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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.

Cornelius
December 28, 2020
There is a guy named George Washington in my chat and he keeps on popping up. I keep on removing him.
belvita
December 28, 2020
Talking to a guy named Frank off match. Took his profile off immediately after we started to email offsite. Says widower 1 son who lives in Poland with only grandchild. buys and exports exotic cars, cruise ships parts. Profile showed 1 city and he says lives in another, Columbus OH. pics come up with nothing. anyone else similar story.
carcasa
December 28, 2020
HI I am talking to a guy who I really did fall in love with.... met on dating site .. did go off quickly... no kids no mention of a wife... I did sent him chatr top up pin ...he is an engineer on ship in Timor Sea working for shell... all are ligit as I have checked just cannot find his name... He uses a chatr phone and he did send a photo and he did go on skype to video call when I asked him .. I actually did not go on just looked at him. Did ask me for money for equipment but I did not do it and I did say good bye on text but he texts me and emails me still. I told him I would not send him any money so this one is tough... as he said some analogy that things change so hmmm...I may just keep talking until something else comes along or we meet. Richard is his name... I will put his photo on somewhere.
Concerned
February 05, 2021

In reply to by carcasa

Richard shield?
DoCali flowern…
March 15, 2021

In reply to by carcasa

I've talking to a man named Richard, who says is from Turkey, working in Germany on a pipeline! He wanted me to help pay for pipes, as he was robbed. He has an inactive account on IG and FB
Cheetahmom
December 29, 2020
I'm texting a man who says he's a surgeon and works for UN. I've had romance scammers in my life before so I did a background check on his email address and name. There is no information coming up on the address and it seems he doesn't exist when I looked up his name. Could he block anyone in finding out information about him? Or should I accept that he's a scammer or a catfish?
Nae_5
December 29, 2020
I met this guy name " Scott Howard" he says he is an orthopedic nurse, lives in Nevada , Missouri. Told me that he was married for 7 years and they have an 8 year old son. And that he have been divorce for 2 years ,because she cheated on him. After a week he was saying that he was in love with me , and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. I told that one of my coworker said he was a catfish he got so mad at me. Now he came to me on this dating app called BLK. After that he told me that he closed his account because i was that one for him. Ok. After a week he asked if I closed my account yet I go no why would I. So this is where things start getting very interesting , He said his job was sending him to Turkey I forgot what part. Said he was going to gone for a few weeks I go really , after a few days " he was there" he reach out to me saying that he needed help and could i get him a $100 Visa card. I said no. Words went back and forth. He stop talking to me for alike a week. Now a week later he is leaving Turkey, Here is the funny part now he is stuck in Germany. I asked why are you in Germany. He told me he was buying gold and for me not to tell anyone. WOW all I could say. Basically he said he had to pay his lawyer for some paperwork. a few days or a week later he said he needed my help again I go what now Scott. He asked if I would give him $1892.00 to get back home, Ah hell no I'm not and why would I give my money and I don't know you. He said but I love you and I need to get home. How am I to get home. I said the same way you got there. But i called him out on a few thing I noticed. All his pictures he had no mask on, all his pictures looked cropped the back ground of all his pictures where blurry. Now I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer but with this covid-19 your not wearing a mask ok so I questioned him. He said Oh I wanted to you see my smile only for you because I love you. So ladies I never gave him money I told him that I was going to report him for trying to scam females out of money, FYI: he is on Skype under HOWARD HOWARD watch out ladies please I paid attention to all the signs.
JessRR20201
December 29, 2020
Hello, Anyone come across a guy named "Yannick" originally from Finland. Very handsome. Could be in Michigan or NH. Civil Engineer/Project Manager for large construction sites all around the world. Very tall man. Thick accent. Dark hair. Found him on a dating website for BBW's.
Latinaturner
December 30, 2020
I have been getting messages from someone claiming to be William Levy. He sends me messages on Hangouts. Has anyone else had this experience?
Notfallingforit
January 13, 2021

