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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 ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

13794 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.
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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 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.

newtoonlinedating
April 01, 2020

In reply to by anybodyknowake…

Hi! I'm curious what name he used. I think I'm being scammed by supposedly a Sgt. in the Army, widowed, Jason White, who is stationed in the Middle East for a few more months. I setup a separate email acct. for this (dating stuff) thinking it's safer (is it?) and have connected some with him via email. I did send a couple pics. Next he wanted to connect better via hookups but won't give me time to connect..just sends a little msg here and there, doesn't respond to my questions...things go blank, which I understand appears to be a scammer. Also, one of his responses included the word "omoge" and I asked him what that was. No response. I googled it and it sounds like it is a term from Nigeria. I don't think I've given any info that he could use, but am concerned about identity theft, etc. Help in knowing what to do/look for and how to find a genuine person!!!
Don't uDiannes…
June 19, 2020

In reply to by newtoonlinedating

My uy is calling himself Jack Drowe. I think I am being scammed. My heart is broken.
Don't uDiannes…
July 10, 2020

In reply to by Don't uDiannes…

I think I am being scammed by the same guy. His name is Jack Drowe also.
Wildaddress
October 02, 2020

In reply to by Don't uDiannes…

Hello ladies,we all want to meet someone nice and fall in love ,but how stupid we can be to send information,and most likely money to a person you just meet,wake up this all scams,be smart report them and don’t give out info
Alex
August 05, 2020

In reply to by Don't uDiannes…

Diannese I get that 100%. The heartbreak of finding out someone you liked is a scammer is really hard. These people are gross and will get their karma. I told the FBI about one.
It's bad
September 04, 2020

In reply to by Alex

I'll do you all one better! Not only did I get scammed, I got scammed for three years! I met a guy on MeetMe, he was a "Captain" in the Army and was in Afghanistan. He didn't immediately ask me for money. One day, he came on and was in "so much trouble." He had "lost his weapon." He told me he'd be jailed and arrested and that his "Commander" had let soldiers die in jail over there. Suffice to say I got scammed and he even told me that if his "Commander" did not receive the funds that I would be taken to Afghanistan and turned over to the Afghanee men. His "Commander" told me that he had a woman and her family taken over there. He was extremely convincing. Of course, his "bank account was frozen and he could not access his funds and the payment for this "gun" could not be taken out of his pay." Of course, he was gonna come home. He never came home. In the meantime, I am scared, worried, can't pay all of my bills. I never told anyone, family or friends about this "relationship." Deep down I knew what they would say. A good rule of thumb is if you can't tell your family about someone you're with, there's a BIG problem. It took me a long time to wake up. I decided I was done being in this prison and I freed myself. I cut off ALL contact and I mean ALL. They have been relentlessly calling me and emailing me. It's funny how he couldn't use the phone before but now it's all "they" are doing. I am not acknowledging or responding to any messages. I know it will eventually stop. Last night, I got threatened about a picture I sent, but I am in serious doubt anything will come of that (and trust me, no one wants to see it, lol). I feel a great weight lifted off of me. I intend to report this. I am not scared. I don't really understand why they are even bothering me. It's not like there aren't 20 more women that this man "loves." I feel like I've just busted out of prison. It will be a very long time before I'll be able to trust anyone again. I am not interested in online dating or any kind of communication apps. I hope I can help someone by sharing all this and the following: 1. If you are on a message board, FB, whatever and you are messaged by a guy that says he's in the military, RUN! DO NOT message back, do not communicate at all. BLOCK THAT PERSON! 2. DO NOT EVER SEND MONEY, PICS, or VIDEOS to this person. 3. Do not accept cashier's checks or any checks to deposit into your bank account. They like to have money sent to you for you to deposit into your account then they want you to wire, WU, or MG the money to their "agent." 4. These "agents" are the ones getting the money and likely running the scam. 5. You will NEVER and I mean NEVER speak to a true military Commander or General. First, they don't have time and two, they don't care about you or who you are. 6. No one can come get you and take you out of the country. I think about this one now and I just laught. It sounded very convincing at the time. 7. Real soldiers PAY FOR NOTHING, and trust me, if they do, CIVILIANS DO NOT PAY FOR IT. 8. The loss of a military weapon is a BIG DEAL and money doesn't fix that issue. 9. HE is never coming here. He will never come home to you. As a matter of fact, one scam is that the solider is going on leave. Then you get an email saying he has been "detained" for trying to get on a flight with his own weapon (military is allowed to fly with their own weapon). 10. Ask yourself why you have to PAY to be in a relationship? And moreso, how does this soldier have all this time to talk to you? This is my story. I'm embarrassed that it happened. But it does happen to a lot of people, in every economic situation, culture, men and women. It's not just military romance scams, it's all kinds. Depending on the situation, whether out of loneliness, mourning, or other vulnerability you weren't paying attention. The important thing is to pay attention, and if you are caught up in it, release yourself. Don't allow yourself to be used and abused anymore. I hope this helps someone.
JanetLee64
November 13, 2020

