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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.

Backup4afight
November 24, 2020

In reply to by kylesmom

I'm worried about my friend, she's been talking to a guy for awhile. He's stationed at camp lemonnier, has anyone talked to a guy named Andrew? Andrew is from Pennsylvania, has a tattoo of a rosery around his neck.
herbal squirrel 76
November 23, 2020
My guy is in Afghanistan, a U.N. peacekeeper, a high-rank; he has said enough that I believe this is true, however, he asked for and received a vacation slot ($6700), now he is into Bitcoin (a no-no for active duty). Now he needs $30,000 for his plane trip home (huh??) anytime I ask for information he goes ballistic and starts accusing me of having another love interest. I know I should not give the $30,000 for his plane trip home, but any other info you all can give me would be so appreciated. He says we will get married in December, if he comes home; ???? So much pressure about money. I'm weary.
mztazzz
November 26, 2020

In reply to by herbal squirrel 76

They never should need money to come home. Military pays for all expenses when their duty is up
CrystalPh.d
November 27, 2020

In reply to by herbal squirrel 76

He is scamming you and only wants your money. What do you know about him? Nothing. Being there, done that.
Optimist
March 18, 2021

In reply to by herbal squirrel 76

Is he about to retire? Does he have a teenage daughter in boarding school? Wife left him for another man & broke his heart? Italian accent? Is his name Daniel Kaplan? Sends romantic messages and songs? Mine is an orthopedic surgeon with N.A.T.O. Peacekeeping in Afghanistan, and I believe him. I sent over $20,000 I didn’t have . Promises to pay me back if he gets back to the States (used to be when), and he’s a man of his word. Wants to marry me , &and be with me & his daughter. Don’t send $30,000 for plane ticket. It can’t cost that much.
Hope Eternal
June 23, 2021

