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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.
  • 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 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.

tgtbt23
September 01, 2020
This might help people to identify romance scammers, here's what I found to be the scammers playbook: 1. Ask you to switch to Hangouts or similar app 2. Gets romantic quickly 3. Is originally not from America and was raised in a different country, parents from other country (this will account for his unusual accent). 4. His wife died a few years ago 5. He was cheated on and was deeply hurt 6. He has children in a different country from where he's currently 7. Sends romantic poems and youtube songs 8. Has a deep faith in God and says God brought you together 9. Uses pictures from somebody that has posted plenty of pics so he has a lot to choose from. 10. He's a very good person who helps elderly uncle etc. 11. Feels that you are "soulmates" 12. Says "my dear" and constantly calls you "baby, babe, hone, sweetheart, darling" 13. You will "break" him if you stop communications 14. Emergency happens and he needs money from you because he has exhausted all other options 15. He's well off or wealthy and owns his own company. 16. He's going to retire soon and he can't wait to travel with you and spend the rest of his life with you. 17. Use several variations of his name on social media, sometimes his nickname, or his middle name, or his first name 18. There may not be any evidence that this made-up name person exists when checking it on ancestry.com etc. 19. Wants to know your finance situation, career, etc. 20. Checking images on bing.com instantly shows the pics he sent you are actually of somebody else. 21. Guilt-trip you into sending money by saying things like he will be put in jail in a foreign country, etc. 22. Acts very concerned about you saying to be careful when going out due to the virus. 23. Bad grammar - like writes small caps "i" and wrong use of verbs, etc. 24. His accent is not distinguishable, not British, or Australian because he's likely from Nigeria 25. Quotes from the Bible so women think he's a good Christian 26. Messages are often long and written in a confusing way. Like they were copied and at the end he adds 1 sentence with a message directed to you by name. 27. He has told his children about you and they're excited that he's finally met "the one". 28. Says things like "I will always be here for you, no matter what" and "I'll wait for you forever". 29. Their romantic approach is so strong that you've likely never had a man say those things before because normal/real men don't act like that, they wait until they've met you and truly know you. 30. They have interesting hobbies like climbing mountain kilimanjaro and flying helicopters.
MrMarmite
September 01, 2020
a user on Snapchat named micheal_sand20 is a scammer currently attempting to seduce a friend currently and attempting to gain access to their bank account. Need help removing this user
TNrebel1
September 01, 2020
Has anyone heard of a Tantolet Perez, said she is frm SanDiego, calif. No family. Father died and left estate to her, /went to Dubaii for a jeweler class and her lawyer stopped communicating. She has no money, is stranded, visa expired, then when got money for a ticket, tested positive in Amsterdam, and was sent back to Dubaii. Cam on phone is broke. Lives is park when doesn't get money sent to her. I don't know what happened to her house in San Diego. My relative has send $thousands in gift cards. Sounds fishy to me. Always something happening to need money.
Unknown
September 02, 2020
My brother just recently learned a hard lesson .he has been warned about scammers. The sad thing is he can fiqure out a scam on the phone or follow a letter. But not this one. He meet a women on a app he should have been after a weeks as of today he wired her $500.00 and just recently of about 2 weeks he send this women a $25.00 apple i.tune card and get scammed on that and lied to his wife about the whole situation and now he out $525.00 and told the family that money was going to his daughter from his frist married to help her with school supplies for college unfortunately his wife and the rest of family member dont believe him now he wont see that money or probably wont hear from that women again. His wife fells bad but she Hope's that he has learned this lesson about going on dating apps and looking for women and then he scammed the family fells that she fit the scammer mold.
Morev75
September 03, 2020
I was scammed by a guy named Gary Lucio who I met on a dating site. He said he was 50 ...lived in Detroit. He was traveling to South Africa as a Geologist . We talked for a year. When he first asked for money I my scammer ears peaked. I did everything I saw on catfish. But I didn’t listen to my senses. I think now he goes by the name Luciano in Ca. Beware!!
The Don 58
September 03, 2020
Beware Susie I on scrabble go. Starts a nice friendly chat then tries to sell you bitcoins. Had scam written all over it. Politely told her I don't play scrabble to hear sales pitches, whereupon she stopped the game. We have a saying in the West of Scotland: do you think I came up the Clyde in a wheelbarrow?
Pani
September 03, 2020
Has anyone been in contact with a guy mamed Robert Coleman who claims he is Canadian but lives in the US? He also works for a company called Analytics Recruitment Inc. its a Linkedin profile. He looks legit with all the constant pictures of whenever i ask, however he has asked me for money because he is in debt The Linkedin profile looks legit as well and so does the company he claims he works for
mascoma47
September 03, 2020
Does anyone out there know Evans Alessandro Andersen? Met him on POF about a month ago. He claims he is a doctor/surgeon and is with the White Helmets currently in Aleppo Syria. He has already asked me for an Amazon gift card, which I did'nt send. I am assuming it's a scam!
queen.01
September 03, 2020
Has anyone heard of a man named Steven (Steve) Caddle of Georgia? I met him on POF, we have talked on the phone and we have video chatted and looks like his pictures he sent me. He is now asking for money to get home from a oil rig saying his crew didn't finish their part of the contract and the vessel from Seacor Marine picked all of the men and they were left to finish their part of the job. He is asking for his part to hire a private boat to pick them up and take to Texas where they were picked up from.
Olga
September 03, 2020
Hey l have a similar problem am not sure if the guy is scamming me he said his name is Paul Casey he said he works in the Army force at the moment he said he in Baghdad.. we been talking for a good 3 going to 4 weeks he sound like a really nice guy and I just don’t want to be fooled. He says he has a daughter and he is divorced cause his wife cheated on him and he trying to find the right woman to settle down once he is back, someone who would accept his daughter as well. I have a picture of him if there is any way we can share maybe someone can help me out. He hasn’t asked any money from me. He has asked me once that if I wanted to video chat with him but with the time change and me working I haven’t be able to to. Let me tell you he found me on face book and from there is when we started talking and now we talk from hangouts. He cancel his Facebook account and he said he didn’t so I wouldn’t think he was talking to other women which tell me nothing . Just wanted to share that info But if there is way to share pictures please let me know cause , I am really starting like him and don’t want to get hurt
Mina
September 14, 2020

