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While plenty of successful relationships begin online, scammers also use online dating sites, apps, and chat rooms to trick you into sending them money. These imposters create fake profiles to build online relationships, and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love. Some even make wedding plans before disappearing with the money. It’s a big problem: reports to the FBI about online romance scams tripled between 2012 and 2016, and imposter scams were among the top reports to the Federal Trade Commission for both the general population and the military community.

These scams can take a military angle with imposters stealing servicemembers’ photos to create phony profiles. They might claim to be servicemembers who can’t get into their accounts overseas or who need money fast. The first sign of a scam is an online love interest who asks for money. But the Army’s Criminal Investigative Service (CIS) says that the military doesn’t charge servicemembers to go on leave, get married, communicate with their family, go online, or feed and house themselves on deployment. We have also heard of scammers re-using servicemembers’ photos again and again, so it can be helpful to do some online research on the love interest’s name, photos, and details to check the story out.

If an online love interest asks you for money:

  • Slow down and talk to someone you trust. These scammers want to rush you, often professing love right away; or pressuring you to move your conversation off the dating site.
  • Never wire money, put money on a gift card or cash reload card, or send cash to an online love interest. You won’t get it back.
  • If you sent money to a scammer, contact the company you used to send the money (wire transfer service, gift card company, or cash reload card company) and tell them it was a fraudulent transaction. Ask to have the transaction reversed if possible.
  • Report your experience to the dating site and to the FTC.

For Military Consumer Month, share this video to help military consumers steer clear of online romance scams.



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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.
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  • 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.

July 11, 2018

In reply to by Winbell

Winbell - I forgot to say that I tried the reverse photo trick but the photo(s) that he used were not in any data base collection. SO there wasn't anything that came up. But remember the person who is talking to you with 'that' picture is not him..
September 20, 2018

In reply to by Gypsy

My scammer’s pics and phone #’s and other information does not come up either, very sexy voice, promises are every woman’s dream, needs medical attention but already owes the hospital so needs $ to take trip to the city to reach the hospital, $ to pay for previous expenses plus new charges he’ll incur! Mad at me for not paying for him to return to the states, did I mention I paid for his $1700 plane ticket and the day before he was supposed to come home, someone stole his passport?!! How convenient?!! Now the hotel has thrown him out on the streets because he can’t pay his room, I offered to pay that by credit card too, they won’t accept it?!
October 19, 2018

In reply to by DrBsBFF

Does this person happen to be in Indonesia? I heard of that guy
December 17, 2018

In reply to by michaeljonesoffic

I was contacted by this guy too. UK phone # though. But his screen shot showing he’s using Indonesia XL mobile network which he said he got stuck in this country, stranded and hungry... I did not send him anything.
December 17, 2018

In reply to by michaeljonesoffic

I was contacted by this guy too. UK phone # though. But his screen shot showing he’s using Indonesia XL mobile network which he said he got stuck in this country, stranded and hungry... I did not send him anything.
Maria M
January 28, 2019

In reply to by maytrang

I think we have the same guy... he’s into investment and an engineer from Scotland but he has a construction contract in Malaysia ... he said he got stranded in Malaysia and run out of money cuz all his money which is with millions? Went to this construction ... he got stranded in Malaysia no money for hotel and taxi... l did not send him money... his name is mark collins
January 31, 2019

In reply to by Maria M

This sounds like the same person who scammed me out of a lot of money. He speaks with an accent and claims to be an engineer doing construction in Indonesia. Very charming, tells you everything you need to hear and more. Has a lot of patience. Called daily and professed to be in love. These are evil people who prey on unhappy women and take advantage of them. When I told him that he's fake he got upset and said that he's fed up of me humiliating and insulting him. Got angry with me. What a joke. Had me believing him for a while that he was real and not a fake. Gradually the communication became infrequent because I wasn't giving him any more money. I want him to pay for what he's done. If not in this life then in the after life. He used the name tomasz Igor. Said he was Polish. Had a UK cell number. Met him on Facebook.
Blues Skies
February 04, 2019

In reply to by K T

It is the same guy if he has an accent from Spain or Mexico still looking to get out of Indonesia claiming he needs $9000 to wire his money back to the states. He always calls me now no stop. I tell him I need $10,000 he backs off.
KTDon't use yo…
October 28, 2019

In reply to by Blues Skies

It could be the same guy because his accent was difficult to pinpoint, but he can understand Spanish very well.
November 07, 2019