In reply to by It's bad

I have been scanned royalty for about a month. The first guy named Dennis Freeman was from Beverly Hills but in Turkey doing oil drilling. The Turkish government needed him to pay $30,000 in taxes and he wanted me to access his online banking information, which I refused to do. Then he asked me for the money. Ok, stopped talking to him. Then came James Luck, 4 star in the army. Many videos and signs with I love you, Janet. Fell for him hard. He started to ask for STEAM cards which I had no idea what they were. Walmart told me it was as scam and only would sell me $40 then I went to Target and got another $150. He wanted originally $300. Still asking for them or a credit card so he can "add" money to my account. At the another time, a Turkish neurosurgeon. I asked for a picture (selfie) he asked who I was talking to. He tried to get in to my Spectrum account to order Iphone ipods, , IPads., for his son and himself. Son was sending me messages oh "WhatsApp " telling me how happy good dad was and that he loved me and wanted to call need "mummy"....omg to use your children. The last guy manipulated me in giving him my address and having a check for $585,000 sent to my house. He has my address!! OMG!!! Was talking about Turkish government waving taxes due $196,000. He said he had $42.100 with him and could I help him please... you know how much I love you..ya da ya da ya da!!!! I said NO... he called me screaming on the phone and saying gore could you chance like this!! Blaming me for everything!!! I asked for an address to send back the check. I insisted on certified, registered letter. He didn't want to do that!! I insisted and got it mailed this morning. I have reported this!! Yes, I'm scared as he knows my address!! But hopefully he won't bother me anymore!! I'm keeping good information online right now as proof in case anything comes of this. Please ladies, don't be conned!! Be smart!! We shouldn't ever think were desperate!!
Coco07
December 22, 2020

In reply to by JanetLee64

I think I have been scanned by the same guy, he said that his name was Nelson Scott, oringinally from Florida, living currently in Zürich, Switzerland. We met at Tinder - I am German. He told me that he was a widower and childless and that after the death of his wife he lived with his mother (Swiss nationality) in Switzerland until she passed away. Now he was all alone in the world. He said he wanted to celebrate christmans with me and my kids, but he had to go to Turkey on a business trip for 8 days. He told me that he would retire after this job. doing some oil drillings there lol. After 3 days in Turkey he told me that he has big problems and he asked me to send him over 2 computers, because the once he was using there could not cope making the analysis correctly. I did some research and found out that he was using the pictures of another person. Also his cell was located in Germany and not in Turkey, so I stopped communicating with him. He probably recorded the person whose pictures he used to introduce himself on Tinder during a svideocalls The conncetion was very bad, so I did not realize that their could be something wrong. At that time I did not doubt and believed that it was just the bad connection. This experience indicates that he most probably is working with a women partner - recording people with whom they chat. I have sent him several pictures of me via Whatsapp and also my address. does anyone have experience and could recommand me what to do here? Thanks for anybodys advise.
Comment1
January 06, 2021

In reply to by Coco07

How can we exchange pictures. I think I was talking to the same guy
SuspiciousOfSteve
February 09, 2021

In reply to by Comment1

me too! I am also concerned very similar story. He is 52 yr old engineer from Germany. Widowed with 2 children. He has been working out of Columbus, OH, but is currently in Turkey on a contract. Steam cards are his lastest thing. The only difference is he deposits money into my investment account in exchange for me to buy these cards. Still it all seams strange. Lots of contradicting stories, or things that don't add up. I also have pictures
Kat75
October 13, 2021

In reply to by SuspiciousOfSteve

Omg I wonder if it's the same guy that's been chatting with me he has asked me for steam cards but gives different name and says he lives in florida but travels to UK cause of work.
Code1234
April 13, 2021

In reply to by Comment1

Hello do you have a picture? I think my friend is talking to the same guy too
miss taken
October 23, 2021

In reply to by Comment1

he might be the same one i know how can we exchange photos mine is also working with a woman all the similar stry, dead wife, sister, child. i was giving him a chance but now the money thing
shyrll
November 17, 2021

