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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

Hi! I also have a guy that says he's a Chief Engineer on a BP oil rig platform " Atlantis" 180 miles in the gulf of New Orleans. He's a smooth talker and he drew me in. Since I was talking to him for 4 months I believed him. He said he was a widow and so am I so I thought we had a lot in common. Then he started asking for Amazon gift cards, then he came up with a story of...how he was contracted to BP that if any kind of equipment breakdown...that he was personally responsible for and he would be sued for 1.1 million $$. He ask if I could rent a chopper to get him off the platform to be able to go to his bank to access funds so he could pay for repairs. It would cost like $12,000 for the chopper. He said as soon as he gets to his bank he will transfer the money right back to my account. Im sure he's trying to scam me! How do I do a Google search with his picture?

I'm also a widow I just got scammed by a guy that said he was on a oil rig in the gulf off. New Orleans he said he was a contrator that worked for Noble Drilling and our stories sound the same. He used the name of Philip Cormack I got shamed FOR $9,000 by this creep I got wise after he wanted me to accept two safe boxes with $2 million USD and they sent them to Atlanta and this diplomat was to contact me and he did and they wanted $50,500 for custom tax and I tlad them I would not pay that to send it back and then he tryed to get me to transfer money from his account to mine and I told him to leave me alone and I contacted the police and the said that this has been going on for almost 4 years with the same pictures. I would send you a picture of him but don't know how

Hi, I´m having the same situation, his name is Jeremy ,we have been chatting for 3 weeks, he wanted to move to hangouts I said no, so we still talking on IG, he said he is in an oil ring in the Gulf of New Orlands. Same thing, he loves me, he will get off the ring next month and wants to come to visist me asap, he has not ask for anything so far, only for my personal phone number, which I gave it to him... he is single, no kids, never been married, no parents, no relatives.... has anyone been contacted by a similar guy??

Yes, my situation is similar and he asked for money. Can you describe his physical appearance and age? How can we share his photos to see if it is the same person.

Thanks,

Possibly taking to him for months. What is full name, I have photos too. If you reply I'll share

HI Vmh:
Could you please describe this guy in details, did you send you pictures and video clips?
I met a guy who gave me the similar story.
Thanks

Hi
Has anyone talked to a Jeff Todd? I've been talking to him from POF. I've told him I won't send him any money and he still sticks around, but I just feel he's a scammer.

Has anyone dealt with a Captain Jamie Toddy? Says he is in Yemen with UN on a peace keeping mission? Has 2 sons named Richard and James! Is in Yemen until October. Only uses goggle hangouts. Is in communications.

Hi! Could this Scott Wilson be Scot Davey as well? I’m afraid my friends mother is being scammed. I have a photo if anyone interested. He says he is 59 in real estate in New York

Hi Linda I think i fo Too Do u hav abut pic of This person so we can compare and get to the bottom of this big lie? Thanks,

Maam maybe you can help me..I meet and chat to this guy online..He said He is a US military soldier assigned in Nigeria..as our conversation goes..Because I wanted to see him he told me that they dont have access to their account and wants me to pay for his leave form amounting $300..I need an advice on this..Is he telling the truth or a scammer?please help me

I think you and I are talking to the same guy! He sent me pics, he’s gorgeous, said wife died in a car accident and has a daughter, parents are both dead and he claims to be a Sgt in the Marines.

Is it possible to share your pictures

Hi is it possible to share pictures? I have a friend who is chatting to someone who has given her the exact same story and yet she refuses to believe that it’s a scam

I had the same thing happen to me except he was in Africa.. He was very persistent I tried to block him but he showed up somewhere else, On Facebook or Gooogle + .When I refused to give him communication money he went another route and asked for I-cards The communication bill was 385.00

I also may be speaking with this person. We’re you guys ever able to exchange photos?

What was his name

His name he told me is EDGAR SMITH JOHNSON, IN THE ARMY A SERGEANT STATIONED IN Afganistan or NIGERIA

If anyone comes across SSGT Mason Wilkinson is a scammer and Stevie Benjamin David scammer.

I came across a Mason Smith, talks a good game. Wonder if it is the same person.,,

Hey I had the same thing happen To me claimed to be from Africa ..but was stationed in Alabama then he got deployed...to Africa ..I had him face time me once ..it was same guy..but not sure what his true name is ..I talked to him for a few weeks ..then he asked me for money via gift card..that didn't work out ..we didn't talk for like 2-3 weeks then he hit me up again . This time he told me he was deployed..then I offered to send him a care package and he comes back with this long list of things ...some of them electronics

Please don’t send any man money...EVER! A real man would never ask his woman for money. NO NO NO..

Sounds like Jeffrey Scott. Hes been catfishing for the past week. Wanted me to send him 300. Us to get his forms to come be with me forever. Blah blah hes drop dead gorgeous and very smooth. Hes scamming you in have found lots on wev about the real soldier Google him sister I bet it's the same guy

Please can u send me a pic. I'm trying to warn my aunt who is being scammed by Charles . Same scenario. She is now madly in love.

Hi where did she meet l,the charles and what is the family name?

