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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.

Me too
May 08, 2018

In reply to by Imarealgirl

I too have been talking to Honest Rayone. He sent me pictures of Grant Cardone saying that he changed his name. This was after I found out the truth on the internet & ask him. Would love to know exactly who he is because he has a lot of my money ?
Canada girl
August 15, 2018

In reply to by Me too

May was contacted on facebook chaated bit widow 4 yrs 14 yr old daughter. Boarding school california. From spain. No siblings. Parents died when young. On oil rigs greece. Goes by phillips smith. Seemed legit. Blocked me off facebook after getting me on hangouts. Picture sent turned out to be some dupes from grant cardone instagram etc. Just found out about pictures matching grant today. Chatted bit then got to request of itune, uber cards. I did not send. Trying to findout who is. Recently resurfaced after being distant.
November 07, 2018

In reply to by Canada girl

Hi Canada girl, I’ve been talking to a guy that said he’s been a widow 4yrs with a 14 yr old daughter in boarding school in the UK no siblings and parents both dead. He started talking to me on instagram than got me to join hangout, he said he was from Canada but in Syria on peacekeeping missions. He is very sweet and sounds sincere, first he asked for $1000 said he needed it for daughters hospital treatment, when I said I didn’t have it than asked for iTune cards as soon as he asked for the money I knew it was a con but he got my Mobil number before he asked for money now he is trying to hack my Facebook, I’m still talking to him to try and flush out more info on him. Sounds like the same guy you were talking too.
May 15, 2018

In reply to by Cherylw

Hi, I have been talking to a man named Ian Allen Johnson who says he's from Texas but is an engineer and is working on a contract for drilling off the Gulf of Mexico. Making 3.5 million on this deal. Has twin girls that are 7, his wife left him when they were young. Says he's 54 years of age BUT says his wife around the same age. That was one clue that didn't seem right. He said he prefers Hangouts and wanted me to use that for connecting with him. Then he calls and says his girls birthdays are May 20th and wanted me to send them a gift card....because he told them all about me......seriously. When that happened I hung up......he then stopped contact and then one week later says he's sorry he hasn't talked to me but he was rushed to hospital in Mexico had kidney stones. All basically some of the same stories.
Get Real
May 16, 2018

In reply to by Karen60

Karen60, Sounds like the same guy I've been talking with for a few months now. He's engineer, wife and eldest child died in car accident, multi million dollar contract to work on oil rig, and has two children he wants me to be mother to. He has been asking money for daughter, iphone, etc. There's always a story. Says he dropped his phone in the sea. Now he's taking my real stories and using them like last month when I had to go to hospital for kidney stone. These guys will steal everything even our real life stories. What a bunch of blood suckers. Sad to say they only care about the money and only the money. These people need to be shut down so they can't destroy anymore lives.
Standardbred woman
June 14, 2018

In reply to by Get Real

Sounds like Max Nero but both kids are in pvt schools and I even got a email with the same IP address from his son. Like people don't Cary debit cards. If you can get on line in the middle of the golf you can use debit card to pay your bills. Its funny how these men can do this.
August 22, 2018

In reply to by Karen60

Karen, I think this same guy has been talking with me but goes by the name Michael Ian. Do you have pictures, I do and will share.
September 03, 2018

In reply to by Karen60

I also spoke to him same story.....he actually blamed me for your post because we have the same name. I dont give money.....he delete his profile
I'm done!
November 06, 2018

In reply to by Karen60

Sounds like a man named Andy Johnson. A faithful Christian Peteochemical engineer widower from Houston TX with a son . I just saw his picture on Twitter. Tall guy, clean shaven leaning against a table wearing a black suit. Looks like he took the pic at an event or wedding. Some pics hes well dressed down and selfies. Never anyone in the pics with him...Travels often. He got me for 15k.
November 16, 2018

In reply to by I'm done!

I had same thing by a couple of names Jonathan weaver and Michelle Young
January 12, 2019

In reply to by I'm done!

