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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

Was his name Charles Luke??

I have been dealing with Charles Luke for a very long time. Gem stone dealer stuck in Turkey, wife died 3/4 years ago, cancer, has a daughter and grand daughter. French American, is that the story?

Hey Samatha,
This sounds like the same guy I was just Dealing with that gave me the same story. Can you please let me know what name did he use? Did he have a son or Deceased Wife?

Did anyone else have a Christopher Wood s who was a engineer and his wife is dead has a son? I have a picture!

I have a feeling I may have the same guy talking to me. Only he said it was his ex wife but she is dead and has a son. I have a picture too. Please respond. Engineer working on oil rig

I think we my be talking about the same guy but he goes by a different name

Many use alternate names. Say ex wife or wife died from cancer. Then his only son died in an accident. Spent almost 2years talking to him. AlwYs an excuse why he wasn’t able to come home yet... asked for Steam cards, google play & iTunes cards. Needed money to pay for equipment ; his rig hAd a fire the day before he was done contract;yet I can’t find any news to back it up. Uses: Jason brian cares@

I am talking to a guy who claims to be a supervisor on an oil rig. I got the we had a fire story too which pushed back his coming home for 2 weeks. Then he needed money for medicine to be flown out to the rig. He couldn't get it bc his wallet was lost in the fire. He asked for 3000 and I was stupid enough to send 200. I just reverse imaged his photos he sent me and came up with 9 other aliases. When confronted with this he claimed his account was hacked and I didn't trust him. I know now he is a fraud but I am going to let it play out until the end of the month when he is supposed to be home and see what excuses he has. I won't be stupid enough to fall for it twice.

Me too.... Quick romance and surety that I'm the one for him. Said his wife died 4 years ago and has a son and a granddaughter here locally. From Belium but lives here...supposedly.
He won a contract in Netherands so he left for his trip and has been in various ports (supposedly) delivering oil on his ship, as he is supposed to be the captain. Continuous talk about can't wait to get home to meet me. Then last night word that the ship folk down and the middle of the ocean and was worried that their contents were not safe because a pirates. Contacted the engineer to come fix it ... Even provided a video of this suppose that person leaving via helicopter from the ship. Of course, he has to come up with $8000 for the new part but because of their location on the 'middle of the ocean', he can't access his funds. Said he has raised most of the money now but is still very short and wanted to know if I could help. I told him no - he knew I was unemployed and had no income...but then he proceeded to see if any of my friends can help and I said if they can't even help me with my rent, why would they help someone they don't know?
Very suspicious at this point. He says his name is Maurice Charlie... Which is suspicious enough. When I have asked various questions he has avoided answering them. We were going to meet in a week and I am suspecting that this is all a Scam. Not surprised

Does the guy in the pics have a hard hat on with "Captain Thomas" on it? If so, that man's name is Thomas Madsen. He is a gay man happily married to a man. Google his name.

I’ve been talking to a guy who says he’s Capt. Thomas William. Works on ship for Shell . Have pictures.

I might have the same guy. 55 yo, tall, gray hair, good looking, half Portuguese, nicly speaking. Wife dead, son 8 yo. He is works on Tenessee oil rig. Offten has no conection. I have his picture too. Please help me to find out if he is saying true or not.

I think I am talking to the same guy. Has he ever called you? Is he asking you to get in a contract with him as support? I have a picture too.

Yes he has called me several times. Always has an excuse not to meet

Hi Samantha,
Your story sounds very similar to mine, would like to know more and share more details.

Hey, I've been dealing with someone who says his wife is dead and has a son. He says he's an engineer living in Denver. Would like to see your photo.

Hey! So I think I may be dealing with the same guy but his name is David. Wondering if you could share a picture of him?

Hi i think we are talking at the same guy hes name is David Wong .still talking to him now first he ask me for steam cards didnt give it to him now he is asking for money to replace a machine . Rig engineer from london he said hes picture are hot thou!

May I see the photo please. I think we have the same experience. But he said thag he is a mechanical engineer and right now he is actually on board. He have says he have some items and then the customs told me that it is onhold then I need to pay the clearnce tax then there is a big currency inside the parcel so I need to pay a big amount. Like duhh..what happen to the world now...a.lot of scammer....

Okay so like I've been talking to a David who has a son whose wife or girlfriend supposed to be dead he's a civil engineer he claims he's from New York and he's supposed to be in Hawaii . I've sent iTunes and Amazons and I've sent money through Western Union and MoneyGram. I started having problems with my money situation on the job and then he started calling me a liar and it's just so appalling that someone will call you a liar when they are asking you for money .

Similar guy with similar story. About dead wife. Going to Turkey to finish some contract . After his pc broke his account was blocked. And after he started to ask money........

Talking to someone now- Charles Walters who says the same thing. Says he has a deceased wife and daughter. He is in Cypress and his computer broke and he needs me to send him another one. Tried to look him up and cannot find out any thing on him. He must be a ghost. Got to be a scam!

