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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 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

Just2letUknow
November 18, 2019

In reply to by Kim Ra

He has scammed me, he was in cape town, lost luggage, needed $ to get from land the chopper, had an oil rig accident, went to mexico to pat the dead workers families..our story is the same.. i once told him that he doesn't exist on any sites... at this time he says he has funds in the United kingdom but needs my bank name so he can deposit $ to pay the medical bills for his mother and he needs a knee replacement from oil rig explosion. I told him i cannot be your bank, there are no funds. Another man behaving badly...and he states "he Belives in God".
Aimee
March 28, 2019
Frank Miller has an African accent who claims to be an architect
Destroyed
March 29, 2019
Has anybody been talking with someone named Charles Stroud. He claimed to be in the Army on a mission in Afghanistan and he is widowed with a son. Wife died in a car accident. Son is living in PA with his teacher. The rest is similar, he made me fall for him and asked for money to go on leave to see me and iTunes cards for internet and call credit. And every time he was suppose to make it home something happened to delay him and require more money. I am now severely in debt, my credit is destroyed and I am being evicted from my apartment. I was and am in a vulnerable place being separated from my husband and he took advantage of that and I fell for it.
Ellsk03
March 29, 2019
Has anyone ever heard of a Robert Bristol or Vinny Johnson? I got a DM from them on Instagram. First was Robert. I was stupid and thought I was in love until he started asking me for money and a new phone. Then Vinny...the same thing except I knew he was a scam since I had already been through it before. Both said they were in the military and were single parents. Just wondering if anyone else has heard of them. I have since blocked them but it really is horrible that people do this to others!!
fjfromplanetea…
March 29, 2019
Does anyone here scammed by Chales Gerald (Italian) claiming to be a widowed. Has one son in Italy, working in Malaysia for Oil and Gas company. Sold his properties in Italy to continue the project of his father who’ve passed away because of heart attacked? He’s trying to scammed my mom. They met at dating site telling mom a sweet story that his intentions was good. To finish the project in Malaysia, fly to US, buy a house and have a happy family.. He sent my mom a pictures of his passport, the contact, picture of him and his workers through WhatsApp. Anyway, so he told my mom that he’s project was done, picture of the checks, 3M was under his name and 1M was under my mom’s name.. and he sent mom the picture of his flight.. So the next day someone called my mom at WhatsApp claiming to be an immigration lawyer named “Daniel Brooks” asking for money because Charles Gerald was under investigation because of the two big checks.. They blackmailing my mom that the FBI will take an action if she dont send a $5350 within 24hours... and when my mom asked for the information where she could send the money to the bank was in New York under different name..
luckyducky59
April 03, 2019
Has any one heard of a Ronnie Walker using the email of ronniewalkeruns @gmail. com. I have a friend who is an older woman and I believe is being scammed. She has been told that he is with the United Nations Special Forces and has been talking with him and sending him money via I-cards and he is posted in Africa. He says that he is from Michigan and that he is divorced with a 12 year old daughter. He stated that he purchased a new house in Irving TX and asked her to send funds to the realtor. He keeps postponing their final meeting date and he only emails or texts her. She has never spoken with him personally. Please advise if you have hear of him or have a similar story. This is an emotional fragile person who needs our help. He claims he is 51 and she is 76....Lets get real...
Liz
March 29, 2019
I have a similar story - except it is a widower General in Afghanistan - the picture he used was a retired 2009 Legit General & wants his boxes delivered to my house ... a lot of scammers out there
Information
April 06, 2019

In reply to by Liz

There's a site called military scammers. Com go look up photos of the military men and women identify stolen. Before you go believe in these people.
Dixiegal47
July 27, 2019

In reply to by Liz

That sounds familiar does he claim to have a daughter 14yrs old
Emma Vu
March 29, 2019
Does anyone know the name of Michael Duong. He sent me the friend request through Facebook . We been chatting for almost 1 month and he didn’t ask for money or anything like that. He always send the romantic quotes. His parents, his wife deceased and he has a son is currently in boarding school.
Ayneo
March 30, 2019

