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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.

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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.

ED
July 04, 2018
I believe I'm being scammed by someone named Kelvin Blas... I can't find him when I do image search, but stories are a bit similar.
VanessaM
July 11, 2018

In reply to by ED

Can you give details of this Kelvin’s story? A friend is also talking to a Kelvin and we believe she is being scammed.
Foolish
July 26, 2018

In reply to by ED

I also have been in contact with someone names Kelvin I believe is scamming me. Do you have any more information?
Chilisim
January 26, 2021
Hola me pasa esto ahora, se enamorado en línea, que trabaja como piloto, divorcio, y ahora que está en arabia por osn, y me enviado si quiero que tiene unas vacaciones, tiene que pagar una factura 1700 € para que puede salir para un mes de vacaciones, no se, me parece un poco estafa verda si o no? Gracias
Shia
July 05, 2018
Anyone has a Christian Madin supposed to live by himself, sick aunt, work in oil in Kuwait. Has not asked for any money or nothing. But acts in love. Sent me fake pictures of his supposed house. Asked me to chat on hangout immediately because he is in a ship in Kuwait and signal it’s bad.
Pili
January 26, 2021
Saben ¿si utilizan la mensajería Hangouts?
Maria
August 30, 2021

In reply to by Pili

si a mi me dijo que hablaramos por ese medio
Isa
September 14, 2021

In reply to by Pili

A mi me contacto uno por instagram y se comunicaba conmigo por hangout... Solo me pidió una gift card de $50..que locura.. Ya tiene 5 meses que no me escribe porq sabe que soy pobre, jejeje
Antonieta
October 27, 2021

In reply to by Pili

si, que la usan, es la mejor para ellos porque no queda grabado desde donde llaman, no es por telefono.
Lilith
January 27, 2021
Ami también me estaban por estafar, me dijeron que me mandarían prendas calzados y un iphone 11 con 10,000 pero en el paquete la cual el me decía que se le olvido pagar que pagará yo 800 dolares para poder recibir el paquete que lo mandaran de Brazil a mi país, pero solo me llamaban por WhatsApp
Nanette burgos
January 27, 2021
Alguien me puede decir si le a pasado con un militar henry ramos O edwin sergio supuestame viudo de gemelos y quiere enviar la famosa caja dejemen saber para seguir desenmascarar a estos
Justmejewels
July 05, 2018
Has anyone heard of a guy named Evans Larson Johnson goes by evansjohnson123 says he is A Sergeant in the Marines stationed in African Country. Has asked me several times for $50 to $100 in I-Tunes cards. Has professed his love immediately and wants me to divorce my husband for him. He sends me pictures all the time and seems like they are really, he says he is 37 almost 38 this July but seriously looks 20?
Ana
January 27, 2021
Son puros estafadores, me pedian 25,500 pesos para liberar el paquete, una tal Silvia Ramos que hablaba super grosera del numero 5619843768 y del 5511857936, me hablaban de un numero +1(231)2908218 por whatsapp después de que bloquee a Thomas Anyl Dayma, POR FAVOR NO CAIGAN. Tambien me contaron las historias de los marinos contra los piratas de somalia, hasta me mandaba foto de gente muerta, y la caja metalica con dinero y una chancla rosa que se veia al fondo, tambien me llamo estupida cuando le dije que era una estafa, me mando fotos de sus hijos y que le estaba dando un infarto, incluso me amenazo con decirme que investigarian lo que traia el paquete y que nos mandarian a los dos a la carcel. Pura quitadera de tiempo, pero bueno queria saber hasta donde llegaria todo esto.
Annoyed
July 16, 2018

In reply to by Justmejewels

This maybe the guy I was in contact with. He was going by David Johnson johnsond5681 on instagram. His facebook states his name is Evan. States he is a single dad of a 5yo son and is in the airforce. Stationed in CA but has duties in Texas. Does this sound like your guy justmejewels?
Noscams
July 06, 2018
Does anyone know a Bryan Banks. He claims to deposit government payroll Funds into your account and you send him half. He needs banking info and.yourname to do a test deposit. He too is all over Facebook
FTC Staff
July 06, 2018

In reply to by Noscams

If you tell someone your bank account number, they can take your money. They might say they will deposit money, but that doesn't mean they really will.

