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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.

March 30, 2019

In reply to by Lee5454

Could you send me a picture I think he is the same man I'm talking to
April 07, 2019

In reply to by Crystal656

I have pictures if you need them I would love to get the picture out. I wished I could post the pictures so everyone could see them
April 17, 2019

In reply to by Janet Simpson

I sure will. How would you like me to send them to you? Do you have pictures as well?
August 17, 2020

In reply to by Mdc

I have many pictures of him. Will send to you if you need them.
February 18, 2020

In reply to by Mdc

I think I have been scammed by the same guy..I wish I could see your pics..I have pics too.
August 17, 2020

In reply to by Crystal656

Please listen. These snakes steal your money. They all liars. Give you a long story about they're on a job out of the state. It's millions of dollars. Have a daughter, she's a mute. Mom died of breath cancer. Dad died when he was young. Mom died when he was twenty fours years old. Stayed with grand mom. She died. Came to American. He's an electrical engineer. Lives in Lago Nigeria. Tired of that country. Trying to finish up the job and come back to state. All lies. Tell you sweet story. Tell you how much he loves you. Call you his queen. Tell you he can't wait to come to be with you. Give you all these ways to send him money. Tell you he's from Bethany ok. Live in California. Has all these nice cars. Love you so much. His name is Martin Garcia. Photos came of the Russian internet. Stat away from this creature he is bad. Will swindle the hairs of a fog back. He's very persistent and give you all these ways to send money to him. He's about six feet tall, gray hair balding in the front. Shave with a goatee. Dark eyebrows. He's nothing but a scammer. Please don't fall for this scam.
April 16, 2019

In reply to by Claire

Sounds like a guy i know earnest adalberto from Los Angeles. Said he has been widowed 4 years with a daughter 11 years old and is a welding contractor for a oil rig
February 03, 2019

In reply to by Mary

Mary ... did your oil rigging 'friend' ever make it out to you for a visit ? I started chatting with guy has blond/ash brown colored hair, glasses, blue eyes, and a large .. but not fat man. Says is oil rig govt. Contractor and has a chemical engineering degree. Says job ending in 2 weeks ... wants to come see me. Be interesting if is same guy & if he ever made over for a visit.
Rig widow
November 20, 2018

In reply to by Puppy dog

Same man ive been talking too. Says he loves me etc. Load of rubbish. I called his bluff and he blocked me
August 23, 2018

In reply to by Emilie

Be extra careful of someone with that name in Georgia.I have a little experience. Don't want to say to Much, just look for comments they may be K__. Put all info together is what I am saying.
June 08, 2018

In reply to by Cruise babe

I was talking to a Robert Green, oil contract, in Alaska or so he says. He all of a sudden broke his phone,ITunes card, needed airfare home. He said he had 20 million just can't access it. I never gave him a dime, Someone did. He has a daughter named Alondra in Turkey. She called me mom right away. He has an accent. He said he was Danish, Bull!!
August 24, 2018

In reply to by Libra

I am in contact with someone called David Lester ( already the name was suspicious ) , for now he didn t ask any thing for only 4 days but i have a doubt for several reasons, i am not native english speaker so i can't really say if his english is good or not , but seeing the name Alondra , i think we talk about the same person , for sure the way he wrote sounds for me by experience more South Asian. unfortunately we can't post here his photo ? He said he originaly from Georgia and work in Mosul Iraq with construction company .. I am not sure but yes the daughter's name is the same , lets see .
Blue eyes
June 14, 2018

In reply to by Cruise babe

Mine goes by Nichalos says he has a house in Georgia & owns his own oilfield company and is in Alaska offshore & can't video chat
December 20, 2018

In reply to by Blue eyes

Hi name he gave me was Nikolas Noel or Nikolas Ldike, he has 1 daughter Helena Noel. He is a contractor. Needed iTunes cards to contact colleagues for money for his workers. Doing a job in the UK. But he is from Atlanta. He wanted me to buy him a new phone. Claims to be 63 fitness trainer and chef. When I blocked him he went on my Facebook page and exploited me for talking to him.
July 02, 2018