I’ve just been talking to a guy on Google Hangouts named Grey Tiller. I bet it’s the same guy. Claims he’s from Houston and is a share holder in a company called Elite Shipping. He’s working in Scotland, but plans to retire soon. Wants to travel the world with me. I never gave him any money, but he began asking for iTunes cards. I sent him a screen shot of some of the comments here, and he hasn’t responded. He’s blonde and is using photos of a man named Frank Lukas, claiming to be him.
December 03, 2020

In reply to by Karen60

Hi Karen60. I was talking to an Allen Johnson that friended me on Facebook. 12 yo daughter and 6 yo twins, wife died giving birth. Two weeks of Love you, can't live without you kind of texts on WhatsApp, and I'm ready to move to Dallas where his kids live. Oh, and his 96 year old mother takes care of them. But now she is rushed to the hospital. It's Cancer. Hired a nanny to care for kids, now needs money to pay the nanny. Oh, brother. I didn't send any money. It's been a week and I haven't heard anything. He closed his Facebook page, too.
May 29, 2018

In reply to by Cherylw

Sound just like the guy who scammed me he promised to come home four times now.
June 28, 2018

In reply to by Cherylw

Do a reverse image search.. The military ones always have reasons they can't access their money but will pay you back. He's retiring soon etc..
July 02, 2018

In reply to by Cherylw

Hi, I am very sorry! I have the same thing in Hangouts. I'm in contact with him the whole time. Did you also have a video message with him? How did he look in the photo? I have some photos of him. dark blond hair and glasses, good-looking, smarter

July 08, 2018

In reply to by pbuegle

My guy went from fb to Hangouts also. He sent pics I asked for, did Skype, same guy in all pictures. From Scotland, civil engineer. Only child parents died when he was a little boy. One daughter in boarding school, wife died from breast cancer. Sweet guy, good looking. Didn't ask for money for months. Never asked for bank info. Was willing to send his MasterCard because he can't get it to work. Stuck in Nigeria on business. Goes by the name Albert William. Anybody else talking to him?
August 11, 2018

In reply to by Beenhad

Very close to the story I'm getting from Michael Ian. From Scotland, Chemical Engineer, 2 kids in boarding school, Very sweet, good looking guy. Would love to share pictures.
February 01, 2019

In reply to by lydia0303

These people's job is to scam others. They sit in a room with computer screens mounted everywhere. They run 100 -150 monitor at one time. The screen is split into two or 3 screens. They keep bio on what they said until you block them everyway. They then send your info to another who they think can get more or something out of you. Even with so much info, I would get lost and confused myself. They keep it straight for a while.
April 30, 2018

In reply to by Nancy

Hi, I find it amusing at this point about these scammers I am contacted at least once a week, the same story Wife died in a car accident, Kids in Boarding School, he’s employed by the Military over seas or out to sea LOL! They start with the terms of Endearment, My Dear, My love, etc. try to get you on other forms of contact, hangouts, email....look at there pictures (Instagram) dates are usually close together. I am at the point now that I turn it around on them and ask them for a hand out! In all seriousness do not be fooled by these con men!
Maybe conned
June 21, 2018


Trying to figure out if the guy I have Been in contact with is real or a scam.Met him on Words with Friends then he suggested HAng Out, All to familar story I fear but how can I be sure. If true he is the best at this.lplayimg scrabble with him and talking on Hang Out for about three months. Wife died, kid in boarding school . He then asked Me to buy $600, In iTunes cards so he could call his son from the oil rig, I sent him $100, Last week he needed &200.00 for emergency. First name Robert. How do I find out if he is a fake or for real, Please help. thanks,,
FTC Staff
June 21, 2018

In reply to by Maybe conned

He can't use an iTunes cards to make phone calls.

The only place to use an iTunes card is at the iTunes store, to buy online music, apps or books. He might sell or trade the card if he doesn't want to use it for online music, apps or books.

