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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

Someone with a celebrity pic approached me on FB messenger, 1st asked me for donation for sick child, wanted me to buy him Itune cards, he paid off my debt, but wanted me to get him credit card in return, then threatened me to send phones of Malaysia, professed love for me, really had me on emotional roller coster for alost 6 weeks, when he couldn't manipulate me to buy him Itune cards, he simply ignored me and called me gold digger, and wanted hos money back. BEWARE!!

I believe that I am dealing with the same guy. He has only asked for me to buy his daughter a dress for her birthday. To show her that I would definitely be a perfect mother. He wanted me to be her mother. Which she is in boarding school in California. I have pictures. Anyone care to help me out.

Like to use Hangouts. I believe he is using certain banks at Gmail.com he was using James Thompson 1770 @ gmail.com I have all the photos birthdate I have science so much information on these people at symbol in both his suppose it real name is Thomas Banks Clark well I pulled that name up and found a gravestone from Well the child that died in 1940 and he told me that he thinks it was his uncle and he doesn’t understand how come but it was also in New Mexico but his wife died in Texas from speeding

I believe this man is trying to scam me. Can we exchange pics of him?

Patrick b juliene or Patrick blandz

Wow this all sounds too familiar. Talked to a guy from Facebook stating that he a general in the armed forces. Said he is in Syria. Has a daughter in boarding school in New york. Sent me pictures and everything. Told me a story about his late wife getting killed in an accident four years ago. His supposedly daughter emailed says she needs $500 to go on a trip to Africa. Her dad can't get to funds because he is in Syria. Wow Says he was an orphan in the UK because his parents died, said he was raised by a priest.

I think I know this guy too says he is an orthopedic surgeon working for military doctor so how do you get to find out who they really are pqp

This man write me. What is picture him?

How can i see the pictures of jeff anderson work in militarr us orthopedic doctor now im talking the same details.

My mom met the same guy now going by Anderson haggard in the military. With daughter Sarah haggard. Looking for money for iTunes card. That didn't work now using daughter per say to get money

Contacted by a Andrew Haggard on Facebook, in Army working for UN in Damascus doing communications, widowed 6 years as wife died with "blood cancer"...has 15 yr old daughter Sarah in boarding school in Miami, then NY, originally claimed to be from Anderson SC...ready to retire from Army...claimed to be officer, then SFC...waiting on 3 week vacation to be approved, wants to do Stock Exchange, then property management where I live...claims to have been born in 1960...also then received multiple friend requests from Drew Haggard, Andy Hoggard, Haggard, Andrews Haggard, Anderson Haggart, one with 3 friends listed from the Congo, all with photos of same guy and his supposed daughter living with nanny in NY, has wedding ring on and Haggard on uniform shots...I have blocked all Andrew Haggard profiles on Facebook including the fake, empty ones as well as any profiles having his photo or the daughter photo...still get hit on Messenger from "blocked" persons but with new profile...Only talked a few weeks with him....BEWARE...he was working up to asking for money: "we can't use cash here in Syria because of bribes, don't think that the Army will provide transport back to the States, if I can get a group together to get plane tickets to where you live, but we will have to pay, I will have to pay for my daughter to fly to your place, I don't have any friends, I don't have any family"...all while I am saying that I don't know him and he doesn't know me!! BEWARE

I had same guy saying widowed in car accident and had daughter in boarding school in NY. She is Sandy 15.got this thru messenger Facebook. I said I’m married.

Omg....same guy who clamed to be jacob Adams a father of14 yrar old daughter. Wife died in cancer. Daughter in bording school and need ituen cards for some bs subscription and $7000 for his bs project. I have his pics but his englisg acent don't match his personality. Once he called and dogs wore barking in the back ground.

Think I have the same man in my messages can we exchange pics

Hi , seems that we have met the same guy. Did he send you his photos with his son? And do you have the photos of him?

Yes how can we exchange the pic.