In reply to by Comment1

I would like to share pictures too.poor guys their pictures has been stolen and used by scammers.
Laura128
January 17, 2021

In reply to by Coco07

I believe my sister is being scammed by the same man. He's currently in Switzerland on business. Does he have a strong accent?
Code1234
April 13, 2021

In reply to by Laura128

Hello yes I think my friend is being scammed by the same guy right now. Similar story. Do you have a picture? Please any more info will help a lot thank you
Julie
September 01, 2021

In reply to by Coco07

Hi there, could you help me as I am currently talking to someone who is also using Florida phone numbers even though he says he is in Australia. How did you locate your scammer's cell? Thank you so very much for your help!
Rosy
September 25, 2021

In reply to by Julie

Hello there! hey unfortunately, something similar I just experienced this week. This man using a phone number from Miami FL. Contacted me on facebook, and he stars saying that he is a Marin engineer from Miami. But , he was sailing to Australia for job's purposes. But the thing is that it is hard to identify these type of scams, because he is just asking me for friendship like another normal person. He is using the identity of Richard Marcus, I don't know if is the same guy you are referring to in your report.
Julie 12
September 28, 2021

In reply to by Julie

He contacted me thru a dating website and gave me his number. But photos did not match his surroundings that he told me about. All very strange. I have a photo if you want to see it.
openedmyeyes
October 06, 2021

In reply to by Coco07

This all sounds to familiar. Met someone who said he's originally from Texas but is in Germany. Swept me off my feet. Instintlly fell in love with me. When he comes home in 2 mths he wants to marry me. Asked me for a Steam card. Never heard of it. Invited me in Hangouts. Such a handsome man, if that's really him. Became angry because I texted him that I was not getting no Steam card. He said I don't care about him and that I'm evil and a liar. Unbelievable!!! Never been through anything like this. Thank God I felt something wasn't right. Never again.
merlin
December 04, 2021

In reply to by openedmyeyes

I have been talking to this guy name Nathan James Gary on hangout he said he is divorce and have been for 1 year an has 2 kids he said he has been working in brazil for his company for 9 years he told me that his contract was almost over and that he would be coming home on December 2 then he message me on hangout he told me that he was struck in Kansas City Missouri by the immigration officers for money laundering and was be held in custody and wanted me to send $6000 so he could get release i told I wasn't going send the money i have blocked him from hangouts but wondering if this guy even contact you on hangout
rmcclinton3
January 15, 2022

In reply to by openedmyeyes

This sounds like the exact same thing I am experiencing right now... This guy says that his name is Darius L. Tontoh.. Did a search of name and image results were nothing...
The SCRABBLER
December 02, 2021

In reply to by Coco07

Playing scrabble. He needed gift cards to get internet so we could play online scrabble and we text there. Then needed money for injured son for operation. I believed and wired money to another state . Altogether $50,000 over 18 months. Says he’ll finish United Nations contract in 12/22 wants to marry me.
Shotgun
December 10, 2021

In reply to by The SCRABBLER

I also have a guy from scrabble from California but worked on ship for oil rigs I’ve been talking to him for two years and over that period of time I have sent him over 50,000 and I struggle to live . I’m sick over it all. Same story’s as everyone one else different situations of course and name William James the pictures every I found out is fake
Janetlee64
February 12, 2021

In reply to by JanetLee64

Ok so another update... do you really think I learned my lesson....NO!!! Since October been talking to a guy named Luis Russell...oil drill engineer. Met him on Facebook dating. After one month he went to Alaska to put in new pipes. Their internetService is spotty. So he was not able to access his online French bank account. Asked me to help him. Stupidly I did. I got the $3.8 million to Thailand for supplies. But I had never done international wire funds and ended up locking his bank account. He took me for $35,000. Last night he was finally was coming home after I paid another $10,000 for a took to finish the job. He was suppose to cash me from airport so I could pick him up and take him to my house. He invited himself., I did not want him here. 12 hours later 5a this morning he texted me to say he was in California but under quarantine for 10 days. But was letting me know he was going to France to fix his bank account. ( but he’s under quarantine). I did not respond to the texts. So I doubt I win every get my money back but hopefully I learned valuable lesson. I’m off all the dating apps and going to live peacefully in my retirement. I’m disappointed in myself and really thought I just wanted to die over this jerk. I’m hurt that someone could hurt another person like that!! Ladies, and gentlemen... please be careful. If it sounds too good to be true then it is!!! If anyone ask you for money block then and move on!!!
Cjs
February 26, 2021

