Not 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.
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.
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In reply to Hi all, I was approached on by Not_sure_ but_…
The US Army doesn't charge $200 or require people to file a Military Spouse form before they make a video call. The person who said that is trying to scam you and take your money.
In reply to I need help in finding this by NubianQueen49
In reply to Hello, ladies our story or by txlady
In reply to Anyone involved with a Nathan by Asking for a friend
In reply to I’m praying mine is for real by Believer
In reply to Has anyone had contact from by His"Queen"
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In reply to Hey, by Anni
In reply to Hi Can you please hp me. I by Lou17
This sounds like a scam. He will probably keep asking for money and telling stories, but not come to see you.
The person said he would come to see you, but suddenly he had an emergency and asked for money. You sent him money after the first emergency, then he had another emergency and asked for more money. You gave him money after the second emergency, so he asked for money again, and you helped him. Many scammers follow this pattern. They continue to tell stories and ask for money, but they never come to see the person. The scammer's friends make phone calls or send email to help with the scam. The friends pretend to be immigration workers or customs officials.