In reply to by Optimist

Same Daniel Kaplan contacted me and was about to retire in August of 2019. I also sent over $20,000 I didn’t have. Wants to marry me too. Is his daughter named Natasha? Wife left when she was 5 years old? I believe him too.
Noemi
November 23, 2020
Hi, Does anyone had scam by General Richard Benjamin Wesley 57 years old military guy before retiring.
Concernedgirl
November 23, 2020
Does anyone know someone using the name Kelvin Lincoln, ExxonMobil contractor working offshore in Canada. From Spain, lives in Los Angeles, widowed one son that's in boarding house in London. Claims job is shutdown this week and needs original contract from "a safe house" back in California. And can't continue job til he gets this document?
Anonymous
November 24, 2020
I've had a few profiles follow me on Instagram and claim to run orphanages in Africa that were struggling (they posted lots of pictures of African orphans), and lots of profiles claiming to be young African men struggling with their families All of them asked for money. They kept trying to video chat me (I always refused), and would send DMs with their sob stories. I stopped following anyone who claimed to run orphanages and be poor kids in Africa, and I rarely follow anyone who I don't personally know or have any mutual friends with.
Not Sure
November 24, 2020
Has anyone been scammed by a James M. Meeks, Jr. Claims to be US Army artillery mechanic here in US. He hasn't asked for money yet, but its only been two weeks. He loves me though. His wife passed 2yrs ago. He was born in Griffin, GA, but raised between here & KwaZulu-Natal (South Africa). He has a heavy African accent. I cannot find any information for him online. He has deleted his profile on the dating app where we met. Am I being scammed?
claire41uk
November 25, 2020
hi my mum suffers from bipolar an is in the middle of getting scammed by a man who she believes is in texas, he is originally from afghanistan or somewhere near there, he has a 17 year son who lost his mum, i dont want to put the name on here as i have police intervention going to my mums tomorrow, but if i could honestly locate him, i would destroy him for doing this to my mum.
Scammers
November 25, 2020
I am talking on hangouts with bryan genge same sort of story said his pictures were stolen, he wont. Facetime or skype he said he is stuck in uk as an engineer, It’s meant to be flying back to Australia in two weeks sent me a itinerary which is probably fake I have sent no money he’s asked for Nan but I suspect he’s some sort of scammer he has professed is love over and over very quickly
broken
November 25, 2020
I am new to this site. I have a man who claims he is an independent engineer and does some form of work on oil rigs. His name is Andrew William say he is from fort laurdale , Fl his phone number is from mill valley, ca. he wants me to open a bitcoin account for him. Met him on yatazee with buddies. Has anyone had any contact with him? says he is 58 and from sweden
Jacki
November 26, 2020
Has anyone cross by someone name MICHEAL KARIM WAXLEX
Jacki
November 26, 2020
Has anyone cross by someone name MICHEAL KARIM WAXLEX. From the Philippines
Lad
November 26, 2020
Can you help me find someone. I am in a relationship with Adam Michealson for a year now. He is 21 years old and he said he's from England and now he is based in Chicago. He work in an advertising company and he said they are not allowed to used any social media apps. We are using telegram in communicating each other. I can't contact him for a week now.
Love target
November 26, 2020
Tom Rodrigas Phillips posing as a US Marine. He is a text book scammer. Asked to move to google Hangouts right away, texted for a few days then asked for money. He is very smooth says every thing a woman wants to hear. Be careful ladies.
Gotmegoodon't …
November 26, 2020
Just figured it out after a month of communicating. Traveled to Alaska and owned a steel construction company. One, 16 year old in London. Gave me access to email and bank account to transfer funds. Most lovely spoken words and I was so in love at first. Did send $3700... but not my money. Too many red flags from the beginning. 3 photos sent. Found drafted emails in email of same documents. Stanley Mount and Michael Nelson... same person. Nothing revealed under background check! Be very careful ladies... he asked originally for $50k, then $10k... most I offered was the $3700... they talk like they care so much about you! Definitely had me going for awhile as I wanted it to be real!
Jet
November 26, 2020
Anyone chatted to Richie Ejovi Omoraka. Been chatting to him for a few months. See his name on here but kind find the remark. Thanks
should've know…
November 26, 2020
Scammed out of $2500.00 and my identity. Still in love with the idea of him ...and his face. I feel so stupid and ashamed...haven't told anyone. I have cut all contact and informed some of the services I sent him money through, I included a photo of his (fake?) passport and a current photo. Looking back at the texts I feel angry. Looking at his face still hurts.... He knew I was terminally ill ... still played me like a violin with declations of love, need, and a future. Met on fb dating. So I'm poorer, aching, and feel like the biggest fool ever born. He said his name was Brosy, his dogs name is Max. He claims to be a widower with a son (he barely spoke of which should've told me something) gray/white hair and moustache/beard, gray eyes, big smile, nice white teeth. I pray no one else gets hurt like this, by anyone. Be Blessed
Relentless 12
November 26, 2020
