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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

Carol Ann.A (not verified)
April 04, 2019
Been talking to this guy,who say he livesbin Clinton Hills,Brooklyn, New York,has 1 son he say he raised since wife died in a plane crash.He always ask for small amount of money, and want me to send Amazon cards and steam cards,if mobey is to be sent by Western Union,it is always in someone else namelike Charles Walters. Promised a Lexus, and marriage,every morning he would text a love message at around 4. He say, he get up at 4 and workout, he claim he owns a gym a personal trainer and nutrition specialist. Mom was supposed to be in the hospital on Oklahoma sometime back,and his father had left him an inhertaince of millon of dollars in London, flew out to meet dad's lawyer that the lawyer said he had to come, he is lying He say his Mom is from Australia and his dad is from Brownsville, New York,He know how to photoshop and a smooth talker, was coming to visit,say he was on the pkane when it caught fire and he got smoke in his lungs and he fainted so his cousin said,had to be put in the hospital, then he was coming again,this time he had a wreck,one lie after another His wife was name Lashawn,probably still living,som is name Jason 3 yrs old l am a good and respectful woman who has been scammed by this person,but because l am a believer and have God, yeah l feel stupid, but bless l woke up because l prayed and ask God to make it clear to me.l don't think this is the real person,l think somone is using his infro,but l will not stop until be is behind bars ladies and gentlemen we must come together and work on good people getting scammed we have a soul,they dont .Only hell is their home but KAMRA will come to them. If you have the same story let me know.He also say he has a step sister, Kimberly and 1 best friend Rob and he brags about he is a good cook
hopeless romantic (not verified)
April 04, 2019
So update on dr Micheal Herris ... I reverse image searched his pic and found conflicting sites and information confronted him with it and he sent me a fake ID pic which I called him out on and then he went on to tell me I had a life and I could choose to walk, which I did and blocked him. Funny thing is I found the guy on insta whose photos he is using and told him and he hasn’t responded infact has a message on his account to say he knows that this is happening but isn’t bothered !!! Be careful folks, I wasn’t looking for love just friends and new people to talk to ... never ever send money and always do a google reverse search on image or try and get a video call so u know who you are talking to. Stay safe x
never trust (not verified)
May 19, 2019

In reply to by hopeless romantic (not verified)

Very similar story to mine...his name was Scott Micheal, Micheal S Smith, Michael Scott....when I used TinEye, it came out very,very different name, so I contacted this man, and he totally ignored my concern about his steal identity, he didn't even bother to respond....but I kind of expect that since he has a lot of young chicks on his profile and he is an old man....
Marianna (not verified)
May 08, 2020

In reply to by never trust (not verified)

Could I go to you in contact? I am in contact with Michael S. Smith for over two years and yes I also find out he was using man from South Carolina profile and when I contacted that man, he didn't even bother to reply, he ignore me also. Did also Michael told you he is currently on oil rig in Venezuela?
Tam (not verified)
February 05, 2021

In reply to by Marianna (not verified)

I would like to get some info on Michael S Smith. He has been talking to My 72 yr old MOM for 3 yrs. I cannot convince her he is a scammer. She wont give me any of his information pics or anything so I can search him Similiar as other two posts
Marianna (not verified)
May 09, 2020

In reply to by never trust (not verified)

