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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.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
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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.

Susie.
June 05, 2020

In reply to by Kathy

I think we’re talking to the same man. He texts and talks about love and is very attentive even though he’s in Cyprus. His worker was hurt in a construction accident. He’s starting to hint that he needs money a and a computer. I’m really upset right now.
Scammed
June 18, 2020

In reply to by Susie.

Susie & Joni - did the same thing to me and more at the exact same time he was doing it to you ! Even cried with me !
Susie.
June 05, 2020

In reply to by Kathy

I think we’re talking to the same man. He texts and talks about love and is very attentive even though he’s in Cyprus. His worker was hurt in a construction accident. He’s starting to hint that he needs money a and a computer. I’m really upset right now.
joni
January 02, 2020

In reply to by beautiful life

Amazing - Mark Forsberg contacted me through facebook dating. he says he is 62 - he claims he is an engineer - he claimed he lives in NYC - had to go to cyprus for a project but somehow it is really extended - what is his scam? Besides wasting my time.
Susie.
June 06, 2020

In reply to by joni

I really hope you respond. Would love to talk to you and compare notes about Mark Forsberg. He has a really nice voice and is totally charming Professes his love constantly but now he’s stuck in Cyprus after a construction accident with no cc cards and a broken computer. He’s hinting he needs money.
Scammed
June 16, 2020

In reply to by Susie.

Joni & Susi - Mark Forsberg - - Me too !!! Will be back with details just found out recently - Too upset to talk but same exact time as you both !
Scammed
June 17, 2020

In reply to by Susie.

I replied once already / I can not see my response here - but I too have been scammed by him / same period of time / same issues / plus issues you haven’t mentioned ! My story is much more extensive !!!!!
Sexy girl
August 16, 2020

In reply to by Scammed

I’m turning the tables on him still talking to him read all your comments Mark Forsberg he’s been professing his love I’m laughing so hard because he’s falling for it
Marina
December 12, 2020

In reply to by Sexy girl

I spent several weeks in September and October corresponding with Mark Forsberg (met through Facebook Dating). My experience with him matches what everyones else is describing. Luckily I found this site and when he eventually sent the message about his worker getting injured and loosing his computer I was expecting it (and it was so obvious that it was a cut+paste job!!!). I challenged him on it , he turned nasty and we stopped corresponding. I almost wish I had gone along for a while longer to see what came next. Did he ask for money?
Jade
March 03, 2021

In reply to by Marina

I got the same story lol So I googled his name and found this site After I confronted him and screen shot these stories , he disconnected his phone number!! Told me accident on the construction site in cypress , his worker fell, lost his wallet n damage his phone n computer what a wacko Is that really him in the pictures Or is it someone else? Craziness!!!
Had enough
June 15, 2021

In reply to by Jade

I also got the same story from Mark Forsberg (met on Facebook Dating). He even sent me a picture of his bloody leg. He asked me to send him a computer and when I said No, he asked me why? I told him that I knew he was a scammer and had proof. He tried to deny it but I kept giving him actual facts. He hung up on me and then disconnected his phone. I sent him an email telling him to stop preying on women and to get a real job!! He was very charming and at times believable. This scammers need to be stopped!!!
Ca Hugger
July 08, 2021

In reply to by Susie.

I’ve been talking to Mark Forsberg for over a month Facebook dating, first he was in New York City and then he went to Cyprus to bid on a job. He had a wife that died five years, The daughter away at school, and the ailing mother in his home country of Sweden how disappointing to find out this might be a scam.
Susie.
June 07, 2020

In reply to by joni

He did the same thing to me. Been talking to him for 3 months now. He’s in Cyprus. Really fell for him. Will eventually ask for money.
Susie.
June 07, 2020

In reply to by joni

He did the same thing to me. Been talking to him for 3 months now. He’s in Cyprus. Really fell for him. Will eventually ask for money.
Susie.
June 07, 2020

