July 19, 2010

Dating Scams Flourish Online

Posted: 05:41 PM ET

We’ve all heard of people getting scammed out of large sums of money by opportunists making phony pitches over the phone, by mail or by e-mail and via online websites.

For a story, we’re now checking into reports about thieves who steal people’s online photos and then post them on dating websites. The scammers create a fake profile, dupe vulnerable people into responding and ultimately getting drawn into what they think is a romantic relationship.

One man who says his photo was posted on a dating site without his knowledge told us he gets a dozen e-mails a week from women all over the world who’ve fallen for his online imposter. He told us one of the women got scammed out of $50,000 and was devastated to find out he was happily married. He says the ordeal has taken a heavy emotional toll on his family who keep hearing from victimized women and he can’t find a way to bring the scam to an end.

We’re wondering how widespread this is around the country. Let me know if anything like this has ever happened to you on Internet dating websites. I’ve heard some real horror stories, and I’ll share some more details with you when we’re ready to air our report in the next week or two.

Filed under: Abbie Boudreau

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Susan Hedtke   July 20th, 2010 4:08 pm ET

On my yearbook there is a man who says his name is Eddy Jackson.
He says he is in Kubal. Gives a story about how scared he is and wants someone to send him money to come home.
First he wanted 2,500.00 then 1,100.00 and then 700.00.
Things didnt add up so i kept asking him quiestions and he gave me different anwsers all the time. He has a piture on there of a very handsome man in uniform. He gives a big sob story how scared and he loves who ever he is talking to. He wants the money sent to Africa. Several men are on that site doing the same thing. Never give anyone money through dating sites

Steven   July 21st, 2010 7:25 am ET

This is one of the reasons why I don't do online dating. Not only have I contacted women whose profile has posted a local address (actually live outside the US), but have contacted me as well. Even with women who have a legimitaly picture and profile you still need to exercise extreme caution. I found one woman who actually was scamming for an her online pornsite.

Needless to say, I don't do online dating.

Cindy N.   July 21st, 2010 9:30 am ET

I recently joined a dating site and as a new mwmber they sent some "suggested" matches to my in-box. One of the first ones had a photo of a great looking guy,,,I knew the picture well as it was a photo of my husband...who had passed away seven years ago! The photo was taken in my front yard. I wrote to the man in my anger and hurt and also contacted the on-line company who removed the photo after I could prove it was my husband. I wish I had just played along for a bit as now I realize that whoever this guy was he had to be using the site for a scam as no one would be able to meet the man in the photo.
Use extreme caution and ask for multiple recent photos....maybe a web cam?

Leilanij   July 21st, 2010 11:05 am ET

I've run into so many scammers, I've lost count. Have had stories from no military benefits due to the change in command, needing money to open a bank account so the individual can facilitate their funds to a daughter dying that day and needing money to bury her. The good news is there is a website ( with a photo gallery. Everyone involved in an internet relationship should review all the pictures and beware of the signs. This website is excellent. Many of the photos are of individuals on

ontario girl   July 21st, 2010 11:23 am ET

to add to the above : again the pictures they were using were also someone elses. if you look close most of them are profectional pics.

there is a web site you can check on i believe if you google it you will find it under nigerian scammers. if you find it you can put a name in it to search and the pics will come up. This is how I found out the guys I was talking to were scammers.

Lori   July 21st, 2010 11:32 am ET

Generally this scammers profiles say that they are Widowed and have children living with them. They usually want to initiate communication outside of the dating site immediately through email or IM and more often through telephone calls. The criteria of who they are looking for will have a very broad range (age 18-80) and have no other preferences noted.

Most times, the photo does not fit the statistics (age, ethnicity etc..) The profile most times is either very deep and poetic or written with poorly with an accent.

The also say that they live local but are working out of the country on contractor jobs- building roads etc...

I can usually identify the frauds early just by paying attention to the signs. I was contacted by a man several years ago- with all the info above showing on his profile. It moved quickly to IM and he told me that he had a home near me . . I did a little research and found that the address he provided was a home for sale- a little further digging . . I found that the home was in foreclosure and had been vacant for a year.

The signs are all there if you choose to see them. Keep your eyes open, ask questions and if something seems like it is too good to be true . . .it probably isn't true. End the communication and report the person to the fating sites abuse group.

Mike M.   July 21st, 2010 12:04 pm ET

Sometimes it's not a scammer ON a dating site, but the site itself.

While the fraud is smaller, it's still fraud. One dating site I was a member of seemed to have a lot of activity but the more time I spent talking with these women the more it became obvious that they were frauds. They didn't know the city they claimed to live in (at all) would never communicate outside the site's mail system and would never agree to a meeting in person.

Once I started getting communications from someone whose photo I'd seen in online ads, I got suspicious and started asking questions like 'What's your favorite local restaurant?' (a reasonable enough question if you're considering a date) and would never get a straight answer.

