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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.

Pof
November 15, 2020
Does anyone know of a Darrin Harris.. engineer.. has a contract in Kenya Africa?? Bald beard good looking tattoos on arms chest ( these pictures used)
Amarena
November 15, 2020
Be careful with a man called Gunnar Marcus playing on Scrabble go, he said he is an engineer working at BP oil in Houston TX and with a man called Randy Erazm on Facebook who changes often his pictures and where he works. Both of them are fake profiles.
Melpink86
November 15, 2020
Yup, same story. A man is friend of a friend. So I accept the request. He deletes his profile and asks me to talk to him on hangouts. Widowed man in LA with a son. He is a mechanical engineer on a naval ship in Scotland.
LoriL
November 15, 2020
Has anyone been talking to a Philip Noah. He says he is 55 and is from Germany but lives in Clearwater Fl and is an engineer with line shipping. His wife died and has a daughter. Currently says he is on the high sea embarking on a delivery trip to Japan.
mztazzz
November 26, 2020

In reply to by LoriL

I saw pic of him on army scammer I am chatting with him just waiting to ask for money. say he is coming home end of dec we will marry. I am going along with him see what else he says
mztazzz
November 30, 2020

In reply to by LoriL

I saw pic of him on army scammer I am chatting with him just waiting to ask for money. say he is coming home end of dec we will marry. I am going along with him see what else he says Same pic I have
Sunnygirl
November 15, 2020
I joined Instagrm in August 2020. Since then at least 9 guys, all with the same story, contacted me to chat. All widowers with one child in a different location. All claim to be on an oil rig or in middle east as a doctor for peace-keeping missions. I needed someone to chat with so it goes ok for about 2 weeks. Only 2 asked for money, of which one wanted a $100 game card called "Steam" for his son's birthday. He finally gave up on me! The other was impersonating a famous country music artist , that for 2 months began demanding money on the first of the month. He even sent pizza to me !! No contact since 9/29...he gave up on me also. Stupid naive, gullible me for allowing someone to touch me emotionally so thoroughly. I am single since 1989, so yes I get bored and lonely. All these guys used photos of famous celebrities to reel you in. I bet females scammers do the same. Dr Phil has shows on all week of people scammed by all kinds of thieves. Be alert!!
Duped in detro…
November 16, 2020
I met a man named Adrian Ivan Mazur on the Our Time dating site on 9/28/2020. He lived an hour away but his profile caught my attention. We messaged on the site for a few days but it was an awkward platform so we began texting. We talked on the phone a few days later. His wife had died from cancer 5 years ago. They were from Australia but had moved to NYC shortly before she got sick. No kids, no family. After her diagnosis they moved to Toledo, OH. Of all places in the US, why Toledo? He said the cost of living was lower. That is still an illogical location for an international to choose. He said he was a petroleum engineer who started his own contracting company and landed a project in Dubai/Abu Dhabi on the largest underground crude oil storage facility in the world. The project was due to complete on 11/1. He planned to retire and buy a little coffee shop somewhere. He began professing his affection early and in less than a month, he knew we were destined to be together. We were supposed to meet in person but his project manager in Dubai was in a coma after a horrific accident and he had to leave immediately to finish the project. There were many red flags in his details and his accent was not all Aussie. 2 weeks into the project, he spilled coffee on his laptop which fried it. He wanted me to locate a new logic board but I couldn't. He decided to buy a new laptop but the morning after he used a computer in the business center of the hotel, his bank account was compromised and his account at Lloyd’s bank was frozen. His laptop order was cancelled. He asked me to look for the replacement but noone had it in stock. He miraculously found “a guy” over there who had a brand new one. He asked to borrow the $2700 and he would pay me back when he got his 2 million dollar payment. He wanted me to send bitcoin to this other guy. I agreed to send it to him. Dumb move anyway. Fortunately, the transaction was flagged and the transfer of funds was stopped. All I lost was the $540 fee. Yikes! It could have been worse! He was Supposed to fly home today and he asked me to pick him up at the airport. I agreed but we never talked with about the details. I texted him late Friday night and Saturday am at 4:30 but he didn't reply until 8:15 am on Saturday my time (5:30 pm in Dubai). Said that he was in a meeting and would call me as soon as it was done. By 11:30 am my time no call and after numerous conversations with my friends and reading the posts here I blocked him. He called and texted via Whatsapp (which he didn’t have previously because I asked) late Saturday night, but I did not reply. Be careful. He was smooth, really smooth.
Not Falling Fo…
November 24, 2020