In reply to by Cruise babe

Yes,off Alaska coast of Anchorage. Claims to be a doctor.
August 16, 2018

In reply to by Cruise babe

Hello I read the one about the oil rigger I have a guy claiming his name is aka Jason Dave Marcus he was doing a job engineering job first in Alaska and then was moved to Belgium on a oil rig he is asking me to pick up money from western union he claims he now has radiation and this is to help him pay a doctors fee he sent me a large what looks like a copy of a bank account that the federal government paid him he told me that his passport was expired good looking supposedly he has a daughter in New Jersey in the USA called AMY cclovesdaddy @gmail. com and email address is davemarcus1960 @gmail. com he sent me a teddy bear to previous address I was at he claims he cant send any photos but he somew how sends me photos from the people on the rig. DO NOT TRUST this person. I met him a chat site called POF I believe this guy is an illegal immigrant wanting someone to get him into the country., He claims he was in Australia a couple of months ago. He wants me to pick up $1000 US and send it to another address for a doctors fee apparently.
February 03, 2019

In reply to by Bellacreations

Did this guy send a picture of himself laying in a hospital bed, dressed in a hospital gown, with IV Central line connected in neck, & different colored heart monitor lead wires running under his hospital gown ?
August 23, 2018

In reply to by Cruise babe

Sure. From all over. Making good money. Maybe lonely, but most likely making more than you. Unless on leave, how are they going to go back and forth, etc. These scammers make hard working people look bad.
October 01, 2018

In reply to by Cruise babe

I had a guy named Alex working on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico but lives in FL. Said he needed money to fix his rig otherwise he cannot work and he's on a contract. So I played the game and said I sent him the money Fedex. He said, where is the tracking number and I said I left it at work but do not worry you will receive it Monday. He got mad because I did not send the tracking number. I let him sweat it out for two days, then I told him there is no money, you are a scam artist, and I am reporting you. See ya.
November 16, 2019

In reply to by tlbarbara

Do you have a picture of Alex? I met a guy on Zoosk. We talked and texted every day for over a month. Said his name is Alessandro but his friends call him Alex and he's an independent contractor for ExxonMobil. Has an 18 month old son is Italian. Any of this the same as your guy?
January 24, 2020

In reply to by Dogtaxi8

Hi I also have been talking with an Alessandro, he has a 19 month old son, lost his wife!!!! What does he look like?
October 16, 2018

In reply to by Cruise babe

I know of someone from Georgia that is on an oil rig. Where is your pwrson at on their rig and what name are they using please?
December 25, 2018

In reply to by Cruise babe

If his name is Michael ana he is bald he is a scammer big time. Never sent him Anything but did talk but never video. Asked for tonsnof money many times and used his “daughter “ to try and guilt. Never worked on me
January 13, 2019

In reply to by Cruise babe

I have met this guy...says his name is Martin Kellogg and he is an oil and gas engineer from ga.....could this be your same guy?
September 01, 2019

In reply to by Cruise babe

Yes I know a scammer named Travis Gary who worked on an oil platform in the Black Sea. He told me he was German American and that he lived in Rochester, NY. He flew from New York to Tbilisi, Georgia and then took a 2 hour boat ride to the oil platform where he was supposedly had a contract to fulfill. Did you have his email address and phone number? I have that information and both the email address and cell are still active. I actually have a pic of the scammer but have been unsuccessful with reverse imaging and cannot come up with his real name.
June 26, 2020

In reply to by HeidRam

I had a Travis Garry scammer. Lived in Toronto, divorced, 18 year old daughter. Went to Lithuania as Corrosion Specialist Engineer to contract on oil rig. Comes across all romantic, says all the right things. BEWARE
Help please 101
May 30, 2018

In reply to by MomD313

Yea I think I'm being scammed too. He approached me on FB as a friends request. He knew I was his soulmate by my picture. Construction Engineer' working out of the country. Asked me to send him Itune card money. His background is widower 12 year old daughter. He's 58, French. I spoke to him on the phone quite a few times. He's very sweet, romantic. he sounds like yours. He has me send money to him through other people because the business he works through does not set up a expense account' Also in Nigeria now for parts. Please if you have pictures can I see them
Don't use your…
June 04, 2018

In reply to by Help please 101

Mine said he's a construction . divorced wife five years ago.10 yr.old daughter.Loved me right off. Queen , honey , miss you.every day. I'm coming to get you and spend time with you . I promise James Wade on instragam.
June 25, 2018

In reply to by Don't use your…

Hi, this sounds familiar. Is he from Scotland? Did his wife cheated on him? A sad story, with a 10 year old daughter and an old mum, 84. Is a construction Engineer went for contract work in Thailand and got attacked by a gang n lost all money etc Etc. He's hiding now cos someone wants to kill him to get his contact. Suspects everyone So he can't go to British Embassy for help. Asking for money all the way. No concrete info. is given only what he says. Extremely romantic and only that part is flawless about him. that's he got me involved.
July 05, 2018

