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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.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


Your comment sounds way too familiar. This person from Nigeria is also on facebook going by the name Velez Jessica Nicoe. A friend of mine was super invested in this person and believed he would marry her, despite her bad English, massive male friend list and need for money. I investigated and sure enough....several men came to me with nude photos of the girl that was sent to my friend too. She too asked him to open a bank account and asked for money for Nursing. Whom ever personally owns those photos? I seriously feel sorry for her, because it is now rapidly spreading across the internet and facebook, to every man who falls prey to this Nigerian..

Never trust the name of blessing brown on tango and internet thks

I have a Sara Barlow says she's a UNICEF nurse student in Nigeria wanting money and saying she loves me.

I have been through all the scams

Woman, Abby Tomas, said she is in Nigeria with CSF and she needed money for food and then to get home when they were going to send her to Semolina. said she has an Australian passport.
Another woman Jessica Prat had me sign up to sites and then vanished, just a trick to get men to sign up and pay the money. She also had pushed for one site that was needed for her safety. They declined me and took from my account anyways. Most if not all of the women online have been scammers in one way or another. Never honest about what they want.

look what this guys said to me , he don't even say my name ,, he call me as baby or honey nothing like personal name calling each other ,, I met him and in one week he want me to open a bank account ,and want o send me 4000k and want me to wire the money for his company ,, and also its from army and from affrica .. so careful u guys ,,,
here is what he want me to do look what he said to me ,,,
Hi baby, how are you doing? and how was your day?? I already sent the money earlier yesterday, i have been busy i couldn't reply you on time, you know i'm always busy baby, I couldn't get a western union or moneygram office around here but i did send it through Unlimited Cash Money Transfer. I think that is the one they use around here, everything about this South America sucks... so all you need to do now is to go to their website on a computer. enter the payment details and the information will be sent to your email address.

What is his name? I must now, please. Coz I knew a man that used the same text.

What name did he use?

I met someone online he's in the army he said his name is captain chris McKnight. he wants me to use my bank acct so he can have Houston finance co.take money from his acc and put it in mine.he says they need all my bank infoplus my password and security questions and answers

Did you go through with it? What happened? I'm going through the something now and I'm terrified. The money is suppose to be in my account today. I've got myself into a horrible mess and now can't stop it. Help me someone, please

AngelsHalo ~ there is a women on facebook I let omn my friends list, the pixs she has are of a very pretty women, now, in 5 days she wants to married me, saying her granddad with into a lot of gold and died, he wanted her to have a good man, even sent me pixs of him with gold, is going to give her a lot of money to the man she marrieds, this is the catch, she wants me to send her laywer my bank account so, she can put the money in my bank and she can come to American when I sent it to her and get a visa to married me, and married me. she is 33 on her profile and I am 54, what would a women want to married a man she has never met in 5 days? I looked it up and she said' she lives in Ghana, she/him has even called me and when I looked up the 419 scam on Google about her laywers name, he is in there on the scam, I hope you did not sent anymoney to him,they will show you very pretty pixs of them, they talk about how you are the one and I have not known this person but 6 days, she said' she came on FB to find a good man, well, it is a scam, be very carefull to now give out any of your bank anncounts.they talk very good to you and try to pull you in and get your money.very EVIL people.

Do not give him $ he is not in the army! Why would a total stranger ask you for your password! He is a scum sucking sscammer!!

Has anyone herd of a Frank Kennedy....

OMG ! I have here a friends request named Frank Kennedy. I did not confirm yet. Thanks for posting and saving me

Has anyone dealt with a very good looking service man in Homs Syria Needing money for a ticket to get home...he goes by James Boyer...Patrick boyer...James Patrick boyer....he is a real trick!!!

His phone (859)777-0198

I joined Our Time online dating. He asked for my phone # . He fell in love right away. His voice did not match his picture. When I asked for us to meet he said he was going to Turkey to build a building. He sent me a # from there. Then asked for a cell phone & for me to checks to check his bank account. When I said no he became angry & never heard from him. He has a picture on for working people say he attempted UCLA & lives in Hollywood. Help me report him lupedukes

I think I've been scammed by the same person--same story! What was his name?

