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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.

December 09, 2020

In reply to by Margaret

Margaret, do you have a pix of Mark Johnson? My Mark Rob Johnson is on an oil rig in Gulf of Mexico, has a son and daughter now living in Puerto Rico. He’s from Chicago. Born in France and speaks French and quite religious. I have been texting with him for 2-1/2 yrs and given him a lot. Let me know if this sounds familiar
December 24, 2020

In reply to by Margaret

Hi! He’s similar to my guy though with a different name. Messaged me on twitter in last week of oct then we kept on talking on whatsapp. Said he doesn’t go to twitter very often ‘cause many random women message him there. A marine engineer from denver but is currently in a ship in mediterranean sea in italy. Separated with a 9 year old daughter who’s with her teacher in denver but when daughter supposedly emailed me, said she’s 11. Sometimes with bad grammars, sometimes grammars fine. After 3 wks of talking, surprised me with the news that his job application in our country has been approved (never told me before) but he needs to pay the agency approx 400 USD. Haven’t received their salaries for many months since the pandemic. Sent me a photo of the contract but suspicious ‘cause there were wrong grammars. But my kind heart gave in so I sent money to the supposed contact person of the agency. After only 3 days he’s got a problem again. Hasn’t sent his daughter money since sept and promised her 600 USD. After several arguments, I gave in and sent 300 USD via WU to a man’s name who’s supposedly the husband of her daughter’s teacher. Daughter emailed a message of thanks supposedly using her teacher’s phone (she doesn’t have her own phone supposedly) and told me her birthday is near and she’s expecting a gift. After 10 days, he asked for money again ‘cause daughter is expecting him to send money for her birthday celebration and doesn’t want to disappoint her. I even argued with him that it’s okay to disappoint daughter once in a while but very insistent. Almost asked him how does it become my problem but then my heart’s blinded so sent another 200 USD to the husband of daughter’s teacher after he promised that he’s gonna get money from the ship in a week. After 1 week, asked money again for his food while in the ship, claimed that their boss has asked them to extend their patience ‘cause they’re gonna have their salaries at the end of Dec. We argued, I refused to send but manipulated me in a way. Told me I’m making him look like a beggar. Sent me photos of him and late father, told me late father was a rich man. I wasn’t convinced but sent him another 250 USD but after 1 week, he claims that daughter is seriously sick and he needs to send money again. I got tired, did not give in. Told him my son is also sick and we need money but didn’t ask from him ‘cause I know he doesn’t care. What surprised me what that he’s so insistent in getting money from me, even telling me that daughter is dying. My son is also sick and I need money how come he’s so insensitive? When I didn’t reply and wasn’t able to receive calls, I received an email from the supposed teacher using the daughter’s email add telling me the same things. The resemblance of his messages on whatsapp and the supposed teacher’s email is uncanny. And the teacher is supposed to be a teacher so I was expecting correct grammars and all but no. And the timing of his last message and the email from the teacher was also suspicious, like 1 minute apart. Do you have a photo of him please? Thank you in advance
Pissed off
January 01, 2021

In reply to by XX

Many of the same things sound so familiar from a man that I’ve been speaking with for the past 9 months but he calls himself Juan Williams and only communicates through hangouts and an occasional phone call... He claims he’s an private contract engineer and has a few people working for him and he’s now working on the Buzzard field platform ship in north sea. He says he lives in San macro California, approximately 30miles north of San Diego. He claims to have a 9 year old daughter named Shelley and she was living with a family friend they called nanny until she passed away 7 weeks ago and then nannies sister came to get Shelley... now he needs money to get onshore to bury nanny and get Shelley. In the past he to needed money for Shelley because she was so sick and would die without proper medical attention. He’s supposedly originally from the Bahamas. He has sent several pictures of himself and some with Shelley.... She may or may not be his daughter who knows... Oh, and his wife passed away 3 years ago. He supposedly has an assistant by the name of Kelvin . Is there a way to share pictures on here?
February 15, 2021

