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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

This sounds like the one Iam talking to. Handsome , dr from Germany. Asked me to write the un a letter. Has a daughter in boarding school. She emailed me. Called me mom. He has a late wife. Asked me to wire her money.for her bday. I conronted him. He denies it. Now he ignoring me. Can we post pictures on here to compare?

I think i am talking to the same guy..can you send me a pic of him?

I am talking with a James Mark Leo who says he is in Somalia with the armed forces and his 15 year old son is with a nanny. He said his wife died 5 years ago from breast cancer. He also said he is 59 and was born and raised in New York.

Have you got a picture sounds like same guy .... only used name Rex McCall with me - same story, very romantic!

Have you got a picture sounds like same guy .... only used name Rex McCall with me - same story, very romantic!

Sounds very like Mr Rex McCall's who I have been chatting to for a few months. Wife died 5 years ago, breast cancer. Son 14 in boarding school, couple of dogs in 'vet hospital'. Lives in Ohio - but currently on 'big' contract in the Black Sea, at the moment trying to part me with $38500 - to pay for all his money to be sent to me!
Says 5'6" - norwegian, but lives in US since marrying. Met up with him on Words with Friends (rapidly becoming a hunting ground for scammers!). Nice normal looking guy, but real sweet talker - future wife/mother to son/love of life - get the picture? Some very strange photo's sent that I could see had been photoshopped as they were of Norwegian cruise liner.................!
Shame really that you know its not for real - why can't normal guys be a bit more like the scammers.......................!!

Dd, I've been talking to someone by the name of James. For 13 months. He is very handsome and asked me to marry him. Is very sweet and says he will be here MD in December. I have pictures.

Could you please share your pictures of this James person.

Yes that sounds familiar. Each story has some similarities to mine. Hangouts. We originally met on pof and requested that I move 2 that website so he could chat with me throughout the day as he was a marine in iraq and did patrols in am and pm. His go by name was danny stalker. Not traceable. His pic was of an actual marine with an impressive history and a decent man who was also quite good looking. I hear similar things in other people's stories to mine. 2-3 months constant texting. Ive got alot of memories. I hear this mans line of bull in almost every story. Im about 5 or 6 pages in

Dd, I responded to your request several weeks ago, telling you that I have a picture of this guy. .let's exchange .pictures. I have been talking to.him for over a year. I would also love to talk to you and inform you of some things of interest
Do not believe anything he tells you as he has broke my heart. And is doing the same to other woman. Thank you. Please reply on here so we can determine how to exchange pictures. Ty

I would love to see some pics. Same stories.

Yes, I have a guy similar. Have photos too.

I swear im talking to same guy how can i send you a pic

Most likely. We have been involved in a trap where we are caught in unbelievable lies otherwise
The promise of love is costly, I’d say hangouts is a bad app and used to con people.
Truth: don’t believe anyone loves you until you meet the person. By sight on photo alone or voice chat it’s just not possible.
Wonder if one can revert the game and we ask them for the money we don’t have ! lol

Did you pay 500usd?

All these stories have a similar thread. My con man also did the love bombing, 1 million dollar in contract and couldn't come to me even after I paid 2100 for the airfare bc his workers needed 2 be paid first. Similar line was bags r all packed

I wonder if he is related to my scammer Mason....they could be twins!!!

Carly, I think my friend may have been scammed by a man named Mason Steiner. He represents to be an Australian engineer living in the US. Is this the same guy you’re talking about?

I wasn't scammed but I did have an experience with a Mason Steiner. Very nice, Australian, living in the U.S. for work as an engineer then has a project in Cyprus. No money involved but was invited to Cyprus not picked up at the airport, and can't get through on his phone number. I'll have a nice week in Cyprus but be careful ladies - not sure why people do this but apparently it happens.

I heard from a guy working as an engineer in Cyprus too. Lol did he wear glasses...blue eyes..into mountain climbing?

hey I have somebody talking to he name or last name is Mason can be the same one, he said, he is an engineer and he is in the black sea right now, he has houses in Texas and bla bla bla do you have a lic of him almost sure is the same one

RUN - if it's the same guy he's slick...he's a predator and it won't amount to any good. Don't let him get under your skin or in your head...he has no moral compass!!

100% Scammer! Mason Steiner - SCAMMER!!! BEWARE!!! Called me his wife, we even video chatted. He claims to have a daughter, that he was an Australian Engineer in renewable energy, claims to live in the states but was willing to move to me in Canada. My friends went to his website and said it was all oil and gas projects stolen from other companies, they warned me and warned me but I thought I was in love. He always had an excuse, and I believed him. He never asked me for money directly, but implied he needed it for a big contract he won overseas. Stupid me sent him money, I am too embarrassed to say how much.

masonstein ercorporation. FAKE BUSINESS! FAKE ENGINEER! I was supposed to go see him a few times, but he always had last minute 'business deals' come up. Actually bought tickets to fly out to him, but he suddenly disappeared. Something felt off and I didn't go. A couple weeks later I get a text of him in a fake hospital bed.

I wish we could post pictures. He is taller, in his early 60's, thin white hair, blue eyes, Australian accent; please please please, listen to your family and friends. STAY AWAY! Never, ever send money to someone, and please look out for red flags!

I’m speaking to a man named Boyce. He has a friend named James Paddle. I think they may be the same person. Says he has a son named Houle in a private military school in California. Very handsome man with muscles like crazy. He gets mad anytime I ask for a video chat. He says he listed me as his beneficiary. Calls me honey, sweetness, my adorable..... anybody else speaking to him

Mason jackson?

