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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.

Suzanne
June 05, 2019

In reply to by Parbqt

He is definitely a scammer. I hope it’s not too late for you. He is using stolen photos and will ask for money eventually. Please block him immediately!!!! He is NOT who he says he is. Not a sad lonely widower who will constantly say you make him smile. It’s sickening. Block him please!!!
Cami
March 24, 2019
Any chatted with Mayer bricks or Barry chally?
Maggie. May
March 24, 2019
Walking along the road. In Nigeria. Just to be picked up by the police Sent this guy money. Last thing was a matress. Then suddenly the police are after him. He says. So blocked and deleted
Tanya
March 24, 2019
Hi I've just started talking 2 some1 he says his name is Ritchard core he says he is a marine he was in the u.s.a but now work s in Chester Manchester I do have pics .there is something not right his number is +18622817101 he said he is 36 been single 4 three yrs cos his ex girlfriend friend cheated on him with his best friend and was spending his money on drugs I've been trying 2 find out were that number is from but not sure we're 2 look
Sthepanie
May 21, 2019

In reply to by Tanya

I think we are talking to the same scammer, let me know and I send you photos and videos that he sent me
Tracy
May 22, 2019

In reply to by Tanya

Area code 862 is from the states, try looking into reverse phone number it will give you the city.
notthischick
March 24, 2019
So it's interesting in seeing how many people these idiots try to scam. I've been on Our Time...do far I have 2 that are questionable and I've done searches on pictures - 1 nothing came back and the other has an instagram account that hasn't been updated in 93 weeks...Kind of the same stories everyone has gotten..also did searches for names and what have you and nothing shows up. I do have the one's cell number and it does show it's listed in North Dakota which he told me it was. But I've had the same thing - lots of love etc...The one seemed genuine but then all of a sudden he isn't answering my questions and calls me Dear all the time -well I do have a name. So I emailed him back and answered some of his questions and told him I was looking for someone who wouldn't cheat, lie or scam me and the other person I had talked to I was busy filing charges . We'll see if he responds. I also told him there were answers to all his questions in a previous email.... Just curious if anyone else has talked to an Andrew Davis or James Pierce???
notthischick
March 25, 2019

In reply to by notthischick

So the one I told I was reporting the other just emailed to tell me he has info on one of the higher ups and is running for his life..maybe the comment about reporting the other freaked him out. He goes by James Pierce, Jim Pierce and Jay Pierce....no phone or anything but is supposed to be in Gaza and lives in Evansville, Indiana He told me he was sorry and would be in touch with me....I will hold my breath...NOT
TiredofThisScammer
January 16, 2021

