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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.

January 27, 2021

In reply to by Maddy

I’ve been scammed for over two years he call himself Emory Jewel he found me in Instagram told me he had daughter name Jenny, handicap sister & mom who all lived in the UK he has a home in Alabama. He sent me flowers and candy I really thought he was real he supposedly worked on rig lost his wallet in the ocean needed money to feed his crew , then pirates got him and his crew and held them for ransom one of his friends from the state paid the ransom name Tyler , he got sick him and his crew from drinking ocean water he’s now in Alberdeen Scotland In a hospital getting treatment trying to raise money to bring his crew home . He deposited money in my account over 4K fake checks bank closed my account after over 30 years with bank I get new account new bank he want that information I told him I would never give him my information he tell me a friend of his has a check he wanted me to cash and send to him when I got the check I told him he insisted I go to atm I told him no I’ll go to teller he was upset that I did not do as he instructed I go to cash it its a fake check i go home tell him he’s a scammer he threatens to kill me my entire family I finally blocked him after two years of lies . It’s way more to this man by the way it’s a group of them working together.
October 07, 2020

In reply to by Maz

I most definitely been with a scammer. This guy had developed feelings and for me this was strange. When it came to expressing feelings I told him to slow down. He use to always ask if I have eaten. I know he how taken a English business man family photos. He said his ex- wife cheated with best friend and has one son also account frozen...yeah because the government has locked his account I assume. I need to break fro him. He broke off from me but now is back like a!
October 23, 2020

In reply to by Kog

I was scammed by the same person. Said wife cheated on him with his best friend and is pregnant with best friend's baby. He is working in Germany, his mom is taking care of his daughter. Told me he loved me within a month. I stopped talking with him.
Jennyon't use …
May 01, 2020

In reply to by Erika217

I got a honey James scott tall fair and good looking. He send me a photo of him and his wife who died. Parents dead early from cancer. He has a number 505 209 9... talk on WhatsApp but I see photos but no video photos. So far has not asked for money. The number is coming from New Mexico. This could be the same guy but how can I see your photos
eliza r
June 09, 2020

In reply to by Jennyon't use …

i also am talking to a james scott. hasn’t sent me a picture of him and his dead wife but he said she passed away as well. He won’t video chat either .
January 27, 2021

In reply to by eliza r

Omg I was talking to a james scott do you have his picture? He found me in instagram. He wanted iTunes card I never gave it to him after a month I blocked him on Instagram
February 23, 2021

In reply to by Queen

How do we exchange pictures so we know if it's the same guy?
February 16, 2021

In reply to by eliza r

I think james scott is also james carrero. Claims single father, wife died of pancreatic cancer. Been talking for a couple months..said he lives in Colorado but is in the do we swap pictures on here to see if he is the same? Has an account in each name on tictoc
June 04, 2020

In reply to by Erika217

Sounds like the guy Im talking to now Avon james Playing his game is fun. Won't give him not a dollar.
Jennyon't use …
May 02, 2020

In reply to by HighEnergy

Henry James Scott is a scam, he says his parents died when he was young. His wife and daughter died in a car crash. He is a diver offshore. From Instagram to WhatsApp. But there is a few Instagram names that are similar and think it is him
February 19, 2021

In reply to by Jennyon't use …

Ive been texting a man for a week i met on the Facebook dating site we exchanged numbers. I wanted to him to call me told Me had had a very stronge accent from Albania but came to America when he was very young so he finally called me he sent me a picture of him on text he told me type of work he does and that he is going on a business trip to turkey for 3 to 4 months but he wants to see me when gets back his name is Joseph Comick just found out his last name when he called me i asked him if he had Facebook he said no he got scammed dont like the media he never asked me for money or anything so far i dont know if i can trust this man after all the comments ive read about the scammers so far haven't been scammed can you tell how i can find out about the picture he sent and if his name is for real?
November 03, 2020

In reply to by Jennyon't use …

I am talking to a Dr. James Lucas same story, wife and daughter died. He said he is a heart surgeon in Damascus Syria with the UN on aPeace keeping thing.
November 10, 2020