Also, some scammers use people to help them transfer stolen money. They don't tell you the money is stolen - they tell a story to hide the purpose for the transaction. They meet people online, create a relationship, and ask you to receive and transfer money. If you do this for a scammer, your name is on the bank account and on the money transfer forms. If you get involved with one of these schemes, you could lose money and personal information, and you could get into legal trouble.

No use su dire…
January 27, 2021
Hoy en día estoy pasando por momento difíciles me están estafando caí en el engaño de una supuesta militar que está en Yemen luchando sobre la paz supuestamente encontraron dinero entre todos su rejimiento en su escuadrón y acordaron que lo repartirían por partes iguales y según ella le tocó 2.5 millones de dólares y lo Kiere sacar del país q resultó q descubrió q nuestro país es más baratos los impuestos y a decir verdad yo le mandé mis datos me siento terrible poxrq ya me sacaron $12 milpesos según para q me entregaran el embarque y no fue así q tengo q pagar el resto para q me liberen el paquete pero ya no creo nada caí en su engaño me enamoró la militar según se llama Lim Juliet no se q Acer alguien q me pueda alludar
No use su dire…
January 27, 2021
Hoy en día estoy pasando por momento difíciles me están estafando caí en el engaño de una supuesta militar que está en Yemen luchando sobre la paz supuestamente encontraron dinero entre todos su rejimiento en su escuadrón y acordaron que lo repartirían por partes iguales y según ella le tocó 2.5 millones de dólares y lo Kiere sacar del país q resultó q descubrió q nuestro país es más baratos los impuestos y a decir verdad yo le mandé mis datos me siento terrible poxrq ya me sacaron $12 milpesos según para q me entregaran el embarque y no fue así q tengo q pagar el resto para q me liberen el paquete pero ya no creo nada caí en su engaño me enamoró la militar según se llama Lim Juliet no se q Acer alguien q me pueda alludar
Smarty
July 07, 2018
I have one too. He claims to be American but does not know what thanksgiving is or Independence Day. His wife died in a car crash 3 years ago, has a daughter who is 4. Hasn’t been able to find love since she died but was seeing someone and he caught her cheating with a fellow service man. He’s currently serving in Afghanistan.
Zuzan
January 27, 2021
Hola, a mi me acaba de pasar, un tipo me escribió por Instagram, me dijo que era soldado naval de Ohio en una misión en Afganistán, seguimos platicando después x whats app y hangouts, empezó a decir que ya me amaba, que quería casarse conmigo, tener una familia, etc...(o sea ni me conoce, primer foco rojo), después noté que había desactivado su cuenta de Instagram (otro foco rojo) y de ahí como a las 3 semanas de estar hablando me dijo que él y otros compañeros en una misión se habían encontrado dinero, total que me dijo que porque confiaba muchísimo en mí, me mandaría USD600,000 jajaja que le diera mi dirección, por favor!! de inmediato le dije que era un estafador y me insultó, lo bloqueé inmediatamente. En primer lugar busqué la foto del "dinero que se encontró" (me la mandó) en internet y era e un artículo de un decomiso de dinero y drogas de 2012, y en segundo lugar, en México no se pueden enviar ni recibir más de 9mil dólares sin ser declarados...además nadie le manda una cantidad así a alguien que no conoce!!! Yo no caí, pero se ve que son profesionales, ¿Dónde puedo denunciar su número, correo y sus supuestas fotos? Porque obvio se las robó de algún perfil de militar verdadero.
raymondonald82
July 07, 2018
I think he is a scammer
Cabaka ratziel
January 27, 2021
Hola el mio se llama philip Richard scot misma historia americano ejército un hijo sin padres a mi no me ha pedido dinero pero este si tiene número americano tengo fotos quien quiere compartir fotos
Heartbroken
July 07, 2018
A guy by the name of west mane is i believe scamming my sister.he loves her wants to marry her in the military a cop he says he is all this..now in australia coming home july no show.went to canada in hospital with malaria???. She met him on hangouts! Wants more money she sent i tune cards more excuses why hes not coming home. His bank account hacked no paychecks? Seriously? I want to help my sis reveal this guy is a scammer!!! Any suggestions. He is in a hospital in canada but they have no phone number?hmmmm.shows her pics of himself military vest really. Probably photoshopped. I told my sis ill eat my words if this guy is real....
Ma.
January 28, 2021
A mi me contacto una doctora muy reconocida, según se fue a siria por 3 semanas, quería que yo hiciera uso de su cuenta, una transferencia ha una chica, que su madre estaba muy enferma de las arterias y ella no quería perder la buena reputación que tenía en su país de ayudar al prójimo. Traté de encontrar a la persona con las fotos que tenia pero no lo logré, le dije ha esta persona que era un estafador y ya no contensto. Quise advertirle a la famosa doctora que estaban haciendo uso de su identidad. Pero por desgracia no logré encontrarla.
