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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.
  • 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.

July 06, 2020
I have been scammed by a man posing as Santa Margherita who was on a container ship in the Indian Ocean. I fell for the scam and sent Apple gift cards for his transport from the container ship to a hospital in Bangkok. He sent many photos, which I suspect were downloaded from some internet site. He is a total fake. I am recovering some of the money from my bank who recognized the fraud. But nothing can repair the damage done to my self-esteem. He was working in cahoots with a Thai Immigration Officer, Dennis Carpenter, and a Bangkok attorney, named Klahan Channarong. Be aware of these bad actors. I have filed reports with the FTC and with the FBI and my local police department.
July 06, 2020
I have a guy who has had me set up appointment with a realtor to go pick out a home for us. He says his wife died and works on an oil rig in Mexico. He says he is from Texas. I have never met him in person because he is always delayed on the oil rig. He has sent me pics of a Texas drivers license. Please if this sounds familiar to you please let me know.
Don't alexche
July 17, 2020

In reply to by anom

I have been chatting with a good looking guy who says he is from Buffalo but supervising tunnel construction for gas co in Houston. Has a 12 year old son. Wants to get married and buy expensive house and car for me. Hasn’t asked for anything but I can see scan coming. He is a scammer for sure. He goes by Donald or Mc Donald Thomas. He’s in his 50’s. Met him on Scrabble. Heartbroken.
July 19, 2020

In reply to by anom

Hi , sounds like my John. He is a Marine engineer on a rig in the Gulf of Mexico. His wife and child died in childbirth and he is raising his son by himself. He never talks about the boy.....smh.
July 22, 2020

In reply to by anom

May I please ask what name he has given you? I dont know how to exchange pictures, do you?
July 07, 2020
Yes I have just been duped as well Goes by the name of Malcom Bryan from San Francisco. Met him on the scrabble Ap. Has one daughter and has been a widower for 8 years. took 2 years off after his wife died in a car crash to spend with his daughter. I checked out his photos and used google search... all over every dodgy dating site you can find. Says he is not on FB or Insta, but have found him there under the name of Louis Dave Anthony. Go look, there are about 6 different profiles. I bought this to his attention and he messaged his daughter who said all the pictures were in her stolen phone from last year One thing though I did get a copy of his passport, which was an interesting sideline. All photos he sent were stolen from other sites. Anyway the usual thing was said when I presented this information to him... I am not a scammer I m not... so I have just blocked him and unfortunately couldnt stop the cash I had already sent last week. Ce la vie, sometimes these things happen for a reason. Havent found it out yet though...
July 07, 2020
i havent fallen for these, but i recently created a fake account and many people have tried to scam me. ive dealt with all of them in a comedic way, but today it turned more into a threat, and he said that he will hire a hitman against me. i'm not necessarily worried, since i didnt use my name, address, number, country or even picture for this fake account (its one of those fake boomers account and i sort of mock them with it) but i'm wondering if there is a source for these scammers? once i accepted a video call so i could hold up a picture of a meme to the camera, but i heard several men speaking in tagalog in the background. does anyone know of any corporations who do these things?
July 07, 2020
I am in a love scam and it is terrible the experience I'm having four people getting attacked with me saying that they're the same person anybody in contact with somebody by the name of David Lee he also says that he was in the Army and he needed money to come home on and that he wanted to come be with me and buy a house he needed money for this and money for that anybody have encounters with this man
July 07, 2020
Why my comment do not show up here?
July 07, 2020
Has anyone been approached on Scrabble Go by a Wills G or Graham W? Says he's a marine geologist, then also in construction is widowed with 3 grown children, Lives in Santa Barbara but is currently working in Texas. Send pics of himself, his children, him as a boy and at 20. Says he fell in love with my humour. Chatted for 3 weeks then asked me for money to finish a job he had in Mexico. I said no, asked him to prove who he was by sending a picture with him holding a piece of paper with my name on. He did and I have reversed imaged every pic he has sent and nothing comes up. But I also can't find him anywhere either. I'm beyond trying to figure this one out. And like others Scrabble Go is rife with oil rig workers who are scammers. Caught two and got them before they got me LOL.
Emotional 50
July 08, 2020