In reply to by Duped in detro…

Do you have a picture of this guy? All of this sounds similar to mine, but the name.
coxe
November 16, 2020
I COXE i meet a man on tagged called Justin Philip Leed see what he was trying to tell me i think he he a conman .he will send me the following that i give him my address . 1. Teddy Beer Big one 2. A gold wrist watch and neck-less 3. D & G perfume 4. A set of make-ups 5. A rose flower [very important to me,because its from my heart to you my love] 6.Apple Laptop 7. Ipad mobile and 8. $100,000 (you will use the money to secure and furnish a new apartment pending my arrival OK) Because after my one month contract assignment there in Africa... i intend spending my up-coming three months vacation with you in your country, so that we will have much time to plan for our future and family Ok
coxe
November 16, 2020
Ladies beware of Justin Philip Leed
SS61
November 16, 2020
If you meet a person online, you MUST confirm their identity. If you keep coming up empty, this is a red flag!! If they owned property there will be a public document of the transaction/s. Look at the Registry of Deeds in the location (county) that they say they are from, are living, or lived in the past. Secondly, if they claim to be from the same area you grew up, ask a question about the area that only people who live there would know. This should be asked during LIVE conversation. A certain locally-owned store or a past event or festival that everyone knows about that is specific to your area.
GillM
November 16, 2020
There is a website called words with friends. There are at least 20 men on here using the same stories and scams that you have been talking about. You might want to check it out see if they match the ones you are mentioning here
Fishers
November 16, 2020
Happens everywhere, the buttomline is never send any money to anybody, they always comes with pitiful stories ,
grammy62
November 16, 2020
Anyone talking to someone named Nilson Morgan he says hes in the army he's a first sergeant he says he's from Dothan Alabama he's 48 years old and has a daughter and he's been a widower for 6 years ago,
Lindy lou
November 17, 2020
Anyone talking to fredrick blain. Really good looking Wants my cc image so he can send me money to buy him a steam card. Mor talking now as he is mad at me for not doing as he wants. Says he is s marine engineer on a ship , of which there is no name. Beware. Wish we could post their pictures
Almostscammed
November 17, 2020
Has anyone successfully tried identifying who the pictures the scammers are using? im really curious.
DaisyCat
November 18, 2020

In reply to by Almostscammed

No, but I'd love to know whose pictures the scammer I encountered used - he's lovely looking and I'd really like an intro ...! :-D
Belle
November 17, 2020
Are these guy/s religious? I am talking to one and this time he is saying that he is claiming a an inheritance from his dead father in law for his daughter. He did not ask me any money yet, but keep telling me that his bank here in the US has been hacked. I have pictures of him( not sure) if it's really him or just using someone's picture. I want to keep prettending that I have no idea about scammers until I get to the bottom of this.
Son
November 17, 2020
Hi guys I am from india I am going through the same problem i have started chatting with a guy online and he asked me for amazon gift card to gift his cousin Please temme how to retrive that money It was a matrimony website called jeevan saathi And the guys name was addinath kothare I am still talking to him
Blondei7619
November 17, 2020
I have been talking to a guy named mark Davies who is a civil structural engineer. He claims he lives in Palm Springs and just recently traveled to instanbul turkey for a contract for 1 month_he is 43. Anyone have the same experience? I have talked on the phone with him every day but when try to video...it cuts off after 10 seconds. Strong accent...not sure where from.
Daffy duck
March 09, 2021