can I get in contact with you???
Sussy (not verified)
April 04, 2019
Please also watch out for a man named Samuel Jeffrey on ehar. He pretends to be a Mechanical Engineer working for an oil rig company in Timika in West Papua, Indonesia. He said his originally from Albania but after her mum died when he was 8 years old, he and his dad moved to Newark, New Jersey. He uses sweet words to fall for him, promises to see you and get married soon, etc. After courting for 2 months he would say he has financial problems with his contract that he is doing in Timika and needs 4k usd. Though he didnt ask me to give the amount, you would feel guilty for not supporting him. Ehar has already terminated his account. This guy was a total lier and scammer. Don't fall for him!!!
cheatingspousemvd (not verified)
April 04, 2019
Valuable information,Thanks lots for sharing them with us.
SouthernLady (not verified)
April 04, 2019
I have had my share too. Seeing "Antonio" stories on here made me want to share my the "Antonio" I interacted with who does business internationally. We met online, texted a lot as well as talked. He had an accent (so long ago now cannot describe). He went for a trip, was "detained".... Then asked to wire money. Of course, that never happened, and we never met. He tried several times, saying he was on his way to meet me, that he would sell his house and we would buy a new house wherever I wanted for us to marry and live happily ever after. I cut him off and we never met. I moved to a new city after that, got back on Match.com, found someone who seemed to want "a long term relationship" except this time it was a real relationship - except with a lot of babysitting. He came back from a business trip. Had no time for me, so ended that one. Years later, enter "Eric" aka "Rick", "a retired attorney" who I met in person, 3 weeks later proposed and gave me 2 engagement rings, after taking me to his bank safe to show me his jewelry and watch collections, when he gave me a ruby "pre-engagement ring". He told me that these 3 rings were from "an investment" he had made "to protect assets" from late wife's medical bills. After discovering his motivation for marriage was to have a place to live because the IRS had a huge lien on his "paid off house" that he was "going to put in my name.....to protect me", A Google search found he was not retired, rather disbarred, after taking over $20K of a client's money and refusing to pay them back - after at least 3 license suspensions and reprimands. He tried several times to move in with me, but I refused. I called off the wedding as soon as I discovered he has dementia, not remembering conversations. I have returned everything to him. Today I just realized he stole all of my jewelry. So his "jewelry investment" has grown. He also has a thing for kitchen knives, small appliances. My really nice scissors are gone too. My concern is that he has my personal info and great medical insurance info - and he needs medical care to deal with his double hip surgery aka 10 year drug problem I later found out about... Which apparently was the reason for break ups of 2-3 other marriage engagements within a year before meeting me. His house is now on the market because he cannot afford the lavish lifestyle he was pretending to live and "give me...." - which nothing actually materialized, not even for wedding plans that he always had an excuse why he asked for me to pay and he would cover it later when his money came through, leaving me with bills. I cancelled everything and got luckily got refunds.His daughter filled me in on how he has been living with a woman who could not get him out of her house! She said she had to pay for his stuff to be junked to get it out. I was lucky that I stood my ground on that! Lesson learned. Go slow. Even if things seem fine face to face, there could be ulterior motives which could have nothing at all to do with looooove!
Jenny (not verified)
April 04, 2019
Has anyone been scammed by a Richard Lee Haupt??? Said he was in Germany taking care of his dying uncle. Wanted to pay my credit card and then use it to purchase stuff. Low and behold he paid with a cancelled account!!
Don't use your… (not verified)
April 04, 2019
This has happened to me over and over.
Megan Coopanthony (not verified)
April 05, 2019
Toni Modrica sent me a USA passport saying he is on an oil rig then asked for me to receive some money for him. His linked in profile says he is the senior partner and engineer of Modrica Energy abd he’s posted at Bass Strait near Tasmania? But it’s a Russian company ... I could see they owned any oil rigs there. His linked in could not receive messages? He must have stolen or be using this guys passport from the USA?
Petal (not verified)
August 16, 2019

In reply to by Megan Coopanthony (not verified)

