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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

Dear devastated, I feel for you for I was also a victim and lost all my savings and am facing bankruptcy, lost my job etc...only by the Grace of God I am living by help from my family. My scammer's name was Richard Hutchings aka Rick Cudney, sent money via WU and MG to Zacharia Olawale, Olabode Dambola both in Nigeria, Krista Graziano and Tolulope Oloniyo both in TX, this scammer was clever and had so many "fake names" I had no idea. I truly fell for him, but he got what he wanted and that was God's money, not mine. I'm being chastened now and deserve it but after counseling and still feeling stupid, I ask for God's forgiveness for me and for this whoever to get caught and stop ripping people off. Good luck to you I hope you can one day forgive ;yourself and may God give you strength to rebuild your life.

I was in contact with a guy for 17 months, went by the name of Mody Andrew Enaf. He promised me the world and I sent himover $250,000. Money for a house in South Africa, an apartment in London, a condo in South Africa, boy what a fool I was. These guys are such dirt balls. They know when you're vulnerable, my husrband died 3 months prior to us meeting on Our Time.com
I feel for you.

It's the same kind of situation i am in. This woman named Alina Baura she told me she makes 230,000 a year as an engineer and she needs me to help her with antiques crafts and paintings the shipping cost is 941.00 dollars and i ask her how much she haves she said she has 46,000 on her right now. She was playing me along too.

Oh my...I met a gentlemen on the app me. Sounded wonderful. He also was an engineer. He claims to be from Orlando FL and has a Orlando phone number. He was currently working in Israel finishing up a project. He had a building collapse and suddenly have to go to Nigeria. Of course he claimed to love me and said all the right things. After he was in Nigeria he claimed he was robbed so I sent him $1000 and then he turned around and asked for $4200 a couple of weeks later. He said when he went to Nigeria there was $80,000 put into his account but he doesn't have access to it since he was robbed. Once he completes the job he will get an additional $220,000. He has a normal routine and I know exactly when I am going to hear from him each morning. I just feel foolish. He said his name is Michael Williams which is very common.

OH MY GOD ! There's a name requesting me on FB...Exactly the name you have here. Thanks for posting

I have been talking to a guy that claims to be from Long Beach Cali. His name is Cozzy Alex. I don't know but I think whoever is using his profile knows him. Because the pictures he is sending is of what he says he is doing. I have not given him money. But I'm very suspicions of him. I have talked on messenger for just a min. He has a accent that does not match him. Does anyone know him

Would love to see a photo may be the Alex texting me supposedly from al
Los Angeles

I MAY KNOW THIS PERSON

I think I may know him too! We have to put this to a stop before it gets bad. I have pictures of him. Please reply!

I know this is from 2017, but what is the name of the person you may know. Mody Andrew Enaf ?
Thank you.

Hello! I was just wondering if you ever got a picture of Alex? There's a man name Alex claiming to live in Beverly Hills, Ca that has contacted me on instagram. I have a picture of him and I just need to know if it's the same one.

can you describe him to me if he is wearing any jewelry

Hi, do you have a picture of him? I’m in the same situation as well.

I had a guy by the name of Alex contact me on Instagram. Would you happen to have a photo?

Hello i know its been awhile but I live not 2 far from long beach, get his address and ill gladly go find out if its really him =)

I met someone on line from long beach but his name is peter clark and does oil rigs has 2 kids in uk with his mom and his wife is past away

I have been talking to a guy from long beach who now is in China and can't get back to LB without my help..Never met him and not giving him any money

Im talking to a guy claiming his from Florida with fake passport.

Oh my, I met a James Alveno claiming to be a mining engineer from Orlando Florida this January 2020. Within a month he's claiming he's in love with me. He then says he got a contract in Brasil but after a month his drilling machine breaks down and needs me to open a bank account so an associate can send him money. Being naive to online dating after being in relationships with only local guys, I agreed and later had my account frozen because a large wire got flagged at the bank.

I think I have been talking to the same scammer - he said he is a dr volunteering in Syria & that his son who is in school in Turkey needed $ Then he concocted a story about a sick boy at the hospital who needed $ for surgery that needed to be done elsewhere. He also said he couldn't talk on the phone - he was very smooth a real sweet talker.

THE ONE THAT TRYED TO SCAM ME NAME IS AaronJames321 in instagram. He said he was in Irak deployed. Said he was a widow and has a son living with him. Watch out with this one because if you don't fall for his scam he will insult you. Lol! The jerk thought I was falling for his lies of I love you and all the bit. When I finally told him I don't have a penny to my name he became a monster cursing and insulting me. I got the feeling he was a scammer so when you ladies have a gut feeling take it as a warning. A lot of men are doing this. Don't fall for it.