In reply to by notthischick

I just had a fast and furious relationship with Jay Jay Pierce, Colonel in the Air Force, was to retire in 61 days from 11/25, and his job was security and had a 5 clearance, he was in Gaza until his commander came over on his information and he had to leave and go to Dubai to get a lawyer to clear his name. He needed $2,500 from me to pay his lawyer (NOT happening), and wanted it in bitcoins, again NO, I almost did it, I really did trust him, until he asked me for money again the other day, and that was it, his attitude had also changed, and I don't think he was coming back to to the states at all. I had an email address only. He is my third such scammer but first one that got to me as far as asking for money. His romancing was spectacular, and his excuses for everything made sense. Wish someone would put him in jail. Names were James Pierce, James pierce and jay or jay jay pierce.
sakura
March 25, 2019
hi can you help me find a site to post the photos and voice record.i think i'm scammed just this morning they asked me to pay for the package that i'm waiting.haven't payed anything.
sakura
March 25, 2019
did you know jeff bliss he says his cheif security of US marine just move in cote d'ivoire...i'm really sure its a scam i have lots of message from him and i found out this message uses in other names to find new victims...
Down with scams
March 25, 2019
A guy I know met a lady on an online dating source. Shortly after they “met” she pulled her profile and they started communicating on line . She is in South Africa claiming she is from the US and is over there trying to settle up on some property that her deceased mother had. She claims she needs money to pay off the property before she can sell it. The guy had money put into his account by people interested in buying her mother’s property. Somehow she is on her 3rd buyer because the other two backed out. He then forwards the money to her in So Africa. He has sent her LOTS of his own money to. She keeps telling him “ I love you my king and we are going to be together forever”. When ever she wants money it’s always an emergency to keep whoever happy in So Africa. I have told him many times he being scammed but they are “in love”.
sadlybuttrue
March 25, 2019
I’ve been talking to this man that I meet on a dating site that goes by the name Jimmy brown he immediately wanted to keep chatting on hangout he mentioned that he was In Yemen on a mission and claims he’s from Australia and is in the Us Air Force he says he wants to provide a life for me and has big plans. Mentioned he has a house in Kentucky and a gym that he owns. Stated mentioning that he’s gym needs money so it can stay open. I said no that I’m not giving him 2000 dollars. Then wants me to open a credit card account to he can deposit some money. I was very confused it was my first time on a dating site and or talking to someone online. Until I came across the comments and see how many have gone through the Same situations.
Concerned Friend
March 25, 2019
Hey, everyone-I am concerned that my friend is being scammed by someone claiming to be a Two-Star Army General. Has anyone been contacted by a ALEXANDER JAMES WAYNE. He has been communicating with my friend for the past year via text on his burner phone. She has not seen him face-to-face. She was finally able to speak to him on the phone after he returned from Yemen last week. She says his accent is very strong, because he is originally from Denmark. He claims to own a home in Portland, Maine. He wants to fly to see her, but said his credit cards are all suspended since he was deployed. She said she is going to purchase him a plane ticket-not sure if she has given him any credit card or bank info at this point. He claims to be madly in love with her and is going to buy her a new home. I have found an Alex Wayne on Facebook from Portland, Maine. However, this man's cover photo is actually an Air Force uniform with someone else's name on it-could be the same guy? Has anyone else come across this man? I hope he is real, but suspect the opposite. Thanks in advance for your help!!
Concerned Friend
March 27, 2019

In reply to by Concerned Friend

Administrators-please remove this comment, as I do not want my friend to find out this way. I will tell her in person.
Concerned Friend
March 27, 2019

In reply to by Concerned Friend

Administrators-please remove my previous comment, as I do not want my friend to find out this way. I will tell her in person.
Samestorydiffe…
March 28, 2019

In reply to by Concerned Friend

I had the same guy contact me a few days ago. Luckily I found out it was a scam right away because of my experience with the military. It’s common for foreigners to enlist in the military to earn a path to citizenship. It is VERY UNCOMMON for them to stay in and make it their careers. And I have never heard of a non native citizen making it all the way to a two star general status. Especially speaking in heavy accents and broken English. It’s easy enough to find out if he’s lying, just google US Army Major General and then the name he gave. A promotion that high up would have been covered extensively in the press as well as any assignments he may have spearheaded or events he attended for the military. It’s incredibly hard to be a general and not be able to be googled. Anyway the guy that contacted me was Norwegian born, Major General, about to retire. Wife died. 6 year old son in FL staying with a nanny while he’s deployed . Looking for a soul mate to raise his son with. Wants to relocate and start a company. He was an orphan, one sob story after another. Also the military would never charge fees to keep people from going home. They would just dock their next paycheck. The military doesn’t charge for paperwork to be processed. And they pay for all commercial flights to get soldiers home from deployment if military flights are unavailable.
Concerned Friend
March 28, 2019

In reply to by Concerned Friend

Please remove all of my comments as I do not want my friend to find out this way!
Lindy
March 25, 2019
Has anyone heard of Mark Antonio and Michael Kowalski. Both are scammers!
RichardJ
March 28, 2019