In reply to by SrgDon't

prob the same guy trying to scam me, he's in Damascus Syria name of Amos Johnson , same wife son died and lost parents young wants a mom for his grandson , did have a laugh out loud moment this morning as apparently can fly in too see me with diplomatic immunity, hasn't asked for any money yet, he will be out of luck I want someone to give me some lol
November 14, 2020

In reply to by SrgDon't

I was talking to a James B Lucas too. He asked for money several times but I have told him no. Said he is contractor with oil rigging company in Brazil now. Says he is from Westminster, England. Has 2 kids and divorced from wife 12yrs. Sent pics but his voice doesn't sound like his pics at all. Lol
January 03, 2021

In reply to by SrgDon't

I have been communicating with a doctor from Texas in Syria on s UN mission . Any pictures?
January 15, 2021

In reply to by Ggmax

It sounds familiar. What is the name? Are the initials W H ? Do you have any pictures?
January 15, 2021

In reply to by Ggmax

He says he is a neurosurgeon same place, his initials W H, he wants me to sign papers to come and see me... I refuse... He has a son in US about 16yrs ... same old... he loves me... etc...
February 03, 2020

In reply to by Baby Girl

was this Steve Franklin or Steve Gatlin stuck in a hospital in Istanbul Turkey needing Money to pay his way out of the hospital ?? Well he burned my wife good!!!! Ladies stay safe
June 01, 2020

In reply to by Baby Girl

I think I have the same going by the name.Albert Marcus. He has a picture of a black dog licking his face. Says he has a daughter named Lucy and no other family. We've been talking for a month and he just asked me for money for his PayPal account. Has anyone else dealt with this guy.
August 18, 2020

In reply to by Baffled

Can you please post the photos of this person. I am wondering if that is the same person I’m talking to, but goes by the name Marco Alberto
September 27, 2020

In reply to by Angelblossom

I just started talking with one. Name is Frank Alberto
October 17, 2020

In reply to by Baffled

Hi, did you post his photos anywhere to warn others? I am searching for more evidence for the police.
October 24, 2020

In reply to by Baffled

Sounds like Allen Marcus muscular tats good looking days he's from Brazil. Send me a pic please.
September 11, 2019

In reply to by Kimmy

I think i’m Involved with same man. He contacted me thru words with friends and almost immediately asked for email address so he could add me to hangouts. We’ve been talking for over two months and i’ve Wired money and sent gift cards. Do you have a pic? I feel so stupid but I was lonely. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
May 28, 2020

In reply to by qzsusie

I met a guy through a dating website and we moved onto hangout straight away. He said he was part of doctors without borders, in Libya (he claimed US was his home though) but he needed $2600 AUD sent to a delivery company as they all get paid in cash they can't touch and he only had 1k leff before he returns in June and needed a safe delivered to me lol. I never sent many red flags...tall short brown hair. Went by the name of Mark.
June 03, 2020

In reply to by Scorpio

Hi, I think this is the same Mark I'm talking to. Started on Instagram then insisted on moving to Hangouts. He seemed legit. Said plastic surgeon from NJ now working for Doctors without Borders in Libya. Wife died and has daughter. Long story...Yesterday he said he got mugged so doesn't have a passport. Now has a contract in Kabul but it's not safe to keep his valuables there. He wants to send me his luggage claiming I'm the only one he can trust...I'm a stranger. He continually professes his love and insists he's coming home to me. I'm afraid.
Sheri T
October 09, 2020

In reply to by TrustNoone

Don’t ever let them send you their stuff - if there’s drugs or anything in there (like stolen money) you can be fined, arrested and charge with aiding and abetting a crime. And spend a considerable amount of time in jail if you’re found guilty! This guy could rent a storage bin. There’s NO EXCUSE for a man to ask a woman for money
July 28, 2020

