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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.
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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

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.

May 03, 2019

In reply to by Star lass

Yes I have, I called him out because I didn’t think he was real, he’s called me names & told me I’d regret it
April 30, 2019
I don't know if my last comment up loaded. Good looking guy said he was 57. I commented on a face book page called Santa Claus many people do like the site. Don't use or comment any more. Was just harmless flurting to begin with then I became the perfect woman. Wasn't asked for anything for weeks. Many many calls and messages but I had been lonely for a very long time. So wanted to believe some one wanted me joke. But any how not lost as much as you guys. Just scared this could all get me into trouble.
April 30, 2019
Robert Denver, words with Friends, widow story, children in boarding school.
May 01, 2019
I started talking to a guy named Carlos claims hes from Puerto Rico but in the American military hes been sent on a training mission in Nigeria of all places and asked me to send $300 for medication is he just another scammer . I have Google searched his image and nothing has came up
May 02, 2019
a man sent a request on Facebook and started to chat. He said his wife died in a car accident 2 yrs back and has 2 small daughters. he used to send me pics also.He said he is from UK glasgow. But when i saw his location on FB it showed Hyderabad. When i asked him the same, he said his account is hacked and he deleted the FB account. He started chating me on whats app. a very handsome looking man. He planned to come to India. He came in April to my country and the moment he reached, a lady called me stating that she is from the customs and said that he has been caught with 40000GBP which is undeclared. I paid 5.2 lack INR to different accounts to take him out of that trap. He went to the British High commission and they asked him to pay 1.25 lacs again to get the AML certificate. As i didnt have the last asked money to pay, i was so frustrated that i called him a fraud and he blocked me. Now i dont have any means to contact him. How can i find out if he was a fraud or innocent. Can his pictures help as i have a lot of them with me
May 02, 2019
Just wondering if anyone is speaking to a Micheal Shevlin73 who is deployed in Turkey on a peace mission been speaking for just over a month but last week he asked me if I could help him out with a iTunes card so stupid me got him a £50 one and sent him the code not thinking then this week he told me he hadn't got alot of money left for food (junk food) and yesterday 1/5/19 he asked if I could lend him £200 and he would pay me back when he gets paid well alarm bells started ringing and I said no and that the iTunes card was a one off well last night he asked again for help and I told him no and not to ask again since then I haven't heard off him so just wondering if anyone else is speaking to him
May 02, 2019
I've had a girl but name of christabel keen say she is on a secret mission I'm Syria and cant access her money and asked me to wire $200 through. Lucky in found this site
May 02, 2019
Hi a guy by the name of James Tyler started talking to me on Instagram. He said his in the US Marines stationed in Iraq. When I said I was wary abt scammers he got angry and didn't talk to me for a few hours. I asked him for a recent picture of him and can we do FaceTime so I can see who I'm talking to and he gave me a story about its not allowed cause he was on classified missions. He hasn't asked me for anything as yet. But something tells me it's coming. Has anyone heard of James Tyler
May 08, 2019

In reply to by Kaz

Kaz, How can we get in touch? I'd be curious to see what the man that has talked to you looks like or what his Instagram page looks like. I have a guy namesdJames Tyler I believe is trying to scam me. He has sent me many photos. The pics are of a very attractive and well built man. He told me that he used to be a US Marine, but is in project management and is stuck in the Philippines because he needs 25,000 to fulfill this "contract" to get building supplies shipped there. There so much more to share with what he has said! His wife died of cancer and his 8 year old daughter is staying with people in Washington or Oregon. He had been working in Maui and before that Miami. He'd been trying to get me to send him money to fulfill this '"contract". Acting like I am his only hope to get this contract and acts like he is stuck in the Philippines.
February 04, 2020