In reply to by Lindy

How about a Smith Antonio... working in Canada..cops want to jail him unless he pays 15K for horses that died..longer story here involved.. Lives in CA and house in Jersey
Concerned Sister
March 25, 2019
My brother believes Makenzie Bezos is into him. They've only spoken through social media, never on the phone. With all the money she has she's going to help him start a company because he has so many ideas. She's even sent a copy of how much money she has in the bank, but the fees to wire the money is so expensive she needs him to send her money. If you were just married to one of the richest men in the world and you have so much money why do you need my Brothers money who lives in Alabama with his mother and doesn't have a job. Literally because this girl told him there's no need to work because she's going to take care of him. Has anyone else heard anything about the woman or man professing to be Mackenzie?
Sassy12b
March 25, 2019
I have been chatting with a guy from Bremen Georgia, Timothy Lee Carroll, 54 well built blue eyes, barbed wire tattoo on bicep, roman numerals on chest. He tells me he is an engineer for offshore drilling company. we have been talking for a couple months. he is ready to retire and had me send a request for leave to the offshore department....okay i did, didn't seem to be any harm in that. I have questioned his and his intentions since day one, I am not about to send him any money. However, he did send me money to apply to a credit card bill....weird! Right! His request for leave has been granted however there is a $8,000K processing fee and 8,900 transit fee that must be paid before he can leave the rig. After 72 hours the money will be returned to me according to the paperwork...the paperwork that says Department of Defense Offshore . Has anyone experienced this or heard of this scam?
Almost fell for it
March 25, 2019
My guy says he’s an orthopedic surgeon in Kabul. Says he works with Doctors Without Borders. I confronted him on his fake picture. Says his Facebook was hacked and his pictures stolen. I told him I didn’t trust him. He says all the right things trying to gain my trust. Has not asked for money. However, to prove who he is... he wants to come for a visit. Is supposed to get me an email address and information so I can request a vacation leave from the Board of Directors. Has anyone heard of this? My gut says he’s a scammer... but my heart is not wanting to listen.
Oh brother!
September 04, 2019

In reply to by Almost fell for it

I think we may be dealing with the same guy. Except he says he's in Yemen. Currently investing on behalf of my ex sister in law.
Lornalarue
March 25, 2019
Have spoken with guy on oil rig in Scotland and have just been in contact with manor general in Syria. Has 2 million to send. Wants me to accept for him. NOT HAPPENING. He's getting angry...can tell by the time of email. Have to block him asap!
MoonB
October 17, 2019

In reply to by Lornalarue

Been chatting with a guy on an oil rig off Scotland and similar deal. Needed money to buy food for all his workers. Very angry when I said not happening. He'd pay back when his $1.4 ml. Owed money from last contract job comes through.
TKB
March 26, 2019
I found a girl on Inmessage, in just one day She gave her whatspp no. I started talk to her, She said her name Sheila Yankey a USA resident living in Dubai and working in Hospital as a nurse. She said that she is living alone, her parents were died in a accident, she is not a social person. She wants to invest in some business. She is now on vacation in Ghana (which i doubt). Whatsapp no. on which i m talking is USA no. She wanted to meet in next 3-4 days. she has shared some pic as well. Please let me know if somebody can help me to find her authentication.
Inneedofhelp0088
May 16, 2019
Can you help me I believe I'm being Scammed by a guy named mark weeks his email is markweeks02 @gmail. com
Monroe
March 26, 2019
Someone by the name of Jayne wilson is using fake friend or teacher names and scamming underage boys in USA.
Any on Him?
March 26, 2019
Anyone heard of Adam Kareem Skype scamming? From NY, FL, or London ? Jamaican,green eyes, very fit, handsome, tattoos, beautiful smile? Wondering if it could be a scam?!
Sondra
March 27, 2019
I have recently got into a sort of relationship with a guy through online dating app, and we have yet to meet but we are getting into the feels of being together. He says he loves me, and he really do and is his guts that tells him this will work between us, but at times he will says things like, "My shipment just arrived, and got an agent to handle my shipment, and he wants me to pay mostly all the payment and i cant at the moment because my bank somehow block my card, and now i am stuck, trying to call bank to sort this but cant" Then he say he will find an alternative way to this, and also because he needs the money for business. He have yet to ask me for money so far. What should i do ? Should just leave it for now and if he starts asking, then i should stop talking to him ?
beenscamed
April 02, 2019

In reply to by Sondra

Play along - if your gut is telling you NO NO. Ask your scammer for their social security number and address. He will most likely tell you he's hurt that how can you doubt our love. BLAH BLAH. Might even still contact you for a few more days. - Than guess what. ??? You're blessed because he has moved onto another Client. That's all we are ladies - a Client.
Scameducated
September 09, 2019

In reply to by beenscamed

I had same happen to me, his name Johnson berg, had linikin acct., email, then had to go to crypress
whatthe
November 05, 2019