I think I may be the latest. I didn't send any money thank god. He claims to be from Boston, went over to Turkey to build something. Asked me for money...his name is Chase...anyone else dealing with this guy? Really handsome looking.

what did he look like blonde muscular

i think the person i meeet in facebook is a scammer please help me to find out if is real o lie

I have been talking to this man for three years

I all so have been talking to someone for all most two yrs on Facebook. His name is mike Smith profile Smith Mike suppose to be an engineer is he the same one you talk to?

Hello, My name is Karen. I was asked to accept a friend request on FB. I accepted by mistake and he started mesg me. Since I didn't not know hiim and didn't not respond to his messages for quite a while. Then he tells me he knows a distant friend of mine so I replied with" who are you?" . After a convincing answer I started chatting with him. Started out to be casual chat, gave me his phone number, email address, chatted on the phone and then BOOM! He's telling me he wants a relationship with me. I chatted a bit more to see where this would go until he said he was falling in love with me. Good Grief! We never met. He's in New York, so he says. I'm live in CA. I dropped him and told him you are phony. His calls himself Gary Michael Smith. His email address is coolnewyorkdog . Com, his phone # is (925)xxx xxxx and he even has a post of his company listed on Manta website called G&R Environmental Services Inc. New Rochelle, New York along with his name Gary Smith. Gary, who I do not believe tells the truth and scams women into believing he is truly interested is a fake. There is a voice to Gary, he has a very strong India accent, which I barely understood his English. All I'm saying is his likes are from a few women who live in different countries and he never hits like...humm, red flag. Ladies out there be aware. He knows the right things to say and I'm sure if I would have not been wise he was either looking for money or lives in a love fantasy world. Please be careful ladies. Gary Michael Smith almost fooled me.

which dating sites do the scammers uses..........

Bryan Anderson asking for leave money

MeetMe dating service seems to be over run with scammers. A lot of dead wives and children with the nanny. Marine Biologists and Oil Company (BP and Chevron) personnel.

And since I reported Gary Michael Smith to FB because of his threats to me FB has removed his page and VoIP has blocked his ph number (925-xxx-xxxx) from sending and receiving calls and IM. I'm so glad I did my research and kept his IM mesgs so FB and the phone company could make his scammer life a bit more frustrating.                  was his email address. That's all you need to do is save their IM and report them. Works so easy.

Hi, I just read your post re: Mike Smith. Wow, 2 yrs. is a long time to chat on FB. But, I understand how smooth they can talk. I googled the phone # he gave me and some weird college pops up in a forgien language. Yes, Gary Michael Smith, good looking man, says he is 50 yrs old, has dark hair, looks like a normal white man but when I forced him to talk on the phone I could hardly understand is broken English. He sounded like he was Arabic or from India. I insisted he give me his address so I sent him a 10$ gift card for Starbucks just to see how he would reply. He really couldn't give me a straight answer and kept changing the subject. Most of our communicate was on line so he could pause to come up a believable answer. I finally got sick of his game and blocked him on FB. Phone and email. Oh, the gift card was sent to a city called Killfish, New York. I googled that and found out a woman with this Arbic name lives at that address. I've never been scammed before and I wanted to see/understand how a true scammer opperates. Hope my reply helps you and anyone else that is contacted from a fool.

He is using the name Gary Michael Smith. His page is still up. He is 50yrs old had, dark hair and very good looking almost Middle Eastern looking. shows no friends and he never comments on his posts. His post says he graduated from Pasdena college. He's disgusting and try to encourage me into having phone ---. Omg!

Been speaking for about a month now. An Contractor. Has a contract with the government of Dubia. But, Raymond Smith

Has anyone been approached by a man going by Raymond Smith? Independent Contractor working in Dubia? Also a contract for 5 million dollars that was sent via Viber to me?? Anyone know this name? Please reply. From Denmark, but passport which I have, New Mexico?