In reply to by Emma Vu

The trick is always start with being romantic and telling you that you are the right one and stuff. Then saying about visiting if he is from a foreign country. They may also be asking about your source of income. These are the tricks to make you fall in love with him. Probably on second or third month they either tell you they are going away for some projects in another country, or in some cases offer to send gifts. My advice, don't trust 100% and don't fall in love too quick. If you want to know if this person is genuine and not a scammer, play along and you will find out. Try not to share too much details on your personal life.
CC DD
March 31, 2019

In reply to by Emma Vu

that time will come soon, when he will come up with some story and will beg you for help, never send money, no info about you account etc
Krause
July 13, 2019

In reply to by Emma Vu

Hi I am currently chatting with a man with the same story and think something is fishy. Let’s compare details. Did his wife die 5 years ago in an accident?
Leila
July 17, 2019

In reply to by Krause

The same story I heard. His name is Jorgen Sonnichsen, surgeon, widower, woman died in car accident
Lila
March 30, 2019
Keep away from Chris Bob 'James' on Instagram. 'Widowed' with a daughter. Said he lived in Austin Texas and recently moved back to LA. Scammed me out of $1550 because I fell for him and believed every bit of crap he fed me. Likes payment by Bitcoin. He crossed the line when he asked for my bank details, username, password etc and that's when I got out. Fortunately, I'm made of tough stuff and realised what a fool I'd been Still says he's in love with me and all that rubbish. Very good-looking with tattoos. Steer clear! I have photos if you want to see him.
Molly 123
March 30, 2019
I was speaking with a man aswell called himself Aaron Rogers he was all sweet talk then started asking me for money but I was not stupid and would not send any I never heard from him again
maneypam664
April 03, 2019
This is going to make you think. I am lovingwomen from POF this guy is Alex he in his own business in turkey finishing a job there and widow and daughter rose and coming back to Jacksonville FLA needing 5000.00 get his equipment fix so he can come home. Block this guy big time. Another one ladies I text with another man from POF Dr Samuel Locklear M.D in Syria donating his 3 months saving life's and get donations for his work and co workers. This goes on for month. Daughter grace Locklear caregiver in Clinton Wisconsin she text me that Dr Samuel was her man and no one will get him. The reason why I cared about was grace I sent gifts for Christmas and birthday gifts and was caring but when I did not send money to Dr frank Boateng in Gahan I refuse to open account and resend money. I had just had surgery and all he card about was getting money to gahant. I am letting you women know it is not safe in dating sites and Facebook these men with take what it takes to steal your money. I tried informing POF and they do not care. Yes he called I could not understand him and it makes no sense to me vthat a father will let his daughter b16 the birthday. He tired telling me that he needed some info for me to be put in life insurance policy and 401k. If this means helping women then I will do what it takes ladies LET STOP These people from UK. and NIGERIA, Africa, please let stop them ladies and also men
MomgotScammed
March 30, 2019
Scammer names Mark Formusa and Steve Cryer both scammed my mom out of lots of money. Steve claimed to be a US construction contractor stuck in Ghana who was paid in gold with a laundry list of problems getting it back to US. He faked suicide when my tried to break things off. His wife died of Lukemia and has a daughter in the States named Selena. His "friend" helping in Ghana is Martin Wilson. Recipient of wired $ in WA was Seth. They didn't ask for money at first, as they built trust. Steve was on Plenty of Fish. NEVER do favors or give anything tangible to virtual boyfriends.
WiseOne
March 30, 2019
There was a guy name Dr. David Miller working in Pakastan. Son in boarding school, a wife and daughter killed in car accident. Saw my profile , and was attracted to it. He talked very sad, but yet kind, and want me to send him $ 500.00 so he can get a vacation permit to come to the states to see me. He said he worked for the UN, will write a letter, needed my address and nearest airport near me, send me the letter and I make the payment to UN. I told him no P
jackwest
March 31, 2019
Does anyone know a Campton Williams? Says he is from Brooklyn, NY and is working for UN as a journalist? Has a son in boarding school and his wife died in a car accident 6 years ago. No family to take care of his son in England who is at a boarding school.
bgabner52
March 31, 2019
How can you find out if you’re being scammed?
Lila
April 02, 2019

