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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 same guy as just asked me for £6000 because he got robbed in Malaysia and needed to pay for his documents to collect his artifacts for his clients

We have the same story. His name is Michael Sanders a pilot from UK, then was robbed in Malaysia and need $4000 to collect the documents needed for his clients. He is so god fearing. This scammers are intelligent individuals. Be very careful guys.

I've been talking to a Michael sander says he in the us army and he in Lagos Nigeria on a peace keeping mission can we exchange photos

Nicholas Chateau told me the same story except he was in Malaysia and he had been robbed and needed £6000 to get his documents to get his antiques cleared

Same here under the name of Nicholas Chateau, Says he is from Perouges near Lyon. Is 55, just traveled to Manchester on his 'big deal'. Got robbed at an ATM when his card was replicated. Lost $45,000 needed to release his consignment of antiques arriving from Europe. Eventually asked for money, has shown me a passport, but not other paperwork of his arrival in Manchester as requested , or any consignment note details.
He has 'love bombed' me very early in our online talks. He tried to move out conversation to Hang Outs, but a geek friend advised me not to, as location tracker is on it.
We have not met in person yet this fellow thinks he can ask for funds!
Oh the money is to go to his Australian agents account!, "it is not going 'off shore' so it's safe'.
I'm treating him like an 'alien making him prove he is who he says he is!' "You can block me if you don't believe me", he says.
I have said I will not give him funds and he needs to find a "new supply chain, because I'm not it'
I expect I'll get blocked now.. so am hoping that happens tonight as he has become very persistent & almost bullying after talking to me for around two months.
He says I'm just toying with him! And he is frustrated to the brim..
this fellow speaks French, Italian and English very well. And cries on the Instagram voice message often, and gets angry too.
He sounds African to me, not French and that is what alerted me from week one. I was trying to make sense of that. Also he did not realise the fleur-de-les was part of the earliest French flags, tell me does a true Frenchman not know that?

I would like to remove my comment please. How do I do this?

You may send a message about your request to BlogInfo@FTC.gov.

Steve Spalleti Rodriguez took me for $170,000. Claimed oil rig and needed crane repair.
Justin Michael appeared after I blocked Steve. Same voice!
Same stories as Steve. Only child, parents dead etc etc etc.

Hmmm sounds very familiar also..artifacts that range a bell.. would love to see a picture of this guy sounds just like me he one I’ve friended

Well do yourself a favour and delete him I’ve been talking to him for 3 months before he asked for money he’s very convincing.
He said his card had been cloned at the atm and they had wiped him out.

Anyone ever heard of the name Micheal Shaw?????????

Yes! And, I would really like to talk to you about this! He stole money from me in the state of Massachusetts. You can reach me at crypticlee at juno dot com. Thank you for posting this!!!

i was online with this woman for more than a year i never would belive it was a scam but i keep say ing its a scam and she would get upset and denying it it supose to be some gold bars involved only find out in end that it was a perfect scam im shame to tell anyone i only want to post her picture so she dont scam anyone else

I have quite a bit of information on my scammer my heart is sad for all you ladies. I showed my sister after a few weeks I don't even know how to start out reporting this because it's a sick cycle of how many names they use as and change. My scammer said everything all of yours did being engineer faith in God will come find me I found this web page today do God gave me a sign to find this. I used my brains right for once

Do you have a picture ? This guy told me he’s a military engineer deployed to West Africa

Im curious about the pictures. I have been talking with someone that was in Tx but then got deployed to Mali, Africa. First it was an explosion he was hurt bad then all of sudden food was poisoned and it was gone take take time for the military to get them food. He needed money for food. He quickly said he fell i love and wants to marry me. I know this is insane

Talking with someone named Daniel Austin Tx. Deployed to Africa in April phone stolen then could not eat the foods made him sick then tried needs $ so we can chat army wont supply wi fi anymore. Yet he calls me once a week at least on a secure line. Doesn't ask for stuff but hints at it. Idk. What to see pics of these men. This go is so sweet Intelligent charming ... too good to be true

Sounds like the guy I was talking to..any pictures?

