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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

I think im being scammed a week ago a man friended me on facebook. Long story short he wants me to go to google hangouts within 2 days says he loves me.he says hes an orthopedic surgeon contracted un to yemen. His name benjamin brendon. He wants me to send 10,000 so he can get out og his contract to come home to be with me. Mind you i have yet to talk to him on the phone.

I was speaking with a Kevin Williams a surgeon on contract in Yemen. His wife died 2 years and taking their daughter to school. Now she’s in Boarding school. He sweet talked me from day one. He’s madly in love with me missing me all the time. Already telling me to get a divorce.For about a month he was great then came the ITunes cards followed by a money wire so he could get out of his contract. He always talked about God. He had 3 pictures of himself and an angel holding a key. He has a place in the iVillage in NYC. he wants to settle down and have a family and he knows I’ll be a good mom for his daughter. He has so much money in NYC but they won’t give him access to it......such bull! Now he wanted me to wire money to his boss for him Finally he persuaded me but when I went to my bank three people came to me about The Nigeria scams. Luckily some info he gave me didn’t match up thank goodness. I called him and said he would give me somewhere else to wire it. By this time I was shaking and upset. He heard my voice and said do it tomorrow. That night came the picture taking which I kept refusing. He sent me his and eventually got in my head. The next day I said I couldn’t get to the bank, now he’s threatening to blackmail me. I went crazy on the phone my Italian temper came out and we hung up. All of a sudden he disappeared out of site not a trace of him. I have been a nervous wreck since!!

Do u have names of these men?

Zachariah Olawale, Olabode Dambola they both are in Nigeria, Richard Cudney then changed his name to Richard Manette Hutchings..hope this helps and another alias name used was Peter Huntelaar who so called worked for AIA but when I emailed confirmation, he does not exixt

Hello,

The guy that tried to scam me was Don Leon. He claimed that he was in the army & had been deployed to Russia. A few days later he said he needed ITunes gift cards and when I wouldn't do that he asked me to be his next of kin. I said no & blocked him. Before that happened he started saying how much he loved me & I didn't fall for that.

I have been scammed for almost 13K filed a police report and western union fraud whats going to happen now

Really heartless
They spoil peoples lives

They aren't just men! Women are doing it too.

Feel im maybe in same boat as you to a scam.that maybe ruin me for life to hearing your info scares me.mine was a female who may have taking a advantage of me and been collecting all the info i can from to back the wronge that might have my life upside down to.what you say the fbi the cops even maybe court system want side with you to fix issue to then im up the creek.to my issue that is huanting me.

Devastated, We have same story. I lost all my monies and jewelries sending my scammer all in US Dollars. I realized lately, I was a fool. Thank you to the LORD I am getting back to life again. Such a life. God bless you

my scammer I met on OKC R Cudney if that is even his name. he said he was a baron from Bulgaria and when we getting married I'd live in his castle and become the baronness of 39 ppl. through out a period of over 3 yrs, yes 3 yrs I never met him. always excuses but I believed for so long as he promised to pay me back all money was sent via both moneygram and western union. said he had a daugther in Varna. I got so called emails from her they're both gone. I had a breakdown lost all my money. I am getting counseling and have to let them all in God's Hands for judgement. Just like I'll get mine for not being a good steward of God's money. It's all gone and I'm flat broke.

feeling stupid, we feel the same...as if I'm not a good steward of God's money. I sent all to my scammer who sounded legitimate. My savings of $70,000 I got from settlement plus bank loans and friends...I lost them all plus my self esteem...all gone. Now, I am left penniless. How can I catch these criminals? Im too stupid! It's too late reading all these blogs and discovering this site...had I know before I should have saved my life and future. I give it all tho the LOrd for HIM to handle.

