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Image of cupid and heartNot everyone using online dating sites is looking for love. Scammers create fake online profiles using photos of other people — even stolen pictures of real military personnel. They profess their love quickly. And they tug at your heartstrings with made-up stories about how they need money — for emergencies, hospital bills, or travel. Why all of the tricks? They’re looking to steal your money.

As if all that isn’t bad enough, romance scammers are now involving their victims in online bank fraud. Here’s how it works: The scammers set up dating profiles to meet potential victims. After they form a “relationship,” they come up with reasons to ask their love interest to set up a new bank account. The scammers transfer stolen money into the new account, and then tell their victims to wire the money out of the country. Victims think they’re just helping out their soulmate, never realizing they’re aiding and abetting a crime.  

Here are some warning signs that an online love interest might be a fake. They ask you to:

  • chat off of the dating site immediately, using personal email, text, or phone
  • wire money using Western Union or Money Gram
  • set up a new bank account

Did you know you can do an image search of your love interest’s photo in your favorite search engine? If you do an image search and the person’s photo appears under several different names, you’re probably dealing with a scammer. And if the person’s online profile disappears a few days after they meet you, that’s another tip-off.

Here’s the real deal: Don’t send money to someone you met online — for any reason. If your online sweetheart asks for money, you can expect it’s a scam.

Unfortunately, online dating scams are all too common. There may be tens of thousands of victims, and only a small fraction report it to the FTC. If this happens to you, please report it at ftc.gov/complaint — click on Scams and Rip-Offs, then select Romance Scams.

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

18,207 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
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  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

Sl
January 24, 2019

In reply to by Deborah68

My guy asked me to a blood oath too because he wanted us to trust each other and this was the only way. I hedged and he said "Now I only trust you 60%" I knew it was a scam. Like seriously, that's not gonna make me change my mind....
Fooledtoo
June 18, 2019

In reply to by Sl

Did you ever find out anything about the blood oath thing? I have had a couple men ask me this recently and wonder if it is a scam
Ruth
June 06, 2021

In reply to by Deborah68

Can you please post pictures... I have been talking to a 40year old who is very sweet and says he loves me. He talks to me most of the day off and on via "hangout". He told me his birthday is this next week and I told him I wanted to send a care package. I asked for his mailing address (he is on an Army base) but he never gave it to me. He knows a great deal about the bible and talks to me about my walk with God. He has asked for pics(which I have given) and he sends pics... we spend most of our conversations talking about witnessing to other non believers but today he asked me about a blood oath. He wants us to complete a blood oath that "binds us" in commitment.... I don't want to think people would get this deep to scam but after reading your testimonies, I am freaking out. Thanks Deborah 68! Btw, he goes by the name of Jack..
Foolishscorpio
October 30, 2018
I chatted with a gentleman that was suppose to be a Brigadier General and Orthopedic Surgeon in the Maribes stationed in Yemen. Somehow he got in touch with me on Facebook. He asked me to chat with him on Hangouts which I had never heard of. We chatted for for months. He should have an academy award, he was a lonely woman’s answer to a perfect lover. I’m ashame and embarrassed to admit he scammed me out of my common sense and $14,000. Of course I can’t afford that kind of loss. I have no one to blame but my foolish self. He also used a supposed so in military school in UK. The name he used was Tony Smith. I hope this information helps someone else
ConfusedP
October 30, 2018
Was Contacted By a Rachel Linda she has been asking for gift Cards to sell to a Vendor so she can pay bills and money for School she only sends old pictures because her phone is broken, When I confronted her about me not feeling safe about sending money her friend Rose Bella started to contact me to tell me that Rachel really likes me and she just wants to finish school to go back to work but I haven't found any information on spokeo or background check sites and the Address she has given me belongs to an Earnest Berrier. If this sounds familiar to anyone I would like to know. She also claims to Live in Houston with grandmother
Jean83
October 30, 2018
Same story with me... name is Randy D Peter. Says he's on contract in Afghanistan, but from CA. Also widowed with 3 boys. Wants me to buy itune card for his kids. Says he loves me and wants to marry me...
Don'crimestopper
October 30, 2018
I think I’ve been scammed beware general Jackson 500 is about sent me loveing message and emoji wanted to marry me after 2 weeks is in yeomen on peace he didn’t sound like American when I phoned him so red flags he talked about coming over but I wasn’t aloud to tell anyone about him he then asking me to send £100 to iTunes card so I have blocked him can he still get my details
Kitkat2017
October 30, 2018
I have been scammed by Robert Green. Aged 50. Says he is wealthy from.California but born in Puerto Rico. Has a 19 year old daughter Alondra. Claims he is stuck in Australia. Has a scammer assistant Tom Daniels. Robert is always ill needing hospital treatment, injections etc. Have spent a lot of money on him as I thought I was saving his life. Softly spoken but has an accent. Has Nigerian receivers who pick up the money from Moneygram etc. They never use their names on any documents. They never have any money supposedly. Always a crises. Never again will I fall for these evil people. As an intelligent lady I am appalled I fell for this scam. I won't give up trying to get my money back or exposing him.
Kitkat2017
November 14, 2018

