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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 ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

13794 Comments


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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.
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  • 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 ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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.

TOBYJUG
September 09, 2020

In reply to by LinkedIn-from-aus

These details sound like a guy that approached me on Linked In uk cept he was an architect and used pics of a leading politician in Austria - he was living in CT USA but was of Swiss origin - a very thick accent and hard to make out. I wish we could share pics
cmac
August 26, 2020
In February, I went on a dating site for the first time. I met a man claiming to be Sqt Walter Handy and he listed his background and credentials. Like others have stated, we communicated multiple times daily using Google Hangouts because his is located in Iran and was supposed to be retiring on March 28th. That was delayed because of Covid-19. In March, he explained that he had two consignment boxes that needed to be shipped home and because of his delayed retirement and the fact that McBens Agency shipping facility in Cuba was closing down, he needed to get them to me quickly. As background, he received these boxes as a reward from a rich businessman for saving his daughter who had been kidnapped. At the recommendation of his General, he hired a Diplomatic Courier who works for the Royal British Agency in London named Agent Scott Adkins. The first attempt to get the boxes to the US that included a Delta ticket, resulted in Agent Scott getting stopped by Customs in NY because he did not have the proper documentation Customs was going to seize the two boxes as they were label money laundering and "because of his connections with the UN and the RBA," he was able to take them back with him to London. Now storage fees were due and then once the Tax Clearance Certificate was issued by HM Revenue and Customer and signed by the Ghana Revenue Authority, they also issued a HIgh Court of Justice Certificate of Origin, by the Department of Mines, U.K. and now it came time for shipment. Because of Covid-19 travel restrictions, Agent Scott could not travel using the airlines but negotiated a private plane. The sum total of this experiential "Online Dating Class" $50,000. I've learned to go to Tineye to do a reverse search on photos. The photos that I received belong to Ren Hardy whose identity was stolen almost 10 years ago.
Verifying
August 27, 2020
Has anyone talked to someone possibly in the air force deployed to Japan and their name is Sarah D. Johnson. I am just making sure I am not caught up in a scam. They said they can't video chat or phone call due to there poor network, but we do text by phone.
Petar
August 27, 2020
Honestly - they all use the same trick. Just the story is slightly different each time. They are always in the US army, usually in Syria, and always going to enjoy their holidays. Soon. And that's where it starts. And the SCAM is then based on the information you have been stupid enough to provide. It will never stop .....
Judy
August 27, 2020
I met a man on a dating website. After a few weeks of texting he said he had business in Croatia selling crude oil. He then messame from Croatia saying the company pahi. In all cash and he couldn't take it on the plane would I be willing to accept the package until he got back. ( we had planned on meeting to see if we were a good match.) I said sure. After I gave him my address he started acting really strange, tell me not to tell anyone and don't open the package at this point I wish I had never given him my address. He mailed the package then he told me I needed to email the courier, Fast Delivery, to find out exactly when the package would arrive so I was home to accept it. The courier said I needed to pay $2575.00 in order for the package to be delivered. I would not pay it so they sent the package to a warehouse where the Anti money laundering commission seized the package. The guy I was talking to says he went to talk to them and is now arrested. He said they are going to sue me and charge me with money laundering. I have no idea how this became my fault when I haven't done anything and didn't know what was going on. My crime is being stupid. Is this a scam? Someone please help me.
Intelligentwoman
August 28, 2020
I have been chatting with a handsome black man, green eyes named Henry King. He says he’s in Military and was raised in Milan Italy but, from Spanaway WA. Any other women know of him? My gut says he’s a scammer
Scammed by Edd…
August 28, 2020
A man named Eddie Gors says he is from Houston and is an Engineer on an oil refinery in Kuwait with Halliburton and he lost his entire family to an accident he has noone. He Found me on Facebook and messaged me for about 3 weeks just talking to me. Was interested in Real Estate for investing in his retirement when he returns to the states. He wanted to send me a package never once asked me for money nothing just wanted to send me and package. So I said yes. He said a Crow Logistics Courier Service would contact me with details. I got an email from the courier service asking me for my name and address and phone number. Sent me a tracking number and website. Continued to still talk to me I received and email 2 days later from courier service with an attachment from Turkey Customs requesting $1100 for a Certificate of Orgin. The courier service told me that the package is registered to me I am responsible so I sent the money to the courier service. 2 days later I got another email from the courier with another attachment from the Turkey Customs requesting another type of certificate $2000 I sent it. All of this is to the courier never to him directly. The tracking system shows where the package is and everything. 4 days later I get an email and its from the courier service with an attachment from US Customs Border Patrol the package is in Washington Dulles Airport in Customs and it needs another Certificate for $3200. I sent the money to the courier again for the certificate. Now its been going on since July 8th. I received another email from the courier 2 days after the last money was sent and now US Customs wants $6200. I said absolutely no more money.... This man has lost it with me and is now threatening me and my family. Says I have taken his package and his personal documents inside the box he has sent me. Well according to the email from US Customs they scanned to package and its got over $100,000 in cash and 2 gold bars and papers on this box. He never told me what was in the package until after it was on the way. He has offered me 50% of wants in the package plus my expenses to pay for this package. I told I would cut my losses and have a nice life. He is now texting me threatening me and my family.
Scammed by Bur…
August 31, 2020

