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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 ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

13794 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.

Katia
September 03, 2021

In reply to by Nissiotiko

I have a contact calling Marco ludwig. He pretends to be in yemen as an orthopedic surgeon doctor. He calls me my queen every day
Kay1234
November 22, 2021

In reply to by Nissiotiko

Yes… sleep like a baby and wake up like the queen that you are. Sent him an iPhone and now I’m concerned he knows my address.
Sarah J
June 07, 2021

In reply to by Confused

Was his name Eric Koll in Turkey to do oil pipeline project machines broke now needs money I am reading post after post about what I'm.sure is the same man
Ilo-naDon't us…
September 10, 2021

In reply to by Confused

Can we share his photo as I have A guy from Sweeden?
Melanie Lueho
March 31, 2021

In reply to by Betty Boop

Ladies i think we all find a way to get together online and share or pictures we got . Then more women will be aware of these scammers.
Being fooled?
August 11, 2021

In reply to by Melanie Lueho

I got messaged on telegram by a very handsome man who says he lives in Manchester. Says he’s divorced and his young daughter lives with her Mum. I noticed that different parts of the day , the way he uses English and puts together sentences is different. Friends are asking questions so I started digging a little. They’re worried he’s not being honest and is a scammer. One who covers their tracks a bit better.
Think I am bei…
March 10, 2021

In reply to by Horse mom

He told me he has a daughter and son in the USA staying with a nanny. Working on an oil rig off Ireland. Yes he did send me a photo of his injured hand while he was in Turkey last year. Yes French.
She Knows
January 20, 2021

In reply to by Hatcherymom

Something similar is happening to me. He’s gotten $700 but doesn’t realize I’m on to him. Claims to be German born but lives in Houston, TX. Now in Turkey and needs $20,000 to finish a contract or he’ll go to jail. I want to say bye but I’m enjoying this game. I told him I don't have anything to do with his business problems and he's still begging. He goes by the name of Greg David Muller.
Knowledge is power
February 03, 2021

In reply to by She Knows

Go along with him, if you find it fun, but be careful, especially if you've given him any personal information. If he can get into your accounts, because yes, some people will give a stranger access to their bank account, change all your log in information.
Esmerelda65
February 27, 2021

In reply to by She Knows

I too kept someone stringing along for a while. On an oil rig in gulf of Mexico. Knew he was a scammer. Asked me for money. I refused but he still love bombed me. Whilst playing the game I found he'd stolen pics of a very handsome S American actor. He also contradicted himself several times! Reported this to ftc but so far they don't seem to have posted it. Goes by name of Gottes Kand or Peter Weber. Anyone familiar with this one? I blocked him finally as was getting bored!
pandabear
January 27, 2021

In reply to by Hatcherymom

my sister is talking to a guy named Frank Williams, I found his picture and it was a famous model named Steve. He told my sister that someone stole his identity. He has $10,000,000.00 and loves her and wants to marry her. He sent her 2 credit cards with her name on them and told her to cash them. She tried but didn't work and he got mad at her. He is supposed to be a civil engineer in Germany but owns a house in NY. I've showed her a lot of evidence that he is fake but she said don't be negative. He loves me and he is so sweet. He won't have face time with her.
animallover
January 28, 2021

In reply to by pandabear

A famous model named Steve? Do you still have a picture of this guy? I talked to someone like this and he said he is a model named Steve.
animalcall
March 10, 2021

In reply to by pandabear

I was also talking 2 a person by the name of Frank Williams. He is a scammer 4 sure. Very good lookN, very good with romancing. Asked 4 cards, which initially I sent but stopped when I realized he was getting details of information wrong when I asked him questions about rig he was on. Given up on dating sites, brother told me he read 9 out of 10 people on sites R scammers.
Caught on
March 17, 2021

In reply to by pandabear

Hi i have someone who sent a pic of their inactive HSBC account showing this amount of money. Says he needs money to finish his project in Cyprus. Stated the ware house caught fire and burned his materials. He just finished a project in Aberdeen Scotland where he discovered there was an issue with his account when attempting to buy a cell phone. States his FaceTime does work .
J
November 22, 2021

In reply to by pandabear

Hi. Does the guy you are referring to has tattoos on both inner arms?
Rosita
February 11, 2021

In reply to by Hatcherymom

Hy ! Interesting .. I was contacted by a guy whos name sopose to by Milo Desmond . Lives in Atlanta , Georgia, contracting engineer, widowed( wife died 2019 of covid 19) , one doughter , 5 year. He claims he was born in Norway. Sends me a lot of pistures.. Black -gray hair , beard and on fb you finde him under Milo de Celebussy . I think tvcould be the same guy ..
Cformyself
November 21, 2021

In reply to by Rosita

I met a very handsome guy on the Hinge dating app who said he was born in Manhattan and moved to Norway when he was 17 and has lived there for about 40 years until moving back with his 18-year-old daughter to Michigan a few years ago (but did not have a favorite restaurant where he said they live. He told me that he is a subcontractor who installs medical equipment and won a contract in Cyprus, and just before he was to fly back to the states, he was robbed by three guys while taking a walk, and his phone was stolen, along with his wallet. He used his business phone to then contact me, which I did not know about previously. He told me he had to cancel his card which then ended up canceling his booked flight. He currently is “stranded” because the hotel kicked him out, but gave him a cot to sleep on last night. He had suggested I take a couple of days off to fly over there to help him convince the bank to let him open an account so that he could wire his $9 million check back to the states. But supposedly the Cyprus bank needed €20,000 to open the account. It puzzled me that they wouldn’t just except the check! In all of our previous conversations he was so kind and sweet, but the conversation about the bank account got him agitated.
Sweetgirl12
June 30, 2021

