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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.

June 10, 2021

In reply to by Starcrossed

Hi I had the same person using the name Eric Anderson he says he's in Syria peacekeeping and he has a sick son at home wants me to send money which I did. Now he wants more money to get out because he can't get leave. How can you catch this person
August 21, 2021

In reply to by Brenski

I am currently talking to a Sgt. Billy Dylan Anderson, also on peacekeeping duty in Syria. He has one son who lives with relatives. He’s saying to pay His mother is Spanish. Is there a way I could talk to you?
February 13, 2021

In reply to by Michaela

My guy sounds the same but goes by Mark Archibald. He is working on a mining project in Africa outside of Johannesburg. He is a project manager. Equipment recently broke down and he is trying to work with insurance company. He sent me a very real looking check for 18,560,000 dollars from a copper mining company to hang on to for him. I am just waiting for him to ask for money. Good looking man with beautiful blue eyes. He says he is 63 though.
February 25, 2021

In reply to by Napasue

The guy that has been talking to me his name is Mark Archibald. Mining engineer needing to put money in my account to attain bit coins. He is started in a mine in Nevada but transferred to Yemen’s due to his job getting messed up and dealing with an insurance company. He can’t access his money so needs my help. I said no.
August 20, 2020

In reply to by Ressa

Very handsome. Says his name is Gilbert Robert. Wife died seven years ago of breast cancer. He was born in Houston, Tx but raised in Milan, Italy. He is project manager on oil rig with 6.5 million contract. He has invested all his money. He is short $5000. To finish paying for drilling equipment which is mandatory. He is honest, a Christian, honest and would never hurt me or let me down. Sweet nothings. Could never pin down an answer. He was so excited to be retiring!! Said he didn’t want my money but he was crying all day. Sent fake documents and passport. Good looking guy, whoever’s picture he is using.
Me. Upset
September 01, 2020

In reply to by Lynn

I’m talking to a similar guy! Wife died 7 years ago breast cancer. Born in Italy. Daughter is 18 in London. On his last contract, wants to retire and spend the rest of his days with a wife. His name is Michele Romano.
Thought it was…
October 29, 2020

In reply to by Me. Upset

I'm talking to someone who says his wife died 9 years ago of cancer of the breast. Life hasn't been the same. His daughter and grandson live in England. We met on WWF and now we communicate only on hangouts. Now he says he is in Israel because he flew soldiers there and cant fly the plane back until skies clear. Oh yeah he also loves me and wants to marry me even though we have never talked on the phone. Because he is in Israel. Couple weeks ago he needed $300 on Amex gift card so he can extend his communication connection to US. I fell for it. Now he sent me photo of a 12 karat diamond necklace that he has sent to me from Israel. Lo and behold it is now stuck in transit in "Navada" and I need to send $2,100 in bitcoins only or the necklace will be "seezed". He goes by name of Micheal St John. Glad I came across this website!
November 14, 2020

In reply to by Curious engineer

How do I send you a photo. If this James Thomas with reddish hair
July 18, 2021

In reply to by Lalalisa

Can you post a picture of this James Thomas?? I have been talking to one and he seems real but I don’t know?
August 23, 2021

In reply to by Sadsong2021

YES, found me on Facebook. I asked to FaceTime, references since he said he was from my hometown.. He blocked me quick.. I asked if he was a slammer and he got mad and all the people he had that we both knew disappeared
September 21, 2021

In reply to by Curious engineer

Same thing, wish to upload their photo to know if the photo also is not from other people..
Poor Mom
September 03, 2020

In reply to by Lynn

I think It’s the same guy I am chatting with. Similar guy with good English but Italian accent
Dkc Don't use …
October 20, 2020

In reply to by Poor Mom

Did u have a pic the guy I chatted with in the summer was 43 asked for things and said he was a dentist. Lived in USA but I knew the English n accent were off n said where r u really from he said Italy
November 14, 2020

In reply to by Dkc Don't use …

Civil engineer independent contractor James Sandro Thomas from Milan Italy. I’ve got his picture. Reddish go-tee
September 04, 2020