In reply to by joni

He did the same thing to me. Been talking to him for 3 months now. He’s in Cyprus. Really fell for him. Will eventually ask for money.
Susie.
June 07, 2020

In reply to by joni

He did the same thing to me. Been talking to him for 3 months now. He’s in Cyprus. Really fell for him. Will eventually ask for money.
Scorned
August 31, 2018
Hello... I am a current victim I believe, of a Nigerian Scammer. I do not have time to tell my story right now, but will come back to do just that. Completely overwhelmed at this moment.
MGM
August 31, 2018
I was talking to guy name Paul Sanchez he is a orthopedic surgeon in Israel, wanted me to pay for a vacation home, never sent him the $950.00 to the Nato Release saying we will get married and he has a 17 year old daughter that’s is in boarding school in Alaska and his wife died...
ijmnlnsn
September 01, 2018
May I ask if someone from Us Military is real if he is using US number but he is saying that he is deployed in Nigeria for the peace mission? I stop using dating app but he message me on whatsapp and he is using Mobile Number from US. I also took screen shot of his profile photo.
Don't use your…
September 01, 2018
Yes i never sent any money but kelvin C.Woods on face book sure. Claom love very fast wanted i tunes Vanilla one and my bank in fo.do not gove anyone $unless its your good friend or family most of these scams are from nogeria .so ladies be ver carefull there are many scams out there .thanks
Nina1952
September 02, 2018
Ladies you need to be careful with this scammer named Rush Curtis Lee also goes my Rush C Lee he says he is German. He claims to be a Global Contractor. He says his wife died of breast cancer and has a son name Jeff. At the time his son 15 yrs old and a year later he is 18 was in collage in Liverpool. The 3rd day that I was texting he send me a picture saying how much he loved me. Three weeks later he was texting me that he had got a big contract in Istunbal, Turkey right away he said that needed $16,000.00 to be able to pay all his workers to get started. He wanted me to send money gram and western union to Nigerian then it was itune cards. So he was so mad when i started sending him picture of all the other women he was scamming. He did not like that so he was calling me names and cursing. I am glad that I am rid of him he blocked then started texting me again this time I blocked. Pls ladies do not except his friend request. Rush Curtis Lee. He likes to tell you trust and believe him I don't lie I don't. have to hide.
Broken and deceived
September 02, 2018
Person by the name of Susann Johnson has been asking me for itunes and amazon gift cards to help her come to me. Claimed she was first in Nigeria and now ohio. Both parents are dead but says she is the heir to uncle's oil company. Lol so outrageous and dumb. If anyone hears of this person help me in reporting them and getting them found out.
Knew it was a scam
September 02, 2018
I've had one named Patrick Wale, first he was in Florida, than he had to go to Nigeria to work. Been asking for money. I told him I work to hard for my money get a job. Why would you leave US to go to Nigeria. Did make sense to me. But that let me knew he was a scammer.
Hurt to many times
September 11, 2018

In reply to by Knew it was a scam

Good day, Can you describe what this Patrick guy looks like? I have also been talking to a guy who all of a sudden took a contract job in Nigeria out of all the places too. He hasn’t asked me for money but I know soon he will.
Lesli
September 03, 2018
Linda Bills or goes by Bills Linda is a scammer. Fake name, catfishing, a man behind the name and sexy pictures. Has men wiring money Wester Union, promising to marry them. Says she’s coming to visit than creates a lie that it’s obvious because he’s not going to meet anyone, he’s a man, a fake. Caution!!!! Reporting to authorities! Facebook needs to take action for these unlawful actions.
Scammed Deidre
September 03, 2018
Anyone know Tyler Woodgate or Joseph Tyler Woodgate or Tyler Joseph Woodgate from Houston in oil ?
shauna
February 02, 2020