Since you had to be a paid member to use the email system it eventually became obvious that these were phony profiles created by the site itself in order to keep interest up and to keep the membership funds flowing.

I cancelled my account and demanded a refund of the most recent payment (which in fairness I did receive) and chalked up the previous month's payment as a lesson in checking before buying. Nonetheless, the practice continues...

Sandy   July 21st, 2010 12:29 pm ET

Chemistry has guys who respond to vulnerable women to keep them coming back...(that was a few years ago).

Stephanie   July 21st, 2010 1:38 pm ET

This man says 'someone' posted a picture of him on a dating site, and he gets a dozen emails a week from women all over the world... How did this scamming person get his photo AND his email address? I mean...I could see someone setting up a scam and using a fake photo....but if that was the case, don't you think they would use some fake email address also, so who ever they are scamming deals with them, the scammers, and not the real person??? And if this woman was emailing back and forth with this ficticioius love and got duped out of $50K, wasn't it the 'real' guys "real" email address???

Maybe this guy needs to come clean about putting himself on dating sites and ripping off women.

Donna   July 21st, 2010 3:35 pm ET

wait. ... his photo was unknowingly posted on a dating website. He is getting a dozen emails a week from women who visit a dating website he wasn't on .... women are getting scammed tons of money ... they have his email address . . . . . why is this not adding up to me? How did they get his email if he didn't know about it? Who did they give money to? Either this is a poorly written story; he's a con, or I'm just super dense.

Gina   July 27th, 2010 6:11 am ET

Well, I'm on the verge of a divorce after my husband recently got scammed out of about 3000.00. He is a contractor who works overseas and started visiting adult dating websites, met the girl who fullfilled all the things he had been missing in our marriage of ten years, and then began talking to her daily on yahoo im and by email. She was a professional in telling my husband all the things he wanted to hear and convinced him that they should have a future together. She then began to ask him to send her money, because she was in distress. She needed money to pay for her utilities, food, her sick Dad, and for a phone. My husband was so taken by this woman that he wired the money to her by western union, knowing that I would see the transactions in our bank account. He had a story prepard though. His buddy back in the states needed some financial help. He then came home for his month off he gets every four months, and had completely changed. It was as if I didn't exist. I knew something was wrong, so I began going through his stuff and found enough info to begin my investigation. I found everthing he had been doing including all the emails of him professing his love to "her". As I continued to research I found the romancescam website and read story after story of this happening to people. I then logged in to yahoo and pretended to be him and it didn't take long for "her" to start asking for money. I played along and asked for the address again to send the money because I had lost it in my travels. She gave me an address in Ghana! I compared the address to receipts I had received at our home (the ones that were supposed to be money sent to the buddy) and it was the same address. I was in total shock that my husband had been sending money to this address and didn't wonder. When I confronted him with everything, he was in total shock because he thought the romance was still real. I made him sit with me at the computer as I showed him why it was a scam and with further investigation we found out it was most likely a black man in an internet cafe in Ghana. The pictues that were sent to him, we traced to an online porn site kelseyxxx and these pictures were stolen and used on numerous profiles. This person gave my husband the story that she was from Canada, but in Ghana because her Dad worked there. It is just so sad that we might be filing for divorce over this, and that woman of my husband's dreams didn't even exist.

Dee, Ottawa   July 27th, 2010 3:40 pm ET

It's pretty easy to find a real email address for someone online, AND their photo. Think of facebook, Linked In, or someone who's ever posted an ad on Craigslist or resume website. From their they could probably google or troll facebook for a descent photo and just create fake profile.

But it doesn't make sense though why someone would pick the guyz picture AND track down his real email address and get all these women scammed. Probably it's his enemy who did that to him. Or maybe it's just a lame excuse he gave his wife to explain why he's online dating.

Kathy   July 27th, 2010 3:59 pm ET

I have used several online dating services and I was sent emails from guys claiming to be living here in the US. They all had the same MO that was they were widowed with children and worked for the family jewelry business. They never got past the first day because they started telling me they loved me and had not even talked to me on the phone or seen what I really looked like. At first I laughed them off but when I got a couple of more I got thinking how serious this is. If they contact me then who else are they contacting making them really believe they love them. I wonder how much the dating sites are paying attention to who is using their sites. The last guy I reported to the site I was using. Fortunately I do have to use theses sites again for I have found the one that was for me. I did not find him on one those sites either and found him the old fashioned way. Singles out there please be careful about the people who contact you. Check them out before you get past the first few emails. Ask questions about where they were born and where they actually live. Singles do your homework and you may actually find a gem out there not scamming you.

Cynthia Weder   July 27th, 2010 5:32 pm ET

I would just like to add that I have experienced the same thing. This guy I thought I was chatting with , is actually some one who is in Lagos, Nigeria pretending to be so-and-so. And he has asked for money from me, giving me stories about his son getting hurt and needed money to pay the doctor before the doctor can do surgery on his son and then says he needs more money now to pay the doctor bill and has gotten well over $2000 from me. it seems he had 1 excuse after another, and I would suggest every kind way for him to get help to return to the states, but never took my advise. and the story goes on an on. Thank You for the time !

