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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.

Upset
September 07, 2020
Does anyone know a James Herbert who is an engineer on off shore oil rigs? Says he's in Poland right now working. I would appreciate any information. Thank you
Sdusty
September 13, 2020

In reply to by Upset

Omg that names sounds imiliar... Does his number start with 447? Anyways nothing happened. I was being nice and chatting. But he was annoying and clingy and said I was never there to talk? He stopped talking lol
Jazzy09
September 07, 2020
I was playing Scrabble with buddies We started talking in November, his name he said was David Blossom that his wife had dIed on the operating table 4 year's ago and his son is in a boarding school where he lives. I think the school is in Berlin. My family warned me but I didn't listen because I thought he loved me, I sure made a huge mistake just because he said he was wealthy. If anyone has heard of him please let me know because I'm filing a complaint against him.
Norty67
September 07, 2020
Anyone out there been scammed by a mike peden railroad contractor he even has fake web ?
Hopenot
October 14, 2020

In reply to by Norty67

I recently was contacted by Mike Peden railway engineer on a dating site. He lives in Portland OR, wife died from cancer, no children. He is saying all the things that I have read on here. One woman man, he is lonely and wants a woman who is honest and won't look at other men. He immediately wanted to communicate by email and his profile is no longer available on the dating site. I think he is setting me up. Fortunately it is in the very early stages. Going to block him now
sadcat
November 17, 2020

In reply to by Hopenot

The Mike Peden Railway engineer I had contact with was listed on dating site as living in Louisville, KY
Peaches
October 15, 2020

In reply to by Norty67

My Grandma is being scammed by Mike right now. I told her it was a scam.
Concerned
November 10, 2020

In reply to by Peaches

What is he doing? I am concerned for someone being scammed by him now.
sadcat
November 11, 2020

In reply to by Peaches

Keep telling her until she believes. He knows how to play the game and hopefully she will become aware he has done the same to many of us out there. Was she on Silver Singles?
sadcat
January 07, 2021

In reply to by Peaches

Peaches- Has your grandmother lost any money to Mike? Is she still talking to him? Curious.
wadmm
October 17, 2020

In reply to by Norty67

Oh my...have I, and he is still trying to correspond. He actually is trying to convince me he is the real deal. God this is funny. I knew he was a fake. Went on the Silver Singles. I told him from the beginning I would be boring...but he would not give up. I don't have money, and yet he keeps it up? I started to investigate , and saw the fake web page...good lord he has gone through a lot of work. I just received another email from him this morning. Insisting I respond, because he is the real deal. Silly man. Anyway thanks for posting this. Maybe we can worn other women off.
sadcat
November 11, 2020

In reply to by wadmm

I have been talking with him since July. Of course he told me I was the only woman for him. What a piece of work. His business is not even a real business. I feel like such a fool.
rustybutterknife
November 10, 2020

In reply to by Norty67

My mother (recently widowed) is talking to this guy right now. Except now he is based in TN. I am trying to tell her that he checks all the boxes for a scam or at the very least some kind of creep. Hope I can convince her without hurting her feelings. This really sucks.
Concerned
November 10, 2020

In reply to by Norty67

I know someone being scammed by him. What is his MO/ modus operandi? Did he try to get money from you? I am very worried.
Insurance Girl
April 01, 2021

In reply to by Concerned

I wanted to know how he scammed the other person that you know. He borrowed a large sum of money from me to complete his project.
Insurance Girl
January 26, 2021

In reply to by sadcat

I think he scammed me too and he told me he now lives in California but is working on a project in Bahrain and I did give him quite a large sum of money. He was on Silver Singles.
Insurance Girl
February 01, 2021

