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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 14, 2020

In reply to by Pops

I have been talking to a orthopedic doctor in Syria with son in boarding school. Maybe same guy.
May 04, 2020

In reply to by patters

I think I was talking to the same guy . He’s scammed. He video chatted with me for seconds to proof that he’s real. I blocked him after he asked me for iTunes cards.
February 21, 2021

In reply to by Yermo65

The guy I’ve been talking to goes by Frank Ramos and lives in Seattle. Says he’s a doctor and is in Afghanistan with the military deployed by the UN. Divorced because wife cheated on him and was doing drugs. Has a son Benard who is 13 Wanted me to send his sin an iTunes card as he said he doesn’t have access to his bank
Lady G
May 11, 2020

In reply to by patters

PATTERS, POPS& ANYONE WHOHAS SIMILARITIES: I have been talking to someonewho goes by the name Derrick Williams on Whatts App. My story is almost exactly the same as yours. It's there anyway for any of us to get in contact with one another to exchange information like photos, phrases, promises made, etc. If this person is the same guy, he needs to be stopped. Playing with our hearts it's wrong not to mention taking our money. I've fallen for this guy pretty hard.too.
September 04, 2020

In reply to by patters

Was chatting a doctor surgeon in peace keeping mission in Syria , good looking oldman, still in the process
Nice try and g…
October 24, 2020

In reply to by Coldheart

Hi, I believe he is still out there. Different name same MO. I received a friend request on Facebook, then told me to go on Hangouts. Divorced with 16 yr old son. Works as Surgeon for U.N. in Yemen on peace keeping mission. Doesn't have access to any funds, but wants things for his son birthday and school. MacBook and Steam game gift card. Handsome middle aged tall man. Saying I am God send and loves and cares about me so much, after about a week of chatting in Hangouts. Unbelievable! Hope nobody falls for this.
October 29, 2020

In reply to by Nice try and g…

I experience the same, he is under username Frank Smith on instagram, he follows me and I followed him back. He is from LA California, introduced himself as an orthopedic surgeon and based in Yemen. He is a widower and has a son named Morris but now in excursion in west africa. He was looking for something derious and starting introduce himself woth few lapses. I had the feeling he is not real as he has lengthy messages aboutbhimself as bait and his english grammar was incorrect and there was no such thing as orthography in medicine. Tried to video call him but no answer until he did but not american accent. Watch out of this scammer
November 09, 2020

In reply to by Cassy

Similar story except he goes by the name quincy roberts. So you have photos?
November 16, 2020

In reply to by Cassy

He’s also under Austin Dennis, surgeon working for the UN in Yemen he asked me to go on hangouts I’ve blocked him
November 05, 2020

In reply to by Coldheart

I too was contacted today by a "doctor" peace keeping mission in Syria, sent me his United Nations card. working in the legal field I checked out his name and birthday, no one exists by that name....he used Jaxon Teddy said he was a surgeon, lives in LA, big scammer
November 16, 2020

In reply to by Coldheart

Who is he name ? He is 55 years old ? He has a dughter 13 years old age and got leukimia ?
October 28, 2020

In reply to by patters

I just deleted a conversation with a surgeon with the UN stationed in Syria. They don't exist.
January 25, 2021

In reply to by Maria

I just deleted an Norwegian orthopaedic surgeon, works in Syria for Red Cross. Looks way younger than he says, very handsome
January 17, 2021

In reply to by patters

I have been talking to the same man I think in Syria. He says his name is Donna James Frank. I to talked to him on hang out and did Face time with him to prove he is the person in the pics, and he was. His son Kelly is in boarding school, he continues to ask for money for his sons B-day, his sons school and now he needs $200 to get home on Feb 12, but he is working for the government. I have pics of him, please try to contact me I would like to see if this is the same person. Oh supposedly he lives in Rochester, New York, he even gave me a address, his name is not on the tax card.
Lady G
April 25, 2020

In reply to by Pops

Pops Your describing a guy that reached out to me just recently. Using different name. Has he sent you any photos?
June 15, 2020

In reply to by Pops

He is a scammer. To ne hes known as frank roberts,, same story but has a 16 yr old daughter. Says hes from Baltimore, widower and asked me to talk on Hangouts. Ive blocked him and disabled the app.
January 01, 2021

In reply to by Lee2020

I met a guy he is Korean American good looking guy name Tony Robert orthopaedic surgeon in 1 daughter 9years old ;
September 16, 2020

In reply to by Pops

WHen video chatting get him to make a hand movement they can spoof video calls.
Mary ann
September 13, 2020

In reply to by jess83

Same thing he told me using William Patrick also William evans
October 28, 2020

In reply to by jess83

Talking to someone with very similar story. Son name Jerry in boarding school. Wife passed away due to severe bleeding in childbirth
Kat 29
November 10, 2020

In reply to by jess83

I am talking to a man who says he is Afghanistan. His name is supposed to Patrick. He also has a son in boarding school. His wife was killed I'm a car accident. Does this sound familiar
December 02, 2020