Chkm8   July 28th, 2010 7:57 am ET

In HTML coding, an email address of the person above can be seen in the body of the message, but the A HREF coding will have the actual coding of the person's email that is doing the scamming. An example: innocentman'

the innocent man's email text is underline and when clicked, will open email to the my lousy self scammer

Many times, the source coding is embedded in a cascading style sheet, a hidden iframe (the frame does not show but the info does and when reading the source code of the index.html the page for the iframe appears within this html).

So, yes the innocent man could be getting hundreds of emails from women who were scammed because the only email they could actually reply to was the innocent man.

next time you open the browser to the dating sites, go to VIEW and click on Source or Source Coding. HTML language comes up. Do a find on the innocent man's email and you will see the scammer's email listed. Then, you can collect more information and report the person to the Federal Trade Commission (they will want a lot of documentation and details.

Scott   July 28th, 2010 10:26 am ET

"He says the ordeal has taken a heavy emotional toll on his family who keep hearing from victimized women and he can’t find a way to bring the scam to an end."

It's not this guy's problem. Just because his photo is being used isn't the reason for him to become involved or to feel a "heavy emotional toll". Wow us american's love to wallow in pain, don't we? The women giving their money away should be publicly humilated for being so desparate. $50k? lol.

Jeanne Darrow   July 28th, 2010 11:22 am ET

I was also contacted by many who pretend to be soldies on internet
First: if you ask the right questions, you can spot them. Like imple things. If they say they are startioned in USA-say hey it is late for you-What time is it? If they take long time to respond, it tells a lot. Can say "Was in your city last year. and then ask something about it you know everyone would know Like the arch in St Louis. if you say golden arch and they think Mc Donald's, tells you something. If they say "they do not have a cam, tells you a lot. the one man that did this to me said he was in Rome New York getting ready to ship out. I was 10 miles away at a wedding. I said I can meet you for dinner, he could not. then next day he wrote "I am on jet on laptop" Not on army transport. this is just a sample of what to look for.

Happily Married   July 28th, 2010 3:29 pm ET

I am one of the men whose photos and information has been used in these scams. I can relate to the gentleman in the article. My wife has had to deal with women writing me about a new love connection, only to become spitful and rude when told I have no idea what they are talking about. Another good example of why social networking sites need harsher regulations in my opinion

david lynn reedy   July 28th, 2010 4:11 pm ET

I’m very glad you share this story; I hope the fined and prosecute the scum who scammed that lonely single mom you mentioned in your story

Chkm8   July 29th, 2010 5:35 am ET

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis is not referred to the Golden Arch(es). That is the McDonald's trademark. If I was asked, I would think of McDonald's first and then The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. I have been on the Internet since 1991-92 and have never owned a computer cam nor do I own a camcorder. So, this really has no bearing on deciphering a scam. I would be more worried about a person wanting me on cam or knowing a stranger is using a cam. You would be surprised how many perverts have cams, especially pedophiles. Also, in the mid-1990's I used ICQ, IM, and IRC, I had lots of friends who responded slowly because they would be chatting with 3 or more people and if those people were not on my list of friends, I would not see the other person responding to them unless we chose as a group. And, I would not meet anyone for dinner in a short notice if I just met him/her on chat and have not established a strong communication of trust. BTW, civilians are shipped out all of the time to go over seas and work and are not posing as soldiers. I already had an experience with someone who did this and it took a few years to find data that told the truth about the individual not being old enough to have served in a war.

As for the responder stating the women should be humiliated publicly for giving up $50,000, what lack of compassion. People can still be naive and inexperienced in communication; may have the concept to support a man or be swindled without realizing it until too late. It just depends on how long a person is in contact with the scammer. As for the innocent man, he has a huge problem with identity theft being placed in a position of possible lawsuits and the anxiety from all of the drama that was dragged into his life with his email and photo being used in a scam is seriously damaging. Once you destroy the image and character of a person and 'word' gets into the work and social arenas, the outcome is more than just mental anguish. People jump to conclusion and assume too quickly and will ruin a person's career in a short period but will take years or decades to restore the image and character; be prevented from having raises and promotions; have opportunities fail because what he/she does falls on deaf ears and blinded eyes.

Waggie   July 29th, 2010 8:21 am ET

Yes, It has happen to me several times...

BOBO   July 29th, 2010 12:03 pm ET

Whatever happened to meeting people IN PERSON, getting to know them and then developing a romantic relationship...IN PERSON? I mean any idiot can go online and post whatever pics they want and make up whatever crap they want about themselves. Dating sites are ridiculous and only aid in American’s becoming more and more impersonal and anti-social. A spouse shouldn't be something you order and arrange online like some kind of take out meal. In the end, Would you rather risk rejection in person or be swindled out of all your cash and then heartbroken because you’re STILL not loved?

