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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.

K.L.D
December 02, 2018
Anyone talk to a Sgt Bill Connor station in Syria? Claims wife died in chul birth and has 14yrs son back in CA with nanny. Both parents dead.
so confused
December 03, 2018
I am talking to a guy now. Stationed in Iraq and his name is Davies Anderson. He hasn't asked for money but tells me sweet nothings for about 3 weeks now. He said he's a SSgt and I couldn't jeopardize his standing in the army so he wouldn't catfish me. He acts like he is so in love. Anybody else having these issues? I only have a few pics of him and we only communicate on Kik.
Beck12112
December 03, 2018
I met this one he calls himself Thomas Johnson. A widowed dad who's wife wife died of LUPUS and now has to take care of his 7 year old daughter. He is an Australian working on a drilling contract in Malaysia with the Petronas company. Could feel that the dude was a fake from the beginning but i played along as i did my research. I asked for photos of course he sent a few. When i ask for his daughter he sent me two and i could tell that those photos was from the Internet. I still stayed quiet and played his game, He never phoned me throughout the one week we started chatting. Maybe it was too early but he never asked for money. Exactly today i asked if we can do a video chat he told me that his phone is broken so he will not be able to. And he even sent me photos of that phone. And right there i told him straight up what he was and i blocked him.
Scepticalsis
December 03, 2018
Alexander Alastair supposedly a widower and retired cardiologist from Maryland. Says he is a Christian volunteering his services on Mercy Ship. Wants to Western Union $80,000 to my sister in law to hold for him until he returns to U.S. Sound familiar, anyone?
FTC Staff
December 03, 2018

In reply to by Scepticalsis

Some scammers use people to help them hold and transfer stolen money. They don't reveal that the money is stolen - they tell a story to hide the purpose for the transaction. They meet people online, create a relationship, and ask the person to use her bank account 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. Your bank may close your account.

 

FedUp1919
December 03, 2018
Andrew Davies, 47 years old. Claims to be from Ukraine but now is in US Army. Says he has a daughter in boarding school in Tennessee. Claims to be an orphan and a widower. He is trying the romance angle and has asked for iTunes gift cards. He said he was stationed in Aleppo, Syria but has just been transferred to Nigeria. He sends pics of a handsome military man and even has a military ID card. I am pretty sure he has stolen this man’s identity. He asked me to pick up money from western union and send it to a bank in Nigeria. What a jerk! Ladies, watch out. There are horrible men in this world that will tug at your heartstrings and then ask you for favors. This is it how life is supposed to work. If they want to withdraw their affection because you will not give them money or transfer money or anything like that, then you are better off.
Mom manipulated
December 03, 2018
My mom is being scammed by David D Jones this is some stuff I found in her emails. Image search on his picture on Facebook and he's attached to three other names Roy Pieterson, Walter Lugo. This the email I found Beware of him he has manipulated my mom after just losing my dad. Honey i am scared right now writing you this message. I do not want you to b scared honey because i know all will be okay cos we have called for rescue from the security agents on water patrol. Our boat was attacked by sea pirates honey and they have held every one hostage. I am hiding inside the engine room tight now and sending you this message using the boats internet. i want you to know that i love you and will always do honey. I will get in touch with you the moment we are safe and rescued from their hold. I love you baby and will never stop loving you. you are my world and my everything. i will never leave you and never stop loving you honey. You made me know what love is and will forever remain grateful to you for that, I love you so much honey.
AttemptedScammedDude
December 03, 2018
I had a girl, Karen Donaldson, send me an email after talking with her on a dating app, she sent me pictures of what she supposedly looked like. So I downloaded the images and did a cross-check on images.google.com, surprised I got a hit and surprised(not really) it wasn't the person she said it was. Trust your instincts, if it sounds too good to be true, try to find hints in the conversations. She stated she was in West Africa, working with an organization called CSF, I looked it up, I couldn't find anything. Currently, been emailing back and forth, but now I know better now.
Seriously
December 04, 2018
About 3 months ago I met a man on Tinder who goes by the name William Antonio. He is 56, works as a drilling engineer for KBR...currently finishing a contract in Turkey. Fell in love with me immediately. I feel like an idiot because he convinced me to trust him. I'm very recently separated and my heart is bruised. He first asked me to buy a $100 Wal-Mart gift card...so he could send me money to help me with bills. I tried telling him I couldn't receive cash on a gift card and we argued. Now, he has convinced me to open a bank acct.so he can send me a lot of money and wants me to pay a company to fix his drilling machines. Then tonight, he insisted he must have my user name and password to the acct. I jokingly asked if he was trying to use me to hide money and he got angry. He says he was raised in ITALY and has a beautiful accent. I've spoken twice on phone with him. His 9 yr old son is named Kelvin and stays with a nanny. His wife cheated with his best friend and so ex and 17 year old daughter live in Cali. PLEASE HELP ME. HAS ANYONE ELSE HEARD THIS STORY? I'm 60 and lonely, mow feel so foolish. No idea of his reaction tomorrow when I refuse him access to bank.
FTC Staff
December 04, 2018