Been talking to Raymond Smith for about 3 months performance now claims he is a engineer that he travel to London and that he sent me some jewelry some money and wallets and purses and then when it was supposed to come to me I was to pay $300 in order for me to get it unfortunately I did and then a couple of days later message comes that I have to pay $400 for taxes and then I will get the package to the package never came and I didn't pay the $400 and I told him I'm not paying it because if he sent it he should pay it in the meantime he still coming after me to pay for the money I met him on a dating site called Badoo he stated that he had put some documents in the package when he sent it to me and now he can't get out of England and less I pay the $400 and then he says well I'll send you a hundred and you try to get the rest but that's not what I'm going to do and I believe he is a scammer

I have been talking to Raymond Smith for 2 months. Started asking for money the fifth day. He is a Engineer in Dubia. Has one Daughter. Widowed for 2 years. I've been playing him from the beginning. Will never send money to him. But, I'm making him hope and giving him a lot of stress.

ask for more photo of him and search in the web below. possibility he uses the same photo over and over for all his victims

Sent me pictures of officer said he has a daughter whose mother is dead says his cell phone he gave a way because a person needed help also asked if I could borrow him.1000 because his goods have been detained also false documents

Regarding your post, I have been talking to someone thru Yahoo emails since 1/11/16, he didn't say he's a navy officer but an antiques collector and he is supposedly from Boston but went to Nigeria on business with an 8 yr old daughter, who's mom abandoned when she took off with his friend. Now his goods have been ceased by customs because of some tax clearance certificate he needs and he's out of money and can't access his account. Of course he only trusts me and has me to help him because his parents both died of cancer and he has no siblings. So he is asking for me to trust him with my bank details so he can transfer money and then wants me to send it to him thru Western Union. He also claims he sold his phone so he and his daughter could " feed", and so he calls me from a Nigeria # with a cheap phone that he can't Skype from. His supposed name is Simpson Lincoln, and he is American and Italian but on the phone he has a thick accent which I can't decide if it's Nigerian or Italian. He has sent me thru email some good looking pictures of a white man with a spec on his left eye but yet I asked him to send me a picture of his passport and it was blurry and seemed altered, also the picture looked like the same man but the spec was on his left eye! Hmmm he has romanced me like no other and now I'm so broken hearted because my instincts are telling me I'm being played. Thanks for sharing all these stories. Hope mine helps someone too!

I talked to a guy from Ghana,,, said he was a sound engineer,,, he loved me after 2 month,,, a bit slow,, he is egar that i go to Ghana so i could see for my self he is a real person,,, wich i doubt of course,,,, no plans what so ever to go to Ghana

I actually went to Ghana and met with a black guy and I went there because he had convinced me to marry him. A woman from the U.S. had told me he was a wonderful man and very well educated - but after a little while he asked me for phone (iPhone - over a thousand dollars), then he started needing things, and you know you fall into that trap, he would be sick, or he would needed something for an emergency, he had a brother, but I think these guys actually work in groups.

I am happy I never married him, but I met with him in Ghana and he was a scammer. So beware there are some guys in Ghana that actually meet with you and keep on asking you for money. And it sounds so familiar because actually those are the words he used, asked me to go and see who he was and what kind of a person he was, so that I could see how wonderful he was.

Does he tell you he is going to love you till the end of time? And his love is pure love? These are young guys that convince you, but I think there is also other people involved in this. They actually have places that they say they live in and they show a lot of poverty. They show you how much they suffer, and you of course want to save the world. Be careful, these people don't really even need the money. Their families have house(s), nice cars that they don't show you. But in FaceBook they show a lot of riches. These men are just lazy and they are hustlers.

These Ghana guys who are anxious to meet you, and will even marry you, are only after one thing. Or, maybe two. A permanent payday they never have to work for, and / or a visa to, and future residence in, your country.

