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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

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

March 21, 2017

In reply to by Tera 22

Tara, you need to be very careful with the online dating websites.
Unsure in texas
June 02, 2017

In reply to by Marion

What about a guy named Sargent Jimmy Gabriel off of Facebook? He is asking for iTunes card?????
June 07, 2017

In reply to by Unsure in texas

i meet one us army also in the net just a month back. he is asking for call card, and when i tell him i will barrow credit card from my friend he told me no.. i dont like you barrow money to a friend bcs of me.and i tot he is real but i start searching so army scam on internet is everywhere so i start doubt now. i ask asking send an email to me with army email add, it has 'mil' last part so now im confuse please hepl if he is real or not
July 25, 2017

In reply to by judi

iTunes card is a way of stealing as well. Since they will not give you a place to send the card, what they will do is ask you to scratch off the part of the card, iTunes says not to. They use that number to somehow get money from it. Has nothing to do with Apps, or music.
August 04, 2017

In reply to by bdsteers

Hi I have been contacted by 3 different men (possible scammers) through Facebook I have pictures but as someone said you cannot share them on here. I do however have DM saved to my phone from two of them, one went as far as asking me to purchase an Itunes card for his son for his phone I told him no I don't have the money well he stopped talking to me for awhile that day, when we started talking to me it was from how was your day at work and I think your beatiful and we are made for each other I hope you feel the same as I do ect ect. Well I went along with it until I did a photo reverse search found out the photos were not his they were all over the place from different scammers (Probably the same one). I can later post our conversation and the second one too. The second one claimed he was in the military and I knew better better because I did the reverse photo search on the pictures to and they were all over the place as well. We started emailing each other his IP address pinged him (probably from a software) as being in the UK i went to email him and all my emails came back telling me the email address did not exist so I replied back to his original email he sent me telling him I knew he was a scammer and not from the military. Just easier for me to insert our conversation then trying to explain in detail. Almost was contacted by a third one who was old looking in his photo (widow which they like to pretend to have the victim in the photo to be) we didn't even talk 2 mins and the account was gone no trace or anything. Must of been one of the scammers I had a previous fun time with online the day before. Well all I have to say is just be careful who you talk to and please please don't give anyone any money, they get mad they get mad, better them being mad at you then you having no money.
Don't use your…
November 11, 2017

In reply to by Pam

How d u do a reverse picture look up?
July 17, 2018

In reply to by Hammertime2018

I would like to do a reverse photo search Hoe do I do it
'amanda sue green
April 09, 2018

In reply to by daisy

Casey. Im talking witha a guy with the name Eden Mark. He is soppose to work as a syria. He has two children who he needs me to become a nanny too. Sopposely. He wired 3,000 to his friend in Dallas and he never took it to the childrens nanny. The nanny he has now went to conforont the man who was soppose to delieverthe money. The man had took off with 3,000.00.i didnt want them hunggru so i offered 300.00 to be given on the 18th of this month.I need to know if anuone else has had a guy by this name offer them a job?
January 01, 2018

In reply to by Pam

May 01, 2018

In reply to by BONNIE TUCKER

Hi ladies can you please send me a picture of him
September 20, 2017

In reply to by bdsteers

Omg this guy I was talking to on that dating site coffee meet bagel his name is "john" he has an army ranger uniform on. As soon as we started chatting almost he said let's chat off this so. E like an idiot gives him my cell # . So this was like almost a month ago. Said he was from New Jersey john philips. Didn't hear from him for about 2 weeks. Omg he texts me at midnight last night said he was captured and bleeding and held hostage and he needs my help. (Now he's supposed to be in Texas so he said 2 weeks ago ) I said so your in Texas???? Held hostage but managed to escape. now today he asks me to send him an ITunes card in 2 places. Ummm no. I blocked him right away.
desert rosebud
March 28, 2018

In reply to by bdsteers

They want you to purchase iTunes or Vanilla card put out by Mastercard. Visa. Ask you to take pic and text it to them. Then order something over Net or by phone.
tired of scammers
June 11, 2017

