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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.

60 yr old Fren…
September 01, 2020

In reply to by Reallymad

I would like to see his photo too. The man I'm talking to has been living outside of Dallas and his 13 year old daughter is in a boarding school there.
December 13, 2020

In reply to by Reallymad

I am talking to a guy from Texas who calls himself Jordan Firm and is in the Marines in Iraq. Very romantic, supportive, etc. and also has a son named Henry who is 5-years old that lives with a Nanny. I would love to see a picture of this guy as well to see if it is the same person. I will be extremely heartbroken if it is as my divorce was finalized on September 2nd.
What the what?
December 20, 2020

In reply to by Summerdreams56

This sounds very strange. Ant alias other than the ones mentioned above?
October 23, 2020

In reply to by Summergirl

Summer girl.. Do you have a pic of your guy you could share? I am talking with someone now and I have a pic of him in black also possibly country. I believe it's california actually. Marine engineer. Works oil rigs. Do not want to use name right now. We have been talking 19 months. So will protect name just in case he is genuine. Thank you.
November 15, 2020

In reply to by Sadlydisappointed

Is there anywsy you folks could post pics of these guys somewhere i can see. Ive had pic posted by someone. But i never been to cali. Or oil rigs. Nor doctor or engineer.
Mary Garrido
January 03, 2021

In reply to by Nottheclone

I don't remember much about this guy it's been a while .But was wondering if Mark Denise is still lurking around.he was a Dr. In New Delhi.had a 16 year old son .He was 56 years old.I lived and breathed this man for two years. If it was not for my best friend I would have sent his as much money as he wanted. Glad to say I moved on got remarried .and am happy he is out of my life.
December 11, 2020

In reply to by Sadlydisappointed

Hi there. Has been talking to a marine engineer of Australian origin for a few months. Reed Adams. He actually understands about oil rigs and engines. Started asking for money week 6 for a supposed oil spill in Brisbane high sea. Really insisting. Googled his photos. All of them belong to brasilian surgeon Fernando Gomez Pinto.
October 29, 2020

In reply to by Summergirl

I am now chatting with a guy , who fits the description you're giving. Can I send you his pics, and can you let me know if he looks like the guy you're chatting with? By far, he hasn't captured my heart. I went into this dating site to find friends first. I very much feel for those who put their hearts into these fakes. I hear there are ways to have the pics , with the use of an app, identify the real people, to actually prove they are scammers stealing these pics, and posting them on singles dating sites to con unsuspecting people.
November 27, 2020

In reply to by Spinky

could post pics of these guys somewhere i can see. Ive had pic posted by someone. But i never been to cali. Or oil rigs. Nor doctor or engineer. Spinky | October 29, 2020 | reply I am now chatting with a guy , who fits the description you're giving. Can I send you his pics, and can you let me know if he looks like the guy you're chatting with?
September 05, 2020

In reply to by A friends scam

I think niece is being scammed would live to see pic
November 17, 2020

In reply to by A friends scam

He added me on IG with handle name frankrobert122020, asked me to download hangout and even called me. Fool, I was having a laugh , but its very worrying as any of us can fall on this scam. He said to be living in Orlando but he was from Swissland. SCAM
April 27, 2020

In reply to by Jenham67

I was scammed already by a guy named Roby Helms who stole the identity of a very handsome speaker which it broke my heart and stole money from me too. But now I’m talking to another guy named Patrick that has a son in New Jersey and said he is in Syria too and is an engineer in a oil rig. Can you share his pictures with me. I don’t want to be scammed again.
Good Samaritan
November 21, 2020

In reply to by Jayjay

+1 (469) 751-5262 This number is being used to scam females. He’s using different photos on WhatsApp profile..
Freeing myself
December 16, 2019

In reply to by Victoria

Hi. I was wondering if your Patrick Captain Patrick Ewing Lesnar? Because the one texting me is named Patrick in the Marines and he is in Yemen over in Asia.
February 12, 2020