I was sent a friend request by a man going by the name of Richard J Ortega, a white man, bald , claiming to be 60. He said all the right things as well and we were alike in so many areas . He of course said he loved me. He claimed to live in Oakland California and work as an IDC in petroleum (Exxon mobile). Red Flags started popping up for me... the address he gave didn't exist, his Facebook page had like 7 followers and all the pictures were uploaded on the same day. He asked for my phone number and address and email really quick instead of continuing to talk on messenger. He claimed he lost his wife two years ago and was now ready to move on with his life. His accent and written English didn't match him at all. He claimed to be a Christian too. He said he had 2 kids Glenn and Deborah ages 24 & 26 and a white dog named Lisa. He was supposedly working in Alaska on a ship and a big wave damaged some of his equipment. He claimed it was going to take $11,000 to have someone come fix it. He asked me for money and I said no he grew more and more insistent and more and more angry and upset. I guess he couldn't handle me anymore and realized that there was no way he was getting any money from me... then he became an even bigger jerk. All of this after only talking for about 10 days. Be careful out there ladies! Listen to your instincts!

This person contacted me via facebook message this morning 5/28/17... Thanks to your post, it won't go farther... Blocked! Thank you so much!

I had a guy from Facebook that had befriended my nephew and neice on social media. He contacted me by a friend request I only accepted because he was friends with them. He was extremely handsome and charming. He had a way with words and even sent pictures and videos of his children and his self daily. We video chatted and talked on the phone for over 4 months before I found out he was involved in scams, money laundering, and identity theft. He asked me for money a few months in and I declined he claim he was a engineer on assignment in Dubai but lived in Nebraska with his daughters. We talked everyday 2-3times a day for months. He had become a really good friend and a potienal life partner and new husband for me. We shared so much until he stated asking me to trust him and help him out of a financial bind. I declined for months and he was ok with it stressed but ok. He eventually asked if his business partner agreed to help him out with some money could he send it to me since I was his new girlfriend and he trusted me I was very hesitant and eventually agreed. He had my personal information for months and nothing happened so I thought I could trust him enough. He never told me who was sending the money the amount or when for months he stopped asking me for money as well. I eventually sent him some money to help out and through money gram he never used his name he claimed he wanted me to send it to his assistant because he couldn't pick it up. He lied for months I finally got suspicious and reported it. He had someone send me a check to cash and send to him from his business partner to help him out til he got paid and I later found out it was a stolen bank account and check. I only found out because I put pressure on my bank to look into it. He denied everything and we stopped talking. Facebook closed his account then he popped back up on there a few months ago as a Michael Lopez he was using Kenneth Jason Collins. This guy played on my heart strings at every turn and had proof to back everything up when I questioned him about certain things. He used his children as a way to lure women in. Video chatted with him several times and talked on a phone number for the state he claimed he lived when he was home. These people are smart and intelligent with college degrees and legit jobs but running scamms on people. You don't have to be gullible or anything it happens to beautiful smart and very aware type of women and men. People judge you on these situations but until it happen to you it's hard to say how you will handle a situation. He was the first person I ever talked to online for that reason and fear of being scammed yet it happened. I tried to verify everything I was told and he still did it. We discussed the topic several times and just never would of thought this man would allow himself to be part of anything like that. He prayed with me often and spoke of his morals and values daily. Sent me pictures of him from home,work, kids functions, and vactions. I could Google locations and the pictures he still was part of this big ring of criminals. I'm still afraid because he could be anywhere and show up anytime. Be careful out here please.

This sounds like Peter Palmer whom scanned me.. bald white guy big built... Thick neck. Who knows that is even hide real name. He also had two kids wife died in car accident. Now I have one same story going by the name Dave woods!! Is there any real people out here anymore?

Hi I think we both had the same type scammer but mine was Richard B Smith he was younger looking and working for the same company. I checked his certificated and did a lot of research and I found it was fake. He had all his photo's uploaded the same day not many friends (if any at all) He had a son his wife passed away from cancer or a car accident. We chatted for awhile, he found me on Facebook. His English (never chatted via phone) and grammer was not the type of an American man would had been. I did a photo reverse search found all photos leading back to one man. The original owner works for some radio station and was having a picnic for his job. Anyways I asked my scammer to show proof he was the guy in the photo to write my name on a piece of paper hold it in front of him take a picture, instead I get a picture of the guy holding a statue smiling and I told the scammer "This is not what I asked for" he got all defensive and went off on me cussing me out. I told him no need to get all mad and he said "Why not you not believe me" I was like "your right" Before all this we got into talking about an ITunes Card I told him yeah stores do have them and where you're living you can get them there" he was like "I don't know what they look like and I explained and he told me "I have to do a lot of stuff today before leaving tomorrow for my trip to Texas (or someplace)to start my job on the IDC Petroleum tanker (something like that, I had all his convo saved but deleted it) and he said his son needed it for music for his phone" I was like "Oh well I don't know what to tell you, it's not my job to take care of your son"
We talked a bit more and I found a fake ITunes card and he laughed asking me what that was and I told him that's your ITunes card you're asking for. He came back at me "Tell your sister to get me those ITunes cards" I told him "She don't have them and he was on the computer the same day he was supposed to been on his flight for his job. So I told him "Its been fun playing with you scammer at your expense, the certificate isn't real the photo's are fake, have a great life" I blocked him after that.