In reply to by bgabner52

You'll know you're being scammed when he or she reels you in and flatters you, makes you fall for them then begs you for help and asks for money and you'll give it because he/she will have you hooked with the promise of meeting up and getting closer. Then if you have any sense you'll get wise to it and block them. I'm still friends with mine because I'm waiting for him to make another move, then I'll pounce!
Kat's Eyes
March 31, 2019
Being scammed right now! Asking for money, messaged on Instagram, name Shaun Aldo Ballotto goes by the name preciousheartforyou on Instagram says he is Italian, with a daughter Lia , wife died of cancer 5 years ago...in Thailand sorting his daughters inheritance....
Kat's Eyes
October 16, 2019

In reply to by Kat's Eyes

I was wrong about this guy. He is not a scammer
blissfull
December 02, 2019

In reply to by Kat's Eyes

Hi, is he a scam? Coz I encounter him recently on Instagram with the same story, tried to videocall but his camera doesn’t work
irisheyes 22ny
March 31, 2019
I have been on words with friends. all of a sudden all these men are talking to you. I engaged in conversation with this Larry Scott. His pictures were amazing I fell head over heals. But always had my guard up. If you notice when they type they have a accent. That was my first red flag. So I played along. Then came the big question can I send his kids money? He was supposedly on oil rig . Seems that's a Favorite profession here. He said he had no access to his bank info,out at sea lol.. So told him to give me his accts and I would call his bank and see what they could work out. Of couse he couldn't do that.. Well days went by and he would text me all of a sudden all he wanted was a amazon card lol When money is mentioned its a scammer. read texts carefully . Because the grammar is always a hint. Please carefull I now scare them when they engage me . I tell them when they ask what I do. I say Im aspecial investigator for FBI they then delete me
Cousin in trouble
April 01, 2019
My cousin met this guy on Facebook by the name of Andrew. My cousin lost her soul mate some time ago and is desprately looking for love. This guy has been texting and IMing her since October. He is in construction and took a job in Turkey, but is from California. He states that the contract he took to go over pays him a LOT of money but due to tax laws in Turkey, he is being held until the tax on the money has been paid and he cannot cash the check there or transfer money from his account in California. I'm not sure why as I've tried to tell her if this is legitimate then there a about 100 different ways he should be able to take care of this himself as he states he has the money to do so. He is a widower just like she is and has a kiddo that lives in Florida with a family member. She thinks he is legitimate and that he loves her and all the promises are real. He is going to buy her a new car and wants her to find them a house around $500,000 so they can start a life together. He finally got her to start sending him iTune cards. He then tells her that he has to go to immigration jail because his visa is up. He desprately needs money to pay the taxes so he can come home. My cousin is living on SSDI and really has no money to help him. So he says his friend owes him money and will transfer it to her bank bit is very specific about the bank to be used. She finally agrees. Said friend does transfer the money and she waits for it to clear. Then she goes to transfer to him and because of where it's being sent, the banks fraud team flags it. The fraud team verifies it is good but will not let her wire it. So it's sent back to the sender. The sender then sends her a money order or cashier's check for a total of $13,000. My cousin then sends it via money gram and western union. She is all excited as the lawyer stated prior that this amount will get him home and that he will be able to send the rest of the owed tax money to them. So here it is the day after and she gets a text that immigration is no longer willing to accept that and he needs the rest of the money owed for taxes. $89,000. Help me if you can. I've tried to talk to her but she thinks this is real and that due to conversations with him that he is true and not lying to her. I've shared this link with her in hopes that it helps. She was in a deep depression due to the loss of her soul mate and after this, I'm not sure how to help.
Information
April 06, 2019

In reply to by Cousin in trouble

I would suggest to her to contact any other people that he chats with like or following on Instagram and asked the other women what all is he is saying to them and maybe she see he is saying same to all the women.
Wake up
April 06, 2019

In reply to by Cousin in trouble

A man that asks a woman for money is wrong #1. Sending someone money you've never met is insane. Donate that money to a good cause. It is a scam.
Nick
April 01, 2019
This guy is James Williams also from army” but asking for money for emergency; same story wife died accident, son studied Africa; But this one is the white guy in the picture he video call me and I saw him , I did saw his face; that’s the difference in the other stories; I still haven’t sent any money.
eth
July 09, 2019