In reply to by Seriously

This sounds like a scam.

Some scammers use people to help them transfer stolen money. They don't reveal that the money is stolen - they tell a story to hide the reason for the transaction. They meet someone online, create a relationship, and ask their new sweetheart to use her bank account or open a new account 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 this scheme, you could lose money and personal information, and you could get into legal trouble. The bank may close your account.

If you tell him your account username and password, he can take your money.

balkis
December 09, 2018

In reply to by Seriously

please even if you are lonely , STOP and BLOCK him immediately .. it is a SCAMMER .. they use the same stories each time .. please read other commends on these pages . I had a very similar Scam , by a different name , those people use different names , are very well organised and the pictures they use are stolen ..everything they tell you are lies. Pleeeease STOP with that guy , thats my very good advise .
Seriously
December 04, 2018
I forgot to mention when I asked this 'William Antonio' to either video chat OR send me a video of himself talking to me...he said that wasn't allowed over there (Turkey). ??? I know there is a real man with this name and he works for a large drilling company out of Houston. But, am I talking to that man? An imposter? Or is this guy really himself trying to use me for a bank acct. to hide money??
Anonymous
December 04, 2018
I had a guy named George Marshall request to follow me on Instagram. Said that he was from Australia and in the army in the US on a peace keeping mission. He went on to say he was new to Instagram and that his wife was killed in car accident. He’s a single dad. He asked me if I had a google hangout and I said no. After that no more messages and his account disappeared the next day.
Cherie
December 04, 2018
Scammer...Adams Moreno, he's says... these guys are deplorable
RyezzaR
December 14, 2018
Same thing happened to me, he messaged me on FB, request for friend. He claimed he was a Building Agent, in LA California, but from Sabah, Malaysia. Then he sent a pic of himself, with a video of himself working out at the gym. Based on the photo, he is good looking & handsome man. He seems so sincere and loving, with the photos of him, with financial stability. He laid the some sad story about his ex cheating on him. After a months chatting, he told me his dad was died, and need to pay Stamp duty tax, Processing remmitance certificate, Sworn affidavit, Court approval & next of kin affidavit, for claiming of inheritance about RM35K. I got all the undying love crap. Im lost but thanks that I have God with me. I feel like such an idiot. But I am eternally grateful that I'm aware about the scammers. I wish there was some way we could warn others about these schmucks. Thanks again for sharing all the story. When he sent the first message on whataspp I saw he used an NY phone no, not LA. Please beware gurls with this phone no & FB ID. Phone no ;+1 (929) 267-7634‬ Facebook User ID ; @ Umar Adrian
Charley
December 05, 2018
Met this man Richard Smith lives in Houston wants me to buy goggle play cards..professing his love for me right away he is on an oil rig daughter in boarding school wife died for a any one know him
IFEELdumb
December 05, 2018
Anyone heard of an Army Soldier who has dual citizenship in German and American. He is based out of Brussels. I have met him on Coffee meets Bagels. I have talked to him almost every day for 1.5 months on the phone. I can't tell from is accent exactly where he is from. He told me that their devices were going to be taken away because of a security breach and he needed me to send him a phone, so we could continue to talk. I needed to send it to Beaumont, Texas for shipment to Brussels. I did like an idiot. He is taking a leave and needs to money to get home (airfare) and he will refund it to me later after the army reimburses for his travel. I told him I don't have access to those kinds’ funds (4,300). Now he wants me to open a checking account because he is selling some property in Germany and so he can get the cash to buy the ticket to return. I feel dumb even typing this. Please tell me someone has the same story.
Bk
December 05, 2018
Has anyone ever talked to this man. William. Paul. Dieter
clrett
December 05, 2018
Why would they want you to receive a package for them?
CeeCee
December 06, 2018
Has anyone encounter a Hillary Tommy on FB. He is a single/widow from the UK. He has a son and his wife passed away 3 yrs ago along with his parents. He claims that he lost his card and has no means to sent money to his son in the state. He had a job offer in the UK engraving glass pictures and had a personal business buying and selling antiques. He couldn't wait to get back to the State, so we could start a new life with our family and live with him in his house which was to big for him and his son Jeff. He was sweet, loving and caring. He text me every morning and night and always told me he missed and loved me so much. He called me Honey, Hun, Babe, My Queen and his wife. Then after a month of text/messaging and short talks and voice message. Then it's started he wanted me to open an account and wanted me.to buy the stem cards, iTunes, Goggle or E Bay cards. Which unfortunately I did buy a couple but it didn't feel right. After a while he still kept persistent and wanted me to buy more because he needed for his antiques and to get back to the States. He has a home in NY and Chicago. He is about 45yr. old. When I asked if he was scamming he had a excuse. Why would that do that Babe. I love you and miss you so much , you are my wife. I continued to ask questions and told him some one was trying to get into my account he said that was not me. With in seconds he blocked me from messenger and Facebook, disconnected his phone and delete his email. Before he blocked me from messenger. He sent a final message. Apologizing and saying he wish he could take it all back that I meant the world to him and that I will always forever be in his heart and to always take care. I fell for someone who wasnt real. I fell in love with the person in the pictures and the way he talked. A good lesson to be learned. Don't trust anyone.
Ima Sucker
December 06, 2018
Anybody know Scotty Wings? Captain RayFrederick Schumacher? David Newman? Or Lieberman Douglass
Staceygeo
January 29, 2019