Taken
July 07, 2018
I forgot to mention he will reach out under a bogus name like Benjamin Cochran. This identity is a middle aged, 50, man who is a construction architect basically. He is orphaned never married and no kids based in LA and visits Switzerland his homeland. This identity is a handsome middle aged Jamaican man with a baldin head and grey goatee.
Joaneusebi
January 29, 2021
Acabo de conocer una mujer que dice que es militar americana llevo 5 días hi me pide dinero para un permís. La pregunta que tengo hay que pagar para pedir un permisos
Torres
January 29, 2021
A mi me está pasando ahora, me dijo que es amor a primera vista! Es un cirujano plastico serbio de 40 años, viudo y con un hijo de 6 años. Su esposa murió hace unos años en un accidente. Coincidencialmente también est en la ONU y no puede hacer videollamada pero me llamo por Hangouts y me mando mensajes. Que quiere casarse conmigo ! No me ha pedido dinero ni nada aún porque esto comenzó hoy! El cirujano se llama Vasilije Vujovic y en internet en entrevistas dicen que tiene 28, lo cual asegura que él nunca dio entrevistas; que son bloggers !
Bella
July 07, 2018
Tyler Scott.. a.beautiful guy, lost her wige on a car accident, has 2 children... He is on Instagram and I think is a bad man, a lyer..
Kel
July 08, 2018
Met a guy on tinder - Mark Simon. Says he's security working a contract in Lebanon. Quotes the bible...gave me the name of a church in Beirut that he attends. Way to fast on the falling in love. Asked me for an itunes card. Very handsome. Sent me a few pictures. Said he was in the army for 10 years - got out - and went on contract. Divorced with an 8 year old girl living in California with his sister. I of course - am very suspicious...and am not buying the card. I asked him if $25 was enough...and he said yes. It's for his birthday 8/12. He has a gmail account. Has called "from a secure room". he said he has dual US/Greece citizenship. Anyone come across someone like this?
Torres
January 29, 2021
A mi me está pasando ahora, me dijo que es amor a primera vista! Es un cirujano plastico serbio de 40 años, viudo y con un hijo de 6 años. Su esposa murió hace unos años en un accidente. Coincidencialmente también est en la ONU y no puede hacer videollamada pero me llamo por Hangouts y me mando mensajes. Que quiere casarse conmigo ! No me ha pedido dinero ni nada aún porque esto comenzó hoy! El cirujano se llama Vasilije Vujovic y en internet en entrevistas dicen que tiene 28, lo cual asegura que él nunca dio entrevistas; que son bloggers !
Lyz 44 Germany
July 08, 2018
Hello to all this victims! The same happened to me , too. On October 2017, a man Holmes Lamb- Financial consultant and oil business from Texas wrote to me one email. I was so happy to find out a love email in my post.So I started to chat with this person, that pretended to be from Houston. He was the perfect person for me, I have ever met in my life. He has an answer at all my questions and he played so well, cause I fall immediately in love with him. After two months, in January 2018 he asked for money for his flight ticket, pretending to come to visit me in Germany. We shared pictures, addresses and he knew all about me, but I nothing about him.On givens day he said to me to buy him an apple card for 100 Euro, and to send him the code. I have sent him the money and never seen him. In all the time he found one excuse and after all this he asked for more money. Now I am threatened with the missing from my son. All his pictures were fake, profile from Facebook doesn’t exist, his number is not available, and his last words to me:you will end up crying!Now I have lost my money and I should protect me and my son! And this story has no end , but I want to prevent the other women, never sending money to a stranger!
KARLA
January 30, 2021
Se llama David Rodríguez, me contactó por instagram, es viudo desde hace 3 años tiene 1 hijo de 10 años, vive en Francia, trabaja en una Industria Automotríz... hace un mes que chateamos, me indicó que iría a BURKINA FASO, (es un país Africano) a entregar vehículos, en la mañana de hoy tenía que ir al puerto a recibir los vehículos y sorpresa se robaron 3 y el tenía que pagar 10.000 euros por las pérdidas, salió al Banco retiró el dinero, cogieron un taxi con su hijo y tres tipos le roban les golpean y en especial al niño que ahora se "encuentra con respirador en un Hospital" Como le robaron me pide que le haga un envío de 150.00 dólares por money gram, entonces mi duda fue porque le pedí que le tome fotos al hijo y no me las envió porque según el médico no le permite y todo es tan raro... me envió los datos del médico para que le haga el depósito por eso consulté en google y llegué hasta aquí el señor es un Estafador tengan cuidado, por suerte no deposité nada.
ROCKY1171
October 11, 2021

