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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.
  • 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.

MissV85
July 20, 2020
I started talking to someone during Covid and I was asked a couple times to invest in Bitcoin and to help him send money to the U.S. He says he is a neurosurgeon for the UN and was in Alabama and got choose to help Covid patients. I wanted it to be true but there seems to be signs of a scam ( misspelling in his writing, saying he really likes me when we probably have talk very little, ...) . Does this seem like a scam?
Archerliddie
July 20, 2020
All of these comments so so alike.Anyone run across someone calling themselves,Richard Martins.Says he is in military,in Iraq. Helping with In Peacekeeping. On FB first ,then asked to go to hangouts.After 3 weeks, asked for money for internet.I guessing he has hijacked someone else's FB page . Feel like a sucker.
curiousityDon'…
July 20, 2020
Hi All I want to reply if I can help put out any warnings about these guys. I was on CM and got a scammer. We texted for weeks everyday. He would send me a bible verse of all things every morning. That makes me sick to think that someone can use God to steal money from you. He also sent me a long email initially as an introduction about him and what he was looking for. He was to good to be true. Said he was from Sweden, divorced, lost a son but still had a daughter and son living. His daughter convinced him to go on CM to look for love. His name was Morgan Patal and he lived in Eugene Oregon. He was an engineer on an oil rig. As we talked after the first week I asked if we could speak by phone. He had called me briefly one morning and had told me ahead of time he had an accent. But his accent just didn't sound right. It had a Nigerian sound , alittle eclectic! It casue me to question things. So we continued to talk another week. By then he said he was back working on a rig. When one morning I got a text asking me to help him out. One of his employees messed up on the job and he need a book for him. He asked me if I could go and get him a 1vainilla card for 215 dollars so he could order the book. At first I just wanted to help. As I got ready to go to the store I started to questions things. I got on the computer and researched oil rig scams. Fouund that this was a common job function from the dating site scammers. I text him that I was sorry and could not get the card but I would order the book for him. He didn't want that and got angry and started to really make me feel like a bad person that I didn't trust him and he would never do anything to hurt me. So after more text exchanges I called him. Again he never allowed much conversation. So I just had to decide there and then that since this whole thing that morning did not feel right it was time to just move on. He had text me the next day to feel me out. I didn't say much. I did however text him two days later and ask if he would be interested ( more for curiosity reasons) in doing a skype call to discuss everything that happened, as I never accused him of anything and I was always polite to him. Never heard back. Ladies we have to protect each other. This just made me sick to know that there are such dispicable people out there using the word of God to steal from others.
Battersea
July 20, 2020
Does anyone know of a guy called william grey PLEASE
Spintop
July 21, 2020
Any one heard of a Larry zico? Really sweet talker, claims he is a widower and gas twin teenagers 17 years old. The picture he sent with his son looks real bit sure how to check him out.
L
July 21, 2020
Been speaking to a guy since December called Daniel Jones. Tells me he is a private investigator currently on assignment . Lived in America for 13 years but moved back to the uk after one of his parents passed away Found him on a scammers website with his phone number and everything He has also asked me for money as apparently his pay from his job is being paid into his American bank account but it’s not working in the country he is in
Beyondmeat
July 21, 2020
I recently met someone online who claims he’s a civil engineer, owns his company in NY. Grew up in Geneva and went to grad school in Australia. But sometimes his text is in broken English that I have no clue what he tries to say. He claims he speaks French but he switches between “tu” and “vous” in the same sentence. He has 0 internet presence. You can’t do background check on him, and reverse image founds no picture matching, and he’s not on social media, including LinkedIn. He claims he got a contract for his construction company so he is not promoting it on civil engineering social. But there’s no website of his company. Whatever he says is pretty much blank on Google. I am not sure if this is a red flag. Thanks
Kat2306
July 21, 2020
Friends with words 1,2 or any of them are a meeting ground for the scammers. They won’t let you verify anything and if they do you can google the ID and find where they got it on line. They will have phone numbers from the United States , but when they would use their phone numbers to get on a site you will see they will have a country code . Beware!!!!!
Samantha
July 21, 2020
This individual is still operating. Last week he went by the name of Mark W George on Instagram. Began following me and after introducing himself wanted immediately to continue talking on WhatsApp. He gave me his date of birth which meant he turned 50 in a week. Divorced, wife cheated on him, parents died, dad a policeman and mum a nurse, no children, only a sister and 2 cousins in California. Claims to be from California. English grammatically poor at times, using wrong words, poor spelling at times, inconsistencies in stories and forgets what he has said and what you have said. Very evasive when i asked him personal information. Claimed to have lived in East London (uk) but is a civil engineer who owns own company and working in Bangkok. Proclaims his love within 24 hours, wanted to come to see me at drop of a hat, obsessed with being honest and truthful and wanted to do Blood Oath with me. Of course I didn't. Uses Dear and Honey and My Love endlessly. Sends lots of photos of handsome white guy with piercing blue eyes and grey hair. I have since seen all these photos on internet as he has gone by various names; Wesley Hallman, Richard Markson. This is not him, he is using someone's identity. Promised to send nude photo the following day and asked for one of me. This never happened as I realised he was a scammer as suddenly asked me to go to shopping mall to buy him an ITunes card. When I asked why, he said they didnt sell them in Thailand and he needed to upgrade his office computer, yet he said he owned a company and drove a Benz car. I declined and ended contact. Please be aware of this man and don't fall for his charm, chat and photos and certainly do not send him money etc. Block him immediately if anything I have said rings true. He is a prolific romance scammer.
Michaela
August 17, 2020