In reply to by Scammed Deidre

I have a friend that I believe is being scammed by tyler woodgate. She’s wired him money to a bank account that doesn’t exist anymore and is now sending him money through iTunes. How do we expose/catch this piece? Has all of these crazy oil rig issues that sound so convincing......he’s been working her for 8 months.....
lalalooney
September 19, 2021

In reply to by Scammed Deidre

Joe Woodgate. Ohio. 6 mo civil engineer contract in Haiti. Dtr lives w/ mom (in her 80's) in Ohio with help of nanny. Widowed. "Met" through comments on fb "women working". Wanted my # to text. Hasn't begged for anything yet. Madly in love w/me by day 2
shanna
September 03, 2018
Big scammer.... I cannot believe the work this guy put in. Even made a fact medical site (Viasian Medical) so I could contact the hospital to confirm info on his sick son. Site it totally bogus. Said he has lived in Denver, moving to San Diego. Contractor/Engineer in Dubai. Sick son in Netherlands, but fly him to hospital (that is fake) in the Ukraine. Used the name John Cowry. Has Facebook with one pic, no info. Spent over 2 weeks coaxing me before hitting me up for money in the Ukraine while his kid was in the hospital. Blew up on him.
HAdams
September 03, 2018
I’m currently talking to an Albert Jackson who says he’s from Texas City and working in California as a marine engineer. Has a 7 yr old son, and his wife died 3 years ago in a car accident. Just recently flew to Germany for work. Is asking for an iTunes card or amazon card to load internet for work. I told him to use his own card to get his own card. Told him everything is screaming scammer to me, so now I’m waiting to hear back from him. Also wanted me to open a bank account which I refused. Very good looking guy. Deleted his Facebook and started on hangouts. I was only able to screenshot 2 photos
john eL
September 03, 2018
"Brian Ourth" a phony on Facebook claims he is a widower from California with a 14 year old daughter in boarding school. He sent my SIL photoshopped pictures of himself on a oil rig, where he claims he works. After romancing her for a bit and telling her he loved her and wanted to buy her a half million dollar house, he asked her for money to buy a drill bit for the oil rig. Duh, she almost fell for it but we put a stop to it. He came back on Facebook under the same name and I caught his original picture and it was some younger black guy from Africa. Brian Ourth. Run the other way if you ever see him.
I've Lost Everything
September 25, 2018

In reply to by john eL

Her.... him... Bizarre story my dear
Tired of scammers
September 04, 2018
Hi I've been reading your comments, I'm from south Africa and my mom in-law is also chatting with a guy she met on Facebook and for some weird reason every time she falls for their sick scams, every time she chats with one And they break up, then another guy just reappears. They are all from the UK some work in Rome, some are on boats, military sites also got kids in boarding school, wife died of cancer, .they constantly needed money for beverages for their kids or they send packages but them m.I.l must pay thousands for packages but she doesn't do it anymore But now my main problem is this guy claiming to be Robert Williams he is on a boat working but the weirdest thing is he says he's 65 but he looks like a guy of just 40 and a Dr George Benson who claims to love her and wants to marry she has been chatting to these 2 for almost a year nw but I think its the same scammers from before but they are just wiser nw She tells them everything about her finances even sends pics of my kids my husband and I r so tired already does anyone know these two men
S in alabama
September 04, 2018
Fmale dm me out of the blue on Twitter. Account is new that same month. Pretty picture of white fmale. In one day says move to hangout. Says father passed away is living in the US. Says father was from Canada and growing up lived in both countries. Keeps mentioning that father's lawyer is paying her bills and handling all documents. Father was an international construction. And once marriage is agreed to the father's lawyer will speak with me. After 7 days the ask for money or address hasn't happened. Abruptly stops chatting with no explanation every day. Will send pictures when asked. Said today she gets paid 5k every 2 weeks. Is graduated from a US University and is signed up to start interning as a nurse. Hope for the best.
nixi
September 04, 2018
so my mother is currently being scammed by a man whos name is 'DONALD GILBERT'. he 'HAS A DAUGHTER NAMED MERRIAM' and they are from Montana. She has already send him money once and does not understand how it could be scam no matter how many articles i show her she really feels this man needs her help.
Redavatar
September 04, 2018
Do you all know if there's a way that we could post the pictures of the man we are corresponding with? I know the scammer most probably stole the ID or even the life story of the guy in the picture, but maybe we can trace somebody to begin with. It's really cruel what they do. Please, advise.
Girl
September 05, 2018
I was scammed by a facebook guy. He told story about his wife died and his son was in emergency hospital while he has contract in Ukraine. He asked me for help. From a little money till a large of money. At that time, i broke up with my boyfriend so My mental really weak. I helped that guy without my wisdom. Im so stupid. He stole me 15,000$, all the money I have. Omg. My heart broken. My big lesson ever in my life huhu
Fioreprice
September 05, 2018

