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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 — 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


Sounds like the same guy that has been communicating with me. Good looking, oil rig contractor. Machine broke- needed 47,000 then another 84,000 to ship his equipment back to the states. Says he’s going to retire. Also asks for money for his internet service- 2800.00 every two weeks. Says we won’t be able to chat if he can’t get service. Wants to marry me when he gets home. Promises big houses and expensive cars. Goes by Bill Bryan. He stole his profile pic from a man in Florida.

My story is similar. He's currently stuck in Turkey and needs $20,000. Said it's his own personal contract but he can't access his Houston account. Had me try and now claims he's going to get arrested if the doesn't fulfill the contract. He's gotten $500 from me but no more. However, I do enjoy our talks. He's still hanging in there trying to get more money, "bless his little heart.". Says he's retiring when he returns and we're going to live a great, comfortable life of traveling together. I'm so in love, NOT!

What is his name? It is very similar story with a guy who contact me 2 months ago. He is a widowed from Houston, Texas. Wife died of cervical cancer 2 years ago. Can you confirm his picture for me?

Sounds like mine. Wife died of an illness. Wants to retire after this contract is done in June in Gulf of Mexico. He wants to travel the world and wants a life friend/soulmate to go with him. Talked for a month and ask for $200 iTunes card.

I am wondering if this is the same person that has been contacting my mil for the last 90 days on fb. Supposedly a Dr with dual citizenship-US and UK. Wife died in an accident. Has 16 yr old son in boarding school in UK. He is in Afghanistan. Dr and 69 yrs old. Gray hair. Attractive pic but looks far younger than 69.

Can anyone post pictures of these men

Bill Arlindo or Arlindo Bill, 50 yrs old

Almost identical story .

What documents did he provide? Who was the contract with? The 6.5 mil contract sounds familiar. Who signed the contract papers? Sounds like my guy.

My guy says his name is Steve Hampton from Wyoming. Also needs $5000 for equipment. Says he can't access his accounts. He is on a $10 million project. Says he would never hurt me, retiring after this job. Also said he didn't want my money but sends me voice messages of himself crying. Sent me a fake passport.

Does he have a dog, and a son going to school in Texas
Can you please send me a picture sounds like someone I have been talking to for 18 months
From Norway

Is he dark haired? Son named Kenny in Wichita Falls, Tx? He's working on rig in Rania. I accused him of being a scammer and told him of he asked for $$ I'm gone.

I'm talking to one man of that description. He has beautiful grey hair and is trying to get me to open a bank account to send me money so I can send it to his daughter. I'm like much nope.

Can someone send me a picture my friend is talking to someone who has some of the same story and it just seems to good to be true.

Yes, similar to my guy. 60 yrs old, nice blue eyes and salt and pepper hair. Sometimes wears glasses. Met on Instagram but he recently took it down. Started calling himself Prince Alex. Sound familiar to anyone

I fell for a scam like this several years ago fortunately I got suspicious before the request for money came up..but it did eventually. So this time I knew when it started. This guys name is Daniel Depiero Williams says he lost his wife and kids in a car accident 8 years ago. He’s in love with me from my picture we have only been emailing for a few days but he’s coming on very strong. Also watch the times on your emails he said I will dream about you all night and will write again in the morning. The text was sent to me at ten thirty am. Doesn’t add up

do you have pics with him can we share pics?

What is it with the grey hair? We must all have been scammed by the same guy.

Same guy and he is blackmailing me now

I have been scammed by a handsome man with beautiful gray hair named John Giovanni. We actually had video chats on Hangout and it looked like his photo. But, since I had already been seriously scammed before I decided to do a google image and it turns out his profile pic is of someone on Twitter and his photo on the oil rig is photo-shopped using someone else in an oil rig uniform and his head. I did all of this because after two weeks of beautiful texts, he asked me to buy him an ebay card to buy books for work, however, he had already told me that he was retiring in December.

In one picture, is he wearing sunglasses looking over his left shoulder? The other pic would be horn rimmed glasses & he's looking on his cell phone?

Is he wearing a yellow shirt.... Is he real buff looks like he works out everyday. How can we share pictures.

I am also talking to Mark Stevens. He works at oil rig in Romania. Came there from the USA, where he was grown up, but originally he is Vietnamese. Has two children: daughter is 15 and son is 9, if I am not mistaken. He started talking to me on Scrabble. I told that I am married, he told that it's ok, we can be friends. Ok. Today he told that he wants to visit me and my family and needs that I sent a vacation letter to his company. I have no idea what is that. But he told that if I am ready to send it, he will give me instructions. Oh, yes, his wife was doing it before. But she was killed several years ago. I suppose that he will need my personal data and something more. I stopped talking to him.