In reply to by Scameducated

Yes. He's out there - and active. Who ever he is? Goes by Johnson Berg, or John Berg ... Shares 'everything' right away (address?, LinkedIn, FBook, business: Bergsco). Claims to be a widower. Get's off the dating app right away ... disappears to Cyprus and needs help (of course). Pretty easy to spot his off-behavior right away, but be careful and beware.
SundancePi
March 27, 2019
I have been talking to someone in Nigeria by the name of Richard Austin. We have been chatting since November 2016. I wish I could post his picture on here... maybe someone would recognize the picture. I have been sending small amounts of money but am tired of doing that. He says he needs $2000 dollars to get a plane to America. I am torn about letting him go because I have come to love the man I actually talk to. It is going to be hard to not hear his voice anymore.
Lauralloyd
August 07, 2019

In reply to by SundancePi

Just got scammed with a guy from Amsterdam/Nitherlands. Who is apparently very successful engineer, at the moment working on the contract in Kuwait oil company for 3 years . Very handsome hot looking guy with a grey hair with a beard ,well groomed and fit body shape. Super sweet, will chat with you constantly. His name is Fernando Gomes his email fernandogomes 5090@ He is using Hangouts App. At his work he is using only walky-talky , no cell phones aloud. Will ask for the Amazon Gift cards to upgrade his computer for better signal. He lost his wife due to cancer, he has a 13 years old nephew that he adopted from older sister who also passed away. He also will ask to send EBay gift cards to his nephew. After all he will ask for $3200 to feel up the gas tank on his private jet to take off of the oil station. So he just wanted to be with me forever, treat me like his Queen. As soon he gets to US he needs to activate his bank accounts , he is a millionaire big time,. My family convinced me that is the Scam. I fall in love with him to a crazy point. Finally I had to force myself to end our relationship between us because I still have the trust issues. After sending him $700 .
Tracy
March 27, 2019
I was on Waplog dating site. I met a girl named Nancy Marks. She may even spell it Nancee. She made me fall in love with her immediately. She keeps asking for Amazon Cards. Being the idiot I was I did it. Now I regret it. It was one thing after another. Her mom was I'll and in the hospital. The doctor said she needed to come up with $400 to pay the doctor. She even showed me a picture of her mom in a hospital bed. Then the next time she said she had to give blood for her mom and she was very sick and needed money for medicine. Which I haven't payed anymore than the Amazon Cards. That was enough. Then she said her dad was killed in a car wreck in Pennsylvania leaving A job site as a contractor. The man he did the work for owes him $5000. So he agreed to give the money he owed her dad to her and her mom. She wanted me to get a Costco Card which I wouldn't do either. Then she wanted to have the money wired to me. Then I was to wire her the money through Western Union to Walmart. That's when I remembered her saying there wasn't a Walmart where she lived. I wish I knew all this before going on a dating site. She is still trying to get me to trust her. I'm just waisting her time now for the money she took from me. Because I know I won't get it back. It wasn't much. But still. I'm Disabled and she knew it. it's enough to make you wonder what is wrong with people
Anti-Online Dater
March 27, 2019
I've recently been talking to a "woman" I met on a dating site. After the first message, she wanted my personal e-mail to talk. (which I found to be a red flag) She claimed she was from New Jersey, moved to the UK for school briefly, and now she's in the Philippines looking for love. She sent pictures of herself (allegedly) that were very beautiful. She also sent a pic of her passport to prove she was real. She asked me to add her to Facebook and strangely, she has zero friends. That's odd for someone that claimed to have a lot of real life friends. She changed her main photo last year so it's not a new account. After four e-mails, she was already confessing her love for me and wanting to move to the US to be with me. The catch was I had to send her $600 through Moneygram to help with a plane ticket. (of course) I asked why she didn't want to meet someone in her home country and she said none of them wanted love like she did. She said one of her friends would pick up the money from the Moneygram location because her Philippine National ID was conveniently expired. I just read where those IDs were only made available recently and when I questioned that, she got mad and said she never said that. I said I didn't feel comfortable sending $600 to someone I didn't know. She claimed she would never hurt me because someone online hurt her and I need to take chances to get what I want in life. In the next e-mail, that changed to her saying to get someone else since I didn't trust her. Gladly! I'm glad the comments on this site still exist. They helped me to evade what looks like a scammer to me. Hope this helps someone.
Lyn
August 15, 2019

