Skip to main content

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.

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

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.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • 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.

November 01, 2020

In reply to by orthopedicdoct…

David Jerkins is reaching out to me now. Thank you for posting this.
Good morning
October 25, 2018

In reply to by Lost and confused

Im.going through the same thing now and I dont know what to do any suggestions
October 29, 2018

In reply to by Good morning

Were any of the names Carolyn Matott or Alice Eldridge
August 25, 2019

In reply to by Lost and confused

Is your face showing in the pictures? If not then don't worry. It's all blackmail though and I'm pretty sure it will never happen. Especially if you're not the only person he is doing this too. If your face IS showing, alert your son's school and let them know you got blackmailed and they photoshopped your face onto the body. That way they will not be surprised if something comes through.
they need to b…
October 16, 2019

In reply to by Lost and confused

I had a very similar experience as you have had. The person said he’s a marine and his wife died and he has a 5 yr old daughter that lives in Huston Texas where he is supposedly from. This person immediately said he’s in love, he said I put a spell on him. He kept asking me to pick up steam wallet cards in the amount of $200 I told him I don’t have any money then $50 I tried to stop talking to him and he kept calling me and “his friend” tried to friend me to tell me this guy really is missing me. I realized that 2 different people were pretending to be one. Both from Nigeria, I believe it’s a business there where they are targeting a lot of people. They are still harassing me. I’ve had to delete my social media, change my phone number. They never got a dime out of me.
January 28, 2020

In reply to by they need to b…

I didnt know women in europe also fall victims of those foolish stories of scam. I used to think it happens to african gals. But scammers dont mind they do it to both male and female
July 06, 2020

In reply to by CIVIA

My scammer said he was willard carlos- military, thru facebook there were obviously. Many things you all said happened . Horrible.
Kelly Greenwood
April 12, 2020

In reply to by they need to b…

I believe I have just been contacted from this very same person what was he calling himself?
May 15, 2020

In reply to by they need to b…

I think I met this guy. And he keeps showing up on Hinge with different names. Same story. Hispanic? Handsome. Tatoos. Never gave him a penny. New from the start was a scam. Lol
August 29, 2020

In reply to by Jasminelee

Does anyone know Fernando Miguel also has a 6 yr old daughter his wife deceased
September 01, 2020

In reply to by Fluffy

Classic scammer scenarios always has a daughter & wife deceased. Let me guess Wife died in childbirth, from cancer or car accident? Child is in boarding school, with a nanny or looked after by his sister or mother? Read the other stories here and it will be same scenarios with different names. Block & delete.
September 02, 2020

In reply to by Fluffy

Same scammer scenario of deceased wife and a child. The names and locations change but the scenarios are all the same. Read all the posts here and I am sure you will find the same story you are been told. Block, delete & don’t send cash.
September 02, 2020

In reply to by Fluffy

He is a scammer. Block & delete. He will change profiles and try and contact you again with a different story line. Don’t fall for it because it’s all lies.
Stupid me
November 09, 2020

In reply to by Lost and confused

I was talking to a guy who pretended he is an American working inSyria who is a widower with 2 sons who lives in Newark ,NJ . Stupid me he made me feel for him and like other women also sent some naughty pictures . Now that I refused to correspond with him he is threatening to publish all my pictures online , FB, Instagram and everywhere to destroy me and wants lots of money . I have changed phone number , deleted FB but Instagram can't be deleted for a whole month ? I am dying of stress . Can anyone help me ?
December 19, 2020

In reply to by Lost and confused

The same thing happened me but i just treatened him back and blocked him found out he is using an ex soldiers profile and story.dont be scared of him
June 29, 2021

In reply to by Lost and confused

Is his name Thomas? And does he say he is in the army and has a daughter names Katherine?
March 11, 2018

In reply to by Hilary

Hilary- I have been talking to a guy that sente a follow request on Instagram and he started messaging me and ask me to go to Hangout. Our guys stories sound similar. Mine says he is a doctor working for the U.N. in Syria, is a widower with a 15 year old son from Rome but currently living in San Antonio. I knew by looking at his Instagram and seeing over 3,000 women he was following that he was a scammer but I have played along with it. When I realized that he was a scam I did a Google image search of him and saw that his identity belonged to a doctor alright but his name was totally different than the one he gave me. Yesterday he posted several "new" pics of his alter ego and in every one he had a wedding ring on. I ask him how long his wife had been gone and I was told five years, I then ask him why did all the pics show him with a wedding band and he tells me that he "wears it BC it keeps the nurses from fighting" over him! Lol. I've done nothing but play along BC people like this really piss me off! But, I am happily married and would have sent him on his was if he had been legit. He has already told me that he is in love with me and thinks about me all the time! Haha. He too has a goatee type beard that is black with gray in it.
March 13, 2018