In reply to by Pissed off

A friend of mine has been texting a man she met on Tinder who calls himself Juan Williams! He only wanted to communicate via WhatsApp, has a 7 year old son that supposedly he has sole custody of, and although he initially said he wouldn't share his last name or job (he saif Juan Williams was his first and middle name), he's now said he was shipped overseas and sent a picture of himself in army fatigues - not name tag or rank or anything is visible. And then he started saying he had to leave his devices at home and his "handler" couldn't get him food or something, and asked if she'd send him $50-$100 for rice. Yes, rice. Oh, and he said while overseas, his son is being taken care of by "Nanny". Eerily similar, don't you think??
jump aqay now
February 12, 2021

In reply to by XX

I do not know your name,but please tell the scammer to take a hike off a big cliff. i hate to read the stories of women looking for love, only to find a scammer. Good luck and my GOD bless and help you. 'I am and old Australian who cares.
beware of losers
August 26, 2020

In reply to by Robin

October 23, 2020

In reply to by beware of losers

Do you have any pictures of him? I think is the same guy my friend was talking to. Michael David.
November 14, 2020

In reply to by Sandra

Talking to this guy for ten months, his name is Patrick David he told me that he have three children and that his wife passed away giving birth to their third child. His mother and dad died in a car accident. Very nice looking guy. Wanted me to send money to invest he pay half and I pay half so that it can rise quicker. And he was going to come to my city so that we can get married,we buy a house after he sale his house in South Dekota. This guy is 42. And the story is not true. The video chat wasn’t clear when we talked a little cloudy.
MrHandsome is …
April 05, 2021

In reply to by Ping

Yes! He has a neck tattoo that says heads up in Italian and knuckle tattoos that say hard and work. And many many more. And oh my god the most dreamy blue eyes.
June 05, 2021

In reply to by Sandra

Is this guy also claiming to be a Dr. Starting a practice ? If so my mom was scammed by him and lost 22,000 dollars
September 07, 2021

In reply to by Sandra

His name is Louise Micheal born in Atlanta.. He is 55 years old and live in Dubai in the city of Sharjah... He is a liar.. A scammers...
June 13, 2020

In reply to by Susan

Omg Susan he told me the same story except he was divorce , has a girl and his name is Burt Asner a very good look man.
July 21, 2020

In reply to by Fairy

Please Is his name. Mark Harrison he is extremely good looking working in Canada as a dr. Ladies help me out??
Heart broken
April 10, 2021

In reply to by Wags

I'm talking to a man named Spencer Mark Harrison. What does your guy look like?
April 15, 2021

In reply to by Wags

Yes he is, ladies doctor met on insta, pictures with 6 yr old daughter. From Turkey living in Birmingham. Sent gift for my kid, some female from customs asked me to pay for clearance of parcel 35k then some cash in pounds on the parcel hence 95k more to be given to customs as fine, and this fellow is on sea so he can't pay will give back as soon as he reaches Singapore
Don't use your…
August 19, 2021

In reply to by Sharingmystory

My scammer uses a male models photo from Florida His parents,wife, child all dead He has no one Engineer contracted off France rig. House in Nederland This job will pay him millions Then a part broke on the rig He needs 9000 dollars now to finish his job Begging me to save him He doesn’t understand the word No
Heart Broken
June 26, 2021

In reply to by Wags

I'm talking to a man named Spencer Mark Harrison. What does your guy look like?
December 25, 2020

In reply to by Fairy

I am talking to a guy for 7 months been trying to get him here were i live 'he says he love me dearly he been asking 'me for money for 7 months i have gave him no money so when 'he try in one way it another way 'all about money' say we gone get marry 'send me emoji of roses an a lots 'songs ' he say he work on an Island 'with offshore. but i need to give him 2000 dollars to come home an write a letter so he can leave 'i wanted to believe him 'i really felt in love with 'but i can't see myself sending a man no money. all these stories sounf so familiar to me he got 2 kids 'an divorce 'but sometimes he doesn't text an he know my real name 'its MESSING my mind up 'i am very puzzling about him his name is as he call himself Ted Levi if any of you 'or someone been talking to the same guy please help 'its my heart ' beginning to have feelings for him
May 11, 2021

