Skip to main content

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 ftc.gov/complaint — click on Scams and Rip-Offs, then select Romance Scams.

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

18,207 Comments


It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

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.

Rosi Ruiz
October 21, 2021
Ami me está hablando un joven llamado Clinton philip y llevamos 2 meses el dice q está en Aleppo Siria exacto que no puede usar su dinero que ago
Rosi Ruiz
October 21, 2021
El me llama en vídeo llamada es el mismo pero si antes lo conocí por face book Y me llamaba en Messenger Ahora el dice q regresa en 2 semanas que ago
nicetry
October 22, 2018
I was contacted through instagram by a John Anderson, who asked me to go straight to hangouts to chat. The name on that app was Alfred Keith and was allegedly a single dad after his wife died giving birth to their second son. He is german born, lives in USA but currently in Turkey on business. Three weeks later son has had an accident with a motor of some sort and needs $5000 transferred to a Dr Bright as his credit card wont work in Turkey and will pay me back. Told him to send me the hospital account, but strangly enough Dr Bright wants to be paid into his private account in Spain. How gullible do they think we are !!! He wanted to marry me and send me a car for my birthday lol !!!!
Rosi Ruiz
October 21, 2021
Ami me está hablando un joven llamado Clinton philip y llevamos 2 meses el dice q está en Aleppo Siria exacto que no puede usar su dinero que ago
Shelly
November 30, 2018

In reply to by nicetry

I have a friend that is being scammed by a “Dr” John Anderson. He’s an orthopedic surgeon from Beverly Hills but he’s operating on the troops in Afghanistan. He’s expecting a large sum of money from Russia but he’s being detained at the border because he had a piece of gold without the proper papers. Evidently someone paid him in gold for saving their child’s life. She has sent over $15,000.00 in “fees” to try to get the package for him. It’s not even a good believable story yet for some reason she’s still sending money. It’s the craziest thing I’ve ever been around.
Rebeca
October 22, 2021
Se trata de una historia reciente. En estos días contactó conmigo por Messenger un chico muy guapo, joven y de aspecto agradable. Quería mi amistad. Me contó que se quedó sin padres muy joven y que vivía en Nueva Jersey. Era padre soltero de gemelos, ellos estaban en un internado aunque ahora con la pandemia tenían cuidadora. Trabajaba en Yemen de cirujano ortopédico para las Naciones Unidas. Me dijo que era mejor hablar por WhatsApp. No me llegó a pedir dinero porque fue muy poco lo que hablé con él. Como ya me han escrito muchos "virtuales" y todos han sido una decepción, le dije que no me fiaba de desconocidos y que era mejor no hablar. Me insultó. He bloqueado y borrado su teléfono. Quiero contar mi caso para que otras personas tengan cuidado y no caigan en el engaño de estos estafadores.
maryhillwow
October 22, 2018
I am being threatened by some guy who of course was nice. He saved all our conversations and my not so nice photos. Given Me 6 hours to come up with 1200 in iTunes cards. Police say ignore. But his threats are getting worse by the minute. If my husband who has terminal cancer finds out I might as well die. Can he post from hangouts
singlemomshirley
November 02, 2018

In reply to by maryhillwow

I think i have similiar case mary can we compare picture
Juan José
October 22, 2021
Ami me escribe una Daniella lewis soldado según incautaron ese dinero y quiere enviarlo para hacer negocios pero le digo hagamos videollamada y se niega jajjaja esq las ratas andan en todos lados
Mcarroll
October 26, 2018
I think I'm currently talking to a scammer. It's a female, or atleast I think so. She added me on facebook under the name Belinda Thomas. Then asked to switch over to google hangouts after a brief chat. The hangouts name that it shows is Patriciahelen 504@ gmail. com She claims to be in her 30's single and a christian looking for love. Has asked me for two pictures, asked me several random questions... And here's the weird part. I've asked her to send pictures, she only sent two pictures of the same one. While her facebook picture looks different.
GB1030
October 31, 2018

