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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.

July 13, 2020

In reply to by Hanna

Omg this person sounds like the one who reached out to me and he has a daughter in the states but his job has had him in Denmark for 9 years. Christian faith and his daughter has a birthday tomorrow. The U.N. is raising her. He asked me to move to hang out to chat. Now he 8n love and the sad thing is he told me most women only use him for his money an emptied his account. So I don't trust anything at this point but he says it is 7 hours different with the time and he is a Marine engineer but never gives a schedule only 7 days a week 7 to 7. Now we all know they are not ground so red flag. Another he ask me the same question over and over does anyone know this person?
July 28, 2020

In reply to by Loulou2934

What can we do to get this guys I can’t stand the way they pray on innocent Christians who have good intentions. This scammers are evil and must be stopped please tell me what we need to do because I’m willing to go all the way to being this scammers to justice.
a name above a…
September 25, 2020

In reply to by Loulou2934

Omg Rosanne, please stop your action and stop falling in love to this guy. itune card for 56K that is a lot a lot of scamming here. I m so terribly sorry what happen to hear these stories of scammer done to all the women.
November 17, 2019

In reply to by Roxanne

did he have a strong Italian accent, do you have a photo
Don't use your…
January 01, 2020

In reply to by linkylink08

My friend and roommate is being scammed I believe by a man with a very heavy Italian accent. His pic is a 30 ish man dark hair dark beard. She has wired money. His name is Jacob. Not sure about last name. He says he’s an engineer building a mall in Russia and couldn’t use American credit cards. Flew there from, like man others, New York. I need to show her absolute proof so she will believe me before she sends anymore money!!!!!!! Do u have a pic????
February 12, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

Does he have a large tattoo on his right arm and chest
February 16, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

Is this guy last name Lipson.. from Switzerland n Africa. Has a 10 year old.. a widow n account has been frozen
June 15, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

How do we share photos? To see if getting scammed - I have not been asked for money - But feel strongly this will happen today - I will tell him to go pound sand... Just wondering...
October 15, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

Omg my guy is building a mall in Dubai.... he just tonight asked for money and I shut him down.... he was coming here for me and was detained in Mexico and needs money t be released. I even got emails and texts from so called immigration. I don’t believe anything because I hooked all these names and can’t find any! Met on tinder and went to hangouts .... took his account down immediately after he met me the love of his life!! I’m so upset because I really fell hard for this creep! I’m upset because he has pictures of me and my kids. He was smooth!! I would love to trade pictures or statements he said.
August 18, 2020

In reply to by linkylink08

I’ being scammed by a man with an Italian accent, says his wife died and he has two children, 11 and 7. Can we exchange pictures?
August 30, 2020

In reply to by linkylink08

Mark Darmian Clinton Tattoo "Monster" on upper chest Lives in US, working in the UK on construction job. Asking for money to pay off workers.
Don't use your…
October 25, 2020

In reply to by CLW2001

I have been talking to this guy for five months now. He just started asking me for money to pay off workers. And he tried to get me to buy a Verizon cellphone that his friend “Jacob” could sell.
gracie d
May 05, 2019

In reply to by Neveragain2018

I'm afraid I have no choice but bankruptcy. I never used cards never needed them
June 16, 2018

In reply to by bunny

Bunny hi... Do you have picturs of this man? Can we some have get in touch? Tjis adoptiv kids made some bells ring here...
October 18, 2018

In reply to by Mia

Mia. I have almost same story andI have pics also and would love to see if they are same man
Campbell Nicol…
March 23, 2019

In reply to by Seeking truth

Fell in love with him. He said he was an art dealer/ artifacts traveled the world. Sent me pic passport no holigram. Told him I was broke, he called me once sounded like Nigerian accent. Thank God for the Television show "Catfish"
June 18, 2019

In reply to by Campbell Nicol…

Yes happened to me he used Nicholas chateau as the name on Instagram and said he was serious with me and then he had a robbery in Hong Kong he said and asked me pay for his documents so I did like a fool which resulted in more
July 16, 2019

In reply to by dar777

This same guy as just asked me for £6000 because he got robbed in Malaysia and needed to pay for his documents to collect his artifacts for his clients
September 19, 2019

In reply to by Charleen

We have the same story. His name is Michael Sanders a pilot from UK, then was robbed in Malaysia and need $4000 to collect the documents needed for his clients. He is so god fearing. This scammers are intelligent individuals. Be very careful guys.
July 11, 2020