In reply to by Blondei7619

Hi I think I’ve been talking to the same guy have any more details on him
ssadcollegehuy
November 17, 2020
So I was lonely in college, I thought I found the perfect woman. All said and done I filled out the report. I was younger a dumber I didn't realize it was scam until too late, I did what you're supposed to and cut them off. Sadly the emotional connection from being so young is hard to break. I hope you all have an easier time moving on than I
N8tvwldcat
November 18, 2020
Has anyone chatted with a Jeffrey Williams? says he from Brooklyn, NY works as a rig engineer. He's been using a picture of a professional boxer.
Samantha the fool
November 18, 2020
Please be advised there is a person using John Foreman who suppose to have a 15 year old daughter Mandy. They both are scam artist who quickly escalated the sweet words, of I love you without even meeting me. Just recently I was asked to send $1500 for her schooling. When i played their game and asked the name of the school. They are not very smart because they gave me the name and I called to find no one with that name went there.
Floridian
November 18, 2020
My scammers name is Rudolf Arthur Weiss, wants to be called Art, works in the oil industry, on a rig in the Gulf of Mexico, and because of the radioactive material is not allowed to make phone calls or take selfies. Charmed and romanced for three weeks and then started asking for money- said no, and broke off, but he came back, apologized and romanced some more. then asked for iTunes cards, which I gave, did not say thank you, no mention of returning the money. Then just asked for a personal loan to pay for lawyers for a very lucrative contract. His FB is fake, only African friends, picture of him sitting in a private jet reading a newspaper, or one of him sitting at a table eating gnocchi. Met him on eharmony.
AnnieM
November 18, 2020
I matched with a guy on hinge Scott Lobon who said he was in Syria and worked as a marine. He told me to talk with him on Skype. It started out innocent with just getting to know eachother and then the romantic questions started and he stated that he was getting a really strong connection with me. At one point he asked for nude pics which I refused. We talked about past relationships. Then yesterday he was telling me that they could not get supplies because the government was backed up. Both his parents are dead and he is an only child. Then today he asked if I would go to the Bitcoin store and send him Bitcoin. He would pay me back as soon as he got back in the states. I told him no. He was adamant at first but then seemed to let it go when I refused. He changed the subject and then told me he loved me. After that he asked how I felt. I said I thought he was a nice guy and would like to meet him. He asked why I would not support him then. I deleted the conversation then.
SP
November 25, 2020

In reply to by AnnieM

This just happened to me with the same guy. Starting talking on hinge, seemed normal and then I got a weird feeling. He came on real strong, real fast. Downloaded Skype to talk to him and decided to google him once I saw the last name. So thank you so much for this comment because I immediately deleted the app!
LP
December 02, 2020

In reply to by AnnieM

Same thing happened to me with the same guy, Scott Lobon. Pretty much the same exact story. Matched on Hinge, downloaded Skype to communicate with him. Came on real strong then asked me to help him out and send Bitcoin. I also refused, saw this post and cut off communication. Thank you for speaking out about this.
Tdedeker40
November 18, 2020
I was found on a very popular site that millions of people are on every day. This person found me and asked to be friends as a nice person as IAM said sure he wants to be friends sure. After I started talking to him he asked to go on another site. Again as stupid as IAM I said ok so I did he shows love candy claims to have kids I asked for the address to send Christmas cards to these kids but the kids never gave me there address. The "kids" where under the age of 18 living by themselves while this guy I'm talking to is out at sea as a Marine oil engineer outside of Florida. This "guy" starts asking me for Google play to turn in reports for his "work" and to update his phone. I just need some kind of help I am someone that has a learning disability and a vulnerable adult!
Macy
November 23, 2020

In reply to by Tdedeker40

Just stop talking to him, block him on all sites, don't give him any information about yourself. If you have to, delete your dating profile for a while so he can't contact you.
claire41uk
November 25, 2020

In reply to by Tdedeker40

hi, i am having this issue with my mum , she has bipolar an is in the middle of being scammed, i have got the mental health team an police going round tomorrow xx
Chris
November 18, 2020
I met a woman in Ghana. I met her 1 day then she had issues and couldn't see me again. I've reconnected with her again and have been working to get her Visa. She's had 3 interviews and now has the visa. She's told me I cannot book her flight but the Ghana citizen must book their own flight. I have met her once in person and have video chatted several months. She is a real person and I've even seen her passport. My issue is should I believe that she isn't scamming me. Do Ghana citizens really need to buy their own tickets and does it take 3 interviews to get a visa?
Chocolate diamond 33
November 18, 2020
Hi can someone help me i been talking to this young guy for 4 months now he asking for Bitcoin and i screenshot of my id to do our marriage license his name is Greg George but on Instagram its dante whipple please help me oh and he lives in California he says
Macy
November 23, 2020

In reply to by Chocolate diamond 33

Do NOT give him your identity details - he will steal your identity and use it to take out loans or to scam other people and then you might get in trouble. Do not pay him any money at all, block him and don't talk to him again.
Incredibly con…
November 19, 2020
Well, I’ve got a 19 year old son that’s fallen in love with a girl he met via the internet. This was back in May. This girl has talked him into buying her a plane ticket from Russia to Istanbul, and he’s purchased himself a ticket as well. Like really, if it were for romance wouldn’t you go like to Paris, Rome, Italy, etc ,etc? This is an educated young man. He won’t listen to me. Ever herd of such foolishness
Bug125
November 19, 2020
Has anyone spoke with a Mathew Atkinson from Florida who says is a CIA agent?
should've know…
November 20, 2020
Lost my heart and $2,500. I broke it off and he sent me a photo of his passport, so I believed and took him back. Brody James Mathison. Very handsome with grey eyes and white/silver hair depending on the light. Photos with his dog... Claimed to be a widower with dead parents and a 14 yo son. Met on fb dating but started texting on my private number. Yeah, he fell in love with me quickly. I thought I was helping him get home from Turkey, sent money 3 times, but it was never enough to get him home. He asked me to take out a loan and to get a credit card...which I didn't do, but I did give him money and all my vitals. SS# drivers licence...bank info. Now I feel stupid, I'm out that money, and my heart is broken. Reported him to fb dating as a scammer, and I'll be persuing more ways to stop him from doing this to someone else, but it still hurts and I'm still in love with the idea of him that I had.
ms kotter
November 24, 2020