In reply to by Lynn

This sounds all too familiar mine is name Malcolm Merlyn an engineer in the Gulf of Mexico. Couldn't leave to pay for the equipment he needed for the oil rig and wanted $100,000.00 from me. Took 4 pictures I sent of me and a great granddaughter and put them in a frame and sent me his picture with the frame of my pictures. And he had delivered to my home a check for his work on the oil rig for over $500,000.00 that I now believe is fake to convince me he had the money to pay me back. Then I saw his name on here and same situation with the picture and knew he was not real. I can't believe grown men would do something like this.
October 01, 2020

In reply to by Lynn

Sounds like the same guy that has been communicating with me. Good looking, oil rig contractor. Machine broke- needed 47,000 then another 84,000 to ship his equipment back to the states. Says he’s going to retire. Also asks for money for his internet service- 2800.00 every two weeks. Says we won’t be able to chat if he can’t get service. Wants to marry me when he gets home. Promises big houses and expensive cars. Goes by Bill Bryan. He stole his profile pic from a man in Florida.
She Knows
January 20, 2021

In reply to by SusieQ

My story is similar. He's currently stuck in Turkey and needs $20,000. Said it's his own personal contract but he can't access his Houston account. Had me try and now claims he's going to get arrested if the doesn't fulfill the contract. He's gotten $500 from me but no more. However, I do enjoy our talks. He's still hanging in there trying to get more money, "bless his little heart.". Says he's retiring when he returns and we're going to live a great, comfortable life of traveling together. I'm so in love, NOT!
February 10, 2021

In reply to by She Knows

What is his name? It is very similar story with a guy who contact me 2 months ago. He is a widowed from Houston, Texas. Wife died of cervical cancer 2 years ago. Can you confirm his picture for me?
February 23, 2021

In reply to by She Knows

Sounds like mine. Wife died of an illness. Wants to retire after this contract is done in June in Gulf of Mexico. He wants to travel the world and wants a life friend/soulmate to go with him. Talked for a month and ask for $200 iTunes card.
April 04, 2021

In reply to by Stupid

I am wondering if this is the same person that has been contacting my mil for the last 90 days on fb. Supposedly a Dr with dual citizenship-US and UK. Wife died in an accident. Has 16 yr old son in boarding school in UK. He is in Afghanistan. Dr and 69 yrs old. Gray hair. Attractive pic but looks far younger than 69.
July 07, 2021

In reply to by Stupid

Sounds like mine he is a oil rig manager in the gulf. He has 3 kids and wife died of breast cancer. Wanted 500.00 google play card cause computer will not work right without it. Which I called him out of that and told him I know about computers. That I can tell him what is wrong with it. Then he has apologizing now for that. He said some people has stolen his identity and that is why he hasn't be on social media and all. Cause I know his name paul anderson and face is out there as a catfish scammer and romance scammer. So I even had him read and look up and see what I have been seeing and reading and he acted mad and upset and even cried about this stuff. And I have doubts. My guard is up but u know something HE IS GOOD. IF HE IS A SCAMMER. I have called him out alot of stuff. But he keeps hanging on. I figure I will keep playing his little game cause u know something he can't get nothing out of me. I am broke lol. Like to see pictures of him
December 11, 2020

In reply to by Lynn

What documents did he provide? Who was the contract with? The 6.5 mil contract sounds familiar. Who signed the contract papers? Sounds like my guy.
February 16, 2021

In reply to by Lynn

My guy says his name is Steve Hampton from Wyoming. Also needs $5000 for equipment. Says he can't access his accounts. He is on a $10 million project. Says he would never hurt me, retiring after this job. Also said he didn't want my money but sends me voice messages of himself crying. Sent me a fake passport.
August 21, 2020

In reply to by Ressa

Does he have a dog, and a son going to school in Texas Can you please send me a picture sounds like someone I have been talking to for 18 months From Norway
January 11, 2021

In reply to by Stephanie

Is he dark haired? Son named Kenny in Wichita Falls, Tx? He's working on rig in Rania. I accused him of being a scammer and told him of he asked for $$ I'm gone.
August 28, 2020

