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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 ftc.gov/complaint — click on Scams and Rip-Offs, then select Romance Scams.

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

18,207 Comments


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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 ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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.

Jeanne
July 15, 2015
I have seen this a couple of times. I can tell by their english. One guy, when I asked what he did for a living, he said I sell metal canned food. No salesman in the US would ever say that. This man was supposable from California.
Emma Martinez
July 15, 2015
Gracias por tan zbuena información. Podrian informarme si tienen denuncias acerca de como un Banco tambien saca el dinero a sus clientes por cobros antes de las fechas.
tomtombees
August 11, 2015

In reply to by Jeanne

Helen Christiana Terry is a name a scammer has stolen and is using it to extort money from men saying shes a nurse in Nigeria with UNICEF when I contacted UNICEF after she emailed me and I noticed poor english for a nursing student they told me she was a fraud she or whom ever is still using the emails to commit fraud
Soldad
December 08, 2017

In reply to by Emma Martinez

Hola casualmente me pasa algo parecido, Conocí alguien por internet. El me pide todos mis datos y dirección donde vivo, para enviar su dinero y se lo guarde hasta q el venga a recoger. Q debo hacer, necesito ayuda, q hago.
Monroy
December 19, 2017

In reply to by Soldad

Lo que te va hacer es que tu le mandes dinero. No confíes. Y lo peor, si le das tu dirección, puedes poner en peligro tu vida y la de quienes viven ahí tu familia. Así hay noticias de esto es real. Llega diciendo que le debes tanto dinero y te agrede o te demandan.
melanie
December 08, 2015

In reply to by tomtombees

Please, I think my so called boyfriend is a Nigerian scammer. Someone help me. My heart is to invested. I don't wanna leave him .but I found out he is saying the same thing to other woman. I called him out n he . I need to know y they disappear on the week end please someone any one.
netta328
December 15, 2015

In reply to by melanie

Hello Melanie, I feel what ur going thru, I met someone in EH and his voice didn't match the pic but to find out neither was the pic..in which came clean with but I still believed n him until he asked for my financial support..At that time everything about him I was Leary..I didn't send money and that changed the relationship.He is an African man who lived n LA but was doing "business" n Australia.. Even at time if connecting I tried to do research in him but hit a brick wall..he has a Facebook(I don't) but there is more of story and yes I totally understand how u feel but wanted to say u r not alone..keep ur head up,don't do ANYTHING u don't feel comfortable n doing
Regina Rivera
May 04, 2019

In reply to by Meee

Para empezar los gringos son feos. No son la gran cosa para q una chica caiga engañada. Son insipidos, mujeriegos y lo peor blancos.
jazzyjess1261
December 18, 2015

In reply to by netta328

Hi Ladies: I'm so sorry for your pain. These online scammers have no sense of decency. If you notice only one pic or this person escalates his emotions quickly - even before meeting! Then chances are he's a scammer. True love comes from meeting the person face to face, learning about each other in broad daylight - not over the internet!! Don't let yourselves be tricked into thinking these con artists are sincere.
ayala544
January 20, 2016

In reply to by jazzyjess1261

Recently, I was scam by someone from a online dating for money. What do i do? I am lost and don't know how to get out of this situation.
María
December 29, 2019

In reply to by Regina Rivera

Hola Regina Rivera, Lamento leer tu comentario, pero también lamentaría no contestarte, así pues, decirte que ni todos los "gringos" son feos, y por suerte, ni todas las mujeres son tan racistas como tu, fíjate, tu comentario me causó asco, y ni tan siquiera sé si eres blanca o negra!! Por cierto, soy española, y el color de mi piel, aceituna ^^
FTC Staff
January 20, 2016

In reply to by ayala544

If you gave the scammer your bank or credit card account numbers, contact your bank or credit card company and ask how to protect your accounts.

Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The details you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations. If you sent money by wire transfer service, you can report the scammer to the company.

