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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

sounds like the guy i'm talking to now--says he's Thomas -- an architect in Canton, MS -- from holland --dad is deceased--moms alone-- would love to trade pics and see if this is the same guy (also met on tinder) all pics have a silly smile

I think I am talking to the same guy. Do you have a picture of him? Has he sent flowers?

Can you send me his pictures I have almost same story but name is different I have Chris and trying to stop all the damage but reporting him he send passport and also oil contracts etc

He says his name is Dave Johnson. He told me he lives in Arcadia area of Los Angeles,CA. He claims to be the CEO and owner of his own engineering firm. He said he's Italian from Ireland and his wife was very ill and died 4 years ago.Ge has 2 children 4 & 6- Lisa and Harry,etc...

Kootsiebella do u have any pictures of this Dave Johnson?

I am also dealing with this guy from instagram for 4mos now. It seems that they keep on telling that they are not scammers coz they dont blocked us after sending them money. How come they can say it if we are the victims here. I wanted to shout out to his profile that he is scam and fake. Thats how they do it to make us believe that they are not scammer. But they have followers. How can this site help us if they cannot act instantly. We can give them all the info while we are playing with their tricks. We have their contacts that they can check while we are actively in contact with them. Hope FTC can help us. Mine involved the credit card details which they got from me.

This guy sounds like the same man I was on whatwhats he called me his queen too says he stuck on a rig in Ireland sea needs money to pay the chopper to come pick him up to get home to his kids do you have a picture of him to send me he calls himself Jeffery?

i have same situotion.. he told me need settle his exit card n chopper. his name us Benjamin.

Hi, what’s his name and do you have any pics please?

What is it about Portugal? I was just scammed by a guy Out of Africa saying that he had to return to Portugal as his daughter was having immediate heart surgery. He made the mistake by saying that he was staying with his mother but in previous conversations he and said she was dead. Is online name is Alexander_Greg out of Africa saying that he had to return to Portugal as his daughter was having immediate heart surgery. He made the mistake by saying that he was staying with his mother but in previous conversations he and said she was dead. Yes online name is Alexander_Greg1 On Instagram.

I have been Scam, by a name Johnson he took 17,000 away from me and still talking to me how can I get him arrested?

Janessa. Is his first name Oliver?

Janessa, What is his first name, and where does he say he is, and where is he from?

Is his name william oliver? He was saying he is from Watford, UK. He said he is a civil engineer, manager in the company. I asked for his business name card, he did not answer. He caught his girlfriend had sex with his best friend and break up with his girlfriend two years ago.

Janessa, I think I may be talking to the same person. Do you have any pictures or other details that may help me?

is the name Johnson Brown familiar
engineer on oil rig

I would love to see a pic!!! This sound like my guy! We talked on hangouts, and now he is threatening me through text!

I think I'm talking to the person you are describing.. Does he use name George Jansen?

MarkD, did the video in the gym show him lifting a an 80 pound dumbbell with his mid section? He has tattoos and had a ballcap on? Bearded fellow?

Same thing happened to me he messaged me on IG says he lives in San Francisco and has a 5 year old son that is wIth the Nanny and right now he is in Italy working on a contract which closes on the 10th he asked for money to send to his Nanny cause he spent the money on the tools for the contract. He told me his mom and dad died and that he is an only child of theirs. He said the contract is worth millions. I don't know. There are pictures of him inEurope. The guy is going bald and is scruffy with glasses

So my guy lives in France and is a contractor. He has a 12 year old son and lost his wife to cancer. His parents passed away as well. He is completing his contract and has invested all his savings on gold bars and is having them shipped to me so we can start a jewelry business. He says that he has not received his final check for his contract so he needs me to pay $650 to have the gold shipped to me. Yes it’s sad because I have fallen for this scam artist and even considered leaving my family for him.
He would send me pictures of himself in suits and even sent a few of him and his son working our. However I did start to notice that his pictures are not current. I feel dumb for even allowing myself to get involved however I’m thankful for these stories because I was considering paying this money to have his life savings shipped to me.