In reply to by Charma

I’m so glad I came across this thread. I’m in the process of being conned by a man that claims he is US Army, working for the United Nations, out in Afghanistan. He said he was cheated on ‘badly’ by his now ex wife. He is now divorced, has zero family and zero emergency contacts oh and zero bank account. He’s not asked me for money yet but has asked for my address so he can apparently have a personal cheque delivered to my house for $450,000 which he says is back pay that he is owed for the past 3 years and does not have a bank account. He said that the cheque would be couriered to my house and though he’s never met me, he would trust me with it, nor would he mind flying to the UK for it. I am 40, in a relationship and he has contacted me via Facebook. I rarely accept random requests but seeing he was a service man, thought he may have been family that I didn’t know existed as I’ve recently found out I have family over in the US. The messages mainly comprise of him declaring his undying love for me, thanking God and bad spelling and grammar. I asked many times what rank he is, what his job in the army is and could he video call me to confirm his identity. All he could say was he was a soldier and that due to him being closely monitored by terrorists, all cameras had been disabled. Didn’t even answer me with which rank. I also asked him if he was a United Nations soldier would that not make him a nato soldier, he once again did not answer and that was a wild guess to which I knew any proud soldier would be happy to correct me. So after a few messages were exchanged I suddenly remembered Facebook voice messaging. I asked him to send me a voice message and promised if he did I’d give him my address. So I am waiting to see what his next excuse is. I mean I knew it was a scam all along but I could not work out how. This guy is a looker, well the photos he is using anyway. In my experience, good looking guys from a different country don’t just befriend you and say you are their soul mate, but if they do then god bless America. He hasn’t asked for money but no doubt that is to come. I’ve tried to trip him up constantly and he has an answer to pretty much everything. He must have even researched who the forces use as their main courier. If all the microphones have been disabled then I’m going to ask him to write my name on his hand along with the date and take a selfie in the mirror. And considering there are so many women getting scammed, it’s not exactly clear where we can turn for advice. I was actually looking for a number that I could call in the US to ask if it could even be possible that a service man could be without emergency contacts and a bank account. He’s clearly taken a service mans identity from Facebook because there is more than 1 picture and it makes me a bit sick that it could be a soldier that’s been killed in action. These cowards are from third world countries and don’t even see women as equal, I’ve visited and I know from experience, but they’re making all kinds of money from us. I wonder how many embarrassed women tell anyone that this has happened, because I honestly had not known it was so common until I decided to look online I really hope this comment helps someone. Almost forgot, the guys name on Facebook is Keith Elvis.
Got scammed
March 18, 2018

In reply to by Rose2018

This happened to me for 3 months now. This guy approached me through a text from a social media and I accepted it and then started talking everyday saying sweet things to me and I gave in. He asked me money for $30000. I asked him if he’s going to pay me back and he said yes So I got a loan of 28000 and sent it to him. He kept asking for money because somethings are always coming up and I never thought this was a scam because he was a sweet person. And when I was on a social media looking a pictures and I happened to see the guy that I thought i was talking to all this time. I looked at this guys pages and he is married with a baby who lives in Hong Kong. Then that’s when I confronted this fake guy trying to be this person when he is not him. He told the truth and said yes that’s not me and I’m only after your money and this is when I reallized and I just recently found out that I’ve been scammed. The sad thing is I sent him $31000 through wire transfer. I’m so lost of words right now because now I am left with this huge debt on my hands. I don’t know what to do.
FTC Staff
March 19, 2018

In reply to by Got scammed

You can report this to the wire transfer company you used. Call the Western Union Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492 or the MoneyGram Customer Care Center at 1‑800‑926‑9400.

Also, report to the FTC at The information you give goes into a secure database that law enforcement uses for investigations. You can also report to your state Attorney General, and to the social media site where you found the profile.

