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

What was his name

His name he told me is EDGAR SMITH JOHNSON, IN THE ARMY A SERGEANT STATIONED IN Afganistan or NIGERIA

If anyone comes across SSGT Mason Wilkinson is a scammer and Stevie Benjamin David scammer.

Hey I had the same thing happen To me claimed to be from Africa ..but was stationed in Alabama then he got deployed...to Africa ..I had him face time me once ..it was same guy..but not sure what his true name is ..I talked to him for a few weeks ..then he asked me for money via gift card..that didn't work out ..we didn't talk for like 2-3 weeks then he hit me up again . This time he told me he was deployed..then I offered to send him a care package and he comes back with this long list of things ...some of them electronics

Please don’t send any man money...EVER! A real man would never ask his woman for money. NO NO NO..

Sounds like Jeffrey Scott. Hes been catfishing for the past week. Wanted me to send him 300. Us to get his forms to come be with me forever. Blah blah hes drop dead gorgeous and very smooth. Hes scamming you in have found lots on wev about the real soldier Google him sister I bet it's the same guy

Please can u send me a pic. I'm trying to warn my aunt who is being scammed by Charles . Same scenario. She is now madly in love.

Hi where did she meet l,the charles and what is the family name?

There is another guy that goes with Steven_Hendry_Lucas claiming to be a sgt but when he sent his fake military Id. In his ID it says Cpt.

My wife is talking to a man calls himself Michael Anderson that claims his an engineer etc. And he's a widower and his wife passed away of cancer.

Samuel, I have been talking to someone too like that. I have put a reverse search on his pictures. Most of them pulled up fake. It is so sad to me that someone, anyone, would mess with someones emotions like that.

I hope I'm not involved with this person! Sounds similiar! Different name though.

Hi Anne. Does your guys name start with a K? I have a friend talking to a similar person shares same storyline..but name is different haven’t seen it on here yet. I’m sure it’s the same person or group scamming innocent people.

He’s a scammer. I talked to him too.

My guy was Dr Mark Williams from London, a medical surgeon working for the UN Peacekeeping Organization in Syria with an 8 year old daughter in a U.S. boarding school in Nebraska. He like some of my tweets then DM'd me casually. Started talking about how he was widowed and both his parents died many years ago. Very believable until I noticed his grammar became poor and very broken English. When I saw this scam I confronted him on Twitter and he became hostile and blocked me. I have since reported him to Twitter. Thanks to all for posting or I might have been scammed.

Hi. I think I have the same story too. Can we exchange pictures of him?

This sounds like a man who is scamming a neighbour of mine right now. He was to arrive here in Canada on Monday, and then all of them were leaving for Ohio in early April. He told my neighbour that he is stuck in Turkey with his daughter and needs money to get out. She started a GoFundMe page about 7 hours ago. I have his picture and would like to share the picture with others to see if this is the same person scamming other women. Thank you.

Would appreciate seeing his picture , sounds like the same guy that's trying to get my acc# or cc#, is stuck in Istanbul with his 5 year old daughter already a few months, has money in his account but can't access it! Lol

jimmy8765surpre on POF
+1 716-217-1827
I pinned a picture from my clipboard but I'm not sure if it. Shows is this him

I got a FB friend request from someone with the pic being that of a man in surgical scrubs with hat. When I googled the picture of him one of the dozens of names it popped up with was Dr Mark Williams. I never accept a FB request anyway, but always check to see if I need to report the scammer.

Familiar story, surgeon no parents died when he was 12. Daughter in boarding school, divorced ex wife died . Goes by the name of George wayne on Instagram, then moves you to Google hangouts .

Good day, I have one name is Frank divorced daughter in boarding school she is now 13, hangouts and said that if I could send $1,600 to the UNITED NATIONS he will be able to come home for a level of two months. and then retire he has 20 years in.

He is still at it under same name, as of 3/21/19
Dr Mark Williams in Syria. He is still with same story, except he has son in boarding school. Wife died. He’s in love with you-right away.
They also send you poems, YouTube love songs, etc
They always want money or personal info
And it runs rampant lately

I was approached by someone (Wellington Bolt) funny, that's actually a name of hardware...claimed to be a widower, grandfather (handsome) of twin (young) girls, real parents gave him up, lived in an orphanage, adoptive parents passed, asked me to send his granddaughters cell phones, candy, etc. I declined. A week or two later, asked me to send $500 worth of steam cards through Wal-Mart. Supposedly he's from Queens, NY, but in Turkey, drilling for oil for Exxon Mobil. Claims to be a senior mechanical engineer. Unbelievable...

Do you have any photos of this guy? I am also talking to someone on-line who contacted me through Instagram, although now we are messaging through hang outs. Also claims to work as an Engineer on an oil rig, currently working in Turkey but originally from Texas.