Hi everyone. My mom was almost a victim of this idiot, naturally he was in love with her and wanted to marry her. You know the deal. Thankfully we found this page before he went any further with his lies. We set him up, he called and talked to my mom while I was there listening to everything without him knowing. I had been specific about her having to be ALONE when he called. My mom already knew what he was after and led him to spit out his pretty little "send me money" story because he supposedly broke an oil machine. That's when I made the kill, took the phone and sent him to hell. Told him we knew what he was doing and before he could even say something, I called him by all the names he used to scam other women. At least he was dumb enough to listen to all my cussing-- must confess it was satisfying. Obviously he ended the call but I sent him the link to this page and called him stupid. What an idiot. This guy claims to be german-american, he uses pictures of a middle-aged, caucasian-looking, military man whose pictures are nowhere to be find online. Apart from all the inconsistencies in his stories, he doesn't sound like an old man in love. He is definitely young, inexperienced and definitely black which explains his links to Ghana banks.

Brenda! This sounds so familiar, yet with a couple twists. Does he have a higher-pitched voice and is he Italian? Is he tall, muscular, blue-eyed, handsome?

Its sound familiar to me what u just described. He said he's working in Norway and the contract finished feb 13 and he lives in Irving Irving TX son is 10yrs and home with a nanny. I'm out of 3500 dollars shamed and embarrassed. Constantly asking for iTunes cards saying his phone don't work and called me stubborn because I didnt send it.
Also send me a pic of his passport

Omg I’m talking to one guy nowadays and he calls himself major Sean Dunaway. US army currently in Afghanistan. He’s got 14 years old daughter, who is in boarding school in Dublin Ireland. He Irish with USA citizenship

Oh my!!!
The guy I just started chatting with his by Sargent Sean Dunaway...daughter Florence is 7 in Dublin with "Granny" .
Lost wife and 2 children in car accident.
(Rolly eyes)

I have spoken to Sgt. Sean Dunaway for a few weeks now online and he told me he has a 7 year old daughter going to boarding school in Ireland while his mother-in-law is in a nursing facility taking care of her. He lost his wife and 2 children in a car accident. I believed him. He wanted to send me money and to put into my account or keep at my place.

From Dublin Ireland wants me to open a bank account in USA so I can transfer his money to a gold investment client... wife died.

Anyone talking to a Mike Donovan Wood, from SC supposedly stuck in Benin. Muscular and tattoos. Originally from Ireland?

Has anyone actually had a package delivered from the guy ? Mine says he got his retirement pay of over 3 million in cash and wants have it delivered to me to keep safe . He says he is in Afghanistan and its not safe there . He goes by the name of Alex Mills

I met a guy like that goes by Scott Hagglund. In military in Afghanistan. Tried sending me his retirement of 1Mil in a package through Transjet cargo with tracking info website and everything. The package got stuck in Turkey so Transjet Cargo sent me a message asking for payment $800 via Money-gram to process the additional paper work. I wasn’t thinking at the time and sent it to them. Then they asked for more money, I text him back and told him he needed to take care of it. Says he froze all his accounts and can’t access them. I did more research and found that the military provides everything their personnel needs. At no time will they ask for monetary support. So I stopped talking to him.

oh god samething happened to me but here not his its her,she is working in military in Afghanistan. Tried sending me his retirement of 1Mil in a package through Transjet cargo with tracking info website and everything.but till now she didnt ask anyrhing but now seeing this stories now i doubted about her but i dont need her money and all but i am thinking about why this type of people fruds using the name love.if they love purely they didnt ask anything.

I'm so embarrassed. My savings and much of everything else, gone because I believed this man, Parker Walker, in Texas., Needed to send me 2 million dollars of his retirement to hold for him.
Has been hell on Earth as the package was supposed to be delivered but I had to pay insurance , then security fees, sent all my money to various addresses in the US and Czech Republic.
I think it's an international crime ring. I'm devastated and ruined.
With God's help I will crawl out of this hole.

I JUST went through this also for a guy so called named Andrew Jacopson and a son Kelvin in boarding school, his ex-wife left due to drugs. Had 5 million, added my name, I paid change in ownership then taxes until friend sent me an article as he had a picture of a doctor in hang ups, and people have been scamming using his info!! I lost alot also, but still praying to God for forgiveness and being stupid. I said it wouldn't happen to me but they just have you thinking so fast your head spins! NOT your fault Freelance.