I have had a man going by names Richard Bryan and Richard Byran on Hangouts trying to scam me for supposed love an insisting heavily on my sending him $400 in some fashion. He gave me a bank and routing #, a physical address for sending money, finally demanding gift cards. He called me abusive things after awhile, “stupid,” “wicked,” etc. when I kept refusing to send the gift cards. He sounded enraged as time passed. I figured he might be a scammer, but wondered how far he would go with pretending that I am the “true love,” and with sending the gift cards. He finally blocked me. What a relief, I did not send money. I know he can unblock me and begin again, but no biting on my end this time. He is a one trick scam pony, but he must still be hurting some people!
Anonymous
November 27, 2020
BEWARE OF MARTIN SMITH!!! My mother has been being scammed by a man calling himself Martin Smith. Posting just in case there is another woman looking for information on this guy. Unfortunately, my mother is still very much struggling to accept that he is a scammer despite the evidence. Same story as everyone else here. He messaged her on wheel of fortune gaming app and quickly moved to third party apps like Skype and hangouts, email and text/calls. Widowed, older teen/young adult daughter in boarding school. Oil rig engineer who has been in the gulf of Mexico for a year and was in Yemen prior to that. He says he is from Nj but originally from Denmark. Once when I had him on the phone I tripped him up and he said he was from "Spain South America". He clearly missed geography class. He also has an accent that sounds Nigerian to me. He has convinced my mother that he needs her money in order to get "his lock box" of money and then he will pay her back. She has been robbed of tens of thousands of dollars and counting at this point. Ftc and fbi reports were made, unfortunately he has his hooks in her. This has just about destroyed our relationship but I figure if I can share the name maybe I can help someone else out there as he is 100% doing this to several women at the same time as he often gets his facts mixed up. BEWARE MARTIN SMITH and any of the low life scum like him.
Yulia
November 27, 2020
Some body add me at Instagram ..look good looking guy Chinese Singapore that he post himself.and start conversation for couple weeks. he ask my number because I love child.and he said he have a little girls 6 year old.so cute. As I'm a mother I feel more close after he talk about his mom being sick and he been devorve for 2 year ..and he said he love me I tell him that I'm married even my married is still problem. He said he he rich engineer from Singapore live at UK.. then he planing want to come to my country Indonesia to meet me to buy me house and will sent the money to me I'm very curious about this between believe or not. He said he going to turkey sea for work in genesis oil company from there he will come to meet me. he plan to sent the money while he work there and the company will message me for wire transfer money ask my detail for confirmation. my stupid thought that I do replay then send my passport and my bank acc. To be his benefersey acc. Then the company email me and will proses his salary to sent to me with form need to sign. I do sign . The next day the company say I need to pay the tax 10 % from the total his salary before the companies release the money with form and head stamp by oil gas company. that time I know something not right. But the person keep said ask me to hel because the money will be belong to me and him. 800.000 euro. ? He keep beg if I really love him ask me to prof that I can help him by sent the tax money first..I keep said No No..please let me know when f someone in here have issue the some story. Thank you
Flyingtheskies
November 27, 2020
Anyone have photo guy says he's from Brazil tats good looking uses name Allen Marcus but sure he uses other names. Please send photo to Instagram flyingtheskies1
Don't usedebbi…
November 27, 2020
My friend has been talking to a guy who says he is a Cpt in the Army, returning from Kenya. He said he’s bringing back gold bars and had all the paperwork in order but now he got detained in Amsterdam. The customs people are holding him until he can get the missing paperwork. He got an international attorney. But it’s still taken over a week. His name is Captain Richard Owens. Does this sound like a scam or real? He’s never asked her for money.
TeddieRivers
November 28, 2020
Until tonight, I "knew" a "Stephen Richard" of mutual following on Twitter. He DMed me tonight and asked "how are you doing, where do you live, if you could wish for one thing what would it be," etc. Which I, fool, thought was just making conversation. He said he was "an orthopedic surgeon on a peacekeeping mission in Sana'a, Yemen." Said it is a dangerous place (doh). Said he was a widower from Minnesota with a son, who "cannot be here," in boarding school. I felt sorry for him - he seemed lonely. He expressed Interest in what I did for a living, if I were married and/or with children, what my religious interests were, and what kind of car I have. I told him I am married with three kids, which did not deter him. He volunteered that he drives a Range Rover. Soon he asked for my email address (not given), and wanted to move the convo to Hangout. At which point I *finally* became suspicious, offered an excuse to leave, and logged off, but not before blocking him. Then I Googled his name + "orthopedic surgeon Peacekeeping in Yemen" - which led me to this site. Watch out, ladies, for these lonely orthopedic surgeon-widowers with children in boarding school, posted in the Middle East!!
Millie
November 30, 2020