In reply to by pink

Hi pink, do you have a picture from him? Your story sounds like mine. Rig engineer from Scotland now living in Sweden. His wife cheated him. And then she and the daughter died by car crash. His name is on Fb Alexandra Gomez
November 17, 2018

In reply to by Steffi

my guy isswedish says his wife died giving birth I foolishly fell in love sent a ton of money
December 05, 2018

In reply to by kimball

My friend a guy who claims to be Swedish and claims he's stuck in Cypress. Does he have a US number 317 exchange?
December 06, 2018

In reply to by Kboo

OMG, same here. Is his shipment stuck in Customs? They took his passport? Liam Oscar? He has a 213 number but could have various phones. Did he send you pics of him getting his contact in New York? And a few from Cypress?
December 28, 2018

In reply to by kimball

Was his name Mike Rogers? Similar story about wife, has 2 kids, married daughter 21 and son 19 trying to get me to pay storage fees of $5,750 for gold he purchased in Ghana. Works in Turkey supposedly from Huntsville Al raised in Norway.
January 11, 2019

In reply to by kimball

Hi Kimball, Your scammer isn't Swedish he is Italian and his name is "Levine Shaffer" He also goes by the name of "Archie Belden" He was also my scammer. He is bald with sky blue eyes and has a beard and mustache. He speaks Italian. He claims to be in Lagos Nigeria and on a private investigation in West Africa and works as a protective agent with the CIA. He gave me a sob story while on a special mission in Afghanistan that his wife cheated on him really bad and was looking for a new wife and mother for his young daughter Kennedy. I met him on facebook last year through some lady by the name of Marguerite Owens. This is the pm she sent me, Hello, I want to tell you about my brother, he saw your picture before leaving on a private investigation in West Africa, believe me you have really captured his heart with your pretty face and smile, he said that you should add him up, he would love to know you. I have every reason to believe that she is my scammer Levine Shaffer, how would she know that he is in Lagos Nigeria and works as a protective agent with the CIA? He was also going by the name of Jim Kennedy Blackwell on facebook behind my back and asked many women to marry him and open up a bank account so that he could deposit money in it to help support them and their kids. When I questioned him about it of course he denied it, but gave himself away after letting it slip out that he deleted the account. I knew right away that it was him because he used his daughters Kennedy in his profile name and had numerous pics of them both on the page. Within 24/48 hours after meeting me he told me that he had fallen in love with me, asked me for my number and to leave facebook and that he was going to do the same out of his love and respect for me. He also asked me if I had a bank account so that he could have his money deposited into it because he didn't have one or access to his money, he also asked me to open up a Wells Fargo account for him which I refused to do. Starting on (12/1/18) I started receiving money wired to me via Western Union to pick up for him and wire back to him via Western Union to many different receivers to Lagos Nigeria. Eventually Western Union caught onto the fact that I was an innocent victim of Money Laundering Wiring Fraud and immediately put a block on me from being able to wire him anymore money to Lagos Nigeria. When I told Levine Shaffer about this he then suggested to me to start getting him ITunes Cards in specific amounts on a monthly basis which I did usually between $125 to $200 dollars worth. He even gave me a sob story that he fell in his motel room and hurt one of his legs and was in the hospital and was told that he needed to have a bone shaving procedure done in order to walk right again. He said that his doctor wouldn't perform it unless he came up with $200. Feeling sorry for him I wired him $200. A few months later he told me that he was bitten by a mosquito was diagnosed with Malaria and needed $200 for his medication, once again I felt sorry for him and wired him another $200. He took me for over $4.000. I did some research on Levine Shaffer and found out that he was also going by the name of a well known con artist "Archie Belden" whose story you can find on He may also have stolen the identity of some ladies on facebook named "Christine Imel". All these men are identical to each other and I have every reason to believe that they are my scammer Levine Shaffer. I have reported him to my Local Sheriffs Office, The FBI and Nigeria Police Department. I can only pray that he is found and thrown in jail where he belongs. Here is the cellphone number he gave me to call him (208-265-8058) .
December 21, 2019

