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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

HOW DO WE SHARE PHOTOS? I've been talking to someone similar!

full tribal tattoo on his right arm and sort of half on his left. blue eyes, really good-looking.

What do the tats say are they in his fingers?

Hey I was also talking to a Alex Michael from New Jersey. Your description sounds exactly like him
Do you have a picture or how do I share a picture?

I am currently talking to a Andy Micheal who I met on LinkedIn and he is currently ending his contract in the North Sea. Widowed .. 14 yr old son. I sent some money but refused anymore..

OMG do you have a picture of him
Please share. I think we are all talking to the same guy Alex Michael From Franklin lakes New Jersey

Heyyyy, I got same story here - he mention he are on submit and review in Surabaya, Indonesia - and looking for his Indonesian bride to be marrried with and do retirement after that due to he doesnt want to be far with the family (soon to be). HIS NAME ALEX MICHAEL P - Got friend and his name Adam (scott) mckenzie
Exact story I have with Turkey, money reward from the man he save, his team mate got shoot, and one day he can get release the money from the bank due to tax, and ask me to pay the tax. Confront him right away and blocked me straight away.
Is it possible to check if this man using same photo here, I would like to check it - i'm afraid this man in the photo is innocent and doesnt know that his photo is being used by scammer.

Scammers use different names and even use other people’s pictures. Try using reverse lookup for the pictures they used and you’ll be surprise with the outcome. Don’t fall for their sweet serenade that’s how they’ll get you.

Hi recently, there is this guy whom I talked to. Also told me about his family passed on. Gg for a biz trip in Malaysia as he had bid a contact. He's indeed in Malaysia now, flying from Leeds, from UK. We chat for 2 weeks, very loving guy, 1.75m,quite a Charmer, he sent me his photo, obviously is a Chinese. He has not ask for money yet, but he lost his atm card on the plane. I blocked him ytd night and today he bought a Malaysia sim card to text me back asking why I blocked him. He named himself as Nicholas Chan. Very strong religion and understand Christ very well. Do you have his picture?

I wonder if this is the same guy I’m talking to! I would like to match our stories to see if this is same person.

Moved from Ireland to Chicago at the age of 16 ... girlfriend was a heroine addict ... contract job in Benin building Covid isolation center ....

great looking guy ... over 6 ft ... bald ... dark beard ... late 30s/40 .... tattoo on arm

sent several pictures and a video

Skype video would cut out after a few seconds ... he could hear & see me but magically I couldn't hear him

He did call me several times before he left for Africa ... assuming an Irish accent ????

He never asked for money but I figured out his inconsistencies.

Yep. I was sad.

Would love to share my photos

Hi there ,

The guy Im chatting too I met on Instagram . Albert Earle. His from New Jersey he says. He send picture almost everyday and mostly selfies can see as I am asking him to send me. His in communications also landed nog contract on his way to Turkey to sign..I want to believe his for real. He deleted his instagram acc shortly after he requested we connect via hang outs. Does this sound familiar. He never asked no money yet To trick him I complained about not having enough. He video called once. Tried 2 other times I missed calls. Divorce a daughter Carrie. No fb or Google profile which means his on no social network.

Where did he say he was from? I met a guy on a dating site. We been talking for about over a month. After 2 calls on the 3rd call I had a huge feeling he is a scammer. By the 3rd call he called me " Dear " scammers use that word a lot because they are from other countries. This man says he is from Sweden, he was telling me he loves me. Of course I didn't believe a word he says, because that's what they want for women to believe they are in love with them. I told him, we haven't even met, you don't know me is not love, he says " I can't help what I feel: I have deep feelings for you. I love you baby. Friday he sent me a copy of a contract of a job paying 15,million, now why would he show me that? Then he calls and says he has to go to Cypress, Greece for the job. He told me Friday and has to live Monday. He said the phone may not work well so he will email me. I am trying so hard to catch him and report him. I am waiting for the day he ask me for money or anything else. He was talking about stocks and that he has a guy that helps him with investing. He has send me pictures. Calls me in the morning and at night. I know it's a scam, but I want to lead him on to see how far he goes and have him reported.

What name did he go by?

Were the instagram pics of a good looking man who takes several pics of himself a day, salt and pepper hair with a nicely trimmed beard? Lives in Cadiz, Spain. He goes by the name of van_sur_vw.

Richard Langham who scammed us both at the same time sent us dozens and dozens of pics from that page.

We have turned info over to the FBI, writtten a letter into the attorney representing the FTC, spoken with bankers, called place of business where he claimed his contract was from, and have located him by an IP address. We have texts, emails, voice mail messages, photos, banking info in Turkey, and addresses in Turkey.