What was the man named Charles last name and what site did he want to hangout? (literally hangouts)Did he have a daughter if so what age and where did she live? I talked to a Charles for a long time and believe he was scamming me.

There is another guy that goes with Steven_Hendry_Lucas claiming to be a sgt but when he sent his fake military Id. In his ID it says Cpt.

My wife is talking to a man calls himself Michael Anderson that claims his an engineer etc. And he's a widower and his wife passed away of cancer.

Samuel, I have been talking to someone too like that. I have put a reverse search on his pictures. Most of them pulled up fake. It is so sad to me that someone, anyone, would mess with someones emotions like that.

I hope I'm not involved with this person! Sounds similiar! Different name though.

Hi Anne. Does your guys name start with a K? I have a friend talking to a similar person shares same storyline..but name is different haven’t seen it on here yet. I’m sure it’s the same person or group scamming innocent people.

He’s a scammer. I talked to him too.

Good ole Michael Anderson,met him on Christian Mingle Jan 2016. At that time his gig was the Perdido Project. He was coming to meet me but had to go Turkey to get paid. Got stranded in Turkey when his passport and personal effects were stolen. Wanted me to give him money to fly home. Instead I bought a plane ticket with insurance. He refused the ticket and claimed I abandoned him in his time of need. Best $80 bucks I've ever spent.

My guy was Dr Mark Williams from London, a medical surgeon working for the UN Peacekeeping Organization in Syria with an 8 year old daughter in a U.S. boarding school in Nebraska. He like some of my tweets then DM'd me casually. Started talking about how he was widowed and both his parents died many years ago. Very believable until I noticed his grammar became poor and very broken English. When I saw this scam I confronted him on Twitter and he became hostile and blocked me. I have since reported him to Twitter. Thanks to all for posting or I might have been scammed.

Hi. I think I have the same story too. Can we exchange pictures of him?

This sounds like a man who is scamming a neighbour of mine right now. He was to arrive here in Canada on Monday, and then all of them were leaving for Ohio in early April. He told my neighbour that he is stuck in Turkey with his daughter and needs money to get out. She started a GoFundMe page about 7 hours ago. I have his picture and would like to share the picture with others to see if this is the same person scamming other women. Thank you.

Would appreciate seeing his picture , sounds like the same guy that's trying to get my acc# or cc#, is stuck in Istanbul with his 5 year old daughter already a few months, has money in his account but can't access it! Lol

jimmy8765surpre on POF
+1 716-217-1827
I pinned a picture from my clipboard but I'm not sure if it. Shows is this him

I got a FB friend request from someone with the pic being that of a man in surgical scrubs with hat. When I googled the picture of him one of the dozens of names it popped up with was Dr Mark Williams. I never accept a FB request anyway, but always check to see if I need to report the scammer.

Familiar story, surgeon no parents died when he was 12. Daughter in boarding school, divorced ex wife died . Goes by the name of George wayne on Instagram, then moves you to Google hangouts .

Good day, I have one name is Frank divorced daughter in boarding school she is now 13, hangouts and said that if I could send $1,600 to the UNITED NATIONS he will be able to come home for a level of two months. and then retire he has 20 years in.

He is still at it under same name, as of 3/21/19
Dr Mark Williams in Syria. He is still with same story, except he has son in boarding school. Wife died. He’s in love with you-right away.
They also send you poems, YouTube love songs, etc
They always want money or personal info
And it runs rampant lately

I was approached by someone (Wellington Bolt) funny, that's actually a name of hardware...claimed to be a widower, grandfather (handsome) of twin (young) girls, real parents gave him up, lived in an orphanage, adoptive parents passed, asked me to send his granddaughters cell phones, candy, etc. I declined. A week or two later, asked me to send $500 worth of steam cards through Wal-Mart. Supposedly he's from Queens, NY, but in Turkey, drilling for oil for Exxon Mobil. Claims to be a senior mechanical engineer. Unbelievable...

Do you have any photos of this guy? I am also talking to someone on-line who contacted me through Instagram, although now we are messaging through hang outs. Also claims to work as an Engineer on an oil rig, currently working in Turkey but originally from Texas.

I have a VERY if not identical situation... Can we exchange info? I'd like to see if I'm getting scammed..... :(

Not sure if you were interested in additional information from me, but he also had wanted me to email with his daughter Sarah Christopher. I would not provide my email, instead I asked for hers. He attempted a couple more times to obtain my email address. I continued to state he could share hers and I would reach out on Hangouts, which I did, knowing I'd be "chatting " with him. Finally I told him we were aware of his "story". He responded with "ok", then disabled his words with friends profile of Wellington Bolt. Hope this helps. Also, I wasn't able to post his picture. Gray hair, sometimes with black rimmed glasses. Also shared pictures from the ship supposedly.

Sounds like my experience is his name Gary Decker??

I have talked to a guy that was an engineer on an oil rig
He is good looking claims to have a son
He kept asking for I tunes cards
He was under the name....Abbott Rowland and lately I found out he has changed his name (same picture).....Louis’s Stone
He messed me up really good
I had lost 8 lb
I don’t know how I functioned
I’m over it now but I will never forget

Tony James or Robert Benderk orJohnny Smith?

Yes. The saMe guy uses name Micheal Carlos Smith

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