In reply to by Bjewel1945

I am in contact with a man using this name too. He asked me for money as his daughter was in a coma in a hospital in Florida and they wont treat her unless he pays 10 000dollars for the deposit. He is on a vessel for 4 months and has no credit card with him. Can we exchange pictures, maybe it is the same man??
He thinks I’m …
October 24, 2020

In reply to by Susan

What name did he give you. I am going through the same thing. Sounds like the same guy. Please help.
January 23, 2021

In reply to by Csstillwell

Not sure how to send a picture but would gladly do so. Mine right now says he'd in Cyprus. Odd right?
February 04, 2021

In reply to by ScammedinIllinpis

Can you email me his picture? I have similar guy. Would love to know if it's the same person.
April 08, 2021

In reply to by Cyprusliar

Mine is also in Cyprus working on a big contract. Can you provide more details on yours? Might be the same guy.
Italian UN Doctor?
July 14, 2021

In reply to by ScammedinWI

Do you have a pic of this guy?
February 02, 2021

In reply to by Csstillwell

My version of this man goes by the name David Gregory, says he lives in Boca Rotan, wife died six years ago, no children, independent contractor who is “financially stable” and finishing a multimillion dollar oil contract in the Gulf of Mexico through BP, but getting paid by Exxon. Catcher, he needs money to pay a fine overseas before he can come back to the states. Needs it sent in cash in a gift box. Same gray headed scammer with beard. Positive this is the same scammer mentioned here. Do not send him any money. The more money he gets, the more power he has over you.
Want to know w…
December 01, 2019

In reply to by Kathryn

I met this 58 yr old on ok Cupid in Sept. He had to go to turkey on a contract for a water treatment project. He says he us and Oceanographer from Poland. Lived in California, now lives in Portland Maine. Asking to send him $32,000 to pay tarriffs and taxes on equipment he needs to finish project. He goes by name of Jack Adsmczyk. Bald really handsome guy with a nice accent.Will not send him the money he is still hanging in there talking with me.
December 28, 2019

In reply to by Want to know w…

I meet this guy online it's LINE app. He said he is in the military Air Force and has a son and wife died. One friend said he is legit. I don't know. He's name is Matthew D. Baxter.
January 30, 2020

In reply to by Stephen

This sounds familiar. Had a guy using the name Taylor Smith said his wife was murdered and his son is living with her brother. Scanned his photo and it had be used for several scams. He said his facebook was compromised. I didnt believe it.
June 15, 2020

In reply to by CathyV

Did this man ask for address so he could mail you his personal items because he is going on a special assignment? He states that he cannot take these items with him.
July 20, 2020

In reply to by Rocket

Think I have same guy, Singles 50 hes an Architect, parents dead no friends, divorced 5 years, got big contract off Turkey on oil rig last week, asked me to get him iTunes voucher for €100 which I did foolishly, as soon as I did it I knew! Then he said he could not get equipment for to repair the oil rig in from Abu Dabi as he had transferred all his money and now he has to pay customs. Name is Maurice Ray said from Germany! Mentioned €40k but said he is trying to raise money so he won't lose contract. He has been contacting me via WhatsApp and phoning me, love bombing me. He has sent me pictures, ginger hair, blue eyes 5 11, handsome LOL!!!
August 15, 2020

In reply to by SandraNi

hi. Sounds like I am being scammed by the same man. Goes by the name Will Spader. He sweet talked me into sending him $4 K . Said he was an architect from Houston with a 15 yr old son. He had to go to Atlanta for a job, but the machine they were using stopped working. He used all his funds and could I send him money. Now he is saying he doesn't have any money to eat, of course pulling on my heart strings. I told him I didn't have any more money to send him. I told him he was a scammer and he blew up and got very angry saying he wasn't and he was going to block me. Yada Yada. Met him on Instagram and he took me to Google Hangouts. After awhile he pulled his Instagram profile offline. He sent me a few pictures which I can't find anymore. I think he deleted them. I learned a very hard lesson.
Smarten up girl
August 08, 2021