I have fallen victim of the same scam. Can we talk

Talking to guy in Syria. Says a Dr with un. Son in boarding school. Needs money for tickets home. Fake name is Christian or Mark or Ray boi

This guy named Jordan walker Robinson messaged me on messenger at first he didn't start off talking about money now he's telling me that he needs 500 dollars to take leave he said his commander want let him leave without paying he was trying to get me to get a loan I told him that I don't have a job and they were getting ready to turn my gas off but he never said anything about that, he told me that his money is in the United States.

Hi I think we might have the same guy. Bc I have a picture with a guy and his son. He said his wife died 3 years ago. He has a 6 year old son. He's a contractor engineer.

Really? WOW Good to know that? Did he tell you what his name was and his son?

What is your name? If you don't mind me asking?

Is there a way you can send me a picture of him?

omg this is the very same person but i had 2 of them doing it says his name is General James Williams of the US Army did he take the profile down soon after and get you to. and the other 1 is addy roberts. please if you have a photo would love to see if its the same person i have done a video call with james

Hi Lisa,
I also met James Williams,
Please help me, how to contact with you?
I cannot upload picture here

this james Williams try to do to he was try to blackmail because he said if I did not give him 500.oo he would put these picture of me with none thing on facebook he want me to send him 500.00 to son in Nigeria because he son lost his atm card he is from Nigeria because I had friend to cheek him out and I told to go jump in the lake

I met a guy. He add me in Facebook. His last name that he told me is the same name written on the guy in the US Army Uniform. His story is almost the same like other ladies told here. He is widowed for almost 4 years and has daughter studying in London. His wife and parents died in the crush..We only chat for 2 days only. Pls. give some advise.

Good evening Lisa, could take look at page 54 under GB 1030 March 22, 2018. The is a discreption of male Claiming to be a General in the US Army.

OMG - I think I am being scammed by General James Williams who claims to be an American Naval eye surgeon in Afghanistan. He found me on Instagram and has sent several photos of him and his kids -Kelvin & Sarah. However there is a second Instagram account under a different name with very similar photos! This Jame Williams has just called me and does not sound anywhere near American, possibly Nigerian or similar! I feel like such an idiot, I thought I was smarter than this!!! I'm more cross at myself for being fooled into thinking someone was actually out there for me!!! I don't know how to share photos but if anyone has any of their scammer or can tell me how to share my own I will do so. I will also find the link for reporting him...

Sounds like the scammer I just turned into Face Book as fake profile.

Just turn them into Facebook.
On their profile near the message freind bar there's a circle with 3 verticle dots click it it will say Report. Report thier profile there.
This is easy to do and we all need to report these profiles.

Warning !!!! AKEXANDER GEORGE WILLIAMS. OR GEORGE WILLIAMS. OR ALEXANDER WILLIAMS GEORGE. HOUSTON TEXAS CLAIMS HE'S IN CONSTRUCTION. FB PROFILE SAYS ENGINERE IN OIL/GAS. CLAIMS TO HAVE DAUGHTER BECKY OR VICKY IN BOARDING SCHOOL. WIFE DIED 3 YEARS AGO IN CAR CRASH. HAS NO PARENTS. IMMIGRATED FROM SPAIN AS A YOUNG BOY WITH UNCLE AND 2 YOUNGER SISTER. OWNS LARGE HOME IN HOUSTON TEXAS. WORKS ALL OVER USA ALLEGEDLY. Will ask for iTunes cards and get you to get a new credit card. Possibly even Walmart master card. He always has an excuse that he needs money. Will get fake daughter to ask for money as well. Has a very handsome 40 something year old man as pictures. Mostly pics of him drinking wine. Bright Blue eyes. Well groomed and clean cut. HE'S FAKE. HE'S A CON. HE will claim to want to marry you. He will say God has brought us together and call you his wife. As well he will confess he's only ever loved you. HE'S FAKE. HE'S VERY GOOD AT SWOONING MUCH OLDER WOMEN. SENIOR WOMEN BE VERY AWARE. DOESN'T CARE IF YOUR MARRIED HR WILL TRY TO CONVINCE YOU TO FILE FOR DIVORCE. HE WON'T TALK ON CAM. BC HE'S FAKE. A LIAR. A CREEP.

