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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.
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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.

Romeo1
November 15, 2020

In reply to by Rhizza

There are several programs that you can search pictures from, Google Chrome and Tineye.com are the two I use. Just click copy on the picture and then paste it to the program and click search.
Joan Von Dresselt
October 21, 2020
Hi. I've been chatting to a guy who says his name is Danny Futter, he is currently in South Africa on contract but actually from the States. He video called me but his voice on video call and on a normal call are so different. He hasn't asked me for anything, but has proclaimed his love for me. The other day I asked him to send me photos of himself, which he did, but the photos were labeled under the name of Fredrick Rogers....so obviously I confronted him about it and he apologized and said he labeled it under a different name when he was still in Myspace.com, but I have tried to google this name and get nothing as well as I tried to do a google image search, but nothing came up. Today he did a video call again with me, but I just got the feeling it was not him...his mouth movements were not what he was saying to me....I'm trying to meet up with him as I live in South Africa but yeah, you guessed it...he can't leave the site where he works as he is a foreign contractor bla bla bla....I really fell for this guy and finding it very difficult to walk away....HELP!!!!
Snowflake
October 21, 2020
Has anyone been contacted by a Dr Jeffrey George from Houston and stationed in Baghdad? Please contact me - possible scam
kbunnies
October 21, 2020
A guy that I don't even know, but we have mutuals. Just hit me up and texted me this morning and already sent me a red heart. Hes nice to me and sent what he looked like and he asked if we could hang out. Is he playing me?
Tina
October 21, 2020
This American handsome guy from oil rig in Aberdeen namely Richard met my sister via internet. 6 weeks later he said he bought her an engagement ring worth $47,500.00. Then said the ring stopped at custom duty in qatar and need $4500.00 to be released. Then he said because of sanction it has to go to uk and asked for $2500.00 postages and insurance. It cost her $7000.00 in total and he sent her a fake ring. He said someone had swapped it during transfer. He will give her money back when he gets out of oil rig. After 8 months in oil rig he said there was an oil spillage due to his fault and he has to pay $350,000.00 damages to insurance otherwise he will go to prison. He said he is very rich. His acc balance is over 3 millions dollars but is blocked because it was not activated for the past 12 months so he needs $60,000.00 to reactivate his acc to pay his insurance bill otherwise he go to prison. Apparently his in jail awaiting his lawyer to activate his acc but he dosent have the money. He is waiting for my sister to pay for his acc to be re activated. We know he is a real scam. He said he is a widow from usa with his 14 year old son living with a nanny in Sandiago .... i am so glad that we been advised by the police and the bank that to block him. He is real scammer
WalkingCoach
October 21, 2020
Watch for this one too. Ben Roland. Atlanta Georgia number on pinterest and whatsapp. 256.733.3095. Profile photo is little girl. And he says he is head of un medical in Kabul Afghanistan.. has stolen pictures of another man.
Christa
October 21, 2020
Has anyone had or has contact whit a John Grage? He supposed been In Qatar and was coming back to USA after being a self contractor working through United Nation but now is stuck at a Boarder check point and needs a bunch of money to pay for a TTPC travel card. It might be a stolen picture he uses for his profile as he is really good looking gray hair and a gray Goa Tee.
Sam2020
October 22, 2020
There are many guys claiming they live in British Columbia on Tinder trying to scam older guys to send them flight tickets money via PayPal. Do NOT do that. Your money will be gone 4ever
Kristina K
October 23, 2020
Hello. I have been talking to a guy in whatsupp for a couple of weeks now and i am having my doubts, hence why i got to this page. He claims he is from china now working in Miami Florida at Hurt oil company as a geologist. He is saying he is 35, single. He is so good looking and he even called me with whatapp camera to show me that it is him and yes it is the same guy from the pictures. The thing is.. He first introduced himself on instagram and now that instGram is deleted. He said he is 32 now saying 35. First said Delaware. Now its Florida. He hasnt ask for money, showed me pic with him and his mom, and says he will visit soon. I am afraid of these things as I have heared so many stories. I am curious to see what happens i must say, but I do not trust him.. Even with the couple of video calls that we had. Any advice please? Is anyone talking to a similar James? Thank you
Fake user dont…
October 23, 2020
I just entered a website that ask for my birth name address and reported it
RAM
October 23, 2020
Hi, I just recently encountered with I'm assuming a scammer. Not quite sure at the moment but he did drain all my accounts out. He said it's a loan but kept asking and asking for more money. To the point where I even encountered companies giving out fake loans just for you to send and pay fees after fees after fees. But anyways back to the story I think I go scammed by an African man. I do not know his real name because he send me other people's names and accounts numbers to send him money which I WAS TOO STUPID TO DO SO. Now, I'm really in need of help because he doesn't want to return any of my money. I just talk to him on the phone. I can't believe, I believed that he will help me in my situation. Then come to find out he never did and left with all my money. How should I go about this situation. 2 companies scammed me for pretending giving out loans then this guy scammed me for all my money. I would really appreciate any help please..
Kelli
November 05, 2020

