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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.
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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.

September 29, 2020

In reply to by 2010Molly

I am also talking to a guy named Felix Marvin, recently got a contract job to work for UK housing corporation, has a dog ( Winston)
October 19, 2020

In reply to by KIKI

I've been talking to a Felix Marvin working in the UK with a dog named Winston. We have been talking since February and I have been foolish and gave him money. He is never coming back. Now he needs money for a ticket and rent now. He asked me to open a credit card for him. I wish I would have saw this sooner.
October 07, 2020

In reply to by Cweed

Sound familiar mine calls himself Blake stanistaw. Says he is polish only says his wife cheated and has a son that won't talk to him. I'm praying he's not using my daughter's pic. I believe him at first cause I met him on an Rheumatoid arthritis support site. Now I'm freaken out because I think the whole site is scammers.
Same here
November 07, 2020

In reply to by Metoo.

I have been talking to a guy with same name from Poland, accent when i talk to him. Same story about wife and son. He messaged me on RA site in August this year and wants to meet me , us move to another state when he gets off drillship in Scotland . He's an independent contractor petroleum engineer. He's only sent me 2 photos and claims he cant have phone on drillship because of chemicals. See if all this info sounds like same person.
January 12, 2021

In reply to by Same here

My guy sounds the same, different name. He is off of Ireland. Sent him money to get home to California at Xmas. Stuck I Heathrow Airport on an expired passport. Full of shit. Strong accent, wants u to eat and take care of yourself
November 28, 2020

In reply to by Rage Katie

Can you get in touch with me on here. Might be the same guy i am on hangout with.
October 05, 2020

In reply to by Ginger

Seems to be a pattern. I noticed the same thing. One minute the grammar was bad the next it was clear. Probably same network or guy!
June 19, 2020

In reply to by Debrah

Deborah scamming is real I have a 67 year old friend who met this Colombian chick 34/35 years old Paulina Lopez in Monteira. Are there any other men here who has been scammed by this girl she is smooth like butter. Ever since she has not stopped begging if it’s not medical bills it’s ticket to come to USA. He sent her money for airfare 3 times and she never came. Now she’s asking him to marry her to come to USA.
August 03, 2020

In reply to by Concerned

The guy from Texas is also going by Zack James. Tried to scam me, but it didn't work. Hangouts....always Hangouts. He also said he had a contract he had to go to Germany for. Tried to get me to transfer A LOT of money out of a British account into my account. Get this, he told me the bank contacted him and since he has left America he couldn't leave his money in his British account anymore. That did it right there because no way is a bank going to get rid of 1.5 million dollars. Watch out for this one, he is really really good.
Jennifer S
August 09, 2019

In reply to by Keith I

Jason Allen sought me out. I accepted a friend request on Facebook. Immediately he wanted me to open "Hangouts" and chat there. Supposed to be a surgeon working for the United Nations in Somalia. Loves me, wants to visit me, and even ask me to marry him. Now is asking for money for food. I asked if the UN had emergency fund. No. Am I being scammed?
Jo uk
October 28, 2019

In reply to by Jennifer S

Hi Jennifer I was talking to a French surgeon in UN in Somalia Nathan Liuwis -. it actually took me over a week to realise... they are very clever at tricking you. Take care
March 18, 2020

In reply to by Jennifer S

You are surly scammed. Just this person made this story for me. He told he was a surgeon and originally from Italy his accent was similar to Italian people too. He was telling was in love with me and then wanted money for food and drugs. I searched and got there arent any people work this way for UN! He is a big scammer.
July 14, 2020

In reply to by Jennifer S

I also talked to James Allen who found me on Linkedin. A surgeon from the US, his wife died and he is currently working in East Africa.
December 20, 2019

In reply to by Keith I

It so sad that how people can scam you especially when you are trying to find true love
January 22, 2020

In reply to by Keith I

Hey I think I have also been chatting with the same girl she is going by Amanda Rudolf we met on Facebook dating app with turned into Facebook messenger then WhatsApp after she stole my Facebook account and is now impersonating me and asking my friends for money using pics I sent of my credit cards..she claimed to be very religious and in the military/navy she also claimed to be a nurse 35 yrs old no kids father was supposedly a preacher in Cuba who recently passed and left her a bunch of money. I sent eBay cards she also stated she was trying to help me get into the Bitcoin business. She could never video or call me staying her camera and phone was faulty..she also sent packages to my house in someone else's and wanted me to send them to someone else which I was smart enough to send back to the post office..please don't fall for this person..does anyone else know how I can get this person to stop impersonating me with my Facebook account and how to regain control???
FTC Staff
January 31, 2020

In reply to by Pleasehelp407

If someone took over your Facebook account, contact Facebook.