In reply to by Latinaturner

I was talking to a guy name mark levy don't know if it is the same person I blocked him kept asking for stem cards then moved to itune cards then he needed money to get home his bank account was frozen talked over a year on whatsapp
Fifyfofum
December 30, 2020
Hi has anyone heard of a Jesse Trent? From Copenhagen but living in Belfast. Logistics manager currently working in Turkey? Hot but not so super hot as to make you suspicious straight away. Dead wife and 2 small children that live with him. Sound familiar to anyone? Im pretty sure its a scam and i keep giving him the opportunity to ask me for something but it looks like he's playing the long game....
Curiosity
December 30, 2020
I am talking to a guy that is from Texas but is currently in the Army/Marines in Iraq. He professed his love for me about three weeks to a month after we started talking. His name is Jordan Firm and I would like to know if he is a scam or is he the real thing. Please reply back to this comment.
Londonscam
January 01, 2021
I’ve been talking with a guy by the name of Nance Roderick who says he is in London. Just got done with big project but needs to pay taxes before he can leave the country to come back to the USA. Is stranded there due to he lose his wallet before he left to work on project and had to freeze his account. Just asked me to open a Greendot account for him but under my name. His story is his wife and daughter died in tragic auto accident. Went to London for his last big construction project that was to last 10 weeks but has turned into 6 months. Retiring after this and wants to begin a new life with me. Lost his wallet just before he left the USA to go to London, put a freeze on his account, now can’t access his money to pay off taxes.
Deej
January 01, 2021
Anyone in an online relationship with a civil engineer named Liam that just doesn't seem right? We met on Match, and almost immediately he went to the Philippines on a 5 week project. He has been there 2 weeks and when a piece of equipment broke down I wired $4500. He didn't ask for it directly but I asked if he was going to be ok financially since he was having to pay for things up front and getting paid on completion of the project...he then said he could really use my help with the money to rent the new equipment. He sends me selfies whenever I ask for them and they haven't shown up on Google image search. He says he is Czech, has lived in the US for 8 years, was married for 20 years but his wife died of cancer 4 years ago, and that he hasn't dated since then. I have a teen daughter and am trying to be cautious. He definitely says all the right things but at the same time he also checks the boxes for a scammer. We have not video chatted, he says he has never done that and won't do it because he wants our first time we see each other to be our first meeting in person. He is 50, very handsome and fit, very short dark hair with a little gray, close cropped beard, thick brows. I just would really welcome some advice here. Thanks!
Don't use your…
January 01, 2021
Has anybody heard a name Anthony Blöchlinger origin from France but lives in Switzerland. We have been talking for almost two mont, i have fallen forhin, handsome says he is 50 and working for Tissot Watches company in Geneva. He went to Ghana 29.12 because his father got heart attack. I advised him to fly over and he supposedly withdrew money out of bank in Accra Ghana for his father’s surgery when he was attacked and all his money and passport and credit cards were stolen from him. He today asked money 100 eur from me for his father’s funeral. I asked him to ask colleagues but he said he can’t. I wanted to video call him but he got upset so i told my don about it, he wrote to him after what he blocked me in WhatsApp and in Instagram.
use your senses
February 25, 2021