I get many men writing me they usually turn out to be frauds and I just want to add to your comment about listening to your instincts which everyone should trust if you feel something is off about the person writing, but if you do doubt what you feel perhaps look to someone you trust to have a good sense of people and ask for an opinion before sending anything.

I wonder if we both got scammed by same man. I am now facing chapter 7 I've learned such a hard lesson. I hope and pray these mafia men get captured.

I feel the same, I am so embarrassed I wish I would have read this blog before now. I've been reading all these blogs and my situation seems much similiar and I lost everything, all of my savings and I want my money back but I've been too embarrassed to contact law enforcement or an attorney. I have documentation and proof of funds sent through money gram and western union but this have been a very valuable lesson learned.

If you lost money to a scammer and paid by Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, you can ask for your money back. You must file before February 12, 2018. Go to FTC.gov/WU to learn how.

Can i get money back if i got scamed after Jan 2017?

I got scammed too but thank God that with the help of a barrister that was referred to me by my lawyer, We were able to get the scammers and i got my money back.

Bettymeg, please help me with the procedure on how to get my scammers and get back a little of my money scammed from me. Please? I'm down. Thank you.

Has anyone been scammed by a Dr. Bill Bruno Morgan? Who says he is in Aleppo, Syria. He wants me to fill out a vacation form from the UN and to send 1 or 2 thousand dollars to cover his vacation papers and he would send me $20,00 for him to spend when he comes to visit me. He wanted all my bank Info and credit card info. I refused to give them to him. He starts every morning by sending me a beautiful poem saying good morning my love and the same at night. He has a 16 yr old som Kelvin who lives with his teacherin San Antonio, TX. He has a picture od himself and a mansion that is his home in SA. Thanks Kaye

yes, I spoke to the same guy, who says he is from Aleppo Syria. But I have knowledge of international affairs and middle east so started asking him questions. He used his name as Arjun David, Christian man, from Quebec City, Canada. He said he is from Canada, alone, no parents, no friends, no social media account lol. I asked how come you didn't use social media since childhood. everyone does. he said i like to be alone. that's how i caught him. And also his answers were all google paste from internet when asked about syria. He said he can't talk about his job, otherwise he will lose his job. He sent sweet good morning and good night msgs too. I asked him, can I speak with anyone from his family. He gave me a number of his uncle to call. and his uncle called for brief 10 min. When I again asked for his uncle's number second time. He gave me a different number. He said his uncle is in UK and moves for job. lol, funny, but disheartening for single people looking for genuine person and these scammers are simply not human beings. just hungry for money

I got a message from a man saying he was in the
army stationed in Syria, he only messaged Sundays
ask if we would be friends, ask for my phone number
I didn't give it to him. He say he was from Lagrange Georgia. I didn't give in my number I stop talking to him his profile had a picture of woman with his name.

Was he called mark

Sherril was his name Mark?

I was talking with a guy from match and the real guy. 1 day later his identity was stole and this scammer was good. He did his research and we very nice and we chatted and emailed, but then he went on a mission and used the guy who got scammed, his name of some money that they found in North Korea and put me as next of kin and a barrister needed 6000 to hold and work on transferring the money appropriate. I had to send cash to an account through bank of America and no one questioned me. I finally decided to call the real person and he was hacked and lives 10 miles from me. It makes me so mad and bank of America won't do a thing about it.

yes this person has got my ex wife for 6000 dollars now he says he comeing to see her will it be true

Thanks 17, be very careful giving out more money to someone that says that they want to help you. This is also a scam. They are very convincing. My advice is to know that your money is gone and you won't be getting it back. Go forward and don't look back.