November 16, 2018

In reply to by Robinaphl

Don't feel bad, I thought myself of being smart too and pretty intuitive and got fooled also by how elaborated this scams are, I'm really amazed, this site helped me to see that, so I decided to share to help others too. I got contacted in a language exchange site, and the guy ask me also to use hangouts "soldier on a peacekeeping mission for the US in Sudan", named Clark Hartley after getting me in hangouts he deleted the language exchange app. Similar tragic story as the ones here, his wife died in a car accident 3 years ago, has a 6 year old kid, who is taken care by a nanny in Phoenix, dad also died the same year as wife curiously. Said couldn't call just chat since using a military configurated device for signals that only allows him to chat, and that he gets bored and lonely thats why he ask me for steam/ itunes card to download games and listen music, so luckily where I live they dont even sell those, and I told him so, he said if I couldn't get it was ok, but later on kept asking about the cards. Well, I ignored his request and he notice so, one day he asks if I could do something for him, if I went shopping anytime soon if I could make some shopping for him and send it to Sudan, (I'm like what?!) He told me he got supplies there, but he needed some few personal things, I asked to send me the money, list of things and adress and maybe I could DHL it (aint spending no money on a guy I dont even know), he later tells me he has no money with him, just his card but was afraid to do online transactions. I told him to buy his things online and I may have them fwd. Even tells me "so you're suggesting I pay the things with my card" . He ask me if I could help with the shopping, but if I couldnt if was ok, that he would figure it out how I may send him things. Here's where I got really suspicious, search for the pics he sent me and found two on random websites. So he is picking pics from websites, what surprised me was he had a really good english grammar, and really fluid sweet conversation, so girls be really careful, protect your hearts, search on google reverse image, ask for video calls, dont fall for this scam artist.
Pynk Ladi
December 20, 2019

In reply to by Yellow

Has he ever sent you a picture in his military uniform? I’m so unsure of whether or not the guy I’ve been conversing with is telling the truth. Says he’s retired from the US military but had to travel to the UK to retrieve items. I keep trying catch him lying. I don’t military people without a bank account and bad credit. Not to mention supposedly a victim of bank fraud while he was completing his last tour in Afghanistan so he says. He was on a site and did just what I’ve read moved the conversations to hangouts now before that it was text. It was my 1st time on a dating site and I should have did more homework. He is going by the name Steve Lovingood (should have known by the name). I have several pictures of him.
June 19, 2020

In reply to by Pynk Ladi

The guy I'm talking to says that he is a widow after he divorced his wife. He says that his name that his name is Steve Duff and he is a petroleum engineer in Dubai . He has not asked for anything yet, I'm waiting. He states that he has a daughter and he sent me pictures of him on a rig. Would be nice if he was for real.
June 25, 2020

In reply to by Landy

You have to be careful and watch out for the story line..
September 05, 2020

In reply to by Landy

Hi, very similar to my case, I lost all my savings and when I don’t have more money, some banks came to deposit money and he told me that send to him because this money was for finish the papers to pay the shipping to his equipments. He was the contractor and he live USA and he come back to see me. I was blind, until stop because the money was strange. Now his company send me a text and they are threaded me that they have my address and phone number. Please don’t have afraid, report now. They using me and I wouldn’t like to another woman. I woke up when I lost all my savings; but I am alive that the most important. The person uses the name Hugo William, widow, one son and he supposes from Sweden. He said the project in Qatar.
March 15, 2021