In reply to by Samantha

Samantha, This man sounds like the man I am now communicating with, and I have been since April of this year, 2020. Is there some way we can exchange pictures? I would like to see if this is the same guy...I have pictures of a man with piercing blue eyes and white hair...claims to be 55 years of age, with two college aged children, attending colleges in Europe. He is presently in Canada on a job which has stalled due to equipment failure. He claims to live in California... Always asks what I had to eat for dinner and breakfast...sends me songs that fit the moments! Says he was married for 25 years...divorced for 5 years...Met him on International Cupid, which seems to be a hotbed for cat fishing individuals and scammers. This guy has asked for money, iTunes card, and now opening an account for bitcoin! I have refused, yet still communicating. I would like to “retire” him...any assistance with pictures and phone numbers he used in the past would be extremely helpful...I’m building up a “dossier” to release and help others from falling victims to this despicable practice against those who are in pursuit of real love and romance. alphaenlight@yahoo.com is my address...Please, anyone else who reads this, please respond with pictures and anything that is of assistance in dealing with this! Thank you so much! We need to bond together to beat these creatures!
CS
July 21, 2020
Got scammed by Dr. Cruise Martin in Instagram. He said he is an international Doctor who works for the Defence Force and he is in Afganistan at the moment. He wanted to married me, buy a house, car and a family. He send a photo of a form 80a/23 for me to fill up for him to apply for emergency vacation to get out of there quicker. Then asked to deposit $2000 to be able to granted his application. I didn't fill up form o sent money I knew it was a scam but I just want to alert others.
Fatcatkitty
July 21, 2020
Can someone please respond to this . I wouldn't say that I actually live her . But I'm in love with the idea she loves me or so she says . I'm sending her money that I really can't afford and she knows it . I feel bad about blocking her , what if she's telling the truth .
Dalex20
July 28, 2020

In reply to by Fatcatkitty

Forget it. She is not real. It’s like psych terror. Block her and never do this again. You will Find someone nice and honest!
disillusioned
July 30, 2020

In reply to by Fatcatkitty

Fatcatkitty. If you can't afford it, don't do it. If she's real, she would understand and not push. If she truly loved you, she wouldn't want to make your life harder. She would be encouraging, caring and (even in hard times for her) find another way to make ends meet.
Jbossiegurl
August 03, 2020