PLEASE EVERYONE REPORT THE PROFILES. EVERY ONLINE SOCIAL MEDIA HAS A WAY TO REPORT.

REPORT AND SHARE THE NAME ON THE PROFILE !!! THE PICTURES ARE OF VICTIMS AS WELL. DO NOT PUBLICLY SHARE PICTURES. SHARE PICTURES PRIVATELY.

Taking hrs n hrs out of my career as beatiful 43yr women w no kids This man I met 5 months ago on hangouts totally scammed me I have to money to fly to meet him n I sent 800 n then another 750 a month ago n now won't pick up phone. Looking at FB for hrs n days I believe 2 names could be him. Issah Laresse or Issah Dino don't know if pictures match up but these are the names I sent money too. Please beware of these people. They can't go make something like a career or open a store or do something with themself. Beware please Thanks
Sandy from TX

A George williams has contacted me through words with friends yes from Houston texas widowed parents killed in a car crash amn oil rig engineer a son 11 in boarding school probably same one asked for money but I never sent very handsome smartly dressed all photos in a restaurant too

look like I am victim :(

I think this man has been speaking with me for some months. Are you willing to share his picture?

Same here. Is the same guy. He's supposed to be british, 61 years old and has a 6 year old son who is sick in a country in Africa, during school trip. The boy attends boarding school also in UK. Uses the name Jack Williams on FB and Jack Norman on TWI. On the pictures which are not really his, as all we know....He has grey/blueish eyes, grey/black hair, dark beard on the middle and grey on the sides. He is very cute. His wife as for what he said died giving birth to her son. ),beber believed that. He's an oil engineer working at sea, near UK. Started very fast professing his love and bla bla bla. I cut him weeks ago and all in peace, but stated to chat again and then it was when told me the fairy tale about his son sick at a place where the phone doesn't work. I called,I could talk to the ambulance paramedic and got a new number of the hospital, to confirm there's no boy of those characteristics admitted there. He said he had been asked to send them money to cover his son's treatment. But there was I don't know what issue with his account....but he's supposed to be super wealthy. The fake doctor emphasized that the most important was the oxygen for the boy....was about to finish and needed $700 through money gram, to get the replacement asap. But everything looked so odd to me, that I didn't move until I made some calls and check ups online. Thank God I did not write any money. Careful, ladies.

My wife's Aunty is currently being scammed by a Jack Norman also. She will not listen to reason. Just wondering if by any chance you had pictures of him?? Maybe then we can lay it all out to her.

did he use the name Donald? Did he ask for money or cards? just curious because I am sure he is the one I am talking to now.....seems genuine but very wary after being scammed before. Any info would be appreciated.

Donald Arsenault?

Sounds like the same guy. Says he's a doctor and has a son in New York. He's in Juba Sudan. He tells me he loves me and I'm his wife. Really!! His son is in boarding school. He hasn't asked for more money yet.if he's really a doctor he wouldn't Patients....patience!!! Do you have any pictures of him. Im still playing him. I've already caught home using a picture from another guys account. If you have a picture please send it.

I've been talking to a Robert Henry he say he's a doctor. And as a son named kelvin best. I do have pictures

I have been talking to him for over 9 months yes he tells us love me and will help me with my divorce. I have given his 40.00

Rim talking to a chrisxwilliams. Gorgeous pictures even baby pics look exactly like him. Son took a trip to uk. Had a horrible accident needs funds
Says he’s a dr for UN. This is in indtagram

Sounds like the Dr I was chatting with also, stationed in Syria. Had a daughter in boarding school. He is definitely a scammer, he never got anything from me, I played along to see ow far he would go. I’d like to exchange photos. Posted 6 photos of a handsome whiteman, name doc Williams, says he German and is an Orthopedic surgeon on contract. How do I contact you to exchange photos?