March 23, 2018

In reply to by FTC Staff

I met a guy on facebook.He said his name was Mark Johnson government pilot working for the UK government. He said he was a widower with a daughter Mary that leaved in the UK with a nanny. He told me he had a house in San Antonio Texas, and Apartment in England. He said that he had alot of money & money was not a problem. He would marry me and take care of me. He was a very sweet talker. I made me fall in love with him. He told me he lost his debt card in England & couldn't get it replaced until he got back to the united states when his contract was finished with the government. He asked me if i could buy him an $100.00 itune card. I did. Then he told me the itune card i sent him was used. So i brought him anyone $100.00 itube card. Which was very stupid. The we continued to text on google hangouts. He told me he loved me. And we were soulmates. And he wanted to make a life with me & Mary his daughter. He was a government pilot. He traveled all over Europe he told me. He went to west africa an got an infection which land him in Carolina Medical Center in Poland. He wanted me to moneygram or western union him $700.00 for medicine he need. He said they could only get this medicine in Nigeria. I had to send the moneygram or western union money to doctor in Nigeria. And he would come back to Poland and give him the medicine so he wouldn't die from infection. And once he was well he would come meet me and we would marry. I told him he was a scammer and i blocked him from messaging me. So please ladies beware of this Scammer very sweet talker & handsome too. If photos where real i do not know.
March 23, 2018

In reply to by BrooklynNY

And ladies there is another one out there named David M Rivas i met him on Instagram. He's a widower marine engineer in California. He has a 17 year old daughter named Bella. She is in boarding school. Another one that wanted to talk on hangouts. He told me he loved me and wanted to make a life with me. He told me he was at sea. And his bank accounting was frozen. He asked if i could open a bank account for him. So his company can direct deposit money into this account. I told him No i wouldn't open an account for him. I do not know this guy that well. It could have been stolen money going into account that would be in my name not his. I told him to have the company cut him a paper check. And he could cash it when he get back on land. And he started insulting me. So i blocked him.
June 06, 2020

In reply to by BrooklynNY

I was contacted by a David Bell a fee months ago. Same story, lived in LA, lost his wife ,daughter Bella, but she stayed with his mother. He was also an Engineer, suddenly was sent over seas and was mugged at the air port and needed me too send him money. I blocked and deleted him immediately.
old and dumb
May 09, 2018

In reply to by BrooklynNY

This sound like the same man I'm talking to now. The only thing is he has a son,Kevin,who lives with his nanny.They are in Washington D.C. He work for an oil share company in Scotland.He is a very sweet talker, made me fall in love with him. These only I have one big problem. I'm married. Yes I know that's wrong even if I'm in a abusive marriage. But he really helps me talking with me when I need to talk about my problems. Then he started asking for my help, needing $100 itune cards then Amazons cards .Telling me I'll send it back to you the next day. Then the next day,he would tell me "I have a little problem." I have been dumb enough to send $900 to him and all times "I have a little problem." Now he wants to send me money to get out of my marriage but he has to have $700 to send to his company to have them to release his money to send to me. Now I'm out $900 which $300 was my heart medicine money. Every time I ask for it "I have a problem. Always a problem. He always make it my fault that I don't have the money to send him. I try not to talk to him but I have that man under my skin and just can't stop. Old and Dumd.
May 12, 2018

In reply to by old and dumb

Please in the name of God, this person is fake. Do not send anymore money please.
August 16, 2018

In reply to by Cy

I am talking to a guy name Cleve Baez on Instagram from the US military. He said I was beautiful and I should transfer to hang out app. He has a tattoo on his chest and work out video.He said he loves me. He text me very day and say I miss u. He said he is in Nigeria and from the states. After 4 weeks, I ask him to come see me , he said he need 2000$.
unhappy but smart
November 13, 2018

In reply to by Lydia1920

I had a sergeant John goodwin and he sounds similar - wife died , son Michael lives with a nanny Very easy to chat to , loved me after a week Contracted soldier , stationed in Niger Keep fit instructor Has anyone else heard of him Frozen bank account , needs to get home and wants a plane ticket
Red flags
November 16, 2018