In reply to by KARLA

A mi contacto un doctor turko, y que es viudo y tiene un hijo de 14 años, se llama Gabriel Leo Donald, ayer me.pidio 500 usd para una emergencia para su hijo.. que le hiciera una transferencia como puedo subir su foto.. porque es la misma situación de todas
erinm421
July 25, 2019

In reply to by Lyz 44 Germany

yes ive had a scammer who stoled a drs pictures and Dr Mike) wanted me to send him a 500.00 iTunes GH and my response oh really? your a dr YOU buy me one. he didn't like this I knew he was a scammer. Anytime ANYONE you never met want you to send money or open a checking account. One guy name Paul on twitter was pretending to be from Michigan and he wanted my acct number so his fake general could dep his vacation check into MY account. he sent me photos of him and his daughter which im sure were stolen from someone else profile. he said he was in the middle east and as a diver and that 4 of his men were killed and he was injured and sent me pictures of him in the hospital and asked me to buy him a amazon or iTunes gc so he could talk to his daughter and I told him no I suspected he is a scammer he got mad at me and I reported them both to twitter and blocked them
Mc3412002
July 08, 2018
I’ve been chatting with a woman I met on Facebook Michelle Gregory. It started slow talk of losing her sister and female partner to cancer. We talked on Facebook voice she sounded like an Italian woman ask me to send money for phone time. She supposedly was working for Lockheed Martin in a high security job. I sent her money off my credit card. She said I’ll pay you back she did pay my credit card off. About two weeks later the payments were denied by the card she used. I’m out about $1500. Then she vanished. Now she’s contacting me saying she’s trapped in turkey lost her passport and needs a plane ticket. Well I’m playing along contacting authorities These people don’t care about us they want to pad their pockets with our money.
Mermaid111
July 08, 2018
Has anyone been scammed by a man named Douglas (no last name) on Coffee Meets Bagel? Claims he’s an Army General in Afghanistan, lost his wife and 2 daughters 7 years ago, and has a son in boarding school. He’s just now asking to go off the app to chat on google hangouts. No request for money yet but I’m sure that would be the next step. I was just curious if anyone else came across his profile.
yulydescepcionada:(
January 30, 2021
Hola, me acaba de pasar algo similar los primeros días de enero un tipo muy apuesto me habla por Instagram empezamos hablar se llama Lucas Morrison, que era viudo con un hijo de 13 años de Inglaterra que estaba muy feliz porque se gano un proyecto y que esta muy feliz se fue de compras para el, para mi hoy me llega un correo del lugar donde compro los productos mediterranean shipping y que debo cancelar 3000 dolares por el exceso de peso yo le dije que el tiene que pagar porque tu lo mandas le escribe por hangouts que lo descubrí y sabia que era una estafa.
Guillermo Vázquez
January 31, 2021
Hola buen día conocí a una persona el 15 de diciembre del 2020, la cual me comenta que e encuentra en Afganistán, y que pertenece al ejército de Estados Unidos, supuestamente ella ya está enamorada de mi y desde hace un tiempo me comento que pediría su baja del ejército y que pronto se la darían le e pedido fotos y me las a enviado y ella me a pedido dirección correo electrónico y número de teléfono, aparte me a dicho que a enviado un paquete para mi el cual tiene una gran valor y que llegará mañana, pero que le an avisado que llegando al aeropuerto de mi país debo pagar para que en la aduana no la abran y le ocasione problemas o yo los tenga, pe en cuanto pague la cantidad que me pidan y me entreguen la caja recuperare mi dinero, que me recomienda que haga?
Rita
February 01, 2021
Un caso reciente, aparece en Instagram, dice que se llama John Walter, de origen libanés, creció en USA. Ha perdido su esposa en accidente de coche hace 5 años y tiene una hija de ocho. Dice que es médico con las Naciones Unidas en Yemen. Las fotos que pone en su perfil están robadas del perfil de un cirujano plástico de Turquia de @dremreilham Si alguien tiene alguna foto de su admirador puede buscar de donde la ha robado subiendo la imagen al buscador yandex.com
