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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

Lol you just made use of my surname lmao
well from my findings those scammers only uses two names mainly on Facebook
It could be any name,Valentine?,Andrew?,Michael..etc

Same with me i have chat mate here in dubai he wants to meet me and mary me i dont know if its true..he is giving me his salary too...is yhis true or scam

Can u describe what he looks like. Like did he post a pic of himself with muscular thighs?

Why can't we post photos of them or who they say they are

I agree with you and would like to know the answer. I have been duped by David Martinez like the other woman said here. Luckily I saw that comment and blocked him from contact before he was able to ask for money.

this is really serious , the authorities should do something

Can you tell me about what David Martinez scam was like my mother is currently taking to a David martinez and I keep telling her it is not real and she is believing everything he is telling her

I knew a David Martinez 2 months ago at the site "You Love". He is definitely a scammer. All required signs by authorities' advisers are on him and finally he asked me for money that, obviously, I did not send. Carefull. Widow 4 years ago, 2 children (a daughter of 12 years old and a son of 4 years old), do not write correct english, claims to be australian, independent contractor and in a short while felt in love with me... nice voice indeed, handsome man, but... a fake.

This has got to stop.
And we need the authorities to act fast.

I don’t know and haven’t been able to find the answer. Help!

I recently found out that I am being scammed. A man from Africa asked me to help his customers hey their purchases to them since they like American made products. I agreed, then recently found our the stuff was obtained illegally. now I have a lot of stolen merchandise that I am sending to the FBI I want to tell this guy how I feel. I need closure. I want him to know that he had hurt a very nice woman. I'm afraid of his potential reach. I'm going to stop communication and tell him that I'm returning the items to the stores they were stolen from. And that he need never contact me again. Please advise

These are useful details for a complaint.  Please report your experience at ftc.gov/complaint. Your complaints help the FTC and other law enforcement agencies bring scam artists to justice. We cannot address complaints if they are submitted through the blog comments.

I met someone via BharatMatrimony.com. Its a Indian Dating Site. I met someone who claims to live in LA is a Doctor. His name is Dr. Devraj Balavan. He also has a facebook page. He also asked me to wire him $400 dollars. I only sent $100. He said he was going to Malaysia for a trip. He is still talking to me and I am pushing for a face to face meeting. Usually scammers will not meet in person. I only found a facebook profile, and a phone number linked to California. So I am using extremely caution. I am pushing for this meeting. I reported it to the website but he is still on there.

Dear KTinker The same person name Devraj Balavan who claims to be a Doctor in LA and was a USA Army deputy in Syria as a Dr - has sent a matrimony proposal to our family member and started conversation on daily basis- and suddenly with the panic of urgency he called us and told the story of him being in Malaysia went for the collection of his Army incentives - but as he told us that all his bank account got blocked due to IP address change- and he asked USD 1200 from us to help him immediately and he asked us to transfer money on some Malaysian Identity of his friend name " NJOKU EMEKA PROSPECT" located in Malaysia via a WesternUnion - while being in trust and faith we have transferred him money to help and later found that he is keep on asking more money with some unrealistic stories - which we refused and asked him to meet us and send us more details before we do any more money transaction- but we saw sudden change in his tone and behavior and he started fighting with us asking more money since he is in crises- we chose not to send him money anymore- and we asked him to refund the money whatever we helped him with in the impression of trust and humanity- but he stopped responding on the messages- i saw your note on the same person hence wanted to check if you have got your money back or did you took help from police to report the fraud.

I'm talking to a man that claims to be a dr. For the United Nations in Syria. How can I find out if he is legit?

I talked to that same person said doctor for the UN working in Syria. He’s a scammer! Get away and block him. Told me his wife and daughter had been killed in a car accident. He had a son that was boarded somewhere else in the school while he was overseas how he was a schmoozer he asked me for $1000 after we have been talking for sometime he needed it for his son, that he wouldn’t be pain until the contract was complete.
It made me angry to think he thought I was stupid enough to fall for that line of crap. So I made him think I fell for it, took all the info, told I was going to get it sent, waited a few hours, then told him it was on it’s way. Figure two can play his game.

Do you recall a name - this sounds familiar.

I had been writing to Eghaghara Cometime for the last 4 years. Fell in love, sent him $45,000. Same man as you described the details of. He has about 20 names, most prolific is Richard Terry. He's a huge Nigerian scammer!

What's is name?

Did you get a name from ohenry?