In reply to by Scammed by Edd…

Hi, you have been scammed. Same story happened to me. Different name (Burgan Missick a US army major from Dallas, Texas presently in Kabul, Afghanistan. Parents died, no relatives, wife died 3 yrs ago. Texted me in Interpals) but same scenario: 3 weeks of love messages then asked to get the box. The box stuck in Turkey, asked $1,850 for customer clearance. Then the box reached another place, now the agent asks for $8,000 for the immunity tag to be issued somewhere in Malaysia. Money gone, I'm in a tough situation of making both ends meet and to return the sum I borrowed. Don't trust them! Chat if u want a dose of love messages copied and pasted from interest resources, but better block and never give money if asked.
Curious engineer
September 19, 2020

In reply to by Scammed by Edd…

Sounds very similar. I refused to have anything to do with the package, which was suppose to be treasure her recovered while drilling in the Norwegian Sea. Been communicating for several months, he has asked for Itune cards to pay for his phone so we could continue to text. Very charming with a supposedly French accent. Be very careful
Ary
August 28, 2020
Has anyone talked to men off dating site that talks about One woman man a lot! Wants to be sure you are one man woman As well as will treat you like a queen. The 2 have been from Germany. But didn’t talk to on phone so not sure about accent.
Author
August 29, 2020
If you continually get messages stating we have a parcel wsiting for you since....whatever date they use... DO NOT CALL the phone number..DELETE I have gotten 4 such messages each with a different area code. 213, 332, 917, and 407. DELETE THESE MESSAGES!
Shezza
August 29, 2020
Hi all. Please be careful of a scammer who will say he is working in Yemen. His Wife was having an affair and left to go to America with his Daughter and his Dad has cancer. He is on twitter under the alias of Steve Mullet. Also uses the alias Paulo James. He is a scammer!
Redhead
August 30, 2020
Is anyone in touch with a guy called Ralph Marshall. I think he’s a scammer but a good one
Starfish@
August 30, 2020
Hi Startfish@ I think that I am being scammed by a man who say his name is James Mcgrew US military Army. He says that he is deployed in Africa his Birthday was August 22 that he is turning 40. He asked me what was I going to get him for his birthday it started out that he needed $150.00 to get his cell phone fixed then it went up $200,00 from there to $300.00 thats were I stopped it. Not only that he wanted me to give him my banking information. I deleted the app that he had me to download and blocked his phone number. So if you see a James Mcgrew do not accept his friend request.
Cowboysfan1
September 27, 2020

In reply to by Starfish@

Hi, I made contact with someone names Brandon Mcgrew. He requested me on FB and soon afterwards we were chatting back and forth on Google hangouts. He never got a chance to get anything from me because I did a Google search of a photo he sent me and it came up on a scammer site. So did a few other pics he sent me. He uses the name Brandon Mcgrew and also Brandon Colton. His Facebook says Brandon Colton but I think the account is a fake one.
Southernchik
October 11, 2020

In reply to by Cowboysfan1

Hi there....I wanted to reach out because I recently have been talking to someone with the same name. He reached out to me on FB as well. Can you tell me if he provided any details about himself to you. Did he say he was military and had a child ?
Notfallingfort…
August 30, 2020
He goes by the name David on Hinge. Says he works fur government for antiterrorism group. Says he lives in Manhattan but says he’s somewhere in Europe. Gave me a Cali text now number area code (562). As soon as I said it’s a text now Cali number he deleted my connection off Hinge....lol go away. If anyone is working for our government they can’t tell anyone and said he was allowed clearance and got special permission to go on the dating website. Lmao
Ann
August 30, 2020
I met someone online who says he is a soldier. He is also really sweet. He didn't ask for any money from me. In fact, he said he will send me some money. He asks for my information so that he can send me some money. Do you think it's a scam?
Lucie
September 08, 2020