Tera 22
April 19, 2016

In reply to by FTC Staff

i am tera 22 reporting the name of LT.GEN.BEN HODGES i am talking to him every day and share a sweet words always and he is very sweet man i know a General can be.

he ask me to open an account to transfer money bank to bank a very large amount of money.and i refuse to do it he still talking to and ask to marry him and sending sweet image of heart all the time it sense like a real one

i meet him in accidentally i did not look for him at all the small message start.he give me email that i have been looking in fake email's and i cant till if they are fake because it is very privet and think it's real but i don't think it is.his profile is Government Army please respond the answer mam Bridget Small i need the answer Please..

FTC Staff
April 19, 2016

In reply to by Tera 22

Your story shows many signs of a scam.

  1. A person you do not know sends a message.
  2. He uses many kind words. Very soon he wants to marry you. 
  3. He asks you to open a bank account. He asks you to help him transfer money.

If you open a bank account, you tell the bank your name and your social security number. You will be responsible for the account.  

If this is a scam, the man might transfer stolen money into the account. He might ask you to send money to another account. He might ask you to wire the money out of the country. If you do these things, you are helping to commit a crime involving stolen money.  

You could tell him you will not open the account. You can stop sending messages if you don't want to talk.

Tera 22
April 20, 2016

In reply to by FTC Staff

Thank you so very much :Mam: Bridget Small that's i need it to know about i don't have any experience of any of this.your reply is so helpful to me.i thank you
Jennifer
November 21, 2016

In reply to by Tera 22

I don't know which dating site u met this General on, but be aware that I have been sent 2-3 friend requests on Tango with this same name. They continuously keep changing his picture. I have never accepted his friend request. Unfortunately I recently fell victim to a romance scam online. These guys say the most beautiful things n tell u they love adore n want to spend the rest of their lives with you. Please don't buy it. They are scammers that do not care about u whatsoever. They will ask u for money. Most of them pose as widowed engineers with a child. They claim to be successful. What a joke. The name of the person who scammed for a little bit of money is name Patrick Nguyen. Not his real name. They will ask u to open bank accts n give them the username password n Q&As. They will try to transfer money into this acct, with ur name on it, via check. Rubber checks that is. Thank God my bank caught the check which had been altered. I called him out on it. Sure he scammed me for money but in the interim I learned a very valuable lesson. He will get u into serious bank fraud problems.

aly
December 02, 2016

In reply to by Jennifer

Jenifer , what site are you on ? I also meet a guy online and he asked me to send the money, I did send and now he is disappeared. His name is Philip Nguyen
Amber1
September 20, 2017

In reply to by aly

Im pretty sure this romance scam is happening too me his name is richard lance says hes a sgt stationed in africa hes got 2 kids wife died 2 years ago etc hes nevet asked for money but asked me to send a gift card to his sone i told him no hes basically made me fall in love anywsys he offered to give me money to help with my kids since my health is so bad i ignorantly gave him my login info he tried depositing a check into it but the check is in someone elses name my bank held it saying itd been altered but then said it will be available on the 21st im not exactly sure what to do or if i should say its fraud
FTC Staff
September 22, 2017

In reply to by Amber1

If you tell someone your bank account number they can take money out of your account. A scammer might trick you into helping him transfer stolen money. He could ask you to accept a check in your account, and transfer money. If you get involved in a scheme, you could lose money or personal information and get in legal trouble.

Westcoastkid
December 21, 2020

In reply to by FTC Staff

Has anyone been contacted by Travis Mcguire saying he is a DR in Minnesota?
dcole54
January 24, 2021

In reply to by Westcoastkid

I have just ran into a love bomber. He was on my Facebook. Last name Mguire. I went for it at first. But if you check closely, they do not use correct English. Do not feel bad about this. It is not your fault! But you may want to put a freeze on your credit unions. Many lonely people get scammed in a "Romance Scam". I did, but I hope they get nothing from me.
Mine
March 24, 2021

In reply to by dcole54

I have been scammed for a lot of money , and the sad thing is , I met my scammer on instagram he commented about my dog , this was in july 2020, we started talking every day all day and night, stayed on instagram for awhile , he didn’t seem like the scammer that he ended up to be , he said he worked as a software developer outta Florida , was divorced and only saw his 2 kids on the weekend, we spoke on the phone sent pics even faced timed, then one day in jan 2021, we started talking about me getting myself a new computer and he said you can do great things with your computer , you can learn how to invest and make money on your own money, and I thought oh that sounds nice, I set the whole account on coinbase after a few months he set up a trading accounts for me, I didn’t have to give him any info for this account which I thought was odd but I was so blinded, so he taught me how to transfer my money to the trading account, which ended up to be his account not mine. , This company called siercofx (which I now know is a fake) . I was so stupid , I thought why would someone wait this long to scam someone, right, but yeah he did he scammed me and it hurts yeah, and I’m angry but it’s done. Smh oh his name was Peter Henrik Burke , ig name was __bluebirdpete.
Jagman03
July 17, 2021