In reply to by Pynk Ladi

Have you ever seen pictures of said Steve lovingood. Curious if it is the same guy who has started sending me messages.
Don't use your…
April 06, 2021

In reply to by Pynk Ladi

Hi there ! I have a Steven Lovingood contacting me. Telling me he is in the Army and that he is retiring in June. it first started texting, then he wanted to move it to hangout. I told him up front I will not be scammed and will not aver be sending him money. He was ok with that. Then he came at me with he was using a phone he wasnt supposed to be using and if he had a cellphone he could send me pics and we could video chat. I was playing along and told him I would send him a cheap pre paid phone. That he said would not work in the area he is in that it needs to be a new phone like an iphone 12. I said no way. So then he wants me to send him a tablet. But I cant send it directly to him, cause of problems with the APO. So I had to send it to a courier in New York. None of it adds up to me.
March 02, 2020

In reply to by Yellow

You know what's funny? I had an almost completely identical thing happen to me on grindr. Parallels like "peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan", tragic past story, deletes the app that he was originally using, and wants an iTunes gift cad.
April 19, 2019

In reply to by Robinaphl

Do you have picture of him it sound some to me that I’m talk to I got him $50 amazon card so his go online read his email and chat with me and also steam cards too I send the code through Messenger he says that Afghanistan for basic training the back home in Florida soon.. that we will FaceTime his tell me his love me his want be with me for rest my life and his went be get uncle iPhone XR because his uncle car was stolen with phone in so his can’t get whole of his uncle or talk his 6 year son can send picture I’ll give my email address send to me I want see the same guy his say his 39 his parent dies in car accident 25 years. I told him his better be truthful and be real with me
Freddie mercury
February 13, 2020

In reply to by Robinaphl

I have been with this guy he calls himself Daniel Hoffman.. Ships captain in Italy!! He says they can't use Wi-Fi all the time cause of the pirates picking up on it also!!! He asked me to please by an Amazon card for 200 I only had 75 and that's all I spent ( idiot I know) he is now asking me to open an acct to transfer funds to me I said no.. We don't talk about it for a day and then he can no longer use the Wi-Fi and unless I do this we will be cut OFF.. Very sweet man could sell me the moon and yes I am falling hard I just want to know for sure is he scamming me?? Or the real thing?
April 12, 2020

In reply to by Freddie mercury

I’m contacting with Oliver Dirk he said he’s Dutch and has nobody, his parents died, his wife and a daughter died. He is a chief officer on a freight ship but his English doesn’t prove to be. He asked me for the real address to send me all personal belongings due to pirates on Mediterranean Sea. He’s looking very handsome.
LouiseDon't us…
August 10, 2020

In reply to by Freddie mercury

I advise you don't let him transfer money to your account. It might be a money laundry scheme. I you participate you could get in legal trouble. Also you will be giving him personal banking info. plus he could steal your identity. I just broke it off with a scammer, engineer, wanting to deposit 3 million into my ban acc't. He is grooming you right now, that is where the cards come in. The hard part is ending the relationship. I am at that stage. This site really helps me. Chocolate and candy also help. When we are having a relationship with these men, we are in an addictive like state, our neurotransmitter are going crazy. I had never been so much in love before and never so quickly. When you try to say goodbye, you go through a withdrawal like state, like giving up smoking or stopping drinking.
September 22, 2020

In reply to by LouiseDon't us…

Reading through these comments has helped me so much. I had never used a dating app before and of course the first time I use it I was being groomed by a scammer. I understand the addiction of checking my phone for texts from this person. He claimed to be a military doctor of German decent. My doubts started when my friends questioned the fact that he couldn’t talk or video chat. He claimed to be trying to get ownership of his deceased mother’s property in Texas and was getting his service benefits, but needed someone he could trust to receive them. A whole month of my time spent hoping this guy was real. He kept saying he wanted to marry me and he would be off his base by end of this month. I’m left heartbroken, but I’m so grateful for friends and the fact that I already suspected him, therefore, I called him out on his scam. I blocked his number. He text me from a different number and insulted me saying I was the liar. We really need to be careful. Now I know better. I just need to get the courage to go back into the online dating world again. It might take a while.
May 13, 2020

