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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

Is he from Instagram? Rob by name?

Hey. I've been talking to a Rob. Is yours a red head or red beard?

Hi... I'll be talking to Robert too... Grey hair from Germany... Talk to me to see if is the same person please

I have been talking to a Carlos Roberto Mentor Rodriguez He said he was selling his business, then he got a bid for his work went to Dubai, to do the job he is 70. Says he has a 19 year old daughter in England studying physical therapy. His wife died 8 years ago of breast cancer. He has a thick accent, says he is italian/ Spanish came over here when he was 17 to finish his education. slowly worked into saying how much he loved me over about 4 weeks. Now he said he got hit with taxes in Dubai for $25,000. He knows I have no money I told him that from the beginning. He had me check his offshore account to see if a sizeable amount had been deposited which it had but he claims he can't access it until he returns to the states. Anyone else know this guy?

I’ve been talking to a Robert Williams in Yemen . He says he’s in the army . He’s bald big green eyes . Says he’s been there since January

Hi there this is the same guy who told me his daughter Lisa is ill back home and now he is having wifi issues. Let me know and we can swap photos to see if it is the same one

Hi Trix,
I have someone I'm talking to that is working on oil rig in Alaska. I am more than willing to share photo. I only ask because he has a daughter named Lisa. But wants money to get supplies shipped.

Holy cow. I was talking to a Marcos Williams who has same story .

On the oil rig in Alaska and needs money for supplies. No daughter though.

I have been conversing with a guy overseas that said he needed money to get equipment so he can finish his job. He goes by the name Jason Brian, Email’s he was using: jason brian cares@ gmail or Jason rian carzes @gmail. Keeps asking for more n more iTunes and the price went from 100 to over 400. Days he lives with his mom

Where is he supposed to be. I also received request for help to buy equipment for an oil job in Turkey

I had a man who said he was from Italy I have been KNOWING for 3 years he said that if I was no longer friends with him that he would kill himself ( he told me he was married after 1 year of being friends and I dont like to have friendships with married persons) that's when he told me that if I dropped him as my friend he would kill himself ..he hasnt asked for money but always let's me know that he doesnt have any ( which I dont believe)

Is he an architect from UK?

We may have been scammed by same guy... Are his initials MO?

WOULD HIS NAME BE RYAN LEON

I totally agree with you. I have thought about signing my finances over to my son to manage. My guy claimed to be from Italy, named Douglas Bianconi.

my scam went on for a year and a half - I am embarrassed and lost a lot of money. I had the same sweet words and beautiful letters and he sent pictures but would never actually video call me because of terrorism where he was. I did hear his voice he told me he had an accent and he did but I continued to correspond. He constantly asked for money and I stupidly gave it until I had no more. I really thought I was in love with this person and thought nothing of giving him what he needed but at the end he asked me to get a loan for a very lot of money always promising that he will pay me back in full for all that I did for him and he would come back to see me and spend time with me. A lot of what he said to you was said to me all when I started reading these comments I realized he could not be who he said he is. In fact I saw a picture of someone on facebook that looked exactly like him and I brought it to his attention and he said that the hackers put his face on that persons body so it would look like him but I have asked several times to have him take a selfie or to do a video call and he always has an excuse. You are lucky it was only that much money I have been scammed for much much more and til the day I decided enough was enough he still promised to pay up. My health is taking a toll on me constantly worrying about my debt. Wish there was someone who could help us. I am planning on talking to someone although most say we have lost our money and we will never get it back. We just need to forget and move on and live with the mistake we have made and try to get back to leading a somewhat normal life after all of this.

This sounds similar to the guy I've been talking to he says he's in the U.S. army stationed in iraq.his wife cheated on him he has a 1t yr old adopted son in boarding school.He originally sent me a Facebook request which I accepted and within a week was telling me he loved me and wanted to but a house together.not long after he got me to switch to hangouts to talk to him.Three weeks in he says he dropped his phone & broke it & wanted to know if I could get him an iPhone 6s.which I told him no to because I don't have the money.He claims he had to borrow a friends phone to talk to me.He never called me because he claimed the phone lines were terrible there due to the rebels attacks.He had in the beginning sent me 2 pics that were older plus a pic I got from his fb request.He never would send any others even though I asked repeatedly ..claiming his friends phone didn't have a working camera.ok! The pics I did get were of a white male dark hair wearing a shirt that says good story babe now make me a sandwhich he's in shorts that say army on them with a background which looks like a military environment.Then he sent a pic of himself supposedly... squatting with some dogs around him and he's petting them ..he's got a beard & a hat on and there's a military looking building behind him.The Facebook pic is of him sitting on a bench in a room with a black fitted knit hat on sunglasses on his head he's got a gun in a holster at his side ..a polo type short sleeved shirt & part of a tattoo showing on his super arm the rest of tattoo is hidden by the sleeve.he says his name is Goodman graves he's 46.Does any of this sound familiar.do the pics sound like the ones you got?