In reply to by sadcat

There is a profile and photo of Peden on LinkedIn but he is now based in Seattle, Washington
Canbury
September 07, 2020
I think I am being scammed after an interaction on craigslist. It's the "my 14yo son...Ohio" deal. What should I do?
TOBYJUG
September 08, 2020
Has anyone linked up with a swiss guy, living in Connecticutt who is an architect by the name of Davis Luis - went to Dubai to follow up on a job he had already done earlier in the year to find that 3 people had been killed and 2 injured due the collapse of part of the building he was in charge of constructing - 55 years old one daughter Anne 16 years old his wife died 8 years ago due to ovarian cancer!
Nanacarol50
September 08, 2020
I had guy on WWF Byron Markus who chatted with me and went to Hangouts. He lived in Nashville TN and worked forExxon and got job out of country. He needed money for his son Sammy in boarding school In Texas. He needed food and medical treatment for skin condition. He supposedly left his wallet at home when left for job. I refused and he will never forgive me if son dies. I told him the nanny could take him to hospital for treatment. I found a twitter account with his picture under Jeff Lancelot and son’s name there was Kelley. Just wanted to get his name and story out there. I gave him nothing and blocked him on Hangouts
Heart broken
September 09, 2020
I was scammed by Peter Palmer . He lived in bluecrossing Mi
TOBYJUG
September 09, 2020
Please has anyone heard of Davis Luis - swiss born living in Connecticut CEO of his own architectural business called DL Architecture & Construction - pics he is using belong to a well known Austrian leading politician!!!
MJR
September 09, 2020
Anyone hear of James Grimmett or Coca
TAU@scammer
September 09, 2020
Beware of a person who poses to be an engineer who claims to own a construction company in Ukraine. He went to Thailand to sign a contract and since he has only 430thousand dollars, he needs 15k more to pay for contract fee otherwise he will lose the contract where he can make me an overnight millionaire LOL marry me and we travel around the world, this being his last contract so we can be together. No, I did not give his demand. His passport is held by immigration for sticker. No international credit card. No valid ID except engineer's ID..yet he owns a rollroyce and Bentley for his toys? LOL. His name is TONY ABAD or ANTHONY ABAD BOHDAH per fake passport LOL. I wish I know how to post picture here but in not good with technology. By the way, I was lured to send $1,000 to pay for his 5 start hotel and food while he is still looking for money. He was supposed to visit me with a business class ticket he sent me but cancelled due to pending problem with contract fee. Hilarious!
Fool
September 10, 2020
I was introducef to a female in the us army in afghanistan on whatsapp by her brother-in-law in Oregon. It started out just fine at first, then she wanted me to use a certain "spell caster" to make the relationship unbreakable. Unfortunately, I paid this person to do what she asked. Then he wanted more money to cast other spells. When I said no, he got very angry with me, and so did she. She asked to text so we could chat more privately. She asked for my address so she could mail a check to pay for her mothers medical bills. The check bounced when I trief to deposit it into my bank acct. She asked me to use a different bank, but I told her I could not. She started to ask for money to buy a new cellphone. It started out at $60, then $125, then $200-$250. Her dollar sign was always behind the number and I this seemed odd (for example 60$ ). When I told her I read online to send no money to an official us military deployed, she said it was a hoax. Out of curiosity, I searched her name online and used the number she gave me once again to find out more. The person on the other end had the same name, but never heard of me and asked me to tell her her name. When I did, she flipped out and said to call the police. I haven't heard from this person since. There's more, but that's embarrassing enough to continue.
Emss
September 11, 2020
Hej, Everyone I'm recently a victim of scam, a very cute us army ( lieutenant) base in Somalia and he is 1 daughter, after a week of talking he ask 150-200$ for iTunes gift card because he can't open his camera in hangout. but I refuse to buy, instead I ask him" who are you? " he get upset, and he said he will find way to prove to me that he is real, and to see him in webcam, and Yes he Call me and his is REAL a white man with an army Uniform and a group of soldiers behind him. And he said in camera ' I'm real baby don't you believe me now" I got very nervous and felt guilt, And after we talked he ask me to buy him Bitcoin for 500$ because he own some with his friend. And I said No again. He said its OK not to help but he begging me to stay. But I disconnected him and blocked. Please help,,,, Is he a Scammer???? Anyone have experience like this??? Thanks in advance..
mahmoudkaz1997
September 11, 2020
thanks for this info ....but really weird internet these days . but i have a story ... i talked with a woman in usa and then i think she is a scammer but the weird thing she did not ask for money .
Shelly60
September 11, 2020
Dave White 60 Houston Tx Fake oil rig consultant on dating sites Requests a green dot card from you Romances you proposes to you And then asks for a green dot card purchased for him to put his own money on Just text him the details of the card And pin number He wants to marry you Until you don't give it to him And then he turns ugly and abusive Stayed away He will also fake plane tickets to come and see you
Scammed???
September 12, 2020