In reply to by KTDon't use yo…

I had only been emailing with a so called Sebastian Santiago for a few days while he professed his love...etc. Sent pictures until I said I would like to see a picture of you holding a piece of paper with something written on it. A day later, it was the same man in the picture and he was holding a sign that said I love you and my name on it! He was very smooth, even sent me flowers & a teddy bear, not that I wanted one. Now thinking...any red flags? Yes, one email he said his daughter was named Cierra, the next day, he said Tabitha. He didn't even know he filled in the blank. The best part is ladies, I caught on when he sent a picture of himself in his underwear. What???? I don't want that!!?? We haven't even met yet!! So when he thought it was time to share his car was robbed and the cops came & his ID , bank card was missing, he would then ask for money so he could book his business trip, then come visit me for our first date. Caught him, I told him I worked in a bank for 9 years! Even though they had to freeze his accounts, go in show your passport, which he had at home, and the manager will go through a process to help you. I blocked his cell phone - let him know via email, my heart was a little bruised, however, his behavior is cruel and unacceptable. It hurts when your heart gets involved and you wonder what just happened, I am a happy person, just open to meeting someone this time in my life. Peace to all of you.
Maria m.
February 05, 2019

In reply to by K T

Check on fb under mark collins he is wearing a white shirt balding hairline, good looking, he has pictures in Hollywood and New York. He has one picture wearing a red shirt sitting on a the couch looks like in a hotel lobby. I know he’s not this person he might just using this. I read on another site about mark collins he’s a Nigerian based in Malaysia and he scammed other ladies too. He is an engineer working on oil/gas pipeline in Malaysia, he is widowed for 5 yrs. and have a son in a boarding school, he’s from Sydney but he’s been residing in Scotland, he’s parents are all dead and he supports orphanages . in 2 weeks he professed his love and wants to marry you. He calls me everyday, he has a british accent, has a beautiful voice. We talk on WhatsApp for almost 2 months then he ask for money wants the money to be sent via rhia in malaysia through another person and he even have another lady to talk to me to convince me that he will be kick out in the hotel if l will not help him pay his hotel bills . I did not give l don’t have money at all
May 03, 2019

In reply to by Maria m.

I have just been contacted on Instagram by a mark collins. I think this may be the same person. Its only been 2 days that I have been talking to him. He goes by mark_collins111 he has a picture of a young guy with a white shirt on. I talk to these scammers everyday its pathetic. I will never give them a cent. The first time I ran into one was on instagram and we moved over to hangouts he said he was a Dr on deployment to Libya. He used Dr. Fernando Gomes Pintos pictures. We talked for months at least 3 times a day. He said he was living in Germany before his deployment and he was coming to get me and marry me. After months of talking he told me that the Libyan Government had paid him 1.5 million dollars in cash and he wanted me to accept a lockbox with the cash. I would have to pay the delivery fee. It just so happen my Son told me about catfish schemes and in reading about it I found out about scammers. The guy I had been corresponding with was a scammer. I caught him and I told him he was a scammer. Come to find out he was from Nigeria and he was a scammer. My heart was broken but my pocket was not. I have run into so many of these people on Instagram. I now can spot them when they first start talking. They use broken English and can't spell a bit. be careful when you run into one of these.
August 14, 2019

In reply to by Redangel

Hi! I have encountered the same. I am not sure if we’re on the same guy. He keeps on asking me money every month. Can you describe him physically? I mean the photos that he has been sending to you.
Elizabeth R
June 03, 2020

In reply to by Maria m.

Anyone ever get someone named Greg Jendrisak. British accent from California, does contract work in oil and gas. Fell in love reallyy fast. Now wanting gift cards bought for him. Sends lovely pictures of flowers. Professes to be widow.
May 11, 2019

In reply to by K T

I met this guy on match, quit similar to your, just story change a little, he said he is British born, moved to Denmark, then came to US with parents. When I asked where he works, he said he works for nobody, he owns his construction company. He used the name Carl Mork. I google it, none found in Butler, NJ I can't find his name anywhere and didn't match, anyway his story was really convincing that he bit at Las vegas, for $35,000,000 construction foster housing, that needs to build in Dubai from United Arab Emirate. Yes he sent me the certificate of the bite, look so real, at first I thought it was real, then when he said he has to go to Dubai to claim the money, he got stuck there because he has to pay a competent attorney to get the paper work done, he short of $10,000, he said he didn't ask me for help but he was indicated if I can help. I don't have money I just paid my contractor the deposit to paint my house. He asked me how much I made, I told him I told I need take home paid $6500 per month for living that is why I work so hard. Yesterday he sent me roses plant that was delivered to my door, he is trying to get me help him for $5000 that he already got $5000 from friends. Numbers of things that I looked up on the website that didn't match, can't find his name with his contact. He has accent of Spanish that he told me he was from British and Denmark. Hmm Something is wrong. I didn't send him money yet. I just found this site and read a lot of ladies comments. Not a chance I would send him money. I believe he invested on me he will get big return. You know I am not young anymore, when money is gone I have to work really hard to get it back. His stories can change from really convincing, the thing is not money it is the feeling hurt that he gave you all the good things that you wnt to hear. Thank you for all the posting that make others awared of what is going on the dating sits.
Sha sha
July 07, 2019

