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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.

Barbeaupatrici…
August 04, 2020
HELLO IM A VICTOM
Jelene
August 04, 2020
I meet this guy 2 weeks ago,he said he lives in Vancouver since 2019,and his a contractor,a" flood control"something? now his in the U.S for contract,but just this morning he asked me if I could send money to him because one of his men got accident and he needed money for the guys bills,and he couldn't use his from Denmark,and he hadn't a bank ACC in Vancouver "yet",hope to get answer/advice from you,thank you,highly appreciated... Ps what website I should go to check the names and images?.
DoDixien't use…
August 04, 2020
Be careful of a scammer who's going by the name of Harry Zhang he's claims he's from Perth Australia and I met him on Christian Cafe and then he convinced me to go on WhatsApp and we socialize for a while and he said he was the owner of firm construction company in Australia and that he had a contract presentation to go to in Malaysia he said he won the contract and he was going to China to buy the supplies for the reconstructing pipeline from the contract well here's the thing he asked me if he could merge his banking account with mine because he was having trouble getting into his account to pay for his supplies in China so I told him I believe you're an online scammer and I'm onto you and he started cussing me out told me I was stupid so I deleted him from WhatsApp but I was stupid enough to give him my phone number and address but I went and changed my phone number and the address thing I don't know if he can use it because I only gave him a first name I didn't give him my last name so ladies on here be careful he's a smooth talker he convinced me that he had love for me and he was going to move to United States and marry me and I'm naive to some degree and when I realized he was trying to scam me that's when I cut all ties
Karl4
August 04, 2020
I need help I started taking with this guy from Instagram he wanted to chat in Hangouts so I download the app. He claims to be self employed Construction/ Electrical Engineer. He studied the court of Construction Engineer with a master degree currently into sales of used and new machines to less privileged countries Is this a thing ? Probably 4 weeks into talking to him he deactivated his Instagram and said he didn’t want to have any distractions. He then told me he was investing in a property and with the proper remodeling it will worth more and be part of his retirement he need it to wire some money to the realtors and I tried to help him logging to his account ( he gave him his login username and password) and because I was logging in from a different location his account got blocked, from here he is asking for help to get money from me to get his job done and finish his contact
Looloo
November 03, 2020