In reply to by LM

I have aslo met a man from Instagram a year ago ur numbers are just the same needs 25,000 to finishe job. Likes to get amazon cards now google. Told me he was going to jail . I know people he uses from washington and Oregon to pick up money gram then buy cards to send to him.
Rick brown
May 02, 2019
And I do also know how it feels to be scammed I am also a victim of this online scamming crap also I am so tired of online scammers I meant this lady online her name is Mary Smith so she says the thing that really made her so attractive was her looks she kept asking me to send her some money so she could fly all the way out here to Texas she claimed that her grandparents and her mother and father both died is she said that there's a house that is left behind just for her she quit calling me and texting me for at least 2 weeks and then I finally get another message my phone blinked twice and there were two messages and it came from Mary I really don't know if that's really her name last name is Smith middle name Jane she kept asking me for money after she claimed that her so-called lawyer flew her to Nigeria I was pretty stupid for sending so much money to her for the past year and 6 months I have already lost over $1,200 I don't know if she's doing this to other people she would keep her picture on the phone her picture would be online the person that she says that she so-called identifies herself to be I really don't know if she's really the person that she says that she is she said that she needed some money to get on the airplane so she could fly to Texas she never made it she claims that she wanted to marry me and take me to Aurora Colorado and there she sent me a picture of the house this house looks somewhat like a castle but in the middle of a desert I started putting some things together it doesn't look like Colorado from here I was expecting her to text when she got offline she claims that she would check up on me just to make sure that I was okay she was trying to ask for my i d my social and my bank account number I will not give it to her she claims that she has 80 billion dollars left behind from her grandparents I know she's working and she lives in Nigeria why is she always telling lies all I know is that she would leave her phone number on the text block above where I can see her phone number I never heard from her again so I assume that she is actually scamming other people if anyone thinks more than once and they think twice about it or three times think about the people that are scamming this person has no heart has no soul she sends me pictures of her in the nude with her legs in front of her with no shoes smiling sending me a picture of her private part showing me how she dresses and sends me a picture of her coming out of the shower I was pretty shocked at what I had seen her English is very much broken it sounds like she cannot speak English that well and all she does is ask for money the first person that she looked at was me and she asked me for money yes I fell for it like a fool but then I had to turn things around and stop texting her as soon as her identity disappeared the next 2 weeks later I see the name Mary Smith again this time the picture looked different this one was skinnier the upper torso was smaller her torso from the lower half was someone kind of thick and she has this pretty smile trying to see if she can get me to send her $200 she says that she wants to get married I don't think she really does I don't know if she really has kids or if she's living on her own in Nigeria she claims that she lived in Orlando Florida and says that there's a house there in Orlando near the beach the so-called House in Aurora Colorado I really don't know about so I left it all up I don't know who else is getting scammed by this Mary Jane Smith if you see her picture on your phone long black hair with a little bit of highlight on it that's her she has a baby smile and dresses very very nice the way that she dresses is very shocking and she gets on Instagram she likes to ask certain ones to go on Instagram so she can get them to send her some money she claims that she doesn't have an account where she's at right now I really can't figure it out myself but I'm going to get this whole thing put together hopefully I can get two and two put together she is a big-time scammer I do not want to see any more scammers on the Facebook line anytime someone starts scamming they will talk to you for at least 24 to 48 hours until they get what they want wait I tried to text her Mary had a block put on her phone then she would text me back two to three weeks later and try to apologize for the phone blockage she claims that the phone company is blocking her she's the one that's blocking people so if you ever run across a lady with a baby face and some green eyes and a shocking smile don't give in because she will scam for money if anyone else had met her online please let me know because I am tired of being scammed and I really want to get my money back so I hope that the Federal Bureau Investigation well get in on this and hopefully they will get caught just like I said if anyone else I met this Mary Jane Smith online please text me back and let me know
May 02, 2019
Anyone been scammed by an oil rig engineer who calls himself Travis Jefferson? Says he's from Brooklyn, New York? Divorced. One daughter age 7. Claims to be 66 years old. His picture is of a handsome man. I am certain the picture is not him.
May 24, 2019