October 23, 2018

In reply to by FTC Staff

He can use iTunes cards for in app purchases though . And alot of phone apps allow u to use itunes to purchase minutes
Computer Smart
June 24, 2018

In reply to by Maybe conned

If you have a photo of use to do a reverse image search. I proved to my sister she was being scammed. If they ask for $ in any form, they are a scammer, period!
July 02, 2018

In reply to by Computer Smart

I tried checking if the person I am talking to is fake or not he shows a lot of signs that he is a scammer but I don't know he goes by the name of brooks weaver said he is in the us airforce is stationed in Kabul is a widower has two kids he already asked for help to pay the nanny I said no and he asked for an iTunes card which I also said no but he continues to talk to me and post on instagram which is how we started chatting. sometimes on ig or on hangouts. last night I received a message from his so called lieutenant on hangouts from his account that he had been hurt I don't think I would be notified since im not even his family I dont know what to think
July 14, 2018

In reply to by confused123

It is 100% a scam. No lieutenant would contact you like that. The guys are always widowers who have small children who are either with a nanny or in a boarding school. Dont let this scammer ruin your life!
Green eyes
August 05, 2018

In reply to by Maybe conned

Hi you said the guys name was Robert did he give you a surname and what does he look like please
June 02, 2019

In reply to by Green eyes

I too am talking to a Robert John. Asks for money, Amazon and intune cards..
June 21, 2019

In reply to by Maybe conned

I was messaged by a gentlemen on Word with Friends. Said he was from Houston, told him I was from Ft. Worth and he changed his location to the same. He then said he was with NGO Doctors without Borders as an orthopedic surgeon in Somalia. His game Name was Mark C, Curtis appeared though too. He was vague when I had questions and was quick to ask for my phone number to text. You can always tell when they get nervous when you ask specifics. I knew Texas and it was obvious this guy did not. Try simple things, my guy said he liked to read, I asked him like what, he said history versus specific books. When I mentioned vagueness, he tried to deflect and never gave them.
August 13, 2018


Hi since the 31st of July 2018 I went on a dating site called pof where I got taking to a man. Goes by the name of David Wright in this early 50s he told me that he has a contract job with the military base in Turkey. For 8 weeks . By the 3 day he asked me for iTunes cards told me it was update his moblie number . He said he couldn't get any in English as they where all in Turkish .And asked me .Then he could up date his phone and could make phone calls. Hangouts. I trusted him after three days in thoses days he made me feel really good and he told me he loved me on a regular basis words like you are my dream come true x I love you and I love you to the end of time . And love you until my last breath and babe and honey and my love ect . He said he was divsored and has a 17 your old dauther jeccsia and both his dad and mum no longer here he said his dad died when he was young and his mum died last Feb. And that he lives with his grandma in Mansfield but has his own place in London. And he had to go away coz he had no one special. And his grandma got cancer and his dauther jeccsia is loo king after her . By the 4 th day we where talking about our wedding day ect .I asked if I had ever been out of the country and I said no . He said that will have to change. Where would you like to go .... By the 6th of August he was saying that there was a way that he could come back to UK and live with me before his contract job so up. But I had to send his commoredr a email. Which I did as he had got into my head and my heart I was deeply in love with him so I thought. I would have done anything and everything for him . I didn't see the red flags as what he said and how he said it . He took me for a ride. He said that he could put in for a early leave .which he did . But I had to tell them my full name and home address and contact details. So I had to pay £585.00 So he could come home and we could start a new live together and get married . I send it . Then 3 days time I got an other email saying that they had booked his flight to come home .And they said I would have to pay £1046.00 I said all that was my savings he told me that he couldn't execcs his bank account and he would pay me back. And we where perfect for each other and so in love . This is how he got me to do exactly what he wanted me to do . I wouldn't normally do any of this .but I did .He told me to send it with moneygram which I did it went thought everything was good for about half an hour. I had booked the taxi to go to the airport. And I checked my email to discover that they had canlled my account down I immurply called them and they said that they didn't know what had happened. But I would get my money back with in 3 10 days . So then I had to let him know that he wasn't going to come home . He blamed me he said I canlled it . Then he said he wouldn't get all his benefits of them and at a later date he said that they had to keep him on for yet an other year coz he didn't take his leave and it was all my fault.
May 07, 2018