In reply to by Karl4

"I'm Self Employed Construction/Electrical Engineer studied the course Construction Engineer with a Master Degree currently into sales of used and new machines to less privileged countries" oh my... thanks for sharing :( I also got that message, his name is Max? I definitely sure he is scammer when he sent me DM then disappeared, but he told me to make fb account because his fb account lost, I made it for him, now he asked me to help him with his business
Notme
August 04, 2020
It Works! Have him send a picture of himself(?) (fake)!! Go to Reverse Images. Had my answer in 30 seconds! The pictures were of a popular singer in Lebanon!!!!
Mimmi
August 04, 2020
I think i am being scammed by a man called Bennet Oscar. He says he is an orthopedian surgery working for UN in Yemen. He is a widower and has a daughter on a boardingschool in Edinburgh. We met on facebook. He first wanted me to recieve a package with money and a diamondring and pay for the delivery and now he wants me to pay for his vacation so he could come to me. We talk with hangouts but he never had the camera on because of security he sas..
BethT
August 04, 2020
Is anyone know a guy named Alexander Stuckenshneider tells me he is in Turkey working but he is from Virginia.
Jesusfreak636
August 04, 2020
oil rig engineer does this ring a bell. Alexander Benson or Richard Alex. Has anyone spoken with him.
Ddavis
August 05, 2020
Ever heard from a man named Marc Walker JR... Lives in Virginia, originally from Los Angeles. He is 53 mixed race dad white deceased, mom haitian moved back to Haiti. Has a haitian accent. Wife died in a car accident about 6 years ago, has a 17 year old daughter that lives with him. I am not sure if he is a scammer yet. He definitely has some traits of scammer. I've been talking to him for almost 4 months now. He has not asked for money yet. Very sweet and caring. I'm leary of him though. Met on POF I live in Portland Oregon. His profile said he was from my area. After talking for 3 weeks I found out he is from Virginia.. Said a friend set up his profile. We left POF after a week move to talking and texting my suggestion. I niw know I should have waited. I can't find anything with general search. His daughter has reached out calls me mum. If anyone has information please post. Thanks
Leo080358
August 05, 2020
Hello - I would like to ask if anyone has had this experience? I met a man online and we connected immediately. We both live in California and became very close. He is a widower, his late wife passing due to breast cancer. He said he was finally ready to date again. He has a child attending University in Europe which is where he was raised. He moved there from the USA when he was a child. Came back to the States with his wife for work a few years ago. He is extremely good looking of mixed ethnicity. He had no idea I am also a widow before we connected. There is a LinkedIn profile but no photo on it. I have confirmed that the name he gave me is real but not if he is the same person. He provided a photo ID that has his company on it... He is a Sr Network Consultant. He also provided a selfie when I asked. I’ve search images Google and did not find anything so felt like this was fine. He had to go to Europe on business for a few weeks - he stays in touch with me and I’ve come to really appreciate the questions he asks. The night before he left, I asked if he would take another selfie just getting out of bed the next morning before leaving for the airport - he sent me a beautiful email along with the requested photo as well as a few others... once again checked Google images and found nothing. Our conversations have been questions that are thought provoking which I’ve appreciated. Hasn’t probed for information financial or otherwise. He recently let me know he’s been distracted as his lawyer contacted him regarding a private vault company where he stores valuables that are investment. They sent a notification that due to CV19 they need to layoff 90% employees and he would need to transfer his valuables ASAP. He asked if. he could please assign me as the receiver and he would pick up from me once he is back. He provided copy of the letter. I just received email from his attorney asking me to provide my address - no financial information. I replied with a request for this SRA number to validate they are a legitimate law firm in England. I sent the email to them yesterday so will wait to see if I hear from the firm. There are also websites for the Vault company and the law firm - just do not know if they are legitimate. He also provided a photo ID badge confirming where he works. His emails have been well written - no spelling mistakes, he is well spoken as well. To be clear, he has provided photos that I used to search on Google Images. The name he has given does tie to the company listed on his LinkedIn and company website but I do not know if I should trust the photo ID and photos he has provided. He has not asked for me to pay any part of shipping to me and has states he would cover all costs. This man seems to good to be true. I want to trust him but reading scam stories has me worried. Am I being scammed?
VP
August 05, 2020
Hi I want to post about Charles Luke he says he’s half French half American and he was a gem stone buyer, supposedly he owned classified Gems which does have a webpage now the person that supposedly is the owner of classified gems , has a name of Thomas Patrick White. Charles Luke and Thomas Patrick White are total scammers. They are one and the same. Charles Luke has taken many many women for money, I am unfortunately one of them as I also fell to his scheme. I’m in the process now of reporting the entire incident, and reporting not only to the federal authorities but to the banking authorities, don’t fall for him he seems sincere and kind and will talk about the Bible and his faith in God. Be wary of him and he is a total fake he’ll say he’s stuck in turkey from his laptop is broken he has no money he’s going to end up on the streets he’s sick etc. he is a scammer.
another scamme…
August 05, 2020
He goes by George Howard. He was on penpalworld website and said he was in US but then said he worked in counter intelligence in Turkey. eventually will say he cant video chat or call because he is unable to due to the work he does. Will say he will send a picture but if you do a lookup you will see the picture is on other sites. Just beware of anyone that says they are in US and then comes up with a story why they are in another county. If they cant video chat it should be a red flag.
italiangirl
August 05, 2020
Does anyone know if Michael Burk is a fake person? Met him on POF and wanted to move to Facebook Private Messenger to chat instead of the dating app.
Megan148
August 07, 2020
A guy named Robert Williams older had a beard said he worked on Oil rig and lives in Brussels Belgium trying to get money from me anyone know him? He had a cat
Caroline
August 09, 2020