In reply to by Zd

I've been talking to a Michael sander says he in the us army and he in Lagos Nigeria on a peace keeping mission can we exchange photos
a name above a…
September 25, 2020

In reply to by Danielle

May I see his photos? did he scam you any money yet?
July 17, 2019

In reply to by dar777

Nicholas Chateau told me the same story except he was in Malaysia and he had been robbed and needed £6000 to get his documents to get his antiques cleared
tricky nicky
October 21, 2019

In reply to by Charleen

Same here under the name of Nicholas Chateau, Says he is from Perouges near Lyon. Is 55, just traveled to Manchester on his 'big deal'. Got robbed at an ATM when his card was replicated. Lost $45,000 needed to release his consignment of antiques arriving from Europe. Eventually asked for money, has shown me a passport, but not other paperwork of his arrival in Manchester as requested , or any consignment note details. He has 'love bombed' me very early in our online talks. He tried to move out conversation to Hang Outs, but a geek friend advised me not to, as location tracker is on it. We have not met in person yet this fellow thinks he can ask for funds! Oh the money is to go to his Australian agents account!, "it is not going 'off shore' so it's safe'. I'm treating him like an 'alien making him prove he is who he says he is!' "You can block me if you don't believe me", he says. I have said I will not give him funds and he needs to find a "new supply chain, because I'm not it' I expect I'll get blocked now.. so am hoping that happens tonight as he has become very persistent & almost bullying after talking to me for around two months. He says I'm just toying with him! And he is frustrated to the brim.. this fellow speaks French, Italian and English very well. And cries on the Instagram voice message often, and gets angry too. He sounds African to me, not French and that is what alerted me from week one. I was trying to make sense of that. Also he did not realise the fleur-de-les was part of the earliest French flags, tell me does a true Frenchman not know that?
Tricky Nicky
October 29, 2019

In reply to by tricky nicky

I would like to remove my comment please. How do I do this?
FTC Staff
October 29, 2019

In reply to by Tricky Nicky

You may send a message about your request to

hard lesson learned
June 23, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

Steve Spalleti Rodriguez took me for $170,000. Claimed oil rig and needed crane repair. Justin Michael appeared after I blocked Steve. Same voice! Same stories as Steve. Only child, parents dead etc etc etc.
June 19, 2019

In reply to by Campbell Nicol…

Hmmm sounds very familiar also..artifacts that range a bell.. would love to see a picture of this guy sounds just like me he one I’ve friended
July 20, 2019

In reply to by Selena

Well do yourself a favour and delete him I’ve been talking to him for 3 months before he asked for money he’s very convincing. He said his card had been cloned at the atm and they had wiped him out.
July 06, 2020

In reply to by Amy

Yes! And, I would really like to talk to you about this! He stole money from me in the state of Massachusetts. You can reach me at crypticlee at juno dot com. Thank you for posting this!!!
September 10, 2020

In reply to by Laura

Laura I know Mike Shaw does he have a German accent
September 10, 2020

In reply to by Amy

Mike Shaw from Texas..Crandall? Supposed to be on an oil rig in california. He asked me for money.. Told him no I can't get it. Says he is coming next week.. We have been talking for about a year. He is supposed to love me he claims. Widow
September 10, 2020

In reply to by Amy

Amy is he supposed to be German. From Crandall Texas. We have Skyped one year. Asked for money I said no.
Don't use your…
May 23, 2019

In reply to by Seeking truth

i was online with this woman for more than a year i never would belive it was a scam but i keep say ing its a scam and she would get upset and denying it it supose to be some gold bars involved only find out in end that it was a perfect scam im shame to tell anyone i only want to post her picture so she dont scam anyone else
June 08, 2019

In reply to by Don't use your…

I have quite a bit of information on my scammer my heart is sad for all you ladies. I showed my sister after a few weeks I don't even know how to start out reporting this because it's a sick cycle of how many names they use as and change. My scammer said everything all of yours did being engineer faith in God will come find me I found this web page today do God gave me a sign to find this. I used my brains right for once
June 12, 2019

In reply to by Softheart

Do you have a picture ? This guy told me he’s a military engineer deployed to West Africa
Trying to find…
June 18, 2019

In reply to by made

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

In reply to by Trying to find…

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

In reply to by Cutegirl

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

In reply to by Frustrated daughter

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

In reply to by Karen

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

In reply to by e-mail address

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

In reply to by Frustrated daughter

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