In reply to by Kat 29

I am talking to man too from Afghanistan he says that his a widow and his daughter is 15 years of age. He told me that is Orthopedic Surgeon working for UN. He want to send a package because he are going to Kandahar and need someone to take care about his salary because of the security company want held his money anymore. He did npt ask about any money but said that the courier will charge a local fee. I feel sick to my stomach that I am so stupid.
Heart broken
August 08, 2021

In reply to by shosho

I too have been taking to a man who says he has a parcel he wants to send me. That the bank it is in has folded and he needs to get the package asap. Hes in Iraq mission, and someone tried to hack into his bank, so bank has frozen his funds until he goes in person. The security company is asking for $2950 usd to send to me.
Kat 29
November 11, 2020

In reply to by jess83

I'm talking to a man who says his name is Patrick. In Afghanistan. Has a son in boarding school. Widowed.
October 11, 2020

In reply to by Sunshine40

Sunshine, was he on Goes by Benjamin? Lives in Chicago, IL? 46 years old? Mechanical Engineer in the Army stationed at Afghanistan on a “Peace Keeping Mission” and will be retiring in 3 months? Been out there for 9 months? Keeps saying how beautiful I am. Says “Your smile so beautiful and that he hopes one day he is the reason for my smile” Sound familiar?
Keisha 123
November 28, 2020

In reply to by Island

I have picture of this so called Ben ,I am thinking we might be talking about the same person .I have pictures I can upload
March 03, 2021

In reply to by Keisha 123

Had same problem one was called Michael willson, then Jerry Campbell Williams then Chris Brown and now Steven Roberts this one wants me to send him Amazon card and a stem card for his son Kevin who is in boarding school. He professes he loves me. I keep having this feeling he isn't real cos he says he is from California but is based in Syria with the US Army as an orthopaedic surgeon and has 3months to finish his contract but he doesn't have an American accent when I asked him he said he was born in Germany and only came to the US when he was 16 years old and anytime I ask him to video call he tells me the company will find out and he will be in trouble.
June 30, 2020

In reply to by Rebecca

Can you post pic of ben i think hes who im talking WITH right now
Hurt but caught on
October 29, 2020

In reply to by Almostafool

Hi I was also talking to a Ben, has a daughter. Stuck in Turkey has no money as machinery broke down asked for money twice will use beautiful loving words, send music, tell you he loves u so much elects certain times to call as I figured out he calls/texts other woman they use voice over not a really phone number. Has accent very charming. Ladies beware. It appears Turkey and being stranded is the MO to lure woman to fall in love. Send money and guarantee they will disappear I refused twice and now he pretended to end it as I'm not sacrificing for the relationship its a scam I'm so hurt as I believed him but glad I figured the pieces of the puzzle. If things don't add up you know its wrong they're are talking to multiple woman, make you believe you're the special one they were looking for . Block him
Hurt but caught on
October 30, 2020

In reply to by Almostafool

Hi is Ben saying he's a project manager stuck in Turkey? Loves u, sends loving texts. Needs money for machinery to he fixed. Be careful. I almost fell. They use voice over different numbers for different woman.
July 24, 2021

In reply to by Hurt but caught on

Sounds like Peter Dusan. Stuck in HUNGARY. He needs money to ge back to NY to get his daughter due to Nanny left her all alone. There is a long story behind all of this from a Colonel in the service.
November 24, 2020

In reply to by Rebecca

I wish I could see Ben's picture , I ,m sure he's been scamming me also.
January 09, 2021

In reply to by Rebecca

I'm talking to a Ben who says is a war jurnalist stationed in Syria. He us 47 years and just asked me to do something incredible
A friends scam
February 21, 2020

In reply to by Jenham67

Can you send me pics, I think my friend is being scammed by this one
April 21, 2020

In reply to by A friends scam

i truly think this is the same guy i just got majorly scammed by. met on twitter. sunglasses and a suit. went by the twitter name "Robert michael" told me he helps a ton of people. had me download google hangouts. told he he would pay my credit cards. i said i would NOT give him any information. He authorized me to use " HIS" account info. to pay off my whole card. I have EVERYTHING saved from our conversations. he provided me with a routing and account #. after I paid my card...3 days later the bank returned the payment :( SCAMMER FRAUD! he says his wife died in an auto accident and his son is in Austrailia! HE MUST BE CAUGHT!!!!
June 23, 2020

In reply to by SandyMaro

In the sunglass picture is he wearing a nice place suit, black turtleneck and black sunglasses standing outside what looks like a nice countryside?
July 08, 2020

In reply to by Summergirl

I think he's the same guy meet on Instagram name MichaelRobert7073. Has a 10 year old daughter same name as mines. Works as a engineer on a off shore rig(outside of Norway). Abt 56 years old wife is dead. From Belgium but his daughter is with the nanny in Oakland California. Oh he's a charmer, just wondering if he's the same guy.
July 14, 2020

In reply to by Summerdreams56

Could you send me a pic of this oil rig guy please?
July 29, 2020

In reply to by Summerdreams56

I have read what you wrote, and I think I have the same guy talking to me. Would you mind sending his picture. Found him on instagram. How can these guys do this? It needs to stop. Hope I hear from you.