In reply to by Mcarroll

Hello, you are probably chatting with a male possing as a female and they are trying to scam you. Dont send any pictures of any kind of your self. They will use against you later.
Dimen
October 23, 2018
Has anyone heard of Mark Welsh Benson? He uses his middle name like a last name too. I met him on Words with friends as Mark Benson and he and I after getting somewhat acquainted asked me to meet with him on Hangouts which I did. He has romanced me and is asking for a lot of money. $42,000. Of course I’m not sending him money. We’ve been chatting for almost 3 months. Oh yeah widowed and daughter in boarding school and contractor on an oil rig in Cyprus.
jonesDon't use…
October 23, 2018
i think Harrison Whany is fake has any one heard of him??
ALM
October 23, 2021
Un supuesto Doctor cirujano ortopédico me empeso amandar mensajes por instagram saludandome como si me conociera sabia mi nombre completo todos mis datos y nombre de mis hijos y en donde trabajo, todo texto nada de llamadas el tenia mi email y me mando muchos emails segun el hace 4 anos trabaja para la ONU Y lo mandaron con el equipo de doctores a Arabia Saudita por 9 meses pero ya estaban hay por 11 meses , todo parecia verdad asi dure 1 mes me dijo que el vivia en Los Angeles que la esposa habia muerto hace 5 anos y tenian una hija adoptiva de 15 anos que estudiaba en una academia en california interna. Me dijo que si le podia mandar un ipad que se le habia roto el que tenia y no posia hacer sus tareas que el no podia hacer ninguna compra desde aya que cuando el llegara aUSA el 28 de Oct me daba el dinero. Le hice el favor me mando el nombre de una profesora que estaba por una semana en New Jersey. Me dio todos los datos la compre y se la mande siguio todo normal hablando. Hasta que hace una semana me conto que el rey de arabia les habia dado a todos los medicos un regalo a todos los medicos por su labor durante el covid 19 a su pueblo pero que no podian decirle nada al gobierno de USA y. Ellos no podian sacar nada de dinero de aya asi que el se concto con un agente diplomatico de la UNO y el iba a sacar el paquete. Y me lo iba a traer para que yo se lo tubiera cuando el llegara que era de mucho dinero. Le dije que lo sentia que eso no yo no lo hacia que se lo mandara. Su hija .Ahora se la pasa mandandome. Email que el me puso como beneficiaria y le dio todos mis datos direccion de mi casa y celular y el agente diplomatico me iba traer el paquete a mi casa. Estoy muy nerviosa porque hace unos dias vino un hombre uniformado haciedoce pasar un exterminador le dije que yo no necesitaba despues me llamo a mi celular que le habriera la puerta. Dos dias despues recibi un email diciendome que como yo no atendi al agente diplomatico entoces me iaban a traer el apquete directamente a mi casa. Que s elo guardara porque era su futuro y el de su hija. La verdad estoy muy nervisa .
ANA
October 23, 2021
Alguien habló con Richard Thompson ingeniero civil, ingles viudo desde hace 3 años mujer murió cáncer y un hijo de 28 casado ya. Te dice que eres su alma gemela y que se quiere casar a los 4 días de hablar con el. Te quiere enviar unos regalos lujosos que no aceptó y ahí cambia comportamiento exigiendo que le compres un regalo le dices que no y te pide una tarjeta iTunes y yo que no .Tengo fotos hice busqueda y solo salen similitudes. Si alguien sabe que digan. No le facilite ningun dato mio
Bruja
October 24, 2021
46 años viudo 3 hijos sana'a yemen anthony philliph o tony u office_jeff321... Sus padres están muertos también y su hermana mal.. De Carolina del Norte. USA.. Hasta el momento nada de dinero pero si encantador... Porque no tengo ni uno así que conmigo pierde el tiempo.. Asi que me dejo querer jajsjsjs jugamos los 2... Total las palabras lindas a nadie les viene mal.. Jajsjs
monica
October 25, 2021
buenas noches a mi me esta pasando lo mismo os suena steven lawrence ..medico cirujano ..viudo y con hijo de nueve años ..me pidio 3500 euros para solicitar sus vacaciones ...para poder salir de la base
monica
October 25, 2021
buenas noches a mi me esta pasando lo mismo os suena steven lawrence ..medico cirujano ..viudo y con hijo de nueve años ..me pidio 3500 euros para solicitar sus vacaciones ...para poder salir de la base
Katmomma
October 24, 2018
My mother in law long story short.. Is now divorcing her husband of 20 yes because she has 3 scammers that she believes are real guys who are going to cone take care of her. Tried telling her they are scammers but she won't listen. Literally ending her marriage! Shes 71yo. She thinks she is talking to a Chris Akamba Jacob Lang and Bob Alex. All obviously works overseas as they say... All stories the same as many here.
Ariz
October 26, 2021
Hola , estoy leyendo todos los comentarios , y me esta pasando lo mismo , un hombre de Instagram me escribio y asta se quiere casar conmigo , tiene una hija , el es huerfano y viudo ayuda por favor
Dee
October 26, 2018