In reply to by TeddieRivers

Yes, that's the guy I chatted with on Facebook today. Exactly the same story except he was posted in Syria. I had a feeling it was a scammer.. I didn't accept the request.
Callie
November 28, 2020
Has anyone gotten a Luke Atkinson claiming to be from Southampton, England. He was in the MCA merchant marines for the national coastguard? He’s 36, birthday Dec 22nd and his dad died, now his mom has cancer. And he’s supposed to fly here on Monday. As I’m typing this, I feel really dumb. I am not sure yet fully if it’s a scam, hence why I’m asking anyone who has gone through a similar thing with this guy?
Amy
December 03, 2020

In reply to by Callie

Did he ever ask to text or WhatsApp using an US base number?
Olderperson
November 28, 2020
A man contacted and said his name is Dr david f janes is a widower with a son 15 years old works for the un in libya his f ace book says md sk excel says he is 69 but the photo he us using looks about 45 to 50 the pho b e number is n I t valid and so us j I sbemail address h ave done searches on him but I can m I t find anything on him eventually h e asked for$1000 for him to come to Australia which I have not done so beware ladies of this man definitely a scammer in my mind
V2020
November 28, 2020
Someone @match.com introduced himself by name of Joshua saying he is helping his cousin John to match with a good woman. Then his cousin intro himself as us army in Afghanistan for peace keeping has a daughter and he is a widow 5 years wife died of cancer. After a few emails and chat he said he fell in love with me in 2 days and within a week wants to marry me. He wanted me to Trust him completely. He is Italian American. Everything seems real, it’s hard to say that’s he’s a scammer but most emails are borrowed from poemslovers.com. I am really in debate whether if he may be one in every thousand of scammers there. I really don’t know. Anyone has similar story???
Cindy
November 29, 2020
Lesbian woman named Michelle lives in Texas ... from Sweden. She’s a freelance architect. She was going to fly into my city this weekend but had an important job interview and got the job. She has to go to Sweden fir 24 days. She says when she comes back stateside she’ll be flying straight to me. She loves me... thinks we’ll be perfect together. Her accent she says is Swedish but sounds more German. Only talked 2x because I insisted. She will not do FaceTime! She’s not yet asked for money. I’m wondering what I might be getting myself into. Anyone attracted to this same woman?? Anything I should be watching for?
Grieving
November 29, 2020
Wanted to add he messaged me on messenger but wanted to switch to hangouts
Scammed in Cl…
November 29, 2020
Has anyone come across a Robert Chris James film Miami, FL.? He's some sort of bitcoin advisor and owns a oil rig company. He a widower, wife died in car crash, and has a teenage son, name Felix.
Swedishinuk
November 29, 2020
Hi I been talking to a guy called Kirk Tucker from North Carolina. He says he is a doctor in the USA army currently in Yemen. His wife died in cancer 3 years ago and he has 2 daughters who are now in military boarding school. We have chatted on hangouts but he found me on Instagram. After talking a week now today he claims that he got shot in the arm and wants to go home. Could I lend him $4500 to get him home as he has no access to his money. The guy is such a smooth talker and wants to marry me. Does this sound familiar to anyone out there. Would be so grateful for any comments.
Willnotfallforit
December 03, 2020

In reply to by Swedishinuk

Been seeing a pattern. They all want to switch to HANGOUTS. Is there a reason for that. Something that we do not know? There must be a reason. Is HANGOUTS hackable or something? Really curious. I refuse to use that site in fear of being hacked.
Diamond in the ruff
November 30, 2020
Met this guy thru FB. Name Alex Nguyen. He claims to be a geologist. Widowed with a young 4yr old daughter. Went from chatting on FB to chat on Viber. Even was able to talk to daughter(although she sounded weird not child like weird). He says he lives in Canada. Been talking for a month...friendship has been developed. He recently just got a contract with Ukraine Ministry of Energy to mine on one the their land. Even sent a copy of the certificate award. He left immediately to Ukraine to start work within 2 day a of getting the contract. He showed me a picture of what his men r doing...then I realized it was taken from amber miners from national geography site. I called him out..but he said he just showed me that picture cuz his camera on his phone broke. Finally today he says he's arrested for not having a permit to work on the land. He said he tried doing bank transfers n debit card n their machines aren't working over there. He has finally asked me to help him out. I'm trying to find out the legitimacy of the Ukraine ministry of energy. Should I just call him out and say I will call the ministry of energy to help their contractors? Deep in my heart I know he is lying to me....but I'm also afraid it can be true. But I don't know if this mining business is real or not. I yriedsearxhing for his business name and nothing comes up. Did a number reverse search also nothing. I semt a lil bday gift to his daughter to an address that he claim a to be his friend's shop but can't come up with business name or number. I just want to gather enough ducks in a row m give him the foot. Any suggestions please..is greatly appreciated. Thanks
justgot1
November 30, 2020
hi just wanna share i just had the same experience about the scams you guys are talking to. Don't know if you talked to Oscar Woods a contractor in the Uk, with a wife died as well of breast cancer 5 years ago. At first the communication is okay but his replies are not smooth as the normal conversation, looks like a standard copy paste messages and there is a poem as well. I tried to go along to see what he is up to. He said he plan to visit me and to plan our future together. Then he said he went to Malaysia for his late father's project that was not paid. Then now asking me to help him to complete the tax he needs to settle to get the payment. I blocked him because red flags are there.
shy
September 01, 2021