In reply to by singlemomshirley

Yes lots. Has he been talking to you. Don't send any money.
Taurus56
October 30, 2018
Has anyone heard of someone named Harvey Rome born and raised in Italy, parents passed, no siblings, a widow with an 11 year old son named Mark. Very nice looking an engineer on an oil rig on the ocean for past 3 months. Constantly asking for money for iTunes for his son and for his portfolio to be shipped to me with millions of dollars in it from Dubia due to the United Nations Security Service is about to be attacked by terrorists. He is a smooth talker and has a very romantic accent. Please let me know if this sounds familiar.
GB1030
October 31, 2018

In reply to by Taurus56

It sounds like a Package Scam. Please research Package Scam
Deceived by MD
October 30, 2018
Please be careful of anyone on Tinder online dating or FB Messenger named Anton. He is pretending to be a doctor is using his pictures but it is not him. He will try romancing for a few weeks. And then ask for money. And supposedly he got paid millions of dollars on contract for job he had done. It made no sense. He doesn't speak English well. DO NOT FALL FOR HIS CHARMS. Phone #202-922-1852 Plasticity Brain Centers
BackOff
October 31, 2018
Does anyone know a Dr Robert Heinrich here? Working in Aleppo, Syria as a orthopedic surgeon? Can we compare photos??
Tiffanie2172
October 31, 2018
I have been talking to someone for 4 or 5 months who says they are a rig engineer on their way to Turkey. His name is Mike Campbell has anyone come across someone by this name? He has not asked for any money but did ask me to open a new bank account to date nothing has happened he does tell me that he loves me that he wants to get married and he did send an engagement ring. The only odd thing is that a package got held up in customs and because there was money involved there was a fee that he paid to have it released. Does this sound like I'm being scammed? Please help me I'm a single mom and don't know what to do.
FTC Staff
October 31, 2018

In reply to by Tiffanie2172

It could be a scam. If he asks you to deposit money, or wire money for him, that means it is more likely a scam.

Some scammers use people to help them transfer stolen money. They don't say the money is stolen - they tell a story to hide the purpose for the transaction. They meet people online and ask ask their new friend to use their own bank account, or they open a new account. Then the scammer asks the victim to receive and transfer money.

If you do this for a scammer, your name is on the bank account and on the money transfer forms. If you get involved with one of these schemes, you could lose money and personal information, and you could get into legal trouble.

Other scammers send fake checks to their new friends. They ask the friend to deposit the check, and then quickly transfer funds overseas. It can take days for the bank to find out a check is fake. If you transfer money before the bank has fully cleared the check, you can lose money. If the bank finds out the check was fake after you sent the money, you must repay the bank all the money you sent.

Also, the story about sending a package that gets stopped in customs is part of a lot of scam stories. After a while, a scammer might ask you to pay taxes or a fee to get the package. That's part of the scam. He could send you emails or texts that look like they're from a government agency or shipping company, but they're fake.

GB1030
October 31, 2018

In reply to by Tiffanie2172

This sounds like a Package Scam. The victims pays for fee, taxes on a package that dose not exist.
Asking for a friend
November 25, 2018

In reply to by Tiffanie2172

How big was the engagement ring? Was it in a red box from Amazon?
Ifellforit
November 01, 2018
I started talking to a man named Lawrence Peter Martin. He says hes a soccer scout for Celtic F.C. He too has a daughter but she is older and has a heart condition. Of course his one and only love, his wife passed away during child birth. This man has convinced me to send him over 8000.00. These people lie, cheat, and steal to get what ever they need. They dont care where you get the money. They suck the life out of the women they are scamming.
justlikeminetoo
November 02, 2018

In reply to by Ifellforit

I have been talking to a man too he's a soccer scout please i need to know if he's the same man you have been talking too
Ifellforit
January 01, 2019