In reply to by Robinaphl

Sounds just like the one I was talking to Antonio Frank Matteo..He gave me the same spill as yours,Robinaphl almost Identical there stories except mine was a undercover peacemaker in Yemen. No dirty Photos to this one tho,never asked for them but asked for the lg sum of money to the tune of $2586 to get him out of that hell hole as he put it..I also sent him a $200 Google Play card so he could call me as he said "no internet for him to talk on privately" "Just the office internet and they watch me on it"...Well after the $200 Google Play card ran out he wanted another $200 card but told me to get Stream Card...Ha!! remember one thing as I learned in my previous article, do not give bank account info,and just about all my personal info...was given..Do not send any money to them they are Scammers..I was lucky that the good Lord was with tis Senior 71 year old lady..No Robinaphl you are no Fool
July 21, 2020

In reply to by peeved

same situation here, I was talking with a "peacemaker", Frank John he told me he's in Yemen, no dirty pics, he only sent me love words and so, then told me he got some vacations so he would come to visit but he needed to transfer to the airline, but since the banks were shutdown in yemen he needed me to access to his account and transfer on his behalf, Still on it, I'll let you know
June 07, 2020

In reply to by Robinaphl

I was scammed by one man using name Brent Gutierrez and pic from general linnington few years go pretending to [peacekeeper in mission in Sudan please be careful .he had complice in South Africa
November 01, 2020

In reply to by Robinaphl

Hi I have a man who sound exactly like the person you described down to how much money he asked for and where he is based in the army I have fallen for his charm and I dknt know what to do please text me back if possible thank you .
June 03, 2018

In reply to by Lost and confused

Do NOT send him any money! Even if you did he will still have your pictures and will threaten you again and again. Please contact the FBI help line, easy to do online, and file a report. Don't worry about your pictures being revealed, it is not likely they will post them because their IP Address will be known if they do and if they really do post them it will most likely be on a site that none of your family or friends will ever see. In the future, if you decide to send provocative pictures, omit your face, they only want to see other parts anyway right? You can also notify Facebook who can monitor or cancel his account and access to your friends can be limited as well. Don't panic! The threat to you is not as great as it seems, but the person is a real threat and you should cut all ties to them immediately. Best wishes to you for a happy conclusion.
Feeling Stupid
August 21, 2018

In reply to by Lost and confused

Lost and confused I’m facing the exact same thing. He gave me 1 hour and he was going to post all the photos. He had multiple names and the amount he wanted from me was $4500.00, every time it was being sent to a different account with a different woman’s name in a different state. So, if he post the photos it’s my fault. I’ve deleted all my social media. Sadl
November 22, 2019

In reply to by Feeling Stupid

Scammers do not use their own pictures! They steal them.
November 01, 2020

In reply to by orthopedicdoct…

David Jerkins is reaching out to me now. Thank you for posting this.
Good morning
October 25, 2018

In reply to by Lost and confused

Im.going through the same thing now and I dont know what to do any suggestions
October 29, 2018

In reply to by Good morning

Were any of the names Carolyn Matott or Alice Eldridge
August 25, 2019

In reply to by Lost and confused

Is your face showing in the pictures? If not then don't worry. It's all blackmail though and I'm pretty sure it will never happen. Especially if you're not the only person he is doing this too. If your face IS showing, alert your son's school and let them know you got blackmailed and they photoshopped your face onto the body. That way they will not be surprised if something comes through.
they need to b…
October 16, 2019

In reply to by Lost and confused

I had a very similar experience as you have had. The person said he’s a marine and his wife died and he has a 5 yr old daughter that lives in Huston Texas where he is supposedly from. This person immediately said he’s in love, he said I put a spell on him. He kept asking me to pick up steam wallet cards in the amount of $200 I told him I don’t have any money then $50 I tried to stop talking to him and he kept calling me and “his friend” tried to friend me to tell me this guy really is missing me. I realized that 2 different people were pretending to be one. Both from Nigeria, I believe it’s a business there where they are targeting a lot of people. They are still harassing me. I’ve had to delete my social media, change my phone number. They never got a dime out of me.