In reply to by Sadeyes64

I am in a situation like you. I met Barry on face book we started talking and he didn't ask for money. He told me his wife died and his boys were in boarding school and he lives in las Vegas we talked and texted a lot more he told me he was in st peter burg Russia Working on. Ship and these modern day pirates took his id and he lost his wallet and then just a week ago he asked to get him some Google play cards I got a loan to get the money and I did. So now I'm out 600.00 and now he's off the ship and hes at the embassy in russia and he needs 1000.00 to get a plane ticket home cause these 4 Russian men ate holding his pass port and hes stuck there. I just feel so heart broken and stupid I was scammed I hope some one reading this will help some one I was warned and didn't listen
June 28, 2018

In reply to by Don't use your…

My "friend's story real similar -"Joshua" engineer, born in Germany, schooled in Minnesota working for company in San Antonio providing large construction equipment, doing very big projects - a base in Syria He loved me from the get go and called me...princess, babe, honey,widowed, Anabel - daughter and Spencer the son. Couldn't help myself - so suave, scheming, persuasive, sneaky, conniving - nice looking but a liar and a steelor. I am very lucky my money gram was not authorized for 1000 pounds for a field trip for his fake? kids.
Big Maw
July 18, 2018

In reply to by GYPSY

Any one knows a Irish speaking man about 58-59 years old works on oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Had a teenage daughter name Sarah in boarding school. Lost his wife from breast cancel about 5 years ago..has Mercedes Q6 and something else. Ask for iTunes and bitcoins too. Wants to marry me I’m his queen etc and etc ..lives in New Jersey area please let me know goes by the name Kevin
Molly By Golly
July 25, 2018

In reply to by Big Maw

Does the name Walker Glover or Dr. Walker Evans1 sound familiar to anyone??? He says he’s an Orthopedic Surgeon in Syria with National Security Council. Says he’s been with the United Nations Security for 25 years as A Chief Executive Director and as an Emergency Physician. Permanent Residence in Jacksonville, Florida. His wife was killed years ago in an automobile accident. He has one Son Jerry in a very exclusive boarding school in the UK. This story sounds very similar to many I have read in this site. Does any of this sound like anyone else’s story????
August 20, 2018

In reply to by Molly By Golly

Watch out! Definitely a scammer! I ran into the same person on internet this month and I almost tricked by him. He found me on a dating app called CMB and then asked me to chat with him on Wechat immediately. His fake name is Harry Chung / Shane Harry, pretending to be a Chinese. He claimed that he's an orphan and working as an Orthopedic Surgeon in Syria as well. We had talked for weeks and he kept sweet-talking me since the first day. A couple days ago he claimed that his camp was attacked by terrorists and some of his colleagues were killed. He then asked me to keep his life savings for him by delivery those things to me and need me to put the money into my bank account. Then I started to google him, I found out that his photos were all fake and I believe that he’s originally from middle east or place like Indonesia. Remember, DON’T fall for strangers online easily!
December 10, 2018

In reply to by Angel

They are all the same. My scammer alleges that he’s a widower from Los Angeles with a 10 year old daughter. He is a supervisor engineer presently on a rig in the Gulf of Mexico. We have been chatting for about six months. He loves to write poetic verses. His giveaway is his poor grammar and sentence structure. He sent a picture, supposedly of himself and his daughter , (looks photoshopped.) According to the picture he is a white male, 5’5 “ has grey hair, a slight mustache and beard. He goes by the name of R. Anderson. The usual M.O. he’s madly in love with me, wants to marry me and has never met me face to face. He also has an accent which sounds foreign and high pitched. Yesterday he finally said, “I have to ask a favor of you.” I have wasted too much time on this scammer and I am no longer replying. If he sounds familiar , please reply.
January 22, 2019

In reply to by Claire

Jeffery Anderson has a 10 year old son, mum looks after him, light skin grey hair, native American apparently engineer supervisor works In Atlaska from LA California
March 04, 2019

In reply to by Claire

I am talking to someone right now with the same story . He does have a hi pitched voice the picture he used is one of the top 50 scammers I have lots of pics. His wife died in car crash daughter Susan is 10 in boarding school in calif. the daughter is blond and he is dark I want to say India . We use hangout he asks for iTunes cards now he wants to come here when he gets off the boat he said he ha 3.1 million invested in the oil rig. He sends me stock pics they are all scammers his name is songs williams
April 16, 2019

In reply to by Claire

I think thats the guy ive been chatting with he goes by thd name Earnest Adalberto widowed 4 years with a 11 year old daughter. I would like to see your picture of him and his daughter