In reply to by bass

This name was used by John Bogdan who is also a scammer and works on the same oilrig. Perhaps they are working together.
May 03, 2019
I just found out I was scammed too, guys. I feel just terrible. I lost about 30K and have several loans to pay. And he met me on FB, switched to Hangouts in a few days and after to WhatsApp. He told me he is in Syria, in Peacekeeping mission. How fool I was, i google it and there is no such a mission now (since 2012 to be clear), told him this but he replied that he is a contractor to UN, orthopedic in Aleppo. Started to call me my love, baby, etc. Asked for help and I took first loan to pay for his vacation certificate, it was just a beginning. His FB page is owned by another person at the moment. He promised a lot. And I received text messages from his colleague that he is ill (he told me he started feeling bad) and even in coma and need to be transported our of Syria. And I paid because that seems so true. And Ive got another text from some lady from UN (dont know who she/he is; and email is on and he is currently in Homs and could not reach Damascus airport due to rebel gangs who asked for money. So, feel terrible...With a lot of loans to pay..I am well educated woman and feel so fool now..
May 27, 2019

In reply to by Kate

Kate, you are not alone! I too have just found out that I have been scammed by someone posing as a soldier based in Syria. He told me was on a peace keeping mission in aleppo. Your situation mirrors mine in so many ways. I feel foolish, ashamed and embarrassed, not to mention raging with anger. I thought i was a pretty level headed woman who thought this would never happen to me! Ive lost about the same amount as you and now im totally broke. It will take a long time to get over this but i will. No way is that lying scumbag getting the better of me. I will certainly never fall for this again
Dmail address
October 06, 2020

In reply to by Kate

Hi, Same thing happened to me, but I got out before sending money to him. Blocked him everywhere Says he’s a Marine Staff Sergeant James Wilson Zornes
October 06, 2020

In reply to by Kate

Same thing almost happened to me before I realized I was being taken...goes by Marine Staff Sergeant James Wilson Zornes
May 03, 2019
I met a guy in a dating app and said that he is working in an Oil Rig. He said that he is from Texas USA, single, never married nor have any kids. He said he wanted to invest here in my country by buying property and start a life with me as a fiancee. We talk on the phone almost 3-4 times a week and said that he is willing to send me money to buy 2 bedroom condo and a new car. He asked if I have a bank account and said that he will send me money before he go to spain for 3 months work. I know that there are a lot of scammer in the world but I still gave him my bank account number that only have $1 and has no maintaining balance too be safe since I'm not using that account. The night before he left for spain, he called me and asked if his bank tried to call me or email me, I said no, not yet. He said that he ordered his bank to send me 500G and the bank will contact me to verify my information to make sure his money is also secured to avoid being scammed too. Today I received an email from the CEO of NELZ BANK PLC but the email was in my junk makl. In the email, the CEO IS asking me if I can send them a picture of one of my government ID and a passport ID with white back ground for verification. I tried to call/message the man that I'm chatting with but I haven't heard from him for almost a week now. (Well he said that he might have a problem with the phone signal in spain for 3 months so he asked me to be patient if I didn't here from him) I tried to seach for more information about the Nelz Bank Plc and the site looks legit (I think!), I also emailed them to check if the email I receivd is valid but unfortunately, I still didn't get a response. DO YOU THINK, I WAS BEING SCAMMED BY THIS OIL RIG LOVER OF MINE!? ☺️
Not getting conned
May 03, 2019
Just was talking to a "military" man who wanted i-tune card and a new iphone. Said his wife died of skin cancer, mother in law taking care of his son in the states. Wanted me to send money via Western Union because the shipment of military food was poisoned by the rebels in West Africa and he was starving.
May 07, 2019

In reply to by Not getting conned

Is his name John Kelvin or Kelvin Cezar? Troll instagram?
Military scammers
May 15, 2019