In reply to by justgot1

yes i also talked to him for almost a month, same scenario.
CAM128
December 01, 2020
He wrote me out of the blue on Facebook messenger this evening. His Facebook is brand new with only 2 posts with one picture each
Daisy
December 01, 2020
Matched with a guy in European Mingle. He said he was from Paris, France and is into selling automatives, trucks, bikes and he is also in real estate. Said he was divorced with 2 kids and is looking for something serious. We chatted for a while then one day he asked for my shoe size, ring size, preferred perfume and dream car. When I asked why, he said he was going to Los Angeles California to do some Christmas shopping the following day. When I asked what was he gonna do aside from shopping, he said he was going to manage his 2 stores there. So at the end of the day he sent me a picture of a box (it was taped but broken) and a picture of 2 cars then asked for my name, home address and email address. When I asked what was it, he said it was my Christmas gift. I joked that he may want me to pay for it and he said he was looking for something serious. I remembered that I read or saw somewhere that some love scams asks you to send money because the items were on hold by customs so I searched the image in the internet and viola, saw a match about a broken ups box. When I asked him that the box was a bit broken he said the ups is gonna repack it. Then he said he never had any problems in sending the cars he sold all over the world. So I called his bluff and sent him the search page I found for the box. He just said, alright, enough and that he wasted 2 weeks of his time. Well he was right. It was enough. I reported his account in Mingle then messaged the original owner of the name and pic on IG and sent him screenshots of his profile and number. I'm tempter to post his number here but there is still a small chance that he might be legit so I give owner of the account to do something.
Worried daughter
December 01, 2020
Anyone hear of a guy named David Miller ssays he has a son Henry - wife and other son died in car accident. US military lives in London now. My mom is victim. They have moved her to WhatsApp and another app. Dad sends her love emails. Son is now calling her mom (almost immediately) asking for birthday money and money for other things.
ChicaBori
December 01, 2020
I’ve been speaking with a guy that goes by the name of Dominic and he says he’s a mechanical Engineer for the US Marines working in Egypt. Been talking to him for about a month and he hasn’t ask for money but did ask me for my personal information and sent me a link (it looked legit) so I can receive a “card” with benefits. Then waited about a week or so and is now asking for my phone carrier login so we can share data. He’s been sending me pictures even in military uniform but I have the feeling this person who I’m messaging with is not the same person in the pictures.
Jay
December 02, 2020
I met a guy on MeetMe app and wanted our conversation to go to Hangout app to get to you know. On Meet Me app his name he goes by is Roberts Peterson but he says on her uniform is Marcel Bohnert. Divorced two years ago and kids living with the mom. Always at the base. He will not show a current picture, facetime, or video chat . He was very polite, never asked for anything, supportive emotionally, and falls for you instantly and texts you poems.
Sandviper56
June 10, 2021

In reply to by Jay

He's a complete scammer. I don't know if it's the same scammer but he is also on the scrabble app and uses Skype.
LadyC
December 02, 2020
I talked with jarkson or Jackson mark he uses both names.I met him while playing scrabble online. . He loved me to death until I would not buy an iTunes card. He got mad... Then he came up with the idea of sending me a ATM card. He wants me to take a picture when I get it and send it to him. Then set up a pin. I am sure this is not his money. I am deleting my profile on hangout. I also talked to a Christian Joe met him on Scrabble .He sent me pictures there is no way that they were the same people and he called me on hangout he sounded like Jackson but no way Di he sound like he could be a Christian Joe. He got mad cause I did not send an iTunes card. I really wanted to confront them but my daughter was afraid and did not want me to it. I was going to let them know I was a retired Chief of detectives and send the information that I found.
DanaC
December 13, 2020

In reply to by LadyC

Mark Jackson JUST GOT A HOLD of me as well. He said that he's working for an oil company that's "drilling" in the Atlantic Ocean. He is currently based out of Liverpool, England. He has a son by the name of Marvin & he's been a widower for a number of years. He wanted me to set something up to get some money transferred from Europe to the United States. He professed on how much he "loves" me, etc, etc. I blocked him!!