In reply to by justlikeminetoo

I have pictures and I've saved all his messages. If I can help you, I will.
downandout
October 05, 2019

In reply to by Ifellforit

Similar situation: I was scammed by a guy calling himself Lawrence Martin Lewis. Claimed to be a railroad engineer, a widower whose wife passed in childbirth. I lost $391,000. Did you ever find out anything about this guy?
Babra
November 01, 2018
Has any one been contacted by a female named Patricia Long who said she was working in Bagram Afghanistan in the US Army as First Class Sergeant ?
no time for fake
November 01, 2018
Anyone talk to someone on match.com? Tattoo guy cute with daughter Lilly and from South Africa and is a geologist that buys oil rigs and has broken equipment.
feeling stupid
August 30, 2019

In reply to by no time for fake

I also talked to a tattoo guy on match.com said he’s in military and has twin daughter and is a widow. Says his name is Donald buell. And deployed in Israel
Scammed
October 28, 2021

In reply to by feeling stupid

Did he tell u that he is from England and a US Marine sniper and inherited 200 kilos of gold that was sent to his base in Israel and asked for a loan to get it transported to the USA because he wasn’t able to access his bank from the base?
IndianPrincess1
November 01, 2018
This is all disturbing for me. I met a man on POF back about 6 months ago. Italian. Interior Designer. His team went to Dubai for a contract job and was supposed to be back now. We still talk everyday and while other people have sent him money that owes him, he is trying to redo the finishing result so he can get paid and come home to USA he says. He said he has a house in Texas and has a son I really want to believe him but a part of me wonders if he will ever get here. Good looking man in the photos I was given. People have weird him money which did not touch my acct But just doing research to try and get to bottom of it.
NubianQueen49
November 21, 2018

In reply to by IndianPrincess1

Omg do you have a pic of this guy? I somewhat have the same story He says that he Is German lives in Texas with his 6 year old son name John He also is overseas in Malaysia working as a private contractor building condominiums I’m a single mother of two and I believe I have fallen into a scam with this guy
Smart just in time
November 01, 2018
I was contacted by a guy named Franklin Andrew McGuire on OkCupid. Good looking, says he’s a civil engineer, widowed and lives alone in Austin Texas. He profess to love me in less than a month. Sends a few pics with his dog Max. When we started chatting on WhatsApp I realized his number is from SanDiego, California. Anyway, he ssys he travels a lot for work. So he’s supposedly in Kenya and Nigeria. He says his dad is ill and can’t get in touch with him and that he’s very worried. Says he has connectivity problems. I offered to help. Supposedly message his dad who went to Turkey for vacation and is in the hospital because he’s now diagnosed with coronary disease. I chat with his dad via hangouts. He says he’s very ill and worried about his son, that he misses him. Anyway, Franklin now asks me to get in touch with their attorney. I do and he asked for Id before he can give information about his client. I was very hesitant but sent just the front of an id with no particulars but my and pic. I regret it off course but it’s already done. The attorney then sends banking information for Franklin to wire money to an account in Turkey. I relay the message to Franklin. He then tells me he needs me to do it because his account was hacked into in Kenya and that he can’t use his email either because it’s linked to the account. He sends me information about his bank account in the UK to transfer the money. I told him no, that I don’t do any financial transactions for anyone especially since we haven’t even met. He said things to make me feel like it’s my fault that his dad would not have his surgery and die. I told him it was very unfair of him to ask that of me. Nevertheless, I just said I was very sorry and he should have his close friend do it for him and he he should go straight to Turkey. He said I was throwing away our love just because he asked me to do a financial transaction to save his dad life. Again I said sorry and wished him all the best and hope one day he can understand for position. Please be careful all
Nanceeann3
November 02, 2018
Anyone ever been scammed by a gaming site? Man texted and sent pictures and was immediately in love with me. Lived in Minnesota and was currently in Gulf of Mexico on a oil rig. Wife passed away and has daughter in boarding school. Originally from UK. Full of compliments. 67 years old, name is Jeffrey Jones. Such nice texts every day. Also has a home in Florida near where I live. His contract is up in two weeks and was flying to Florida to sell his home here and we would meet. Today oil rig broke and needs money! I am broken-hearted to say the least!!! Of course I didn’t give him money so am now not important. Why do men do this to single women???? Has anyone had anything similar happen? The gaming site was word with friends
Scarysheri
November 02, 2018
Has anyone heard of a Derrick Geraldo? Meet on words with friends. Says he is an only child, has a 7 year old son, and is retiring but needs funds sent to his agent to retire. Says he's coming home to me because he loves me so much. Is bald, with mustach and accent. Wants I tune cards.
Bobalicious
November 02, 2018
Anyone been approached by a Derek Myles, supposed to be SSA, IN Iraq,
bettsy
November 07, 2018