remysmom78
July 08, 2018
I believe my sister is being scammed by Bob Johnson (BJ) says he’s a retired airline pilot, lives in New York. Currently in France purchasing an airplane he’s going to fix. He’s been widowed for 2 years, has a son in a coma in California and a daughter there too. Anyone else familiar with this story?
GuitarMannDude
July 08, 2018
I am mostly reading about guys scamming women. I get contacted at least once a day by fakers. I keep them busy for days until they finally ask for an iTunes gift card. That's when I block them. 1. Use Tin Eye to reverse lookup pictures. I find they use models, porn stars, Instagram models, etc.. Not all of the time though....they are getting wise. 2. English...lol. They say like..."I am Jessica by name"...Who talks like that? Most are bad at English and grammar. Some are quite good though...look out. 3. Ask about their favorite football team. I usually get names of soccer teams...lol. (European rules football). 4. Important! Get them to do a videoconference with you. I get a lot of excuses like my phone is bad that way. I need a new phone, can you help me? Then I can video chat. 5. Never send money, buy gift cards, set up new bank accounts, etc. Two scammers wanted my to write their name and happy birthday with something else. I don't remember what...They we're pissed by the 4th time I did it wrong...lol. I am on Instagram with this user name if I can help or network. I wish I could work for the feds or a website that busts these scammers. If anything I am getting good at wasting their time. Time they would use scamming someone else. Let me know...
Liliana
February 01, 2021
Hola también me está pasando lo mismo con lo de que envían un paquete la verdad estoy asustada por favor alguien que ya pasó por ésto pueda brindarme un consejo para solucionar gracias tengo miedo. Me pide una suma de 2300 .
Jess
February 03, 2021
A mi me sucedió algo parecido, conocí un hombre Disque Polaco llamado Brad Rivers, me enamoró con palabras, luego dijo que viajaría a Alemania porque tiene un contrato de trabajo allá por 2 semanas Y qué es arquitecto,me envió fotos , todo muy creíble, luego dice que tuvo un accidente allá y que le tienen que amputar la pierna sino paga la cirugía y pide que le prestes ese dinero para salvar su pierna. Yo no caí en su juego y me bloqueó.
AlphabetJan
July 09, 2018
Has anyone heard of a Davis Carter? Working as a Marine Engineer in Turkey.. but from San Fran.. also has a house in Sunderland. 1 daughter named kim.. whose in a boarding school.. and her mother died in a car crash too?
Mery gomez
February 04, 2021
Fui víctima de una estafa se hizo pasar por médico que me mandaba unas maletas ya me llamaron que tenía consignar 700 dólares para que me llegaran las supuesta y yo consigne y Después se comucaron que tenía consignar 1200 dolares venía mucho y dinero en maleta la supuesta compañía perdí todo y no llego el me dices consiguiera más dinero para no perder las maletas colocan fotos y videos de cirugías de la persona se roban. La información y así lo estafan a uno
jean46cz
July 09, 2018
Be careful. Within 14 days, over 30 men contacted me on facekook. Everybody wanted to be friends. I accepted 10 contacts, everything was the same! I knew from the beginning that it was a scam, and it just went off in a few days. Male, 1-2 children, single parent, parents died, he is from US, UK or France. Currently, in Afghanistan, Yemen, Africa. Oil Company, US Army, Naval Engineer, Journalist. No one can send a selfie. The questions about children answers just name and age. I reviewed the photos of their profile over myye, all of them already registered scammers. I'm sorry for the real people who are in those pictures. But the world is big, so the scammers know. They always start by looking for a friend from my youth and finding my profile to have a nice smile. They immediately wonder whether I am married, where I live, whether I have a family. Philip Scott, David Dupont, Ryan Chaun, Peterson Chris William, James David Mario, Gerome Monier, David T Tuttle, David Nathaniel, Jean Michel Grenier, Charlie Malcolm, Jusco Frazier Asare, William Smart, Ryan Fuller and Thompson Garrett. I said no. I blocked everything.