In reply to by Victoria

I had this woman named Sarah in the Army in Kentucky. She was very endearing in her conversations vowing to be exclusive in our cyber dating forum; All of a sudden she claims to be deployed to Syria and starts messenging me on Hangout. Says she is bored nights shes not patrolling and asks for $50 Steam cards to buy video games for her lap-top. Claims she only gets paid 1x month os can't afford to repay me right away because she has a daughter in teh USA who stays with her mother; claims she sends her money to her mother in her absence. I sent about $150, but when I told her I couldn't afford more, she became mean telling me I was an insensitive person who has been hurt by so many women, I can't trust a different woman. She actually changed her Facebook profile page and used my last name as her married name. I finally blocked her and I never heard from her again.
dark ghost
December 02, 2020

In reply to by Russell

how about the us marines who cant get the money out of country (yemen)but they can send you but you have to pay some about 1500 usd or 700 to delivery company to claim it
March 20, 2020

In reply to by Victoria

I too was scammed a few months ago from a US Marine on deployment in Syria. He went by the name Thomas Casado, he had contacted me on Instagram. He was a widower, supposedly, had a 20yr. Old son who was in Australia, he was saying the sweetest things and I was Leary and told him that but after talking for a couple months he asked for $100 Steam card, I told him I couldn't do that cause I'm a single mom of 3, he said oh do what you can. So stupid me I did $40 the first time, and did it a couple more times only totalling $120. I googled his name and seen some other guys name with his picture. You are not alone and they are very good at what they do, they are heartless.
April 10, 2020

In reply to by Disgusted

My scammer asked for steam card for his phone minutes I looked up steam card can’t be used for phones I told him . Would say romantic things then once again asked for a gift card reasons always changing
April 19, 2020

In reply to by Ecummings98

Going thru the same now..a David Garth.. Looking for cards and bank account passwords.
August 10, 2020

In reply to by Angel

I'm messaging now w/ a guy named Garth David..guess it's one in the same. haven't sent him a dime. he messaged me on Instagram.
September 20, 2020

In reply to by Brokenhearted

Did he tell u he was an orthopedic doctor in Italy?
October 09, 2020

In reply to by Ecummings98

We don't have steam cards here but Google play cards. Johnson Williams (John) needs it for his phone, he sent me the screen shot of the low balance. I also think I was being scammed.
October 29, 2020

In reply to by Ecummings98

Yes that what mine did too. Always say I love so much and send poems. Then bam asked for Itunes. Steam or Amazon cards.
August 19, 2020

In reply to by ralph

Who’s this Patrick McCoy? Is he some type of scammer? Curious because I had received a friend request. Is he a legit trader or just another scam.
February 19, 2020

In reply to by Mary

I might be able to locate them, if they are using another account with that same identity, please everyone needs to be careful with them, because 45% of account online are scammers. Thanks
July 28, 2020

In reply to by Ogechukwu

Hello how would you be able to catch them I got his IP address. My scammer send me his bank account info (might be a fraud of course). His passport and his fake California ID ( I know is fake because he failed to change a few things on it) but when he send the account number I can see his IP address.
October 26, 2019

In reply to by Ray

hey guys..i have been talking to some blonde hair blue eyed girl with a sleeve tattoo saying shes in the navy, in syria on a aircraft carrier rn and cannot video or reg call. First name is Tiff..the last name on the uniform looks like Taylor.she knows great english and a lot about military lingo so if sh is a fake its good. says shes normally in north jersey but has a Illinois phone number. I do reverse image search but nothing comes up. asked me to send her 200 in steam cards to put more wifi on her phone. Anyone know anythinf
Mary D. Ace
October 31, 2019

In reply to by JennTigger

Hi, has anyone encountered a name Simon Hobbs Cantu, claimed to be a US Army in Syria right now for peace keeping mission? I cannot find him in any social media platform. I even googled/reversed image his photos but nothing.
March 29, 2020

In reply to by JennTigger

No one in the military needs money and they have internet. Dont buy into the scam. Military people are given everything they need, as well as access there bank from the internet. Theyre scamming you if they ask for anything.
dark ghost
December 02, 2020