In reply to by Bobalicious

I’m talking to a Derrick Meyer who is supposed to the army at Syria and he is from Canada he is a scammer.
Kocitas
November 02, 2018
Similar story! I have been chatting with a guy that random request me on Instagram. Says he is a military captain (army) stationed is ASIA working in a secret mission out in the desert, father of two children named Presley and Sandra mother passed away (4years ago of Leukemia in the blood) we have been chatting for over a month he’s never asked me for anything no money no nothing he tells me Darling, my love, sweetheart, you name it , LOL. I asked it will be awesome to meet his kids and him if he can come for the holidays. His answer CHATTING recent sent me,,,,,,,(Yes darling I will really love to be with you and the kids for the Xmas holidays, but it's not actually easy to get a leave permission from here, it has to go through process and if you are willing to help me get through it, I will be glad if you do my love) Cant' speak with him over the phone facetime because of the security of the mission. He has sent me pictures of his kids, himself, the last picture he sent me It looks (Photoshop) with the beach background wearing a black shirt, I asked him thought you were in the desert till now he hasn't replied. I feel the same comment from (glpblues) April 18, 2018, Wish I can attach his picture!
Scammed
November 03, 2018
By a Franklin Martins. Claims to be on a offshore oil rig and is stuck. Needs to come back home to San Diego.
Angela
November 04, 2018
Has anyone had Williams Jackson smith who has had his kid kidnapped in Istanbul
Nicol
November 05, 2018
Please help me. An American soldier is writing to me. It lasts three weeks and everything was ok, he wrote so beautifully about love ... that he is a widower with his wife died of cancer. I am almost sure that this is a scammer but ... he called me several times with I also saw him through the webcam and it really was him. I do not know what to think now. He says that he has to load the phone in order to talk with me and ask me to send money to the red cross ... and they flood him. Can he be a scammer? I saw his face on and talk to him...
Belle
November 06, 2018

In reply to by Nicol

Yes.. They do write about love beautifully and tell you anything they think you want to hear. I have had a few scammers who insist on video calling me but I never answer. I don't think they care too much if I see their face because once they get the money it is hard to do anything since they are out of the country. They must think I will fall harder for them if I can see their face and be more willing to do anything that they ask of me.
Bobbie75
November 05, 2018
This woman I'm chatting with is in the army going by the name Barbara Sherlock currently stationed in belguim, she claims that she misplaced her credit card and needs me to open a checking account. Plus she is texting me from a 973 area code. She admin will send me the check and all I have to is deposit in a checking account. Nothing makes sense. Hoping I can play this out and catch them. Anyone else have a scenario similar to this.
Flavah01
November 05, 2018
All of these stories sounds so similar to the guy I met on social media. I'm not sure if he's real or not but I met a Guy that goes by the name of Alex Payne does that name sound similar to anyone? He says he's Deployed in Afghanistan on some kind of mission & just went through a Divorce with his now ex-wife & they have a 4yr old son which at 1st I swear he told me his son was 7yrs old but now he's 4yrs old & all of a sudden his ex wife died & his son is living with his aged Grandma & we've been chatting for about 8 months now & kind of formed a really attached Relationship to each other although we've never actually talked on the phone or video chatted or anything like that but I've come to really fall for this guy although my heart is really in love with him I still feel like I'm being scammed because he's been asking me to send him iTunes cards & I saw a similar story to where he transferred money into my bank Account to have it sent to an Agent so he claims that he will get it sent to him in Afghanistan...like an idiot I sent it & then he claims he dropped his iPhone & needed me to send him money so he can purchase a new iPhone & wanted me to send it through Western Union or Money Gram & all these months I've been so hooked on him it's been making me more to fall Stupid in love with him even if he drives me crazy I'm still doing things for him! He showed me a pix of a bank Account under the name Alex & it was Loaded with money but he told me he couldn't get access to it until he got home in the State because they had locked his Account due to Access from being out of the state & so they locked his account & I told him many times I'm deleting him & all social media & he begs me not to that if I do leave him he's gonna be dead & he says he's so in love with me & can't wait to be with me & my daughter so that we can be a happy family Forever! He's been asking me to try & open up an online Banking Account but I've been telling him I don't need or want another Account because I have my Account but he insists it's for us to have...The story goes on & on but if anyone has been messaged by this guy which I have pix of him please let me know...I mean I still chat with him but if he's also doing it to other people I am going to tell him off for good.
Clarab
December 14, 2019