In reply to by Ressa

I'm talking to one man of that description. He has beautiful grey hair and is trying to get me to open a bank account to send me money so I can send it to his daughter. I'm like much nope.
August 29, 2020

In reply to by Ressa

Can someone send me a picture my friend is talking to someone who has some of the same story and it just seems to good to be true.
Curious engineer
September 02, 2020

In reply to by Ressa

Yes, similar to my guy. 60 yrs old, nice blue eyes and salt and pepper hair. Sometimes wears glasses. Met on Instagram but he recently took it down. Started calling himself Prince Alex. Sound familiar to anyone
September 03, 2020

In reply to by Curious engineer

I fell for a scam like this several years ago fortunately I got suspicious before the request for money came up..but it did eventually. So this time I knew when it started. This guys name is Daniel Depiero Williams says he lost his wife and kids in a car accident 8 years ago. He’s in love with me from my picture we have only been emailing for a few days but he’s coming on very strong. Also watch the times on your emails he said I will dream about you all night and will write again in the morning. The text was sent to me at ten thirty am. Doesn’t add up
October 01, 2020

In reply to by Ressa

What is it with the grey hair? We must all have been scammed by the same guy.
June 23, 2021

In reply to by Scammed1

This is the exact thing my best friend is going through right now. Is there anyway any of y'all women can show me a picture of what he says he looks like please
November 17, 2020

In reply to by Ressa

I have been scammed by a handsome man with beautiful gray hair named John Giovanni. We actually had video chats on Hangout and it looked like his photo. But, since I had already been seriously scammed before I decided to do a google image and it turns out his profile pic is of someone on Twitter and his photo on the oil rig is photo-shopped using someone else in an oil rig uniform and his head. I did all of this because after two weeks of beautiful texts, he asked me to buy him an ebay card to buy books for work, however, he had already told me that he was retiring in December.
September 03, 2021

In reply to by Erigby

Does he have a daughter and disabled husband in Canada? He recently moved to Brooklyn Ny.
September 19, 2021

In reply to by Erigby

I was scammed by a man named Robert Aiden Giovanni. He belongs in Jail! Him and his friend ‘Plutus’ Joshua Gibbons who apparently works and lives in LA? They were supposed to help me w investing in Bitcoins abs stole my Money!!!! They both are criminals and need to be behind bars.
December 14, 2020

In reply to by Ressa

In one picture, is he wearing sunglasses looking over his left shoulder? The other pic would be horn rimmed glasses & he's looking on his cell phone?
February 28, 2021

In reply to by DanaC

Is he wearing a yellow shirt.... Is he real buff looks like he works out everyday. How can we share pictures.
August 08, 2020

In reply to by Emma

I am also talking to Mark Stevens. He works at oil rig in Romania. Came there from the USA, where he was grown up, but originally he is Vietnamese. Has two children: daughter is 15 and son is 9, if I am not mistaken. He started talking to me on Scrabble. I told that I am married, he told that it's ok, we can be friends. Ok. Today he told that he wants to visit me and my family and needs that I sent a vacation letter to his company. I have no idea what is that. But he told that if I am ready to send it, he will give me instructions. Oh, yes, his wife was doing it before. But she was killed several years ago. I suppose that he will need my personal data and something more. I stopped talking to him.
July 04, 2021

In reply to by Tatie

I also would like to see pictures I have a mark Steven also
September 14, 2020

In reply to by Emma

can i also see a picture of this guy please i wanted to see if he is e same man who is trying to lure me now
December 24, 2020

In reply to by ishi85

My sister in law is talking to a man named frank currently a surgeon in afghanistan. Has a son in a uk boarding school. Can you send me pictures please.
July 06, 2020

In reply to by Margaret

Margaret: I don't know if you are still talking to Mark, but I have been talking to him since April. He is the same scammer. Very good looking, very good at what he does. He does not give viable reasons why he can't access his bank account and the millions of dollars he has in there. Please don't let him talk you into wiring money to bank accounts he gives you. He burned me for a lot of money. I know he gets to your heart, but please don't let him string you along.
April 17, 2021

In reply to by CynthiaLM

This sounds alot like man I have been chatting with . David morgan Paulson.