In reply to by Nancy

I'm talking to a guy by the same name, I actually met him while on vacation, things just don't add up, do you have a description or picture of him?
January 24, 2019

In reply to by Angie

Hi there, I was scammed by the same guy, called himself David Wright. After I had sent him money, I found out I could do a reverse image search via Google. His photo was of a news reporter in Chicago. He also claimed he had a daughter named Jessica. He claimed he was widowed. He claimed he lived in Calgary, Alberta Canada and even told me his address. We were planning to meet for dinner and he even talked of cooking me dinner at his home. The day of the date, he called me and told me that he had to leave right away for Nova Scotia for this job he was bidding on the prior week, which I was aware of. His scam was very involved. He told me he wanted me to travel to Halifax, Nova Scotia to be with him. He booked me a one way ticket. I was all prepared to leave two days later when he asked if I could delay my flight for one week as he was so busy at the worksite. He wanted to be able to dedicate his time to me. He also did not want me to arrive there without his commitment. He purchased a princess cut diamond engagement ring for me, which he ordered via Costco. There was an error with the delivery address, as I saw the shipping details. It was a $1700 ring. He was planning to send me my money back when the company he was contracting for was paying him. I then received $42,000 deposit in my bank account. I proceeded to take the money out that was owed to me. The next day, I received a call from my bank to tell me that the funds deposited were stolen and did not belong to me. I had to return the money, which overdrew my bank account and has left me destitute. Dont' trust anyone you meet on line who asks for money. I learned the hard way. He claims to love you, cannot live without you etc etc.
October 01, 2019

In reply to by Angela

I believe this is the man who found me. This all sounds so familiar.
October 27, 2019

In reply to by Angela

I met this same man in August of this year. Same story. But I never sent him money. He got so angry an upset, talked to me awful. I caught him in all his lies and false stories. Blamed everything on me, all his troubles were my fault. Because I wouldn’t send money I did not love him, trust him, care about his situation, I was heartless and uncaring. And the story goes on. I deleted everything I had on him.
November 06, 2019

In reply to by Angela

Met the same man, same name, in August, 2019. Same story only he had a son and wife passed away. I have pictures but do not know to do a reverse search. After two weeks , in love and all that goes with it. Ready for marriage. Never could get the truth out of him. He was good at evading personal questions. Got to the point he asked for money, large amount. I refused and he got angry, hateful and made me out to be the worst woman on the plant. Said I was heartless and not trustful. Don’t know where he lives, cannot find him anywhere on the net. But from what I did find out he likes to scam older women. He likes to pull you in, take advantage of your emotions, full of love words and marriage , then asks for money and then leaves you. I would rather be heartbroken than to be heartbroken and in debt.
May 11, 2018

In reply to by Nancy

Please do not send this guy John Williams or any guy who claims they are an Engineer working on oil rig . I’ve already encountered several scammers all saying same thing - am an Engineer, wife died, have two kids and under care of a Nanny. First those scammers ask god itune card,, then will tell you if their awful situation, please send $600 via money gram or western union. Save yourself. Don’t do it, all of what tell you is a lie! Block and/or delete . Report your case to FTC
June 12, 2018

In reply to by Nancy

Mine was named Antonio, wife died of cancer, 11 year old daughter. Working on pipline in Dubai. We talked on the phone,later he asked for I-tune cards for his daughter's birthday. Then, she had an accidental where they were digging the pipeline and he wanted me to send money to help with her medical bills. He even sent me a picture of a kid in the ICU.
Scam alert
June 14, 2018