In reply to by Mine

My sister is currently interacting with someone who very closely is saying and doing things that you stated in your post. So far she “invested “ $5000 and it “doubled “ in 3 weeks.He gave her money to pay bills and a gift for her grandkids. I suspect it’s her money.Does he have a South American accent? He says he was from Venezuela but grew up in Austria. First name Austin. Don’t know the last. Thank you.
Fwatson7
September 22, 2021

In reply to by Jagman03

I have been sending money to a man name David Imonite. He's a scammer took over a thousand dollars. For forex bitcoin I have proof.
Scorpiowoman
October 18, 2021

In reply to by Jagman03

I was talking to this guy names Austin. Ask her his last name...The guy I was talking to was Nigerian though.. I wonder if same guy..Can you find out his phone number? we can compare info.
Skyjammer54
July 29, 2021

In reply to by Mine

Hi I think my mom is talk with this guy, I'm usually playing video games then my PS crashed and I decided to use my mom's laptop only to find a lot of emails. Please is there a way we can contact each other because I was told to report to the FBI and I don't know how this is going to work out, and I also need pictures and more information. He uses the same name like the one you posted thanks
khaye
August 18, 2021

In reply to by Mine

I think I have been scammed also. I met the guy in instagram. He first message me and then he asked if I have watsapp and we always Chat. His a Naval architect in Sustainable marine energy, he lives in New York . He has 1 daughter who's in board school in UK and his wife died due to car accident, and his working in a ship before we started talking, His in Taiwan and now because of me he volunteered to assign here in Cambodia to meet me. He early confessed his love and asked me marriage. I've been helping him recently to get his salary because he said they cannot access their bank account, they can access once after the project. I helped him amounting 2000$ and when his lawyer sent his salary in my bank account, it did not reflected and now he need 5000$ to purchase SSN. When we are nearly to meet him, there's always a lot of problem. Now i told him i cannot help him with 5000$ he changed a lot. I don't know what to do.
Jen31
November 28, 2021

In reply to by khaye

Cut all contact. He is a scammer. Not able to access their own money? Of course they can. You need to report him.
Foxygirl1
June 23, 2021

In reply to by dcole54

Thanks so much for this I felt so stupid. Ex I really wanted to believe this person was a famous country music star and fell for all the words his web address is fake the only thing he asked me for was my drivers license front and back I didn't give it him he had Him do a video call but it was short and hung up twice anyways was hard to let go but I did
Helenboat
February 13, 2021

In reply to by Westcoastkid

I've got an Ebubu Charles. Military Doctor, moved from Sydney to the US in february. Very fake profile on facebook who have done nothing about his fake profile...
Ladina
April 06, 2021

In reply to by Westcoastkid

Has anyone been contacted by the name George Richmond? He’s supposedly has 2 daughter one needs surgery and works on oil rig
juanita
August 07, 2021

In reply to by Ladina

I've heard of the "guy works on an oil rig" scam. It's just a different play on the same old scam.
missyvone
October 13, 2021

In reply to by juanita

Also one I see over and over and over is electrical engineer. What ever they say they are, ask for the name of their company. Ask them to send you a selfie right then. They will have reasons they can't. If they speak with a foreign accent but swear they live in the US. IF they are widowed. If they say on there profile they live one place but then say they are working somewhere else.
Latrisse
August 20, 2021

In reply to by Ladina

I recently just met a George Wilson who asked me to send money after only 4 weeks of chatting. What a joke. He said he was on an oil rig. I pray no one succumbs to this craziness and if you did. It's okay lesson learned. Praying for your healing.
BAILY
August 26, 2021

