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Image of cupid and heartNot everyone using online dating sites is looking for love. Scammers create fake online profiles using photos of other people — even stolen pictures of real military personnel. They profess their love quickly. And they tug at your heartstrings with made-up stories about how they need money — for emergencies, hospital bills, or travel. Why all of the tricks? They’re looking to steal your money.

As if all that isn’t bad enough, romance scammers are now involving their victims in online bank fraud. Here’s how it works: The scammers set up dating profiles to meet potential victims. After they form a “relationship,” they come up with reasons to ask their love interest to set up a new bank account. The scammers transfer stolen money into the new account, and then tell their victims to wire the money out of the country. Victims think they’re just helping out their soulmate, never realizing they’re aiding and abetting a crime.  

Here are some warning signs that an online love interest might be a fake. They ask you to:

  • chat off of the dating site immediately, using personal email, text, or phone
  • wire money using Western Union or Money Gram
  • set up a new bank account

Did you know you can do an image search of your love interest’s photo in your favorite search engine? If you do an image search and the person’s photo appears under several different names, you’re probably dealing with a scammer. And if the person’s online profile disappears a few days after they meet you, that’s another tip-off.

Here’s the real deal: Don’t send money to someone you met online — for any reason. If your online sweetheart asks for money, you can expect it’s a scam.

Unfortunately, online dating scams are all too common. There may be tens of thousands of victims, and only a small fraction report it to the FTC. If this happens to you, please report it at

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Trying to find…
June 18, 2019

In reply to by made

Im curious about the pictures. I have been talking with someone that was in Tx but then got deployed to Mali, Africa. First it was an explosion he was hurt bad then all of sudden food was poisoned and it was gone take take time for the military to get them food. He needed money for food. He quickly said he fell i love and wants to marry me. I know this is insane
August 13, 2019

In reply to by Trying to find…

Talking with someone named Daniel Austin Tx. Deployed to Africa in April phone stolen then could not eat the foods made him sick then tried needs $ so we can chat army wont supply wi fi anymore. Yet he calls me once a week at least on a secure line. Doesn't ask for stuff but hints at it. Idk. What to see pics of these men. This go is so sweet Intelligent charming ... too good to be true
Frustrated daughter
April 30, 2020

In reply to by Cutegirl

This sounds like the same guy my mother has been talking to since last year. He told her his name is Robert Casselman. BUT his Instagram handle is whiterob649. And his name on Instagram is Rob White. He is in his late 50's from Texas, his wife died and he has a 8 year old daughter named Amy that stays with the live in nanny because he is in the Army and when she first started talking to him he was stationed in Syria but getting ready to retire and he was would be here in August of 2019 to whisk her away and marry her. Then he some he couldn't come back to the state even tho he was due to retire his command made him go to Nigeria and he wouldn't be able to leave until December. Well the December date came and 2 days before dhe was supposed to meet him at the airport somehow word that he had been involved in a firefight and was injured. I once again tried to tell her she was being scammed and once again she told me she didn't think so. She just wasn't sure what was going on. But she swore she hadn't sent him any money. But also has told me numerous times that my sister and I just don't want to see her happy and that we need to stay out of her business and she refuses to tell us anything anymore. Well I did a reverse image search on Google and found the same pic on 2 different Russian sites that I had to translate to English. His name in both sites was Mark White. Sadly my mother thinks this guy is foreal. I also was told by a friend of her that she HAS in fact sent him money. Once through bitcoin. And just a couple weeks ago she was $1200 short of the $3000 he need her to send him so he could be "smuggled out of the country " to come back home because his command refuses to let him leave Nigeria! When I confronted her about this latest story he's told her she once again told me that's not true. And that she isn't sending him money! So I sent her a text with this website and asked her to just read thru the comments and see how allllll of these other people have the exact same storyline from men they met online that they then started talking in Google hangouts. I hope she comes to her senses before it's too late. And I wish you all good luck and I hope you're able to get your money back.
June 08, 2020

In reply to by Frustrated daughter

Yeah your mum been scammed , i didn't believe it at first but then i did, cause if he was real he would came to meet her already, and he sound too good to be true. I think your mum is looking for love and love can be a strong thing that everyone is looking for but when is comes to money or some one is asking money from you then is not then you should have gut feeling, the picture is not right, if you understand what i mean. any way good luck hope your mum just wake up and smell real coffee.
e-mail address
July 12, 2020

In reply to by Karen

I met a girl from ghana that video calls me and she tells me that she need 4000 dollars to get her gold from a sercuity company and that she would get it switch in my name for ownership she calm her dad is a king and i sent 2000 dollars for her to come here to usa 6 months ago but she said she needed 3000 dollars pocket money before she could leave ghana to come but i never sent the 3000 dollars so last week she said her mom needed an operation and it cost 1200 dollars so i never sent the money and now so guy is texting me that calm he is her neighbor and he be trying to convince me that she is real and that i should send 4000 dollars for her to help her get her gold from this security company so she can send it to me i never sent any more money and this girl looks real young like she maybe under 23 years old in video and she always sends me pictures but i think this is a scam and i was scammed definitely
July 26, 2020