In reply to by Olga

Hi, I have the same guy his name James Walker . If you interesting I can you his picture. He is 53 years old very handsome. Live in UN camp in Yemen. Surgery doctor, can not call or video call because of security reason . It’s already one week, but today I see that he deleted his Facebook profile and I want to ask him why?
Feel so foolish
September 29, 2020

In reply to by Olga

This sounds like almost exactly the person I was chatting with. Wow same type of story. I wish I knew I was being scammed when it was happening. I was completely clueless.
Lockdown27
September 03, 2020
Anyone know of a Giovanni Alberto. Claims to be have been in USA now on oil rig west if scotland . Italian but luced in usa from young age. Wife died and has 12year old daughter?? Given all the hearts and flowers and got me believing but still doubting. Promising to visit!!!
CLamon09
September 04, 2020
Has anyone heard of a guy that goes by Richard Woods says he's on peace mission overseas and lives in California has a 10yr old daughter that stays with a nanny.... Talks about building a motel and has lots of money but bank account is froze until he gets back into the US and talks like he's in Love with you and calls you his precious wife????
VivianChau
October 05, 2020

In reply to by CLamon09

Sounds like the type man I met, same story. Also call me his precious wife. bank account is frozen until he gets back into the US. But the name he used with me is Duc Nguyen. Love scammer change their identity a lot
CLamon09
September 04, 2020
Has anyone heard of a guy that goes by Richard Woods says he's on peace mission overseas and lives in California has a 10yr old daughter that stays with a nanny.... Talks about building a motel and has lots of money but bank account is froze until he gets back into the US and talks like he's in Love with you and calls you his precious wife????
WhoKnows
September 09, 2020

In reply to by CLamon09

Yes, but this one has a son. Lives in California, nanny is with the son taking care of him. Wants to build a hotel and will move where ever I am to be with me. Do not send him any money! He is a fraud. I have played along with his game, he could not keep up with his own lies that I have called him out. He is very evasive when confronted. Asked me for $1500 for him to keep his internet on due to the military was going to shut it down. DO NOT FALL FOR IT!!
TLEONA
September 04, 2020
We think this is happening to our mother, 85 years old, recently widowed, about to sell her house. I told her NOT to give this guy any money for any reason. Says his name is John Tyler Reed - 73, US Citizen, working in Canada about to close a big contract and move back to the States. Has a daughter with 3 kids living in England going through a divorce. Who plans to move here as well. I want to run a background check on what info I have but I'm not sure which sites to use.
Colleen T
April 22, 2021