Sounds like the guy I have been talking to. He says he is in Iraq, and he has no way to his money. Son is In Africa and his Credit Card Is not working.. Even though I told him my profession, he still was not getting it. By the way this one goes by the name 'ANTHONY BRANDON"

This sounds like the man I am talking to. He is an geological engineer. I am a geologist, he won't "talk shop" he says it's classified, he's on a military base in Turkey and can't send me photos. I was able to get 5 photos from him. Including a photo of a passport. One of the photos is from the top of a dam near Incirlic AFB. The reasons he is asking for money is due to an work accident and needs to replace equipment. The terminology he is using is incorrect. His name he says is Michael Anthony and lost a wife and son in a car accident 10 years ago. He says he went to highschool in a boarding school. He claims to have spend most of his life in Italy but his accent is not Italian. He says his mother is Hispanic but he can't speak or read Spanish. ( I know because I am Spanish) Not sure what to do about this. I am not wanting to date anyone now. My previous long term relationship was physically abusive and now this? It's hard to believe there are good men out there anymore.

Hi , can you give me some more details , I was contacted by someone as well , with sort of the same story about his workers being injured.

Yes this has happened to me twice. But i was clever and caught them out. The first time was one Facebook. He told me the same storythat his wife died and he is a soldier in Afghanistan and he has a box full of moneyto which the key is at his home address in the uk and that he needs to send it to me so that i can look after it. Then he said he wants some money from me so that he can ship this box over to me. The second one guy was a Nigerian telling me his wife died and he has 2 boys in Canada but he his working in Ghana and he needs to send his money to me until he reaches the uk. What a prat !!!

Hi i was recently chatting with a man who claimed to be a widowed and all his family died so got only 2 kids as his family. He is an engineer as he said based in Australia but an American and then travelling for a project in Malaysia. He looks very good and sents photos too of him and his kids and parents event had his linkedIn profile and Instagram and a roaming US number. But i never had a chance to see him on video or really except his voice twice. His voice and accent doest sound him on the photo but all he talks on chat arr very sweet and like all real. Recently i had doubted as he claims to be in a bad situation unable to use his card and needs to pay some bills and asked for help. He sent his full name and address where he is staying but then again after a week asking again for help and for a much bigger amount. I am confused and do not know what to feel or think. Have you ever came accrossed to similar man. I met him in tagged.

Hi i think i have same guy as you. He added me on instagram. He used photos with his 3 kids, widowed, asked me immediately to use hangouts says he will be deployed to Yemen. Says his christian too. Then he said his laptop is not working and need to be replaced so He asked me to send money to someone he knows in Us and he will buy the laptop and will send to yemen with their carrier. He seemed like a nice guy really, half italian and american. After his father died he moved to US with his mom and she passed away too. He gave me his roaming number but he sounded like Nigerian or so

Sounds like the one scamming me right now. He's a doctor in Yemen, we talked hours, Hangout, I let him see me on video chat but he can't let me see him for security reasons. Yea, right. His wife died in childbirth, has two kids in US in boarding school. All charm and love, and yes, I fell for his loving ways. Calls me Juliet and he's Romeo, he's wealthy with house in SanFransico. Bought him iTunes, mailed him the pictures of the UPCs. Wired him $1250 Western Union for his son's soccer tournament registration. Every time he slips up, he has an excuse. And everything he claims has some truth. Now he finally got paid, he's buying medical equipment for the UN and hadn't been paid for a long time but soon as he gets paid he's coming to me and, well, you get the picture. I've heard these guys try and blackmail us for money, I bet he has some pretty hot phone calls taped that I sure don't want anyone to hear! His name is Steve Arthur. He found me on Facebook and the only reason I accepted his friendship is because there was a man in my high school class with the same name. I fell in love, and have to admit, after reading so many similar stories that he is a fake. You're the first one I've seen use Yemen, that's why I'm replying to you. He sent pictures, very nice looking, but probably not him. I find people with his same email, and also with his phone number, but that was all fake anyway. Good luck to you, we have to stay strong against these awful good for nothing money sucking creatures!

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