In reply to by Megan148

Hi im talking to a guy called Frank Olsen who works in pipelines for the oil industry, he has a cat. Could this be the same guy?
david
August 05, 2020
Anyone know a scammer by the name of Thomas Flores says hes in the army in Syria ?
Hope
August 05, 2020
Ok my boss has been talking to a man name divide woods and he is also in Nigeria and has gotten almost 10,000 from her and she won't believe no one
Dee
August 06, 2020
I met friend in fb and he told he is doctor. he wanted to be my friend and he likes me very much so he told he wanted send me a gift for his mom's birthday then after 2 days i got a call from lady she was telling she is a custom officer from Delhi that I have received gift parcel from UK so I have to pay 18500 so it was my fault i paid then after 2 hours she gave me another account no and told me to pay 75000 then i came to know that I was cheated. Indian government doesn't asks us to pay customs in an individual's account. Then I got call from him that he was insisting me to pay the money to get gift otherwise I don't love then blocked his number
LoveBunny
August 06, 2020
Does anyone know a person by the name of Sgnt Robin Williams? He claims he's a military soldier and in Kabul Afghanistan. He sent me a request to follow on Instagam on April 28th and then proceeded to move the conversation on to hangout app. He had given me the email to add on the hangout app. With in a week later he started asking money. First he ask me to donate $50 ans then started asking money for groceries and with not. He using other people's paypal to send the money and telling me to send it as Family and Friends. I just want what I sent because he inpersonating to be this man. He using someone else photos from someome else IG page.
ALIX
August 06, 2020
so has anyone heard of a Barry Martinez? he requested me on Instagram and i accepted him. right away we clicked and he requested i set up a Google Hangout account which i did. we talked for about a month and a half and by like the 3rd day he was already in love with me (to me it seemed odd but he was saying all the right things). he told me a story about how his younger brother died in a pool when he was young and how his mother died of depression and that he was pretty much alone in this world. i believed everything he told me. he told me he was stationed in Syria and that he was restricted from doing a live chats. all of a sudden he had inherited money from his father ($11million) and he had put me as a beneficiary since he already thought about me as his wife! he wanted me to set up overseas account with some Ukrainian bank and that i needed to send my passport information which to me was a big NO NO! i confronted him and of course he was so upset for me doubting his love for me. i haven't spoken to him anymore but i just still feel so in love with him.... please help!!!
Iris
August 12, 2020

In reply to by ALIX

totally know how you feel ALIX. mine also made up very sweet future, said he love me and made all these very sensible as he had miserable childhood and thought I am so warm and precious to him. but when i searched and found all his pictures and videos shared to me are not real. i dragged myself out and tell myself dont be idiot liking a person not real. everything is trap just for purpose.
ALIX
August 17, 2020

In reply to by Iris

Iris, how did you do it to find those pictures? i have pictures that he has sent to me from google hangouts but don't know how to find them. he is still sending me messages that he loves me... please help!
Phoenixfire
August 06, 2020
I think I been scammed... He found me in instangram.... 48 years, divorced, with twins (13 years, boy and girl), military engineer that work for united nacions with a contract of 1 year in yemen...He born in Oslo but live in florida, us. In instagram the name is Smith Michael Says he love me after 2 weeks, and want to meet me and my children in my country. Last week his the instangram account is Block... He Says Someone in the base do that to him... In whashapp I receibe message of him asking for money... I say no... I the other Day he call me, I confront him... But he Says that Someone had been in his account... Not him... Says he dont need money... That I crazy... Every day he send a message if i am alright... And if i eat my breakfast?? I'm so sad... Becouse I stupid for belive in this person...
Concerned mom
August 06, 2020
Ever hear of a scam where someone you met on dating app after a month asks you to open an ira account so he can have his financial institution rollover his money into it. Then you would disperse the money to him to pay for supplies and employees? All because his bank card was stolen? What is the scam here if the person is putting their money into your account and you are giving it back to them?
Don’t fall for it!
October 13, 2020