I just got through being scammed by someone with the same exact story except he said he was doing a contract in Turkey. My friend found his photos in on a reverse image search on Google. The real person was a celebrity from overseas that I would have never known. My daughter found the real person used on Instagram and asked if he knew people were using his photos and he said yes and he had reported to authorities many times and for us to be careful and that he had nothing to do with any of it. I was heartbroken to find that someone could use my good heart and hurt me this way. He knew I had no money and just had cancer and I went and took out a loan for him to buy a new computer so he could finish his contract and he said he was flying straight to me so we could start our lives. I hadn’t dated in 19 years. Online dating was new to me. I was devastated.

What was your persons name? Sounds way too familiar.

Is there any way we can share a picture

I'd like to hear more about this....just spoke to someone that said they were stationed in Turkey.....widowed

Do you have any pictures

I meant talking to it Jeremy woods. That has a daughter in Clinton South Carolina and Say lives In Charleston South Carolina

Are you able to send a picture? I have the same situation.

Hi everyone,
Im new here, i read all your comments and it seems i have the same problem. I met this man on a karaoke site last year september, started with hello beautiful... then we chatted every day. In november he said he had to go to Belgium (3months contract) cause of his work (he is self employed). In January, his equipment was stolen and his work was delayed till april but he said he would come to meet each other at the end of the work. The problem is he didn't insure it and need to refund it. 1 equipment costs $250.000 each they are 2. Then he has this customer proposing to go to Turkey for a job one year and a half, so i won't see him. Since i have known him, i did some etransferts, he said i can keep some money to buy some sexy lingerie, perfume., i also bought some steamwallet (i didn't know what it was), he said he needed for paper work. A friend of mine who is medium told me he has many passports of cours different names. Ok now i will give you everything that was suspicious. In september the name he gave me is Daniel, then i asked for his middle name he gave me Brian last name Adams. And has a son Jason. It seems that you have all this names. Her mother was polish and father american. He lives in Nashville. Born on september 24 1964 so 55years old. At the beginning he said that his wife had an affair in 2014 and now she is dead!!! I have a photo of him with a poster written in deutch as he mentioned being in Antwerp Belgium, and it's Brussell. When i ask another of him he ask me which one do you have? I told him the one he gave. Then he said i can't as since he still waits a loan from his bank to replace the stolen equipment he can't leave the hotel as monitoring. But i find according to his cell phone number that he is in Houston.

Did he use the name Melker Oliver?

Hello my mum has just come to me telling me her story, I’ve stumbled across this site working out it’s a scam, the man she was speaking to said his son was in America and wife had died at child birth, his name was David mark is this the same for you?

Samantha - was his name Anton?

I am dealing with almost the same situation, civil engineer stuck in Northern Cyprus with a project. Can you share name and pictures ?

Same story, civil engineer from Canada, went on a project in North Cyprus (turkey), it was supposed to be for few weeks, then turned out to be longer..it has been 10 weeks now, has "equipment problems". I travel on business a lot and do stay at times 3-4 weeks. I was married to a guy who did 50 % and more travel per year, so I wasn't alarmed him going away suddenly on business, which happens to me very often, just when we were planning to meet. I am glad my daughter prompted me to research. He introduced himself as William Iversen, born in Sweden, schooled in England, lives in Canada since he was 14. He lives in the best neighborhood in Toronto, he says (studio/condo starts at 1 mil). I asked him which hospital is next to you and he didn't know - the hospital is just across where he said he lived and very well known in Toronto. He is very well educated, knows the world well.. I am well traveled and that is why I left this going, although there were red flags, he was very knowledgeable of the countries I have traveled to (more then 50!). I speak 4 languages, one is Spanish, and he would understand when I would talk to him. He really knows how to talk to a woman, I give him that, and the words he uses are just so charming. As for his problem that he had with the equipment and his Bank, I told him I am surprised you can't resolve it, VIP clients (as he claims to be loaded) are treated well, and all I need to do is call the bank and the guy responsible for me that knows me personally, since I am a VIP client. I also told him that people do not talk about banking and how much money they have on their account. I also said I wouldn't land money to anybody, including to my own husband if I was still married (he didn't ask me for money though, he was just all stressed out, "poor me" statements when I told him that). So he changed his tune into " I don't want to lose you, let's make a deal we never talk about this again, I will solve my problem". So it has been 3 weeks since then and he mentioned the problem again today, casually mentioning that they might put him in prison, they told him so, but he wasn't sure if they were joking. I said, I haven't seen this behavior in the professional world so I am surprised, and that I am sure that everything will be fine. I am curious to see what the next step will be, I am pretty sure that will be an interesting story. I haven't sent money, and I am not emotionally invested, not with the findings I have. I am not trusting by nature. One of the pictures he sent me showed up as Rowland_ incredible on Instagram with a reverse image search on google (it is free, so use it when you have doubts). He also claims he has an associate name Marcus Bradt (has linked in account but too little connections for what he claims to be). His son Terry is in England doing his masters and of course, he is widowed, but his wife Jasmine cheated on him, so he wasn't sorry when she died of cancer 5 years ago.....Mostly from what I read they go with trying to trigger empathy for money. That doesn't work with me, but he is still very "loving" calling me and texting me, so not sure what is the next step. I feel like "catfish" myself now, more like "killing" time. This certainly doesn't help my suspicious nature. For me, I was hoping I found somebody with the same life style, that would understand, and he presented me with what I wanted "virtually". Right now it feels like I am watching a movie - the effort that an intelligent person puts into a scam is simply scary

Initials T.R?