In reply to by Don't use your…

Thank you so much for posting your message!This man sent me a private message a week ago on IG.We started “talking” even though it was my first time ever to engage in conversation with a complete stranger online.He wanted to switch to Whatsup but I declined.Later he changed his IG profile to private.And already after few days I had a bad feeling about him.I had the impression that there is more than one person writing to me,so I blocked him.But then unblocked him again but still it didn’t feel right so I started searching internet and found your comment and confronted him and he just stopped writing.I deleted the whole conversation and blocked him,this time forever.But at least it took me only one week to waste my time and I’ve got a lesson to never do this again.Thank you once again!
Mily
January 01, 2021
I know him on Facebook by Agapitio Alfonso from Puerto Rico and practicing as a surgeon in Sudan. He asked me for $ 4,000 in Nike gift cards. He would send me a safety box with documents and $ 50,000.
Dazed and confused
January 02, 2021
I recently met a physician assistant stating his name was Joe Rad PA-C, lost his wife recently and had 2 children supposedly... and works for UNICEF south Africa. Said it costs 4500 for a vacation certificate and he got 3750 and needs me to send 750, does the un or UNICEF charge for emergency vacations?
Marie1975Don't…
January 02, 2021
If some one is is a marine engineer and is in the middle of sea do they have access to there bank account
Help
January 02, 2021
My aunt is being scammed by a guy whos name is micheal he is a dr. He described it as childrens bone dr. He was on the kik app told her all the right things , tried to get her to move in less then a month of knowing him , bought him ebay cards and itunes cards. She had to run to the bank one day to get over her 200 limit ( yes we told her it was a Scammer) then she says oh he has to go to calico to get his dogs and he wants her to get a ticket , promises her abusive past is over from her ex and he is good and understands , never gave us last name but did show her a (im sure fake passport) he claims to be a orthopedic surgeon. If anyone has similar story would be helpful to try and prove this to her as she is packing to move with this dude ( even though im sure he will ask for money and doesnt live in our state )
Tracey149
January 02, 2021
Does anyone no a chris arthour, saying he in construction, and is in Turkey at the moment.
Girlwhogotscammed
January 02, 2021
Anyone know a micheal he is in 50s as and a Dr a orthepedic surgeon working moslty on kids cases and he is on kik and what s app and asks for itunes and ebay cards and loans from your banks , oh but dobt worry yoh can move in and come swim at his pool and he will take you on trips , so get a passport and plan to go to Denver to get his cats! Then he will just stop talking to you after he gets some cash and leave you being and feeling dumb cause guess what Internet apps like kik and whatsapp always have "" good wholesome guys" No last name sorry
Npassard43
January 02, 2021
Hi i have a friend that has been talk to a man for over a year who tells her he is a marine engineer and lost his wife and daughter, son andrew in bording school in Washington DC. She never spoke to him by phone, fb page deleted, they only talk through hangout. He lets his friend deposit mondy into her account and have her withdraw the next day. His namd is Jimmy Marks and on a oil rig in Qatur. He is dak skin, handsome with salt and pepper hair and beard
Talkingintosadness
January 02, 2021
Guy online on Kik and Instagram Fast friends seemed so good to be true He was nice and charming and said he loved me right away then he asked me to move in 3 months after we met in July His name is Michael he is a dr and orthopedic surgeon he lives in cali with five dogs but wants to move to Texas, He said he was 44 and born in December , he also said I should move in and not worry about a thing , at this point it was dating as he messaged me all the time , my mom said it was a scam and i held tight to he is a good guy and understands me and I am in the best relationship of my life , like im going to marry this guy and be happy forever. He even said he wanted kids and alot if them , I think he said 5 kids, then he needed help so he asked for a gift card and he would pay me back , he is a dr after all and so i sent him ebay cards so he would be able to buy this thing from his childhood and he acted stupid like he didnt know how to use a ebay card or ebay then it was itunes and then 10 more ebay cards. I was so dumb and I beleived him but now I see and think the horror this could have been so worst. Then he told me he was taking me on a trip and to get a passport which later a cop said is a tactic for trafficing and then he was going to take me to get his dogs in texas as he was out if state at the time and he had a house in my state , then he was coming to my thanksgiving and flying in and I was to pick him up, he never showed. I told my mom and she said he is a scammer, all those apps ki k and whatsapp have them and scammer try to get lonely people but I said there was no way, then he told me we would be together for christmas and get a real tree and be together and then he deleted his app , did not hear from him as I reflected I realized what happended and now im here. Out 1500 overall sad and depressed , and stupid. He never even gave a last name.
Ty
January 02, 2021
I have a friend who just told me that a "Mark Chad" from Charlotte, NC had to sell everything in order to work on a project for BP in Norway (on a ship). He needed money for internet, clothing, water, food, and equipment. This is still going on now. I believe my friend has been taken for about $100,000.00. I can hear reflections of some romantic conversations. Will update more soon.
lily J
January 02, 2021
Hi, Wondering if anyone has been scammed by a man using the name Harry Larsen? He could obviously be using a different name though but his profile pictures are of a Norwegian celebrity. He claims to be a petroleum geologist who grew up in Oslo. Wife died 5 years ago and has one daughter in the UK. He said he was currently in New Zealand but clearly could be anywhere. Said he had a job offer in Dubai and would go there soon. I spoke to him once and he didnt sound Norwegian to me. Luckily I suspected quite quickly but would hate him to be doing it to others as I believe he would have said he was in Dubai and needed money to get back etc. I do have his photo if needed
Don't use your…
January 03, 2021
I met a guy on pof. And he's in the military. And he's filling out his retirement papers and he asked for my full name to put on his retirement papers does he need my name on his retirement papers.
Sassy Girl
January 03, 2021
Anyone heard of a guy named Oliver James? He asked my family member to send money to his son who is in the hospital in Africa. Says he works on an oil rig.
all the phonies
January 03, 2021
I am old enough to know better but got lonely during the holidays and went to a dating si thank god for family and friends who intervened
all the phonies
January 03, 2021
ladies dnexto a reverse image check with Google. Ask him to take apic of himself holding that days newspaper next to him If you think he is too good to be true he probably is Get family and friends to check out his profile and tell you what they find I was just scammed so I want to help others to avoid this fate. Give out as little info as possible and don;t send him anything but PG photos Make sure you have a strong security system in place dont ignore the red flags We all deserve the best
Elena
January 04, 2021
I am talking to a guy name Morgan Rodriguez since 2 months. he first sent me a friend request with nickname morgandave325 at expat.com. he says that he is Porto Rican expatried working on a rig in Australia. he is divorced and has suffered because his ex wife tried to kill him many times. Very fast, after a few messages we have exchanged on expat.com, he gave me an australian phone number to contact him on whatsapp. in a short period of time he has began to say that he is fully in love with me and want to meet me very soon. I am french expatried in Greece. he didn't asked for money yet but he has suggested discretely that we could do some business together in the future if our relationship goes well. He seems nice but i have some suspicion and i have blocked him on whatsapp since 3 days. then he called me on wahtsapp desesparately with a german phone number this time, to which i didn't answered. I have pictures and video of him. I like him but How could i know and check if he is sincere. I decided to respond to he messages again and asked him to tell me everything about him if he really wants me to keep talking. Thank you and stay stafe. Happy new year.
Maemae
January 05, 2021
Anyone meet 65 Year old Walter on an oilrig?
Nic
January 05, 2021
I had messages on q dating site instantly on joining wanted WhatsApp number. I went back to dating site no trace. Asked why he said deleted account as taking to me. Raing alarm bills. Yef again as like tgesexstories states oil rigger ( Cyprus this time) son in boarding school, thought odd no family. Sent videos of the oil rig. No idea if real. Is there a site to check out profile pics?
Patsy
February 03, 2021