Robert Goebel   July 29th, 2010 1:19 pm ET

Mrs. Boudreau, I am the owner of and I work diligently on a daily basis to flush these scammers from my service. Please let me know if we can work together to catch these criminals and make our online dating communities safer.

wayne harper   July 31st, 2010 8:31 am ET

Poisoned Patriot , great sttory. Why not do a story on Panama canal zone, "us army jungle chemical warfare test center". theu VA tells me
there were no chemicals that were used there and i have no claim for being poisoned. thats a joke. agent orange and every other agent was used and or tested there. i need help.

YepThatHurt   August 11th, 2010 11:52 pm ET

I recently fell for a romance scammer. What an awful experience. I've documented it on my blog:

syndi   August 13th, 2010 3:46 pm ET

Wow!!! I seem to be going thru this part of the stage!! I finally got his address AND phone number to his home in Florida– I called the # and some woman answered and of course i hung up,i havern;t heard from him at all!!! The same exact thing!!!!! Far Out and thank you so much for the heads up!!! Greatly Appreciated in-deed!

liz Temple Ga   August 14th, 2010 7:55 am ET

-Scammers alright, but pretty easy to check out. There are a number of sites that let you log a scammer or check out a scammer. Very effective. Also there are great hints: (1) Scammers rarely have more than 1 or 2 pictures (2) Scammers never have any friends (3) Scammers write in poor english (4) Scammers propose 'love' on the first communication (5) Scammers almost always want you to immediately communicate via 'instant message'.

I'm new to computer world but a little common sense and a quick check will keep your money in your pocket and your heart safe. I get 3-5 attempted scammers a week and I always e-mail them back, let them know we know they are scammers, then I report and block that user.

Ben   August 15th, 2010 3:27 pm ET

My name is Ben, am a private investigator that has done many research and investigation about internet dating scam.

Online dating is a million dollar industry and scammers are rushing in on the trend, taking advantage of vulnerable users both male and female.

Every day, scammers target hundreds of online daters, ans send them mails at random and many have fallen as prey to scam that cost online daters, their valuables or giving them heartbreak and maybe getting them into some extra troubles by living them with huge dept to pay Most people, who go into online dating fall into or come across internet dating SCAM. Over the years I have seen people lose their fortune or get heart broken due to the use of online dating website, not knowing about the dangers it carries. Its easy to to get carried away when using the internet to date; many people who use it are not smart enough to protect themselves.

The only way out of this mess is publicity and educating people about it i finally came up with an ebook which is called Internet dating scam exposed which you can review the book and also download it from here

Wounded Military Dating   September 6th, 2010 2:07 pm ET

Great Service :)

I have a dating website for our wounded military or wounded warriors wherein I blocked the computer IPs of almost 75% of the countries of the world that are known to be spammers, scammers and terrorist haven.

I have the same reason as you – I don't want those crazy people lurking around my site and scamming and spamming my members :)

Wounded Military Dating

Mike   September 23rd, 2010 2:38 pm ET

Dating sites are a gargantuan waste of time. You pay $60 a month for eharmony. It'll give you matches from all over for people that you will never remotely meet (3 or 4 states away), even when you specify a radius of 10-20 miles. You'll get communications from people you think you might click with, but just like the real world, as soon as they see someone with a better picture they are all over that person and talking to them. The laws of attraction are no different on the internet. The only thing that is different is people will take what they see at face value 99% of the time, in the simple hope that the photo they are seeing is who they are actually talking to, because they honestly want to believe its true and to do that they must follow blindly.

Deena   September 24th, 2010 9:11 am ET

I have been on a lot of dating website over the past 8 years or so. Here are the top things you can do to spot fakers or scammers.
- Pictures that look professionally taken.
- Pictures of military guys in uniform (99% of the time are not them).
- No picture and they say they have trouble uploading pictures.
- If they claim to be military they say they are a "USA Soldier on a peace keeping mission in Afghanistan". Im ex military, no service person would ever say that.
- They want a "God fearing woman"
- They claim to have been raised in the US and their profile reads eloquent and "normal", but if you get an email from them, their sentence structure and phrasing is totally wrong. Anyone that is from here would know how to form a sentence.
- They claim to be a "Civil Engineer" but working overseas.
- A lot of them claim to be widowed with children.
- They immediately want to talk on Yahoo instead of the dating site (which I actually dont understand – why Yahoo?)
- They cant answer specific questions about where they live.

A long time ago I talked to a "man" (online), usually email or IM. He said he was from NYC but travelled a lot. He would send me perfect pictures and I was skeptical right off the bat. After months of talking and sharing we were crazy about each other – again online. Then I didnt hear from him for weeks. Of course I was worried (or hooked actually). When he emailed me he said he was in the hospital overseas after a car accident. He said his wallet was taken somehow and had no money. WELL, there go the red flags, it was a matter of time. I begged and pleaded with him to call me. He finally called and the line was static but the heavy foreign accent was obvious. The line went dead and I emailed him and confronted that he was a liar. He actually confessed that he wasnt who he said he was. Thankfully, I never sent money or gave my address or bank information. This whole "relationship" lasted for over SIX months.