Hi Has anyone been contacted by Jason Hills? Been chatting for a while, oil rig drilling engineer, contract finishing, family in NC, wife and son killed in car crash five years ago, pay check for five million dollars made out to me but needs money for a fake marriage certificate before company will release check to me. Also always asks if I have eaten, not to work too hard, to rest and to stay safe for me. Too many similarities. Even saw his"mother" Rose on hangouts. So happy her son has found a wonderful women as a wife. Many God bless you, my daughter etc. Daughter Kim and grandson Chris. Rig in Gulf of Houston he says. Written English full of grammar mistakes. Seen him twice on hangouts. Calls sometimes with quite a strong accent.
Dev
September 12, 2020
Met a sweet talking guy on Facebook. Said he noticed my profile and was instantly attracted. The day after that he invited me to his Google Hangout profile which he said he used for family only. Claims to be a Sgt. in the military on a special mission in Turkey. He later deleted his FB account for security reasons. Also uses that same excuse as to why he can not call or video chat. Although he did call me through video chat 2 times each for 2 seconds before hanging up. All I was able to get a glimpse of was the top of his head and then his forehead. He goes by Owin S Pat but says his real name is Owin Platek. He sent a few pictures in uniform with the name Sharp on them. He tricked me into giving out my address saying he wanted to send me some of his belongings and I was the only one whom he could trust. Says he's widowed with 2 kids. Few hours later of me giving my address I get an email from some more than likely fake company stating they have the package ready to be sent to me but first I need to send them $1,750. 00 for them to release it. I did not fall for that. Rather I told them to cancel I did not want to receive it anymore. Then they tried telling me would cost $1,100. 00 for me to cancel the order that I did not set up in the first place. They also said if I did not pay then I will be getting a visit from customs since my home address was in their system. I gathered this so called Sgt. was in on it so I called him out. He then went to say how confused he was with the whole situation with his package. He has never directly asked me to wire money to an account but he later on tried telling me that he was wanting to take an emergency leave from his post so that he could take care of it and also come meet me sooner. He tried telling me he needed help with the cost of his leave because he has no access to the thousands of dollars that he has. He then tried telling me that his superior needed me to fill out a form indicating the reason for his leave. But yet he wanted me to use myself as the reason rather than stating his package problems. I know for a fact that true military people will not allow anyone to do this for a soldier unless you are immediate family. So anywho I blocked him on Hangouts and now he blows up my emails. I always thought once you call them out and block them that they just move on to the next victim but he is still trying to get me to believe that his feelings for me and his whole situation is real. This is my first but deff my last online scammer situation. Been scammed before but usually from men whom I meet face to face with.
Bemegirl
September 12, 2020
Anyone have a story about a William, who is getting ready to retire and needs someone to be beneficiary of His retirement money????
Queen
September 13, 2020
Beware of this name Dr. Robert Albert Emery, he’s a genius scammer.
Tan deh
September 13, 2020
Oscar Harrison the surgeon ask too much questions, told him I don’t talk my personal business on social media, also want my picture which I refuse, the guy is on scrabble go, his spelling is very bad for a surgeon, he said he had 2 daughters in boarding schools lost there mom 7 years ago had a dog name fluffy, while in Syria he has given a phone which only for government purposes and only talk to his daughters by walkie talkie, he said I am smart and he won’t eat my picture, I got bored and block him, stay single don’t fall for these guys they are thieves.
Sickofit
September 13, 2020
I have been online dating this guy for exactly two months now. He said he fell in love with me the moment he saw me and that I am his queen. He works as a pilot for a prominent Brazilian airline. Has a 8 yr old daughter living with his mom in FL. He is Brazilian and Portuguese but born in US. He is constantly flying to places and is helping in relief efforts for Covid. He texts and calls all day. Share pics Of his sister brother and daughter. Knows I have two kids. He is trying to branch out into oil and crypto. Wants to be settled. Can’t video call from the base. Speaks very well, very articulate, poetic, sings to me and prays with me every day at night. He asked me open an account for him to deposit money for the oil project. I said I can’t because I am going thru a divorce and I can’t open an account. But prior to that he as been sick of and on and today. I got an email from his friend that he fell unconscious at the gym and in critical condition. I haven’t heard from either of them since. I figured since he didn’t get anything from me this was his way of breaking up or faking his death. I thought he deserves and Oscar for his performance. He not once asked me for money but I feel this new development with his Health will Prompt for it. I am waiting to get that message to hit the final nail in the coffin. Funny thing he is extremely good looking never talked about sex or anything g degrading. He sent a lot of pics and videos of him on vacations. I don’t know if it’s for real or not but this makes me wonder. Wow I feel like such a fool! Very disappointed. Love is a scam. Sad! His name is Greg C Peters.
Tobyjug
September 14, 2020

