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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.

April 12, 2020

In reply to by Sadie

What name does he use? I’m talking to a guy right now sounds the same but just started. Just feels leery that’s why I started researching. He’s sent pictures even video. But if you look on FB Page it goes against everything he describes about himself.
January 28, 2020

In reply to by Loulou2934

Hi Loulou, I think I’m scamming by Man from Arizona. He is security but has a contract with UN in Vietnam. He asked me to apply for his Vacation. He gave me UN email and they send me the form with UN logo and everything on it. They asked me to pay 2345€ on bitcoin wallet. I still talk with him because he is waiting for me to pay. When I check time of email that he sent me. Time zone is Los Angeles not Vietnam. Every picture that he sent me I check it say that is original and can’t be found on any site. When I asked him about fraud and that on web says that I don’t need to pay anything for UN. He always told me that he is security has different contract from UN employee etc... his wife died 13ago during the birth of daughter. And daughter is in boarding school. How can I check and found who is he, where he is and who is the man on the picture. He cant call me or make video because everything is secure. He also doesn’t have an online access to his account. The only stupid things is that I sent to this UN adress copy of my driving licence and I filled in this form. He has some of my pictures even with my son because I didn’t doubt until he start to ask for money. Can you please tell me what to do? Thank you
March 14, 2020

In reply to by Hanna

I’m talking to a guy right now that his story is very familiar to yours. He says he works for the UN and is in a special mission in Yemen right now. His mom died during childbirth with your younger sibling, dad died later because of a heart disease. Lost his wife 3 years ago in an accident and has a son who lives in London. He asked me to write an email to his sons school become he had a nightmare and had bad feeling about it. But can’t email because it isn’t secure. But when I asked questions about what to write in the email it was weird. He says moves to Canada when he was 3 but his English is a little off too. He says he loves me and wants to get married already. And gets upset when I tell him I don’t love him It’s been about a week. But I don’t want to over look the little things.
Just me
June 06, 2020

In reply to by Paigenc16

Is there a way we could change photos of this man. The story’s are similar Thanks
Don't use your…
August 11, 2020

In reply to by mkay

Talking to Christopher Morrison and all tou say is eerily familiar.
runner-almost …
June 13, 2020

In reply to by Hanna

so I met this guy on Instagram.. I have my account only for running purposes but first he said he was interested on me then I told him dude I am not looking for anything.. then he says he wants to be my friend.. yes sure what strikes me is similar story to your.. he is a doctor, from turkey working on a contract for UN, good looking nice tan. So he asked me for my email I said I don't have time for that.. two days later account disappears.. he blocks me.. then I blocked him .. fishy
August 17, 2020

In reply to by runner-almost …

Is he living in London? Have asked you to marry him? What’s is his name? It would be to much coincidence.
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