In reply to by unhappy but smart

The guy you described sounds like the guy I met via tinder a few months ago, who went by the name of Goodwin Williams. I sensed red flags from the beginning. His story was this: resides in San Diego however currently working on a construction contract in Turkey his native country. He has a young son of 3 yrs, who’s mom had cheated on him, and now divorced. He started telling me he was going to buy me a car, wanted to get married, and also wanted to come visit me, and actually stay with me. I told him that won’t be possible as I never met him, and he quickly accused me of being married, and thank goodness the communication ended. Through two weeks of convo he asked how much I made, asked if I knew what bitcoin was, and even explained a situation where he loan someone money, and it was never returned. Well I am well aware that money, or finances is not mentioned in a two week period of getting to know someone. His pace was too fast for me, he expressed loving me, and how he lost his mother at an early age, and was looking for a mother figure, which was disturbing, and overwhelming. I really wish this guy would get caught, as no one deserves to be taken advantage of. Well stay away from that creep. I’ve read the other posts, and it seems to be the same person which is quite disturbing. This guy needs for his games to be ended. The photo he uses is of a man with dark hair, well trimmed beared, with a safisticated look to him, who works out everyday. Stay away from that creep.
Here in Australia
July 01, 2019

In reply to by unhappy but smart

Military personnel only fly non commercial, to and from war zones or non commercial ships
July 16, 2020

In reply to by Here in Australia

Is this true? Do officers travel non commercial from Dubai to USA and would such a flight cost $300k+? Thanks
May 14, 2019

In reply to by Lydia1920

do you feel something for him? do you know him too well that you want him to come over and meet you? do you trust him ? this are the questions you should be asking yourself my lydia..because i believe they're still good men out just have follow your heart my dear lydia
October 02, 2019

In reply to by Lydia1920

Lydia , is the workout video is about lifting heavy weight? And wearing a green sweat shirt and black trouser?
January 29, 2020

In reply to by Lydia1920

Does he have a bunch of tattoos? And has videos of his being a body builder.
February 29, 2020

In reply to by Lydia1920

Sounds like a guy I talk to called Tyler Dean. Says he’s from Belfast but is doing construction engineer project in Germany. His wife of 5 yrs cheated on him/he’s been divorced 4 yrs now. Muscualar man with pics of him with a dog and also a workout video of him at the gym. Says he has a daughter aged 6 who is in the care of his aunt who is disabled. He has asked for steam gift card or if not Amazon or iTunes.
June 04, 2020

In reply to by Buzz

Hi I’m currently talking to a guy named Tyler dean he asked for my bank info I told him I didn’t feel comfortable with that so he suggested a credit union bank where I can set up a new account so he can deposit my weekly allowance. he’s looks like a body builder with arm tattoos and has a daughter and also said he makes workout videos
August 16, 2020

In reply to by Buzz

Hi i just meet up also like that man macular body with bunch of tattoo...his photo with the pitbull dog. He was telling me he would like transfer the money with me from indonesia,
September 01, 2020

In reply to by Buzz

is he gorgeous dark hair muscular and has beautiful brown eyes? His dog looks like a Doberman I have pictures several
September 01, 2020

In reply to by Mikki

Tyler Dean is a scammer!!! Do not fall for this guy he is smooth. Block & delete
July 29, 2018

In reply to by old and dumb

I'm currently being scammed by a guy named Williams Smith from Detroit Michican. Claims he is in Thailand working to repair pipes under water . He recently wanted me to contact the United Nations to help him get a vacation I said no he got told me I didn't want to meet him . I said I'm not comitting fraud for him . I'm still texting him just to see how far he will go .
May 26, 2019

In reply to by Lori

Good thing you didn't allow yourself to fall prey to what he wanted from you. Going to jail/prison is so not worth it for these losers, a real care honest person wouldn't want you to go the extremes for them like a scammer would in order to meet them. United Nations deals with terrorist (I think) not pipe running LOL. I hope I can meet this loser (scammer) so I can grill him on Detroit Michigan, I am from there LOL.
April 09, 2020

In reply to by sandy

Are you still talking to him? I think I’m talking to the same person.
Nancy drew
July 09, 2020

In reply to by Tillie

He is a scammer. I saw him on a video call. It was not clear as he said his phone was broken. But I am sure that is was not the person from the picture. The guy in the picture a a very good looking light skinned man but it was not like that at all on the video call which lasted for less than a few seconds. His excuse was there is a lot of disturbances.
October 13, 2020

In reply to by Tillie

Hi Tillie. I think we talk to the same person. You have a picture of him?