In reply to by Anti-Online Dater

I’m sorry about that encounter. I am from the Philippines but I loathe this evil doings. It affects the others who have good intentions, giving the rest a bad reputation. Love can be blind. But we have this inner voice that tells us that something is too good to be true...and it is.
nursemom75
March 27, 2019
A guy hit me with a chat on an online game & requested to chat on Hangout. He says he's an independent contractor from Baton Rouge, but is working on an offshore rig in Polland. Gave me the sob story of a dead wife & unborn child. We've been chatting for 2-3 weeks. He asked me this morning to get him a $1000 Amazon card, just scratch off the silver, & send him a pic of the numbers. So I've screen shot his photos and his email to report him. He goes by Thomas Moore or Captain Moore. Where should I report him?
Sarah612
March 27, 2019
Does anyone know anything about a Laur brown , supposedly in the service , he has a lot of money , a like 12 year old daughter , his wife died giving birth to her , my gma thinks he’s in love with her , my gma is 70 and won’t get it thru her head , she’s been scammed multiple times before but this one is way worse , she sends him stream cards , she sent him $800 in one week before , he has been saying he is coming to my gmas house and then they’re going to buy a house together , it’s so bad he has told my gma go sell all of her furniture and everything because he’s goign to buy her all new stuff , so she’s selling everything , he bought and sent her a cheap ring and a bracelet that says “laur 4 you” on it , he is suppoused to be sending her a camera , computer and a watch sometime this week and she has to take it to the ups store and ship it off to nigeria , but laur is saying the stuff is actually for his commander , my mom and i have heard that when the scammers send packages it’s stolen things , i don’t want my gma to get into trouble .
hopeless romantic
March 27, 2019
I am shocked I am talking to a man on hangouts who I met on insta goes by the name dr Micheal Herris has a daughter and a sick mom. He hasn’t asked for money as such yet but has started to drop hints about her needing a transfusion keeps avoiding the questions on giving me more information on her cancer itself. He claims to be a man of cloth and made me use hangouts instead of insta to chat to him and closed and changed his profile but didn’t say why. I don’t have any money to send him but is making me wonder now if that’s what is coming ..
Linny
March 27, 2019
There's a guy names Roberto Bernardo (I_am_roberto_nbnz on Insta) that is talking to a good friend of mine. He claims he is in our Army, 44 in Benghazi Libya doing terror sweeps....got her to download Hangouts App and they talk alllll the time. He is full of it. I sent him a request and got the same message response he sends to women. I went OFF on him but he blocked me and she won't listen to me that he's a scam. He has her work address, pics, personal info and she opened an account after sending him ITunes.. Pls help
Ag
March 28, 2019
Anyone here talking to a Karl Davis? From the army?
dontbefooled
April 01, 2019
Got messaged by a guy on POF Uk calling himself Roy Joel Tarver but uses Joel. Email address is tytarver 53@ gmail. com. Says he lives in Essex but born in US to US Dad and UK Mum. Currently in Qatar where he is training army troops but not in the army himself anymore. Very good at avoiding questions, says his ex cheated on him after 16 years and he hates liars and cheats! His angle was he didn’t know how long he’d be stuck in Qatar, then all of a sudden he could break his contract ilfor 3 months but would need to pay and because he’s on an army base he can’t access any money. Also had internet access but apparently no phone.. He got very angry when I said I didn’t have any money and said so didn’t care. We were chatting on Hangouts too, obviously we don’t talk anymore but I’ve Kept Hangouts open and can see he is still active on there, so obviously using the same name to scam others. He didn’t like it when I called him out as a scammer. He will call you darling and tell you his heart is yours. I have a picture. Please don’t fall for him and if you’re talking to him, stop immediately! I’ve reported it to UK Fraud authorities.
Don’t want to …
June 24, 2019

In reply to by dontbefooled

Would you be able to post a picture as think a friend is talking to the same person and have a bad feeling! Thanks
nellwall
March 28, 2019
what abt the name Brett John Cowless
Kim Ra
March 28, 2019
Scammer named Silas Graham or Graham Silas from Monaco France with French accent, he's a Petro chemical engineer, found me on Plenty of Fish. Here's the story: Left for South Africa to work. Explosion on oil rig, 3 dead people. needs $ for 1) chopper funds to get to land. Says he has home in Alamo heights Tx 2) its Mexico to settle debt with dead coworker s' families 3) March 2019 its daughter was in coma from drunk driver, he's in Monaco now, wanting more $. Bitcoin to get funds transferred to France. Asks me for $3k. Sent picture of himself and Mother... Spokeo and other searches do not have a person with his age name.