In reply to by Ann

Don't do it!! Lots of scammers send you money to eventually send back to them. They are using you to launder money and you can get caught up as well. If you don't meet.... delete!
Gray maru
August 30, 2020
Has anyone knew landers helen? She told me to send her $1,225 sbd to pay for my financial assistance expense.. After I send her the money, she then adviced me to pay the activation fee for my funding with the total amount of $4,500. Andso I started realiazing that something is with this situation.. Please I need to know if she is a scammer as well.
Ann
August 30, 2020
I am chatting with someone right now. He chatted with me via Instagram and said he wanted to be my friend. Later on, if we can chat via Hangout because it's he can only use Hangouts in their camp. He also said that it is really strict in their camp that even chatting with me is prohibited and has some consequences. He also keeps telling me how he loves me and that I'm the most beautiful woman in the world. And that he has a lot of plans for us and so on... Now, he said he will send me some money and some package. Do you think this man is a scammer? Should I believe him or not?
WhoKnows
September 01, 2020

In reply to by Ann

I got the same sob story as well. Really strict, blah blah blah. Calling me his wife, he loves me so much, etc. NEVER accept any money or send money. It is all a scam.
Lulu
September 02, 2020

In reply to by Ann

Ask to take a picture with something written. Something you and only you know and want, nothing else. Be specific. That is how i found out i was getting scammed. He would not take pictures even. If the person says he is right now on a fort tell him you have friends on the military too and ask where he is right now to send him something with your friend.
Ann
August 30, 2020
Hello, I need some pieces of advice... I chatted with someone from Instagram and later on, he said we should chat via Hangouts. I'm not sure whether his a scammer or not... There are some things that fit in like: 1. He immediately confessed his love and told me he loves me 2. I notice most of the scammers say they are from the military and has some tasks in other countries like Syria 3. We rarely had video call because he said it's not allowed in their camp However, 1. He never asks for money and I have no intention to give 2. I tried to search his pictures but nothing appears. Does that mean it's his real picture? I'm just afraid he might use my identification for fraud. Pls help..Thank you
WhoKnows
September 01, 2020

In reply to by Ann

They are getting smarter and smarter on finding pictures to make sure they are no on internet searches. On the military website states that they have a military email and if anything, ask for the APO address. If they cannot provide this to you, you are being scammed and catfished!
Hopeless
September 07, 2020

In reply to by WhoKnows

I have asked for APO but he said because of pandemic they are not receiving mail. This was a couple months ago.
Gi
September 04, 2020

In reply to by Ann

I chatted with one he waited more than 2 months before asking for money. That was first time it happened to me .
Stupidme
September 05, 2020

In reply to by Ann

Run! He's a scammer. Mine never did until he convince me to invest on bitcoins. They profess love fast and sound like a dream come true, too good to be true!
cmac
September 16, 2020

In reply to by Ann

Stay away. Same thing happened to me. If they can't take a selfie with "today's date" then they aren't real no matter what they send you. I've received what appear to be ligitimate govt ID's that are forged with someone elses photo whose ID has been stolen. If the other person doesn't do what you would do, it's because they are hiding behind something. Run before your heart gets twisted.
Meme
August 30, 2020
I got scammed by this guy named John Douglas. He claims to be the CEO of his own business Douglas Medicals in Santa Barbara. He lives in Santa Barbara (don't know if this true), and he has a thick accent of an Irish born so this is probably true that he's originally from Ireland. Watch out ladies with his cute accent and good looks on his fake photos!
Feelingfoolish
August 30, 2020
Has anyone talk to anyone name Nathan Taylor very sweet talker, says he's from Norway, but now lives in Houston, resently went to Turkey on a job and can't access his account and needs help getting materials for the job. First wanted a iTunes card, then a ipad and iPhone to help with translating to his worker's, and now wants me to open a bank account because he's friend is helping him with the money to get the materials he needs and it would make it easier for him, claims he loves me and wants us to be together when he gets back etc He gets upset every time I refuse and says he don't understand why I won't help him that he's under a lot of stress and needs me. It's really heartbreaking reading all these post.
Sonia M.
September 11, 2020

In reply to by Feelingfoolish

I Know this man, same history, his name Simmon Fasey engineer LinkedIn. Fake identity, he asked me 4000 dólars. Same scammer alias was Ryan Leister, RyanLeister68 Instagram. Another identity Willem Veenstra Xing . Fraud, scammer.
Jess
August 07, 2021