In reply to by wifegettingscammed

No he told me his name was Brian Richard. Does troll instagram though.
Military scammers
May 03, 2019
Beware of Brian Richard aka Brianrichard360 on instagram. Handsome military pictures... He will make you fall for him, give you a sad story about his wife dying, how he has not seen his son in years...tell you he loves everything about you...looking for true love...that love is "golden" Told me the shipment of food to West Africa was just poisoned. Wants money to buy foodstuffs from locals...really? You want to buy food from the people who supposedly poisoned your food. Don't fall for his trap...I come from a military background so I laughed when he told me this.
May 03, 2019
If they want you to use hang outs it 99 percent it's a scam the same goes for Google Voice Google is inableling scammers Somehow this "woman" got my phone number and we have been texting for a while then all of a sudden "she" asks me to as her to my bank account and get a joint calling plan with "her". This woman is a goddess in her pictures and never in a million years would a guy like me ever have a chance with that type of woman but she swears up and down she loves me. If it seems to good to be true it usually isn't. I will never talk to anyone on hangouts or google voice again and I urge people to use caution when asked to go on hangouts
May 03, 2019
Does anyoone know a guy named drake ????
May 03, 2019
Anyone familiar with a guy calling himself James Walker who claims his wife died in a car accident 4 years ago in Alabama? He's an engineer/designer now living in San Jose, CA with a daughter named Diana who attends boarding school in Italy? He hasn't asked for anything from me but it all just sounds more odd to me by the day.... Thanks everyone ~
May 03, 2019
Hey! Has anyone ran across a beautiful young lady that goes by the name Alice Elizabeth Lewis. I discovered this person on Instagram. She claims that she is an American model that goes by the name of Chinese Kitty aka Taylor Hing. She has been in music rap videos of famous artists and reality TV shows.
July 25, 2020

In reply to by Blacboi77

Same here. I ran into Alice Elizabeth Lewis also. Claimed that she's Chinese Kitty aka Taylor Hing. I discovered this person on Instagram also. IG: alicelewis212, I told her to prove it that she's so called Taylor Hing aka Chinese Kitty. She sent me pic of her pass
July 25, 2020

In reply to by Blacboi77

Yeah and plus she's asking me am I looking for a relationship and all types of stuff. Never asked for any personal info or anything though
July 25, 2020

In reply to by Blacboi77

I actually can say it's her. First she sent a picture and then she video me because I didn't trust her. We video chatted she wants to get up with me and go out on a date and take it from there. She wants a man that she can spend her life happily with. I'm definitely on it!!!
May 03, 2019
I too was scammed from this person who call himself Zachary Geok, who ever this person is,he's just a liar and a thief and he will not getaway with it. God will punish him for his deception
September 15, 2019

In reply to by It’s happened again

Yes. He is using a different name at the moment he is Harrison Moore
It’s happened again
May 11, 2019

In reply to by Grace

Hi Grace can you tell me something about him please ? are you in the UK ?
Native women
May 04, 2019
I have a friend and she's talking to a guy name Thomas Walker, from Colorado, working on an oil rig off the coast of Alaska. and he's bribing her and sweet talking her, She thinks and believes every word he says. he's been telling her he sent gold bars and its being hale in Canada unless she pays so much, which she already paid some and now they want more which is double the amount she paid for. I'm worried because I don't want to lose her friendship it means a lot to me. what should I do? even when I bring up the truth she looks the other way. I don't want this guy to get away with this? HELP!!!
Scammed and know it
June 25, 2019

In reply to by Native women

I was in her shoes, I believed nobody when they told me that the man I loved with all my heat was just scamming me out of $125,000.00 of my life's work. She will not believe anyone cause LOVE IS BLIND I was and now IM broke. My co-worker even got the fraud unit to call me and explain that I will never see my money or this man. When we want something so bad we block out common sense especially when were in LOVE. Be gentle, talk nice and have her start reading what other women have gone thru. Just maybe it will open her eyes. I did to late.
May 04, 2019
Beware of man on Facebook using the names of Chris Grain and Harry Cole. A engineer from Redding, CA. He scammed a friend out of 55 thousand dollars in 16 months time.
May 04, 2019
I have been chatting to a chap who approached me on fb.His name Jimmy Zellner.Undying love after a few days.Born in Germany moved to America when he was 21.Divorced with 5 year old girl.Said he was a successful construction engineer who was working in Poltava Ukraine on road construction.Owned his own business and 3 houses in America.Went back to Boston USA for Xmas then went back to Ukraine.Said he need more equipment to finish his project but because his credit cards didn't work could I send him money to get his goods released.I couldn't see him because his camera on his phone was broken.He produced a scan of his passport and duty document Fromm Ukraine customs dept.When I didn't send money he still emailed and spoke on hangouts everyday.Then he suddenly came off fb.i don't know how to do face recognition but am convinced he is a scammer
May 05, 2019
Hi everyone! I was talking almost a year on WhatsApp with handsome 60 years old man. His wife died 4 year ago in a car accident and he has a son in boarding school. Everything was fine until he asked for money telling me different sob stories. I sent several times to persons he said (not his name of course- red flag...). But finally I refused - then he told me that I am selfish, heartless lady and blocked me. I feel terrible ...
August 11, 2020