In reply to by TLEONA

Colleen JUNE - DEC 2020 Same name and sad convincing story. His age used 71. He was good at his crime, did make you feel he cared deeply and coming home as soon as he had his financial situation in Canada cleared up. I was duped into sending a considerable amount. I could go on and on, bear in mind this continued for 7 months. He even sent photos of his job location daily. His daughter (probably him) and I even communniicated by Gmail, this guy was a professional at lies and I fell in love with a man I created in my mind over the months. I wonder if they don't stalk retired women or widows. An org that uses others ID to hide behind, while the criminals continue to victimize people. BEWARE LADIES OF MEN WHO SAY THEY LOVE YOU EVEN SEND GIFTS AND FLOWERS AND DON'T REALLY KNOW YOU!!!
Gi
September 04, 2020
Has anyone ever asked to send money via cash app ?? Do you know if we can find the person money was paid to?
Lakes50
September 04, 2020
Does anyine have contact with a Mark Richardson working on Gas rig in Norway?
Ruth
September 04, 2020
A person going by the name Michael Wilkins friended me on FB. We had a few mutual friends. He wrote to me & we started chatting. I did some homework on this guy & I couldn't find him on any of the sites such as beenverified, etc. He speaks w/ what sounds like a German accent, writes German, nice looking. Same old scammer story - wife dead, has a lot of money, no kids, no immediate family, professes love, etc. He took his profile info. from a scammer site! When I confronted him about being a scammer he took his FB site down. Says his middle name is James, lives in Spokane, jewelry designer, 61 years old, birthdate June 17, 1959, has a dog named Bruno, etc. Says he is a God fearing Christian man, would never do anything wrong, blah, blah, blah. Just giving other women a heads up about this guy!
1Raquelmc
October 06, 2020

In reply to by Ruth

Hi Ruth the guy I was talking to is german as well. Do you have a pic of him?? He says hes in the navy.
Bunnielee
September 05, 2020
I am talking with Christian Hartman on oil l. He wants money vacation leave for chopper. Does anyone know him. Or a Curtis Morgan? Never enough money. I am in love and I know should not be doing this. Telling me to stop doesn't work. I need strong evidence. Please anyone.
Stupidme
September 05, 2020
Well my story is similar yet different. I was scammed by a guy named Maxwell Sebastien. Met him in words with friends 2. Same story, wonderful man, pregnant wife dead 10 years ago. Been alone for that time. Turns out he was not only a chef, and a travel agent. He was also a petroleum engineer. With an assignment in an oil rig the gulf of mexico. Long story short he introduced me to a bitcoin invest emend company (fake) and hooks me up with a broker who I'm convinced now was the same scammer. I needed money so I invested. My return was great but they asked me for so many fees I stupidly paid for. They also charged for taxes and other shot they claimed I would get that money back. Anyway I lost close to 25,000. Have a loan to pay because I loaned money to pay fees to withdraw supposedly $126k (profits). They came with other excuses saying I needed to send the payment again in its entirety because the bitcoin value changed. I did an image search and found out I was lied to. It is then when I realized. So stupid. I deserve it because I knew better at least to make reverse photo searches but his lies and the way he weaved his story was masterful. He sent me pictures of a Brazilian personality named Jayme Drummond. For whomever wants to check it maybe we have the same scammer. I wish we could do something to get these people what they deserve.
DiOrchid
September 12, 2020

In reply to by Stupidme

Sounds like the "James Alveno" or one of his associates (since they trade playing cards) I met in January 2020 on WordsWithFriends. He had me so convinced he loved me that I agreed to open up a Coinbase account for him so "we could invest together". Anyways, I found out he was using someone else's pictures, a mining photographer by the name of James Hodgins. I blocked him and he found me on WhatsApp. He pleaded that he got arrested between May2020 and late June2020 because he got framed. He would mentioned he had to wire money to Dubai. Perhaps, if our scammer are the same; it's really notorious flashy Instagramers Hushpuppy or Mr.Woodbery or one of the associates arrested with them around June 21, 2020. Since then, I haven't heard from mine.
Daughter who i…
September 05, 2020
My mom, told us she met a man name Rex from Florida through her Christian dating site. He is French and his wife died 5 yrs ago. He is 62 and has 3 children who are 16-20 yrs old. He also is an oil engineer. He has told currently he is in the Middle East working and needs her to be his beneficiary for some thing would happen to him. She has only been talking to him for 6 weeks. Supposedly he is coming to visit her and wants to buy house to be close to her. Has anyone had a body like this.? Please help if you do because we are trying to prove this to her
DiOrchid
September 12, 2020

