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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.

November 19, 2019

In reply to by ktaxdu1

That name Susan sounds familiar is her supposed to be Susan carolina
November 12, 2019

In reply to by Cheyenne

What name did this guy go by? Was he Spanish Canadian , educated in Sweden live in Aussie. Talked about his mixed accent, Mum in canada. Architect stuck in Turkey with workers to pay, sent Canadian contract to you?
January 05, 2020

In reply to by Gracie

Same story different name and pics and situation. Mine was a us marine. Civil engineer updating marine base in irag. Needed money 2 come home bc he couldn't access his money from the banks ovee there. Then needed more 2 pay the workers. I wired money via moneygram 2 turkey. He uses pic off the web and changes his name but something is strangly familiar about everyone's story like its an m.o. or something
May 30, 2020

In reply to by Cheyenne

Hi the one i have just met said he was engineer and just got contract to go to cyprus for work, 59 good good looking grey white hair goatee beard type thing, photos one in chair backyard, another one green tie, another one some sort of skull cap, he flew out today to Cyprus, telling me he loves me calls me babe , does that sound familiar ?
October 30, 2020

In reply to by Jj

Hi yes l just had a online romance with this jerk l deleted all his pictures but sounds exactly like him. He told me he worked on an oil rig off Boston. He was a supervisor for 20 years. Had a son his wife died in a car crash 5 years ago. He is a real smooth operator so is his son. The father is Julius and the son Was Lesley. He had a home in Italy and a house here in California his son was in boarding school. Showed me pictures of him his houses his cars l talked to him on the phone. He wanted money also. Hangouts should be shut down his on line address lovely dad 22@ Please ladies don’t fall for him.
June 12, 2020

In reply to by Jj

Hi JJ, Sounds like the guy I was chatting with for a few months. They change their names and profiles often. My guys name was Michael. His story was slightly different but your description sounds about right. 59 yrs old and light /white hair with mustache/ goatee. I had several photos that I deleted. You can do a reverse image search and it will bring up all the places these photos are being used. One of the pics was being used on Tinder under another name but the same description of this guy. He tried to scam me.
September 16, 2020

In reply to by Jj

Hi, Can someone please read: I think I've been talking to same guy, same thing: good good looking grey white hair goatee beard type thing, goes by name of Tony Pence from CT. But I can't find any records of him at all. Met him on Zoosk dating app. and then he removed his profile. Says he's a widower, wife died of Colon Cancer. Really really nice and they do get your sucked in. We were supposed to meet up once & he suddenly cancelled - had to bid on an oil rig job. Got the job and now he's in South Africa, for 4 weeks. Been chatting and suddenly out of the Blue he sends me pictures of a broken lap top and said he needs help getting a new one. How can a supposed engineer work without a laptop ( I asked him). Then, he asked me: which bank I "Make use of", so someone could deposit money so I could help him out. I refused said I had no money. Very hurtful because he had been so nice and yes somehow you do fall for these guys. Also, has an accent says hes Italian.... Since I've refused the money he got mad and has barely texted me. He also has sent me pictures of supposed contracts but none of the addresses on the contract check out...Please this is extremely hard, does this sound familiar?
June 15, 2020

In reply to by Cheyenne

Hi Cheyenne - my Mum is also talking to an architect who has now asked her to transfer money on his behalf from overseas. i would be really grateful if I could speak to you about this. Thank you
January 19, 2019

In reply to by California girl

There are woman on there doing the same thing, wanting amazon cards for their phones. Had 3 try to scam me last week alone. Telling me they love me, can't live without. Blah blah blah...we all need to be vigilant.
March 27, 2019

In reply to by California girl

I just came across your message some how but can you explain the ITunes thing better to me? I had some ITunes come out of my account and my wife said she didn’t know anything about it. When I questioned her about it , they quit coming out of my account. Please help , Michigan Boy!
October 13, 2020

In reply to by California girl

Some people desperate I had more then 12 all different professions and I played with them all they met their match with me.
May 06, 2019

In reply to by Thanks17

Hi I am a 62 year old male and I have been looking for someone to share my life with. Through a dating site I received a lot of likes from people with gmail addresses and they asked me to contact them on 'hangout', which I did. I have seen them on video calls but can never seem to hear a voice..which concerns me. I have recently been asked to send cash via Western Union to Anaheim in the States, which I did. I then received a message to say that there was a technical error and that I should go and collect my cash from Western Union as it had not been collected and then send it on to Ghana. That is where I am right now. I seriously want to believe what the lady all know what it's like...but deep down I know its a scam! when I call to talk to her, the phone is never answered. Another thing is that all these people somehow keep coming up with Ghana! I guess that must say a lot, but it's hard to accept especially when they ask you if you don't trust them...and even though you want to, you still know you should not. Is there any way that you can avoid all this and know that you are speaking to a genuine person. I have been scammed before and it makes you into a hard person...which I don't like. Dating sites can be very expensive..I am talking about from the male side. I don't know about the female costs..and it actually puts you off and with that finding your true love. Don't we all deserve that. Anyway, thank you for your website. Guess I will just have to be hard and until I meet someone face to face I will never again trust them. So sad!
May 11, 2019

