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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

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October 18, 2020

In reply to by Michael

Ask them to go on social media with you .facetime them 1st if they say download google hangouts its a scammer.these know how to play with emotions.lots of ukranian miltary do this must always facetime and make sire someone isnt running them too.
Don't use your…
April 06, 2020

In reply to by Daisy Aunt

I am curious about what Michael looks like. How donwe see pics these scammers have sent us? I was talking to a European oil rig guy... much the same
April 24, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

I feel as though I am being scammed by a 'Michael Dunbar' claiming he stuck in Alaska on an oil rig and needs money to get home. Anyone else have interaction with this fellow?
September 27, 2020

In reply to by Annie

I have spent over $75,000 to a Steven gros wired money twice to him in Thailand to purchase materials for pipeline I have pictures I think what is a passport and California drivers license can you send me pictures marybrownsdesk at
February 23, 2021

In reply to by Mjbrow1

I have been scammed by Steven Gros, who is supposedly from France where his aunt and mother live! He claims to be on a rig in Prudoh Bay, Alaska, and had me wire $$ to Thailand to pay for his goods so he could complete his job! I gave him $122,000 and am embarrassed and devastated! He still claims he will be with me when this is all done!
March 07, 2021

In reply to by Mjbrow1

Mjbrown...I am afraid we have both been scammed by this Steven Gros. I loved him too and even stupidly took out a mortgage so I could send him $$. I finally got wise to him, but too late to restore my money!! I was so very devastated...said all the right things, made promises and sent me wonderful songs. I know exactly how you feel..
November 15, 2020

In reply to by Annie

Yes I think I know him that guy. How can we talk. Send me your phone let’s talk
December 03, 2020

In reply to by Debby

I've been talking to a Steve, I have a picture and other information. Im wondering if it's the same person?
December 24, 2020

In reply to by Sarah

What was Steve's last name? My mom has been talking to "Steven Gerald, 49, From New Jersey, Engineer in Egypt on a contract, 14yr old son, and a wife who died of Covid-19"
June 14, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

Was this oil rig guy in Europe(UK), named Martin Giovanni?
August 06, 2020

In reply to by Frankie

I met a guy online in May and his name is Oliver Giovanni. In late July he said he got a job contract that needed him to work at one of the oil rigs in Bulgaria in August. Amidst the current situation, who would send a private jet to get him (from LA) to the job site? He said he's now at the rig. I am suspicious about that.
Don't use mail…
October 20, 2020

In reply to by Ayumi

I am Julia and I live in Bulgaria. There are no oil platforms in Bulgaria. This is a scam
December 11, 2020

In reply to by Ayumi

There are no oil rigs in Bulgaria. But one supposed marine engineer of Amarican/Australian origin claims that he works on an oil platform in Brisbane high sea. Reed Adams. With the same pictures I have been approached by 4-5 different scammers. Couple of doctors, an army official and couple of engineers from oil rigs. They all talk about private jets and yahts.
September 12, 2020

In reply to by Frankie

I met a guy named Marco Giovanni from the UK. Says he lives in London. Supposedly got some big contract working with Shell Oil and went to work in Germany working as a chemical engineer on a ship.
November 23, 2020

In reply to by Steveie

Don't fall for it! I spoke with Marco Gionvanni for 6 months! Same exact story. Lives in London and working on a ship in Germany for a Shell Oil contract. Not only did I finally get him to admit that he was scamming me, but I also received an apology from him.
October 16, 2020

In reply to by Frankie

Do you have pictures of this Martin on the oil rig please??
July 24, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

This sounds like a guy by the name of David Lee supposably anyway same kind of story I have been dating him for 9 months now and I'm very curious he has said the same thing to me as well but only his daughter was 16 and he lost his wife when she was 6 years of age and dad he is from Newark New Jersey but the pictures he showed me are from London England what a coincidence and also wants me to send money through the Bitcoin machine I wonder if it's the same person
October 31, 2020

In reply to by jackie1987

I'm currently chatting with a David Lee in Italy oil engineer. He found me on Facebook. Sounds similar to your story. Tragic loss of wife n child and he's claiming to be wealthy. He's tried to get me on whatsapp. Also other scammers Morris Harrison ( NY business owner) David Lee (Italy oil engineer) Michael Cardwell (Syrian military doctor) Smith King (marine Pendleton) Be careful everyone.
November 16, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

I did the same thing with the three photos of the one the guy sent me. Go to and it will give you different sites you can use. I can't remember but I went into this one it started with a K. Anyways you can go into it and search each photo one by one. I had a Dr, and two other guys that show up on dating sites to scam women.
April 29, 2020

In reply to by Mike

Hey I just met this Donna girl total scam, she is supposly in Syria in peace keeping mission
August 26, 2020

In reply to by Den

I’ve been approached by a young woman, 34, a “military doctor”, also on a peacekeeping mission in Syria...
September 13, 2018