I also would like to see pictures I have a mark Steven also

can i also see a picture of this guy please i wanted to see if he is e same man who is trying to lure me now

My sister in law is talking to a man named frank currently a surgeon in afghanistan. Has a son in a uk boarding school. Can you send me pictures please.

Margaret: I don't know if you are still talking to Mark, but I have been talking to him since April. He is the same scammer. Very good looking, very good at what he does. He does not give viable reasons why he can't access his bank account and the millions of dollars he has in there. Please don't let him talk you into wiring money to bank accounts he gives you. He burned me for a lot of money. I know he gets to your heart, but please don't let him string you along.

This sounds alot like man I have been chatting with .
David morgan Paulson.

I too think I’m talking to the same man?? Can you send a picture??

I got a friend request from a Mark johnson a engineer on oil rig in mexico. He said he was a widower and had two children. He said he left him with their nannie because he had won the contract for drilling off shore in mexico. But I couldn't tell anyone. He soon asked for me to help him with some of his expenses. I have sent several thousand dollars to him. His nannie and kids also contacted me and said they had no money for food or school projects. I sent them several hundred dollars also

When his time was up on oil rig of course he needed more money to travel to me. Then was hit by bus while walking in mexico. And has been hospitalized for months as needing special surgeon from china. Now he needs more money to pay for Mexican hospital because they wont let him leave until his bill is paid. And they are making him buy meals and his own meds for months now. I have been doing without what I need for him. It sounds stupid now that I write it down.

I think he is the one my friend was talking.
Do you have any pictures?

This in a lot of ways sounds like a scammer i lost over 6000 to. Tom Davies is the name he used, he said his wife was killed in a car accident n he is a widower of 2 kids they spend most of their time with the nanny. He is a contractor oil rig. Lives in Jacksonville Florida, From Oslo Norway. Claims he had to send his daughter there because needed special Dr. blah, blah blah.

My mum is being scammed by a man called Herbert Raymond

Margaret, do you have a pix of Mark Johnson? My Mark Rob Johnson is on an oil rig in Gulf of Mexico, has a son and daughter now living in Puerto Rico. He’s from Chicago. Born in France and speaks French and quite religious. I have been texting with him for 2-1/2 yrs and given him a lot. Let me know if this sounds familiar

Hi! He’s similar to my guy though with a different name. Messaged me on twitter in last week of oct then we kept on talking on whatsapp. Said he doesn’t go to twitter very often ‘cause many random women message him there. A marine engineer from denver but is currently in a ship in mediterranean sea in italy. Separated with a 9 year old daughter who’s with her teacher in denver but when daughter supposedly emailed me, said she’s 11. Sometimes with bad grammars, sometimes grammars fine. After 3 wks of talking, surprised me with the news that his job application in our country has been approved (never told me before) but he needs to pay the agency approx 400 USD. Haven’t received their salaries for many months since the pandemic. Sent me a photo of the contract but suspicious ‘cause there were wrong grammars. But my kind heart gave in so I sent money to the supposed contact person of the agency. After only 3 days he’s got a problem again. Hasn’t sent his daughter money since sept and promised her 600 USD. After several arguments, I gave in and sent 300 USD via WU to a man’s name who’s supposedly the husband of her daughter’s teacher. Daughter emailed a message of thanks supposedly using her teacher’s phone (she doesn’t have her own phone supposedly) and told me her birthday is near and she’s expecting a gift. After 10 days, he asked for money again ‘cause daughter is expecting him to send money for her birthday celebration and doesn’t want to disappoint her. I even argued with him that it’s okay to disappoint daughter once in a while but very insistent. Almost asked him how does it become my problem but then my heart’s blinded so sent another 200 USD to the husband of daughter’s teacher after he promised that he’s gonna get money from the ship in a week. After 1 week, asked money again for his food while in the ship, claimed that their boss has asked them to extend their patience ‘cause they’re gonna have their salaries at the end of Dec. We argued, I refused to send but manipulated me in a way. Told me I’m making him look like a beggar. Sent me photos of him and late father, told me late father was a rich man. I wasn’t convinced but sent him another 250 USD but after 1 week, he claims that daughter is seriously sick and he needs to send money again. I got tired, did not give in. Told him my son is also sick and we need money but didn’t ask from him ‘cause I know he doesn’t care. What surprised me what that he’s so insistent in getting money from me, even telling me that daughter is dying. My son is also sick and I need money how come he’s so insensitive? When I didn’t reply and wasn’t able to receive calls, I received an email from the supposed teacher using the daughter’s email add telling me the same things. The resemblance of his messages on whatsapp and the supposed teacher’s email is uncanny. And the teacher is supposed to be a teacher so I was expecting correct grammars and all but no. And the timing of his last message and the email from the teacher was also suspicious, like 1 minute apart. Do you have a photo of him please? Thank you in advance