In reply to by Girl

I’m so heartbroken I can I be so stupid!! He still message me and I see him on FaceTime but I don’t trust him he said he has son but I really don’t believe him . The thing worries me the most is that I have send him couple of my pictures. Why they just get a life instead of messing with women’s heart . It’s very cruel
Fioreprice
September 05, 2018
I met a guy on Facebook one month ago and he ho by Michael West Black. I fell for him and after 2 weeks he ask me for $200 iTunes card. I knew then something was not right. I told him that he was not the man in the pictures. I blocked him but some how he send me an email saying that he needs me in is life and will tell me the truth. So he said that that was is first time doing it and that he’s really sorry. We FaceTime and he is from Lagos West Africa . Please help ! What should I do ?
Don't use your…
September 05, 2018
A Mark Ruddock commented on my Instagram post. Then he requested to follow me. As it turns out his pictures belonged to a famous Russian Artist /tv personality called Alexey Lushnikov! This was 3 weeks ago. He was an engineer ship contractor going between UK and Greece. A widower had a 15 year old daughter Lisa in boarding school in Texas. Fell in love with me lol within a week! Left me good morning messages as we lived in different time zones. YouTubed me love songs! Yesterday he said "now you can do me a favour" l am out of data on my ship and get bored. Can you go to the iTunes Store and buy me games? A redflag went up!!! I said no and played dumb about doing it. He was not happy. Told him we would talk later. Then l blocked him. He had been hounding me to download Hangouts but l had a bad feeling and didn't.
Starsweet
September 05, 2018
Please help get these scammers of the websites and apps, i think i am also being scam by One going under the name of Charles Edwin from florida he has gray here 56 years old and his teen age daughter 17 she is blond, and he is working on and oil ridge claim he is widoved wife died in car accident 8 years ago and his teen age dauther living with his elder sister in england, he send me emails of 3 to 4 pages every 2 to 3 days telling how much he love me and want me to be his lifetime partner and i am the one he was having hard time to find using the Lord name etc
NotReal
September 06, 2018

