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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

Two guys !!! Yes real pros .
One Gulab Ansare Brigadier General in Afganistan with 16 year old son ... constant demand for money to help Alvin.

Other a man with a 20 year old daughter ... in financial disposition ... needing cash until his paid out for a contract his doing.

Both claim love and yet they're abusing y emotionally, mentally .
be warned ladies we are amongst woves in sheep's clothing.

My mother-in-law is talking to a Michael Scott for the last 2 weeks he is out on an oil rig he says he has adopted a daughter lives in Texas I believe he is a scammer but I'm trying to prove it to her

How about Major John Marino For the UN In Syria?

Hi there...the oil rig guy. Same for me. He came out of nowhere and is "madly in love" All kinds of flags. Yours isn't named Bryan, is it???

The guy my friend is dating is Bryan Kelly. Says hes on an oil rig in Afghanistan. His daughter is In boarding school. Madly in love with her and wants to get married

Bryan dale?

how about a David John - engineer on a oil rig in Norway has twins in Houston TX at boarding school - he is hungarian/spanish . anyone talking to someone like this ?? He needs to get documents for his vacation so he can go home

Hi all! I am also talking to a guy names "Brad Thom" who owns his own Petroleum Co and is currently on an oil rig in the Aegean Sea in Turkey. Came to the States 20 yrs ago after his mom past. Is a father of 2 children "Jane" currently 19 and "Kevin" currently 12. Is a widower of 12 yrs. His wife died giving birth to "Kevin". He Instagramed me out of the blue the other day. And by the end of the night he stated the he loved me and wants to marry me. Last night he stated that "Two of my most important machines used for working got spoilt " "It’s gonna be fixed by the mechanics and I’ll have to pay them to fix it
I’ve spent a lot in getting this contract and also since i came on here And am currently having this problem with my account that can’t be fixed until i get back home" and "I just don’t know how i can get help with the remaining of the money to pay to fix the machine i just promise to pay back as soon as i complete this contract and get paid". So i ask him if he was asking me to help him out financial b/c i couldn't and he stated, "No am not
I’ll just try to find help myself to see what i can do about it". So i looked up his facebook page that he stated that he no longer has and I found his picture, along with another picture of a different guy on his facebook profile. I'm toying with telling him but i'm not sure. What do you ladies think??

He is a scammer. We are suppose to be intelligent women!

We are intelligent women. First, I like to let them think I'm star struck. Then they start him hawing about financial. I let them think yes I can do that. I play they game right back. Then I finally let them have it. I asked him if he really thinks I'm dumb? Then I tell him I played him. Works like a charm. Then I block them.

Hi I am in UK just about to do same thing! My scammer pledging undying love met on dating site Plenty of Fish. Says he is called Diego brought up in Bahamas but Italian. Has 2 daughters Sonia and Emma, his wife had affair with his best friend. Is a diamond dealer, flying to Poland today to do deal, will take a week for diamonds to be cleared then needs to go through bank account! Waiting for him to ask me im going to give him incorrect bank details then ask him how it feels to be duped...then name and shame him on every site I can think of...these men think us women are stupid, however he has met his match with this blonde!!!!

I have a Russell Williams who claims he works on an oil rig. He also says he has no access to a phone because his company don't allow them. I asked for proof of his ID and he sent a photo of his ID badge. His picture doesn't match the one he uses in words with friends 2 - which is where 11 men have spent their time proclaiming undying love for me haha. They're all widowed and have kids. Sometimes they say the child died too. It's disgusting what lengths they'll go to.

Nice touch for him to use the name Russell Williams. Russell Williams was a former Colonel with the Canadian Forces. Was convicted of killing two women. B&E into many homes and stealing women's undergarments and 80 odd more charges.