In reply to by Janetlee64

This sounds familiar. Have u got more details. Did u ever video chat etc.
Txagt39
April 22, 2021

In reply to by Cjs

I am in the middle of a situation with the same person and same story almost identical. It has to be the same person. I have photos I wish I could post them here. Where are things now? Are you still communicating with him? Same name and details. I'm in Texas.
mamC
October 16, 2021

In reply to by Txagt39

I think I have a friend possibly dealing with the same guy. Can anyone confirm more details? Oil rig, type of accent, age, etc? I'm really concerned as I think he is weaving quite a web. Any talk of marriage or him having a kid??
dlara01
September 06, 2021

In reply to by Cjs

I always request a video chat asap and if they refuse dump them quickly...current scam for guys is nursing students in various parts of the world including the usa...
Txagt39
April 22, 2021

In reply to by Janetlee64

What is your email and I will send you pictures to see is the Luis Russell I've been talking with is the same person.
georgieporgie
June 07, 2021

In reply to by Janetlee64

HI, do you have a picture of him? He might be the one I'm talking with. I have his picture if you can send me your email, so we can exchange photos of this Luis Russell. Thanks, and I am so sorry you got scammed, he never asked for money coz I told him he cannot get anything from me.
Lislee
July 08, 2021

In reply to by georgieporgie

I think I’m talking to the same guy. His name is Luis Russell. I have pictures as well to compare.
Poseylover3
July 14, 2021

In reply to by Lislee

I’ve been talking to a Luis Russell, a Material & Metallurgical Engineer, from France, since early June. Met on zoosk. Always email, text or on the phone. When I asked to FaceTime, he told me he was “old fashioned” and only Skyped. Always headed off to his last job before retirement. My daughters were suspicious, started searching him online and found this site. Sounds like who you all were talking to as well? I’d appreciate seeing photos he sent you. I have many too.
Over it
August 19, 2021

In reply to by Poseylover3

I met Louis kelvin online. Similar story to others. I have a photo of him and he used Skype to call me and video chat. However the background in photos do not look as it should. Happy to share photos with others.
Poseylover3
July 14, 2021

In reply to by Lislee

I’ve been talking to a man with same name/story since early June. May we exchange photos?
Queenie72
November 05, 2021

In reply to by miss taken

A man named chris harris connected me in linkedIn. He said he saw my profile and got facinated. I acceped his invite knowing that linkedIn is for professional business. After 2 weeks of sweet chatting he asked if we can use whatsapp. He sents pictures that i can share with you to know if he’s legit. He said he’s a widower with a daughter. I just played with his messages as i wanted to know if this is a scam. His linkedin profile says a petroleum engineer. He hasn’t ask for money yet but keeps saying he found the right woman. Can you help me how to do a reverse research of his picture. He said he works in a drilling site.
Badluckcat
November 21, 2021

In reply to by Over it

I've been talking to a guy by the name of Kenneth Russell.... Brussels is with one L. He is from Sweden he's been in the US for three years he has a grown daughter who got married he is also a widower he has a house in Texas and in Pennsylvania. I have plenty of photos of him, if you are interested.
dumb.but.not.stupid
July 26, 2021

In reply to by georgieporgie

I have several pics of Luis Russell, Same story, machine and metullergical engineer, in Alaska, has sent me some very convincing pics of where he is and what he is doing. Been in contact since 6/20/2021, met on match
AuntieA7
August 09, 2021

In reply to by georgieporgie

Can you please get in contact with me. I'd like to see his picture for I could compare it to a family member of mine chatting with a guy sounds just like the same one
Tickedoff
October 06, 2021

In reply to by georgieporgie

Check out his profile on Linked in and then let us know if it's the same guy.
OntoLuis
July 22, 2021

In reply to by Janetlee64

He’s texting me this evening. I confronted him about this page and he denied it. He fake and is such a love bomber. Simply don’t give him money!
Poseylover3
July 24, 2021

In reply to by OntoLuis

So are you still talking with Luis Russell? When we found this website, I’d been talking multiple times a day, texting, phone calls. Every morning a text with a romantic song from YouTube. Then call every night. He had just “won” a job he was bidding on in Alaska. Wouldn’t be back for us to meet, in person, for 3 more weeks. I asked to FaceTime, said he was “old fashioned”, only Skyped. Said he loved me with “all his heart and soul” and couldn’t wait to be together to grow old together. The day I sent him this website link, I blocked his number; blocked him on zoosk. Only available course for him to reach me was my business email. Apparently his love evaporated immediately, as that’s the last I heard from him.