So you really have to be careful and if it doesnt seem right, it probably isnt.

Greg   September 24th, 2010 12:04 pm ET

Contacted one site last year, an american girl living in Nigeria contacted me and after 20-30 e-mails told me she loved me and wanted to come home to America to be with me. Sent me a photo of a beautiful girl asking for me to help pay her way to the states so that we could be together.

Did some checking and found out ti was a scam being run all the time. 2 months later on the same site a different picture of a good looking woman was listed with the exact same story as the previous one.

Rocky   September 25th, 2010 9:29 am ET

I use the same safty precaustions for the most part I would in person.
Since anyone, and potencially everyone you meet could be lieing about something.
I tend to keep my safe guards in place, don' give out personal information, untill I totally feel good, even then it minght be phone or address, but my finanaces are not to be shared. A gift is a gift, but I don't ask, and if it's asked I don't give, I'm more of the type to proud to ask so when I see another proud person I offer. At least that way if I do, in the way of a gift with no expectations of it returned, so I'm not ripped off.
Just like everyone knew and still knows the stock market is a risked investment, so are relationships. Why would you be with someone that needs money, unless you willingly choose to suport them, with nothing in returned. It sounds like greed and despratly sad and lonily people get taken advantage of.
Maybe they need lessions on creating, and standing up for their boundries.
Yes there are times that the best of us get taken, but are there really that manby people who would give money to people that they never met face to face?
And I could see saying, you can sleep on the couch, till your inheritance/insurance claim gets settled, but if your friends and family can't or won't help, then that a red flag. Because if they can't that tells me probably not being able to handle money is a learned way to fail, I wouldn't trust them to pay their debts, if they won't help, then there is seriously some charector flaw in that person.
So many people forget as adults male and female has a responsibility to watch out for themselfs just as they would their parents, spouce, or child, because only you are watching the hidden dangers out there in the world waitting for you. (No wonder so many murders, if they fall for money traps what next (oh yea politians like voting for best in the lieing catagory.)

The Truth   September 25th, 2010 12:45 pm ET

If the chick paid $50k to a dude she never met, she was gullible, lonely and desperate. I know a guy who shipped $ to some ugly hag in the Filipines and it was the same type routine: Her dad needed surgery, $10k; later if he ships $ she'll fly and meet him here in the USA; after months she had $25k and when confronted laughed. That $ made her rich in the Filipines.

Solution: Don't ship $ to people you never met. Stop being fat and ugly – go to the gym drop the Big Mac and make yourself appealing. Go meet someone in the real world instead of trolling dating sites.

Boris Morris   September 25th, 2010 9:00 pm ET

I used to get those Nigerian e-mails alot, just deleted them. They claimed to want to give me large sums of money for one thing or another. One day when I was bored, I got one and decided to answer it. I told him that yes, I would help him. I would send him millions of dollars and lots of gold and diamonds and beautiful women all on a private jet to be delivered to him in person. For some reason or another I never heard from him again.

Deena   September 26th, 2010 7:23 am ET

Dear "The Truth",

Your "solution" is rude and uncalled for. While I agree you should never sent money to someone you dont know, your comments about being fat and ugly, etc. contribute to why people use dating sites and become attracted to people online who say all the right things. I feel sorry for any love interests in your life who are subjected to your narrow minded, sociatal expectations.

Furthermore, freedom of speech is one thing, but Im offended that CNN would post your rude comments when they are asking for stories about readers experiences with dating sites.

starting over   September 27th, 2010 11:15 am ET

I have been in multiple dating sites and the following are my exps.: they are widowed with children, live in US but out of country on buisness, or in the military and in Iraq or Afgah. I work with military personnel. I know for a fact that soldiers cannot access a dating sites on government provided computers. They will tell you some sob story how the love of their life was killed leaving them with children to raise. They immediately "love" you and call you all kinds of pet names (hun, babe, baby, etc.). Most of the time they don't live in the state your live in but "are willing to relocate for love." Had one that wanted my address so he could send me something. I didn't give it to him. But I work in a building with armed gaurds so gave him work address. He sent flowers (dzn red roses), chocolates, stuffed bear, and balloon. Two days later asked me for money to get home. Told him he should have thought about that before sending me all that stuff!! Most of the time they are "self-employed". I have called a couple of them on their scams and they act as if I have offended them "how dare you talk to me that way". I have not met Mr. right yet, but have given up on dating sites, it's not worth the hassel. I have not sent anyone money nor will I ever!!! Ladies and Gentlemen please be careful out there. Not everyone is what they seem!!