In reply to by Nick

Omg. That’s the name of the guy I’ve been chatting with for a couple of months. All was nice and sweet. He’s a widower with a son. We shared photos and chatted every day. But he didn’t give much personal info. That should have been a clue. Working on a rig in Norway but lives in Texas. I guess I wanted it to be real. Of course he was very handsome. Felt like an idiot today when he asked for amazon gift cards of $1550. I even spoke to him a few times.
jojo73
April 01, 2019
Talked to a bloke named mason apparently he is in Ghana for a children’s orphanage texted for 4 wks apparently someone hacked his bank account an got no money to come home an wants 2500 to come home just letting u all now he was on badoo dating site
Ms Angie
April 02, 2019
Heather your navy friend is trying to pull a fast one on you. I am a retired veteran. And, through out my 20+ years in the military I don't know of anyone who have paid their command to process their leave paperwork. If the command take money to process someone's leave paperwork they would be committing a federal crime.
Don't use your…
April 02, 2019
This is why I don't use dating sites. Dating is for real life. Everything was not meant to be done over the internet. Socializing was meant for real life. If I don't what you ACTUALLY look like or what your personality is ACTUALLY like in person, I'm not trying to date you. No THANKS!
scammed on POF
April 02, 2019
this guy name Richard Alen from belgium met him on POF immediately stated, wife died from cancer 5yrs ago.. hLs a daughter named lisa 13ys old in boarding school with a nanny. on a rig in Alaska something happened need to get to me so we can get married blah blah ,he sent photos songs letters.. black hair, grey beard around 57yrs old. He needed money cause something happened on the Rig wanted an open account from to send money from his company Chevron in Texas.Wanted 30,000$ first.. I told him he was a scammer .. got mad said i called him names .. then asked for itune cards pissed me off..blocked him i have photos and video of the rig ..anyone know this guy?
Linda
August 12, 2019

In reply to by scammed on POF

I met guy same name. You got pictures I would like to see
LINDA
August 27, 2019

In reply to by scammed on POF

SCAMMED ON POF I really want to see these pictures..i'm trying to figure out if this is real or not..
Linda
September 29, 2019

In reply to by scammed on POF

If anyone’s meets Richard Alen from Belgium run He will scam u. I talked to him for 9 months stupid enough to give money. All of a sudden when I stopped giving he stopped calling.
Sammygirl
April 02, 2019
Please people, cut all contact with these people, online dating is not a smart why to find your soulmate, all u are going to find is scammers. Wake up, not all men are after your money. But if they start asking for money, Don't do it. Most of these men are not even in this country. Find love the old fashion way. Never give money out, real men don't ask for money.
Csmith
April 02, 2019
I got a Facebook message from this guy name mike bates. He said he got cheated on by his now ex wife. He said he has a son and lives in Louisiana, but is in the us army. He kept asking me for money with I tune cards, google play and amazon cards. He sent me pics and nudes, now he treated me if I didn’t give him more money that he would send my nudes to my job and that I would be going to jail. Then he called me and it was a guy from Nigeria where is was deployed at. So I’m scared for my life
Mar
April 08, 2019

In reply to by Csmith

Csmith i had the same trouble with a scammer, i sent him my nude pics, he tried to blackmail me, i had scared at moment, i blocked him, i have scare but i took the risk and i deleted all my accounts and my profile at all social page. You gave him your address ? Or your personal information? I think is better that you take the risk and don't send him more money, because he never stop to give you more money. Don't have scared is better pass to ashamed that be scamed..
Jambooree
April 03, 2019
Does anyone knows luiz gustavo? He has 2 daughters and a mom from brazil and he works in alabama. He's doesn't speak well in english but he is very handsome. He is not asking for anything yet but everytime i ask for a video call he has load of alibi.. We've been chatting and talking for months but haven't seen him yet in a video call. Just pictures of him, his mom and daughters.. He is from brazil and work in alabama as an engineer.. I dunno if it is true..
Lila
April 03, 2019
So here are the signs: 1. They're good-looking/sexy/fit, that's the initial reel in 2. Claim they're widowers, widows, divorced etc, with a child to support 3. Looking for love; so are you, or you're innocently just looking for a friend, perhaps 4. Some claim to be doctors, engineers, in the military. Actually, mine said he was just poor! There's some semblance of honesty in that, but still... 5. They promise undying love etc etc etc 6. They also ask for personal pics and that one is a definite no-no! 7. They say they need money for certain things and they beg you for help and ask for iTune or in my case Amazon cards The bottom line is, as much as it's hard to take, it's not just them who are the problem, so are we! We have the power to stop it! Here's the annoying thing: I'm still attracted to mine because despite everything the pics on his page look genuine, but if I have to report him I will.
55dala
April 03, 2019
hi im 63 wife passes away never got on line only to buy thing I started getting weman talking same happen to me promise promise promise never meet any of them took me for a lot there names kathbrittany Rhoda satan susan bosswell all cons its a dam shame cant trust noboby nomore any I learn the hard way but it maded me a better person there lost thanks
wifegettingscammed
April 03, 2019
Ladies, look out for a guy named John B Kelvin. Trolls instagram, known as jbare3360. Already been reported to other scammer sights. His deal is wooing women in and eventually asks for money so he can come see them. Claims to be in the army and is in Nigeria on a peace keeping mission. To get the women to talk to him privately, he gets them to go to KiK where he goes by isjokay070. Gets them to go to Walmart to wire money via Western Union or Moneygram to another Walmart in Vermont addressing the transfers to a person named Dawn Myers who can supposedly get the money to him. Seen him during an instagram search and called him out. He blocked me after that. What a shocker.
starrr12345
April 08, 2019