In reply to by Nic

This sounds like the same story a scammer used with me. To be honest it would not surprise me if the scammers mentioned on here read these messages as they love the notoriety. The name the scammer used on me was Andrej Fortunis. He was supposedly 55, was Greek but living in the US, working off the coast of Turkey with a 14-year-old in boarding school in the US.
FallingForIt
January 05, 2021
I've been talking with John Maxwell. He was born in Mexico and is a general contractor in Turkey working for BOTAS petroleum pipeline out of Istanbul. He quickly stated he was the love of his life. He had a daughter from his first marriage, but his wife had cheated on him. His second marriage was beside and she died in his arms from cancer. He is convinced that God sent me to him and how much joy I have brought him. After 10 days of love bombing me and sending me pictures, he askede to marry him. He would make enough money on his contract to buy us a house and take care of me for life.nhis contract ends soon and he will come for me. All of a sudden *shocker* he needs $10,000 to pay his taxes. They won't release the contract and he won't get paid without it. He invested all the money upfront for this contract. He swears he will pay me back. When I laughed and told him I've never seen $10,000at one time, he said they would take payments and that I only need to send $1,000. I always suspected it was a scam, but held out a sliver of hope until he asked me for money. Live and learn. At least I never (and never would) send him money. I just wish men like that existed for real, ya know?
Almost scammed
January 06, 2021
I have been talking to a man for going on 4 months. He claimed to be an Interior Designer and as soon as he finished a big job in Toronto he was coming to meet me. He also said he was going to invest in a new business, he claimed he did so and was going to give me 30% of the profits. Oh, by the way, he claimed he loved me right away. Then he ran into problems. The investment was in oil. He needed money to ship the oil, he did not realize it was going to cost that much to ship it and he needed insurance. He actually wanted me to get the equity from my home and send it to him. Of course, I would not do that and he said I only cared for myself and not him or us. He also sent a credit card in my name that was associated with the business and I was to use the card to pay the shipping charges and the insurance. I called the credit card company and they said it was a fraudulent application and they were glad I called. I tried to do a search with his picture and got no results. I ended the relationship with him.
Connie
January 07, 2021
I was on the dating site called Zoosk and a guy by the name of Ethan Brown contact me on there asking me to talk to him on Google hangouts because it’s less distracting then to talk on Zoosk. So I download Google hangouts and I start talking to this guy. Everything is turning out really well and little do I know I’m talking to this guy for a month. In between the time he’s the sweetest most genuine,smart, funny, most amazing man I think I ever got a hold of. This guy I have been talking to comes out to be a Nigerian but is using a face of a real human profile of a man who lives in Russia. Some scenarios happened struggling to get him home from the military in the followed story I believed, I sent him money on two different occasions. I also got scammed by a bitcoin customer service rep when I was trying to figure out how to put money into my Blockchain account to send him as well. So I believe this is one of the top most professional romance scammers there are out there. I think he’s been playing this character for quite a while now. He fits it perfectly to the face of on display in what I thought. So my heart is completely broken and my trust is nonexistent anymore. This guy even holds a Facebook profile under a Ethan Brown. The real guy I found by a title on his hat in a picture the scammer is using on Facebook and found he lives in Russia and doesn’t speak English.
Karma Isa Beech
January 31, 2021