In reply to by should've know…

I am responding to should have known. A few weeks back i was in your shoes and i completely understand what has happened to you and how it has affected you. I will share something with you that helped me when i was scammed by a man calling himself Craig Macgregor. Like you, i fell in love with the illusion that Craig created, which was not a real man. When the real man emerged, he was not the same man i thought i fell in love with. The real man was grasping and greedy. He was bullying when i couldnt and wouldnt come up with more money. I told the bullying Craig that i cold never truly love him because he makes a living destroying innocent people. Reality shook me out of it. My parting message to him was that he needed to change his entire life and get saved by Jesus. Ifhe didnt, he would spend all eternity in hell. I dont know if it impacted him in any meaningful way, but it did me because i was seeing him clearly for what he truly is. I dont miss him at all, but i am a bit concerned about his eternal future. This concern doesnt keep me awake nights at all.
Feel so stupid
December 25, 2020

In reply to by should've know…

Do you have any photos we could compare?
Scammed
April 10, 2021

In reply to by should've know…

Was the pic of him laying with his dog? Was it a sheep dog?
Gottostopthem
November 20, 2020
Positive I’m headed for being asked for. He has a thick accent. We have Skyped but of course lost connection. Says he is Raymond Derrick. Was on Zoosk. Reached out to me. Sweetest words that no one says in a week. Now he is supposedly headed to Canada for two weeks for work. Some sort of logging thing. No Facebook. Comes up on no searches. Nothing. Sends pics daily with nothing in background to identify his location. Met two other ones online that I knew immediately were scammers. And confronted with their lies and was cut off. If anyone has had contact with Raymond please let me know.
Hello Blondei7619
November 25, 2020

In reply to by Gottostopthem

This guy is Simmon Fasey (951)968- 5231. This scammer aka Ryan Leister, Paul Blase, Clement Martins, Danil Mazik. He speak English with strong accent ( russian, Romania... ) speaks Spanish and russian. He uses more 20 virtual phones
Scammed
April 10, 2021

In reply to by Gottostopthem

Similar story of my friend’s scammer. Wife was a drug addict. No kids. Lots of $. Owns logging business.
mztazzz
November 21, 2020
Anyone heard of William Moren in army says from Miami, Fla.
YL_2345
November 23, 2020
I have been scammer by Dr.ps1@ , phone number +441444391255, Paul Steven in the linkedin as Medical Supervisor, now he work with UN in syria , He has daughter 13 years old in the icu in London with a nanny. He didn't ask money to me but he ask me to open his account bank in swissgroupinternational he can't open because he was in syria and He want me to send email to Ethan Aibscher at Swiss Privet bank as his fiancee, He is willing to nominate me as the next of kin and direct beneficiary to his inheritance account. He very angry with me because I investigated Ethan Aibscher..and 4 days a go he blocked my wa number. If someone chat with him becarefull. I do something stupid sent my passport to him, please help me what i should do..?? Please advise
Corky93
November 22, 2020
I've had one named George Matthew contacting me the past 2 weeks. His story has always changed. Never asked for money though. Still the Dr stuck in Iraq story that speaks with very broken English. Handsome and charming, so I know it was probably a matter of time.
Bella Cloud
November 23, 2020
I have met many scammers on an online Scrabble game. I generally just wasted their time. But something was different with Justice Barrack. And my heart fell for him but my mind didn't and I never sent any of the money he asked for. Like many scammers he built me up with words of love then ripped me apart with scathing remarks when I wouldn't send him money. He keeps finding me and I give in. But never send him money. My heart is so silly.
kylesmom
November 23, 2020
My son a college student has been in a relationship with a man calling himself Henry Colton for a year now and has been sending him money. To the bank of Nigeria and now a cash app. He has had jobs and has sold hid few belongings to send $ to him. We don’t know where to turn to for help he doesn’t believe he is getting ripped of, how can I convince him.