In reply to by wifegettingscammed

I KNOW THIS GAY HIS NAME KELVIN CEAZAR FROM POLAN ,I KNEW HIM FROM TINDER ,HE TEXT ME EVERYDAY IN THE MORNING AND AFTERNOON WITH NICE WORDS LIKE HE LOVE ME , BUT HE TELL ME HE IS GOING TO ISTABUL, TURKEY BECAUSE HE EXPECTING A CONTRACT , HE DIDN'T ANSWER ANY MONEY YET ,BUT HE IS A LIAR ,I'M ASK TO MEET HIM HE SAID NOT YET UNTIL HE IS BACK FROM HIS TRIP .
Sydblue
April 03, 2019
I barely escaped this scam. I was contacted on messenger via facebook by someone claiming to be a deployed soldier in Syria, not as a love interest, but as a friend claiming to need moral support. So many signs this was somewhat off; but guess I wanted to believe I was there for a soldier. And then it came, the request for an ITunes card. When I confronted him he went from an incredible kind person to hostile and angry. I couldn't block fast enough. How could I have been so naïve. His facebook page had little to no activity with only three photos, one appeared to be a soldier in Syria, (poor guy in the picture likely has no clue). All the likes on the photos were all Arab names. He claimed to be a West Point grad but had no clue about being a lieutenant, he said he was just a regular Army soldier. Deployed well over a year (think not); deceased parents, no family, a five year old daughter in boarding school, no apparent mother of the child. He also had multiple names, lured me to hangout with two other names. Didn't understand when I asked him when did he enlist. When I asked about the facebook name (appeared to be an Arabic name) over an American name, he said it was his surname. I said your last name? He didn't get it, what did I mean. Anyway, his private email could not be verified though it appeared to work as we did have some correspondence. I blocked everything except the facebook page he uses, I'm watching to see if anything happens with it before I attempt to report it to facebook as suspicious. Here I am, still hesitant just in case he's a real soldier. I guess I need the sky to fall on my head. He's still out there folks; be careful.
Kc
April 10, 2019

In reply to by Sydblue

I had the same thing happen to me i have a fitbit and this guy wanted to be a friend and train and do fitness with me he asked me to go on hangouts which i did he said he was a soldier in syria on a peace keeping mission and he has a son in America and he lost his wife to cancer i believed for a bit. He sent me pictures of a soldier then he started to ask for gift cards to i came off hangouts and blocked him he goes under the name kenneth john
mmarrero
April 03, 2019
I was scammed by a man named Ryan Wood in Two page. He said he was a fisherman, but everytime i tried to ask to see him he could not give me prove of his identity. He deposit a check in my account that results to be from a close account. He asked to send money through Walmart from that money. The check reversed couple of days after. Now i owe money to the bank. The bank is investigating this case.
KP
April 03, 2019
I have ran into this a couple of times on Grindr. They says they are getting out of the military in 3 months and moving back to your city. He kept wanting me to use the app Hangout or use his gmail email. He kept saying Okay, handsome. No one says, okay. Sad this happens.