In reply to by Concerned mom

I think what scammers are trying to do when they ask for these money transfers is make the original transaction to your account with a “rubber check” that is not good and will eventually bounce. So it looks like you have money in your account and they immediately want it transferred somewhere else. So you do a Western Union money order or a similar transfer and they can withdraw the cash right away. A few days later you will be notified that the transfer which went through didn’t have sufficient funds. Your name is on it, you will be responsible for paying up, and the scammer will have your money, be long gone, and there won’t be any way to contact him or get anything back. So don’t fall for it!
Raven
August 07, 2020
Does anyone know Jonathan Liam?
Suzzie
August 07, 2020
Hi..I'm the latest victim..we met almost 2 months ago on plenty of fish..I asked him if he was real..(too good to be true)..we became very serious quickly..he had me speak to his 7 year old daughter..she asked if I would be her mom & love her & daddy..he then got me to send her $100 google play cards..I DID..then, for him $250 in itune & steam cards..in recently widowed..I NEED him..he's VERY loving & we pray together daily..he is now stuck in Turkey & only I can get him home-with $63,500..but he asked for $80,000..I've tried to end 4 times but he comes back each time..he wants to marry & take me to bora bora when I get him home..he keeps asking about $ & wants me to open new bank account..he is beyond gorgeous...I did a Google image search-he's rich & famous...said he had to make sure I didn't want him for that reason..his face is on every dating website & many LinkedIn profiles..he has an answer for EVERYTHING! I KNOW it's not the rich, famous guy..but, he's sent realtime pics that Match..he's asking for more cards but I refused..so, I guess he's hanging around thinking he'll get $80,000..he makes everything real..we Skype twice, he won't do it..I found the Skype pic, along with many other pics, on famous guys facebook..he DOES have an Instagram account, in the name he's using with me with over 1K followers..house pic is fake..car has u.k. plates..my phone bill had uk callers (guess he forgot to spoof) he freaks out when I end it..says he'll lose his mind without me..I'm lost..I love him..I need him..I'm disabled-he spends hours devoted to me, helps me with things like set up Skype..I think he hacked my email..his profile is OFF the dating site..I know its a scam..I just don't understand how he has a I.G. account & real time pics..I never heard from his daughter again, not even to thank me for the $100..he's from Hartford, C.T. 55 yrs old..an architect, bad recent divorce..I DID find his ex wife online...I'm SO confused! does he Sound familiar to anyone??? I can supply alot more info & alot if pics... Thank You...Suzzie-his nickname for me-I'm Susan..thx
Suzzie
August 07, 2020
He has a very STRONG accent..he says that in his business you tube they make his voice turn to English.
TOBYJUG
September 09, 2020

In reply to by Suzzie

Yes this guy had a very strong accent and I found him very hard to understand when we spoke - he said he was swiss by birth and moved to CT when his wife died 8 years ago.
Suzzie
August 07, 2020
Also, he wants the $80,000 in bitcoin..he even googled a place near my house to send it from..I messaged his Pinterest account, & he was mad. Told me to delete & block it. he did Skype me once from turkey..I don't know who I'm talking to.I'm madly on love with him..ALL his profiles are in different names & states..all dating sites the rich famous guy uses are FREE. From U.S to Russia. I'm in love & heartbroken
TOBYJUG
September 09, 2020

In reply to by Suzzie

Suzzie I think I know who you are talking about - I sent this man a lot of money DO NOT FALL FOR THIS he even asked me to sell my engagement ring. I too am widowed. I wish we could talk about this. He came to me as a widower, 16 year old daughter and an architect from CT - his pics were of an Austrian prominent politican. The name he used was Davis Luis - I have him reported to the FBI, FRAUD UK & MET POLICE!
jaws
August 07, 2020
I came across someone who calls himself Alex Ray on Silver Singles. He also has two very sparse Facebook accounts. He claims he was born in the Netherlands, but moved to the U.S. when he was 24. He says he's now 63, is a retired U.S. Army doctor (after 26 years service) who lived in San Antonio, but now lives in Oklahoma City (his phone number does show he lives in Oklahoma City). He says he now has interest in an oil company in Qatar (that his father originally was associated with). He tries to gain your trust and quickly claims deep feelings. I figured out he was a scammer before he could ask for $. For supposedly having been in the U.S. for nearly 40 years, his English should be much better. I had a very brief video chat with him, and for all I know it could've been a recording. He did appear to look like his photos, but I would not swear to this is a courtroom. Ladies, stay away from him!!!
jaws
August 07, 2020