In reply to by Feelingfoolish

Hi I’m also chatting with a man his name is supposedly Anderson Haakon Harvard 52 yrs old lives in Tallahassee FL originally from Norway sound like his story
Suzysue
August 30, 2020
I have had several guys talking about how much they love me. They would insist on having my email address or use hangout. They were so insistant about having my email address or go onto hangouts. Alarm bells were sounding. One was called James gold. Second was James Williams. Then there was one Karl someone. And this new one is revo Bruce. They have all been posted to either samolia or yemon. Three have been a widower and one is divorced, but in his Facebook he was widowed. They all had a child under 10. They have all been under attack from rebels. They were all ready to retire. This last one is supposed to be retiring in a couple of weeks and wants me to look after his retirement fund as he wants it investing in the UK.
SameScammers
September 02, 2020

In reply to by Suzysue

It will likely be the same person or group of people just using different fake profiles. All the scenarios are the same or similar and no it’s not a coincidence. Block & delete and save the drama they will bring to your life.
Julie
August 30, 2020
Arnold Rudy Hilebrand is not to be trusted. Be Ware!! He’s a liar and a scammer! Thank you for posting about this person so I could put a block on him. He’s big on social media.
galstar
August 30, 2020
Hi Ben Hodges asked to be my Facebook friend about 4 days ago. He was super friendly, I made sure my husband joined in our replies. I told him today I had bought an anti cyber product for our phones. Not heard from him since and today he sent several messages. Another lady here also was targeted by him I see. It’s abusing a woman really isn’t it? & that’s not manly at all. Good luck everyone!
Don'sweetmelet…
August 31, 2020
I talked to a guy for 7 years he just stopped talking to me since the 23 of August he goes by the name of Kent Havind he suckered me good ouch
Babe
August 31, 2020
This man found me on social media, I cannot find his name anywhere. Jamal Akmal Affredo, he also went off line fast, he is love with me rather quick and sets up a meeting with me for two weeks. Then has to go to work in Canada. I don't here from him for two days he writes and says he has a broken leg from the job site. He sends me picture of himself in hospital. He sends me pictures all the time. He sent me picture of his broken leg when I asked. He is asking me to pick up a shipment he is sending back to New York while he is in Canada. He says his assistant would of gotten it but now is with him in Canada to run the job site. When I ask him what it his he does not answer me he changes the subject. He yet to tell me where or when and has not asked for money. We have been talking for 10 days very romantically. Is this a scam?
SameScammers
September 02, 2020

In reply to by Babe

Red flags are professing love for someone he has never met, went offline he will have blocked you so you can’t see him online but profile will still be up, has to go to work in Canada suddenly, don’t believe the photos they are masters at photoshop, dosnt answer some questions. Do not give him your address or pick up a package! He is romancing you to scam you. They are very skilled at this and fool a lot of intelligent people. Block & run as fast as u can.
Ary76
August 31, 2020
I had someone request me as a friend on facebook..that I accepted and his profile says he is in the army at Austin Texas base camp there...he is divorced with custody of his 3 kids...8, 6 and 4...2 girls, 1 boy...he told me his wife left him 3 yts ago and took all his money and left the kids with the nanny when he was deployed...he has since divorced her 3yrs ago..and he is doing his last deployment now in South Africa for a peace keeping mission...and he is retiring next March after 16yrs...then right beforw he was deployed on the 1st of Aug his son lost his wallet and had to go to africa without his credit cards and bank card...so he wanted to have his account transfer in to my account so his money will be there when he geta hime in November..he hasn't asked for money...when I would offer to send some he would tell me he would be ok..and he wants to move to my city when he geta back in November from deployment and have a life with him and his 3 kids...so is this a scam...he is supposed to be 44 yrs old on September 27th and he is mixed with African and Jamaican...his father past in a car crash and his mom passed from cancer when he was a young age...h3 is from New York but station in Austin Texas on base there...anyone else have so.e resemblance to this guys....cause he is everything I want in a man and he is very charming with poems and he has sent me pics 9f him and the kids...he has video chatted me once on hangouts ...but his phone is jacked up till he gets a new one
Sam
September 15, 2020