In reply to by RAM

Sounds like the same person to me....he almost got me but thank god nothing had processed and I was able to change my account... I just posted as much as I could stand about the main participant I'm sure that I could find a whole lot more especially regarding the other people that he portrayed to me...and the same timeline
scammed by thi…
October 23, 2020
Took my money, wont give it back, think they work with individual scammers.
Can’tbelieveit…
October 24, 2020
Oh and all three romance scammers I had all in one day!!! An oil rig worker. A Military doctor and a deployed soldier lmao I must be popular!! Fedrick Mathew ( soldier) Michael Thomas( oil rig) and the doctor left cause I didn’t pay attention to him lol . All the are from Scrabble Go !!! Geez lol .
kas008
November 06, 2020

In reply to by Can’tbelieveit…

Wow that is unbelievable what men will do.... I had the same from a site called VIP are card game site. they are like hidden in every place possible
Romeo1
November 15, 2020

In reply to by Can’tbelieveit…

Scrabble seems to be a current hotbed for scammers looking for lonely women. One that calls himself William Davis has my wife hook line and sinker right now.
Pilotscam
October 24, 2020
Hi, I have been scammed by a guy named Andre Walsh. He said he works for Kaan Air as a helicopter pilot. I met him on scrabble go and yes, like a fool I sent money. A lot to his so called family in California Sylmar. I do have pictures of him. He apparently works on the Ayazli gas rig in the Black Sea. Watch out for this man. He is a charmer. Not sure if the pictures he sent is actually him. I just want my money back. My concern is he has my address and contact details. He has photos of me and nudes too so I am concerned he will spread it all over the web if I expose him.
Don't use MByo…
October 24, 2020
ive been on a long distance relationship for 9 months but now this guy asked me to open a IRA account and i did but now his company sent me a check to deposit in the IRA account but i cant because no where on the check its for retirement the bank did make a copy of it and it seems real so the bank said i can deposit it and open a checking account but my long distance relationship guy said no and he said his accountant said to close the IRA account and look for another bank
Hanadi M.
October 24, 2020
Someone called David Morris contacted me through LinkedIn and asking to add him in WhatsApp and Hangout, I added him and begin chatting with him daily, He told me that he is a General in US Military and working in Kabul so he couldn't call me or sending any voice notes to me because it is dangerous to do. He shared with me some photos of him when he was in the USA. after 1 week he admits that he loves me and he wants to come to my country and I have to send an email to his department to tell them that he has to come home for urgent family matters, I did that but I worried when the email asked me to pay 3500$ for publishing leave certificates to him.I search through the net about email and send an email to the Department of Defence about what happened and to inquire about the email he provided me, they provided me with information to depict if he is a scammer and how to report him. After searching about him on Linkedin I found he has many profiles with many different names but has the same information about him. when I asked him about that He has blocked me from all applications used for deceiving me.
Feel lost
November 05, 2020

In reply to by Hanadi M.