In reply to by Fatcatkitty

Have you had the opportunity to video chat with her? If she can accept money from you then she can surely give you 5 minutes of her time to talk to you. My scammer refused to chat with me and as much as I hated to do it I stopped speaking to him. Now I can move on and heal and be in a real relationship. Good luck. Be really careful ok
LoriAnn
July 22, 2020
Jerry Porter. Or Josh Porter. On Facebook. Beware. Uses the pictures of a really nice looking military man. Not who he claims to be.
Iluvcoupons
July 22, 2020
Anyone know. Of a guy named Douglas colon in army. Stationed in Kuwait from USA. Says he gas a daughter and divorced wife over a year ago.
DaRealCornbread
July 22, 2020
I have dis woman who i suppose 2 be married 2 & she keeps tellin me dat her accounts have been hacked & everytime i asked her 2 video chat wit me she always complain about her phone & wants me 2 help her get 1 4 her & wants me 2 come be wit her but my gut tellin me sumthin isn't right about dis & is it possible dat her accounts got hacked or not
Jbossiegurl
August 03, 2020

In reply to by DaRealCornbread

No no no! My scammer couldn’t video chat because of a broken camera. Don’t fall for it. Where there’s a will there’s a way. Just remember that. If I liked someone I would definitely find a way to chat with them. Also trust your gut my friend. That guy feeling is telling you something. Be careful
Why me
July 23, 2020
Darn sure I'm being scammed, guy supposedly from New York, on a rig in Saudi Arabia, 2 daughters, divorced, just started today talking about his credit card not working... Wants to meet me when he gets back, loves me, etc. Name is Mark. Anybody else talking to him or have pictures? I'm sure the pictures he sent me are not him.
Ansel Bradley
July 23, 2020
Add Roger Wilson, BP to your list, in LinkedIn too
Florida
July 23, 2020
I was on plenty of fish three weeks ago and met a gentleman- he used the name Robert relish as a user name : claimed his wife died 8 years ago and had a 21 year old daughter Moved recently from white plains New York to lutz Florida: claimed he was in antique and interior design Began using darling and dear within days of communication ; After two weeks asked for his last name - he stated Robert Oscar Jacobson : did a search and no name matched; A friend did a reverse picture search and his dating profile picture and a picture he sent came back with a gentleman from New York with s different name; sent a screenshot and blocked him; the number was disconnected within an hour of me confronting him I notified plenty of fish Ladies beware of Robert Relish
Florida
July 23, 2020
Anyone dealing with someone who is an antique dealer stuck in Nicosia as his antiques are being held by Turkish authorities?
Janice
July 24, 2020
Hi I’m talking to a guy now and it’s been 3 months. I’ve handed over £145k to this sweet talker. Telling me it’s for his sick child and helping him out with insurance payments and other things to get him home back to the Uk. Hes meant to be working in Switzerland in mining and has a great contract which will pay him at the end of July and August so he said I’ll get my money back then. His picture has been used many times but I only know because of my daughter in law finding it out for me. I’m a widow and was looking for company and friendship and now he’s destroyed all trust I had in people
Justmejules
July 24, 2020
Has anyone encountered a Christian Bull? I met him in FB and I just want to validate his identity
Cherry
July 24, 2020
Can anyone come across a guy name fu Cheng Wong. He said he was working at oil rig offshore. I never heard his voice, not even video call, because he say due to his company policy, not allow them make a call. But every day he showed me all love article and sweet talk. Make me suprise is he requested death oath between us.
Elena
July 24, 2020
I have been contacted 4 days ago by a man whose name is Harrison Scott a gorgeous looking us army soldier ( this is what he says!!). He is widow with a 6 year old daughter. He sent me pictures of her as well. He didn't ask for money, at least so far,but his sudden passion seems unbelievable!! Anyone knows his name??
ettib
July 24, 2020
Have anyon been in contact with a Michael Pirlo????or Michele Inzagi Vidas. Been in contact with him for 3 years, retired nurs 60 years old. Please let me know I think I´ve been stupid sacammed of a lot of money