I’m going thru the same thing. I was contacted thru words with friends 2 out of the blue. His name is Williams Theodor. 56 year old, widowed, two grand children who were abandoned by their mother. They live in boarding school in Oslo. Deceased son also. Good conversationalist and makes you feel like you’re the most wonderful woman in the world. Calls me his queen, honey, babe, wife. I’ve fallen totally. Wasn’t looking, i’m Married but he drew me in totally. His WWF profile shows he is Norwegian. White hair and profile photo showed him in bed with a small dog looking like a French bulldog. His WWF profile has disappeared. Supposedly works on rig in Irish Sea at present but going home to Oslo in January. I wired 5,000.00 to a bank in Istanbul for expenses for his grand kids school excursion. Now he wants money for them to get back to Norway and more school expense money and food for them. I feel like such a fool!!!!

Is there a way you could send me the oil rig guys pic? I met a guy on a plane, total love at first sight kind of deal, and he works offshore. Some things have popped up that make me question his motivation and I'm wondering if it's not the same guy.

is his name Scott Owen? his wife died & has two children name Roxie & Tyler. Says he's from Charlotte. Ready to retire after 31 years in the military. He's a LtGeneral. in the army.

What is the name of the guy from oil rig ??

Named Aleks Huber?

Hey, I also have a US Army Sgt by the name of Matthew Acosta in Afghanistan telling me he has a gold reward for saving someone’s life. He wants me to pay the storage fees and shipping to get it to can get it to Canada. He professed his love for me, and wants to spend the rest of his life with me. The cost is ONLY US$8,550. He lost his iPhone and tells me he’s using an office computer. I checked his picture he sent me on photo recognition system and came up to another guy who’s been posting on Instagram since 2017. He told me someone stole his ID. Still in love with him. Having Dubai police confirm the existence of the storage company in Dubai. Can he be telling the truth? We’re hopeless romantics.

Mine also states he is Us Army Capt however FB says General which he says someone hacked. His insta started in 2017. Has a 6 yo daughter madly in love w me ... i just cant stop mu doubts anyone have stories like this. ?

Yes, this has happened to me recently. Guy in service stationed in Oklahoma right now at camp. Says his name is Steven Alex Tillman. Says he has a little 6 year old girl named Rose who he wants to find a loving mother for. Says he loves me and sends very romantic texts to me. The pictures he sends are never current ones like as in while we are chatting. Also he says he can’t make voice calls unless I follow procedure. I called the base he claimed and they said they never heard of the supposed link he sent to secure my line. I was afraid to do it and told him I was not going to unless he gave me a name of the his supervisor and a number of contact at his camp for such inquiries. Also he could never voice call me. And I looked into his number and it was a voice text number. Very sketchy. His words of love grabbed me in but the story was only considered for a second because I thought maybe there was these rules in the military. And when I investigated on the info he provided I started to open my eyes. He never got to the point of asking me for anything but, he promised me a lot of things. But he couldn’t deliver me basic requests that would prove himself to me. Ladies be careful with yourself and remember to do your homework. Things should add up. Find ways to test someone. I was so heartbroken I stayed in bed all day. Foolish for thinking I may have found true love. He came on strong and I thought wow, god works in mysterious ways. And then the poor little girl with no mom. (Said her mom took his money and ran off with another man.) Just wanted to marry me and find me to love his daughter too. But he can’t send me a current photo? Or call me? And the supposed link he wanted me to “secure my line with” was a communications something USA.com. I erased it already. He said I don’t trust him. And no trust no love. I told him the things I ask you to provide are very reasonable. Like a picture current, holding my name. Or your supervisors name. Or a phone number to your military camp to discuss of the “ securing the line” Just did my homework. Still wishing for true live but not with someone who is totally fictitious.

Same.. Lost no money but its fun...lol

How do you find someone phone number when they call you and all you get is a name and no face.

My mom has been talking to this "special forces chaplain" who is in a war time zone in Syria. I've told her to stop talking to him, but he says they're going to get married. He just started asking for iTunes cards. He goes by John Henry. Anyone dealing with the same guy? I'm trying to look out for her. Thanks!

My mom has been scammed for a year now. LARGE sums of money. I have contacted lawyers, her banks, her doctors, the local police. All tell me they can do nothing until she gives me power of attorney, which she refuses. What can families do to stop this scamming on elderly parents? Please help.