I have been communicating with Robert Toni Modric claimed to be Senior Production Engineer on Modrica Energy oil rig in Bass Straight for two weeks. Similiar story to the above. Six days off finishing job on rig and retiring and returning to Brisbane Australia to meet me. Had one verbal conversation with him. Did my research to concluded he is a scammer. When l accused him of being one simply said "bye". Well rid of him.
It’s happened again (not verified)
April 05, 2019
Is anyone talking to a solar technician in Turkey . His name is Zackery Geok. I searched his profile and everything looked legit. He’s taken my money ( how guilable am I )
Asking help101 (not verified)
April 06, 2019
Can someone help me too? I met a guy online on instagram, named Doctor Phillip Harry Kelly. He said his parents died when he was 20 years old. He said his wife died in car accident, and she is a filipina. He said, he is widower with 2 kids living in Bohol, a boarding school. He ask for money for his kids birthday party. I dont have money so he understand. But the second time around he said his kids closed there account in bank it need $350 to activate their account, and said they needed help for feeding the kids. I have an email to his kids we've been communicating in Hangouts and asking for help because their health is not good and honestly this doctor account on Instagram was closed because he said "I dont want to find another woman because you are here now." I am such a fool when I send money on MONEY GRAM last week. I borrow that money,. and now we still have communication and asking another set amount of money but, i did not send. he is pushing me to borrow money until now. AM I BEING SCAM RIGHT?
The witch (not verified)
April 06, 2019
Hes got another name....same scenario. Messaged on Instagram then insisted on talking on hangout. Hes a surgeon from the US working in Syria and his bank account blocked. He has millions of dollars in it but cant buy food so needs money to be sent. Hes having to scavenge in the forest!! Did manage to screenshot his driving licence, how do I share it? Hes going under the name of Allies Scott
Don't use your… (not verified)
April 06, 2019
Carol Ann, A. What does this guy look like ? I read your blog, trust me , it sounds so familiar, small amts of money , the country Australia, and a good cook , yes I too have been scammed, and trust me , I'm not finished yet with this scammer, do you have a name? Also I think you mentioned Amazon cards, mine took me for over $3000, how much if any from you ?
beenscamed (not verified)
April 06, 2019
Everyone out there !!! The fact you're researching this person says a lot. If they ask for money - tell them you need their social security number and current address. They won't give it because they are Scammers. My scammer - JAMES HUDSON actually is still in contact. Telling me true LOVE never doubts and trust is the most important thing in a relationship. BLAH BLAH. Just keep putting your so called loves name out there on the Internet in CAPITAL LETTERS. JAMES HUDSON - JAMES PAUL HUDSON.
ldaugherty (not verified)
May 23, 2021

In reply to by beenscamed (not verified)

Was this guy supposedly in the army based in africa
Shut up n work (not verified)
April 06, 2019
Captain adam nelson ring any bells?
Carmelcorn1995 (not verified)
April 07, 2019
My mother been talk to a guy named Jason Smith, same sob story, states that his wife died, and is raising a teenager named Laura. He says he lives in Miami Florida, but studied in Germany. My mother is 65, lonely and not very savy on the computer she told me that he found her and wanted her friendship, stating that he is 52, she is very naive and believes he is coming for a visit, when I look at his profile which he has 2 there are no friends on either one. She would probably send him money if he asked but she states he doesn’t. She doesn’t have a lot herself and I don’t want to see him take advantage of her. Hoping someone can tell me more, I also have pictures but don’t know how to upload them on this site.
Aaron moore (not verified)
April 08, 2019
Well let us just consider the reason why scammers are scaming people it's the situation they are in they are looking for morning by all means... these people should be confronted and ask why they really need the money for and then if you really have heart you should give and also create a relationship instead of scamming you
baltimore-girl (not verified)
April 08, 2019
My scammers "name" is James Lawson- claims to be Swedish, but his accent is not Swedish. Says he is in Cypress on a job and would return to US in two weeks. It's been 4 months and he's still there. Of course, one disaster after another prevents him from leaving, Turkish "tax problems"- the attorney he hired to help him is now "ripping him off"- constant money requests, requests for laptops, asked me to make an online transfer from his account to someone and now wants me to accept transfer for large sum of money. When I refuse these requests he nags me for weeks, tells me I'm selfish, says I don't really love him, otherwise I would do whatever it takes to get him back here to meet me. I'm exhausted and finished with him. Reported him to dating site and to FTC- in process of reporting him to other agencies. I also have pictures if this sounds familiar to anyone. At this point I'd rather be alone. This is the 2nd scammer I have encountered- this particular guy is very good at what he does.
Bjr2457 (not verified)
April 08, 2019
Dealing with woman now vivan john claims to be ex porn lana brooke very interesting
Scared One (not verified)
April 08, 2019
So I met this guy he told me that he was in the military and stationed in made in California.. he needed me to sent money to his sick mother.. it started out with him asking for my banking information..I did t give it.. then he said that he Wally’s send me a check. I got the check and it looked like a real cashiers check. But I was still suspicious. I looked up the letter that came with it and found it verbatim on a scammers website. So I didnt do anything and tried to disassociate myself from this person. Now he is threatening myself and my son with bodily harm if this money doesn’t get to where it needs to be. He has my address so I’m unsure of what to do we have only spoke over google hangouts. But I’m a little unnerved by this. He’s telling me if I involve authorities that he will find us and hunt us down!! His exact words!!
Caligurl (not verified)
April 14, 2019