I have a VERY if not identical situation... Can we exchange info? I'd like to see if I'm getting scammed..... :(

Not sure if you were interested in additional information from me, but he also had wanted me to email with his daughter Sarah Christopher. I would not provide my email, instead I asked for hers. He attempted a couple more times to obtain my email address. I continued to state he could share hers and I would reach out on Hangouts, which I did, knowing I'd be "chatting " with him. Finally I told him we were aware of his "story". He responded with "ok", then disabled his words with friends profile of Wellington Bolt. Hope this helps. Also, I wasn't able to post his picture. Gray hair, sometimes with black rimmed glasses. Also shared pictures from the ship supposedly.

Sounds like my experience is his name Gary Decker??

I have talked to a guy that was an engineer on an oil rig
He is good looking claims to have a son
He kept asking for I tunes cards
He was under the name....Abbott Rowland and lately I found out he has changed his name (same picture).....Louis’s Stone
He messed me up really good
I had lost 8 lb
I don’t know how I functioned
I’m over it now but I will never forget

Tony James or Robert Benderk orJohnny Smith?

Additionally, he claimed to be a man of faith, wanted his "travel agent " to arrange for my passport, (wanted to take me to Paris) claimed to be in love with me in a very short time...he reached out to me on words with friends, then wanted to continue conversations on Hangouts...

Hello....
I have the same exact story. He used the name Dr. Henry Blake and he had a UN postman named Jason also. He was stationed in Afghanistan and wanted to send me a box containing gold bars and his medals, awards etc. Unfortunately, I sent money, Itunes cards etc. Please contact me so we can report this guy. I saved all of the proof

Week of November 1st, 2018. I have been talking to a Instagramer who calls himself Terry Walker. He claimed he was a General, in command in Damascus Syria. Said no relatives. Parents died. Has 2 children in states. I noticed his grammar was terriable to be a General. He said he had been in the service 18 years. But kept telling me that things were getting very bad in Damascus, Syria. One day he text me that people in Damascus were being shot and killed. His camp was very unsafe and very dangerous for him. He said he had been there 6 months, and still had 2 more months till his contract was up. He was afraid for his life. He said he had money in the states, but no way to access it from Syria? He had a Military Lawyer to get him a “Certificate of Leave” but he needed 500$. Would I send him the money and I he would repay me when he got back to the states. I had never seen money designated in the format of 500$. It should have been $500. If he really was from the states. He begged me. He said he needed the money to leave Syria and he was afraid for his life.
I said no, and left the conversation. This was too fishy so, I checked his followers. He was following one lady in this profile. He had 5 profiles with the name Terry Walker, with different numbers at the end of his name, This profile was under TerryWalker88. I texted the lady follower and she replied. I told her who I was and ask her if she knew TerryWalker88. She said she was speaking to him at that moment. I told her he was asking me for $500. She said he was asking her for $5,000. Or something like that. I said “Wholly Crap” he is trying to scam you and me! She told me he told her the exact same story he told me. She had already sent him a Phone Card for a month. Why would a General need this? I did not let him scam me, and I was able to warn her. She said that he told her that she was the only woman he talked to. She did not know about the other profiles he had. He wanted the rent one of her Mobil homes she rented when he got back to the states. I advised her that with his salary as a General he should be living in a mansion and bring her with him if he really loved her as he said he did. He should be taking care of her, not her taking care of him.

I met this guy on a unpopular dating site. We chatted and them I asked him to chat on Hangouts. He sent photos that were not on the dating site. He says both his parents passed away, he has a son who lives with his ex. Only child but has family that he does not speak with. He hasn't asked me for anything I mean nothing. When I asked if he could take a early leave from deployment he said he cannot. He has to stay there until it ends. On is dating profile he says he lives in the USA in Miami, Florida. He has no social media. I asked him after I did a thorough search and even an image reversed. Nothing has come up. He is asking me to wait until he gets back from deployment and then we can meet and spend time with each other. He claims that relocating would not be a problem if he ever found someone that he really wants to be with. He confronted him today and called him out about somethings and he seemed to be hurt. In the end he is fully aware that I am not and will not send him anything let alone money. Should I walk away from the situation or should I continue to talk to him and see what happens?

Also we have never talked about his position in the Army. I never asked. He did give me a general idea of his location and it's not in Africa. He told what he does over there (didn't give me the line that it was a "secret mission")

Hi, ishescammingme2018

my story sounds similar as yours. What’s your guys name?

Please be careful ! They sometimes wait very long until they “ have you where they want you “ in the relationship commitment . They paint beautiful pictures of the future life you will have together and are always “ too good to be true “ . They are So Kind ! So Patient ! So Considerate ! And in many cases ... a man of Faith ! They have an explanation for Everything that triggers any doubt on your part ! They may not ask for money . They may ask for your personal information .. Little by little over an extended period of time . They may ask you to accept a check for them or a package for them or to pick up some money for them and forward it . Tell this man to contact you via phone when his deployment is over and then see him “ face to face “ and see where it goes . If he is legitimate ; he will do it . A scammer or someone working a con will not . Best Wishes and God Bless . Be Safe .

