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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.
  • 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 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.

kctrinity11
May 11, 2020

In reply to by Doubts2

Do you have email address or picture for this person. Someone by name of Daniel James Anderson from Austin Texas also was texting me from Afghanistan supposedly. I am wondering if it the same person?
Don't use your…
July 21, 2020

In reply to by kctrinity11

James Anderson from Sweeden says he now lives in McKinney,Tx working in Istanbul. Anyone familiar with him? Romance Scammer.
Ann
August 22, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

Yes I have information on James Anderson from Sweden . Please communicate .
FakeAsTheyCome
September 02, 2020

In reply to by Ann

James Anderson is a scammer. The version he gave me was from Sweden now in Dallas. Has a daughter. Wife cheated on him. Works as an engineer and after 1 week suddenly got a contract in Turkey. Can’t video chat from rig. Needs steam card or iTunes to keep talking. Needs money for lost tools and then broken equipment. Shows you a fake contract and fake bank balance. It’s all lies don’t fall for it. Delete & Block.
Carol
September 09, 2020

In reply to by Ann

I was also contacted by a James Andersson from Sweden thru a dating website. I would be interested to hear of your contact.
Angie g
October 20, 2020

In reply to by Carol

I would like to communicate. Been communicating with him for two and a half years. Says he's from LA, widower, raising 14 year old granddaughter, wealthy, Shipping Company for gas and oil. Currently says he's in Istanbul in jail. Email is james and erson 4170. pictures being used are of a city politician from California
Carol
September 14, 2020

In reply to by Ann

I've been communicating with a James Andersson originally from Sweden who says he now lives in Arizona. Could this be the same person? Self employed engineer working in Australia thru contract in New York
Carol
November 08, 2020

In reply to by a name above a…

James is now stranded in Australia and needs money to get his gold bars thru customs. He was robbed in his hotel room, and they stole his money and laptop. It's been 4 months now of texts and phone calls.
a name above a…
September 28, 2020

In reply to by Doubts2

it is all fraud, anyone in army are provided very well, food allowance medical allowance and home living allowance. do not get taken away of how they explain just becuase they look or sound innocent
Angie g
October 20, 2020

In reply to by Doubts2

Is tbis Daniel James Anderson. Told me from L.A. 77 yrs old, sounds younger. Says Swedish, but not Swedish accent. Widowed, raising 14 yr old grandaughter. Wealthy, using fake pics. Would like to communicate
mac might be t…
September 03, 2019

In reply to by Don't use your…

what was her name by chance how much gold bars was she talking about and how did she get it
damcuz
September 29, 2019

In reply to by Don't use your…

Hi I am talking and fell for a woman in Accra Ghana her name is ethal ankomah I feel a like a fool started talking and quickly saying that she had fallen in love with me and that she didn’t think she would find love again after being hit by her ex she told me she was a trainee nurse I’m from the uk and she told me she had lived her for ten years before going back to Ghana To finish her nursing at school then she asked for money for her exam witch I sent then a little later it was for food then her rent now over the last three months she wanted to come live with me but needed money for a medical and and plane ticket witch I stupidly sent and I did not hear anything for hours she told me her bags where stolen by a taxi driver while she got out of the taxi to buy snacks for the flight I stupidly believed her then the next time she was apparently stopped on a layover flight for carrying gold with no paperwork so they held her in cells when I told her I did not have the £500 her lawyer need to release the paperwork I could not understand why so I asked her a load of questions about it she got angry about it and she blocked me for a day then she came back saying she still loves me and that they had sent her back home and her mom had been taking to hospital and she needed money for medicine and that the hospital would not give her it until she had paid them even got some to call me claiming to be a doctor I have still be a fool and sent her money and now this week I sent her half my wage for the month £850 for her flight to me again and after hours again was told she need £1000 in travel money before leaving the country I her picture are her I got her on a video chat for all of a minute I feel such a fool I opened my heart to her and have been mentally manipulated By her promise of love where did you put her photo up because I have quite a few of mine I still do t well I do t what to believe it’s a scam but in my heart I think I have always known something was not right about it all thanks for listening
Twisted1
January 20, 2020