Honey the UN doctors already returned 5 years back. There is no UN doctor in Syria now

Yeah I also met someone she said she needs me to help her pay her bills and she needs $800 to pay for her bills and get some foodstuffs........scammers are very wick .....she may me fall in love with her

Lol....the name "NJOKU EMEKA PROSPECT" is a nigerian name not Malaysia . I'm sorry but you were scammed if you sent the money he requested

the best way to avoid scammers all together and stop doing what time set up a security test question 3 to 4 questions that only you know and nobody else to ask. You still sick uestion pecan street and have scammers answer once you feel the eighty's when you get up and have some answer them this correctly if they don't answer that means they're still scam when you get online with friends colleagues family members in order to get online these questions from childhood italy you know when you're growing up. Get together with all your friends all your relatives verify when we get online to chat or talk only we know these answers to these questions and things all of you know from growing up your old neighbor much for you all together. Something scammers don't even know coast so different sheet difference between you and scammers. if they answer them correctly youll sent them 50,000... I played this game scammers for about a year after that they stopped communicating with me all at once I also sent them a picture of a safe full of a lot of money and said to them you answer these questions correctly I'll send you this I never heard from them again its called reverse psychology this is one way to start messing with their heads and I'll never bother you again and this cure the epidemic of scammers infesting our websites and our Internet networks try it.... it should work.

Hi, I had the same experience. Actually I received this kind of email twice but they didn't get anything from me. I both met them in skout.com. The first person is Lieutenant Thomas Moore widow and with daughter under guardian. He was from USA but assigned in Sudan. I forgot much info about him but I remember he is so sweet which this stuffs can surely make me doubt. Okay we never get to the point where he asked me money because after he sent me email of letter format to send to his USA army leave department I get alarmed. I would never give any information especially our address to him. Below is the letter. And after i said No he said goodbye and sound upset that i don't trust him. Well I'm not that desperate in love so sorry for him. LOL.
see letter below:

Your Name........... Your Address......... Your City, State, Zip Code......... Your Phone Number............ Date.............
***USA ARMY*** United States Leave Department. Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Sudan.
Dear sir, MILITARY LEAVE OF ABSENCE LETTER My Name is _____, ***then you mention your job and your position at your job etc**...I humbly request for the leave of absence of my fiancee Lieutenant Thomas Moore, who serves in the Djibouti,Sudan, for an official military assignment and he has been there for a period of 6 months now. I'm Lieutenant Thomas Moore's wife to be, and i'm applying for his leave request for three(3) months based on confidential family issue..
He will perform [active duty] with the (United States Coast Guard) beginning soon. His absence from work for this period of military service is protected by me and the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, 38 United States Code, Sections 4301-33. USERRA does not require that I provide all this information to you. However, I want to let you know these details regarding his military absence. His last day at work with you before he begin military service will be[____]. He's expected to be returned to work with you on or about[____](again, if you have a date). [During his absence, He can be reached at [give mailing address and telephone number, if is not a security issue and you know this information.] [During my absence, _________, telephone number ______, will know how to reach me.]
I WOULD BE HIGHLY OBLIGE IF YOU KINDLY SEND AN INTIMATION OF THIS LETTER 2 DAYS OF RECEIVING IT.
Yours Sincerely Signature Name

Hi I got same problem a minitary man from the States ask me for ITune cards also ask $250 to Western Union. Luckily I was not able to do so I was stopped by Wetern U staff not to send money over to him unless i know him. And also he email me a minitary leave form saying that i must register my particular in it in order for him to get out from his mission ground in Afica and will go back to states and will visit me in Singapore
I than felt is so wired to heard all these. I felt he is a scammer. So what can I do?

The 2nd experience I am very cautious. Because in my 1st experience I don't know that he is a scam, it's just I need to end our conversation because he is asking too much information. And my guy friend jokingly told me that maybe the guy behind the picture is from Nigeria.

And so for this 2nd experience I use my head and do some research and that's the reason I bump in to this site because I was searching so hard to know if it's real because the photo being used is very handsome. LOL I can't find the name in the search engine and he is as well using an ordinary email. (Ftc.gov pls be informed that i have emailed the original email to you, just decided to post here so everybody will be aware)

Okay the handsome guy is named Edward Martin. I feel pity of the guy in the photo being used to bait victims. I think he was a victim before who sent photos to the scammer because the scammer will end his email with "send me your current photo, ok?" Below is his email:

1st email I wish to thank you for accepting my friend request. My names is Edward i just came across your profile on (skout.com) and i will like to be your friend despite our distance and age.. i am searching for my soul mate. that i will love and care for. I want to tell you more about myself. I was born on 5th of March 1985. Am single never married and have no kids and am a Christian. My father and Mother has passed away,they are no longer alive He was originated from United State of America,.