In reply to by Starsweet

Lady, don’t fall for it. It’s not real, they are very good at talking sweet, say nice things to trap you. Once you’re in then they will pretend that they have problems with this and that and not talking to you for a day or so; then start asking for help. Be careful out there. A lot of scams such as guys from Army or whoever is. If they are a real soldier they don’t allow to use phones like almost 24hrs. Think what they said if it makes sense. Asking the same questions that you asked before to check if they give you the same answer. It won’t match up if they make up the story. Good luck!
Maria Sky
September 05, 2018
Hi, I’m also want to confirm this guy that I’ve been chatting with for 3 weeks now. I’ve met him on tinder actually in his profile he doesn’t have a photo wearing a uniform all 5 photos were normal pictures. But in his short description he said that he’s a navy not looking for a hooks ups. That’s why I swiped right without thinking he would swiped right for me as well. When we matched he didn’t actually message me first. I’m the one who started the conversation asking him whats the color of his eyes. Then after 2 days he replied a very long message saying sorry to me that he replied so late because he can’t use his phone a lot because of restrictions at his work. he said if I still want to talk to him I can send him an email (which is a gmail account) so he gave me his email add and his number though I didn’t get his number only his email. I sent him an email telling that I'm the lady he met on tinder. In these 3 weeks we can’t communicate daily since from monday to wednesday he’s not allowed to send messages because he said his comrades are there and they were not allowed to use systems. He said he’s 29 years old working as an army staff sometimes in survaillance sometimes in IT. And from thursday till sunday he can send me long emails, long because he only send 1 email per day. He gave me his skype using his gmail I saw it with a different photo but the same face, though we haven’t use it yet. He always sends me his pics on his uniform with his last name printed on the right side. He said he doesn’t use any social media because of restriction they are not allowed to have any. Though I’ve searched his name, email, even those photos he send to me thinking he might just grab it (using google image and other image searching tool I found online I’ve search his photos) after many tries I have'nt found any information of him or relating photos. I can’t locate any social media aside from his skype which has the same email as what he was using now. I even used linked in but I found nothing. Actually he’s a very nice guy and he’s very articulate. He also telling me sweet words in which how happy he was whenever he received an email from me. Though he doesn’t talk much about his job I just cant help it but be worried if he’s lying to me or not. I don’t want to fooled as much as possible do you think he’s actually telling the truth?
Kate
September 10, 2018

In reply to by Maria Sky

He might be a scammer. I wouldn't send him any money, and I would block him if he asked for any
Sunshine
September 06, 2018
Met a guy named Chris Wilson on a dating website. He said he is 61 a widow and has a 23 year old daughter. His wife was killed 5 years ago in a car accident. His daughter stays with his mother-in-law in Stockholm, Sweden while he travels for work. He just completed a Job in Sacramento,Ca and waiting to hear about a job he applied for 2 years ago in Cyprus. Flying there in a couple days and that there were five applicants that were going to be interviewed. He got the job and sent me a copy of the contract and a form to fill out in case something happened to him. It said to be filled out by next of kin. He has a sister in South Dakota and I talked to her on the phone. I looked her up and she seems legit. All of a sudden he is having trouble with his bank in South Carolina and he can’t order the supplies for his job. He wants me to do it. The he needs more goods for this job that he forgot. Tells me he knows I have the money but I just don’t want to send it too him. He sends me a notice from his bank showing it was suspended and he would have to come in person and get it straighten out. I went through all the sweet talk and him planning our future. He is now telling me to find someone else. I think he is mad about the money. I have no money to send anyone. Went on google image and another site and nothing comes up. Does this man sound familiar to any of you?
Susie.
June 06, 2020

In reply to by Sunshine

Hi Sunshine. It’s two years later and I think I’m being scammed by the same man. Took nev3 months to figure it out. He was very attentive and said the nicest things to me. Talked about love. He’s in Cyprus now and needs money.
Scammed
June 22, 2020

In reply to by Susie.

Susie - I wish there was a way we could talk. - Mine, yours and Joni are current, he was scamming us at the same exact time , with the same stories - did he send you a picture of the crushed laptop and his bloody leg from helping the hurt worker ?????
Chris
September 06, 2018
Has anyone come across a Jordan Martinez? Says lives in Pennsylvania, works for Ford, overseas for his job. Originally from spain?
Queenie1965
June 20, 2019

In reply to by Chris

Yes a person by that name contacted me tonight on Instragram
EndAllScams
January 03, 2020

In reply to by Chris

Yes. Met a 35 year old man named Jordan Martinez who was originakky from Spain. Said he lives in South Dallas and works as a mechanical engineer. Ladies beware: His profile is on Hinge (dating app). He is a big time scammer. Took me 2 days to figure it out then I blocked him, reported him, and deleted him from my life. Truly disgusting.