In reply to by K T

Hi i just wanted to know, maybe we were both talking to the same person, a mixed polish and english living in UK with different accent. He said he is an structural engr. Is there anyway we could post their pics to warn others..
December 30, 2019

In reply to by Sha sha

Hi, I saw your comment and I believe we might be talking to the same person. He is currently stranded in Vietnam and if he doesn’t get the money he will be locked up in jail. Does he said you are his wife?
concerned fami…
January 23, 2019

In reply to by michaeljonesoffic

Did this person mention the patriots certification act as part of their scam
August 13, 2019

In reply to by michaeljonesoffic

What did you hear about the guy in Indonesia? Because I believe I’m being scammed by the same guy
September 05, 2019

In reply to by Agape

I am talking to a guy named Michael Keith who is in a hotel room in Dubai waiting to figure out how to get money for a new building contract. He is a structural engineer. I almost don't want to know . . . he talks so sweet to me. The amount went from $10,000 to $8,000 to $3,000, and this morning it was down to $1000. He doesn't want to stress his poor mother anymore by asking her for it. I have really nice pictures that do not come up on a reverse search, and his wife left him, and he has a daughter . . . so detailed in everything. Just makes me sick, but I have not sent anything. His English is broken yet he lives in Glasgow, Scotland. I hope you write back.
KTDon't use yo…
October 28, 2019

In reply to by Agape

Please stop communicating with this beast. He will only steal from you and discard you. If he has an accent, you've actually never seen him only pictures, he's a scammer and a very good one. Says he's an engineer, from England, doing business in Indonesia and stranded, need money. Very convincing, pleads and begs for help. The number he is using is 116281517812959 an Indonesian number. Please ladies beware. Stay away from him.
March 01, 2019

In reply to by Winbell

What name did the guy use if you dont mind me asking. I have a friend who is talking with a guy and he wants money from her.
March 20, 2019

In reply to by Winbell

Winbell what was this guy's name ? And was he in Nigeria ? This sounds familiar to the same guy talking to my sister. Thanks
April 23, 2019

In reply to by sam

Is the guy you’re talking to Samuel Manske? An engineer doing work in Nigeria?
June 25, 2019

In reply to by dt65

GRIFFIN SMITH is a fake he will say is in Nigeria special Mission, needs money for Food and hygiene products and iTunes to communicate.
May 19, 2019

In reply to by Winbell

There are a lot of these scams. Me and a friend got caught up just like u did.
March 05, 2020

In reply to by Winbell

I recently lost my husband of 40 years, feeling like my life is over, not wanting to be anywhere social, this guy came to me on Instagram, really nice then one day he says he what's having problems with this device but he was talking to me on and needed money to put on it to be able to continue talking to me. $200.. I did that, because he made me smile again like you said all the right things and I basically begin to fall in love with him, saying all the right things that made me feel like a woman again. Stay his parents were killed in a car accident and he has one daughter that he wants me to be her mother... say he's deployed in Africa and has no access to his money and he couldn't video chat with me or talk to me because of his mission peace mission. The problem with that is I'm a military brat so I'm kind of familiar with the military. Now he's asking me or telling me he don't have food to eat he's starving. I know better than that because I know the military feeds their people. I don't have the funds to send him, he's waiting on a $500 meal ticket from me as we speak. I'm very appalled by this, but I'm glad I'm finding out now because it could be worse. He's got me lifted for the past several months because of my husband's departure and I really hate losing communication with him only because the way you make me feel. I'm so lost right now. I never sent him money but I did purchase myself Google Play cards using my credit card and it always say I have to send him the receipt as well as the Google Play card info. My question is can you go back and use my that account on there? It don't list the full acct numbers, but I know scammers can get away with murder...
Donna air
May 12, 2020

In reply to by ddgarrett

Hi I am in contact with this guy says he electrical engineering in USA had long contract worth lot of money he said need to get contracts finish send him money to finish that then he said need money to get home to Ireland from USA as he had over stayed now he says need money for lawyer as some work when wrong and he could to jail I got very fond of him I don’t want to believe he could be scammer but my head says he is use the name Melvin very handsome and fit
Malden sherpa …
January 26, 2019

In reply to by Sandi

Hello I’m from Nepal Two weeks ago I met one woman in Facebook and she is from USA and she is military and she found lots of money she trying to send me all money already I deposit 655US dollars and again she told me I need to send 5770 pounds how can I do report please help me
Don't use your…
August 26, 2019

In reply to by Malden sherpa …

What's her email address
January 28, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

Name Micheal Raymond Anyone of this name contact anyone Says an independent engineer contractor for oil company (Shell Company off coast of Mexico)-,Texas Widower wife and son passed away in car crash several years ago leaving a daughter at home
May 26, 2020