In reply to by Latrisse

Do you have a picture? I think “TREY” Wilson may be the same guy!!!!
ChevronScammer
September 09, 2021

In reply to by BAILY

It could be also “Becker Wilson”’in Dubai who works for Chevron. The problem is I video chatted with him and doing google image search he is a real dude FLORIDA. Watch out people. Do google image searches.
Bgarcia814
November 09, 2021

In reply to by BAILY

I’m talking to a guy named Daniel Milton that works on an oil rig but now needs money to repair his machine?? Widowed with one daughter. Supposedly his daughter is living in Canada with the grandma. Does any of this sound similar to anyone else??
Mimil
November 19, 2021

In reply to by Bgarcia814

A Ronald Thomas is a chemical engineer working on an oil rig off California. He lost his wife to cancer and has one daughter. Just started chatting … will keep you posted
Unlucky in onl…
November 23, 2021

In reply to by Bgarcia814

I'm talking with an oil rig worker whose machine broke down and needs 3 $3500. His text keeps changing like he's a different person each time. He is divorced with 2 daughters in a boarding school in TX.
Butterfly
January 16, 2022

In reply to by Unlucky in onl…

no one in the United states puts kids in Boarding school or uses that term..I got hit by the exact same story...Fortunately I figured it out as soon as he asked for a visa gift card to fix his internet so we can continue to talk...They are scammers Walk away and keep on walking....
Robin
January 23, 2022

In reply to by Butterfly

I'm currently texting with some one sounds just like your guy. Boarding school, widower. Needs money so we can text on the internet. Professing love and marriage right away
Hana
December 12, 2021

In reply to by Bgarcia814

I’m also talking to a man named Daniel and he has Korean named Yeol. He said he is living in UK and he is a petroleum engineer. He asked so many questions about my job.
Reality
December 12, 2021

In reply to by Bgarcia814

DONT EVER SEND MONEY. I know who this man is. He has 3 different names that I know of Alex Quest.... Steven Bassey....I'm sorry I can't remember the other name. Also if they won't talk to you on the phone. They have something to hide .
GGG
January 04, 2022

In reply to by Bgarcia814

I’ve got the kids with grandma in Canada. Underwater welder working classified job in Alaska. He’s has never asked me for money but had me check his email and sign into his bank and make a transfer. After reaearching the bank website seems fake. Address and phone number are invalid and I can’t email the bank either. Was this an elaborate set up? His name is Mario Kolmanic
Volunteer
January 28, 2022

In reply to by Bgarcia814

My ex wife has had many love interests from a "United Nation Surgeon to MANY working on oil rigs. She even tell for the open a new account scam and stolen money was deposited. He wanted 250000 sent back to him then for her to buy a new car with the rest. Don't know how she didn't go to jail. She has been involved with, no exaguration, about 100 so called love interests in 3 years. Every one of them falls in love and wants marriage. They were suppose to come to her so far 180 times. At the time they were suppose to be here, a problem always arose. One 62 year old infantry soldier 23 times. She has lost a lot $20000 so far a d still talking to these guys
paevere
September 29, 2017

In reply to by Amber1

My scanmmer told me his name was Robert Foster and that he was a construction engineer with a daughter who was home schooled. He lived in California. I live in Florida. These guys are far reaching. I was leery at the beginning because he was talking romance at the very beginning. I thought who does that. He wanted to marry me and had not even met me. After 2 months of texting, he asked me for $300 in ITunes cards. I turned him down. I had already covered myself by saying I lived strictly on my social security. Guess he though he'd get what I had. When I turned him down, I didn't expect him to come back but a few days later, he was back romancing again but in 2 weeks he was asking for the money again. None of these sites really tell you what to do when you discover this. Do you go to the police or someone else? Not sure how to report him. I did a reverse phone search and this guy has 10 addresses in California. He could have 10 people or more doing this kind of thing at each address. There should be something they can do to investigate.
Momo
January 17, 2018

In reply to by paevere

Hello i am talking to a person, he said his name is terry Howell he has a son name leo that goes to school on Turkey. He also ask me to get him 300 in iTunes cards 3 100.00 i didnt do it Now hes asking me to send his son in Turkey a birthday gift to contact the schooland wire them 1200.for power station 5, he even gave me the schools email