Hi there, I see myself in your story. It seems that our stories happened at the same time with the same person. It's him, Major Gen. David Wood, 3rd infantry in Kabul. 54 y/o American soldier, 33 years in the army. He lost his wife 4 years ago to blood cancer. 13 y/o daughter in boarding school in the US. I got some pics of the real soldier that did steal my heart with his eyes. I started chatting because I admire, respect and appreciate our soldiers. I am feeling lost right now after knowing that I was scammed. It hurts so bad that I still feel the pain. I wish I could have a chance just to see or talk to the real soldier in the pictures once because I admire him. I just can't accept the truth until now. I feel really terrible and can't share with anyone.
Squeedz
October 24, 2020
Recently, a young woman randomly started liking a number of my fb posts and then messaged me. She said she was in the army working with the CIA for UNICEF. Her english isn’t horrible, but it’s questionable. She urged me to go on to another messaging platform called “Telegram”. We kind’ve talked about nothing for a day then she was insistent that she loves me and wants me. Her “name” is Ava Oliver.
Mayzel
October 24, 2020
Hi all, do you know chris alvarez?
Angel rose
October 25, 2020
I think now for the moment i have te seem whit e man from Londen he sad he love me end he never see. Next month im goning to visite him in Londen but now whit te corona you have to stay inside but you also need to fil in e docement to stay insid te house so this men from Londen have to give adress if he dont give he is fake
Ussheribaby9
October 25, 2020
I have a doozie....I was scammed this past month by a 77 yo Civil Engineer from Lenoir City, TN. Said he was widowed 5 years ago and is just now ready to try to date. Outrageous, syrupy love letters came immediately. Pledged undying love after 2 emails....loved me for my soul as bodies age as they are superficial etc ...he claimed he was a Civil Engineer, born on Frankfurt, CAREER was building gas turbines, bridge constructions all over the world. Bid big bucks for project with his band of engineers called the rascals. Red flags all over the place but he had me worked up He says he is a Baptist. Worst email was him relaying a dream he had that was the most erotic inappropriate context that it would make your hair curl. Well, he was coming HOME to me and we were going to live happily ever after until he teed up his excuse. He was trying to complete his last project and the gas turbine had an explosion. He left me hanging wondering where he was. He came back at me with the disaster story which I am sure would be impetus for his claim he couldn't come to me as soon as he thought. He had me emotionally strung out, but I got it together and told him I knew all if this was bogus and how sorry I was for him that he chooses lies and deception to be the hallmark if his pitiful life. He was so shocked....how could I say such things....he's blocked from phone, no emails but text is open. I'm hoping I never see any blip from these jerks.
Holly8
October 25, 2020
I made friends with a David Marcus playing an online game. He is now working on an oil rig on the Mexican Border until after Christmas. He has left behind a daughter aged 13 and a son with no one to see to there needs he also left no honey for food or fees for school books or house hold expenses. I have since sent money each month and am sending money for school needs. We can’t really afford this money but I can’t see the children hungry. I’ve got very close to the daughter and she appears to get very upset incase I leave her. Please can you advise.
stubborn
November 05, 2020

In reply to by Holly8

Holly, stop sending money. If there are people pretending to be kids they are not. He is just stealing from you. Oil field workers and engineers are one of the most common professions claimed for scammers. Please stop immediately and delete any contact with this person after you report them. You are being used horribly and taken advantage of. He is probably doing this to a number of caring, kind women and probably does not have a job at all but lives off the money he steals. I know it will be hard for you but you are a victim. His kids are not suffering. There are probably not kids at all. Please report this guy and stop doing without so he can live a life of luxury off of you and a number of other women.
Macy
November 24, 2020

In reply to by Holly8

It's obviously a scam - no father would leave his children like that. If you need proof, look up yourself and contact the school directly and ask about fees and if the children are registered. It's a very common story that scammers tell people. Stop sending money and block the father and daughter and son, they are all scammers working together.
MB
October 25, 2020
Has anyone heard of Raymond Foreman? He's apparently on Petronius rig in Gulf of Mexico. I tracked his email address to Lagos in Nigeria. This guy maintains he's from NY and is very, very good. I've been chatting for over 5 months on Hangout. He never answered my mails until last week when I was able to track the ip address. He says he can't answer calls on Hangout there on the rig because his desktop isn't compatible and yet it rings out. The track information advises he uses an Apple iPhone. Beware of this guy, he's very good.
madas
October 25, 2020
Am talking to a David Rice, Staff sergeant in Syria. Alarm bells rang when he said he is not allowed to face time. He said he is in the 96th civil affairs battalion. My first time on a dating site he sent me a message he is 59. Thought he just wanted a pen pal as he had no family. Because I am so many years older than him I am very wary. He says he has been in Syria for four years, with no time off. Does not sound right to me so started to try and get more info on him.
thinker
October 25, 2020
Was messaged by “Marcus” from Morris, MN, on a dating app. After 4 days of brief chats, asked to go off the site. Agreed & 2 days later he contacted me. Sent rapid fire messages and a # of pics of the man from the app. Asked for a pic of me to verify it was actually me . Immediately asked what I am looking for in a man - when told I already answered that in messages on the app site, he replied that he was looking for inconsistencies as he was in military security and this was how they interrogate. Then sent a picture dressed in military gear. Said full name is Staff Sargent Marcus w Allen. Told me he had 2 daughters - the youngest who is 13 (told me she was 14 on the app) and older daughter who lives in Texas and works at Walmart. When I asked if he minded the distance between his home town and mine (it would be 5.6 hours driving distance) he said he was actually currently stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan Wrote: “To be sincere I’m in the military and I’ve been deployed here in Kabul ,Afghanistan for months now and I will be coming home in two weeks time. that’s why I want to meet my best half, the Queen to the throne of my heart to replace the void left by my late wife.” Then went on to say his 13 year old daughter lived with a nanny that he employs - sent pics of a little cutie who looks to be about 8 both alone and with him, as well as pics of his other daughter at what looks like a grad party with him, and a photo of a nurse with him who he claims is his dear, departed wife. When I commented that service in Kabul seemed to be pretty good, he said it’s because the military have things set up during certain hours only on weekends. Said he might not be able to contact me again for a little while. Told him I was in a vehicle with my daughter driving, so service seemed to be getting bad. So he said he had to go but would chat later. Looked up the phone # and it says it comes from Colorado, at some medical clinic. Looked for him on various social media but could not find him anywhere. Now I am worried that he, whoever they really are, will use my picture and my name to scam other people...
Gigi
October 25, 2020
I think this happening to me,this man is in Scotland on an oil rig and has been chatting now for a while I think he has taken someone profile..this man is very nice looking age 68, has a 21 year old daughter has been divorced for 4 yrs and now needs money to fix machine his contract will end in December and will repay me then or any one I can borrow it from..talks to me morning noon and night...but I have not sent money..and will not told him I don't have it...say he can't access his accounts...anyone else been contacted by John Inabnitt ,can't find him on fb...please let me know if you have as I feel it's a scam to.. so dissapionted to.. in myself for falling for this. I have pictures
WP/ Nov 13, 20…
November 13, 2020