I was due to go to Ghana to marry my 'fiance' last May. When I saw how glibly my future husband was proposing to spend my money when I arrived, having already had a small fortune from me to help him keep his business running, I broke the engagement. There's more, but I don't need to write a novel. Lol

Did this guy ever sent you his real picture? I did the same last year - I went to Ghana and there were plan to marry him but we never did get married. Is this a black young guy that plays soccer? What kind of business did he have? Something like special woods business? (which of course doesn't exist) - did a woman from the U.S. talked to you about how good he was and how lucky you were to have this guy? Did he say he was the son of a king (chief in his village)? Did he get a lot of money from you? He got a lot of money from me and he said he would pay it back - till today nothing (of course). Please let me know - it maybe the same guy. Does he have a brother and did he tell you in case something would happen to him his brother was supposed to take care of you and protect you?

Yes, Angel,I had a million and one photos of him, his small son, his family, his friends, all his usual locations, his home, his father's home, funerals he attended, weddings and all sorts of occasions. We also Skyped. He was using his real name, not hiding behind a fake identity. However, although there are many similarities with your story, ie, he wanted me to believe the business I had funded and helped him set up (an electrical goods store) had burned down, he often used stories about what his son needed to get me to send money, he had a very great deal of money out of me, over an 18 month period, some of it borrowed, which is clear I will never see again, (yet, after the 'fire', he was able to build a house from the previous proceeds), he's definitely not the same guy. My guy is in Tamale, he's nearly 40, he's Muslim, his father is a retired driver and, although he does have brothers, one of which I got to know, there was never talk of him protecting me, should anything happen to my darstardly cheeky chappie. Also, his name doesn't begin with an 'E'. Playing the 'marriage game' is becoming more and more common amongst young guys in Ghana. They have everything to gain and little to lose. Their foreign wives, however, have everything to lose and often do, with extremely little to gain.

The guy I went to see in Ghana took me to the house he was supposedly building. He has two girls though - not son, but then again he could have been lying. His house also burnt, his other tribal like name starts with A and his last name sounds like something we have most everyday. He took a lot of money - with sad stories out of me and the funny thing is that when I was there he said he was going to Tamale to find a job. He was young though (plays soccer).

Tell me if his name started with "E" - he probably wanted to marry you and me. Was it in Accra? Did you meet his father and mother? What kind of business he had? I was there in the middle of September. Wouldn't that be something if it was the same guy. Did he have a brother? Was his father a chief of one of the villages?

Both times you said speckwas on left eye

Now using gen james mitsuhashi
On skype beware

James Bongani - was on NZ Dating site, be careful ladies, very charming, calls you sweetly, photo shops his photo, says he works for a dredging company, or construction Company... He's Dodgy.....

I've been dealing with a man for over 4 years with the same writing style as above and says babe, sweets, honey, my wife etc. The name doesn't matter as it changes for every victim. Anyway I've been doing my own research/investigations into the gang as I have kept all emails for IP's, phone numbers, names of money recipients etc. I was dragged through his crap from Nigeria, Malaysia, Dubai, UK, South Africa, America and recently he contacted again and yep demanding more money and believe it into bank accounts in Estonia and the Czech Republic and the account holders behind the business accounts are Nigerian as I checked company records for these countries. Anyway in summary these despicable Nigerian are all over the world working in gangs. I think in most cases the police just give up as there are just too many complaints but I'm surely going to shut down the big guys behind my gang very soon ie PRISON where they belong! Any man asking for money overseas is a scammer especially if you picked him up from a dating site and if they are genuinely stranded with problems in another country well then their Embassy/Consulate office will help. DO NOT SEND MONEY!

What the name he used with u? Do I have a pic ??

That's how they start the conversation. Hello Baby and how was you day. I finally told him I know what you are doing. He has threatened me and my family. He s so stupid he wrote it in an IM. I reported it to FB. Waiting for FB reply. His name is Gary Michael Smith. Lives in New York. Has a business called G&R Environmental Services with his name and phone number the same when he calls me. Ph # 1-925-xxx-xxxx.


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