In reply to by Fireopal

Hi I think this maybe the same guys am talking to, do you have pictures I have pictures . Let exchange
Mediterranean …
July 08, 2020
I matched with a guy using the name Luca Nicholas, claims he is a ship captain, started chatting 4 days ago, one day he would be in one ocean the next a different one that is not possible. His feelings escalated quickly to I love you, then he asked me what time I finished work this evening so we could chat, told him, minutes before that time he messaged me an sos message saying his ship had broken down and has taken out the comms I was the only person in the world that could help. He gave he an email address to contact which generated an invoice. He gave me his bank account login so I could pay the invoice from his bank account. It failed! He then wanted me to pay the invoice and he would pay me back. I googled the ship, it is moored in another country, I googled the company the invoice came from, couldn't find it. I haven't paid it. He then sent videos of a ship being struck by super high waves and said I was going to be responsible for all his crew dying. I googled wave height on the Mediterranean Sea where he was supposed to be stranded, those wave heights are not physically possible in that sea. Don't fall for it, he claiming to be 36 and his pics look super hot, he rang me briefly once and his voice sounded much older.
July 08, 2020
I have been talking to a guy on line for 3yrs he has taken me for a lot of money is there anything I can do
July 08, 2020
So I did some more digging on Wills G aka Wills Graham and through social catfish found pics of him on 4 other sites. Also goes by Peter on Charm and Gabriel Jones. One says he's 40 the other 64 which is what he told me. I did ask if he was on any other sites and he must have clued in I found him and now he says he was on Facebook, found out he was being used so got off Facebook. Great way to explain why he's popping up all over the internet. I asked for a video call and all I got back was how I didn't trust him and how insecure I was blah blah blah. So beware ladies. Block him.
July 09, 2020
This guy also goes by David Hawkins, engineer, from Perth, dead wife, dead parents, only child, college in England, business w owner in Need Jersey. Got all his belongings stolen when he went to Turkey and is now stuck there. Oh and also he got really sick and wound up in the hospital with no money to cover his expenses. He Uses the same story with a little variances with each different person. Funny. If these people are so very rich, why can't the company get them home? So many holes in their story
July 09, 2020
hi my friend is talking to someone who is in the army as a surgeon his name is robinson he has a child frome nine years old who has passed away but i think he is a catfish he never calls with her he makes excuses and say i wil meet you soon but on the date that he should come he never show up and she wait for him like hours anyone who has a similar situation
July 09, 2020
Hi all, my dad recently reveived he’s been having an 8 month online/phone relationship with someone claiming to be a 40ish year old woman named Mavis Larry, lives in South Africa with a daughter 10 yrs old. Sounds like no money has bee propositioned, but they have been discussing her visiting my dad (who lives in the states) and I’m pretty certain this is a scam. The met online, have never met in person, she sends lots of pics, claims she cannot video chat because she doesn’t have a phone to do that, but she can use friends phones to send pics. I have one pic of her I reverse google searched with no results, as well as an email address that doesn’t show up either. My dad is intent that she is real, they will meet, and even said he hopes he can visit her in Africa sometime. Anyone have a story similar to this one?
July 10, 2020
My 88 year old dad has been involved in this exact scam for years! His current scam girlfriend claims she's in a concentration camp in the UK and has to come up with $1400 a month or she gets beaten!! My foolish dad gives it to her! He's gotten us evicted because he wasn't paying his share of our rent! We lived in the last home 20 Year's now we're in a apartment and he's still doing it and worse!
July 10, 2020
There is a woman out there as well. I had to take a VRO out in only 5 weeks of, got sucked right in. And found at least 5 different names so it’s not just guys
July 11, 2020
Has anyone run into a Michael Sander? That both his parents died one year after the other has a little girl named lorrie that lives with her mom in Las Vegas. that is on special mission in Lagos Nigeria but he's in the army from Addison Texas stationed out of San Antonio???
July 11, 2020
Has anyone had any dealings with Thomas Ranger? I met him on online dating site.
July 12, 2020
Has anyone been contacted by someone with this number. 1 505 278 0693. They use the names ken west or ellis goldberg
July 12, 2020
I met someone on a dating site, his name is Jas Thiara. He claims to be a hedge fund director and is from the UK. He will pretend to be amazing then slowly start showing how amazing his fund is doing and then ask you to invest. Then he’ll be gone once he has your money.
July 12, 2020
Hi, where can I find their photos? I guess the pictures they send us are not real their.
July 12, 2020
Scammed by an Erick Jorgen who said he was Norwegian living in San Jose. Working on an oil rig in Texas. Lucky I found out early.
July 13, 2020
Has anyone had a run in with some named Amanda Rhoades? She claims she is an exterior/interior designer who recently took a contract in Nicosia, Cyprus. She immediately started asking for money to pay Customs to release her goods that were ordered for her design project. She's always saying that she loves me and that she will pay me back after the project has been completed and the client has paid her in full. She also says that she can't wait to be with me and that as soon as the project is done she will come and visit. But the demand for funds have been relentless.
Don't use your…
July 13, 2020
I started talking to a man about a week ago his name is Frankie. First he was from New York looking for a relationship, marriage or intimate encounter. Came from New York.when he contacted me pushed me offline to a phone number, I called him on the intimate encounter thing. He removed it from his profile. Few days later now he comes from North Carolina. You stalked me for days calling me on the phone sending me messages that he loves me and. Allegedly his wife died in the 9/11 tragedy.coincidentally his daughter's name is the same as mine she's 25 years old going to college. Things seemed okay but he was too pushy with the love. Buy his daughter a BMW for her birthday. Asked me what I would buy her? I said I don't know her and I don't send gifts or anything to someone I don't know. He was angry with that. Went back on the dating site because I hadn't heard from him. Told me I was too stingy and selfish. He claims to own all these homes he's in a decorator of interior. Very defensive when I question his changing where he came from. I've had several men be widowed. They wanted me to send gifts to their children. This guy is the total con artist. he has two phones which he claims one is business and the other is personal. Phone numbers are 516 400 370 + 516 308 6080. I have photos of him and his daughter he sent me. I blocked him from the site and reported him and I blocked him on my phone. They're getting very clever. On how they approach you even on Facebook post comments. They claim they try to friend wouldn't go through would you friend them and they have only one photo and little to no info please be careful.
ugandan scamme…
July 13, 2020
there are scammers that get on fb messenger and let you see them. Don't let that give you a false sense of security. I talked to one for over 7 months only to find out he was just after money.
Good guy
July 14, 2020
Women scammer Mabel Grant. From Georgia wants to get life together needs help moving sick mom absent dad scammer
July 14, 2020
I met a scammer on the hinge dating app. He said he was 44, single, no kids and works as an independent contractor on an oil rig. He goes by David Xhaka from Switzerland, but lives in Charlotte, NC. We conversed every day for nearly two months until he stated one of his machines broke and he needed money via bitcoins to send to the logistics company (JPL Logistics). He was quite the charmer and good looking. Ladies beware. I did not send him money.
July 30, 2020