In reply to by Flavah01

Can I see a picture please my mom may be talking to him I'm worried
Cassie
June 13, 2020

In reply to by Flavah01

Can you send me a picture. He sounds like a person my mom was talking to recently.
Belle
November 05, 2018
Azeez Babarinde.. He text me on facebook on the 12th.. Asked me which county I was from.. On the 25th he told me he needed a lover and also said that he loved me. He then asked me if I was a student and when I said no he asked me if I could help him with $2,000 for his schooling.. I have family and friends that could use some help.. not going to send it to someone I just met online a few weeks ago.. Sad how much money they can get from doing this to people..
Belle
November 05, 2018
Daniel Bobby on facebook.. Messaged me on fb on the 28th.. Asked me if I was married or had kids..told me how his ex broke his heart and he had loved her so much but now he hates her.. Asked me who I worked for and then told me he works for cellular companies. On the 29th he told me he was in his office and asked me who my cell provider is.. He told me this is great. He asked me if we could do a business together and that to make things easier for him and to save him money, he wanted to ship some phones to me and I would ship them to him in Nigeria, he would then send me money when he has sold them. He wanted my cellular log in info.. He asked me for it about 8 times. Not sure why he thinks I would give out this info to someone I don't know. And why I would be willing to go out of my way to make things easier and cheaper for someone I don't know.. Sad that people will believe these individuals..
09Suwielin
November 05, 2018
I met this US Soldier on Facebook. We started chatting and developed a relationship. He sent me flowers and edible arrangements. He professed he was in love with me and even sent me a promise ring with our relationship. I have tried my hardest to find out if this soldier is being catfished. He is now asking me to send him money for food and wanted me to send it to another’s soldiers wife. I just want answers of this is the real things. I would talk to him on the phone but he told me he is not 100% American. Father was American and mother from India. When I couldn’t send because the receiver getting the money was blocked. More red flags went up. I just want answers. I think that if we are being scammed we need answers right away. Because sometimes it could be true. His name is Richard Clifford. Says he is from Austin, Texas and is in Kabul Afghanistan. I can post a picture but can someone please give me advice.
Angel YSL
November 15, 2018

In reply to by 09Suwielin

He is a scammer with no double. If a man is really in love with a woman, won't ask for her money.
Queen
November 05, 2018
A man named Benjamin Tom scammed me for iTunes gift card and then money gram. Always being sent to a man in Nigeria. Benjamin's picture is it a good looking man he is an American man but he speaks with an accent when I talked to him on the phone and I stupidly let him talk me into sending him a picture that I shouldn't have now he's blackmailing me for money or he's going to post pictures on the internet for my family to see he has already scammed me $3,000 promised he would ask for no more never ever and tonight he's asked for $100 iTunes card I'm so sick of fake men I wish they would all die and go to hell
Girl
November 15, 2018
I met a person on Instagram in May this year His name is called Patrickbillyjoe and his google email is called Patrickbillyjoe41 @gmail. com. He claimed to be an independent Contractor working on an oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. He professed to have a Check worth of 1.9millions. He is good at speaking sweet words to make you fall in love with him. He told me his bank account was closed for some reasons and need my help with money. I believed him and wired 28k dollars to two bank accounts that he provided me with. He is a horrible love scammer!!! I lost my money and my heart. Be careful ladies!!! Don’t send any money to these two bank accounts!!!One Account name is Chantel Bell in Wells Fargo ,the other is Cyrus kaine in Union Citizen.
Me too
November 06, 2018
Dr. Matt David, from San Francisco, a widower whose wife died in childbirth. They had a son, 9. Who is back east in a boarding school friended me on Messenger. Told me about Google Hangouts being the "safe place to text." Professed love, image of pictures of flowers every morning, along with an image of hot coffee. Sometimes music. He then gave me a sob story about his kid needing Itunes cards despite me telling him I had no money, would reply "borrow it." I cut my losses at $350.00 after much research and heartache, plus loss of that money. Lol update: he asked me today after long silence to pay for his "container." Fool me once only. Please do not be scammed like so many of us big-hearted, loving and believing people. You have been warned.
Marie
November 07, 2018
I'm speaking to a guy called colin wilson . meet him on fb joined him on hangout been sending him I tunes for a few months . his ask me for myuser name on my bank . he said his a segent in afagansan