In reply to by Hatcherymom

Can u send me pics. My friend is talking to aman who said he just got a big job in turkey and is having her login to his bank account and send large amounts of money to another account of his.
Blue Angel 1
July 27, 2021

In reply to by Hatcherymom

Sounds like a man I am talking to. Wife died in a car accident . He works on the rigs out on the Black Sea. Left his laptop at home wants to send money from his Trust Dominion Bank. Having a hard time doing so. Name Chris Henry michael
Leean
October 06, 2021

In reply to by Hatcherymom

Hi can i see his picture?? I also have a chat mate same as yours his an engineer and goin to turkey came from uk and asking money for help
TOWGIRL
January 05, 2021

In reply to by Horse mom

Did anyone get a picture? I am being scammed.. I know it. Hoping not....
Lindalu
January 27, 2021

In reply to by TOWGIRL

Yes. If u mean by a picture if a guy pretending to be so e he is not. Yes. I did. Im still texting him.. Im so into him. He has convinced me he cares so much for me. .ugh. Im am such a fool. My husband died. In 2020 and. I was so lonley. He sent me a facebook. Friend request. I accepted. I. Never accepted any guy. Requests before. But. I did and now. I. Feel stuck. Im about to block him.
Batgirl27
June 29, 2021

In reply to by Lindalu

Block him, painful at first but you will quickly heal as I have been thru this 3 times, it’s unbelievable the way they feel you in, always widowed, kids in boarding school, out in high seas on oil rig, terrible to do this deceitful thing to a good person, BLOCK AS STRANGER MEANS DANGER
FakemanDon't u…
December 14, 2021

In reply to by Lindalu

I have the same issues , with this man there is a girl stating best friend and this man is said to be very rich , lost his wife and has a 12 year old son and he is now stuck in Malaysia and has lost his passport and telephone , lost all contacts but remembers my number
DanielLynn
February 03, 2021

In reply to by TOWGIRL

Use your woman intuition, if it quacks like a duck, it’s a duck. I f you feel it then it’s true. Be careful and good luck
Annie 11
February 25, 2021

In reply to by DanielLynn

Anyone being contacted by a guy named Daniel Bucky also on a Oil platform??
Annie 11
March 09, 2021

In reply to by Annie 11

How do I share his pictures, very handsome, nice beard, 51, calls me daily, I'd love to know of others are being Scammed,,
Caught on
March 17, 2021

In reply to by Annie 11

Beard salt and pepper. Sends pics and videos but says FaceTime doesn’t works. Stated love after a month and as soon as he is back to the states he will fix his bank account. 6f1 germany/ dutch accent
Kris1tine
July 09, 2021

In reply to by Annie 11

Don’t believe him . I caught mine who almost scam me . I thank the lord thst I been reading a testimony from this site . He told me that he’s in Malaysia doing a construction business and telling me that he’s contracting a big malls. He even told me that he’s making 5.9 million after the contract is finished. First I believe but when he ask for a big amount . I see a red flag and I did not send him any penny . He started to get abusivebto me in his words calling me stupid and idiot. And he’s calling me an old fool. It over now with that Nigerian and he did not get any penny from me. We have to keep on sharing to every women , if what we experienced from this scammers. All they need is money . They can’t love us. Too many victims all over the world. Again thank you again for everyone who shared their experiences. I have save my money. Thank you God too for guiding me.
Annie 11
March 06, 2021

In reply to by Comment1

Yes I have pictures and a drivers license he sent by mistake, how do I share pictures of him
Annie 11
March 06, 2021

In reply to by Comment1

I'm very new at this but if you refuse to send money do they continue to call you and text you nevertheless?? I've had someone calling and texting me daily for 3 months, when I tried to break it off he was Crying uncontrollably is this Normal. How do I share pics of him?
Cutie87
March 28, 2021

In reply to by Annie 11

Yes especially if their is ring of them . I had one stop texting today after I said I filed police report cause these ones went has far to make a fake social media accounts in my name .
ann
April 09, 2021

In reply to by Horse mom

I have been talking to a French guy with a 17 year old daughter who is studying to be a doctor at a boarding college in Paris and he badly injured his hand in a accident on board the oil rig where he was a supervisor engineer but has scince retired he has a Scottish terrorist called jack
Quisha0742
November 17, 2021

In reply to by ann

I swear I have someone right now that said he is an engineer on an oil rig and that he just got hurt during an explosion and that he has to pay 800 to the Dr before he can go back to work. It he has a 12ye boy in Sna Diego and his wife died . Said he has a Nanny watching him. But he can't get to any of his money and that I am all he has. Where are all his friends and his job. Why didn't they pay it off and just deduct from his final pay or something
Fedup
July 06, 2021

In reply to by Horse mom

Has anyone heard this story. Name is Louis Kelvin on a oil rig in Queensland , Australia, has 15 year old daughter in boarding school in the states. Wife has died of cancer. His birthday is Oct 22. Sounds too good to be true so probably is a scam.
Concerned for …
January 31, 2022

In reply to by Fedup

A relation is talking to someone called Hugh who works as a consultant or something like that on an oil rig off Australia - she is in New Zealand. She has seen bank statements apparently showing large sums of money but he cannot access funds as owed money for taxes to us government so bank accounts are frozen. They only email or text and have never spoken live so to speak. She just sent $8,500 NZD to him via BNZ to a westpac account in an oil rigs employees name and this has been flagged as possible scam by westpac. She has strong feelings for him and he coming to NZ at some stage and will buy a house together. I suspect a scam but she refuses to listen. He works for Exxon oil apparently. Can anyone help with this Hugh person???? I have managed to see 2 photos that I have image searched with no results so stuck in a hard place where I am trying to help and stop her being taken in for a scam if it is a scam?? Or maybe it’s real??? Help!!!!