In reply to by dishearten

I am texting a man with the exact information he told you. Please contact me. I am sure this is the same guy was the daughter 11 or 12 years old?
March 13, 2019

In reply to by Sandi

I need my cash as soon as possibleBecause I have a Lotta calling coming from you which is I don’t know when I need money
Don't use alis…
April 07, 2019

In reply to by Parkswill402

A David t Larry has been in touch with me promised me the world he asked me to pay for a parcel that had important documents and a cheque I believe everything he said, I totally trusted him, he told me he was a engineer contractor agent hes 48 with a son called Stephen whose 15yrs old. I've paid a so called company active oceans freight £850.00 so that David got his parcel. The police called at my home and told me this man is scamming you omg how do they get away with it especially when they are saying hes in the military in Holland, the company I paid was in the Netherlands, I feel physically sick at what's happened I had no food in, I'm in debt because of this man n the company. He phoned me on video call that's why I thought he was real. Omg how stupid was I.
March 13, 2019

In reply to by Sandi

Is Paul Andre Taylor the owner of a petroleum drilling ship off of Australia named the Queen?
April 11, 2019

In reply to by Parkswill402

Oh dear, I'm talking to a man claiming to be an engineer from the UK and he is asking me for money to pay for a shipment to my home here in the states. I feel like the biggest red flag for me is the fact that he claims that he has no family nor friends who can pay for the shipment. His name is Leon Logan. Had anyone ever experienced something like this? He's really laying it on thick with the guilt trip.
Don't use your…
April 28, 2019

In reply to by msjulia86

An oil rig engineer is asking for delivery money for a shipment to my house. Can’t access his money from the uk. Sad story the account is locked. Rotten. I believed him at first.
May 14, 2019

In reply to by Don't use your…

Check on Instagram username williamjamestom... Is this the guy? He said he is in Indonesia staying in a rig. He said he's american but i don't think so with the way he composes his messages. He said he got 2 kids and wife passed away due to breast cancer. Lucky i listen to my instinct and check further...
September 26, 2019

In reply to by Shawie999

I think I’m being scammed by a guy named Aaron M Parker Oil rig engineer in Mississippi he claims his daughter needs money asking me for my online password.... says he will send me 30 K to buy a us a house for when he comes out here. How do turn this person in ? Or just find out his real identity
October 04, 2019

In reply to by Shawie999

I had someone do the same with me. In military, 5 year old daughter, wife passed of cancer. Well that didnt go to well with me. He said we was heading for deployment and he needed a sephora gift card. 100 dollars. Immediate red flag! So Turned everything I had on him into the authorities.
February 25, 2020

In reply to by Seeya47

Here goes, I have been going through the same thing as you. Calls himself So many different names. Just guard your heart Do not trust any one asking you for money, gift cards or open a checking account for them. Please, don’t send money. I learned the hard way. Be safe
May 15, 2019

In reply to by Don't use your…

Check on Instagram user williamjamestom, i believe is the same guy. He said he got 2 kids, wife passed away dyue to cancer. In Indonesia currently working in an oil rig. He said he's an american but i doubt it because of the grammar...
September 30, 2019

In reply to by Don't use your…

My oil guy is a petroleum engineer, independent contractor who has a contract it Shell Oil for the Appomattox Vicksburg oil rig and needs $15k to pay for shipping equipment to oil rig and transporting his crew. Goes by name Roland Asger Moore. Danish, has accent which I believe is Hispanic, fluent in Spanish, says he is from Copenhagen, lives in Orlando or Winter Park FL, widowed with no kids, no family. Uses Candyb98 on dating sites. Uses rolandmoore761 on instagram. I have plenty of pictures, copy of fake Shell contract which I picked apart and verified each piece was bogus, copies of fake tickets he was using to fly to me. I sent it to Shell Oil telling them I believe it was fake. The name/signatures on the contract belong to a retired Marathon Oil exec who never worked for Shell and another exec who is Operating Manager for Marathan and he never worked for Shell. He uses spiritual references quite a bit and says he is Catholic and prays for our love. He says not to discuss our relationship with anyone because they want to destroy our joy and they are jealous. His text messages are all copied from Pinterest sprinkled with the I love you, only you and I have been celibate saving myself for the right woman. He is very charming and at least waited a good while before asking for money. He said he has old Motorola flip phone and cannot video chat. Says new phones may cause fire on the rig. He is well read ladies. Intelligent, funny, sings to you.,"I love you, you love me. We are one big family." If you need his phone number I have that. It did trace back to Florida. I caught him on another site, confronted him, he took down his acct, all pics on Instagram. I just started now to just string him along and have some fun until I get bored. Oh, he threatened to commit suicide if I left him
November 16, 2019

In reply to by Zarao505

The love thing and the praying, familiar, oil rig worker too. Have you any pics.?