Oh my word! That sounds like my guy I met apparently he’s in the Navy. He just turned 41 and his parents died in a major car accident doesn’t really talk about it. He has no family and immediately expressed his feels for me almost instantly. He was deployed to Bahrain and since then we’ve had major problems because I’ve questioned him more about the fact things don’t add up. I’ve been very forward about it. I have so many different pictures of him and a 5sec video. Hhmm... he has an apparent lawyer who handled his finances, he’s invested in real estate, and other things. However, many things don’t add up to show he’s well off.

Do you have pictures? I want to see if this is the man I am talking to

I think we are talking to the Same man. Did he show you his investment accounts?

It is a scam they cancel one Instagram and you never see them on whatsapp

I have a man I’ve been talking to for 3 weeks. We were chatting on Instagram first. This man is the most gorgeous man I’ve ever seen in my life. Says he’s from Turkey but now lives in San Francisco. He told me to get Hangouts so we could text and talk on the phone. When I wanted to video chat he says he can’t because his ex wife is trying to get their daughter away from him and so he has some security system that doesn’t allow him to video chat. What??? It’s his security system, he should be able to video chat. I just let it go and now we spend over half of the day talking and texting. He knows I don't have a lot of money so he sent me the link to a bank called Tab Bank and said he’s going to deposit money in there for me to get pedicures, clothes, whatever I want. He also had me get CashApp so I can have two accounts to use. He hasn’t asked me for a dime. He said he’s going to deposit $5k this week so I have all of the extra money I need. Never has asked for money or has had me transfer money, nothing. Within a few days we were telling each other “I love you” (I actually said it first). Now we’re talking about marriage. He supposedly has an 8 year old daughter. He sends me pictures of them together, some of just her with her new kitten, always sending me pictures of himself. When I was having doubts about everything one day and was texting him about it, he called me back hysterically bawling. He could hardly talk because he was crying so hard saying “I can't lose the love of my life baby” sobbing the whole time. He sent me a picture after we got off of the phone and it was pretty clear he had been crying because his eyes were puffy and his face was red. We have continued talking every single day for nearly half of the day. I received my debit card for Tab Bank and he said he’s putting $5k in there for me and he wants me to buy whatever I need and want. Then he said he would deposit it sometime this week. That’s as far as this has gone but from what I’m reading, we have only known each other for 3 weeks and he’s just giving me $5k?? He said he’s putting his house up for sale and he’s bringing his daughter, two dogs, his bird, and her kitten and he wants us to live wherever I want in my city. He said money isn’t an issue and he wants me to pick our house out and he’s going to buy it. Also find a job here and he said I won't need to work I can stay home and take care of his daughter during summers and take her and pick her up from school and basically have to do nothing but be a wife and mother. This is too good to be true right? I keep waiting for something to come up about me doing something with money for him but it never has. And if he is a scammer , which everything I’ve read on her definitely points to that except he hasn’t asked for anything..... yet. I’m head over heals for this man. I fell for him so quickly and now I don't know what to do. As I said, if he hasn’t asked me to transfer money or do something with the money he puts in the account, do I just keep developing stronger feelings for this man or cut it off now???? I don't have a clue what to do. And like I said, if he’s a romance scammer, he’s very very good at it because so far he’s worked his magic on me. HELP!!!!!!!

Hangouts scams beware!!!
Anthony Edwin works as a petroleum engineer.

He is grooming you emotionally & psychologically as a money mule. They are very very good at it thats why so many people world wide fall for it. Do not accept this money it will be illegally obtained and placed in a fraudulent account for you to access. Once you accept and access this money you can be charged for money laundering. Initially he wont ask for anything to gain your trust. As hard as it is accept that this is a scam and block him now!

Erin777 - my guy did the same thing when I said I couldn't talk to him anymore and wouldn't take his calls or answer his texts/emails, he put a very sad picture of himself on facebook so that I'd feel sorry for him. He even sent me a picture of his passport to prove he was who he said he was. I reverse searched his pictures and they are fake!!! Pics are from an inspirational speaker with lots of social media pictures for the scammer to use. These guys are very good at their game even making fake passports to fool us! Do not believe them or send any money! Glad I didn't. I blocked him but sorry I wasted my time.

Was your scammers name Luca Bellini?