In reply to by damcuz

I've been contacted by a couple "different " women on Facebook one profile said she was from Oregon we were talking for about a day or so then when I asked her where in Oregon she was all of a sudden she was in Accra Ghana taking care of her sick mother. I thought it strange from the beginning when she wanted to go to Hangouts on Google to talk and her txt was poor English. Within a couple days she said how she misses me and how do you miss someone you've never been with. This has happened like 3 times I play along just to see what they're up to and how much money they're trying to get the last one said she was in Louisville KY but she had a Denver Colorado phone number . They like saying dear a lot. Each one asked for $200 rather they needed to get food or it was their birthday I'm hip them. The one in Ghana her name was Sam Francisca lived off Kanda highway.i might still have pics I have pics of the one in KY her name was Clara West.
also scammed
September 29, 2020

In reply to by Brayash1

How ca i get photos of the girl from louisville kentucky
PAUL1960
November 20, 2019

In reply to by Don't use your…

I was she from Texas because I have been scam from her asking for money and asked me to open a new bank account and keep telling me she needs money for food for her 11 years old daughter
geswafford
August 22, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

Was her name Deborah Ray from Ghana? Am currently chatting on hangouts with her regarding gold bars of which she says she will give me 40% if I send $5,000 to cover storage fees for gold left to her by her father. Dealing with her family attorney Rex Brent who claims that her assertions are true. She began asserting and professing her love 2 weeks after our connection. Originally contacted through facebook and messenger which both accounts dissapeared from facebook. I've had a sneaky suspicion about the validity of her claims. I have not sent any money and am terminating our connection.
Pat-g
June 09, 2020

In reply to by Miss L

I have pictures
Elena
September 12, 2020

In reply to by Pat-g

It's bad that the scammers use other people's photos. Now I realized that photos should be checked on websites. Now there is such a service.
cecesanson
March 22, 2019

In reply to by Mia

Adoptive kids rang a bell with me also. He went by Mark Howard
Lindacquinn0
March 19, 2019

In reply to by bunny

Beware of Heinrich Powell Woodson very handsome very educated and a sweet talker. Has a Daugther and uses his Mom. He ask for a I tune card then 3500$ for the IRS he didn’t get a cent from me. Blocked him on Instagram and hangouts. He also gave me a fake passbook!
Donna1022
April 23, 2019

In reply to by Lindacquinn0

Sounds similar to the Swedish engineer who is working in Turkey. He sends pictures of his mother and daughters. Do you have pictures?
Julie1970
May 09, 2019

In reply to by Donna1022

The guy I blocked from dating site claimed his name was Glen from CA, an independent dealer with kids in Amsterdam with his mom. Went to do business in London and lost atm card. Asked me for 15k to pay expenses and get home. I said no, he said he had gold I could cash in if I spoke to his attorney. Googled name and other info he gave me...SCAMMER! Glad I saw episodes of Dr. Phil.
Is this the same man
May 09, 2019

In reply to by Donna1022

I have been talking with an engineer working in Turkey as well. Is he bald with a dark beard? Suit and tie holding a cell phone?
Lexy
May 24, 2019

In reply to by Is this the same man

Do you have any pictures of the engineer? Does he have a daughter?
mandy
July 10, 2019

In reply to by Lexy

Yes I think I’m being scammed by someone who is an engineer with a daughter 13
anj28
July 19, 2019

In reply to by mandy

Sounds familiar. Engineer from London stuck in Turkey has a 15 year old daughter. Apparently Turkish hotels doesn’t take debit then he doesn’t have enough money to get his equipment out due to taxes. Yada yada yada.
Tx23
July 25, 2019