In reply to by Katmomma

I reported my scammer 2times to Instagram to take the guys Instagram down .they did nothing Edward lawson 603. Katmomma report them. Get these scammers out of your moms life
Crushed
October 24, 2018
I have something similar with a girl from Florida named Jessica Elliott she found me on Instagram and has been talking to me about shes a nurse and takes care of her grandma iv asked for a video chat or a call and nothing we communicate over text or Instagram. I'm worried I'm being scammed if I could get some help here or any suggestions please thank u
Mary
October 24, 2018
I'm talking to a supposedly "Peacekeeping Mission" Doctor in Sana'a, Yemen. Has a daughter in boarding school 14 years old. He says his name is James Scott, he is from Spain, he speaks Spanish. Of course he can't talk on the phone, nor have video chats for security reasons. We talk in Hangouts. I have several pictures, he is about 56 years old, has white hair. Does any body have a similar experience? I'm afraid he is another scammer because he said that the only way for us to be together, I would have to request him getting a "Replacement Certificate" and pay for it! I don't think so.
bettsy
November 08, 2018

In reply to by Mary

Mary I’m talking to a guy that 56yrs old, he said his name is Darrick Meyer and he has a 14 yr old daughter in boarding school he wife died 4 yrs ago and he is supposed to be from Canada but I’m Syria on a peacekeeping mission he is supposed to be a general commander of the Canadian army force. He can’t video chat or ring because he is in the war zone does it sound like the same guy
Ehywa1234
October 24, 2018
Facebook love scammer be careful
Lynn60
October 25, 2018
Reading all these scams they are so similar, widowed, children in boarding school, work on oil rig, lots of money. This one took a long time to ask for money but he did. To get out of contract has to have flight money, etc. sad, seems so nice. 2 &3:military, lots of money, found, mNeeds help getting out of country, Chris Hogan, other was forgotten his name. Watch out! Charming people until you get suspicious.
angelwings2018
October 25, 2018
I tried to look to Hadiza Inyene claims a private guardian from Athens, Greece. If you know this person or woman please message me i had her photo I sent $300 from Western Union from last week. She was connected with Michael West.
angelwings2018
October 25, 2018
Anyone knows the person i was chatting i bought $1,590 itunes card to sent it to him he is a ship engineer and supervisor in London Maritime and Netherland Maritime last two weeks he said the Bulk Cargo was stranded he was asking me to buy him an itunes so that he can contact his ship manager in Netherlands to send another ship to them. After a week of waiting this Michael West informed me the other ship came ro rescue them. After 4 days they almost reach London land he said again the engine pins fill out on the ship he needs $600 to pay for the supplier immediately but i don't have any more money told him why he cannot call the company he didn't owned the ship but he needs to fix it. He wrote me a very nasty letter saying i didnt see him yet but i saw his money. He promised to marry me as soon as he reach to the land and start a new life. It is soo good to be true what he promised me since i didn't see him cam to cam as.i request many times to sign up but he always had excuses saying they lost the connection. I am done with him this person is always taking advantage to me and i know he is one of the scammer here in WhatsApp, Instagram, Hangouts. If you would like to see his pictures please message me here.
Grannyg
October 26, 2018
I recently met a man named, Dominic Green, SAID is from San Francisco, works on a ship in the Gulf of Mexico, so very handsome, , I got him to send me his email, tel #, and promises me the world, sure very romantic, and it feels good especially when you are lonelt, but I have played my game well and still communicating with him even when he calls, to listen to his voice for my research, he sounds nigerian but says is from Berlin germany, on his profile, I found people sending him birthday greetings this week, but he does not respond, he did send me a Amazon ring and gifts, but also has asked for money in small amt. But in a Amazon card.I really want to believe him but do not want to get scammed.So I'm still playing his game until I get more info on him. I told him I would go see him in S.F. In a couple of months when I'm there visiting, and is always in agreement. He knows I'm no fool, because of my questions and is maybe playing me along. I just wanted to throw his name out there to all of you to watch out for this person.He does want me to get on what app or Hangout, it's not going to happen.I really like this guy i hope he is not a scammer.I did block him when he first asked for money, but begged me to please unblock him, that he was not playing games with me, I did and started my research. Good Luck to us all, oh there he is again..