In reply to by e-mail address

Sounds like same lady caught me, jose. Tima Accra, very same MO, pretty half Ghanian/Filipno. 28/30yrs father left gold in will and needed money for release, promised to marry and come and live with me. Have phone No she still using + gmail address and lots of photos
December 22, 2020

In reply to by Frustrated daughter

I am also worried about my mother. She been talking to a man off and on for 2 years. She was supposed to visit him last August but that feel through. He supposedly lived in Texas (which is where we live) and he suddenly moved to CA because his twin sons were kidnapped by their nanny. After one son was found and the other died, he reached back out to her. I found out today that the “visit” I thought was happening this Christmas is actually him moving here and moving into her house with his son as more than a boyfriend. She shared with me his contact info in LA, his phone number and picture but a lot is not adding up here. They have never met in person but she claims he has not asked for money. She has not been forthcoming with info but will answer my questions. I think she doesn’t want to really see the red flags because she really wants companionship.
May 11, 2020

In reply to by Doubts2

Do you have email address or picture for this person. Someone by name of Daniel James Anderson from Austin Texas also was texting me from Afghanistan supposedly. I am wondering if it the same person?
Don't use your…
July 21, 2020

In reply to by kctrinity11

James Anderson from Sweeden says he now lives in McKinney,Tx working in Istanbul. Anyone familiar with him? Romance Scammer.
August 22, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

Yes I have information on James Anderson from Sweden . Please communicate .
September 02, 2020

In reply to by Ann

James Anderson is a scammer. The version he gave me was from Sweden now in Dallas. Has a daughter. Wife cheated on him. Works as an engineer and after 1 week suddenly got a contract in Turkey. Can’t video chat from rig. Needs steam card or iTunes to keep talking. Needs money for lost tools and then broken equipment. Shows you a fake contract and fake bank balance. It’s all lies don’t fall for it. Delete & Block.
September 09, 2020

In reply to by Ann

I was also contacted by a James Andersson from Sweden thru a dating website. I would be interested to hear of your contact.
Angie g
October 20, 2020

In reply to by Carol

I would like to communicate. Been communicating with him for two and a half years. Says he's from LA, widower, raising 14 year old granddaughter, wealthy, Shipping Company for gas and oil. Currently says he's in Istanbul in jail. Email is james and erson 4170. pictures being used are of a city politician from California
September 14, 2020

In reply to by Ann

I've been communicating with a James Andersson originally from Sweden who says he now lives in Arizona. Could this be the same person? Self employed engineer working in Australia thru contract in New York
November 08, 2020

In reply to by a name above a…

James is now stranded in Australia and needs money to get his gold bars thru customs. He was robbed in his hotel room, and they stole his money and laptop. It's been 4 months now of texts and phone calls.
a name above a…
September 28, 2020

In reply to by Doubts2

it is all fraud, anyone in army are provided very well, food allowance medical allowance and home living allowance. do not get taken away of how they explain just becuase they look or sound innocent
Angie g
October 20, 2020

In reply to by Doubts2

Is tbis Daniel James Anderson. Told me from L.A. 77 yrs old, sounds younger. Says Swedish, but not Swedish accent. Widowed, raising 14 yr old grandaughter. Wealthy, using fake pics. Would like to communicate
mac might be t…
September 03, 2019

In reply to by Don't use your…

what was her name by chance how much gold bars was she talking about and how did she get it
September 29, 2019

In reply to by Don't use your…

Hi I am talking and fell for a woman in Accra Ghana her name is ethal ankomah I feel a like a fool started talking and quickly saying that she had fallen in love with me and that she didn’t think she would find love again after being hit by her ex she told me she was a trainee nurse I’m from the uk and she told me she had lived her for ten years before going back to Ghana To finish her nursing at school then she asked for money for her exam witch I sent then a little later it was for food then her rent now over the last three months she wanted to come live with me but needed money for a medical and and plane ticket witch I stupidly sent and I did not hear anything for hours she told me her bags where stolen by a taxi driver while she got out of the taxi to buy snacks for the flight I stupidly believed her then the next time she was apparently stopped on a layover flight for carrying gold with no paperwork so they held her in cells when I told her I did not have the £500 her lawyer need to release the paperwork I could not understand why so I asked her a load of questions about it she got angry about it and she blocked me for a day then she came back saying she still loves me and that they had sent her back home and her mom had been taking to hospital and she needed money for medicine and that the hospital would not give her it until she had paid them even got some to call me claiming to be a doctor I have still be a fool and sent her money and now this week I sent her half my wage for the month £850 for her flight to me again and after hours again was told she need £1000 in travel money before leaving the country I her picture are her I got her on a video chat for all of a minute I feel such a fool I opened my heart to her and have been mentally manipulated By her promise of love where did you put her photo up because I have quite a few of mine I still do t well I do t what to believe it’s a scam but in my heart I think I have always known something was not right about it all thanks for listening
January 20, 2020