In reply to by FeelUsed

Do you have his picture? This sounds like someone I'm currently talking with but he's wanting me to set up a new account so he can send me money.
May 05, 2019
Just played on words with friends with “scammer”. Asking all sorts of questions. Caught him in several lies. Now asking to go to hangouts app. Blocked him immediately. They all use the same story. Sickening
June 12, 2019

In reply to by doublescam

Ive been also scammed by a guy from Words with friends. Claims to be working on an oil rig in UK. Jason Brian, uses many versions of his name. Says he’s widowed, lost his only son...and so on. Plays games then asks you if married; if not out. He stolen x- amount of $$$ Then told me he wanted to use a credit card w/bank account. He was trusting me with his money. Big mistake. Thank goodness I said I didn’t have any credit cards etc. I was dumped so fast I was shocked. Thank goodness I still have have my house n bank accounts
nance davamp
May 06, 2019
I have been talking to a guy that is in the german military and yes he is quite handsome his phone is traced back to texas but I did an image search and his picture is on all kinds of dating sites in Russia,liverpool uk,united states and i texted him all those pics he asked me how did i find all that i told him I had an iris scanner.Which was bs. I stoped talkilng to him because he wanted an amazon card and Im like if youre working for the military why are you asking me for an amazon card??
July 08, 2019

In reply to by nance davamp

Anyone hear of Charles Owen's. On peace keeping mission in Afghanistan. Supposedly from Detroit. Usual widowed with 1 child who lives with his mom. Was on pof . Found one of his photos on Google image but says someone using his photos. His texting seems broken and not mature enough to match the photo. Tried to say he cudnt get his care pack as his card blocked. I told him the military hardly let him starve.wanted me to sign him up on some currency card and all these were red flags. Ie why cant ur mum send u money etc. Waz supposed to retire 27may. But of course now saying nobody can leave. Only reason I kept talking was to catch him out. Asked him for a friend contact that I cud verify who he is or his mum number so I can call her. I am no idiot but like that every sentence is baby or my love. He copied a complete love letter i googled which came up to make a woman fall in love with u. Seriously lol.
Taken Advantage of
May 06, 2019
There is a guy posting on and other dating websites pretending to be a thoracic surgeon. He goes my the name Brian Edmonds-Allums. He shows women a contract stating he is going to make $525,000 a year. He the states that he wants to be in a relationship, but must have fully access to banking accounts and credit cards etc in order for him to take care of them. If he cant get that he asks to borrow money because he cant get access to his, then write a bad check to cover what he borrowed. When a female starts to figure out what he is doing and confronts him he threatens to sue, have them arrested, ruin. their life.
May 07, 2019 I am very worried about my best friend who met this guy named "Chris" on Tinder (of all places). Stated he is on an oil rig, he is Italian /French Canadian, owns a house in Italy, a millionaire and within about a week of them talking has stated he loves her, wants to marry her, etc. They have been in communication for maybe 3-4 weeks now.. the other day, he said that their permits are held up and he needs a $1,000. She didn't have it, so he asked her to set up an account under her name here in the US and he wired a $1,000 to it...he wants her to in turn wire that money to an attorney- out of the country. Has anyone ever heard of this???
FTC Staff
May 07, 2019

In reply to by JulieinMO

That 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 purpose for the transaction. They meet people online, create a relationship, and ask their new sweetheart to use an existing bank account, or open a new account. Then the scammer asks the victim 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.