In reply to by Ima Sucker

I know a guy that sounds the same as this guy. Currently going be Scott McGregor from California.ortho surgeon went overseas now
Sassy...
December 06, 2018
Anyone heard from a man named Nick from Australia? Says he owns a small courier company in Perth. His emails are from Clutter Pandy?He ask for photos of me constantly. Has not asked for money, but why all the photos? I have sent 3 head shots, now he wants full length photos Anyone heard from him?
Joy
December 06, 2018
Im talking a guy who is working in the oil rig in turkey, we chatted going to 2 months and he never ask any money yet instead its a different way.. he ask me to access is bank details so when i did it looks very decent and similar to turkey bank account. I feel its a scam i still chatting him since he did not ask for money. Now he said he have troubled with the machine and ask me to access his bank account and transfer the money to one of his supplier as payment of the new drilling machine.. his bank details looks very real.. what surprise me why he ask me to access his fake bank account and make a fund transfer? He said he cannot access his bank account in the rig because of some restriction they are not allowed. Also when i ask him to talk via video call he also said not allowed its restricted even sending a photo also restricted. But he did sent some photos while he was still in the states before he went to the oil rig in turkey. His name is Joe. He got looks and look like not american more on asian looks..
bcsims
December 08, 2018

In reply to by Joy

Joy. Same happened to me but different guy. I tried to access the account and it was now blocked. So then he says he's stuck, maxed out his cards, needs $, etc etc. If you look at the top left corner when you access the site, see if the address of the bank website starts with http:// or https:// All real banks (and other websites, FB, amazon, even this site) use https:// indicating it's a secure connection. If it's http:// and it's a bank, it's fake. Also the website didn't look like any other of the banking sites I've been to, with the options for requests, etc. Joe is probably fake.
scha
June 15, 2020

In reply to by Joy

hi this i known this guy..his fb name Nicholas Kim. He said he is korean living in Berlin, Germany. Giving his account detail to access website offshorefirstservice.com. i've check the ip address for the website domain were created by nigerian person. don't trust this guy.
Leyla
December 10, 2021