In reply to by Keith I

Keith it happened to me around the same time frame. Sent a pic of a handsome older.gentlemen who professed his love for me. And how pretty i was. It was elaborate also. But when he asked for money i reported him to the fbi. He contacted me and apoligized but i knew at that point that was a scam as well. I am lonely too so they prey on us single people. Taught me a lesson. I just wish i knew who the handsome man in the pic was
November 21, 2018

In reply to by Phyllis

You really don't want to know who the handsome man in the photos is. I found out and mine was an International Italian model. I looked at his life thru all the women hanging on him for photo shoots and pictures of his current girlfriend and the beautiful clothes and huge bed and breakfast he owned and here I was sending someone money for plane tickets to get out of Africa and money for food. I wrote the real person and he wrote a quick note. Fake Photos/stolen. Sorry" I think I felt better before I knew as this guy would not give me a second look and guessing he was not into women anyway except having to do photo shoots with them???? Be careful what you wish for!!
July 16, 2019

In reply to by Phyllis

Was this older man white headed and very handsome. Had picture of him and his dog? One older man hit me up two years ago online and just recently got me up again using a different name. Immediately wants me to add hangouts app. I play stupid to his request, but know what is going on.
Baby Girl
August 12, 2019

In reply to by Kimmy

I'm going thru this right now with a white guy with a dog licking the of his face eyes ate green and gray
Happy feet
September 12, 2019

In reply to by Baby Girl

Does this go by the name of Luiz Fernando Da Costa from Sao Paulo, Brazil?
October 29, 2019

In reply to by BMS

He says he has a daughter Jasmine, a dog Simba and lives in Bath, UK . I found another woman in Belgium who told me exactly the same story he was telling me. Did he send you pictures?
December 16, 2019

In reply to by BMS

if his name is Erick outs definite scammeed my sister she's barely 18 and naïve he still try's to contact her on hang outs I wanna catch this guy he told her how his wife n child died and that he wanta to be ther father my sister kid doesn't have got her with her online account info bbva and mobile deposited a check
October 30, 2020

In reply to by NoFool

is this Nigerian scammer called hushpuppi?
July 29, 2020

In reply to by vegasgrl702

Do u have a picture of this Erik? Does he say he is a civil engineer?
August 16, 2020

In reply to by Renée

Renee, I’m in contact with the same guy! We just had contact last night! He says his name is Eric...I have pictures...He says he is a civil engineer working in Canada right now, on a building project...Apartment buildings. I have been in contact with him since April of this year...He has blue eyes and white hair...Says he is 55 years of age, with two children, a girl and a boy...both in college, in Europe... He says he is Greek American...lives in Downtown, Los in Union City, CA and Beverly Hills...says he’s trying to get back home to Los Angeles, but needs money to fix certain equipment that has broken down. Sound familiar? We need to exchange pictures and information to bring this guy down! Can we exchange contact information on this website?
September 18, 2020

In reply to by Michaela

I'm also talking to an Eric but with a totally different story. Same physical description. Does he send photos of himself in a muscle shirt and in the gym, This nonsense must be a full time job for these guys.
March 13, 2020

In reply to by BMS

Hi guys. Has any of you scarred men come across the name, Belinda Olsen, using the pics of Eva Lovia on Instagram? I have been doing some searches it's what little information I have gathered and always coming to a dead end. Before my help goes any further with this person I need to put my suspicions to rest. We did a video chat once in Hangouts but I can never hear her voice and the video was a bit scrambled. The first image of her show the face had great similarity to the pictures she showed me in Hangouts. I really do need to confirm if anyone is able to help me out there.
June 28, 2020

In reply to by Will2020

I have recently had the same experience using Eva Lovia pictures. This girl was Gladys Mills... does this sound familiar??
November 14, 2019

In reply to by SweetGreenEyes…

I met a scammer called Erik who had a German Shepherd called Max . Beware !
April 27, 2020

In reply to by Watergirl

Download on your phone Image Search and select the photo you wish to search. That is how I found my guy but it was too late b/c I have given him 2,600. But now I am more aware. First time on a dating site. Good luck.
September 04, 2020

In reply to by BMS

Hmmmm....a guy sent me a picture of himself with a German Shepherd, plus one of him with two labs, and with a calico cat. He says he’s been widowed and divorced. He also says that he’s a mechanical engineer who lives in San Francisco but contracts jobs on oil rigs and he’s on a job right now in Turkey. His name is Martin. He asked me to get Hangouts to chat.
January 17, 2020

In reply to by SweetGreenEyes…

Would you willing to share a picture? I think I'm talking to the same guy?
Kali girl
October 27, 2019

In reply to by Baby Girl

I believe I’ve been talking to the same guy. I believe I found the real person he has been stealing photos of the dog a brown poodle?
November 27, 2019

In reply to by Baby Girl

Is his name Henry? An engineer working on an oil Rig in Asia ?