Giya   September 28th, 2010 2:03 pm ET

While Ive never been scammed (err on the side of cautious) per se, I find it appalling that men post pictures that are not of themselves. What did you think, that when I met you and saw you weren't that chiseled God, I'd be won over by your beer gut and winning personality? Then, if you decide not to see them, you are the vain one with the problem. A lie is a lie is a lie and starting out wih a lie is dangerous and silly.
If your personality is really winning, then have some self-confidence and charm me with it and a REAL picture of yourself. I am aware that beauty is only skin deep, as is the rest of the world.
Besides, If you are a great person and I still am not attracted to you, you deserve to be with someone else who is.

QTpie   September 28th, 2010 3:42 pm ET

Sooooo, whatever happened to meeting people in person and then forming a romantic relationship? I know people want to think that with all the new, advanced technology in this world that we can instantly obtain anything we want, from clothing to "friends" and even lovers, by a simple click of the mouse, but come on people. Romance is a lot more complicated than searching through profiles and sifting through thousands of online photos. You're looking for a lover! Not a used car, or a new phone or the best vacation package, we're talking about humans!!! Take the advice of the Mic Jagger and learn to accept that; YOU CAN'T ALWAYS GET WHAT YOU WANT!

tutt   September 28th, 2010 6:42 pm ET

Just to clear up a point someone made about typical indications a person on a dating site is scamming:

1. Does not post photo – alot of people are actually shy and won't post a picture that others all over the world can see & critique – even if they are actually good looking. I'm on two sites & set up profile but won't post a photo because it doesn't feel "right" plus I don't want any friends or ex-boyfriends to see it and know I'm "looking"!
2. People do respond to certain things. I'm 50 but look 30 (I get ID'd to buy cigs & people I know are younger than I am call me "hon" like I'm a kid or something. I tried putting my right age on my profile but didn't get even one "flirt". Then I altered my age to 40, left everything else the same but got "messages" and "flirts" left & right (I didn't respond to any of them).
3. If people follow their instincts like with old fashioned dating methods – meaning if something, anything, doesn't feel right then there's probably something wrong with that picture, they won't be scammed. Never, ever give anyone you don't know money or valuables because 'decent" people don't ask for things especially if they don't know you.

My heart goes out to people who've sent scam artists money believing the lies those people told them & letting their hearts get involved. It is impossible to "love" someone you don't know even if you have a physical attraction to them. My motto is "if you're so great – why are you looking for a girlfriend" so I take all of it with a grain of salt. If someone is new in town or recently divorced or even widowed (it happens) & hasn't dated in a long time & doesn't do bars then it's reasonable to expect them to turn to internet dating. But if the person has a drop dead gorgeous photo & sounds like superman or woman – look for flaws & reasons not to believe anything they say & don't give out personal info or money.

C.Weder   September 29th, 2010 2:42 pm ET

I am not surprised really about this scam, because I have been talking with this man now for a year + But I can't seem to shake him off! I need help with this mess! Thank You----

kat   September 30th, 2010 12:39 am ET

On line dating is ok. The problem is who is their right mind would send a stranger money????? I wouldn't lend my best friend money. It' usually ends friendships.

bruna dessena   September 30th, 2010 1:35 pm ET

I went on a gay womans dating site, On first contact this woman asked for my personal email so that she could start email me. by the third email she was sending pics and a long story about how she is now in ::an african country working as a aid with her 11 year old daughter.....
she then told me she is living with a black family who takes all her money, she has lots of money back home from the states where she is from . She then gave me a long involved story how she will reveil the combination to the lock on her suitcase that she will send me that is full of money and is sitting at the airport in a locker if I first send over some money to get her and her daughter out the house from ""this balck family that are terrorising me and my daugter and making our lives a nightmare"" I wrote back and told her in no uncertain words she was irresponsible to be taking her daughter tAfrica while she works, that this was clearly a 419 scam and I will be reporting her to the website we met on and be warning all other users of that site.

Jylla   September 30th, 2010 6:56 pm ET

I've been on dating sites for at least a decade and I have had a number of excellent and not so excellent (but real life) experiences. The one thing that I do differently, I think, is that I meet people for coffee as soon as I can. I refuse to email to death. If you want to meet me, let's do it. I'm not going to dink around while you hem and haw over whether or not you are mentally capable to meet someone in a public place for coffee.

And I have been hit up by internet dating scammers, but I can usually cull them from the herd quickly.

Notallbad   October 1st, 2010 4:20 pm ET

Thought I just wanted to add, that not all dating on the internet is bad and that not all people on the sites are crooks, there are actually a lot of normal, but busy, people out there, who just want to find someone, like yourself, and yes people who go to the gym regularly can also date online, including undersigned. As well as people with responsibilities, jobs, busy lives, who travels a lot, shared kids from previous marriage, who just don't see themselves trawling bars or are not religious enough to join a church group etc. Besides these days it is almost considered creepy if someone of the opposite sex you don't know starts talking to you. Me and my wife found each other online and are happily married, and I know a lot of other people with the same story. In many ways it can be a better way to safely learn to know somebody else if pay attention and keep it real, don't believe something that is too good to be true. It can be overwhelming with all these moviestar lookalikes with jetset lifestyles, my advice is to just pass all of that and go for the normal looking people with normal stories and normal lives, unless you are a moviestar yourself with a jetset lifestyle to match...