In reply to by Connie

I think this is my Derrick Lockwood and someone else on here Micheal Murphy (yes, incorrect spelling)... too many similarities. If so, he is absolutely a professional with multiple profiles and names on various sites. He broke my heart too. Im all pro now... I'd love to meet the guy in the photos though. I can learn Russian!
Unbelievable
January 07, 2021
Texting a guy on Hangouts (John Robet) who says he is orthopedic doctor from Ohio, currently in military doing work in Yemen. He only has one daughter, Betty J. Robrt), who is 17 and away at college to become a banker. Well her computer broke and she needs $1500 to get a new one. Her father says he cannot send money from where he is and asked if I could help her and he would pay me back...yeah right. Betty sent me the name Karen R. Olges, 2944 Douglas Drive, Burlington, KY 41005, along with banking information, routing and account so that I could send money. Sorry...not sending any money to anyone.
DanaC
January 09, 2021

In reply to by Unbelievable

Similar story....But, the person who "befriended" me 1st on Facebook goes by the name of Benjamin Orton. He alleges he's a civilian doctor from New Zealand working on a "contract" in Yemen on a Yemeni military installation. Ben's alleging he's been divorced for 3 years & has a son in New Zealand who is living with Ben's nephew in New Zealand until his "contract" is up in April, 2021. Caught Ben in a lie when he said he was a military doctor serving in Yemen.
Jalhin2
January 07, 2021
Has anyone talked to an Arnold Briggs? Suppose to be from Oklahoma City, but deployed to Iraq 8 months ago, has 5 months to go. Parents died when he was young, abused by family members and ended up in foster care. He has never been married and no kids. When he asked for my email after a couple of days of communicating, that threw a red flag. No he did not get it.
beckster
January 07, 2021
What website can I use to search an image?
Bug125
January 13, 2021

In reply to by beckster

On a computer or I pad you can use google image reverse search
Naiveon't use …
January 23, 2021

In reply to by beckster

Use Google images.. do a reverse image search
Nvt
January 08, 2021
I found many scammera on online dating, Europe Mingle. Those guys name are Kim Jae, said that KoreanTaiwanese living in UK, Bratley Wook Thailander living in UK, Eric Nuthpach Siriyardkaw, Thailander working in Dubai. They said they work as engineer. Newest I'm talking now is Daniel Alex. On the date site his name was Daniel Falex, American, from Seattle, his whatsapp number is +1 (978) . He said he works as Marine engineer. Those guys are scammers. Asked me for some money $1000. But i didn't even sent money to them. I also made script to them.. LoL
It’s Not Real
January 08, 2021
This guy I met on a dating app, wanted me to send him money because his card got compromised. Unfortunately I’m not working much so I cannot. Then he wanted me to open a Cash App for him, then he wanted me to open a mobile banking app. I tried to do a reverse image search but it came up empty. The phone number he gave me also only goes to a number that is connected to a computer, phone company is ONVOY. Of course when I asked to talk to him on the phone or do a video call he says no. He started with the sweet words and being so sweet and kind. He says he is being in Ruby the FBI/INTERPOL because of the real estate transaction he had just completed.
It’s Not Real
January 08, 2021
Also the guy’s Name is Mike Hunter he is 43 and says he is a Real Estate agent from Los Angeles. Be aware.
Paula
January 08, 2021
I'm talking to a guy now says he's working in turkey Istanbul...right in love with me already 2 weeks in lol...has a pic of him and he 6 or 7 year old son...he' says he's 60 years old Michael Busquest
Roberts
January 08, 2021
George Rizzo claims to be in Syria working for UNSMIS. very romantic and clever with words. After being on dating site straight away asks to chat on hangout! 2 months of lovely messages he asks if I can help him out by paying his Nanny as he has concerns of daughter not being cared for! £4000. Then asks to buy him out of his contract for £6000 and put money into his agents account to get him out of Syria to be reunited with his daughter and me! This man is very manipulative and when you question him about your concerns, he will turn the situation around that you have issues and called me a pessimist and he had no words for me as I was disgusting for asking such questions! I stupidly sent money to a supposed nanny by a bank account transfer! He claims to be a widow and well established engineer in New York! He is very well read! Does not speak in person as say it's a security breach and would put him at risk!