In reply to by Unsure in texas

Hi Unsure in texas, I too have come across guys that are asking for I-Tune gift cards. After taking to one guy three weeks later I discover another one. Both asking for the same card. They both claim to be working on an oil rigs in the Golf Of Mexico. I never sent a thing. Their IDs are jimmy scott and Steve Mark. I am now texting with a guy who just this last weekend was relocated to an oil rig in the same place. Like a lot of these men they say they are engineers working for BP( British Petroleum) or another oil company. He romanced me, telling me how much he loved me and yes I was really falling for this guy. Talking about getting married with in a month of emails, texting, and phone calls. He was addressing me to every one as his wife. When I confronted him about it, he said, he was too old to say girlfriend. Just two days ago he asked me for a gift card because he just had to call his daughter and mommy in the UK, every night. I thought that was strange, ever night ? He clams he has no credit care, only a bank card. Any man that travels from the UK to the USA with not addictional credit source is crazy. He also let me know that he had to give up his computer and phone when he boarded the oil rig. But was able to use the platform phone. I do understand the phone, and I did ask around and some off shore rigs do require that you give up your computer. He had asked me to delete my profile not too long after we met, I told him I did. But my big clue as to any problem was when I went back on the dating sight to save all our emails and his profile for future reference. I noticed he had been on the dating sight the day before. It was not the first time I noticed it. I'm wondering now if he wanted me to deactivate my profile just so I never seen him on the dating sight again. It seems that a lot of these men want you to either delete or deactivate your profile soon after communicating with them. I explained to this guy that I don't have the money to buy him a gift care. He asked for a $150.00 electronic gift card. I had to look it up on the internet. I have not heard back from him yet, but it has only been one day. I hate to think of him as a scammer but at the same time I think he is.
July 17, 2017

In reply to by tired of scammers

I have been talking to a man who has been calling me his wife from very early on. He also says he is a contractor on the oil rigs. He claimed to have a daughter who was in missionary school in the UK. Somehow she ended up in Nigeria stranded with an expired passport. The money was an issue from the beginning. It started with him asking me to send his daughter a birthday gift and when I asked what he thought was appropriate he told me the new iPhone would be good. I have a lot of photos of him and his daughter. He calls himself Roger Adamo and he is very convincing. I became suspicious early on but was so totally in love that I believed his lies and explainations. This has gone on for many months and it has been a constant plee for financial help from him . There is always some tragic situation that he requires help with the last of which being a car accident his daughter was in and they are both now in Nigeria stranded. She is in a coma and he is without a driver's license so the money is wired to John Obara. Sarah Marsden was supposedly Belinda Adam's teacher who also picked up a wire transfer of cash I sent thru Western Union and MoneyGram. I told him I can't send anymore money and now he is saying he is too weak and can't be strong if I don't stand by him. He says he must see the doctor tomorrow to have his heart checked he thinks he is dying and wants me to care for our daughter should anything happen to him. I feel so foolish for allowing this to go on so long. I knew this was not right but I wanted him so much I just turned a blind eye to everything and all the warning signs were right in front of me. I have phone numbers for him from three dirrerent places in the states...LA and Hawthorne CA.Also one from Pachogue, NY He sent me lots of pictures also. I gave him all of my information and twice he sent fraudulent checks that my bank caught. Thank God! Anyone recognize any of the names I listed or places associated with the phone numbers? Please help.
July 29, 2017

In reply to by Glory

Hello, I have also been talking with a guy I meet through fb. I would like to know if you can share pictures. Because my guy is all over the place and I fell for the man in in the pictures not the man behind the screen. I have confronted him regarding what I have seen and he gets up set with me......I've been so done.
August 03, 2017

In reply to by FTC Staff

Hello Mrs. Bridget. I known a man named Paul Hanks. He said that he is from Chicago, He is a soldier who was deployed in Raqqa, Syria. He always sent me sweet talks, give his concern for me. He promises to make me happy, and would visit my country. He also told me when he was on operation. We have chatted for a month, and he never talked about money. even when i told him that i have a plan to arrest my ex because my ex was stolen my money, he agreed with me, sounds usual. But one day, he told me that his team was discover a huge amount of money in Aleppo, and shared among them. He asked me if he could evacuate that money to my country, and I could help him to receive it. Now i really confused, is He real person or scammer? when i feel doubt about him, he asked me to stop our relationship. would you please help me to analyze my story?
May 09, 2018

In reply to by Winda

Scammers do not just scam one victim, they can triangulate. "How?", you may ask. They convince one victim (victim1) to send money to the other victims (victim2) bank account by pretending he cannot access his account for some reason (cannot access internet, lost debit card and ask to wire money into friends account, ...). The list of excuses can be extensive. Then they ask victim2 to transfer the money to the account they want the money transferred to - typically an international bank account not in the same country. The scammer then gets their money. Victim1 realizes this is a fraud and has the details of victim2's bank account details. Police contact Victim2 and try to obtain the funds that victim1 had obtained but the money is long gone. In your instance, he may have asked for money to help bribe someone to pretend to get the money out fo the country or utilised a victim2 to put money into your account only to send it to him overseas for him to enjoy
January 20, 2018