Friend
October 26, 2018
My friend has been talking to this guy and he is already professing love. Goes by name of Michael Collins hes a widow with 2 kids Annabelle and Nelson. He works on an oil rig in gulf of Mexico and planning to come see her within couple weeks. She is very naive and claims him as her boyfriend, but I don't believe him. He messages her on Instagram and cannot receive phone calls since he is in middle of the gulf. Hope she catches on before it's too late.
canada
October 26, 2018
Has any men been scammed by mia mallory tony or faith ola?
diane
October 27, 2018
ive been scammed although no money was paid except this man wants to send gold for me to hold until he gets back to the us his name is david rosen has anyone else had this petson contact them .ive done animage reverse lookup with no luck help
GB1030
November 01, 2018

In reply to by diane

DIANE, this is a PACKAGE SCAM. Someone will contact you and ask you to pay fees, taxes, or duties. The PACKAGE does not exist.
Nickelino2002
October 27, 2018
I'm looking for an us soldier named Anderson Lopez:. He said he is an E8 Sergeant, platoon sergeant in absence of the 1 SG First Sergeant MAJOR Leader of a Squad. I couldn't find something about him at the net.
usedtoo6
October 27, 2018
reading these stories has made my blood run cold. I too have been scammed has any one talked to a James T Rossi ? claims to be Italian living in LA
Skeptical
February 14, 2019

In reply to by usedtoo6

I’ve been talking to a Jeffry Rossi. Has a Nevada phone number but has been in Nigeria building a hotel for the past year . Was suppose to come back to Las Vegas on 2/15/19. He’s Italian, with accent. Speaks 5 language and has 2 boys. He was suppose to give me flight information and copies of his tickets. Now he’s not responding or talking to me any longer
lbc
October 27, 2018
I was also scammed with the name ANTONIO ALBERT DIEGO!! believing he’s an expert ifx forex trader! Promising a 150% profit but before getting your profits they will keep asking money!! Stop investing with this man! Check out his ip’s..he came from nigeria!! I have a lot of evidence transactions with him..watch out his fb coz he’s doing live but he will never pick up calls to make a face to face conversation! Don’t bite his promises! It’s a warning..
Bobalicious
October 27, 2018
Anyone know Derek Myles just scammed me, was sending box I was threatened with 10.500 pounds he said don't worry, nothing came of it, then he needed money for flight army sent him to Syria then to turkey, I paid flight and luggage, turned up at airport, guess what, he wasn't there he's supposed to be 45, widower from Philadelphia, be aware
bsa123
October 28, 2018
I have been talking to a guy and I totally sure he is a scammer reading all of your stories some sound so familiar to some of the things that's been said to me all he wants is iTune cards now it's on to Google Play cards but he hasn't asked me for money he has opened up a credit card in my name and wants me to buy Cards and then he'll pay for them I've been putting him off because I am skeptical and when I put him off he gets very angry and mean and calls me names and then I don't speak to him only through text is the only time I talk to him I never got a phone call video chat anything then in a few days he contacts me and apologizes and I play along with the game for a little bit I've reported it to my credit bureau and my credit card he says he wants to help me with my business because I am in need of money I have no money to send him he has asked me to send him money for his son that's being washed by his Nanny while he has off shore oil rigging but also is starting his own independent Business but anytime I ask him questions about it he avoids it and he avoids a lot of questions that I ask nor am I allowed to ask he sends me pictures of him and his son they do look similar I can tell they're not selfies but I will be glad to post a picture and reveal his name which I know is not true because I've looked it up or did some research oh and then he sends me cute little poems which I find if you search them on Google they're fake and he says he comes up with them out of his head he writes poems what does Ally and I confronted him about that too.
FTC Staff
October 30, 2018