In reply to by anj28

Sounds like Brandon Muller. Sly guy whom I sent over $4K to. I can't believe I fell for his lies. Same story engineer finishing up job in London goes to Turkey can't get his heavy equipment out of customs. Credit cards don't work, gets mugged, sends pictures, is hospitalized in Turkey for 3 months..... I'm such a fool! But never again!
Kime
September 19, 2019

In reply to by anj28

I have one with the same story, stuck in Northern Cyprus Thomas J James
Hook line sinker
November 12, 2019

In reply to by Kime

Similar in Nicosia, Cyprus. Any other details or pics. I have lots
Don't use your…
January 14, 2020

In reply to by Hook line sinker

Do you have a name? My friend has a Nicosia, Cypress scammer as well.
rdsseen
April 27, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

I also have a scammer in Nicosia, Cyprus. Asked for STEAM Wallet Cards for international calling. Lost passport and ID in accident wants me to send money to fly back to states.
Victim
October 19, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

I also met a scammer from Cyprus. His name is Nickolas. He says he lives in Montreal, works for the Canadian Armed forces and needed money to purchase an app (and was going to lose his job if he did not buy it shortly)... Then, he found himself on a mission in the Middle East and wanted me to buy bitcoins so that he can order from a restaurant while in quarantine...
Dd
December 25, 2019

In reply to by Kime

Same story, sinqapurian men stock in Turkey, no money for duties for machines to finish off shore contract
southern
January 29, 2020

In reply to by Battletroll

Mine said he was an FBI agent
heidi
October 12, 2019

In reply to by mandy

What was his name? I think I’m being trying to be scammed by the same man,an engineer with a 13 year old daughter
Consuelo1956
November 07, 2019

In reply to by heidi

This one sounds very familiar to me said his name is mark Brandon what is name you have
melicent067
December 02, 2021

In reply to by Consuelo1956

I was scammed by a man named Mark Brandon who said he was a single father of a 5 yr old girl. He said he lived in California and was an engineer that created a machine for sale and had to set it up on the ship. Somewhere in Europe. And during the time he was there he asked me for money for his phone to keep contact, I bought an apple gift card for $100 for him. That was the first red flag. He kept asking me every week for more gift cards and I refused. That was always an argument. Then he said his daughter was sick and needed medical help wanted $600 and if I didn't send the money she would die. I didn't have that kind of money to give away. And asked why he didn't already have that covered before he left with the nanny.He said he had all his money tied up in the machine he was selling. And when he was done he would be a millionaire and he wanted us to start a business together. I couldn't send him the money. He was so mad and rude when I didn't give him money to help. Called me every rude name in the book and terrorized me with text. I didn't respond to him. I ignored his messages and calls. This happened back in 2018 Such a sick person to utilize a child for his own benefits.
Divine
December 02, 2019

In reply to by heidi

My mother has the same story like yours... He said he is an engineer from uk. Has 1 kid 11yrs old boy..hes name is harry graham
Artist in FL
September 01, 2020

In reply to by mandy

I believe I am being scammed by an engineer with a 13 year old daughter. He lives in Texas, and currently on an oil rig in Norwegian Sea. His Instagram site was recently shut down. His name is James. Sound familiar?
Fool Me Once
September 12, 2020

In reply to by Artist in FL

Hi, sounds similar to someone who started chatting with me on WWF. From Texas. Widowed . 13 year old daughter. Oil rig engineer in Norway! But goes by Richard Moore. What does the guy who’s scamming you look like? Is he very muscular?
Daisy
January 28, 2021

In reply to by Fool Me Once

I have the same but nameDavid Martinez very muscular with tattoos on chest with birds
Aa
April 18, 2020

In reply to by Lexy

A guy added me an Facebook Anderson James from Georgia now in Kabul Afghanistan Parents died and lost his wife in a car accident 5 years ago...has a daughter with is 7....living in a boarder school He didn’t ask for money yet...but I am not sure if it’s a scam.... But we are only texting about a week Anybody knows the name