In reply to by FTC Staff

I've "met" 2 different guys on Twitter. One says he's a Sargeant in the army, stationed in Afghanistan. He almost immediately asked me to move our chat to "Hangouts" & of course he's a widow from Boston and loves me and has sent me pictures of a guy in the army. His name is Kingsly Good. His asking for money stems from some money he supposedly made while working in Africa and all that money and his army paycheck are in a safety deposit box in Ghana and he's begging me to take possession of it for him until he retires in a couple of months. I emailed the security company and they answered with an extremely unprofessional written letter detailing how I should send this Dr Ali Ibrahim the sum of $1250.00 and then the package that supposedly holds a fortune, will be shipped to my address. When I promptly responded to that email with a quick " I'm not interested" I told Kingsley that they were asking for money from me and that I didn't have it. He told me I would get it all back and that he loved me so much he wouldn't hurt me. After days of telling him no that I wouldn't be sending money, I got another email from the securities company. It blatantly asked me "what's really going on?" And "Are you sending the money or not?" And "We need to know where you stand on this." There were no capital letters in any of their sentences and the grammar was horrible and so is the grammar that comes from the texts I get from Sgt. Kingsley Good. I'm just letting people know who I'm freaking with. I'm never sending money to anybody I've never met in person, for any reason. My other guy is a Captain Mickey Stokes on a cargo ship headed to Hong Kong. He's also a widow with a son in boarding school in the UK, where he's from. He quickly asked me to move from Twitter to Whatsapp. He told me he loved me within a couple days and now calls me his " million dollar egg baby" . His very important documents and a large amount of cash are being held in a company called Westline services. All of a sudden they are closing down in the next week and they need for him to claim his luggage from their storage facility. This was at least 2 weeks ago. He gave me the batch and compartment number so I could write the company and tell them I would receive the luggage on his behalf. I wrote the email and they wrote back that I had to send them my physical address and a copy of my federal used identification and after they received it they would release the luggage. I wrote and sent a picture of an old expired driver's license of mine that I had blackened out every official number that was on it. They promptly wrote back that "everything checked out" and as soon as I transferred $2410 into the Bank of The West to the name of Rose Nguyen, I would get the luggage delivered to me. I told them no and told Mickey no and he got really mad and told me is get my money back because he would give me the combination to the box as soon as I told him I had received it. I told him I didn't have that kind of money and he also told me to send what I could. I will mention that Kingsley also told me to send what I could. I wrote Westline Services another email asking them what exactly could have checked out about me since I sent them an expired driver's license with all the official numbers redacted!?. I also asked them for their federal ID number they used to do business as. They responded that their information was highly classified since they were a securitys company and gave me a breakdown of the charges for the luggage stating that the prices were non negotiable. Without any capital letters and non existing grammar and punctuation, they then state that no 1 and 2 did not have to be paid but that 3 & 4 were mandatory. They were for a tracking device $130.00 and shipping $1200.00. The other amounts were for documentation and an affidavit. I am just reporting these two incidents that are trying to happen to me. I'm not sending any money to anybody I don't know. I also wanted to share the scams and the names in case anybody else is being scammed in the same way. Both of these guys are still talking to me and trying to get me to send these monies. I don't know how to look up their pictures online. I did spokeo on the phone number I have for Mickey Stokes and it came back with no results. I know the area code 613 is from New York. It's 613-364-4971. It's supposed to be the shops number but he's sent me a picture of supposedly him, using an iPhone. Mickey did also ask me to but him an iPhone X and the latest Mac Pro Computer. He is supposed to be buying me a Jeep when he gets to Hong Kong. I'm still saying no. Thank you for your time in reading all this and I hope it helps somebody.
February 10, 2018

In reply to by RhoAberFisher

Do you happen to have a pic of this person? I think the same is happening to me. The first name is different. Calls himself david good and he claims he is in the army. Any help would be appreciated. I have not given any info and do not intend to. He keeps calling me from thru an app. I never answer. Overly friendly.
June 18, 2018

In reply to by V.

Hello, Please contact me. I am currently going through a similar situation with someone name Dave who suppose to be in the Army deployed in Syria. I fell for the trunk box scam and is now out $1100 not sure if this is the same guy.