In reply to by Krazykatklapsback

I just asked this question about him. Exact same situation with me. Talked for like six weeks and that exact scenario came up. I didn’t give him any money either. Well he wanted me to transfer money from his account to somewhere
July 14, 2020
Has any heard the name Jim Wesley? Norway oil worker too.
July 14, 2020
I have friends one that is being scammed and a couple that someone tried to scam, common denominator is there always out of the country for one reason or another. Military or work. I say, why do they want to start a relationship if they're out of the country even if it's only for a few months they would I think wait to come get back home before they start a relationship. I think it's a red flag.
October 30, 2020
Hartley Smith smith_ hartley 250 messaged me on IG and within a matter of minutes wanted to move the conversation to hangouts. I created a new account under a fake name to chat with him because I was already highly suspicious and it was very obvious he was not who he said he was. Claimed to be a Spanish man but was born and raised in North Carolina, terribly broken English. wife died of leukemia 5 years ago, both parents died and he was raised by a neighboring teacher (that just doesn’t happen in America). He claimed his mom was American and dad a Spanish man but he was not proud of his dad’s background so he took on his mom’s last name (Smith). I quickly saw through his attempts to sway me into believing he was the handsome, blonde hair blue eyes staff sergeant I saw in the photos and each time I questioned him he would get angry and swear at me. I let the conversation play out an entire day catching him in lie after lie with a complete disregard to my pointing it out before I really shut the conversation down. He also claimed to be on relief assignment in the states but would be return to Ireland in two days to finish out his last month before returning. He also mentioned an oil rig which appears to the theses scammers MO. (I assume had I continued the conversation I would have been asked for money after his return to Ireland). Unfortunately a reserve image search came up empty with the photos he sent and the ones I pulled from IG. He was also very quick to block me on IG after I chatted him on hangouts. smith_ hartley250
July 15, 2020
What’s happening if a romance scammer is not asking for anything from you?
July 21, 2020