In reply to by Sickofit

Queen was a favourite of the guy who reeled me in . He was a real pro - unfortunately I fell for it.
BEYOND WORDS
October 09, 2020

In reply to by Sickofit

Hey sickofit, did he sing all of me wants all of you? And is he bold with really beautiful blue eyes fantastic smile with amazing white teeth mustache and beard?
Heart broken
September 13, 2020
Anyone one on here been talking to a Daniel Blood Kent that's the name he is been using if so please let me no been talking to him for seven months now sent him money few times 5 the first 2 the second plus 50 roller gift card says he in the military I know he is not now but still got broken heart because of him specially since had is the first guy I ever even wanted to talk to or be with in almost 26 years since I devorced my husband being 58. And insecure makes wanting to date anyone or trust any one really hard then guys like him come along and make it even harder to trust thank u
Questions
September 13, 2020
Is there a gold bar trick going around. My friend is stuck on this girl says she has gold bars in cuba?
cmac
September 16, 2020

In reply to by Questions

Yes! I was scammed by Sqt Walter Handy who received a reward for finding the daughter of a politician in Iran who was being held hostage. His reward: two consignment boxes - one with gold bars and the other with 100 dollar bills in 10K increments. I received the two videos to prove what was in the boxes - $19 million total. The Cuban operation is McBens Agency and they work through JP Morgan Bank to receive their wire transfers. The story begins with payment to ship the boxes to the US and the need to change ownership and pay for delivery ... then you learn about the "unpaid" rental fee that is due. Then some "incident" happens where a diplomat must come to take the boxes to the U.K. who works with as a diplomatic courier for the Royal British Agency. You then need to pay the taxes and get Certificates for the gold - which all look very "offical" I received copies of all of the documents with my name and address as the ship to person. I received airline confirmation notifications as well as Customs Xray's. The story can get convoluted. I fell victim to these scammers. They will bleed you dry while expressing their love and commitment to "forever." Run. Run fast and don't look back.
Christine
September 13, 2020
I like to get this out there to warn others. A man named John Grage real good looking man with a go te gray hair and bead claims he is working in Qatar but done now and needs money for Paper fees he claims to get back to USA said he is wife & Daughter got killed in a car accident about 8 Years ago and he is from Ft. Worth Texas. has any one got contact with him I have plenty of pictures
billieluczak17…
September 13, 2020
I have a friend who is taking too a guy name David Walker says he was working on a bridge in Nigeria and for 2 1/2 years she has been sending him money he has professed his love and broke allot of promises does anyone know this name David Smith walker?
BUDDHA001
September 13, 2020
INTERESTING THAT MOST OF THESE ARE FROM WOMEN, IM A MAN THAT HAS DEALT WITH A FEW SCAMMERS FROM THE ALT.COM WEBSITE. I HAD A WOMAN NAMED JENA LAWRENCE SCAM ME OUT OF MANY OF DOLLARS SAYING SHE WAS STRANDED IN LITTLE ROCK COMING TO MEET ME. AS A RESULT I STUPIDLY GAVE HER MY DEBIT INFO AND SHE PROCEEDED TO REMOVE 1340.00 FROM IT. WANTING TO HAVE A GIRLFRIEND TOO BADLY CAUSED THIS AND NOW I JUST LIVE A QUIET SMALL LIFE BY MYSELF. NEVER AGAIN
Wise lady
September 14, 2020
Any body heard of the name kelvin pual from uk? He is a scammer
Martha22't use…
September 14, 2020
I'm sorry that all of us are getting scamed ive been taking to a catfish name is Phillip stefan carlos very good looking photo but I definitely believe he has hacked this guy's photos and video and using them as bait , he asks for money and to help him get a iTunes card and also help pay to aent a box to me ot to his nanny claiming he has military records and jewelry over 3000.00 or more i have not given him any money to help him with this but he is certainly very persistent , he is very manipulative, always aent chesse i love sticks and photos suck ! I dont know how to reveal his true identity all i have is his supid email address
tgtbt23
September 14, 2020
We need to find a way to stop these scammers from taking innocent people's hard earned money and in some cases their entire life's savings and then some. There's got to be a way to stop them, we just have to figure it out.