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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

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

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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

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.

September 01, 2020

In reply to by Blueyeznnc

Yes I was also talking to Sam Schmidt! Won’t be long before he asks for money. Don’t fall for it. Block & delete
November 28, 2020

In reply to by Crazygirl

Can you tell me more about the guy in germany. I have one by the name of tylaro Williams. I am in contact with and he in the baltic sea.
September 04, 2020

In reply to by JenD0823

This sounds like the same person I am talking with and is in love with me but needs $100,000.00 that he wants me to send him. Malcolm Merlyn is the name he uses with me. He doesn't want to talk on the phone only email me. He tried Zoom and he disconnected right away so I could only see him for a minute. He took 4 pictures I sent put them in a frame and somehow I think photoshopped him holding the pictures. He is suppose to be on an oil rig in the gulf of Mexico and lives in Baton Rouge, LA.
2 angry
September 08, 2020

In reply to by JenD0823

My mom has been talking on the phone to a guy named Walter Muller. He says he is from Germany and lives in New York with a big beautiful house. He is an engineer that scored a big contract in Turkey and was stuck there for some time. He needed to money bc his laptop and I'd got stolen on the plane. He overstay his visa in Turkey and needed 18k us. Then flight after flight was cancelled. He is now stuck in New York airport and is asking her to sell her house to send him 42k usd...sound familiar?
August 24, 2020

In reply to by Leigh

I talked with a guy for three days, and found out today that he used somebody else photos. With further searching, the image of man that I thought I was talking to was indeed in the Military with a wife and kids. As for the scammer, first, he told me his wife passed away two years ago... And then when I told him what I found out, he said that she disappointed him so much with her stealing money from him, that he came to a conclusion of her being dead. And then he went back to the story her actually being dead. He told me his name was Jack Edward Williams, and that he was stationed in Syria.
September 27, 2020

In reply to by CintaYad01

How do you look up a photo, I tried on google image and it does not work
September 03, 2020

In reply to by Leigh

I am in the middle of a relationship with this guy and am so glad I read your comments. He did the same picture thing with me too. He is really good and asked for money from me said he needed it for the Oil Rig project he was on. I am thankful someone read this and told me about what you said. Thanks You.
Curious one
September 04, 2020

In reply to by Kitty

Does he send you pictures of flowers and YouTube songs in the morning?
ms kotter
October 18, 2020

In reply to by Curious one

A scammer sent me flowers and youtube songs in the morning. He claimed to be an aircraft maintenance engineer named craig macgregor, finishing a contract in syria. He also wanted financial assistance to get his portfolio, supposedly worth millions, out of syria. He got some money from me but i got suspicious. He didnt get anymore from me. His helper kept raising costs and making more demands. He claimed to be locked out of all of his assets. Had a wife who died 5 years ago. Says he has 2 sons. He is a textbook scammer. I wish there was a way we could share pics. He sent me pics of an older man and says he is 62.
ms kotter
December 13, 2020

In reply to by Lucy

Craig macgregor's phone number is 262-261-3317. It traced to port washington, wisconsin. Claims to be aircraft engineer finishing 1 million dollar contract in syria. Things fell apart when i flipped the script on him. I asked why he couldnt use his resources to get his portfolio out of syria instead of mine. He was very sweet until i said no more money, then he started bullying. I blocked him from my universe. I dont miss him at all.
September 20, 2020

In reply to by Kitty

Hi, can I ask is this guy your talking to working somewhere in the German Baltic sea? Oil rig, with a daughter, good looking, wears dark glasses likes to sing songs, sends flowers pics. Gosh I met a guy like that. He scammed me, please beware.
September 22, 2020

In reply to by Liza

I’ve been talking to a guy calling himself Andrew Walters, met him on Scrabble Go. After a few weeks he was begging for me to go on Google Hangouts. I refused. He was going out on a rig in Germany for three weeks and didn’t want to lose contact. Gave him my e mail. He says he is a Independent Oil Contractor. Widower, wife died in an auto accident picking him up from the airport. Has a teen daughter named a Kayle. Said he is from Norway, but has lived in Kansas, and now Louisville , Ky. Raised the daughter himself. He was an only child, and both parents died. So romantic , wants to marry me, take care of me , and be with forever. His picture is really handsome, mixed dark and gray hair, Dark glasses, Pullover sweater and denim shirt. Brick wall in the background, picture of him and his daughter Taken in Europe shopping. Never asked for anything for the 3 and a half months we have been e mailing. Got a email saying there was a explosion on the rig and he has raised all the money for the repairs except for $18,000. Asking me if I could loan him that amount, so he can finish the contract and come home to Kaylee and I. I couldn’t believe he asked me to for the money. I emailed him and told him outright that he was a Scammer and I wasn’t falling for it. He called repeatedly and I didn’t answer the phone, he then emailed and said he couldn’t believe I could think that about him. His phone caller I D has a Olathe , Ks. Caller I D.
December 01, 2020