In reply to by scha

Do you have his pick? As I think I met this Nicholas Kim in tinder. But he said he is from England
Tammy
December 06, 2018
Anyone hear from a man named Terry Jacques Matthew. From Canada. I need to know. Please
RNhazel
December 07, 2018
Please be aware of a guy claiming to be Austin S. Miller (General). He sent me a message while playing Words With Friends. We chatted for awhile, and then he asked me for my Gmail address to chat in hangouts. It didn’t take long for him to ask for naked pictures!
Karen Allinger
July 17, 2020

In reply to by RNhazel

He contacted me wanted to be on google hangouts then said he needed $5000. To send me his portfolio he won’t send me any pictures of him cause he said he get court martialed gave me a name of a diplomat to transfer the money then gave me the name of a bank in Colorado he’s from Hawaii?!?!?? Said he has a son and his wife died in a car crash and his foster parents got murdered I found an obituary and it named him as a grandson and he has a grand daughter when I ask him about medals he received he doesn’t want to talk about them I believe he is a scam artist keep away from him
Botsey
December 07, 2018
Had a guy, wife died in child birth, son 10 yrs old in boarding school. Worked on an oil rig in Syria. He was pushy about seeing my picture and getting my email and phone number. Essays every time he visits his son in boarding school he asks if he has found a mother for him. Sent a poem to me about how much he loved me. I blocked him.
Staceygeo
January 29, 2019

In reply to by Botsey

Sounds like the same guy! Mine was an ortho surgeon from California and was working for UN in Somolia now. Has a 14 year old son that would love to get to know me and have be his mom. Loved me when he first saw me. Doesn’t want to video chat says camera is broke . Son in boarding school and mom died 4 years ago. Wants me to apply for vacation so we can meet! Love poems like crazy and YouTube love song audio. Want this creep to get caught!
JackieB
December 28, 2019

In reply to by Staceygeo

Stacy geo I had the same guy I think he went by James William abbott , exact story , very jealous . Picture was of a hansone man kinda gray hair ( but he might have used a different pic if u are younger ) he said he wanted to change his sons school Alex - he wanted Alex to know me as his mom , which school he said we talked about it . Then he tells me he got a call from the school the cost would be 4050 , he wanted ME to pay because where he is you can’t receive or send anything out . I told him your the DR figure it out , he said oh we are backing out? I said he is your son , if you could not pay why change schools ? I was angry with me . Then I just kept sending him links to scammers over and over , I looked him up he was not who he said surprise surprise he was from Nigeria about 20? But he had some convincing lines I have to tell you !
Curious Cat
December 07, 2018
How do you do a face check on the computer?
Kathleen Wilkinson
January 08, 2020

In reply to by Curious Cat

Anyone know Paul kimmick oill engineer says he works in northern Ireland but comes from California has a son called cieran who is 14 with bad asthma lives in a boarding school is on WhatsApp and you love
Curious Cat
December 07, 2018
How do you do a photo check on the computer?
Tango5
December 09, 2018
Does anyone please know a guy name Tim Scott who said is from “California” and “Works for UNICEF” . He just communicates via Hangouts, he doesn’t wanna video chat, I’m asking for my Sister, I’m afraid about this guy, you know.... if he’s real or using someone else pictures and info. This is crazy.
Maybe the same…
December 10, 2018

In reply to by Tango5

I met a guy on Tinder 4 months ago says he's working for Unicef from CA. Very handsome. Speaks with a Spanish accent. Says he's half German/Spanish.
Thesameperson?
December 10, 2018