This sounds like the same guy my mother has been talking to since last year. He told her his name is Robert Casselman. BUT his Instagram handle is whiterob649. And his name on Instagram is Rob White. He is in his late 50's from Texas, his wife died and he has a 8 year old daughter named Amy that stays with the live in nanny because he is in the Army and when she first started talking to him he was stationed in Syria but getting ready to retire and he was would be here in August of 2019 to whisk her away and marry her. Then he some he couldn't come back to the state even tho he was due to retire his command made him go to Nigeria and he wouldn't be able to leave until December. Well the December date came and 2 days before dhe was supposed to meet him at the airport somehow she.got word that he had been involved in a firefight and was injured. I once again tried to tell her she was being scammed and once again she told me she didn't think so. She just wasn't sure what was going on. But she swore she hadn't sent him any money. But also has told me numerous times that my sister and I just don't want to see her happy and that we need to stay out of her business and she refuses to tell us anything anymore. Well I did a reverse image search on Google and found the same pic on 2 different Russian sites that I had to translate to English. His name in both sites was Mark White.
Sadly my mother thinks this guy is foreal. I also was told by a friend of her that she HAS in fact sent him money. Once through bitcoin. And just a couple weeks ago she was $1200 short of the $3000 he need her to send him so he could be "smuggled out of the country " to come back home because his command refuses to let him leave Nigeria! When I confronted her about this latest story he's told her she once again told me that's not true. And that she isn't sending him money! So I sent her a text with this website and asked her to just read thru the comments and see how allllll of these other people have the exact same storyline from men they met online that they then started talking in Google hangouts. I hope she comes to her senses before it's too late. And I wish you all good luck and I hope you're able to get your money back.

Yeah your mum been scammed , i didn't believe it at first but then i did, cause if he was real he would came to meet her already, and he sound too good to be true. I think your mum is looking for love and love can be a strong thing that everyone is looking for but when is comes to money or some one is asking money from you then is not then you should have gut feeling, the picture is not right, if you understand what i mean. any way good luck hope your mum just wake up and smell real coffee.

I met a girl from ghana that video calls me and she tells me that she need 4000 dollars to get her gold from a sercuity company and that she would get it switch in my name for ownership she calm her dad is a king and i sent 2000 dollars for her to come here to usa 6 months ago but she said she needed 3000 dollars pocket money before she could leave ghana to come but i never sent the 3000 dollars so last week she said her mom needed an operation and it cost 1200 dollars so i never sent the money and now so guy is texting me that calm he is her neighbor and he be trying to convince me that she is real and that i should send 4000 dollars for her to help her get her gold from this security company so she can send it to me i never sent any more money and this girl looks real young like she maybe under 23 years old in video and she always sends me pictures but i think this is a scam and i was scammed definitely

Sounds like same lady caught me, jose. Tima Accra, very same MO, pretty half Ghanian/Filipno. 28/30yrs father left gold in will and needed money for release, promised to marry and come and live with me. Have phone No she still using + gmail address and lots of photos

Do you have email address or picture for this person. Someone by name of Daniel James Anderson from Austin Texas also was texting me from Afghanistan supposedly. I am wondering if it the same person?

James Anderson from Sweeden says he now lives in McKinney,Tx
working in Istanbul. Anyone familiar with him? Romance Scammer.

Can you tell me her name it

what was her name by chance how much gold bars was she talking about and how did she get it