Scammed by Kid Rock
July 24, 2020
I just recently was scammed by a person going by the name Kid Rock. This person saw that I liked and commented on Facebook about liking the singer and sent a private message saying he was kid rock. Used his real name Robert James Ritchie and same birthday 1/17/71. Ask me to go to google hangouts to chat gave me a phone number and email address. This continued on for several months. Then asking for gift cards started and using PayPal bitcoin and cash app. Then I was told to use my credit cards to purchase cards and link my bank account to the PayPal and others. I became overdrawn at bank and credit card balances grew but still told me he was in love with me and would pay the bills. Then he opened an American Express card up in my name and wanted cards on that. $20,000 to be exact. Then the final straw was he applied for unemployment benefits in Texas and had the checks sent to my bank. The security stepped in and I was in deep trouble. That’s when all this came down then he switched it to navy federal credit and I had to contact them as well. Since then which was only 2 months ago I have filed fraud and scam charges against this person giving everyone as much information as I could. I have gotten my credit cards straightened out and all canceled. I hope and pray no one ever has this happen to them. I was in fraud for over $50,000 total. Never again will I do that. I almost lost everything. I have him blocked every which way I can but he still is trying to talk to me. He had a way with words that would sweep u off your feet. But in the end I almost lost everything
Bee
July 24, 2020
Hi has anyone heard of Michael Anderson? Claims to be working in India. Comes from Malaysia. Needs me to be his beneficiary to accept funds from the uk. This to complete a project he is working on. Also declared undying love and marriage and all Very weary. Please help
Windy
July 24, 2020
Please watch out for someone who goes by the name of Lucas Ericsson originally from Denmark who says his home of record is now Boston. He says he has an 11-year old daughter who lives with her great aunt after he lost his wife to cancer about 4 years ago. He spins a beautiful web of romance around you very painstakingly over a period of months using text and phone calls. I once called him on his cell and my cell phone did show a charge for calling Dubai. He says he's a business owner working in Dubai planning to retire when his latest job is complete. After a time, he tells you he needs 10k to be able to get freed by the government there to leave due to unpaid taxes. Then he needs another 10k. Then he goes for the big money 50k. All the while assuring he will pay you back ASAP. Loving words, many pictures of himself and his daughter. He sends poems to rope you further into his scam. And he will even propose marriage. Stay away from him - he's an excellent scam artist who will turn on you when you tell him you can't wire him money. Pure evil, he is. He's so good he will literally break your heart.
Mitzion't use …
July 28, 2020

In reply to by Windy

What does he look like? Sounds like a man I’ve been texting. Around 62. Dark gray hair. Wears glasses. Tall.
lito
July 25, 2020
Talking to a guy in who is a doctor in Romania, goes by Mihial Derek, has 2 IG accounts under different versions of that name. Been talking for a while, going through a nasty divorce, has a young daughter, says he loves me, just asked me to help him with some people that owe him money and he needs my help with it, haven't gotten any details yet about that.
Tulip
July 25, 2020
Anyone heard of scammer working in Dubai on a project that has gone southward and needs help?
Dresslady67
September 08, 2020

In reply to by Tulip

I had been texted and emailed by Thomas Roland went to Dubai needed $10000 to get larger vessel for his oil shipment. He sent me copy of his passport. State Department said it was not valid. Connected on LOVEANDSEEK last November
Scammed.com
July 25, 2020
Has anyone had dealings with Gabriel Thompson 37 with a 16 year old daughter. She is in boarding school while he works on an oil rig in charge of the drill. His wife sadly died in a fire 5 years ago.
Tulip
July 25, 2020
Anyone heard of scammer working in Dubai on a project that has gone southward and needs help?
Rdy1960
August 14, 2020