Oh my word! Details you’ve shared sound just like my guy. He told me the same thing that I can pick the house and he’d buy it for us. We’ve been talking two months but he’s never been married and never had any kids. But I have a 9 yr old daughter that he already had considered his daughter. He wants to do his father duties while he has been deployed. But since I kept telling him no about certain financial things it caused many arguments until he eventually let it go. But since he was deployed to Bahrain and I questioned him more about not being real and me needing to see proof of who he is I’m things got intense and I eventually gave him an ultimatum and broke it off with him. I’m heart broken because we planned to get married soon when he got home and build a life. I truly fell for his charm and I’m so torn by it all.

omg this sound like my man but i broke it off last night, i caught him red handed in one of my questions, he got the wrong answer. He said he has no tatts but from his pictures he send me he has got two in both arms. Clearly he had forgotten about it, lol. We've been talking or virtually dating for 2months now, met him in Linkedin, he messaged first since I was updating my credentials. He says his name is Juan Serrano, 42 or 43 he bleeped on that. said that he is from NY staten Island, born to Austrian & Puerto Rican parents, came to US to study and an American Citizen now, divorced for 3 yrs now and with 3 girls ages 13 & 9. I, myself got 2 kids too and he profess his love a week after we've been talking, i told him the love bomb is a powerful word, he said that was how he feels. He is calm, patient, intelligent, with depth/sense in life as shown from our convo, we have spoken to but not video call, he said he busted his front camera which was a red flag to me, so i played along. he send songs, ebooks about self motivational, he speaks about God & bible. he knows what he was saying. It is too good to be true. but there are things that don't really just add up, yet I fell for his charm. He claims he owns a hedge fund company and have a man helping him with the investments via proxy since he is not a citizen of Philippines. He'd wanted me somehow to invest babysteps (didn't tell him i have) he hasn't ask for money like that yet but i felt it is off of him suggesting that I should invest and that he'd help me. when he said. he said he likes to plan long term as what fared by his success in life, thus he plans on settling down with me, buying a house and another one which could be rented out as add income. And that it will be under my name since he is a foreigner. He showed concern on the kids as if he is ready to be play his role as father. He said he can retire anytime he wants. He has an answer to almost question thrown at him. He said he had spoke to his bestfriend, his mom and sister about me. But he got it wrong when I asked his sister's name, he said it was Christy then later on when I recall it again he said it is Liz, whereas Liz is his eldest daughter's name lol. I asked him if he has Google Meet or Zoom in his laptop since he said he is working from home due to the Quarantine restrictions. he said he has no idea what google meet or zoom is and i asked how he speak to his clients on meetings, he said Skype. i didnt push but I know it is red flag. he assured me that i felt off due to the fact we have not met and that he understands. He is sweet and intelligent and the most handsome man I've ever met (as said from his pictures). but then again, he got the wrong answer last night about the tattoo, and when i told him that's it I'm done, he blocked me on whatsapp. btw his IG is jack.stan12 (said his nickname is jack) lol. Yeah I fell for his charm and now I'm torn, i've spoke of him to my friends and family, thought he could be the one I'm praying for lol but I kept myself busy with work today and look forward to move on.

He will ask for money it's just matter of time! Ask to meet in person sounds like a total scam!

What name was your guy going by? Sounds like the one I was talking to since June. Cried on the phone a couple of times to me too. But somehow didn't sound genuine to me. More like manipulation. Also told me he'd give me a 1000 month for pedi and clothes. Tried on Cashapp but didn't go through. Opened a Wells Fargo account and still nothing. But he also pressure me to constantly buy him Itunes and give him money by bitcoin to help him get supplies. Sounds like the same guy totally. And yes fell hard for him as well. He is very good at convincing you are special and the only one in his life. Be careful because it sounds like he is grooming you to use your account to funnel money. I learned the hard way when they closed my account because he,was trying to put money in. He is a scammer. Straight up. Mine was calling himself Richard James.

were telling each other “I love you” (I actually said it first). Now we’re talking about marriage. He supposedly has an 8 year old daughter. He sends me pictures of them together, some of just her with her new kitten, always sending me pictures of himself. When I was having doubts about everything one day and was texting him about it, he called me back hysterically bawling. He could hardly talk because he was crying so hard saying “I can't lose the love of my life baby” sobbing the whole time. He sent me a picture after we got off of the phone and it was pretty clear he had been crying because his eyes were puffy and his face was red. We have continued talking every single day for nearly half of the day. I received my debit card for Tab Bank and he said he’s putting $5k in there for me and he wants me to buy whatever I need and want.it the same

Run!

The same exact thing is happening to my mom!
She hasn't given money but he had her open an account and says he will send her money. He also said he was going to visit her, but still hasn't

What was hos name with you

Scammers used fake pictures emails and fake instagram accounts and use google hangouts to communicate with you and later on they will delete instagram accounts and say sweet words.