I was born and grew up in NY. I am the only son and child of my family. I live here in Poland. from where I am communicating with you and working as a special security in the US ARMY. My late father and Mother was are wonderful and kind people, also they are philanthropists. Furthermore, I am a fun loving man who cares for the need of others. I love traveling and shopping. I like listening to music. On the weekends, I use to go out for fun, going to the sea side having relaxing mind and seeing the nice fresh air from the sea. Love shopping on weekends too and if got chance, I use to travel around. I do cook sometimes as I like cooking, Being happy always makes me feel young everyday. I am so glad for my life and really thank God for all His blessing upon my family.

I would like to tell you that to make a relationship last for ever and be stable we need trust,love,understanding,devotion,and motivation in heart, In my own intention,i promise to be faithful, honest, and most caring to you and be the man you have always dream of, and pray always that God will bless and make our love grow, thank you so much..I hope to hear from you again. With Love Edward

2nd email my heart Thanks for you lovely message, i want you to know that love is always here to make our life full of smiles and happiness, this moment i cherish your interest and care towards our relationship, i hope it will bring the moment of joy,happiness,smiles and best of our moments, i never feel this way before in my life, you seems so interesting and caring, i am so much happy and full of smiles that i met with someone like you... Since i saw your profile i cant stop thinking of you, i don't really know why, but i think i am begin to fall in love with you, not because of much thing, but just because of your sincerity and honesty towards our relationship, i wish us to build a nice and good relationship together that can lead us into marriage and make our life happier and brighter... I hope that this is the relationship we are looking for in a million of years, that can bring happiness and smiles in our life,i will love to know more about your, personality and your family more, so that we can be more concentrate with each other and have a nice relationship together with love and happiness, thanks and take care dear.....please send me more of your current pictures ok With Love Edward

Based on my research, i found this exact messages in a website who is also helping to stop this scam issue.

So it's obviously a scam. Be aware ladies. True love doesn't need to be always sweet and sugar coating. A guy who loves you will find ways to come to you, you don't need to pay for them. Let him make an effort. And besides, God loves you, and will surely give what's best for you. Wait for the best.. And don't settle for less than you deserve. :)

Show me his picture? Should familar

It sounds very much like mine he said his son's name was Edward. Discovered his Pic was stolen off someone's Instagram. The very same love language too

Sounds like my Adams Edward, been talking to him for 3 weeks. Dr and wet drilling engineer. In Malaysia now for three weeks, parents dead, home address not real, when talk to his phone its only on whatsapp, text on a California number cell phone, from America , lived in Sweden. Asked for no money.... yet. Glad I found this website. Very handsome man. What a crappy day to find these things out

Has anyone actually met a scammer in person? Specifically in Ghana? And are they still in contact with him / her? Has a scammer given anyone his / her real picture?

Yes, I caught several guys. I convinced one of them that I was on his side and understood why they do what they do. Eventually, he finally sent me a picture of he and his cohorts in a room where they all sit at computers and try to scam women in different countries. He got nothing from me and I turned him in.

Was he a young black? What happened to him?

How did you go about turning them in?

i believe i am being scammed right now from an apparent female scammer. she said she was in nursing school here in my Canadian city , but had to fly to Ghana cause her mother was rushed to hospital for kidney failure.
way to much more info to post.

could be my girl, is she knockout gorgeous, olive skin, from mixed race, met her on dating site, she flew to Ghana today to see her mom and sister, they are all fine, 32-34 yes nursing, some blonde pics some pics with black hair, sunglasses in car. drop dead gorgeous

I get those all the time. The last one was some "lady" who sent me 2 pictures, claimed she was from Texas, but was visiting her mum(sic) in Ghana. I recognized one of the pics, and with that spelling error, I knew she wasn't from Texas.

I came here regarding my newest one. I met her on Zorpia and she sent me her number to text. She explained that she didn't go to that site that often. She was from fairly close by, but was using a Colorado number. Ok, she's stationed there.

Heart says yeah! But there are too many red flags, and yet brain still is not convinced that it is right. 1st, she is out of leave, so I would need to pay so she can get leave in order to meet. Second, wrong name on uniform, and her answer was a little stretch. 3rd wrong rank for MO. 4th young widow with son who is looking to build a family is willing to meet me just for sex. 5th that same widow is willing to stop looking for potential partners and commit to married man, who is old enough to be her father, knowing she will have to share him.