ELROY   October 2nd, 2010 4:02 am ET

I love to get email from profiles displaying an above average looking young female in a seducing picture telling me how much she adores my profile but not tell me what was liked about it. I'll respond to 'her' email with a completely vulgar obscene comment or request that truly is unbecoming and in reality uncharacteristic of me. Then the response I receive is usually some preprogrammed auto response indicating how happy she is to hear back from me. I think it can be fun and therapeutically beneficial to mess with them before they can get to me. I had one 'live' scammer waiting on me to send my yahoo im to him or her for days.

C Johnson   October 3rd, 2010 1:12 pm ET

Yes, this happens on Zoosk and Plenty of Fish dating sites. One man tried to scam someone using the name Rodger Sims who claimed to be Italian. He wanted money to get his merchandise out of customs in Nigeria. All of these sites need to be more closely monitored so that innocent people don't get hurt.

B. Briggs   October 4th, 2010 3:21 pm ET

It's simple. Ask to see them on WEBCAM. If it' a no – well, then they are lying. Also, never give money to anyone you meet online. It's just foolish.

D. White   October 7th, 2010 11:17 am ET

Wow. I didn't realize how gullible and lonely most people are.

nirejay   October 7th, 2010 9:10 pm ET

If you are stupid enough to send $50,000.00 to someone you haven't met you deserve to get ripped off.

Linda Fister   October 7th, 2010 11:09 pm ET

Where I live the state is almost bankrupt and the city is broke.. Our govt. is radical taking over student loans and health care and housing during a time of quasi depression. Criminal behavior flourish's during such times and the authors request's of FBI and other resources get involved in the dating world is nuts. They have limited resources and dating is not one of them. Besides they have no jurisdiction abroad. what happened to the good old days when u met in person. or went out for a coffee to star bucks. Oh ya no one can afford a cup of coffee. The factor the author is forgetting to mention in her attack is the extreme money scams come from abroad. How many people do you know in day to day life who date woman from Nigeria or crazy place's like this. the folks who send money have some sort of issues . Being lonely is one thing, but what we read here are folks who lack smarts. Face it dating sucks. everyone would like to meet mr right or mrs right. I think we need articles by this quick witted reporter on the jack ass obama and how today i read his program to save the country sent out millions of dollars to the dead and men in prison. It is ironic claims of voter fraud went down and the democrats were using dead people.. now dead people are getting checks in the mail. FBI and the authority's need to focus on issues such as these and leave the dating for this author's crusade. I will look for a date when I can find a job. Our country is so far in debt and dating is the topic. Focus on such a small percentage of suckers who send cash abroad to con men when the real con man is in office sending checks to dead men and those who voted for him from the pen. get a grip.

Ralph J. Monasterio   October 14th, 2010 9:48 pm ET

I don't see how a woman can be scammed out of her $50,000.00 for trying to know and date a man. I's THE OTHER WAY AROUND. There was this story where, one man in The State of Florida, who sent this woman $2,222.20 or approximately 100,000.00 pesos to a Phillippine address, INTENDING for her to come to Florida, so he can marry her.

It turned out that the SCAMMER...used a picture of the daughter of a Philippine Actress-Singer to make everything look LEGITIMATE. He even wrote all those love letters to our VICTIM in Florida over a period of time. Finally, he wrote our victim that he will come to Florida Intl Airport to marry him.

I'm using the word "he" because, that's what he was....a "bini-boy" or CROSS-DRESSER. Our victim waited and waited at the Airport for the arrival of his intended "fiance" who never arrived. He even carrried Candy and Flowers for his fiancee. Obviously. She was never a woman to begin with. He was our "bini-boy" otherwise known as the scammer, playing the role of the "intended fiance".

By the time the victim arrived in the Philippines to conduct an investigation with the assistance of the local authorities, the scammer's trail suddenly goes cold. And our victim from Florida is now out $2,222.22 Plus expenses. The COLLEGE of HARD KNOCKS....sometimes can be very expensive. This incident......actually happened!