In reply to by Alexche66

Just be patient ... it might be a money mule scam which takes longer to establish as they need to get confident enough to put large amount of money on your account (in case YOU would be a scammer too and disappear with their money) ... so they wont ask you money, they will give you money, then you will transfer it somewhere and you will be associated with a fraud
July 29, 2020

In reply to by Alexche66

GO very slow and make sure you tell them your flat broke and they have to get to you on there own merits. That tends to weed them out pretty fast.
July 15, 2020
Hi I'm talking to a marine name Anderson Bonilla he asked me if I can have his personal documents mailed to me but I have to pay $1250.00 to the deliy service to have it mailed to me I'd this a scam
July 15, 2020
Anyone here from a George Daniels? Works as Head of Operations for Transocean Deep Water Drilling in the UK Wife killed in a car wreck 6 years ago. Son-15 years old He creates a very convincing story!
July 15, 2020
I i am talking to a Lt James Reinitz he is a combat engineer deployed in Iran he is Divorced Has a son named Michael His mother has Alzheimer We are romantically involved Has anyone heard of him
Silver Tulip 08
August 14, 2020

In reply to by Tanis

Dear Tanis Unfortunately, your Lt James Reinitz has just lost his heart to me on Scrabble GO. Beware girl! Run as fast as you can from this scammer. PS: He has a picture of a young army personnel with a small boy in mohawk cut hair.
Pretty Tone
July 16, 2020
I have been talking to a Mary J Wattson profile on Facebook. Anybody else talking to her? I think it's a fake but the reverse image search only shows one result. I hope someone else out there is being put through the same scam.
October 30, 2020
I have been reading these comments. What stories these men create. I joined a dating site, Elite Singles, 3 weeks ago. First time doing this. What a joke. In the last 7 days two scammers have been in contact with me. One is named Russell H. Williams, email: Russ Williams013 . Age 59, Civil Engineer, wife killed 7 yrs ago in auto accident, dtr 26 one day and 27 the next day. He states he lives in Lost Springs, Wyo(population of 4). Bald, attractive. Very good with words but English is his second language. Born in France to a French mom and Australian dad. Raised in Australia. Came on really strong with romantic talk on first day. Immediately wanted to talk on phone or email. I wouldn't give him phone number, but gave him an email that I only used for the dating site. Dtr getting a Master's degree in Australia. He sends very long lovey emails. The second day he got more lovey. Didn't engage like he was including my info in his emails as you would in a normal give and take email. Anyway, the third day I asked him some questions like where he worked, how he liked living where he did, where he got his Master's degree. Nothing. No response from him. He never asked me for money, but I didn't give him time. There were red flags. I sent him an email telling him that he shouldn't try and fool a female who had worked with hundreds of prisoners. The reason I did that was because he took his name and pic off the site, but a new guy named Russ popped up and got a hold of me. He too was attractive, sort of, age 60, was working in Montana as some kind of property type management person. He also wanted to go to a private email or use a phone without even talking to me. I told him that English was a second language for him and he said he was French! Didn't bother to get any more info from him, just told him he should meet Russell from France and Australia. End of these guys. So beware. I think it was the same guy and he didn't remember my name or picture. I reported both to Elite Singles and they will check them out. Two weeks ago same story with a guy named Dave. Told him I wouldn't give him my phone number or email. Really bad vibes from him. I cancelled my membership. I had my age as 65 so maybe the older females re a bigger target. Beware!!!
Emmamail address
July 16, 2020
Has anyone come across the name Anthony Miller.
August 24, 2020

In reply to by Emmamail address

I know someone who is speaking to an Anthony Miller at this time. Would love to hear more on this guy.
July 16, 2020
Hello I don't know if I am in on a scam I am talking to. Her About year Now no video chat with her still And even no voice call just once I pay her rent and food And plane ticket to comeback to Canada All$ sent to her is buying cards gift cards or western Union so And she's living in Istanbul turkey but she is a Canadian citizen so I have called her out many times About of being a scam just has a answer for everything help me
July 16, 2020
Please be aware of an offshore worker called Charles Williams, 57 year old, lost his wife 6 years ago to cancer. He was born in Dublin, now lives in Brooklyn, New York but on an oil rig in Germany. 2 children Lisa & John who live with Grandma in Paris, France. Plenty of photo's and one even photo-shopped after trying to check him out on line. Only blocked him yesterday when he asked for 4,000 euros to pay for machinery to finish his job. I met him on Scrabble Go, the scammers are such charmers.