Hi I had spoken to a guy that claims to be manson has a very strange accent pretends to have be born in nz but working as a submarine engineer on an undercover misson lives in Wellington has a son Kyle , had a daughter die in car accident , wife was a nurse and died three years ago , found his bilogical father in australia just before his death , currently on undercover misson Cape Verde

Hi I had mason same story , son Kyle, wife died on private mission send photos on plane to mission , he’s rung couple time , he’s got a weird accent , a scam wonted money , said lives in Wellington I have photos he sent , wonted money .

Hi Carly, is he by the name Mason jackson on instagram? Has sent picures of him with his 2 sons.

what was his story? did he follow up for a period of time and then disappear. All the while presenting as honest, believable and kind? did he ask you to visit him?

what did he tell you he does for a living and what's his life story, his age etc. Did he regularly speak with you throughout the day, skype etc?

One and the same. Goes by different names. Not him in the picture. Block him. Do not send him money or let his sweet talk suck you in. It took me a year to find out the truth. Had me looking for houses in florida. Going to marry me and pay me back. Paybacks are hell. Be careful.

This guy on IG contacted me about seven weeks ago. His profile shows he is a US Marine and he is in Kansas. He is 34. He calls me queen, dear, baby. He has a 3 year old son he sent me a picture of. His mother has cancer and is in a nursing home. He keeps asking for STEAM cards to upload a map from his account as he needs data. He showed me his bank account and wants to transfer money to my bank. He wants more cards. He is super sweet and seems to genuinely ask the right questions and keeps up with details but I feel like something is off.

Mine goes by the name Edward Richard and says the same thing wife died ...babe , honey and I believe it until he asked to send 500 for a fed x package ..These men are terrible to do what they do .

Wow these scammers all have the same story.And I am just surprised how they make fake bank account details.The one I was talking to have me his bank details and there was 5 million USD in his account and after a while he told me it was hacked bla bla bla.I just wish I had done my research earlier and read about your stories cause now it's too late unfortunately,I made the mistake of sending thousands of dollars to him.Never again!!!

Today i blocked joshua dylan, he said he is a civil engineer then got a project in thailand.2 nights ago he asked me to access his account & i saw 4million dollars & i made a transfer to korea because he said he will buy an equipment. Last night he asked me & there was a problem. Now, he aaked me to send for him usd 2000. Thanks God, i fight with my emotion. I blocked him in skype

Hey I was just reading about all the scammers and came across yours, my guy sounds Hispanic but says hes german and Hispanic. I know I'm being played but he hasnt gotten anything from me although he did try to get me to open a back account...nope not falling for that a bit...wonder if it's the same guy?

How can I sent u a picture to Check if is the same guy that I have been chatting for 6 months. The similarities are Hispanic-German and soldier. But has not asked for money yet.

My guy too but says he is Russian but sounds like a lack and he sent me his photo. How can we share to see if he is one

mine says he is russian 2 big guy handsome about 50 works as a engineer

Same thing happen to me... he went by the name George Philip... he is on instagram...have pics is it the same guy... would want to find out ...can you guys send pics so I can verify...

I spoke to him for 9 months, he has various names, George k, James George k, George Krantz, James K. He is definitely a scammer, I never gave him a dime. Thank God

Did he go by the name James Kurt at all ?

Hi i hsve been chatting with this guy ..uses this name George Philips..has 15 yr old son..i have pics..please text me back so we can verify pics

Sounds like same guy i have been talking to.i have pics also please reply back..

Just spoke with my MIL and she believes she is speaking to an ortho surgeon working on a contract and will be home in Dec. she said he has a 14 year old son with a nanny in LA (whom she has emailed with several times) she hasn’t admitted to giving him anything but says he has lots of money and plans to buy a house (he wanted to transfer the money to her to purchase) she hasn’t given me a lot of info but said she can not tell me his name because he isn’t supposed to tell her anything. He has sent pics of himself in scrubs and pics of himself in OR. I didn’t want to make her feel crazy because she believes him and I don’t want to break her heart, she swore to never date anyone ever again! So sad! She says she has not given him a dime and he would never ask (according to her) but this story sounds way to similar and I know she is being scammed!

Hi, I have been talking to this guy who seems so genuine, I'm one of the ones the scammers hate. Why? Because I'm so difficult, I ask questions, and question everything! I make life difficult for them, and not a " easy" Target to get money from. Yeah they try, but until now haven't succeeded. At the current moment, the guy I'm talking to is in Italy on a job. From the US he says but Korean mix with a 11 yr old son. He knows exactly what to say at the exact right time. If he is a scam, they done broke out their big dog for me, cause the guy has me gone for him bad.. first he said he had credits go no more on his phone. He has a VNIP number it's free call & text anywhere, so he switch to email. Then he switch to hang outs because he fears loosing me. Idk it's just feel right one moment and next I question is it real or scam.

Omg!! I’m the same way. My scammer is really good. I’m having a hard time breaking him. He send pics and calls. Wants to meet but I’m expecting him to cancel when I do agree. He doesn’t call me baby or queen but call me sweetheart sometimes. I can’t find his photo. He’s really attractive. Why I think he’s a scammer. Because his wife died of cancer he has a daughter that lives with his mother in NY. He sounds convincing! I can’t catch him in a lie. He did finally ask me to send him a gift card... I gave him he run around. He still hanging on. I guess he’s working on plan B. Very good looking brother but has an African ascent. Says was born there came to states when he was 12.

George Philips..15 yr old son..wife died car accident ..son in boarding school..needs money to fix computer ..retiring soon..wants i tunes money..scammer!!..have many pics ..but its Dr Jones ..in real life! Run!!

Do you perhaps have a name and description, sound familiar.

same thing happen to me n he told me he is an orpharage and worked in offshore. anyone encounter the same ?

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