In reply to by Lucky

please i need you to answer me asap i got a DM from a military soldier or nurse in (yemen) that she cant take out money from a security company and i should have it and give the remaining share to her
Ella O’Brien
October 09, 2020

In reply to by JennTigger

Tiffany Taylor is the name of a popular doll from the 1980s
Daisy Aunt
November 12, 2019

In reply to by Mike

I have been scammed also. Text and talking to him on th he phone for 5 months. I was looking for love in a Christian dating sight. Michael Harrington the scammer has a European accent. Long story short. I turned his info over to the police. He says he lives in N.Y. but working in India in exports . Guys like this makes it Really hard to find a nice guy . So I'm educating myself about this. And yes he mentioned everything that all the other ladies have mentioned. We need to stand up and be more aware of what these Dirty RATS We need to tale control Everyone. Thanx
January 13, 2020

In reply to by Daisy Aunt

I’m a guy been scammed twice. I’m wondering where a real guy can meet a real Lady. I’m really confused. Some things I wonder how can this be real? But other times , through things. She has to be real. Something caught my eye earlier. Someone said something about they seem to disappear on weekends. And other random times she’ll disappear from five minutes to a day. We make plans to meet but it hasn’t happened yet. Rapture take me home.
January 15, 2020

In reply to by Michael

Mike sorry to hear Your story sounds similar to mine I thought exactly the same A friend convince me to try a match site And I can believe first time I try I for caught by a scammer I just think I don’t want to meet anyone any more. Ay times the tú sounds so real that makes it hard to be believe there can be such evil people .
February 19, 2020

In reply to by Michael

I'm sorry to hear that. I've been scammed twice. But the first, I busted him first, so I didn't lose any money and I finally can contact the real person whom he uses the pictures with. The second, with the help of voluntary organization, I can know the man I'm talking to isn't real. Always use technology to help and good luck with the love searching
July 14, 2020

In reply to by Murti

How did you verify the photo? I think I am being scammed as well. Random guy added followed me on instagram. I followed him back and the he sent me a message. Now, we're talking on whatsapp and his instagram profile is no longer available. He is very insistent in sending me gifts because he wanted to show me he loves me. Of course, I said no and I didn't give him any important details. He said he is from Texas but is currently living in London because of work. He called me once and that was it. No video calls, but he sends me pictures.
July 16, 2020

In reply to by Izzie

I was playing Scrabble and this guy said to go to hangout. We both lost our spouses. His was 3 yrs ago. He said he is from Australia and moved to the U.S. after wife died in car accident. Has a daughter 17 going to boarding school in England. He 1st tried to get me to invest in bit- coins. I advised him I couldn't. He
September 06, 2020

In reply to by Izzie

I'm talking to a guy with a name Russell from London but working in texas asking for an iTunes cards for me to prove that i love hi.. I search his photo in reverse but doesn't match any. Doesn't like video call he said not comfortable.. Beware fellow ladies, we just want to be loved.
September 27, 2020

In reply to by Marie

Dating a man Steven from London working on oil fields in Alaska do you have pictures anyway for us to exchange pictures? I am at marybrownsdesk
December 05, 2020

In reply to by Mjbrow1

Steve what?? If it's fields then I've been scammed by him
October 11, 2020

In reply to by Izzie

Oh no! I wonder if he's the same guy,even I was randomly added on insta by a guy,and just recently followed him back,he too sent a message proclaiming his love although I had never texted him,let alone talk or seen!! But I gave him my number after a lot of persuasion,and we spoke a few times on phone and once on videocall,I've even shared an intimate pic with him,and scared now,if he's the same guy,he claimed to be a pole working in UK as a marine engineer!! He's a widower with a 12year old daughter!! I tried to avoid him many times,but gave in as I'm in an unhappy marriage! And yes even he insisted on sending gifts which I refused but now he's insisting on meeting me personally which I've again said no too I wonder how he's planning to con me and what's his game plan??
August 27, 2020

In reply to by Michael

I’m sorry Michael and I wonder the same thing about a real guy. I feel I’m being scammed now and have ended it but it’s hard because I have feelings.