but was now training young pilots in Turkey. He said his Father was American and Mother was Turkish. Both parents and his sister had died and his ex wife died from brain cancer. I asked him what type of tumour she had and he didn't know even though his daughter was very young then. It was his daughter who asked me for an Amazon steam card. I asked her if she was on drugs and blocked her dad

Is his name William Reaves? He is emailing my mother and she is falling for all of his fancy words and ploys hook, line, and sinker.

My dear friend has recently been communicating with a William Reaves. He is originally from the Netherlands, but has relocated to the states. Lost his wife to cancer/kidney failure. Has a daughter in Australia, I believe. He claims to be a world renowned interior designer.

I’ve been contacted by a William Reaves. He hasn’t asked for anything but my phone number which I haven’t given him! So glad my friend saw this! I had a weird feeling!!

Can you tell me a bit about him?

He is using his name as David Liam...architect, in Switzerland, widower, wife died in car crush, has a sin studying in London UK, met online, then he went to South Africa to do project came back... stock in Montreal airport... maybe deported... asked me for money ... I have his email, and financial institution in Switzerland banking account number, please help

Do you have his photo?

I have been taking to a guy claiming to be a Swedish engineer working in Turkey. He lost his wife and son. He loves me and will buy me a big house but needs money to now cause he can’t access his account while he is in Turkey!
I didn’t send any!

I am glad you didn't! I didn't even let him ask for money, I told him that he needs to figure it out himself how to solve his problem, but that is probably the same guy. I wish people would search more online who they are talking to, just type in the story.. I have reported recently another catfish on POF, once you get tricked by one, it is easy to spot them the minute they start talking, same MO, slightly different stories. They are either not in the city right now but coming in 2 weeks, or they have to leave suddenly for work..But this is huge business, and they are not stupid, I wish we women weren't so thirsty for a romance in our busy life..

I was tricked too. Same person and asked me for money. I literally was sucked in and almost sent the money. My financial advisor said no way, sounds like a scam, dont fall for it. I have made sure to disconnect with this scammer...Philip with an accent in Turkey.

Do you have a picture of this Philip?

He sounds like the guy I have been talking to. Equipment problems. Credit cards not usable I Turkey. Needs money to pay his labor workers. Car crash. Family medical emergency....

Sounds like the one I’ve been talking to.
Does he have a daughter? Dark hair , handsome, Romanian.

I met a handsome Romanian man on badoo. Had his daughter after 4 years together. He had borrowed money for his business totalling $23350. When our daughter was one month old I found out he has dated other people the entire time possibly for money. I got mine back but I think only because his main partner was done for fraud and still on parole. I found out, called them both cons, got my money back and have to take him to court for child support. Met him on badoo 2015 based in Perth, western Australia. I have found him on brazilcupid as well as other dating sites and have had him removed where I could

Kaytee, is his name David Ardelean or David Lungu? From Romania. Around 40 years old? In the Romanian Army fighting over in Syria ?

No. His name is Ioan. Uses screen name of klauss.

I think we r talking about the same gay I was talking with,architect ,widowed has a black haired daughter.

Is his name David ? Had a 40 year old Romanian soldier named David friend request me around the end of July this year. Very good looking guy. Dark hair. Very buff. Works out alot. Says he lost his dad at 20 and his mother when he was 30. He's over in Syria fighting and is trying to get me to help him come to the United states. Stated how much he cares about me and loves me already after just a few months of emails with him.

Same happened to me this past November with a guy named Maxwell 47-49yrs old from Florida with accent working on the sea drilling oil in UK. Widowed lost wife 6 hrs ago had twins 13yrs old (boy and girl) after 2 weeks chatting and calling. Suddently a car accident happened where the kids was involved. i previously spoke with the kids on the phone and the girl said they going to a school trip to istanbul.and the nanny went with them. 3 days later , i received a call from the (so called Doctor Uzman) telling me he trying to contacted the kids dad but no answered and my phone was saved on the kid phone. He said the kids were in coma! few minutes later. The dad called me asking me for help to do a wire transfer of $5,000 to the hospital so they can started the treatment! And he could not do it cause he was working on the sea wirh an oil company and his bank account online was inactive so he was waiting to the company sent help so he can flight where the kids were. I didnt trust them, cause i asked the doctor the main number of the hospital to speak with nurse station and he didnt. i also called the school he said they went and no field trip to overseas and no kids with their names on system. . I started questioning him and few hours later “he got help fom soneone (a miracle)” He finally flew to Turkey and for his bad luck he ran out of all his money within 4 says . begging me for help so he can eat and pay hotel. he asked for $1,500 but gave me the restaurant guy name for the wire transfer, haha. i said: “ok, i gonna send money but send me your photo id”. He made an excuses that his cell wasnt a smartphone so doesn’t have camera (yeah right) So he stated he will sent me a copy of one of his files! He sent me a Florida driver license and the USA passport. I checked both and they are fake, they actually edited with his name. He forgot I’m a graphic designer so i saw right away the mistakes editing picture and the pixel and the unmatched font used, so when he calked again telling me he was starving and need help. i askied him “ who is...? ( the real name of person on the passport ) and he hanged up and never calked back. i didnt send money but put my story out there to help other. this people are actors they know how to cry but not how to edit, lol i have pics of this person cause everytime he did a video call i did screenshoots just in.case. you need all their names and banks info and pics i have it all.