Tamb51.....
Do you happen to have a photo of this guy, sounds similar to who I'm chatting with now.

What is a Bitcoin a friend as me to use that to get money fast to pay his worker? so he can get this project done

I’ve been dealing with a guy named Ben Alex Great. He works for a Bitcoin company called Gennius Mining Bitcoin company. I believe I was scammed for $4000.00. He found me on Instagram. I would love to get feedback. He contacted me on January 24 of this year.

That's a huge sign of scammer. They try to say working n through past 9 yrs they say engineers n usually south Africa working. If anyone says too fast love you, your the one, asks for money, has a sudden emergency scammers

A mining engineer In South Africa claims to be widow for eighteen years. Name Elías. Anyone heard from him. He asked for bitcoin

This sounds like a guy who calls himself Dawid Casper. He's Polish and is a diamond miner in South Africa.. Very knowledgeable but he is a scammer.

Is this person in Germany?

Same story for me. Is he in Turkey? Graying hair and beard?

Met a guy on pof. Said he was a civil engineer. Went to Bolivia got robbed needed $$$$. Wanted bitcoin coinbank deposits Itunes Amazon Sephoria . He says hes from Canada. Got an Italian accent. Goes by Paul Jackson. Has a facebook of Paul Grillo Jackson. PLEASE CHECK OUT HIS FB AND LET ME KNOW IF YOU RECOGNIZE

Bitcoin is a form of money there are instant tellers where you can change Canadian money to bitcoin and they will pick it up. There is no way the police can track that I know my mother-in-law I was scammed using the Bitcoin

Same here I can’t add the photos !

Sounds quite familiar with what I’m dealing with. I met this guy who claim to be in the Army in Africa. He told me he loved me after one week. Then told me to chat on hangouts. We chat for two weeks nonstop. Then he said his son jas to go on a field trip and needs 700. I almost fell for this, but thianm God I followed my gut instinct. He said to send money to his aunt, name is Kimberly. When I ask to soeak to “Kim” first beforebI send her money, this guy claim that he cannot disclose family members info. I told him if I cannot talk to Kim, then i wont be sending out money.
Now he is ignoring me bc I wont send him money.
I also have friends in the military and they helped me with questions to ask this guy. I did that, and he was outraged!! Said I disrepected him.
Oh and I dont think he’s too smart bc the pictures he sends me says a diff last name on his army uniform.

I've seen pictures of a guy that friended me on Instagram that claimes to be in the Marines. The pictures in his acct. have a different last name than the name on the uniform.

Could you send me a pic I know this guy Donald Nelson

Could u PLEASE tell me this guy's name. Omg.. Please.

Omg can u tell me this guy name .and what he look like

Oh gosh, This has happen to me also which i loose $18,000,00 , me and this so called guy that act like a woman has been together for 3 years promising me to she is coming to me not until i came online and read more about scammers, because she always tells me not to go on internet but because i love her i obeyed what she told me.. May God keeps us away from them.

Sorry to say but he is bs those are pathical liar i been scamming with bar gold too with a man i fall in luvs in syria but he my race but they are using same technique to scamming good women god see wat they did turn them in if i were u

Rose2018.This guy sounds similar to the guy I'm talking to.Since we can't share pics on here can you discribe the pics he sent .Describe him and the background of the pics?

OMG @Rose2018: Your story just saved me. I've been chatting with a guy who called himself Tyler Badon for several weeks now. His story was almost identical to the one your guy gave you. The only major difference is that I am gay, so it was an ex-boyfriend who cheated on him and treated him so badly. And now he is in Afghanistan and lonely, without family, etc., etc. He first contacted me on Instagram and then moved our discussion to Google Hangouts. I got all the undying love crap. He even sent me a little video of himself working out at the gym. And I had the same experience with questions. He asked me a zillion questions about all sorts of nonsense. But when I asked him for details about his previous life in the states (or even his life in Afghanistan), he would just ignore them and disappear. Tonight, for the first time, he asked me if I could send him an iTunes gift card so that he could download music that reminded him of me for when he was lonely and bored. I had never done that before, and I was searching for advice on how to send a gift card on a chat platform when I stumbled upon your story.After reading it, I went back to the chat session we were having and I told him I needed to send the gift card by postal service. Of course, he would not give me his address. So I blocked him from Google communications services and Instagram. Ouf. I feel like such an idiot. But I am eternally grateful that you shared your story. You kept me from going down what might have been a very costly path. I wish there was some way we could warn others about these schmucks. Or, even better, get law enforcement involved and rounding up all the profiles until they capture the creeps. Anyway, thanks again for sharing your story. I'll try not to be so gullible next time.