My mother is being scammed too. We have been slowly gathering details as her lies are monumental in protecting and covering this imposter. He has managed to get her to leave my dad, move away from her entire family, steal from my parents retirement and I can only assume wire at the very least over 15k. We are trying so hard to help her but she is brainwashed. She is literally trying to burn her bridges with each of us and I know it’s because of him! I have an address in Nigeria that her bank gave me when she tried to send money from there but no name, email or picture. She uses a translation app and WhatsApp to communicate. We think too she may have 2 phones. I BEG all of you to please reply if you think you can help. My mom will cause her and my dad to lose everything and my worst fear is it will literally break my dad’s heart (he has a heart condition) when we tell him. He just thinks he failed my mom so she left him. We know we have to tell him but it will indeed break him. My siblings and I are taking care of him every day. Any detail and ALL advice welcome!!!

Hi! My mom is also being scammed and I don’t know what to do. Is this still going on with your mom.

Yes . My friend also chatted with Henry John. He told my friend to call her sister name Linda to prove he is real . He asked for ITunes card then need 1200 for retirement fee. We searched his pic, those have been use since 2009 on Facebook and dating apps .

They are getting smarter. I've been talking to Sergeant Major Steven Smith on "peace keeping mission" to Afghanistan. The best part is, I am the one who contacted him. I was looking for a friend and ran across the name. I asked if he had ever been in Florida and he said no so said, sorry didn't mean to bother you etc. Had short conversation, him in military and so on. To make a long story shorter, he contacted me every day. 2nd chat, he asked how old I was. When I told him 72, he said that was cool. I figured that was that, laughed and hung up. That killed that. He wanted to chat after that and I decided to play along.
He and his team had been given a $500,000 bonus from someone high up in the Afghanistan government each,but as luck would have it, the banks weren't working and they had been given cash. I basically told him it sounded like a scam. He wanted to send this cash to me, for me to hold, until he came home in 2 more months. Of course, could I please pay the COD charges and he would pay me back as soon as he came in. It would only be $1,800. Anyway, I ended up telling him, more than once, I thought he was a con man and scam artist. He was lying through his teeth and I knew it. We continued chatting for a couple of months, with him still trying to get me to pay hi fees. His story was he was 50, Sergeant Major in Army, widowed 4 years, with a 14 yo son at boarding school in the UK.
I finally listed all the stupid mistakes he'd made in his stories and how blatant most of them were, said Goodbye and stopped chatting. I haven't heard from him since Oct 14th. Even knowing what a liar, cheat, swindler and scam artist he was, I have to admit he was charming.

Your story sounds familiar last name bell?

I’ve been talking to a retired soldier. He contacted me off Instagram. We’ve been talking from day to night. Made me fall for him. He says he has two children and he’s divorced. She ran off to Florida. After reading about ITunes cards I wonder if everything I was building with this man is a complete lie. He’s 44 and goes by Chad Manis. Has anyone else been contacted by him. He also knows I’m a designated mother and have no money, yet he asks me for 50$ iTunes cards every once in a while. Im so torn especially with all these stories. Can someone help me find out if this guy from Texas is a fraud. My heart can’t take another heartbreak after the year I’ve had. Thanks

hello ladies, i would like to warn you for a guy that I met on dating site called dr breny, says his name is Brenel Cort, 38yrs, surgeon. I've been chatting with him for 5 months. He never called me as he told me that he was not allowed to call due to his confidential work at Canadian military hospital. just 3 weeks ago he announced that he was transferred to Syria to work as surgeon...he wanted to visit me and even sent me a screenshot of the approval of his vacation, which I found very strange. I blocked him immediately. After 5 months of chatting with him, I feel very stupid, but I'm glad that i realized that it was a scam before he starts harrassing me..

It happen with me to. The nicest man and then I know people in the US Army. The guy talked to me ALSO on hangouts then he ask me to buy him a iphone xs and the watch. Then I got a wake up call. I Google got pics of the soldier. Very handsuman. But this kelvin bradley is using this soldiers photos even with he's daughter. I did inform my friend sister as they are deployed and that I actually almost lost 2100 dollars that's 5 salaries in South africa

I'm currently chatting to a Kelvin Bradley on Hangout is there a way to see if it's perhaps the same guy?