In reply to by Scorpio

Sounds like the guy who is trying his luck with me at the moment!! Tall very handsome going by the name Captain Patrick Albert wants me to pay for his luggage to be sent to me $2600. Cheating wife with best friend, dead parents, son on his own in US while on deployment because Uncle died. Sent me bank details to see how much he has and that the account was blocked due to ex wifes fraudulent activity. Last night I got a voice call from him and his colleague named Phil. I have had several video calls and it is the person in the photos but I'm not stupid so I'm just messing with his head now!!!
July 03, 2020

In reply to by qzsusie

The exact same thing is happening to me right now. Can you tell me his name?
July 11, 2020

In reply to by Dpmmn

The exact same thing is happening to me and it sounds too coincidental what was the name he was using with you
October 11, 2020

In reply to by qzsusie

Hey qzusie, I'm talking to him right Now, I'm trying to more information about him, he's using the name Frank Louis from Macon GA but originally from Germany, he apparently in Scotland on a business trip and really needs me to send him phone cards, like that's gonna, I also met him on word feud, I can get a screenshot of the pictures on Hangouts, let me know if you want to see them
February 23, 2021

In reply to by markze11

Has anyone ever dealt with a Harry Walters. Very nice looking, gray hair, picture with a small black and white dog and wears blue tented sunglasses. Has a contract on a rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Marine Engineer.
His scam name …
September 17, 2019

In reply to by Kimmy

How can we share pictures of this older man? He send me several. his 65. Older white hair. His voice is from a black dude. With elegant Dialect. But I have several he send me and I can’t find a thing online. Its there a section in the Consumer FTC.giv whether women can upload this pictures and we can search amount all this Scam Artist. Can anybone point me to a portal where I can search amoung scam man pictures?
March 01, 2020

In reply to by His scam name …

I would also like to know if there is a website where you can scan names and photos.
Lady G
April 25, 2020

In reply to by TakenBySurprise

I have been chatting with a guy fitting the description of the one you're talking to. Some differences, but curious to know if it could be the same guy. Did he send you any photos?
July 11, 2020

In reply to by Lady G

Still the same man is what you ladies are speaking of he did send me pictures I did check on one and he is a legit doctor in New York he posted that as his face covered then he sent me another one but the stories are very similar but I know this one as David but different stories about the wife and daughter as far as I know he said that he lost his wife and has raised his daughter that the rest of it seems very similar due to the luggage
October 06, 2020

In reply to by jackie1987

I believe I may have been talking to the same guy as he fits the description. Calls himself Kelvin Gary although he's been using about 20 other names as I've just found out from other sites. Claims he's a widower and has an 18 year old daughter studying at cardiff unitversity. Alarm bell rung after he delared his undying love for me just after two days of chatting. So I looked up the picture he gave me and it turned out several women from different countries may have been scammed by him. The pattern that I'm noticing is that they seem to be joining Fitbit Communities, recruiting victims from there and bringing luring them to Google hangouts or WhatsApp to scam them. I'm currently chatting with another romance scammer who thinks I'm unaware of who he is... lol.
June 10, 2020

In reply to by TakenBySurprise

I believe I am being scammed...we have been talking for about 3 months now...he tells me he love me and wants to marry me...He goes by the name of Jeff Peterson...and he is in the army in Kabul Afghanista...and he is retiring by the 15th. 2020 of June...Right now he is in a military hospital because he had a gun shoot wound to his lower back.
July 29, 2020

In reply to by StarFire

Don't give him anything and the military will take care of him. Just talk to him like a friend and expect him to arrange transportation to meet you. IF he does not he was a fake move on.
Sheri T
October 09, 2020

In reply to by StarFire

The guy who tried to scam me talked to me for 5 months before asking for money! (Phone calls, short videos, texts, WhatsApp and Hangouts). Even said he’d come to Canada to visit me. Then he got mad and aggressive when I wouldn’t give him any money. Even refusing to take my calls
November 10, 2020

In reply to by Sheri T

Hey Sheri, what name is he going by? This is sounding familiar? Does he have a 14 year old son to whom you are talking to as well?
December 30, 2020

In reply to by StarFire

The military will never contact you. It's a scammer. Go to YouTube and look up romance scammers. You will see many there.