lynn   October 22nd, 2010 8:13 am ET

Hello to all, I had a guy to find me and I was not on a dating site. He claimed to have seen my pictures off of someone elses facebook page. He sent me some emails and I responded to them we chatted back and forth through email and he gave me a number that I told him it was too many numbers and he said to call it please and I said no he in turned asked me for my number he called and we I'm each other and emailed back and forth for over a month and he said his wife died three years ago from breast cancer and he had two kids Kate 8 John 5 and that they were in the UK with his mom and cousin he said he had his own construction company with a business partner 3 personal assistants and 30 workers and he was waiting to get paid 600,000 us dollars and he was almost finish with the project and was coming here with me and I asked him what about his kids wouldn't you want to see them first he told me they wanted a new mom and couldn't wait to be with me I said I don't believe that at all he sent me 6 teddy bears gourmet gift baskets balloons roses even sent my mom 5 gift baskets of fruit,snacks ect. He also sent me a candy bouquet with over 50 candy bars. He asked me to look out for a check that a company in the us owed him he coulndt cash it in Nigeria and asked me to keep until he came that's when I did the search online and found about the scam I don't believe anything that sounds too good to be true. I contacted the places he had the gifts shipped from and told them he was a fraud and they told me thanks and one company already had the order he sent under investigation I told them if they wanted the items back I would send them back they told to donate them to a needy child I called my local police and they told me I wasn't a victim because I didn't send anything or cash any checks or money orders he called me and asked me to come online I told him I was in jail and he asked why I told him the fbi came to my house for the gifts he had sent to me and he stopped chatting with me. I thank God I am not desperate and that I love myself and that I don't let my gaurds down for people if it sounds like a fairytale it is.

Be aware!

Don   November 21st, 2010 7:40 pm ET

Been part of a scam for 6 months. We talked on IM, on the phone and even used webcams, so I know that I was talking to her. It wasn't until time for her to come here, that it became clear that she was a scammer. I verified the email, from the header and it was from Ghana, even sent her a birthday card. It was one of those that when you open it, it would play music. She had never seen one of those before, so I knew she had received it. It was a PO box, because she did not know the street she lived on (lived with her mother, whom I 'met" on webcam). She gave me some real directions using landmarks, but when I tried google to locate the area in Ghana that she had mentioned, many street names were missing (a disclaimer said that street names in Ghana changed frequently except for major roads).

I knew I was talking with her, and seeing her on webcam, as she would do some of the littles things I asked (to prove she was who I was writing to at that moment). It took a month before she asked for anything. Then it was only for $30. A couple months later it was for the cost of having her Russian passprot renewed. The amount was correct and was not too much to send; I received a copy of the "passport" the next day in the email. It looked valid, but still sent it off to the Russian consulate for verification. It took a month before I received anything back, and then it was said to be a professional job using photoshop.

The scammers have gone hi-tech, and you may still not know for some time that you are involved with a scammer.

Paula Sbabo   November 27th, 2010 12:07 pm ET

I'm trying to find out why these scammers need a physical address. I have offered to give my P.O. Bx but they don't want that. Also i have men ask me to open an account so they could put money in it. I'm told I can spend some of the money on bills and such, but I don't know what thyey are trying to do. Some even want to send me a check to cash and send them the money, eventhough I acn keep some of it.

Fran Atkinson   January 26th, 2011 11:38 am ET

I believe I was almost "would be" victim on as a previous member of a dating site. At first I was getting a lot of nice emails from interesting sounding guys with nice pictures. After a few days of chats with the one I liked the most, he suddenly got angry when I would not go on live chat and webcam and his picture, profile and pics and profiles of 4 or 5 other guys who had written me suddenly dissappeared all at the same time.
I felt violated and afraid and tried to remember if I had said anything that might give away my whereabouts. I wrote to the staff of the site and deleted my membership.
Is there any clues, m.o.'s, signs we can look for to know if someone is real or fake?

cathy rae   February 15th, 2011 4:51 am ET

I have read your dating scam article..I may well be in the middle of one of these military scams...the soldier Iam talking to says hes in Kabul..Afgan...he has sent me lots of photos of him and one of his crew...
He may well be genuine,but I have doughts..
Is there anyway I can authenticate the photos he has sent me...?


cathy rae

Cavalloxx   February 28th, 2011 6:52 pm ET

I have been, in fact, a victim and have much I can share. I am still working on leads with help from local state police and lawyers. I have some interesting information. My teeth are deeply inserted in this rampant and sick problem, and I am not letting go.

Donna L. Miller   July 11th, 2011 5:23 pm ET

...guys these scammers are not all overseas. I believe I have met my scammer. He is right here in the United States. Even when we met gave me a promise ring, marriage and said he would sell his house give me some of my money back. Then he wouldn't take a turn and come to my house. Long story, say he was driving then not show. Just dumped me after two months then low and behold he has another woman on his page doing the same thing. This guy had her changing her relationship status to "in a relationship" just like he had me do, only he never changes his status from "single". This guy changes his screennames, so many hard to keep up. If you listen closely while talking they will give you information you can connect to their real lives.
This guy is in the entertainment business and therefore, conclusion is where all those photos of male models come from. I have been involved over two years, you develop feelings. But bottom line they need to be stopped from taking cash from human beings. A lot of damage, sorrow, hurt sets in. They promise to repay not like we are just giving them cash. Please turn in all your numbers, addresses, screennames, headrers off emails to local police and make a federal complaint also, think it is clalled IC-3 or something like this. Don't leave anything to chance no matter how small you think it is.

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