Lucy, It's so painful after I have trusted all my monies.Thanks for your advice to GO FORWARD AND DON'T LOOK BACK.

Thanks 17 & Lucy,

Thank you so much for this positive advise. I'm a victim of a scammer usually I can easily spot a scammer online however this time I fall for it because they coordinated everything so professionally. I'm not stupid but I've fall for it due to a giving heart. I've lost almost all my life savings. I feel very upset, sad and angry at myself but after coming to find some info, clue and comfort. I'm glad I saw these comments that I'm not the only one and many have lost a lot of money as well and admit that is it painful but despite all that decide to 'GO FORWARD AND DON'T LOOK BACK. Is the most expensive mistakes and lesson I ever learned in my life. I hope all of us victim will be bless with kindness one day. What goes around comes around.

My potential Scammer goes by the name Steve Gibson. Told me he was a widow and was raising his 12 year old daughter alone. No family, No friends. Loved me to the moon and back and prayed with me daily. I told a family member how wonderful he was and she exposed him. I called him on it and he continued to call me from different numbers asking for $2700.00, as he was stuck in India. I was shocked. He had me fooled about being in love but not enough to give him money. No man would ever get a dime from me. Asking is a red flag. No. Just no. I don't care about your circumstances. I'm not going to own any man's issues. Period. Be careful ladies and gentleman. You're dealing with the devil.

I have dealt with him also July-August 2017, said the plate to the drill on his oil rig broke. Had $5,000 and need $5,000. There is a man by that name that is an oil engineer-but clearly not the same person.

I also dealt with one from March to Aug 2, 2017 in Malays ia. Son in England, very sick and a broken machine. Admitted his svam to me on Sug 2nd. Has an accent. Trying to scam me again to get back to the states. Just interesting to see his approach this time. Not galling for it ever again.

OMG. i also got scammed with same man for over $65,000, he lied he got 2 kids and wife passed away. His words and story were so perfect. I am so glad my uncle who was an FBI caught him and i got some of my money back even if not everything. please everyone be careful scammers are heartless

Question: was this man, by any chance the name Peter Ben?? My girlfriends mom i think is getting scammed by a guy with the same story, I would love to talk to you and ask you about this. I have pictures and stories of this guy, He already took 200 from the mom saying that his car was broken into on the work site. Stole his wallet, phone and license.

Hello, I have just recently used reverse image search to confirm the "person" I was talking with and who asked for money is fake. He told me his name is Mihael and is working in oil and gas sector in Izmir Turkey, needed money to pay laborers so he can get back home to Denver.

I had this guy messaging me from 2 accounts. Tonight he asked for money. I blocked him. Peter Ben. Oil worker Nigeria. Widow. Kids need help back in the USA. He’s lost his Wallet. Bank & work won’t help? I didn’t fall for it. I’ve photos of him. Called from Nigeria strong accent. Bad English grammar. When I asked about his accent he said Indian father,

Curious...did his wife die during child birth?

You cannot get your money back. Scammers come on a page, like this, telling you that they can get your money back, for a FEE of course. Just another scam. Don't believe anyone who says tat they can get your money back, if they ask for money. Do not give anyone your money. They are lying.

I also had one who I believe was part
of this same scam. Although he sent me a friend request privately, we did not meet on a dating site. He proclaimed his love for me after about 2-3 days and said once he got home from Damascus we would be married. In the meantime, his daughter was in a boarding school and he needed me to pay her tuition which is $2,300.00. I confronted him before I sent any money. At first he acted all innocent and was like honey why are you talking like this? After I kept bringing other stuff up, then he turned on me and got really nasty and called me names until I blocked him. The name he came to me by is Paul Thomas Cox.

Hi I was also scammed for 37,000 can you tell me how you got help to get ur money back ? Thank you

Hi are you a victim of scam 419, if you are write please how you got your money back.

How did you get attorney get your money back

Hi can tell me how yoh got money back. What your lawyers name?

Can you give me the info on how to get my money back too. Please and thank you

I was scammed and I would like to know if and how is there a possibility to get the money back

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