I am looking for any Victims if a scammer who goes by the name of THOMAS MARCOS GEORGE...said he is from Belgium, is DUTCH, lives in Folsom California.
Email me at xxxxxxx
His scam: is a mechanical engineer
Has 12 yoa son Nick born with hole in his heart
Going to Hong Kong for business
Finds son critical, needs $35k operation, needs plane tickets, flies to Texas with His road Machines, needs $1400 fo customs hold...and on and on and on!
I lost over $12k! And already found another victim of the same man a few states away from me. This is a United States scammer, but he / they might be in Africa.
He also found a woman to fall for him and she was his money mule taking in hundreds of thousands of dollars! Then at his instructions...she wired out to Africa and Nigeria!

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After reading through this blog I'm fairly sure I'm talking with one of the scammers described here. For some reason the threads format so that there is one word down to only 2-3 letters on a line, so it is very difficult to read.

I cut my guy off as soon as he asked for money. He says he's originally Bulgarian, a widower, lived in London and has a daughter there in medical school. Says he is a UN Orthopedic surgeon in Damascus, was injured on an aid mission mid-June and is now recuperating in a Russian military hospital (in Damascus) but will be discharged to my area of the US in two weeks.

This fellow writes with a heavy accent, but is quite articulate, sensitive and responsive. Yes, there have been minor red flags but up until 2 days ago he asked for nothing and merely revealed more and more of his creative story while promising travel and gifts and romance galore. I am fairly certain the numerous photos of a doctor are not the writer. I cannot, however, find them on google image search.

Is there a database that I can access, please? I have a lot of personal information about him but not numbers of course.

I am hoping we can set up a private FB account where we can post names, phone numbers, pictures etc. People would have to be approved to join. I have all these stories too, from 2 guys at the same time. It's like they all took the same scam training class.
Anyone have any ideas? I am at the point where they will start to ask for money. According to all of the previous posts. There must be a way. Someone in the government might be interested in all the information we have collectively?

That would be great to have somewhere to compare note's. I have been talking to five different men four military and one that is a plumber. All of them had some kind if excuse no phone on top secret mission military want let them use phone's but they sure can use a computer. Ive had my phone hacked several times from logo's Nigeria ive never given my info to none of these men. I have two complete notebook's of notes and how to search everything I grew up in base's all over the USA and two Navy base's one in Iceland so I know how to dig for info and I also know if you dig long enough you can reveal a lot. I've blocked four of them I'm still talking to a man in Syria we have been talking for over three month's he has never ask me for anything but no record of him in the Army I have a Lt col Chaplin in my family I know how to find things out. Four of them had wives that were deceased and was raising three had boys one had girl alone. I now talk to my friend in Syria he seen I wasn't going to offer any phone or anything so he started calling me and the accent sure isn't a California one but he speaks good English he said this morning he was coming here for Christmas so we will see.

I talking to one in Syria name is roy lived in houston went there for 2weeks been there 5 months very much in love with me has ahome

By any chance would any of the military men that are in Nigeria that you spoke to go by the name of Anthony covert Johnson

Have been talking to a man he says his name is Bobby Anthony Jackson and he lives in Virginia Beach Virginia and he's a Contractor on an oil rig he went to Mexico and then he went to Nigeria he says he's 62 I have pictures of him if anyone would like to get in touch with me I would love to see if anybody else is talking to him

Hi angel, I have a question I’ve been talking to a man named Andrew Mark from a dating site. He’s been very sweet and way into me. He says he’s in the army in Germany long story short he wasn’t on a list to come home but put in for a leave can’t afford airfare asked for money until he gets home and gets his fedility. Made it sound like that’s where his army money is going to. Says when he gets home we won’t have to worry about money. Says he’s from Spain but when his parents died in car crash he moved here. We haven’t talked on the phone I had to send information to army so we could talk he said when they get back with me they will set up a time for us to talk. Am I being scammed or could he be fo real. He has sent army and personal pics in uniform also. But on the uniform it says Andrew his first name and actually it looks like Andrews please help

The US Army has a list of warning signs about scammers who pretend to be soldiers. The list says:

  • Soldiers are not charged money so that the Soldier can go on leave.
  • Soldiers are not charged money to get communications or leave

I have a similar story, guy name Peter from Florida who relocated to Germany because of the deaths of his parents and brothers in car crash. He send me his baby pictures, military photos, but his now working in a private intelligence officer who is assigned in UAE.