In reply to by Gigi

I'm talking to a man on an oil rig in scotland too. Machine broke. Need money to get out of customs. Should be home in time for Christmas. Maxwell
Alabama lost
October 25, 2020
He says from the get go that we will have an awesome relationship. He uses my name in every sentence. Sounds like a scam to me? What do you think?
Lynn
October 26, 2020
Anyone talked with 58 y/o Jerry G Michael from Kabul Afghanistan? Says he’s a 4 star General in the Navy and a widower and his daughter was killed by an unknown gunman years ago and his 15 y/o son is in boarding school (med school) in New York. Doesn’t the Navy have Admirals not Generals? All of this is just to weird!! Hasn’t asked for money but insinuated he’d be buying me a car soon and just told me he has fallen for me.
Canadian girl
October 26, 2020
I have been chatting to a guy met on Tinder but chatting on WhatsApp ( Hervé Lousieau 49.) who claims he is from France & was on his way here to see me, but was mugged in Belgium & everything was stolen. Caught me at a weak moment as my father had just passed away two weeks before and I wasn’t in a good mental state. Sent him 3,000.00 Canadian. He claims he is divorced, two twin children just turned 5, Clair & Germain, tattoo on his left forearm and up both sides of his ribs. Think it says Tatiana. Very good looking - grey hair & also said he used to be a model. Anyone else Having contact with him. Still texts me and says he’s in love with me daily.
Macy
November 24, 2020

In reply to by Canadian girl

Sorry you were scammed, you should cut contact now otherwise it will just get more difficult to walk away.
Steve911
October 27, 2020
Anybody been scammed by a barry christian rolf?
James P.
October 27, 2020
I'm chatting with a woman who fits the profile of a scammer but she hasn't asked for money "Yet". We did a video chat over Skype, but her audio wasn't working. Over the phone, audio call, her voice doesn't seem to match her. Gut feeling something is rotten. I'm google-ing like crazy to find out if there are similar situations. This is becoming more of a puzzle or challenge, not so much of a romance.. Any comments?
Wally
November 15, 2020

In reply to by James P.

Ive been scammed big time and finally woke up. This has happened several times with different women, sending raunchy photos or videos and creating a crisis. The give away is that video chats don’t work or they are deaf so will only text. They always want you to move to hangouts or WhatsApp and then the demands for money as they tell you your gods gift to women and want to come and live with you! Just be careful guys and girls.
James P.
October 27, 2020
I'm chatting with a woman who fits the profile of a scammer but she hasn't asked for money "Yet". We did a video chat over Skype, but her audio wasn't working. Over the phone, audio call, her voice doesn't seem to match her. Gut feeling something is rotten. I'm google-ing like crazy to find out if there are similar situations. This is becoming more of a puzzle or challenge, not so much of a romance.. Any comments?
Wildbill
October 28, 2020
Hi there I believe I'm being scammed out of money there is this lady she says her name is
I’m on to him,…
October 28, 2020
I’ve been talking with a guy by the name of “Jeffery Forsberg “ who I met on POF. He says he is a green restorative architect from Sweden. He grew up in Utah has no children and is divorced from a 10 year marriage. We talk text and we did this K one time but it was a “bad connection”so it only lasted moments. He is working on his last project and will be retiring at the end of the year. He claims to live in Paradise Valley Arizona and he has an Arizona phone number. He is leaving this week to go to Cyprus for this last project. Does this sound familiar to anyone? I am on to him but still want to see what he does while he’s out of the country.
cassandraleero…
June 04, 2021