In reply to by Jan

I was sent a DM by an Andrew Walters on Tictoc wanted to go to hangouts. Your description doesn't sound like my Andrew. however the name got me. This Andrew just told me he is sending a package to me via Transcor even sent a shipping slip and tracking number everything. I thought well let's see how far this will go it just sounds dodgy, I asked him over and over what I have to know before the package arrived, NOTHING he sa8id everything has been taken are of. Well the package arrived in Cape Town South Africa yesterday but is stuck at customs cause the import tax has not bee paid. it amounts to almost R 4 000 USD and in South African Rands close to R 65 000. Now he is ending all sorts of crying emojis and sad worried messages. I'm sitting here thinking well it went better than expected. But I am angry that he actually believes that I will pay this money.
September 20, 2020

In reply to by Kitty

Also when I already refused to send him money, he stopped writting and when I check Instagram I found same name with similar picture just recently , this September. Please be careful.
October 02, 2020

In reply to by Kitty

Where is the oil rig your scammer is working on? By chance is it off the Scottish coast?
November 28, 2020

In reply to by Duped

I have one in the baltic sea. He is from washington state and german parents. Would be interested what you have on him .
Jo Jo
December 16, 2020

In reply to by April

HA! I have one who I recently started talking to in the gulf of Mexico. His name is David Marco Alberto. White guy who resembles Kiefer Sutherland. Sent me a photo of him wearing a brown coat in a mint green tie. Also another wearing a fedora. He has a daughter in a boarding school in the UK. Parents are dead. Has a sister with Alzheimer's in a nursing home in Italy. Which is where he is from. Red flags everywhere so my guard was already up. No friends near where he owns his house. Sends me good morning messages everyday (which is nice) but this is off. Glad I found this thread. Guys like him are creeps. Sorry some of you have lost money on him.
December 26, 2020

In reply to by Jo Jo

I'm checking to see if my sister is being scammed. She is in touch with an Albert Sergio Marco born 1957 Florence, Italy. Works on an oil rig and plays the piano. Wife died 10 years ago. Has a 27 year old daughter called Sandra. Sound familiar?
November 28, 2020

In reply to by Kitty

I am also in a relation ship with do.e one on line. He is on a rig and has a son. Wife died and he was looking for a relation ship. Sending youtube music and morning poems. Called me twice with an accent. Wondering if anyone had the same in bitcoins. He send me pics. Also apparently i am in contact with his son who also send me a pic of him. Let me know if anyone has the same experience
Pineapple 64
January 04, 2021

In reply to by April

Sounds familiar but my guy says he is a doctor working for the UN in Denmark I get poems he even did a video of us using his pics and mine I had sent him . His pics looked photoshopped. But I was still stupid enough to send him money I couldn’t do Bitcoin so he gave me a woman’s bank account number . Havnt heard from him for a couple of days probably because I told him I had no more money . I feel so stupid . Wish I had looked on here as soon as I started talking to him
March 08, 2020

In reply to by Kimmy

Kimmy White headed with a chocolate lab. Claims his name is Christian R. Ackerman. Not a trace of him online and once I asked of a picture of his ID he disappeared. He is Australian according to him and we talked on the phone. Very strong accent.
My name is Julie
November 02, 2019

In reply to by Phyllis

Was he very muscular black t-shirt Gray hair sunglasses and a goatee Said he was in his 50s also in a picture with a dog And he believes in god and asks if you’ve been to church. An American but lived in Germany when he was young so has a German accent but muffled so difficult to understand and when you speak to him has a much younger voice if that makes sense! Says he is in U.N. & NATO us army
December 04, 2019

In reply to by My name is Julie

Sounds like mine. This scammer eventually admitted he had stolen someone's FB pictures. Had a story about a child who died in a car accident at age 19. His scammer name was Steve Van Der Beek, said he was Dutch and retired from being a chef on a cruise ship. MGD cruise line, something like that. Had a tatoo that said "I love you you" in script on his upper left chest. Some wild story about starting a Dutch restaurant in the US, and could I help with money? Ah, no.
October 24, 2020

In reply to by CharlieVDB

Can you send me photos of him? I think with the same guy chatting with me.
January 07, 2020

In reply to by My name is Julie

Can you please send a picture I think the same guy is trying to scam me ,
September 20, 2020

In reply to by My name is Julie

Hi, may I know the name he gave you?. I think maybe the same guy who scammed me.
September 20, 2020

In reply to by My name is Julie

Hi, may I know the name he gave you?. I think maybe its the same guy who scammed me.
December 09, 2020