My main doubt is is she a scammer who she says she is, or is "she" a scammer who stole this beautiful airman's pictures and is pretending to be her. The reason I think it is the latter is 6th, she can't talk on the phone yet.

In response by any chance has any of the female scammers used the name( shanara melkonian )I think I'm being scammed rite now she also said she was from Rockwall Texas, nursing intern in Marietta ga,going over seas with her boss on medical research team

Yes. I had a scammer once. Said he was a 61 year old white man who worked on an oil rig. We texted a lot. We also talked on phone calls. He said he was from Alabama. Had an Alabama phone number. After talking for a few weeks. I called him out. Things didn’t sound right. He sounded young. And Nigerian. Anyway after some coaxing (lots of discussion) he finally told me the truth. He is in his 20s and Nigerian. He was falling in love with me for real. We are still friends. He sends me real pictures of himself. Videos of himself. And we even do video calls, so I know it is really him this time. I found that I enjoyed his friendship. It’s so strange.

I'm talking to a man now that says he'll turn 62 on the 20th. He works as an independent contractor on oil rigs. He is a diver that does any repairs or installs on the piping. A widow who lost his wife 3 yrs ago during child birth & has a 10yr old daughter. He is from Oslo, Norway. He friended me on Facebook yet we only talk through Hangouts. He has sent pictures & a couple of videos. We were going to meet up & today he asked if I would accept a package for him. Says he has saved valuables with a security company that is shutting down. He is working in Mexico & can't have them sent there. I have definite feelings for this guy yet wondering if any of it sounds familiar?

I met a guy that said his wife died doing child birth too. What does he look like?

I also talked to aguy this month who said his wife died in childbirth. He was bald , said he was 48 years old. 4 yr old daughter .

Same bere

I spoke with a guy on a dating site whose English was off just a bit, his grammar, but he said he was an American. After talking a month and having my suspicions, we finally Skyped....and lo and behold he was a black man from Africa. And yes, of course he asked me for money at the end of the conversation. Be careful, I have come across scammers on Facebook and dating sites regularly for the past 5 years. After I tell the site I'm on absolutely nothing is done about it, I see them 2 years later. Sad.

Been talking to sgt.dillonbernard. I guess that's him. And met him on meet me. Hasn't asked for nothing.

I met this guy in fb sent me friends request. I did accepted him. Then we started chatted for 6 months. His from Uk. He was an engineer profession working as a shipping Roadway Companies in Maschester uk. We chatted twice a days. At the time he was going sailing to Australia for a month. Then, something happened in his ship. He started asked me if i could helped him. I said sure I would helped you. Then, he said let me call the company if they could shipped out my items to your address.I agreed to it. Then, he sent me a copy receipt for the items. He told me that the DPD DELIVERY Company would contacted me cuz, their something I had to pay some local taxes from India Country. So, I refused to pay for it. I asked him he need to get his items back from the company but, at the time it was to late cuz, the company won't returned his items. Anyway let's make this storyline sort. The company is still have the items since May 2015 till now. DPD DELIVERY Company demands more money from me. I sent alot of money to just deliver the items to my doorsteps but, the company hostages his items.DPD delivery company is still emailed me now and then. He is still demands money to enable to shipped out the items.I told the company I can't do it and I have no money to pay any charges they asked from me.The company its a big scammers and a theft. I tried to let my ex husband is a police officer and the FBI involved my case but again it is so hard for them to chase the case cuz, it's international scams. Now im dealing with my losses. But, all I can do just pray to (God)I learned my lesson and mistakes not to get involved of any men or trust any stranger that you never know face to face. That's was my experience on dating the Internet..Please advice me what should I do to this company..

I have suffered a similar case these days. I am very sorry, I understand you and hope we can recover from this experience.

Gentlemen: ETS Financial phone 800-797-5698 and NCO Financial phone 866-341-8884 are both fraudulent or fake telephone collection services which falsely state that they are authorized to collect United Parcel Service or UPS shipping bills. I am a regular UPS customer. Over the last several years, I have received many 800 or 866 or other similar calls at my office from people who claim to represent ETS Financial or NCO Financial. Each call is a bill collection call, made to collect payment by credit card for an alleged past-due balance for UPS shipping or delivery services. I have written this so that others who search the web for these names or numbers will find this and realize that these calls are fraudulent or fake. Sincerely yours, Caleb B

These are useful details for a complaint. Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments don't go into the database.

You may also want to tell UPS about the calls you received.

Do these scammets usually call on the phone or is it just messages and emails?

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