In reply to by Scared One (not verified)

Don't worry, call the cops. It's probably part of the Nigerian check scam. My nephew went thew this. When we finally did call the cops, they informed me one of their own just had it done to them. You will b ok, he's trying to scare u to do it. DONT.
lisa (not verified)
April 08, 2019
Doesn't matter the pictures or the names used all these people use the same script to cheat you and still your hard earned $$$. Best idea today - stay the heck out of Google Hangouts!
Ms. S (not verified)
April 09, 2019
I was catfished as well! Press Release : US soldier working for a peacekeeping in Egypt-Israel border. I have photos, one trick is to google image search a selfie they sent you. I did one with his photo wearing an Under Armour black shirt with "Believe in Heroes" in red, and guess what, links to articles about scammers came up. Apparently the man's face has been used with diff identities. Diff social media platforms, diff names and nationalities (Daniel, David, Michael, Alex, Scott etc). I honestly pity the person being used for all these. Hope he knows his face are all over the net used as a tool to scam women!
Amanda (not verified)
April 09, 2019
I chatting a man right now. Saying he's fall in love with me. He said he's a pilot. All times he will update me if he's working. He keeps on sending his pictures. I feel so suspicious on him. One day i found out that the man of pictures is a pilot in my country. I revealed everything what i found to him.. But he keeps on denying and eagerly saying that he's that pilot in my country which seeking for true love. And one things is that this guy sent a box as present to me. He even gave me tracking number of that box. When checking.. Yess.. That box already arrived in my country.. But i need to pay for rm1650 as custom clearance charge. I already called Custom Department.. They said that certain items will be charged with that custom clearance charge. Now, that guy keep on asking me to get the box. I told him that i don't have that much money. Then he agree to pay for RM1000 and me will be RM650. I'm afraid to receive that box since i didn't know it content. Any idea from all of you. What should I do?
FTC Staff
April 09, 2019

In reply to by Amanda (not verified)

This sounds like a scam to get your money. This happens after you chat with someone online, and he says he is sending a present, or sending treasure he found in his country. He asks you to pay for shipping or customs fees. Really, he is cooperating with the "customs department" to get your money. The "customs department" will ask you to pay fees, and if you say you can't, they reduce the fee.

There is no box. This is all a trick to get your money. If you can't pay the high fee, they will reduce the fee. They want your money, and will take as much as you will give. If you send money, you will not get it back, and you will not get a box or a gift.