In reply to by jaws

I wanted to add that "Alex Ray" clearly has been using photos taken from another man's Facebook page who lives in LA. I won't name this man to protect his identify; but he is aware of this, and I gave him all the info I had. It's been ongoing for a couple years now. Real man in photos said "Alex Ray" sometimes goes by "Frank Borg." Even when "Alex Ray" texted me, he'd sometimes use one of this guy's photos!
Blanche
August 07, 2020
I was messaged on a scrabble game. Name on profile was Willamsscott. Said he was an engineer from Canada, widower and single father. Moved really fast and when he called me on hangouts he had an African accent. The pic he sent me was Anderson Cooper.
cll1966
August 07, 2020
i was playing word wars and a tony taylor started messaging me. he talked very sweet and intimate and had me go to hangouts to chat there.where he told me about his 16 year old son and he was a widower. said he was a contractor from las angeles ca. but originally from the netherlands. supposedly got a bid on a job and had to go to canada for three weeks , once he was there he needed five thousand dollars to get in the canadian contractors association because all he had was 10,000.00. he also wanted me to send it to him through the bitcoins thing, which i didn't because i read all about it, and it said most scammers use that because the money cant be traced or gotten back.he sent me real nice videos, love songs, very sweet messages all night long. When he did call me his phone said it was Benjamin Clark, i asked him about that and he said he didn't know why it was under that name. He never got any money from me but he sure tried hard. Beware of Tony Taylor or whoever he is
RC2020
August 08, 2020
Has anyone encountered someone by the name of “Franklin Chai”. I am beginning to get suspicious of certain things before it goes any further. I have recently came in contact with this guy and is doing research before wasting my time.
Aisha
August 08, 2020
Anyone speaking with a guy called Raymond Denny? He is supposedly working in Cyprus right now, originally from California? Same thing...doctor and working with oil as well. Never available for a video call or a phone call.
Caroline
August 09, 2020
Hi, Reading some of your comments I feel like I have also been scammed by a american guy called Frank Olsen. He has his own business in pipelines, a 10 year old daughter in California and is working in Dubai. He asked me to send him some money but I refused and now he has stopped messaging me. I've tried to Google search his name and looked on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and found nothing. He was very good looking, charming and we have talking for 3 months. I would love to see a pic of this guy if he has other names. He needs to be stopped.
Redhead
August 09, 2020
Is anyone else being talking to a Major General Charles L Moore Jr. US Air Force. Met on Scrabble. Moved on to A new chat Venue and all the usual chat up line. Love, marriage. Etc. Much the same as others I’ve read comments on. Steam Cards. Wife dead. One child. If it is a scammer he’s really good
Robin
August 09, 2020
Same just happened to me online dating sites. More than once. They read books about women, talk to women to find out how to be and what women want . It’s a sad shame.
LauRod
August 09, 2020
I was scammed by a guy named Adam Mustafa and claims to be a Merchant Navy Deck officer. Please avoid contact BEWARE.
Contiki
August 09, 2020
I me someone, Tom Muller. The usual talk, then love. He said he was getting paid a lot of money and wanted me to take it so we can buy a house when his contract was done. He said he made me his beneficiary so now it appears I have an account in London. They want a lot of money to release the funds. I told Tom I don’t have it. Blocked I’m on WhatsApp but he had a different number and called me. He threatened to post my photos too. My face is on some of them. He says he wants his money but can’t access cause it’s under my name. Getting the account was also very fishy. I don’t know what to do. I’m trying to put it off and delay but time is ticking. Anyone with suggestions? I even thinking of contacting a lawyer. Please, anyone, I need advice.
FTC Staff
August 14, 2020

In reply to by Contiki

This man might be using you to help him transfer stolen money. Scammers often trick people into helping them. They meet someone online, create a relationship, and ask the new partner to use her bank account or open a new account. Then, the scammer asks the victim to receive and transfer money to another scammer.

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. The bank may close your account and block you from having an account in the future.

Or, this could be a different scam. The scammer might have made up a story about a bank account with a lot of money, and made up the "fees"  to "release funds" from his account.  He might be telliing that story so you'll send money to pay those "fees."   

If someone threatens you, you can report him to the site where you are communicating, the site where you met him,  and to the FTC at www.FTC.gov/Complaint.

 

FTC Staff
August 14, 2020

In reply to by Contiki

This man might be using you to help him transfer stolen money. Scammers often trick people into helping them. They meet someone online, create a relationship, and ask the new partner to use her bank account or open a new account. Then, the scammer asks the victim to receive and transfer money to another scammer.

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. The bank may close your account and block you from having an account in the future.

Or, this could be a different scam. The scammer might have made up a story about a bank account with a lot of money, and made up the "fees"  to "release funds" from his account.  He might be telliing that story so you'll send money to pay those "fees."   

If someone threatens you, you can report him to the site where you are communicating, the site where you met him,  and to the FTC at www.FTC.gov/Complaint.

 

Rhizza
October 08, 2020

In reply to by Contiki

HI! how does he looks like? I'm thinking I'm dealing with the same guy too.
Nige
August 10, 2020
Anyone being scammed by A Jason Lanza?
Lynn
August 12, 2020

In reply to by Nige

Nige... What does he look look ? And does he have a young daughter? I have been speaking with a Jason furnam .