Using fake online dating profiles with photos of other people, scammers say they are from the U.S. but are temporarily traveling or working overseas.
Most romance (or friendship) scams start with fake profiles on online dating sites created by stealing photos and text from real accounts or elsewhere. Some of the fictitious occupations include working on an oil rig, in the military, or as a doctor with an international organization.
Scammers quickly profess their love and tug at the victim’s emotions with fake stories and their need for money. They often request money for reasons such as a plane ticket, other travel expenses, and customs fees – all needed to get back into the country. The victims often wire their “sweetheart” scammers money or share login credentials with them.