Hi I am talking and fell for a woman in Accra Ghana her name is ethal ankomah I feel a like a fool started talking and quickly saying that she had fallen in love with me and that she didn’t think she would find love again after being hit by her ex she told me she was a trainee nurse I’m from the uk and she told me she had lived her for ten years before going back to Ghana To finish her nursing at school then she asked for money for her exam witch I sent then a little later it was for food then her rent now over the last three months she wanted to come live with me but needed money for a medical and and plane ticket witch I stupidly sent and I did not hear anything for hours she told me her bags where stolen by a taxi driver while she got out of the taxi to buy snacks for the flight I stupidly believed her then the next time she was apparently stopped on a layover flight for carrying gold with no paperwork so they held her in cells when I told her I did not have the £500 her lawyer need to release the paperwork I could not understand why so I asked her a load of questions about it she got angry about it and she blocked me for a day then she came back saying she still loves me and that they had sent her back home and her mom had been taking to hospital and she needed money for medicine and that the hospital would not give her it until she had paid them even got some to call me claiming to be a doctor I have still be a fool and sent her money and now this week I sent her half my wage for the month £850 for her flight to me again and after hours again was told she need £1000 in travel money before leaving the country I her picture are her I got her on a video chat for all of a minute I feel such a fool I opened my heart to her and have been mentally manipulated By her promise of love where did you put her photo up because I have quite a few of mine I still do t well I do t what to believe it’s a scam but in my heart I think I have always known something was not right about it all thanks for listening

I've been contacted by a couple "different " women on Facebook one profile said she was from Oregon we were talking for about a day or so then when I asked her where in Oregon she was all of a sudden she was in Accra Ghana taking care of her sick mother. I thought it strange from the beginning when she wanted to go to Hangouts on Google to talk and her txt was poor English. Within a couple days she said how she misses me and how do you miss someone you've never been with. This has happened like 3 times I play along just to see what they're up to and how much money they're trying to get the last one said she was in Louisville KY but she had a Denver Colorado phone number . They like saying dear a lot. Each one asked for $200 rather they needed to get food or it was their birthday I'm hip them. The one in Ghana her name was Sam Francisca lived off Kanda highway.i might still have pics I have pics of the one in KY her name was Clara West.

Could I see her pic. Please

I was she from Texas because I have been scam from her asking for money and asked me to open a new bank account and keep telling me she needs money for food for her 11 years old daughter

I have pictures
Need to find out how to send

I have pictures

Adoptive kids rang a bell with me also.
He went by Mark Howard

Beware of Heinrich Powell Woodson very handsome very educated and a sweet talker. Has a Daugther and uses his Mom. He ask for a I tune card then 3500$ for the IRS he didn’t get a cent from me. Blocked him on Instagram and hangouts. He also gave me a fake passbook!

Sounds similar to the Swedish engineer who is working in Turkey. He sends pictures of his mother and daughters. Do you have pictures?

The guy I blocked from dating site claimed his name was Glen from CA, an independent dealer with kids in Amsterdam with his mom. Went to do business in London and lost atm card. Asked me for 15k to pay expenses and get home. I said no, he said he had gold I could cash in if I spoke to his attorney. Googled name and other info he gave me...SCAMMER! Glad I saw episodes of Dr. Phil.

I have been talking with an engineer working in Turkey as well. Is he bald with a dark beard? Suit and tie holding a cell phone?

Do you have any pictures of the engineer? Does he have a daughter?

Yes I think I’m being scammed by someone who is an engineer with a daughter 13

Sounds familiar. Engineer from London stuck in Turkey has a 15 year old daughter. Apparently Turkish hotels doesn’t take debit then he doesn’t have enough money to get his equipment out due to taxes. Yada yada yada.

Sounds like Brandon Muller.
Sly guy whom I sent over $4K to. I can't believe I fell for his lies.
Same story engineer finishing up job in London goes to Turkey can't get his heavy equipment out of customs. Credit cards don't work, gets mugged, sends pictures, is hospitalized in Turkey for 3 months.....
I'm such a fool! But never again!

I have one with the same story, stuck in Northern Cyprus
Thomas J James

Similar in Nicosia, Cyprus. Any other details or pics. I have lots

Ah Nicosia, does he use the Name Hendrick???

Do you have a name? My friend has a Nicosia, Cypress scammer as well.

I also have a scammer in Nicosia, Cyprus. Asked for STEAM Wallet Cards for international calling. Lost passport and ID in accident wants me to send money to fly back to states.

Same story, sinqapurian men stock in Turkey, no money for duties for machines to finish off shore contract

Is he a FBI agent

Mine said he was an FBI agent

What was his name? I think I’m being trying to be scammed by the same man,an engineer with a 13 year old daughter

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