In reply to by bsa123

If someone uses your name and personal information to get a credit card, that is identity theft. They can create debts in your name. The debts will go onto your credit report. You might get calls from debt collectors.

Report identity theft at www.IdentityTheft.gov. Report what happened. Get letters to send to credit reporting agencies and credit card companies where the fraud happened. Make a list of steps to protect yourself.

clasha1
October 28, 2018
A guy started talking to me playing words with friends name Mark Larry who is America and working as a doctor in Syria for injured military. His daughter Emily who is 9 is in boarding school. I am very septical now. He says he can’t video chat
Happa
October 29, 2018
I have a question. Has anyone encountered where the person give you a bank site and they give you their information to enter and check their account? Then find out later on that they are a scammer. What are my risks now?
FTC Staff
October 30, 2018

In reply to by Happa

A scammer might tell you he has a lot of money in the bank, and say you can check his bank account balance. He says he's rich because he's trying to persuade you to do him a favor.

But even if you see a page online that looks like a bank account statement, that doesn't prove there is really a bank account with a high balance. It doesn't prove that the person you're talking to has a lot of money.

scha
June 14, 2020

In reply to by Happa

yes..there is this person using web offshorefirstservice.com. they website is a fraud. he's giving me his login detail and asked me to help him transfer money from his account to someone else. then after 2 transaction the account were inactive or were hold..and then when he asked me to use my money to help transfer. and i refused.
Scanned Too
November 12, 2020

In reply to by scha

Is he Swedish , charming - in Cyprus , from NYC - is he Mark Forsberg????
Scanned Too
December 12, 2020

In reply to by Scanned Too

He got me also for 3 months - March - June 2020 ! Gave him no money . Same story and more !
AmIscammed
October 30, 2018
I have had now for three weeks a Dr. Jeffrey Anderson, telling me he is an American Doctor posted in Aleppo Syria, seeet talking me on Pinterest and now on Skype. Find it very odd that after telling him I am 74 years old and married he is still talking amourously. He has not asked for any money, he says he he just wants to talk to me. Love my smile. Something smells fishy.
Deborah68
October 30, 2018
I have dealt with two scammers this year. Now I have a different scenario going on. This guy is in one of my groups on Facebook and one day he messaged me. He lives in Ghana and is 40 years old and I am 69. We talk every day on messenger. He had shown me around his house and a couple of his neighbors. He takes uses video has he talks to me so I can see everything. He claims he is so in love with and can't wait to be with me. I remind him of the age difference but he says it is just a number. He wants me to visit him in Africa next spring. He eventually wants to come and be with me in America. He has not asked me for money. He had even told me how the scammers work to get money out of people. Recently he asked me to take a blood oath so that we will be together forever. I researched this and refused to do this. It is s serious thing and scary. Any way I feel that he is just using me to get to America. The age difference really puts me off too. Is this a scam? He is very nice but I am skeptical.