In reply to by Ary76

Be careful. It sounds like a scam. Check out more information on him I had a guy say the same thing but he wanted me to hold a bunch of cash for him and he claimed he was a doctor and was retiring from the service and needed someone to hold his cash. I reported him and never spoken to him again. Some people on hangout a real but a lot of them are not. And the sad thing about hangout Is one you get scammed they wont do a thing about it.or take the person off the site I have been trying to contact the COE of hangout and I have gotten no response from him at all. Just be safe and be careful.
Me too!
August 31, 2020
The last week in August, I got scammed. Reading through on these comments...there are the same as myself. A guy, Alexander Lucas he started following me and soon he sent a text message. We converse a little then he ask me to go in What’s App. He was 53, he was married for 20 years. Wife was killed in an accident 6 years ago. He was born in Spain, parents migrated in Savannah, GA. He is in the Navy stationed in Athens Greece. He’s been in the Navy 20 years. He has two sons, ages 10 and 17 (Mike and Eric). The sons lived in boarding school. He was the only child, his parents were deceased. I questioned him after because on What’s up app, he had a different name, Lucas Fernandez. He said his name is Lucas Alexander ( named for his grandfather) Fernandez. He would always send me pictures of himself. He said he love going beaching. On the two day of conversations he told me I was special. I said that’s odd, he didn’t know me. The third or fourth day, he asked me a favor. He said his colleague who is on another ship at sea would give him Kindle credit cards. I asked him how much, he said $1500 to $2000 Weekly. I asked him I US dollars. He told me it is in US dollars. I was shocked and said no. He asked, why not. He said if I wouldn’t do it for the amount he was asking then what amount was I willing to give...I immediately blocked him and deleted the app.He was definitely charming!
Fatema
September 03, 2020

In reply to by Me too!

I was sent a friend request from a stranger on facebook three months ago. His profile picture was nice, so I accepted the request. He texted me on facebook messenger on the first day and quickly asked me to keep chatting on hangouts. I agreed. During three months of chatting, he has never ever asked me to send money to him. He tells me he is a vehicle retailer and an mechanical engineer. He lives in NY. He divorced and his 8 year old daughter living with his ex wife. His english writing skill is very professional. I checked his posts on facebook and found out most of his facebook friends who liked his posts were from Nigeria (?!). He states he is vietnamese, only one child of his parents. Now his parents reside in vietnam. He has been living in US when he was a little child, so he cannot speak or understand vietnamese. His facebook was created in january 2020. He said his facebook was hacked in several years ago and now he decided to use facebook again to contact his close friends. He posted just five pictures on facebook, I saw only one vietnamese friend on his fb, the others are from Nigeria. For some reasons, I blocked him on fb and hangouts for five days and then unblocked. He was so angry at me for that. I have to explain the reason to him. He was ok with me, and added me on fb again. Later I noticed he blocked me on fb but not on hangouts. However I felt ok. I did not get mad at him. He asked me to provide my address for him to send flowers to me. I denied him and told him that I didn't need any thing from him. He also asked me to send some more pictures to him. I denied, either. He refused to chat webcam with me. We never call or chat webcam. He sent me his picture with his daughter when I asked him. We used to argue so much because I told him I did not believe the man on the profile picture was him. I though he used picture of someone else for safety on fb. He always got mad at me whenever I said so. I'm still doubt of him if he is real or fake, because recently I accidently found out he has changed his profile picture on his fb (he blocked me on fb, but in messenger I still have our conversation there. I just didn't see his conversation, except mine). He updated another picture of another man. I used google image search to check if he used picture of other. I was so shocked to know that profile picture was from a dating site. I did not tell him what I know about him. He has just voluntarily sent me his picture again without my asking. The man in the picture was the one before, still handsome and gentle. I feel confused. Since he never asks me for money or does anything bad towards me, I want to keep this relationship as long as I can (actually I want to know at the end he is a scammer or not). Right now, he and I still have good relationship. P/s. I have told him scammer stories, and he said that his pictures were stolen by the others. That's why he didn't want to chat or post many his pictures on fb. I tried to search his picture sent to me on google, but no result existed.
Isobel
September 08, 2020

In reply to by Me too!

I met this same loser on wwf! Love, marriage, single dad all the same BS. When he asked for cards I told him no, and he got aggressive and mean. I reported him and blocked him. He wasn't a very good scammer, I've met far better.
Paula
October 16, 2020

In reply to by Me too!

This sounds very familiar. I wonder if it's the same guy I was talking to? Not sure if my comments (Replies) are appearing on here. We need a place to compare notes and photos.
Mikki
September 01, 2020
he uses name Adrian Henry nice looking black hair brown eyes well built video of work out wife dead has daughter and dog. Broken machinery needs money or going to jail says
TigerT
October 12, 2020

In reply to by Mikki

Same story... 6”2 salt and pepper hair brown eyes... daughter and dog needs money to fix machine or going to jail. Can’t find anything about him.
Wondering
September 01, 2020
Has anyone ran across a scammer named Presley Martin from Houston???