I was contacted by a so-called Military General. He said he lost his wife in a car accident. He has a grandson Kelvin who is attending boarding school. He has asked me for money to be sent to him. I think it is a scam.

Freelance: I have been scammed for large and I mean large sums of money over the past 1 1/2 years. Right after my husband passed away, I met this guy through a web site for loss of loved ones. I was grieving and it was like I was in another world. He calls me his Queen and is coming home to me. His wife died of cancer and his family all died in a car accident. I understand you pain. I feel so ashamed. It has caused serious problems in my family. It’s like you’re being hypnotized by them. This has turned my life upside down. I have no savings, no investments of any kind anymore.
Like you said, with God’s help, I will somehow survive this mess I’m in.

Does he claim to have a daughter in the hospital or boarding school?

Yes he says he has a daughter in boarding school and that he is a widower and that his card is blocked and he is a surgeon working with the UN in Afghanistan

What is his name please. Is it Dr Walker? I have had the same story about a widower who is 54, a surgeon and is now in Pakistan working for the UN. Apparently has a 14 year old son living in the US with a nanny. When he comes back he will be homeless and wants to come and live with me.... whatever :-)

i have been talking to a man since April. had me go from Instagram to Hangouts. He tells me he is working on a 8 month contract in West Africa as a Dr. He said he is from Miami FL and his wife died 5 years ago from cancer and has a 11 year old daughter in boarding school in Illinois. He messages and calls 2 or 3 times a day, said he loved me after a week and that i was his queen and he was going to marry me when he gets back and going to open up his own clinic and i will never have to work again. Always sweet and sending me pictures and romantic songs. started with I tune cards, now wants money wired to help buy his daughter a laptop so he can talk to her and asked for $200 in amazon cards. He goes by the name of Allison Jackson on hangouts. I have sent a couple i tune cards but im done. He just keeps messaging and calling. Does this guy sound familiar to anyone. I know he is a scam. Ladies please beware, they will try to steal your heart.

Very similar story... Robert Wilson, working in medical center in Damascas, Syria refugee camp. Wife died of cancer, 13 year old son Alvin in boarding school in Anaheim CA. No other family, all deceased. In the process of setting up a clinic in Jacksonville FL, transfer $45K to contractors to start work and Chase and locked his accounts for suspicious activity, they won't do anything until he appears at the branch. He is in Syria until November. His sons birthday was 06/25 he wanted me to send an $1800 wire transfer to a Gladys Pineda Loher, gave me all her bank details (routing & account number), Pinnacle Bank in TN. Said she will take care of boarding school fee's and his sons birthday gift (he needed a new laptop). I traced his IP address, he was in NJ!

Did this man have a German accent ? Very nice looking in his late 50’s early 60’s. Call you my Queen and wifey?

Yes! His name says is Mike Donovan form AL. He is muscular with tattoos claims he works at an oil rig in UK

Yes NANCY i have, been there for almost a year now..tattoos,muscular does he say he has a daughter back home?

I have not been told he has a daughter, is supposedly from Ireland originally, left SC to do business in Benin. Was robbed and needs to get home. Tattoos on entire upper body except for neck and face. Pierced ears. Great build and smile. Sexy. Asks every morning if I want coffee in bed. Says he went to Benin to ship equipment home for his construction company. Wants itunes, amazon, google play, Steam cards. Writes beautifully sometimes, other times bad grammar. Please confirm. Thank you!

Bruce Morrison from AnchorageKentucky same thing on a rig daughter at home with the nanny claims to of sent me a package but I have to pay duty fees of $1900 he has spiky gray hair

Does anyone know a Jeffery Martin's Gill from Keller, Virginia he says he needs money for airfare back 3000 he is stranded in Lagos, Nigeria for 13 years

I am dealing with the same scenario
I've been scammed. He sent me his passport which looks photo shopped can you send me a copy. He claims to be stuck in london needs to pay the country 5000.00 stam duty fee . he goes be dennis jensen.
I just want this man caught.

Sounds very much like something that was going on a few years ago. Guy was mostly using scandinavian names. Try to Google for "Greenland bank scam", you can check also images to see if it's him.

Mine works at Norway oil rig. With 15 yrs old son , wife pass away in auto accident. Can we swap photos of this Guy?

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