Are we dealing with the same person? Mining engineer contractor in turkey For three weeks,had a mishap, Damaged equipment, Wallet stolen I needed money to extend his contract or he cannot leave turkey. Do you have the name of your person?

I'm dealing with a Noah. Just left for Turkey for an oil transport contract with an state-run Turkish company that seemed to come up quickly and be awarded even quicker. All this in the two weeks we've been in communication. I'm suspicious by nature and have seen some red flags, but he's done an amazing job of keeping me wondering. I haven't given him anything but was kind of wondering whether there would be a request for money. He claimed to be from France but doesn't sound like he has a French accent. He had or was using a LinkedIn account. Claims to have a "daughter" in England that emailed me to say welcome to the family.... Wants me to take out an international phone plan so I can call him - he just called me from his 905 area code Turkey number. Is that another way for him to get money from me?? Claims this deal he's working on will set *us* up for the future. Reading all these posts is a eye opener. I had picked up on some less talented online scammers earlier, but "Noah" has really thought this through and been a real slick operator.

Maybe the same person I had been chatting with. He said he is a freelance civil engineer living in London. He is American and said has a 10 year old living with his parents in the US. He stated he now won this contract in Turkey but needs a working permit. He was robbed and now needs money for the permit. He asked me for help. I immediately concluded he is a scammer. Name by James. Got photos though I did a Google search and could not find any similar ones Maybe it is the same person ?

I have been conversing with someone named James Walters who claims to be a civil engineer. He was working in Dubai and is now in Qatar, Says his wife died of cancer and he has no children or family. He says he is 62 years old. I wonder if he is one in the same. I do have a picture. Do you?

Is his name Harry Freemann, civil engineer on a contract in North Cyprus (Turkey ) to build a hotel for 6 mos. ? Airline lost his luggage with the laptop, engine of a concrete mixer needed replaced, workers ended up injured at hospital, need to pay income taxes in there even before receiving a payment from the government...now has a court case and afraid he'll go to jail.Extremely intelligent and sweet man and very good writing and beautiful voice with German accent ?

I’m dealing with a christopher, I would love to know if it’s the same guy! Wife’s dead, has been working engineer on ship.please help if this sounds familiar! Asks for amazon cards, wanted me to open a bank account. Help!!

It sounds like the same guy as mine. Oil rig guy, structural engineer, son is 11, ex wife dead etc. He goes by the name of Renato Diaz. Has accent. Pictures show tall, sophisticated and educated gentleman, well dressed with kind looking face. Thin hair blondish grey.

These are all scams, do not send any money or gift cards. All of these scammers make contact on IG then ask you to go to Google Hangouts or WhatsApp. There is a page on IG called military_scam. I would advise you to follow it. So many women are not listening to that inner voice. These are Nigerians scamming women and men for money.

The guy who scammed me. -said his name was Scott Adams. That he worked on a oil rig N had a wife who died during childbirth and But the baby girl was fine . He told me that he left his wallet at home in the states n needed money to fly to his house He kept saying he loved me. An he also asked for a I tunes card. He also says that he - much loves u. An then. He asked $$$ for his flight. To b able to get to his house n get his wallet. Then he will mention that his daughter needs money . His name Scot Adams

Hi im speaking with Brian Heaven and he is asking for game cards and he said he doesnt have credit card.I didn't buy anything and now he stopped to text me.
I blocked him and hopefully and i reported to whatsapp
He said is a ship engineer

Hi there, had one just recently, went by the name of Michael , on a ship, as an engineer, sailing on the south China Sea, had to stop at a port in -malaysia and needed to send all personal belongings and Money to me. Lonely heart, wife died of sudden death, no parents, no relatives that he knows of. even told me the name of the shipping company . do you think its the same guym«, very handsome to say the least.

I am dealing with the same thing. A man named Daniel Walter who is an engineer in a ship on the Indian Ocean.

Mine said he us a Chief Engineer. Call me my queen. Send him an Amazon gift card. His name is Steven Robert. Can we swap photos.

I experienced similar situation but not oil rig engineer, but a financial tax consultant in PWC. apparently. The case was different, he stayed with me and started telling me all sorts of sad story, about his mum got sick, his family doesnt care for him, his company gives him his pay through dutch bank, and at the end he ask me to borrow him money , again and again. Of course i did give to him, and came to the day, where he suddenly have to go back to Holland and then gave me all the excuses in the world he is not coming back etc. So when i decided to end it, and asked back for my money and all, he jus dissappeared.
Met him on Tinder (dating app)

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