In reply to by damcuz

I've been contacted by a couple "different " women on Facebook one profile said she was from Oregon we were talking for about a day or so then when I asked her where in Oregon she was all of a sudden she was in Accra Ghana taking care of her sick mother. I thought it strange from the beginning when she wanted to go to Hangouts on Google to talk and her txt was poor English. Within a couple days she said how she misses me and how do you miss someone you've never been with. This has happened like 3 times I play along just to see what they're up to and how much money they're trying to get the last one said she was in Louisville KY but she had a Denver Colorado phone number . They like saying dear a lot. Each one asked for $200 rather they needed to get food or it was their birthday I'm hip them. The one in Ghana her name was Sam Francisca lived off Kanda highway.i might still have pics I have pics of the one in KY her name was Clara West.
also scammed
September 29, 2020

In reply to by Brayash1

How ca i get photos of the girl from louisville kentucky
November 20, 2019

In reply to by Don't use your…

I was she from Texas because I have been scam from her asking for money and asked me to open a new bank account and keep telling me she needs money for food for her 11 years old daughter
August 22, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

Was her name Deborah Ray from Ghana? Am currently chatting on hangouts with her regarding gold bars of which she says she will give me 40% if I send $5,000 to cover storage fees for gold left to her by her father. Dealing with her family attorney Rex Brent who claims that her assertions are true. She began asserting and professing her love 2 weeks after our connection. Originally contacted through facebook and messenger which both accounts dissapeared from facebook. I've had a sneaky suspicion about the validity of her claims. I have not sent any money and am terminating our connection.
June 09, 2020

In reply to by Miss L

I have pictures
September 12, 2020

In reply to by Pat-g

It's bad that the scammers use other people's photos. Now I realized that photos should be checked on websites. Now there is such a service.
March 22, 2019

In reply to by Mia

Adoptive kids rang a bell with me also. He went by Mark Howard
March 19, 2019

In reply to by bunny

Beware of Heinrich Powell Woodson very handsome very educated and a sweet talker. Has a Daugther and uses his Mom. He ask for a I tune card then 3500$ for the IRS he didn’t get a cent from me. Blocked him on Instagram and hangouts. He also gave me a fake passbook!
April 23, 2019

In reply to by Lindacquinn0

Sounds similar to the Swedish engineer who is working in Turkey. He sends pictures of his mother and daughters. Do you have pictures?
May 09, 2019

In reply to by Donna1022

The guy I blocked from dating site claimed his name was Glen from CA, an independent dealer with kids in Amsterdam with his mom. Went to do business in London and lost atm card. Asked me for 15k to pay expenses and get home. I said no, he said he had gold I could cash in if I spoke to his attorney. Googled name and other info he gave me...SCAMMER! Glad I saw episodes of Dr. Phil.
Is this the same man
May 09, 2019

In reply to by Donna1022

I have been talking with an engineer working in Turkey as well. Is he bald with a dark beard? Suit and tie holding a cell phone?
May 24, 2019

In reply to by Is this the same man

Do you have any pictures of the engineer? Does he have a daughter?
July 10, 2019

In reply to by Lexy

Yes I think I’m being scammed by someone who is an engineer with a daughter 13
July 19, 2019

In reply to by mandy

Sounds familiar. Engineer from London stuck in Turkey has a 15 year old daughter. Apparently Turkish hotels doesn’t take debit then he doesn’t have enough money to get his equipment out due to taxes. Yada yada yada.
July 25, 2019

In reply to by anj28

Sounds like Brandon Muller. Sly guy whom I sent over $4K to. I can't believe I fell for his lies. Same story engineer finishing up job in London goes to Turkey can't get his heavy equipment out of customs. Credit cards don't work, gets mugged, sends pictures, is hospitalized in Turkey for 3 months..... I'm such a fool! But never again!
September 19, 2019

In reply to by anj28

I have one with the same story, stuck in Northern Cyprus Thomas J James
Hook line sinker
November 12, 2019

In reply to by Kime

Similar in Nicosia, Cyprus. Any other details or pics. I have lots
Don't use your…
January 14, 2020

In reply to by Hook line sinker

Do you have a name? My friend has a Nicosia, Cypress scammer as well.
April 27, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

I also have a scammer in Nicosia, Cyprus. Asked for STEAM Wallet Cards for international calling. Lost passport and ID in accident wants me to send money to fly back to states.
October 19, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

I also met a scammer from Cyprus. His name is Nickolas. He says he lives in Montreal, works for the Canadian Armed forces and needed money to purchase an app (and was going to lose his job if he did not buy it shortly)... Then, he found himself on a mission in the Middle East and wanted me to buy bitcoins so that he can order from a restaurant while in quarantine...
December 25, 2019

In reply to by Kime

Same story, sinqapurian men stock in Turkey, no money for duties for machines to finish off shore contract
January 29, 2020

In reply to by Battletroll

Mine said he was an FBI agent
October 12, 2019

In reply to by mandy

What was his name? I think I’m being trying to be scammed by the same man,an engineer with a 13 year old daughter