In reply to by My name is Julie

This sounds like this fake Dr.Mark Eric Anthony I've been talking to he said he's. From Washington and he life. After he lost both parents and brother in a car wreck he said wife died of cancer and he has a 14 year old son he's raising he's claiming to be in Afghanistan and i need to email someone to request an emergency leave not knowing i know no one can request a leave for them if i could send a picture i would ladies sounds like its the same man with different stories
June 18, 2020

In reply to by Phyllis

Same thing with me / he had me fall in love with him / but it is the man in the picture / I wish I could find him !
July 24, 2020

In reply to by Phyllis

Not all men online are scammers... Some also come to find true and sincere love... A few people just give good men a bad name and image...
August 05, 2020

In reply to by Phyllis

Hi Phyllis, I'm at the tail end of a scam. I'm playing the money game with him right now that he needs me to pay $4,720 in airfare for him to return to the states from working on an oil rig in Germany and for an airline ticket to pay for a replacement person for him. Same as you, I'm crazy about the man in the pictures he was sending me. I'll see how far he's willing to go as I keep telling him that I don't have extra cash to send him. He's like demanding that I go out and get a steam card for him. Sad thing is, I told my husband that I wanted out of our marriage for this guy. Fortunately, he knew that it's a scam and is helping me research this scam. "Alex" asked me to contact the UN, he provided email address, to have them release him from his contract to be with me and his 12yo son, lost wife due to short illness. I actually contacted the real United Nations and they informed me that the UN does not have any thing to do with oil rig contracts. I'm waiting on a response from the oil company that he says he works for for confirmation of employment. I have a good husband. Guess I'll stick with him.
James oil man…
September 01, 2020

In reply to by Craftlady

Sounds very similar, James Alex, on an oil rig in Norwegian Sea. Lives in Dallas. Grammar is terrible in his text! I will share photos, do you have any?
November 10, 2020

In reply to by James oil man…

I’ve been chatting with a guy named Jan Muller. He gives me a story that he’s on a contract with an oil company. Also has a 12 year old daughter and mother in Germany. The girlfriend who is the daughters mother was cheating on him. Not sure I buy his story.
September 20, 2020

In reply to by Craftlady

Hi, I think I have the same story. a contractor in an oil rig in Germany, widow, good looking in the pic, has a daughter who is in a boarding school in Germany etc..He asked money for his daughters upkeeps, sadly i sent a few.
What happened next?
September 25, 2020

In reply to by Craftlady

So what happened to your story. How did you end it with the scammer?
June 30, 2019

In reply to by Keith I

Keith you have to think of it like this - you are a good person and she is not. Block her and save some heartache. There is someone good out there for you don’t be in rush she will come and she will be worth waiting for.
August 02, 2019

In reply to by Debrah

I am going thru this too right now. This is all so familiar. The widowed dad who works outside the states and their child is in a college overseas and they have no other way to get money. No other family or friends. Terrible grammar most of the time and other times perfect, like they copied and pasted something. I wish there was a place you could post their pictures for other people to see.
August 22, 2019

In reply to by Ginger

I've posted on this blog site a short time ago - your story sounds very similar to mine! Wish I could share the photo I have of him so we could see if he is scamming the both of us at the same time! He is VERY handsome, white hair, nicely kept beard, very muscular (photo only shows upper body and he is wearing an Abercrombie red short-sleeved t-shirt with a moose on the front of it. Says he is coming to see me soon.
Rage Katie
November 08, 2019

In reply to by Ginger

Sounds like the one I had, Same story. Widow in Texas by the name of Tyler. Went overseas for a contract. Then needed money for taxes. I knew then he was a scammer. But played along. When I couldn’t get money , he became quite aggressive. So I gave it back to him . He didn’t like that. I then befriended all his friends on Instagram. And I warned them all he was a scammer and a liar. He had to shut down his profile. I know it won’t stop him. But I wasn’t going to make easy for him to try and scam others.
July 19, 2020

In reply to by Rage Katie

Sounds like the same guy I got. He's on an oil rig in Scotland and fell and needed money for his meds. He's from Texas, he is a widow with a 14 year old daughter. His wife was killed in a car accident and his parents died when he was young. He asked me for steam cards for his internet connection and later asked me for money for his medical bills at the hospital Health Services. I have 3 pictures of him and it's the same guy oh, I've talked to him on the phone as well as on video chat. And he is the same guy in the pictures as the video chat. I'm on Hangouts with him and he's always on Hangouts all times of the day. I know he's a scammer because I've caught him in a few lies, and he says he doesn't lie hahaha. Very strong accent he says he's from Denmark and he wants to marry me any loves me and he's coming here to take me on the vacation around the world, I think not
August 09, 2020

In reply to by Cweed

Hi that guy, does he says he is half Brazilian and half danish, lost his parent at 5 and went to an orphanage in denmark>
September 08, 2020

In reply to by Cweed

This sounds like the same guy my mom is talking to. What’s his name. The guys my mom talks to is Marvin.