Mickey37 (not verified)
July 11, 2019

In reply to by FTC Staff

Had guy from South Dakota 37 architect he claims originally from Norway. Texted talked on phone but haven’t faced time yet. Does have Norwegian accent. Haven’t tried image reversing. Hasn’t asked for anything. Said fallen love with me ect. Talked on phone for over hours. Here lately Calls me almost everyday. My heart is lost. Any help please. Anyone heard that name before. I’ve tried looking him up. Nothing.
Nino (not verified)
April 09, 2019
Richard Robert Gonzales, soldier, on deployment at the moment, 43, divorced, daughter 8yrs, Fort Carson.
Rosanna (not verified)
April 19, 2019

In reply to by Nino (not verified)

Hi there, can you please tell me more about this guy? Cuz right now I am talking to a guy with this same name on whatsapp.
Gypsy (not verified)
April 09, 2019
Jethro Travis Reborn, says hes from Germany, lived in Florida 4 years before he went on an oil rig with roc oil co in Australia because he was all alone, divorced, no kids, he sent me a photo i requested with my name wtitten on paper and his face and he sent it.. Over a month now hasn't asked for money.. When we talk on hangouts phone he sounds African, how can he send me photos with my name in it and really not be him? He wants me to email his work and ask them to release him from the rig to come be with me for emergency health reasons, what is the ploy? Anyone? I have been Asked for money by other men so many times and never sent any..so if that ever comes up I'm a ghost.. He says he is 60 and sends me photos anytime i ask for one doing what i ask of him.. I sill feel that its a scam... I guess because I've been played so many times.. Help!?!
lindaevans1 (not verified)
October 28, 2019

In reply to by Gypsy (not verified)

I got a guy from Scotland on a rig platform asking me to email is company for a vacation. So he can come see me as well his he says he is Wilson Donald. I to this heard nothing yet. I fell I being scam as well . He to this day has not asked me for any money. I will not send him a penny. And you do not send this guy no money either ok. Look out for you. A man should never ask a lady for no money he should take care of you. Just remember that ok.
Britgirl (not verified)
April 10, 2019
Just reported and blocked scammer. User name on Instagram khanreeves_ says he's living in Philadelphia but originates from Frankfurt. Said working in Bangkok, I asked for photo's which he sent. Along with those and pictures on his profile I did Google reverse image search. Pics of hotel were in fact concert hall in Hamburg. His photo came back as a politician from Germany, who I've now sent direct message to. This guy's story didn't add up. Wasn't aware of time differences, one minute his elderly mom was ok the next day she was in Hospital with Alzheimer's and this is when he asked for money for Drs fees. I told him i didn't have spare money. He originally asked me to use Google Hangouts but i said wasn't going to do that. Guess he was building up to asking either for money again, fishing for passwords etc etc.
Someguy (not verified)
April 10, 2019
A beautiful Korean/Filipina girl in Dubai met me off tinder and went to the bathroom at one point and came back worried looking said she needed money to take her online exam for nursing.gave her what amounted to about $80 in Dirham and never heard from her again. Didnt seemlike a scam at all. She goes by the name April Mae. She seemed freelance and just getting money from guys whenever she can. She was friendly and personable and no red flags were raised. It wasn't much money so not hard to help out. Just a reminder women can run scams too and she probably didnt even consider herself a scammer.
tgeorge6060 (not verified)
April 10, 2019
I have been in contact with Paul mark he is in Norway from Fla his wife died has 2 kids in boarding school. No family. Been great but he asked me to write a letter to his boss I recieved a response asking for money for a vacation certificate. He is handsome. Using hangout. I am sick he wants to get married. He is a civic engineer at Norway shipping company. His picture is there under S. Ankar say he was hacked. My kids have been so upset with me. Because they said this relationship was a scam. They are tight after reading these stories.
Jaijai (not verified)
April 10, 2019
Well I'm.been scammed by people saying they are prince andrew ..saying they are some.kimd.ofnprince.from dubai and an.american doctor I. Afganistan david markus saying soamy.sweet things. .but.as soon.as I.say I don't have money they are mean offensive so I end up blocking them .
OH NO!!! NOT ME (not verified)
April 10, 2019
Anyone familiar with a Milanojeff 09. He has declared his love for me. Asked for nothing but my phone was hacked and my WiFi. He was in word. I think this is a global scam with networks everywhere. I think they find a victim and then sell info to people in their area. It’s not just a bunch of men from other countries. Some of them are right here in the US
beebee (not verified)
April 10, 2019
Anyone heard of a James Wesley. Met him in instagram a couple of weeks ago. Says he's 65 marine engineer from miami Florida. Claims he's waiting for he's shipment to be released from port in Germany. I foolishly sent him $1000 because he needed it for his hotel accommodation. Now he's wanting $9000 for the rest of his payment for the shipment to be released. Says he's originally from Canada and speaks with a french/Canadian accent. He is a single dad with a 12 year old in boarding school.
Investigator (not verified)
April 10, 2019
Does anyone know of a Dr. Jeremy Palmer or Dr. Jeremy Neisbit, aka Dr. Jeremy Nesbitt. Ortho surgeon in Syria, now supposedly in Nigeria with United Nations. Have photo but google reverse image is not helpful. Willing to share and PM notes.
Lee Marie (not verified)
April 11, 2019
I have been scammed most recently by a man named Harold - on Plenty of Fish as Passions444. Supposedly in Muskat, Oman working - asked for amazon cards, itune $, etc. He says he is from Turkey and is a refugee. His birthday is supposed to be 4/10 = but his license said 4/24. He is supposedly an engineer and has a daughter named Mikayla. He also goes by Carl Dessler. Also Walter Bennet. Do NOT send him money. He tried and tried and tried, but I didn't send any!
Marivella (not verified)
April 11, 2019
Has anyone heard of a widower army Sargent stationed in Syria with a 10yo son, goes by the name Falwell Sheen on Instagram? He claims to be an orphan and no family to care for his son, he says his son’s name is Maxwell, but in the picture he shared the name on the school tag for the boy says Gunner Blood, after 5 days of chatting, he mentioned his sons birthday is coming up April 28th and wishes to send him a birthday present but he can’t from on over there, he suggested I could send him a present. I said to him I could mail him a little present, he then says the 65yo nanny that takes care of him prefers money sent via western union or money gram. I told him I will think about it but I think he is not real. The pictures he sent me via hangouts app and the ones on Instagram match perfectly but online scammers can do it all. Has anyone heard of someone with this name?
NikkiJ00 (not verified)
April 14, 2019