In reply to by Merlin

I had a man try to scam me. Said he was a widow and father of twin daughters age 17. Said he is an engineer who does contract work. I told him, repeatedly, that I wasn’t interested, wasn’t looking, have a full life. He convinced me to email with him, then phone calls and pictures for two months. Then came the request for money. I accused him and he said I am paranoid. It was very heartbreaking but luckily I sent nothing! Story over but my heart was broken.
September 27, 2019

In reply to by EMK

Did he use the name Raymond LaFleur? Or say he worked in an oil rig? This guy sent me a pic of a really handsome guy with light eyes. I never sent money. I suspected him, did research, and found complaints from others online.
Don'mary denev…
February 03, 2020

In reply to by Shananigans

Has any one spoke to Terry Williams or Samuel Diego Or Andrew David They all have a child
April 24, 2020

In reply to by Tina B

If your on WWF watch out if they ask you to go to hangouts. Eric Williams, Donaldchristhomas788, Smiles ,Graham (contractors on rigs lol) They really think everyone is stupid. Steve William didn't accept
WP/ Nov 13, 20…
November 13, 2020

In reply to by Tina B

I've seen this name in multiple comments. Check it out and good luck
April 23, 2020

In reply to by Don'mary denev…

No but he is a scam!! Make an image search on him and you will see all the fake names he has been using for years and all the scams on poor ladies.
sea jewel
May 09, 2020

In reply to by Don'mary denev…

I have talked to Terry Williams. Met him on facebook. Says he's an architect and a widow with one child going to school overseas
May 17, 2020

In reply to by EMK

Question about the widower with the twin 17 year old daughters did he contact you on whats app. Did he text and say he owns a big home in New Jersey I'm curious because someone is reaching out to me but the daughters are younger he is a computer programmer a software analyst. Wife died giving birth to twins. Asks to email and texts at first then talks on phone. Pours it on thick about loving you. Then asks you to purchase Amazon cards and iTunes cards for the children for their birthday because his bank card declined and when he contact accountant his bank account under review.
May 30, 2019

In reply to by Merlin

I’m so sorry to hear about your experience. I too am so unhappy. It is just as expensive for women as men. I’m not out a lot of money yet but I do still have my scammer reaching out asking for money everyday. He speaks lovely to me and it is hard to say no, I’m sure you know what I mean. I’m glad l can come here and read stories of people who are experiencing love with the wrong partners. I hope it get better for you soon and I can let go of my scammer. Thank you for sharing
May 30, 2020

In reply to by METWOCRAZY

I was on WWF and had 3 of those guys within a week telling me I'm their soulmate, then a week later all needing money for broken machines. Only 1 has called with no number showing. I ask but no share, Dave calls repeatedly all hours of day even after I said no. The 2nd one is asking now, also will be refused. Dave Nicholas supposed to be from Norway but when I texted in Norwegian, he had no clue and his voice doesn't have the right accent. Adam Clir is trying now. No one is taking no for an answer, so I am blocking them
July 15, 2019

In reply to by Merlin

They play with our emotions and many times they will work for 6 to 10 months being your “friend”. Just never ever send them money and especially never give them bank account information. One man told me he was an engineer and had all types of homes and such yet he wanted me to buy a “US” iTunes card for him. I told him to wire ME the money and I would do it. Guess what... he didn’t do it. LOL Use every advantage you can think of to save yourself the grief later. If your gut says it’s a is!
August 19, 2019

In reply to by Merlin

Not all these people are scammers
September 09, 2019

In reply to by Daniella

If they not scammer then what are they doing by pretending to have money problem and making you feel guilty, this is their stay at home working, business, scamming of people for a living, if they can money out of any one is good enough for them, if not they just move on to another person, and another, til they get some money or more. To me all these people are scammer.
January 25, 2021

In reply to by Daniella

A good way to tell is if they use language that is not used by guys around in the US. And if you go back and read, you will find out they mess up sometimes. You can't be in denial, just because you really liked talking to this con artist. You can figure them out some way, some how.
September 19, 2019

In reply to by Merlin

My experience is similar. Told me he needs a document so he can contact me without getting into trouble. Said he lives in California and deployed till October, then changed it to November a few days later. Sent pictures, even one of a wound received. Says he's a Marine. I have a name and what he says is a birthday. But can find no other information anywhere about this person. I'm not out any money but need to know if he is legit. I have no problem with blocking a scammer.
Funny face
April 17, 2020

In reply to by Glbroome

Beware the name Luke Reymond on words with Friends!! He got to me with all of his charm. A real romantic scammer.
Hurt by jeff
May 13, 2020

In reply to by Glbroome

This man you spoke of, does he say his wife passed away and he has 2 kids in boarding school??
March 27, 2021