Many of the same things sound so familiar from a man that I’ve been speaking with for the past 9 months but he calls himself Juan Williams and only communicates through hangouts and an occasional phone call...
He claims he’s an private contract engineer and has a few people working for him and he’s now working on the Buzzard field platform ship in north sea.
He says he lives in San macro California, approximately 30miles north of San Diego.
He claims to have a 9 year old daughter named Shelley and she was living with a family friend they called nanny until she passed away 7 weeks ago and then nannies sister came to get Shelley... now he needs money to get onshore to bury nanny and get Shelley. In the past he to needed money for Shelley because she was so sick and would die without proper medical attention.
He’s supposedly originally from the Bahamas.
He has sent several pictures of himself and some with Shelley.... She may or may not be his daughter who knows...
Oh, and his wife passed away 3 years ago.
He supposedly has an assistant by the name of Kelvin .
Is there a way to share pictures on here?

A friend of mine has been texting a man she met on Tinder who calls himself Juan Williams! He only wanted to communicate via WhatsApp, has a 7 year old son that supposedly he has sole custody of, and although he initially said he wouldn't share his last name or job (he saif Juan Williams was his first and middle name), he's now said he was shipped overseas and sent a picture of himself in army fatigues - not name tag or rank or anything is visible. And then he started saying he had to leave his devices at home and his "handler" couldn't get him food or something, and asked if she'd send him $50-$100 for rice. Yes, rice.

Oh, and he said while overseas, his son is being taken care of by "Nanny".

Eerily similar, don't you think??

I do not know your name,but please tell the scammer to take a hike off a big cliff. i hate to read the stories of women looking for love, only to find a scammer. Good luck and my GOD bless and help you. 'I am and old Australian who cares.


Do you have any pictures of him?
I think is the same guy my friend was talking to. Michael David.

Talking to this guy for ten months, his name is Patrick David he told me that he have three children and that his wife passed away giving birth to their third child. His mother and dad died in a car accident.
Very nice looking guy. Wanted me to send money to invest he pay

half and I pay half so that it can rise quicker. And he was going to
come to my city so that we can get married,we buy a house after he sale his house in South Dekota. This guy is 42. And the story is not true. The video chat wasn’t clear when we talked a little cloudy.

Does his body covered in tatts real handsome

Yes! He has a neck tattoo that says heads up in Italian and knuckle tattoos that say hard and work. And many many more. And oh my god the most dreamy blue eyes.

Is this guy also claiming to be a Dr. Starting a practice ? If so my mom was scammed by him and lost 22,000 dollars

Omg Susan he told me the same story except he was divorce , has a girl and his name is Burt Asner a very good look man.

What is this scammers name
From Turkey? And do you have any photos?

Please Is his name. Mark Harrison he is extremely good looking working in Canada as a dr. Ladies help me out??

I'm talking to a man named Spencer Mark Harrison. What does your guy look like?

Yes he is, ladies doctor met on insta, pictures with 6 yr old daughter. From Turkey living in Birmingham. Sent gift for my kid, some female from customs asked me to pay for clearance of parcel 35k then some cash in pounds on the parcel hence 95k more to be given to customs as fine, and this fellow is on sea so he can't pay will give back as soon as he reaches Singapore

I am talking to a guy for 7 months been trying to get him here were i live 'he says he love me dearly he been asking 'me for money for 7 months i have gave him no money so when 'he try in one way it another way 'all about money' say we gone get marry 'send me emoji of roses an a lots 'songs ' he say he work on an Island 'with offshore. but i need to give him 2000 dollars to come home an write a letter so he can leave 'i wanted to believe him 'i really felt in love with 'but i can't see myself sending a man no money. all these stories sounf so familiar to me he got 2 kids 'an divorce 'but sometimes he doesn't text an he know my real name 'its MESSING my mind up 'i am very puzzling about him his name is as he call himself Ted Levi if any of you 'or someone been talking to the same guy please help 'its my heart ' beginning to have feelings for him


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