In reply to by Daughter who i…

Do a ReversePhoto. This guy sounds like the mining engineer I met on WordsWithFriends who claims is from Orlando, Florida. Even send me a pic of a Bible on his night stand.
PoorMe
January 15, 2021

In reply to by Daughter who i…

Sound like same man i m currently in communication. Name larry walker. Widower with 1 daughter who stays with nanny in kansas. He is prtroleum engineer on oil rig in gulf of mexico. Stupidly, has sent him around usd8K. Now, telling me that will go back to Kansas anytime and starting a big project, and want to put my name in the contract as I am his future wife. Luckily I came across this site...
Mille
September 06, 2020
I have chatted recently his name Harry hndrick, he said he is a sergion in Yemen, he has 150kg of gold bar from Yemen government gave him as a gratitude of his job. He want to send me, but he wants me to pay the shipping fee. He even sent me his certificate that he is the owner.. what do you think of this? I think he wants me to scan.
girlvictim
September 16, 2020

In reply to by Mille

I have encountered a guy who also works as a general surgeon in Yemen. Then, he said about attacks there and he needs to secure his life work savings , security companies are asked to leave the place, he needs to deliver it to me as soon as possible, and I have to pay the delivery charges. If I get to have the box containing his savings, I could get percentage from it. In the end, I did not mind him, I just block him and deleted my account. It was quite weird for me.
Worried - step…
September 06, 2020
Step-dad is being scammed We think our step-dad is being scammed. Since our Mom died, he has been lonely and going on to dating sites. He is 66 and “dating” online Janet Allison 45 year old divorced British Nurse with Doctors Without Borders in Syria. He met her on a Christian Singles website. She is divorced from an American pilot and has a home in Texas and an adult son. She has asked my step-dad to send stuff on her behalf to her son, because she can’t order stuff from Syria. She paid the cost by sending money to his bank account. At first she asked for money for a plane ticket. We all said don’t do it, so he told her we were suspicious that it was a scam. She sent photo, with Bill, I love you sign on it to show it wasn’t. The photo shows an attractive 40ish busty brunette woman. He claimed he has talked with her directly when we asked why he never had face to face calls. We also noticed he is getting a lot of mail from SunTrust since he has been dating Janet, but he wont say what its about. According to our Step-dad, he isn’t out any money, since she always reimburses him or will once she gets back. Janet is supposed to come back to the U.S. soon and after quarantine plans to come to Florida. He said he is going to marry her and feels very lucky. What do we do? And if she send him money and pays him back, is a crime being committed?
Babzb4
September 06, 2020
Im on a dating site name POF and I have met 3 guys at different times and both of them says they are from new york,& 1 in the army stationed in Yemen and all of them has asked for money ,wants my bank account information, send them money. 1 in new york wants $500 to fly to Washington. 1 in the military wants me to get a $50 amazon gift card,plus has my bank information, asked me to open a Northone bank account,cash app and says when he is done in yemen he is coming to Washington to see me. 1 says he is from Cleveland and has his picture on POF with different names so i set him up saying something different to each names to make a person to person contact and each one gave me a excuse why they cant meet.1 of the different names same picture guy after talking to him on the phone says would i like to buy a house in Florida and my mortgage would only be $1300 a month ,sent me all kinds of pictures of this house and looks good. Then I get in my gmail from a real estate guy that says he is going to send me papers on this house and to sign them and send it back with $1000 for the monthly mortage . I have not seen this person thats a so called real estate guy,nor seen the house only pictures,nor I have heard of anyone trying to send me legal papers and putting my name on something that i was thinking of a Dream Home through the mail. Now Im talking to 1 of the other names same picture and he says to open a cash app and wants me to set up a bitcoin so he can put money on it , says he is from Seattle and after talking to him and all of them i have talked to have accents. And the more i talk to him i found out he is from Turkey. So now what do i do? And how to spot them before hand?
Bria5891
September 22, 2020