In reply to by Nancy

I think these stories are becoming old! I am reading so many lately. Me too met someone on Tinder. Good looking and sweet. Claimed he has no parents, no friends, live alone with his dog, has his own business, works as a contractor for Oil drilling equipments. One day, he got himself a big project and needed to go work at a Turkey Oil Rig. The rig got into fire, his equipment defaulted and needed to be changed, and started asking for $. He couldn't voice call or video call cause it's not permitted at the rig to avoid explosion. These scammers usually claimed to work at an oil rig.
June 30, 2018

In reply to by Scam alert

This sounds a lot like a guy I'm talking to named Aaron Cooper. Grew up in Greece. Dad is American and deceased. Mom still lives in Greece. Widowed with a 13 year old daughter and owns some type of underwater drilling company. About to have to go to Istanbul for a project. Hmmmm. Wonder what his story will be once he gets there.
September 20, 2018

In reply to by cautious

This sounds like a guy I chatted with his name was Christopher Dolan. Only he had a construction company.
August 01, 2018

In reply to by Nancy

Hi Nancy, someone chatted me name John Williams. Did he sent you a picture of him? A widower with 14 years old son. A medical doctor working with united states government in Yemen. Can you send me a pics of him so I can verify it?
September 07, 2018

In reply to by Nancy

Mine is known as Thomas Platt working on a ship in texas lives in Charleston NC he says has daughter 16 in boarding school wife died of leukemia 3years ago been asking for ITUNE cards to by parts for drill on ship in texas said they had an explosion today on ship killing 4 of his workers now asking me to sell my house because he needs 60,000.00 to fix the drill so that he can get the job done and we can be together at his home in NC we did a blood oath and he says I am his wife and he loves me with his whole heart nice looking has a very heavy accent have only talked once on phone but text a lot meet him on Instagram sound familiar to anyone would like some help
September 23, 2018

In reply to by Pumpkin

This sounds so familiar. He went by Anthony Fredrick. We did a love oath . Got me for iTune cards. Then asked me for calling cards. Scammer !! I feel dumb . These guys are good .
February 10, 2020

In reply to by Irishbowman

My bestie has been talking to a guy named Anthony Fredrick. Supposed to be in the marines in Turkey. They did a love oath and she sent him steam cards and iTunes cards. Says he can pay out of contract and come home to her. Really feel sorry for her because she fell so hard for his sweet talking.
October 10, 2018

In reply to by Pumpkin

Pumpkin did he have you cut your thumb? To take a blood oath??? My man is going by the name Anthony.. And I'm so So in love with him.. We have been talking for over a year.. He is suppose to be home in two weeks so we can get married.. He was on a rig out of Alabama, but he got into trouble and has to stay and fix some machines that got broke.. (Yah right) he does have a heavy accent says he was born in Spain.. Has a son in Dallas with a caregiver.. I am his wife.. Does he get mad at you easily.. He doesn't like to argue.. He knows how to make you fall in love with him.. I have fallen in love with him so hard..he is very handsome.. He has sent me lots of pictures and we have talked on the phone.. But he won't send me any recent pictures.. I so want him to be real..
June 07, 2019

In reply to by Furbaby

This story is very familiar I did the blind oath and his machines are broken. He goes by a different name and I have photos
November 02, 2018

In reply to by Pumpkin

Same guy just contacted me through Words with Friends. I suspected it was a scam, just set up a suspicious looking Facebook account with someone else's picture. Walk away, it's a scam....who contacts someone on Words like this??
December 12, 2018

In reply to by Pumpkin

I just met Thomas Platt on Words with Friends. Said he was a widower with a daughter in boarding school. He worked on an oil rig off the shore of Alabama but home was Charlotte, NC. Pic was dark-haired, graying goateed, good looking guy in gray suit in front of some gold certificates of some kind. He asked quickly if I’m happily married and what I do for a living. When I said I’m disabled and take care of my mom, who is more disabled, he blocked me and disappeared. It seemed weird so I searched his name and your post came up.