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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

I spoke to him for 9 months, he has various names, George k, James George k, George Krantz, James K. He is definitely a scammer, I never gave him a dime. Thank God

Hi i hsve been chatting with this guy ..uses this name George Philips..has 15 yr old son..i have pics..please text me back so we can verify pics

Sounds like same guy i have been talking to.i have pics also please reply back..

Just spoke with my MIL and she believes she is speaking to an ortho surgeon working on a contract and will be home in Dec. she said he has a 14 year old son with a nanny in LA (whom she has emailed with several times) she hasn’t admitted to giving him anything but says he has lots of money and plans to buy a house (he wanted to transfer the money to her to purchase) she hasn’t given me a lot of info but said she can not tell me his name because he isn’t supposed to tell her anything. He has sent pics of himself in scrubs and pics of himself in OR. I didn’t want to make her feel crazy because she believes him and I don’t want to break her heart, she swore to never date anyone ever again! So sad! She says she has not given him a dime and he would never ask (according to her) but this story sounds way to similar and I know she is being scammed!

Hi, I have been talking to this guy who seems so genuine, I'm one of the ones the scammers hate. Why? Because I'm so difficult, I ask questions, and question everything! I make life difficult for them, and not a " easy" Target to get money from. Yeah they try, but until now haven't succeeded. At the current moment, the guy I'm talking to is in Italy on a job. From the US he says but Korean mix with a 11 yr old son. He knows exactly what to say at the exact right time. If he is a scam, they done broke out their big dog for me, cause the guy has me gone for him bad.. first he said he had credits go no more on his phone. He has a VNIP number it's free call & text anywhere, so he switch to email. Then he switch to hang outs because he fears loosing me. Idk it's just feel right one moment and next I question is it real or scam.

George Philips..15 yr old son..wife died car accident ..son in boarding school..needs money to fix computer ..retiring soon..wants i tunes money..scammer!!..have many pics ..but its Dr Jones ..in real life! Run!!

Do you perhaps have a name and description, sound familiar.

same thing happen to me n he told me he is an orpharage and worked in offshore. anyone encounter the same ?

Yes me. £2,400 later he still in contact wants to marry me! I’m married my husband is sick. Goes by the name Henry Brown! American rig contractor needs flight money home but things go wrong and he always needs more!! USA Italian accent I had one call pics are from another man who said he is a scammer and got him blocked on Instagram but he remains it is him
He’s a liar

Yes Little lamb. Mine was on a rig, orphan with daughter in boarding school

Do you have picture I think he might be same one talking to me

Offshore, as in on a rig/big boat? He’s a contractor of some sort?

He goes by multiple names, he is a scammer, same story grew up in orphanage, I talked to him for 8 months until he asked me to send money!

Is his name Glenn Patterson?

Same mine said works on oil rig ready to retire, father of twins Susan and Henry who r in boarding school UK since they where 9 and he lives in Miami, currently working in Turkey at Batman oil refinery.
Wife died 2 days after childbirth, mother brother died.
Wanted to buy me a car for my bday a Lexus.
Said he’s wealthy then asked me for $1200 to buy food on the ship because he doesn’t like food there blah blah.
Said I had to send money to his colleague.
I asked why and he said he would bring him cash.
Then asked me why I was being insulting when I said ur a scammer.
He Advised to get an app called hangouts for chats only because he’s very private man.
Called me honey, babe, wanted to marry me after 4 weeks blah blah
He was on Instagram then removed his account.
Goes by Johnson Lawrence

Sounds like Kenneth Webster to me.

Does he look younger than he says? I had a man from Ghana tell me he was from Europe. He said he was 38, he was actually 23. We face timed so zi believed him. He was a singer who played keyboard. But he was a scammer who asked me to help him with a box full of documents and gold. I laughed and hung up on him. And that was after 8 months of communication with him.

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.

Does he live in CA but works as an engineer and is out of town on a job. Widow with a 12-13 year old daughter. I’m talking with someone who talks about God and how he brought us together. It’s been since middle of June. Has video chats and they match with his photos and he’s from Italy with a STONG Italian accent which is the same on video and phone calls. Does this sound like your guy. BrokenHearted? Or has any one else come across him? His name is James. If anyone has any advice I’d love to hear because it all has been consistent but I’m scared.

Yes hes contacted me quite convincing says hes in wyoming

Yes I've been talking to a man named James for several years now always wanting money gift cards do you have any pictures of him has a son and a daughter mother got killed but he works in a oil rig out in the ocean

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 netjets.how 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 scammer.by 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?

can i get the name and how to share photos to see if i am dealing with similar guy. hope for your reply

Hi. Was the pilot’s name Alex Hansson? How can we exchange the photos and vid? British Airways pilot training students in Turkey? Widowed, 5yo daughter???

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

I also have the same experience.. this month.. he update using video.. claims he is a pilot widow with a beautiful daughter.. update me based on video.. suddenly want fo send ring all jewellery...then i block him

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

What would happen if I blocked him!? I already sent 15 dollars Apple Gift card, I don’t mind the money it’s not much, I care about my integrity. I am just reading his messages and being suspicious about everything he says. His name is Paul Bendall. Am I in danger? Thanks for sharing your story.

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 ?

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