Hey i think i might be in a scam donu have the istagran page of that guy?

I've been talking to this Tyler Badon for a few weeks now myself. Everything identical to what you have described. Yesterday is when he asked for an ITunes card which I did not send as it immediately seemed fishy. I'm proud of myself to see the red flags when I saw them but so embarrassed that I fell for everything else.

I met this guy from Instagram named Ryan Frigate..After a week chatting, he told me he loves me..and I fell for it. We communicate daily. He's story, he's only son. He's Father left them and He's Mother raised him alone but later, he's Mother died..He's in a US air force and have a mission in Somalia..We talked daily and he seems so caring. We shared sexy moments..I'm so stupid. But one day when he asked me to buy him a steam card, I said ok. I never heard of it, so I looked up online..and found victims of this scammers asking for steam card..So, I blocked him right away on Instagram and hangouts. After a week, he contacted me using my other email, he found my Facebook which I never gave..but he knew my real name..He tries calling me on hangouts but never answer his call..so, he blackmail me if I don't answer his call his gonna message my friends on Facebook with my video..He has a video of me, it's not naked, just sexy..But I told him, go ahead I don't care, and told him, u wont get anything from me..I have nothing..I told him before that I have nothing..But still he tries to blackmail me..

Anyone have encounter this guy?

@MarkD,
I think I may be talking to the same guy! He followed me on Instagram and asked to chat in Google Hangouts! He hasn’t asked for any money yet, but he laid the same sad story about his ex cheating on him, along with his life in Portugal before coming to the states when his Dad died. He says that he is in the Army and stationed in Afghanstan.

This man keeps asking me every day send email so he can go on leave so be with his kids thinks going too marry him hell no everyday send message too me following me on Instagram said from start don’t give my money away he says just need help get out of army see his kids ask can ask anyone else he says your my queen say his wife died can’t see his kids email I will send where let him see his kids not send email he says don’t care I over it

This man asked me for money o blocked him then my Facebook page got hacked so I went back to hangouts to tell him off, he started out saying oh god honey iwould not do that, then he got mean, and said i know where you stay I got people watching you .i am going to kill you. You got 3 days to buy me a ITunes card or I am going to have you kill.and I am afraid because I don't know if he is telling the truth or a lie, but he is still on my pages

I was scammed out of icer$26K by Andre Chris claiming he was an Oil Rig Engineer! The Foe followed me on Instagram and later sent me a message he immediate asked me to communicate w him over Google Hangouts and then said that his exit papers for the oil rig along w money were in a parcel in Belgiumand he wanted me to be the heir to help him get his parcel - Andre Chris (He also goes by Andre Cristian) declared his love to me told me he wanted to marry him and I said yes! This scam of him forcing me in a nice way to send money via money gram, Western Union & also through my own bank wire transfer went on from Oct 2017- Oct 2018 u til I caught him lying to me by sending me a fake airline AA ticket to my hometown!! People pls flee from these types of scammers

The same thing happened to me the same story oil rig engineer Nelson Andre.Need money for shipment

I’m dealing with Andre Chris Robert right now. He says he is working on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico and his account has been on hold while he is away. His life is a serious of calamities. First it was money for his sick son, then his phone needed updated so I sent iTunes cards, then his son was robbed and needed a new laptop to continue his schooling. I’m out &1400 with this guy. Now he wants me to accept a package with money and precious jewels inside. I have told him many times no he gets angry and calls me names. He has my old address, email and phone number. Now I’m getting messages from a commissioner of police in Ghana wanting my current address to send the package to. Should I block this guy?

Yes!! Block him, and delete him from any of your online accounts. You are what the operation calls "tagged for a fool" in other words, meaning once he's gotten all the money he can get out of you, he will pass your information & details of your personality on to the next scammer; who in turn will prey upon you also under a different fake profile. You were lucky to get out. My advice stay OUT! that police would not demand your new address for any pkg. It's just one of the operation working with him. Run and don't be like Lot's wife in the Bible-- DON'T LOOK BACK

Same guy, calls himself Justice Packer. Oil rig in Dublin. Same package dilivery request. Son in boarding in TX. Parents dead. Wife dead. He got mad at me cause I told him I sent his security problem to me detective nephew & Chgo cop brother. He blocked me on hang outs!

I hope you blocked him because all of it is lies. The Ghana police would tell you it is a scam even and not to send him anything. He is scamming you.

Dont do that. Im pissed off with this guy also from oil rigs. Were in hangouts for 4 months now. Lets talk.

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