In reply to by Tulip

I have someone that has ended when I created profile in KoreanCupid.com. Under the profile name Jeongil, Kim, Ileuy, age 51/52 contract working as Manager/Director/Construction/Trade. It was some big time contract. He said he is a "Big Man", very rich with a ton of money of $18,217,000 in an trustshoreonline bank. His mom needs surgery, but his account is frozen because he is having a hard time accessing it. Wanted to me transfer it to someone in Seoul, Korea by the name of Hwun kan-Sun: 324 Gangnan daero, Gangnan-gu, Seoul So. Korea. His Korean, smooth talker, would love to retire someday to US, or Uk with his money to invest in restate. That if you go along with him he will be done with his contract i 5 months to be with you. He'll condition you, and then manipulate you for money, bitcoins transfer to his wallet, credit cards, have you open up a bank account to transfer money for you. Anything to get you to help him, and guilt trip you too. Are you getting this story now. Does it sound like the same guy doing a contract work from Dubai? Let me know I have alot of evidence he sent me. Did the reverse image nothing came up for. But he did send me his Korean driver's license, passport and that trustshore bank with login/password. He proposed to me with message board via email, and flowers, but all dated earlier than the time we actually met. I told him about the date on his picture but he said his cell was an old one, and it wasn't in sync with the date. I thought that was odd. He might even kakao video call you like he did me. Let me know if we have the same man her.
Foolfolove
September 13, 2020

In reply to by Rdy1960

I also met him on KC. Same name and background. Said his wise died 18 years ago. Has a way with flattering words and sends romantic songs. For being an engineer he has hard time taking selfies. Has not asked for money yet but im sure its coming. I searched the name he used and now know its a scam.
Sasha2014
July 25, 2020
Have any of you had contact with a General Stephen Bold. He is supposed to be serving on a peace mission in Afghanistan with a daughter in boarding school. He has been if contact with my elderly mother for several years and I can not convince her he is a scammer. He has for money a few months ago because his daughter lost her debit card and need some food. His account was frozen and he was in a bad area and could not handle it right now. He even sent her a picture of a young girl with a broken arm laying in a hospital bed telling her he was worried about his daughter Michelle because she broke her arm. He has sent her pictures of him sitting behind a desk with a uniform on.
andersondonald1963
July 26, 2020
Anyone know Reagan from Facebook. He tried to meet up with me and insisted I bring my kids?
JenFriend
July 26, 2020
Has anyone heard of the name Daniel Shaw/Shore
helensmith1982
August 07, 2020

In reply to by JenFriend

I have heard of a Daniel Shaw / Shore. He seems to be trying to convince my friend he is in love with her and wants to marry her and needs £16k wiring over before he returns back from work in the Ukraine. Any of this sound familiar - i believe he's targeted her on a dating website called ourtime as she is a widow.
Bingo
July 26, 2020
Ive been talking to two different guys both are working on oil rigs. These are the new scams. Ive been asked for £4 ,000 & £7.000 there jokers.
Radomperson121
July 26, 2020
I thought i feel in love with a linda smith. She is defiantly fake and is using photos that belong to a porn star. I unfortuently lost a lot of money and cant get it back. I cant even get rid of her because shes got a ton of numbers and several emails. So if somebody emails you wanting to chat name Linda Smith no fall for it
Eyes wide open
July 26, 2020
Well I found a new scammer, his name is Steve chamberlain. He friended me in an app called you version. It’s a Bible app. He claimed he was in a wreck working on soldiers that are injured and was about to retire in three months and would like to chat with me as often as possible because he is lonely. So I decided to drop his face into the Google search bar and he or his identity picture has been stolen several times seven to be exact. Thank goodness for my IT skills. Ladies be careful. Be sure you block them from the app and block them from your email but before you block them report them.