In reply to by Tango5

Does he have a 209 area code and goes by the name of Donald E Waters, 40 yrs old. Keeps asking for Sephora and iTunes cards.
ACourter
December 10, 2018
I was talking to a guy who says he's a doctor....orthopedic surgeon...on contract with the UN in Jordan. Told me he's originally from Turkey...but has residence in Washington,DC. He has traveled to many countries and speaks several different languages. His parents and sister were killed in an auto accident when he was 26. He was married for 5 years...they have a son who is in boarding school here in the states. He has sent pictures ...he's very handsome. I questioned him whether I was talking to the man in the pictures...he has tried to video chat with me on several occasions but it has always been poorly timed and I have always missed them...and when I try to return...the same. He says he was falling in. Love with me.... Wants to meet...he wanted to come here for Christmas!! He gave me an email for me to write the UN to request his vacation leave.... unitednations- leavesdepartment. intl @ protonmail. com I began to ??? him....why do I have to ask for your leave....and what would I say? Mind you....he has not asked for a penny from me.... He said...I will compose the letter for you....and you can forward it to the email...and he did.... But I didn't...because at the end of the email it said "I am ready to incur any charges that this may cause your office" I wrote him back ...and said...you didn't tell me there would be charges...and I am not prepared to accept them should there be any. I then told him that Christmas is not a good time to come visit that he needs to wait till after the New Year when I'm settled in my new house...because I am staying at my mothers right now. He hasn't spoken for 3 days now.....hmmmm. Dr. Matheus James is his name.
Leelee
December 10, 2018
Anyone heard of a bloke called Gareth Cullen Electrical contractor I child in boarding school Wife died cancer Is Irish but bought up in Norway by uncle Mother lives in Perth Australia Reached out to me via f/b messenger Shut down messenger and f/b next day Asked me to chat on hangouts Talked on the phone plenty / claims to be a Christian Wants to marry me and take me travelling etc etc etc I fell for this guy ( I’m a widow of 9 years) so I’m out of the loop with all this cat fishing stuff ! Now is stuck in turkey and customs will not release his Machinery Tonight he asked me for a loan And promised to give it right back After the deal was completed He is suppose to be coming to see me and bringing daughter for Xmas I told him I have no money And I accused him of being a scammer He played the “ poor me” syndrome and made it look like I should feel guilty . We have spoken / texted/google hangouts video call . I keep asking him to open messenger because it’s SO much better But he hasn’t I’ve researched a lot about catfish And narcissistic personalities Put his pic in google search —- nothing Googled his name —— nothing Why am I even doing that lol Gut instinct perhaps These guys / gals are so good at luring in ppl AM I BEING CATFISHED ???????? Is my gut instinct right ??? I told him I’m having a break for a couple of days
Khara_2005
December 09, 2018
Does anybody have talked to a guy name Tommy Jones, if so, let me know?
Samantha
December 11, 2018

In reply to by Khara_2005

I might. Was talking to someone named Thomas, but used the name Tommy Jones once. Said it was an accident. Probably the same. What's his story?
Don-tru
February 18, 2019

In reply to by Samantha

My friend is talking to someone named Thomas Jones. I tell her its a scam but she wont listen.
Don't uscountry gurl
December 09, 2018
Anyone know of a Thomas Myers a Marine in Syria?
SandraLynn
December 09, 2018
Was talking to a guy supposedly a civil engineer from texas.Josh B. He started asking for a 75.00 amazon card a week "to keep his internet going so he could talk to me".He didnt get it. Told me I didnt care and didnt want to help him.We no longer speak.Beware of this sleazy slick scammer!
Momof3
December 09, 2018
My guy is named Jackson Walters has several Facebook profiles. First red flag was the I love you after like 3 days of talking. Then the ITunes card and then needed my name, bank, and a scan of my credit card to “make a deposit”. I have pictures and will gladly send to anyone. Also uses the phone number Name used: Jackson Walters Phone #352-448-7651
Red
February 24, 2020

In reply to by Momof3

Seems familiar to someone I have started chatting too, same name. Can I see photos please to either put my mind at rest or know for sure I'm been scammed
Momof3
December 09, 2018
Jackson Walters also claims to be a chief surgeon in Damascus. Needs the ITunes cards to get data so we can talk. I’m not giving up any information to this guy
Salo
December 09, 2018
Ryan George has been scamming my mother Saying he has a construction business & his Money is stuck in customs. Sent her a fake bank profile to show he has money. Saying he is coming to take her and live in CT. He says he is stuck in immigration. Customs won't release his I ey. My mum has given him her pension for 3 months almost and is broke now. She still wants to give him more. Is anyone else being scammed by Ryan George. I have his picture. Need someone to knock some common sense into my mother's head.