Sounds all too familiar, wants me to send money to the UN so he can take a vacation from the War Zone in Khalil, Afghanistan to come home to the US to marry me!
The other guy I suspect got thrown out of his hotel room in Yangshou, China this morning, his time because I couldn’t send home $700, we only owe them $1900 and he can come home and marry me!

Hotels don’t hold you hostage if you owe them money. This guy is scamming you. Plus, he is probably scamming more women than just you.

Sounds familiar but never give your address to anyone

My scammer, Peter Christopher Brandy, Brandy Peter or Robert" claimed his wife and daughter died during childbirth. He was just now finishing a job in Turkey. He asked for Steam Wallet gift cards.
His huge (fake) check could only be cashed in the US. He wanted airfare. Next he needed hotel money and the hotel wouldn't let him leave until it was paid. Now he's been in a car accident and the hospital won't let him leave until his bill is paid.
He sent a picture of his fake passport. A photoshopped picture in a hospital bed. Emailed fake letters from the hospital staff and a fake in voice for his care.
Born in Germany with an American passport good for 12 years. He has over 100 young Nigerian facebook friends and he has a Nigerian accent.
He forgot he told me he lost a daughter. Now the baby was a boy.
He insisted we chat on hangouts and calls me dear, honey, my forever love and his Queen.
If I will send money for the hospital bill he can come "home" and marry me. He's already missed 3 flights. I'm keeping him in the hospital. He begs me to borrow money from family, friends or take out a loan and asked me to use my rent money and sell my car for him.
They all have similar stories and they are all lies!

Is he from Instagram? Rob by name?

Hey. I've been talking to a Rob. Is yours a red head or red beard?

Hi... I'll be talking to Robert too... Grey hair from Germany... Talk to me to see if is the same person please

I have been talking to a Carlos Roberto Mentor Rodriguez He said he was selling his business, then he got a bid for his work went to Dubai, to do the job he is 70. Says he has a 19 year old daughter in England studying physical therapy. His wife died 8 years ago of breast cancer. He has a thick accent, says he is italian/ Spanish came over here when he was 17 to finish his education. slowly worked into saying how much he loved me over about 4 weeks. Now he said he got hit with taxes in Dubai for $25,000. He knows I have no money I told him that from the beginning. He had me check his offshore account to see if a sizeable amount had been deposited which it had but he claims he can't access it until he returns to the states. Anyone else know this guy?

I’ve been talking to a Robert Williams in Yemen . He says he’s in the army . He’s bald big green eyes . Says he’s been there since January

Hi there this is the same guy who told me his daughter Lisa is ill back home and now he is having wifi issues. Let me know and we can swap photos to see if it is the same one

Hi Trix,
I have someone I'm talking to that is working on oil rig in Alaska. I am more than willing to share photo. I only ask because he has a daughter named Lisa. But wants money to get supplies shipped.

Holy cow. I was talking to a Marcos Williams who has same story .

On the oil rig in Alaska and needs money for supplies. No daughter though.

mine is on an oïl rig in Malaysia, as a daughter name Lisa. Late wife died in car crash. From Norway but lives in NYC when not on contract

I am chatting with someone who is supposedly a contractor on a rig in Norway..he is turkish, but lives in California.. his wife and son died in a car smash on his wifes birthday.. he has 2 young adopted kids.. gies by the name Raphael Griffo.. he has asked me for money to help with replacing pipes as he lost his wallet so has no means of cash.. and gift cards to get phone credit due to the wifi not working.. I was taken in by his sweet talk.. but haven't sent him any cash.. But by god he can talk the talk and will probably have targeted hundreds of vulnerable women.

I have been conversing with a guy overseas that said he needed money to get equipment so he can finish his job. He goes by the name Jason Brian, Email’s he was using: jason brian cares@ gmail or Jason rian carzes @gmail. Keeps asking for more n more iTunes and the price went from 100 to over 400. Days he lives with his mom

Where is he supposed to be. I also received request for help to buy equipment for an oil job in Turkey

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