In reply to by Marivella (not verified)

Don’t send him anything. He’s not real he will keep coming back for more and more.
lre (not verified)
April 12, 2019
i met a guy on zoosk. took his profile down right away. says he grew]up in capetown, south africa, has a heavy french accent. professed his love. says he is a gemologist. went to london. got robbed for $6000. says he needs $2000. i don't have it,nore would i send it just to test him. sent me a copy of his passport to prove whom he is. upset that i am listening to friends to be careful about a scam. tells me he loves me so much and wants to spend his life with me. asks me to raise money or get a loan. i told him to get a loan. now he hung up and doesn't text. back. he tells me if he does not answer the phone it is because he is working and the phone isn't with him
Rosemarie (not verified)
April 12, 2019
Friend being scammed by Dennis.works United Nations in Syria.she wrote a letter he requested to ask for him to come home because she was his wife and dying of cancer.. This the foolish woman did,she paid $3000 for his flight but he got picked up and held in Dubai after helping a woman feeding a baby,he she asked him to carry her bag which had drugs inside. Now being held in Dubai. What utter rubbish! Disgusted my friend believes this garbage. So many holes in his story, just waiting for his next excuse to fleece her.
Concerned (not verified)
April 12, 2019
My Aunt met a guy on coffee meets bagel. He says he is a former marine originally from LA but is working as a pilot from Denmark United Nations. He wants to retire and take care of her for the rest of his life. He had vacationed in LA a month ago but is back in Denmark. He wanted to fly home and retire but told her they won’t fly him back. That he would have to pay for it since he is still on assignment. His name is Michael Joseph but says he can’t give his actual name for security reasons. He has three kids under 14. They stay in LA and his aunt watches them. He is a widow. He did ask her to pay for his flight back home. Thankfully she said no. Anyone heard of this guy?