Omg! Sounds exactly like the same con man- I would love to exchange photos- how do we get this guy!!!????

Some guy going by the name of Scott Maxwell made comments on my IG account. We started a friendly conversation which went on for a few weeks. I asked a lot of questions which I could tell he got annoyed with. He said his mom and dad were killed in a car accident and that he was raised in an orphanage. He also said his ex wife had remarried but died of cancer. His "son" lives with him so he says. He said he's a Project Manager for a company in Dallas, Texas. He said he works for Plumb Engineering, which I googled, and is out of business. And it was located in New York anyways. He said he was working on a contract for a job in Turkey. He was smooth, but I just kept asking questions. I could tell he was getting annoyed with me. I asked him for his phone number and he gave me a number with an area code of 440 which is in Georgia, not in Texas. I called the number to see if he would answer. It went to an automated voicemail. He never asked for money but he quickly professed his love for me. He said his heart was beating for me...lol. Scam! Terrible that people troll social media apps to victimize others.

he says the same name scott, parents both dead. Mom died in Brazil. wife left hom for another man. works in oil rig company.., think we have the same guy. also found my ig account

I too have been scammed by a man who calls himself Pedro Johnson. His instsgram name is pathubert44 . He is a good looking man, white, age 42 . He has a very distinct accent. Uses trux me, instead of trust me, glax... Says he is part German from Hamburg , and part Mexican. Moved to USA when was 12. His mother is Mexican. He is a Civil Engineer. Took a contract in Turkey to build s shopping Centre. The request came first for itunes and Amazon Cards. Next was needing $40k because his building materials were being held by customs delaying his work. He love bombs like crazy and is relentless in his claim about marriage, and a future together and loving only me are endless. Next he couldnt pay hotel bill, had no food to eat,! i sent $3k US. Afew week later needs more Amazon cards I sent him those. Next he had a medical emergency where he was admitted into hosp in Turkey, needs more money!! He sends me photos of himself all the time and they seem legit.! He works out, has a very good body that he likes to show off. I have fallen for him, we have been talking on hangouts for months. I have asjed him to video chat...claims to be too shy. Says I am his only woman but I have my doubts. Has anyone else been scammed or contacted by him?!

He is widowed , lost wife to Breast Cancer, has a son 13 yesrs old, He claims to be from Columbus, Ohio... But knows very little if nothing about USA.
Help please? Anyone know this man?

Please don't send this guy any money. One of my best friends who passed away was involved with a man that sounds almost identical to your situation and she fell for him. He always made excuses up not to video chat. You already know I think that you are being scammed because you are on here, I know it hurts so bad and you just want to believe that he is real. But he's not all of these messages all sound alike. Find a man in the USA, I promise you that this guy isn't real. Good luck

Does anyone have a picture of him saying he is a orthopedic surgeon, has five year old son lives with Nanny in Africa. Claims to be in trouble in London and is being held at the embassy I have a picture and his name isn't the same that I just read but I know they change their names his mother and father and siblings were killed in a car accident his wife died giving childbirth to their second child, he has blond hair blue eyes a very handsome I need to know is this man is someone knows him I have pictures but I would like to see pictures that you have to check see if it's the same person please contact me

Hi,
This man named Davis Williams contacted me through Words with Friends initially. We then moved over to Hangout.
He told me was on a 6 month contract in Aleppo Syria. He's an Orthopedic Surgeon/ER Doctor. Said pretty much what he told you. His mother and father died in a car crash he was the only child. He was raised in an orphanage. His wife Grace died while giving birth to their 3rd child. He has 2 children that is being taken care of by a nanny in California. This dude wanted me to get him $500.00 worth of Ebay gift cards each $100.00. So he could call his children. I questioned him on how can an Ebay card help him call his children? These people are just sickening. I just lost my husband this past December. He should be ashamed of himself.
I did not give him the gift cards. Thank God I kept researching him.

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