This sounds just like what happened to me. He is in Syria fearing for his life. We had texts for a couple of months prior to asking for money.
He needed to ship parcel out of Syria & had no way to access his money in the states. I finally had to block the call, but shipping company still asking for money to finish the parcel even today.
It all sounded fishy, but he seemed really nice. Parents died, so i was the only one he could trust, to help.
Glad i found this site & others that were experiencing the same scam. I didn't realize how many people are doing this scam.
I plan to report this scam so others are not being victimized, not sure if that's what you women did also.
You try to do a nice thing for people in need, then you find out its just a scam.

Hi. Do you have pictures of this guy? I think that might be the same guy.

This happend to me in Denmark aswell
Been chatting to a man stationed in Jordan. He is now fearing for his life and his only relative in US is very poorly so he wants me to recive a package from him and have it transferred to this relative.
I sad no of course but he is still asking me to assist him.
I refuse.
Can he still send it to me as he got my full name?
Im very worried and stressed at the moment
Be careful out there.

2-3 days ago..yes currently..I received a DM in Instagram from Dr_Philip_Mike. He using Dr. Mike a celebrity doctor's picture. He said he interested with me and want to know me. I already find it fishy but I need to confirm first. Then he start to talk about himself. He's CARDIOLOGIST based in Damascus Syria for peacekeeping mission. Sound familiar right! Thank god I found this site and read your comment. I blocked him straightaway. So be careful girls/women out there!

Wishe I read oll the coments before I luse oll my money to the scammer.
I replay to the woman who have the same my story withe the widew withe he's 2 children yes I wose sow stupid to belive on oll hes storis
I realy belive that the sam person he use name on hengauth mark daniel withe pictures off Erik swanson you can chak that I am really hop this scammer pay for oll he do to oll as woman

He uses Kelvin Smith and Lopez Smith...I found out about him in the military scammers website...after l told him what l found out he block me because I offer to send him what he wanted and more...he wanted me to send money to an address in Turkey under the name of Kevin Smith...Ihad some fun making him believe l was going to send what he wanted...

Hey I'm in conversation with a guy at the moment going under name of Michael smith since December 2018 I'm just wondering is this the same guy I did a face check and nothing turned up he's says he deploy ed near Africa and has no means to use credit cards and claims he needs medical attention and if you like he only want 1200 dollars serious what cloud does he think I fell from and yes he cried his undieing love for me do you think I nite have same person ?

How do you do a face check?

Also beware of a Micheal Gomez. Dark bearded guy. Claims to be originally from Spain, lives in New York, in Turkey working as a civil engineer for his own company has been there for 1.6 yrs. Has photos and video of b him and his family. A couple of photos of him and his blond haired daughter.

Same story as you all. Quickly wants to know your future plans and professes their love to you. Even has you speaking to his Turkish translator. Then requests to help buy him an iPhone.

Sorry.... Next! Haha scam

I am currently being romanced scammed by a Kelvin Smith, a/k/a Kevin Harry who says he is an Engineer in Turkey. I sent him iTunes cards for his work documents. I have lots of pictures -- even baby pictures with his brother and his mother, pictures of his two daughters and him, pictures of him and his brother, pictures of him in rural Turkey working at an oil/gas plant with his NCC* Sweden jackets with his crew. He has tattoos all over his chest and written on the side of his chest is the words, "I will sacrifice for those I love." We have been chatting on Whatsup since Thanksgiving. Now he says he lost his credit card and cannot pay his staff and needs $20,000, the next day it was $10,000 and now it is $5,000. He wants me to sell my car, get a high-interest loan, or ask my friends. He was on Facebook but is no longer saying he mistakenly deleted his pages. He is on Instagram as Harry Kevin. He gave me his address in LA saying we would live there -- the address is for a house that is for sale. I would love to believe this guy but too much is wrong about his story! Anyone else know him?

I was approached by what seems to be maybe the same man. Only he said he was divorced went to do a job in Turkey is an engineer goes by the name of Wesley Walker. I told him I was married I was chatting with him for about 4?weeks when he contacted me said he got paid 1.7 million dollars and need a loan because he had to pay taxes on the money $85,000 . Said he needed $20,000 said he lived in Toms River NJ.
I haven’t heard from him in over a week after I said no he got nasty. He has a Facebook page I don’t think he uses.

Hi this so sounds like the guy my cousin is involved with. Do you have his Facebook name and or picture so I can check this iut and convenience her he us not legitimate?

Does he looks Asian?

Do you have a picture of dr Blake

Do you by chance have a pic of this dude

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