In reply to by I’m on to him,…

Hi there! my friend is also speaking with this guy from POF - how did this end up for you?
Also Scammed b…
June 10, 2021

In reply to by I’m on to him,…

Thank you for posting this information here...I have been talking to Jeffrey for the last month and his story is very much the same....until I saw your message I very much believed he was a real person and everything was legit. I did a bit more digging and found his profile with different names and occupations on various dating sites around the world. Emotionally this is tough to recover from but you saved me from getting dragged through the mud any longer than I needed to be. I'm very grateful and I sincerely hope me responding can in turn help someone else...
I’m so stupid
October 28, 2020
Has anyone encountered these two men, morrison Aldelbert Gilbert and Morgan Russell. I met these two men on Scrabble Go. Total scammers. Please let me know. I know the gentlemen who own these real names probably have no idea they are being used. Thank you
Angela
October 28, 2020
If it sounds too good to be true, IT IS! I have only fell for ONE romantic scammer back in Feb 2016, a very handsome, wealthy man that only wanted me and no one else, he even sent me poetry! When I asked him why he always messaged me at 3am when he lived in the same time zone, he disappeared. Then he resurfaced with no explanation and I bluntly said if he wouldn't reveal his name, phone number or anything personal then this is not a relationship and it is a scam. I gave him the opportunity to prove me wrong and instead he vanished. I reported him on the dating app and he had been reported by several other women during the same period. I completely avoid anyone who looks too handsome and has too much money now!!
SNUG
October 28, 2020
I had a guy dm me on instagram saying he was from Paris and lives in Florida and works as a independent contractor for the oil and gas companies. He did have pics of his son on his page and multiple pictures of him, but something felt off the whole time. We only talked for 3 weeks off and on and he kept wanting a picture of me so I asked him to go to the bathroom with a pen and paper and I told him what I wanted him to write on the paper and then take a selfie that way he couldn't photoshop it. He told me he was in the bathroom I told him what to write and then silence, waited 10 minutes and sent him a message still nothing, then I told that's what I thought nothing but a scam. He blocked me. The problem I have is, I think someone is using this guys photo and his kid is in it and I have no idea who the real person is and to let him know his identity is being used to fraud people. Cause I did a reverse photo search and the one that is used as his main picture is the one that I found being used over and over again. I did a reverse search for the pic of him and his kid and couldn't find any other versions of it, Thank God.
grey03
November 15, 2020

In reply to by SNUG

I'm mailing with a person who has a 10 years old son, this son lives in Manchester with his nanny and he is working in Ohio as an chemical technican, He is devorced and his wife don't care about the son. He asked me very soon for Whats app but I don't trust him and don't gave him. So I was google him and found him with several other names. He found me over linkedin. I don't know what I should do. Because the scamer use this picture with a other man private pictures with there son.
iriscsfl
October 28, 2020
Very interesting reading all these post. Recently I've met someone via an online dating site, very sweet, and loving. Supposedly lived very close to me in Georgia, but within in 10 days of starting to chat with him, he left for Cape Town South Africa to renovate a beach property. Didn't have time to meet before he left. He says he will be gone for about 6 weeks. He is divorced, has a 27 year old son that lives in Texas names Harry. He is originally from France, moved to the USA when he was 30, is now 62. Mother French, Father from Texas. Still speaks with a heavy French accent. Good looking, at least in my eyes, salt and pepper hair with white temples. Claims to own several homes, in Georgia, Albany NY, Cape May NJ. He is a ghost on the internet, can't find anything on him. I've checked property records, there is no name associated with his phone number. Gave me the name Ralph Fillon. We chat several times a day via text messages, he calls every couple of days, and we've video skyped a few times. The pictures he has shared, and what he looks like via skype are the same. He hasn't asked me for any money, or talked about needing money, apparently is comfortable financially. But I'm waiting for what seems inevitable. He is using phone number is 929-227-2947. Has a skype account Ha.fink. Does he sound familiar to anyone? Very curious!!!