I am going through a similar issuer right now. I wanted to ask if anything ever came if the situation? Did you send the minus were the pics ever published?

I am such a fool. I am smart and I know better. I guess I was lonely. This guy named Schounlieni Williams, a "soldier on a peacekeeping mission for th US in Sudan" recently divorced wants to marry me professed all kinds of love and got me for private chats on Hangouts just asked me to purchase an Amazon card for $200 so he can continue to chat because the army is going to cut our chatting off and he is taking great risks. I told him I was going to the walmart today but I knew last night that this was a scam, I am not sending anything, my heart is broken. This scam was very, very elaborate. I cant believe this. I have even spoken to him on Hangouts. Professed to be a christian. I sent him one dirty photo and I am afraid he will blast it. I met him on Facebook via a We Dont Deserve Animals I was following in my feed. I am soooo stupid but now I know I am a professional woman who is lonely. Dont fall for this ladies. It can happen to all of us. It is so easy and they can be so elaborite you eill think it is true.

Don’t worry I’m a smart person as well who knows better and I’ve had someone thevlast month that started to make me believe. It was very elaborate and even though I was skeptical of the random message and the speed at which they seemed to be falling for me I too was so lonely I guess maybe I hoped I was wrong. This wasn’t like other scams, it was weeks before money came up and when I said no they told me not to worry about it and they kept talking to me as if it was fine. This person invested a lot of time into this and is continuing to try and bring up ways to get an iTunes card or wire money to her aunt. I know it’s a scam and I keep asking them for an address to send gifts directly, things I know “she” will never give me because it’s a scam. The thing is I know it’s a scam and I’m not even mad, I’m just sad it’s not real. That’s how lonely it can be at times. I’m not sure if they found me through Facebook. It was a random message through Facebook messenger. That account foes t have a Facebook profile but she’s using the identity and pictures of a real girl on Facebook with an account.

Hi, Keith. Was her name Donna, who's in the service with a sleeve tattoo? Just curious. Story sounds familiar. She's from Louisiana or Missouri. Take your pick. Image search showed she was not who she said she was.

Hi mike. I also met the girl in service w sleeve tattoo.She was stationed at Camp McCain she claimed,then moved home to Pennsylvania.She will never speak on phone or video chat but will invest weeks talking and promising marriage and love. She eventually wants ITunes cards

was she a blonde, was her name jenny, I think my friend is being scammed

I have a “Jenny” who has been working me for two months and finally dropped the “money ask”. Supposedly runs a hair stylist and cosmetics sales company and when I started to pressure for a meeting used some charity giveaway to the poor she was hosting to ask me for money for that and money for a broken phone.

How about a girl named telicia
Helton shes always wanting Google play cards saying she had real estate coming but owes 2000 has to pay it first in Texas and Colorado

I would like to know what they want eBay cards or any other card for. Are they just for games

They use the cards to buy apps online or pay for online games & memberships or they swap them for cash or bitcoin.

Gift cards are untraceable but they can negotiate and get cash for them with their fellow scammers

A he - scam asked me for money. Kind words, l was lonely, nothing new for you. I m asking you for an email address to send you the guy s pic. The scam sent me some pic of a nice guy. Stolen identity/photo. Maybe sounds stupid, but l want to find this guy. So please, help me.

Hi I'm talking to a US marine and he asking for money to get home.I have pictures of him I have found out he change his name. Patrick is his name using at moment. He says he in Syria.

I am talking to a man that says he is in Army, stationed in Sirya. Do you have pics of him, I have 4 different pics, one in civilian clothes. Very nice looking man. I don't want to be scammed.

I have been talking to a General in Syria, have received a number of photos. The photos do not match the talks we have had. I feel sorry for the family of this person as the photos obviously have been stolen. I would like to contact the family.

Hey! I've talked to a general from Dallas, Texas and he calls himself Jason Seigel. Could it be the same person? He is on Instagram

I have also been talking to a "General" in Syria. Said his name was Kim Williams/Lauzon. When I asked him why he used 2 surnames he said it was for privacy as he was a General. Also said he was a fighter pilot. He never asked for money but said he needed me to help him get leave so he could get home to his 2 children. (His boy was Peter but I forget his daughters name). Said they were 8 and 6. Also said he had lost 8 of his men this week and he needed to get out desperately. I talked to a friend who told me the only way they get leave is to apply for it. No-one else is involved. Gave me photos of him with his children at his house "in Texas". Huge house. Even sent photos of him with fellow soldiers. I feel for the real person who has had these photos stolen as he looks ok. Told me his Dad was Chinese and his Mother was Canadian. Why do they do this?

jann are you still talking to him what is the name it maybe someone I talked to

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