In reply to by mamabear

Sounds like the same guy 6' tall, blue eyes, not shaved. Architect, 15 years old son, can't access his funds in his bank, wanted tranfer of money. Do you have by chance any pictures of him. If your answer than we can exchange email.
conned Don't …
June 25, 2021

In reply to by SandraNi

Hi, That story sounds too familiar and I have just been fed the same lines by a man of the same name who also asked for an iTunes card with some big sob story - anyway after sending the first I was suspicious …. very defensive when I refused to cooperate … same pictures as you mentioned …. what persuaded me was the amount of time and effort he seemed to put into gaining my confidence but thankfully I trusted my instinct .. handsome lol !!
Femme Instinct
October 21, 2021

In reply to by SandraNi

Hi, do you have a pic we can share, I think I have the same guy trying to scam me, he uses David Brown and has a heavy UK accent. Divorced in 2015, parents died when they were 51, 62 and has no friends , only a daughter 17, living with a nanny in the UK. Is an engineer currently in Cyprus doing some reno's on a $4 million building contract he won. Seems to always disapear on wknds and he never answers his phone. I asked him to send me pics of the area where he is staying in Cyprus and he said he doesn't need to prove where he is at, smell scammer. He is always so sweet and kind and very very handsome, but looks aren't everything in a relationship
June 08, 2021

In reply to by Rocket

Yes I just had the same situation. Guy in tinder claims that he is Australian Air Force pilot on misson in Kabul, whats to move to whatsupp instantly, all nice and loving and caring and so on.Then he has to go to different mission and he cant take his belongings, so he wants to send them to me. Masson Sherrad was his name.
June 12, 2021

In reply to by Mariann

meet mason sherrad too, writing 2 weeks, mother died in sickness... no kids. figured out quite early! blocked
June 12, 2021

In reply to by Mariann

Mason Sherrad from Sydney... His phone number on WhatsApp +61480023954 His mother has died from cancer few months ago. And he's all alone, no-one to trust just you. He will send you the package that doesn't exist and then the delivery company will email you that package has stuck and needs to be paid a fee and it's just a beginning.
July 07, 2021

In reply to by BlackCat

Met sherrad mason as well. On tinder. He's kiwi but grew up in America, pilot for the marines. Over in kabul. Mother died last year. Fell in love, then had another mission in syria needed to send me a package and 2 days later the package is stuck in turkey and I need to pay 1400 cad to customs with a weird bank account attached through a company called hotlinks express. Blocked. Scared, because he has my address!
August 20, 2021

In reply to by Mw8

Hi! I have the same story. i met someone on IG, sweet talked me on Telegram he said he can't continue using IG so we have to talk on Telegram. The same Story only that He is an orphan. no family. grow up in a military catholic church, was abandoned by relatives and was cheated by his girlfriend with his bestfriend. He is in Kabul he said right now and he wanted to return to miami, florida, but he said he can't unless he'll send the package to me containing the money he claim to be an award and now he's sending it to me and said I will only going to accept it. But there's a fee when the agent contacted me. I know right then it's not love, it's scam! i almost fell. He log out and told me I'm gonna pay for it for not trusting him to just receive the package. he has my address too :'(
January 12, 2022

In reply to by SC2021

This sounds familiar, can I ask his name, is it Joseph & in the service?
June 09, 2021

In reply to by CathyV

Was this guy in his 50s and have a tattoo of a clock with rope around it?
June 16, 2021

In reply to by Purplechel

He was at 40s, had tatoo of big black cross on right arm and sometihng else. But I think that he (or them) did not used real photos, probably were stolen from someone who evn dont know that.
July 10, 2021

In reply to by Purplechel

Yes! I’ve been talking to this guy for almost a year!!!
almost taken
January 29, 2020

In reply to by Want to know w…

Turkey seems to be the popular spot for these big contracts. So watch out for James P Harrison originally from Sweden but lives in California and is now in Cypress where he is building a 5 star hotel. Meanwhile his building goods are held up at the port and he must pay 20% on 1 million dollars of goods and he only has 10%. He didn't ask me for money yet. Too bad James from "Sweden"