In reply to by Glbroome

What’s his name. March 2021. I am texting a guy by the name of Paul Taylor says he’s in Kabul working for the UN. The pictures he sent me showed a lower leg gun shot wound and the pictures of him were fake. I confronted him and haven’t heard from him in a week now. He wanted to send me 3 million dollars and transfer $100,000 to his mother in texas so she can pay some bills.
December 20, 2019

In reply to by Merlin

It's very hard to trust someone on a dating site cause I talk to a gentleman for a year and told me that he loved me and wanted to marry me then started asking for money and yes I did send him money for his son a quiet of few times until I put a total stop to it I mean we work hard for our money and we have to survive on what we have it's not a easy world out there
April 07, 2020

In reply to by Lovebug51Don't…

Hi Do you know this persons name My mum is being scammed and she’s fell hook line and sinker for it It sounds the same as yours
August 06, 2019

In reply to by Thanks17

I also recently lost $1,500 to this Kenyan guy who I had been talking to for quite some months. He was so convincing and after a couple of months, he came up with a story of him mum falling sick, and he is the only child born of a single mother bla bla bla. He said he's also a farmer and had recently used up all the money he had for the wheat planting season. He was however waiting for a cheque to come through from his sale of milk which he would use to refund me and pay his workers etc. It was also approaching end month so he would be getting his salary too. I was out of Kenya working so I just wired him the cash directly from my bank account. When the day of repaying arrived, he told me he is in the bank but afterwards put off his phone and deleted whatsapp for a whole weekend. He came back and said how sorry he was, i.e was caught up in something bla bla...we continued talking for a month but he avoided a face to face one time though I pressured him to show me his face, which he did. He continued asking for money for other unnamed emergencies but once he realised am not sending him anymore, he said bye and that he wished me well. I have since reported this to the Kenyan authorities, they know his location, I hope they get to arrest him, so that he does not continue scamming other women online while all along thinking he can always get away with it. Am trying to move on too.
October 17, 2019

In reply to by CW

By any chance was his name Morris Mchawia? Or Jackson Desmond Sihuli?
May 07, 2018

In reply to by Got scammed

Got Scammed. youre not alone. Mine was huge money taken away from me. Im lost but thanks that I have God with me. HE is more than enough to start all over again .God bless
September 29, 2018

In reply to by Thanks17

I gave up all my savings and retirement - communication had been going on for 1 year. I am bankrupt, devastated and ashamed
January 02, 2019

In reply to by anita1

I did the exact thing as you, all lost, he provide me fake bank accounts and so charming,I wish I had asked others, I am angry now, still cannot tell my family, these guys make this a living, and we are sincere and honest, I know Karma will be their fate.
January 05, 2019

In reply to by anita1

I understand you completely I have one with me I try to believe him because he confessed 1 year ago. It sounds good. But I don't know if it is real Go ahead and be happy.
Shy girl 69
February 05, 2019

In reply to by Jetezano

I have been with one for more than 4 years was 1/1/2 years wen he confessed he was one.I was close to find out .by then only 7,000:I had lost I no the family,and soon next month to go.he promissed to stop as that was my condition to help him.but now I read from others has Charles really stopped or have I been duped again .before he was more attendive ,from 4 calls drooped to one call.from 7/9 messages to two per day .my instenct is telling me im right.
March 03, 2019

In reply to by Shy girl 69

Shy girl, I was on a dating site about two weeks ago, n this nice looking man named Charles Andrew asked me to go to hangouts. so I did we started talking, he told me all this mussy stuff everyday, can't live without me. then one day he told me that his internet connection was going to be disrubted and asked me to send him 200.00. he says he's in Syria right now, n will be home in august. I never sent him anything, I called him out bout scamming me. n he magically diapeared.
May 15, 2019

In reply to by Broken

Curious to know if you have picture I got contacted by Charles Andrew on Tindr
July 10, 2019

In reply to by JJ

Yeah have you got a picture sounds similar to someone I’ve been talking to
November 26, 2019

In reply to by shev26

I have been scammed by about 26 different me over the past 5 yrs.Right now one man is a surgeon named Harrison John. He is supposed to retire on December 1st. He is supposed to be in Syria. He says he has a castle in Los Angeles and ithe is a compound.Until today,he has been the sweetest person in my world. But today he wanted me to send a email to his accountant and say that I was his wife and send me his money.But they sent a email back to me,saying that I would have to come to their company and get a form and it would cost me 850 dollars to get the form.I draw a small social security check once a month and I don't have any money. And I don't know where the office is located. I told him that I had tried and he would have to send them the email. That was this morning and I haven't heard from him since. VJC
July 16, 2019

In reply to by Badcatmama

I know Charles Luke, he is in Turkey, gem stone buyer/ seller. Professes undying love but wants money
July 28, 2019

In reply to by Cc

Wow I’m talking right now to “Sam” who stated he was here in California, a gem stone dealer , and now he’s in turkey making the deal. He hasn’t asked for money yet but has asked me to do transfer for him. Of course I said no I wouldn’t do it.