In reply to by Babzb4

I’m dealing with a scammer right now I met on pof claiming to be a doctor in Brazil. I would get off the Internet dating sites if I were you. I deleted everything and learned my lesson. He was trying so many different ways to try and con me out of money. Don’t get any bitcoin it’s a crypto currency that can’t be traced. They know this that’s why they get you to get it. He was also trying to get me to pick up money transfers from western union. I didn’t do anything and now he’s trying to blackmail me. Be careful ladies.
Darkangel
September 06, 2020
Thomas Johnson is who I got he says he’s in the military and then he stationed over in Japan right now he says he has a daughter but he didn’t even know that his daughter was starting school this week but he said he’s three months behind in his Internet bill and he couldn’t stand to not talk to me and that he loves me he asked me to marry him within the first week that he asked me to send the money on an eBay gift card so that he could pay for his Internet but when I asked what an eBay gift card would do he got a hostile and then he said that he was on the phone with his bank and the bank wanted him to come in to verify they needed his fingerprints which I called the bank and I asked they don’t do that and that the manager is willing to transfer money into a friends account accountI was going to give him a different account number and routing number but then he asked for my online ID my password my security questions and answers in my account and routing number and I told him I didn’t feel comfortable doing it so I guess I’m one of the lucky ones. I told him that people scam people all the time with gift cards and he said if I was a scammer I would ask for a $10 million instead of 100 which is wrong they always ask for low because people normally can pay low
Cally
September 27, 2020

In reply to by Darkangel

Omg! I met a guy called himself todd William's and used the same fingerprint issue w/ his bank! No bank anywhere requires you to bring fingerprints to unlock a bank account. When I wouldn't send money and cards, he got aggressive and mean. All of sudden he didn't love me anymore (after 3 weeks, boo hoo). This jerk said he was a doctor from malibu but working in Somalia for the UN, and yet needed money from me..... really?
Christine Rogers
September 06, 2020
Has any body heard of shawn webber on here I think I am being scammed
Pof
November 15, 2020

In reply to by Christine Rogers

I heard of a Darrin Webber enigeer.. pictures are of a black man bald white beard..tattoos on arms and chest
Dresslady67
September 06, 2020
Does anyone know Thomas Roland from Vienna Ausria?
Chezzie
September 06, 2020
Had somone last year on Telegram say they was Leonardo DiCaprio he asked me for Itune cards £200 he then texts me one day saying that hes coming iget a text one day with him saying I'm.here look out of window didnt see him at first look put a while later see a car person in car looked exactly same as leonardo dicaprio he was in back of a very dark vehicle with what looked like 2 men in the front of the car only I would of gone to him but my mom shouted at me to go to bed saying whoever's outside ot wont be Leo she said. Anyway next day I get a text again from him saying you fooled me I never want to see you again. : (
Hopeless
September 07, 2020
How long do they take before they ask for money? I have had scanners before on dating cites and right away they ask for cash. But this guy I’ve been talking for 4 months and hasn’t asked for cash. There has come up issues that I’m waiting for him to ask but he doesn’t. Claims to be in the Army. I search his picture ask questions and search answers. I just don’t know. Help!!!!
BB
September 21, 2020

In reply to by Hopeless

Is his name Tommy and really Gorgeous? I would send a picture but this site doesn’t allow it!
agent101
September 07, 2020
hi, has anyone here encountered a nice looking bald and bearded guy? he said he's from Croatia but living in new York for the longest time already. works at one of the biggest shipping company. always out for business trip. petroleum engineer. he's nice, calls often, we would video call but he can only see me, I've never seen him in video calls because he was out travelling on a ship, he says it's not allowed. after 2 months of communicating he started saying he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me and doesn/t want to travel for work anymore. gave a business proposal, he said he has a doctor friend who works at a research laboratory who needs a certain herb and that he wanted us to supply for them. asked me to look for supplier. to make the story short, i found one but when i looked deeper into the loopholes, supplier, courier and this client all have the same IP address. supplier refuse to give important details about their company. this guy i met wanted me to support him financially in the business when i said i sense something wrong about the supplier, he got really mad and threw me all kinds of bad accusations. i tried looking up the guy's name in google, even his photos, but couldn't find anything. no social media account. he said he's a widower, only son, mom was old and staying in Croatia. anyone who encountered him?
Wheils
September 23, 2020

In reply to by agent101

I’ve been talking to a guy for a week who was born in Croatia, moved to New York at 20, wife died in a car accident 3 years ago. One son who lives in San Jose, California with his sister who died on Monday of a heart attack. He’s a mechanical engineer in the military but he’s in Canada right now. Has been for nearly a year. Very Christian. Strong accent. Goes by the name Armando Mouser. Age 53. Any of this sound familiar?
PoorMe
January 15, 2021

In reply to by agent101

Almost same story. Bald bearded man, very nice. Can we share photos?