June 18, 2018

In reply to by Hatewrk

Do you have a picture of this "Dave" guy?
June 27, 2018

In reply to by scrapbookhaven

I do have a pic of Dave. I've tried looking him up on the Internet no luck.
July 18, 2018

In reply to by Jules

Does this Dave guy have big brown eyes and a cute smile,, and very short hair and a resending hairline? When I talk to him is name is Rene.. And when we video chat he is always sitting in a chair with an airplane hanging behind him.. Let me know if this is the same guy.. He is the love of my life now.. I send him Cards when i can afford it, not much though only a hundred..
March 30, 2019

In reply to by Furbaby

I have similar described features of this man that goes by the name Jacob Handy
March 13, 2020

In reply to by Mana

Hes whmy mother isgetting caught up in the scam and she's so into it because she's desperate for affection and attention in a relationship is they're saying they have gold bars and yamin trying to get cleared but are having issues and in order for money to reflect on her account she needs to have at least $100 and I keep trying to tell her it's not it but she's so believing in it it's hurting my heart and I just need more information about stories of the guy with the name handy on hangouts or Whatsapp possibly any information and details are helpful
Jill Watson
September 13, 2018

In reply to by Hatewrk

My mom had a similar thing happened to her is name was Anderson bretrez carter
wild stang
February 12, 2018

In reply to by RhoAberFisher

this may be the same guy writing me wants me to send my personal info and closest airport name along with a copy of drivers license etc to some weird company. he has a daughter that is going to a private school while is out on business in turkey he says. please send me a pic and let me see if its the same guy. thank you
Worried mother
March 10, 2018

In reply to by wild stang

Hi there I think I have the same guy as you scamming me and from the same sort of time he says he has a 10yr old in a boarding school in turkey and his wife died in a car accident he works on the oil rigs? He calls himself Jason and has a picture of him and his daughter on Facebook I’m going to save this link as this is scary how similar this story is I hope you see this WILD STANG
July 28, 2018

In reply to by Worried mother

I have that same one. Calls himself Wilson. Fake kids. Even one of the "kids" has a fake profile on Facebook. Google imaged his pictures and 'kids' pictures and they turned up in many places under different names. There's pressure to send an intimate photo and it comes right before some manufactured emergency requiring money.
March 14, 2018

In reply to by wild stang

Hi please contact me if you can. My grandmother is in this same situation. With a guy named Michael. On a oil rig. With an 11year old daughter in boarding school. She has sent him thousands. Please respond. We can not convince her to stop helping him. We have a pic of him and his daughter as well. He is ripping her off.

March 17, 2018

In reply to by nicolyculkin88

I am having the same problem with this guy name Jeff Scott says he had a daughter that got killed while doing a job in Africa he sued the company that struck her he was back in the US and needed money to send to Africa to release his funds then ask for money for iTunes to activate the account in the US...
April 20, 2018

In reply to by Feedupwithbegging

I was taking to a guy named Jeff Scott he said he had one daughter n 2 were adpoted his wife was cheating on him n he was in Africa .. the picture his using r very handsome and very build with blue eyes
April 24, 2018

In reply to by Bella

Hi Bella, how old is his daughter and his 2 adopted daughters. Do you have pictures of him and his daughter. What part of Africa is he at? Can you describe he more on what he looks like in other pictures if you have some more. Thanks
March 17, 2018

In reply to by nicolyculkin88

Wow I too know someone who recently went to Turkey on business, has a daughter in private school and is in the construction business. He is now stuck in Turkey and needs money. Of I’m not sending him any. Can’t find him listed any where he says he is from.
June 04, 2018

In reply to by Ssabh

Is his name Ardan Bartley, daughter is Lisa? He told me he is originally from France and is living in Dublin Ireland, he imports lg appliances, he’s in turkey to declare the goods, and tells me today his credit card is not working and he needs $1500 or they will return $500, 000 of goods for his buyers. Wow! And a week ago he gave me BS story they were out of iTunes cards at the mall, and he needs $200 for his daughter to buy movies...I bought $100 after relentless arguing - this is too common???? I’m not desperate, and I can pick up any man here where I live...these scammers are really good salesmen- UNBELIEVABLE!!!! Self worth game ladies, we need to step UP! No man that is honestly interested in you, would EVER ask for money from you NO MATTER THE SITUATION!!!!!!
June 13, 2018

In reply to by WendyGS

Sounds like a man using the name of Dante Coolman. Works as Petroleum Engineer using a legitimate business mans photos. Tall, piercing blue eyes. Said he was born in Spain to an American Father and Spanish mother. Has a daughter in Boarding school and wife dies of cancer. He never got a dime out of me.
July 03, 2018

In reply to by Notthistime

Hi I think this is the guy I was talking to. Wesley Hallberg. Salt and pepper hair. Piercing blue eyes. Do you want to exchange pictures?
December 09, 2018

In reply to by Freebird

I also encountered Wesley Sean Hallberg in 2016. Istanbul scam. Same guy. His photo still pops up on POF and I chase him down every time and report the profile.
July 23, 2018

In reply to by Notthistime

I spoke with the same guy I think. Do you jave pictures of him. Did he contact you on a dating site.