Really need to talk to someone, been texting and emailing a soldier at Fallajah army base in Iraq, but feel it is a scammer now, I,ve lost my heart to him where do I turn

Does anyone have a picture. My sister has been talking to a guy name is keith henry.

Does he go by honestman or manhonest...Joe Williams, Joseph Williams parents are dead, but has 15yr old Son living with Grandparents in Folorida??

I would like to join. I am also a victim.please...help each other to get those scammer.

He sounds like Jackson aldred with a 14 yr old son in boarding school in California but now his son is on an excursion with his school and there is another named Desmond luis

what a coincidence, i was talking to a man who's son is in an excursion in Ghana.. for almost 2 weeks of talking i felt there is really something wrong because of his grammar which in not a typical english man. then i got suspicious when he gave his son's number but i can see that it was being used all at the same time as his.. his son message me telling that he wanted to celebrate his birthday but his daddy cannot send money from where he is. there i got a hit and when i confronted the scammer he is so defensive and said i am insulting him.. his name is tyler hunter and son's name is jefferson. he is widowed for 5yrs and his son is in boarding school in San jose cali

Hi I have encountered same scam, in FB messenger, like larry jackson, then later changed to Philip desmond....construction engineer, widowed for five years, had 3 children in boarding school, went on to Cambodia for a project, then broke a machine amounting to $35,000 then later asking for help.

Where do I go for help

Omg. I'm so sorry to hear that. I just got a message last week from someone claiming to be in the marines here at our Air Force base. Stating he's marines in training and can't use his cell phone to call me. Asked if I used kik. I asked what's that??? He said an app to chat. Hmm he can chat on an app but not the phone. What do you think ? Cat

He is lying to you they all work together saying that his wife passed away and his son is in boarding school and there is another one name Desmond luis saying his wife cheated on him and that he got a daughter he is a contract engineer and Jackson aldred say he is a chief medical director of the un they are con artist

Can you send me a pic of this man?

I met a guy whose name is Joel Stephen Greco through dating site in Japan. I live in Tokyo, Japan. I don't know so many celebrities in the US. He said he was interested in me and wanted to exchange mails. I started exchanging mails and soon he wanted to chat on skype. We started that. He sent me some of his photos, but I did not notice he is a famous guy there. Last weekend we promised to chat sometime in a weekend, but suddenly he stopped calling me, sending me any messages, so I googled. Then, on YouTube I saw real Joel Stephen Greco talking. It cannot be true that he says he falls in love with me? Much older Japanese woman? I don't know what he was up to, probably he will ask for some money from me soon in the future. But before then I found out it was all lies. He said that he is a real estate manager, and he wants my family to live with him in New York and so on and so on. I was about to be caught. Many men in the dating site are thieves, scammers. So please be careful.

I have been talking to "Robert Dietrish" for months. Claims to be widowed (wife passed from cancer 6 years ago - Victoria), two children in mid/late 20s daughter Anna getting married next month in New Jersey and a son Nathan. Was raised in Switzerland, types with heavy accent and he can count in German. Though over the phone he sounds more Nigerian and even called me with street sounds in the background that sounded just like googled Nigerian street sounds LOL. Caught him emailing using text from love letters on the internet. Broke it off. He's been in Germany since July to help his mother Elizabeth (who died from heart failure supposedly three weeks ago) get an operation for stage four cancer in Dusseldorf Germany. They just buried her Monday. Started talking again when he texted that he lost his mother. Now wants a bank account to put money in. Riiiiight!

Hey I’m so sorry this happened to you. My sister is talking to a man that says he’s from Germany has daughter and wife died from cancer 6 yrs ago kinda sounds familiar anyways so u have pic of this man?

A man is talking to me from Germany he as a daughter called Esther and hi wife died from cancer
He goes by the name of Cole Scott.He found me on Facebook his name is Maynard Cole and there is a photo of him unless he as stolen a profile.

Oh this one is a piece of work, he told me he was a 4 star General deployed in Iraq, a widower and had a 16 yo son. He never asked me for money but would get furious because I told him I would chat with other military men. When I found out who he was I bluntly asked him, who am I speaking with today, Aaron, John, Sam, or James. He blocked me. LOL

dated for a week a general i n Iraq and his son is in school in Fla. and needs 400
for a trip to S. Africa. He's with the UN.

I was Facebook messenger a couple weeks ago and this man, I'm not sure if he's a scammer or not he hasn't asked for money from me but he has asked me to visit him in Ghana. So can you give me some advice on what to do about this situation?

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