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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 ftc.gov/complaint — click on Scams and Rip-Offs, then select Romance Scams.

A woman looking at a dating site on her computer.

18,207 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.

Sofie
August 06, 2021
Anyone who knows a Marcus Williams from Denver Colorado,captain in US Air Force,stationed in Belgium,50 years old, daughter named Ava and a son called billy?
Missy
August 06, 2021
Anyone in contact with a Thai guy named Lamon Yuthakon , age 34. He says he’s an interior designer. Doing a big project in Arizona. He lives in Long Beach, California. Single child, mom lives in Thailand. He needs money to do a project he won. Hasn’t have enough funds at the moment. He’s short for $26000 to ship materials. He doesn’t do videochat. But invest a lot of time on calling. Please contact me if you’re chatting with the guy. I met him on the dating app eastmeeteast
Doris
August 08, 2021
Has anyone been contacted by a Swedish man Jim Johansson?
Doris
August 08, 2021
I am talking with Jim Johansson from Frankfort,KY. Widow of 5 years, lost parents when young, lost adult son. Has 10 yr old grandson. Communicating on Hangouts. Computer Security Analyst now in Yemen working on projects. Has not asked for $$ yet, but things throwing up red flags. Quickly said I was the women of his dreams. He is Swedish. Anybody else have experience with this?
CosmicForce21
August 08, 2021
Hi there I've been recently been speaking to Brat Nasty also known as Adriana Chechik on Google hangouts for a while now now do I know if this is a scam cause I'm literally confused. Thanks for your help and support.
Reversed
August 31, 2021

In reply to by CosmicForce21

I recently ended up talking to the same person first on Skype then watsapp then hangouts. The thing is is that she is trying to send me money and from talking with me knows that I have nothing to scam for... Says her manager is in control of her money and I can talk to him also to get the money sent to me..
The Judge
August 08, 2021
These r pictures I have recd from my scammer. Although he denies it. N he can't FaceTime either. I knew from the start.. he was a scammer. Out of his living state phone number n story dint add up. He said he lived in an area yet knew nothing about that specific area. A big metropolis n he dint kno anything about it. He was on a dating app. He probably restarted a new profile.
Keller123
August 09, 2021
This exact type of scam happen to my over a few years. He was catfished, and then they kept up with the fraud. Absolutely shocking end of the day. Never think u are too smart to learn the lessons life wants to teach u.
Silke
August 11, 2021
Who knows a Felix Muller? Working as engineer on an offshore oil Plattform in Saudi Arabia. Telling he is Norwegian and his wife died 5 years ago through an accident. His daughter lives in Paris and is 14 years. He asks for money as one his machines is defect. He send fotos and passport.... but never wants to video chat or to give me his address in Norway.
Mia
August 11, 2021
Hi, did anyone be in contact with a man claiming he is in Stockholm and work as an engineering? He says he works for Gs engineering and construction. And he is very good looking and i have googled his photos nothing
Helen
August 11, 2021
Anyone knows Richard Wilson or Lucas Fedora stuck in Dubai son that is 16yrs old lives with his parents in Arizona parents are old in there 80s I think hes scamming me through skype never wants to use his camera to video chat
Kate42
August 11, 2021
I’ve read everyone’s comments and believe I may be a victim myself. Similar stories, etc. but I have pics from him (current ones, pics of his family, families address) that I have not found anywhere else online that are recent-as well as videos where he shows the current date and says my name. (I have an unusual name - it’s not Kate). But he can’t do FaceTime? What the hell? p.s. I’m heart broken too.
BeckyA
August 11, 2021
Anyone hear of a Mark Burnette or Albert Burleson? Very similar stories
Dkween Am I
August 12, 2021
I had been posting Insperational quotes and commenting on them to make me feel better. Someone liked a couple and wanted to friend me. I have never done it before and I know about catfishing. He had a story wife died 6 yrs now. 2 kids 13 and 17. Contract engineer from Romania, but he was in Mexico working on the gulf and his "daddy" lives in Mexico . 1 flag, what 60 yr old uses daddy? Every time he used met he spelt it melt. He said he only speaks English, but his sentences were not from an educated well versed man. A contract Engineer would have to have degrees and we'll spoken. They begin to lay out a story here and there, a close friend ran off with money for his work etc . Began coming on very strong even tho I said I only had friendship to offer. I have never been in chat rooms, so when he invited me into one I was skeptical, then his face book just vanished. I went into the chat room and he contradicted some info on his FB page, said he had problems with it that's why . He had given me a different birthday etc . By now I didn't have a picture to look up, this was my first and only time I did this. When he asked me a question had already answered at an earlier time, I knew I was talking to more than one individual, so I called them out, asked if they were in Nigeria and got out of chatroom and closed app. I was vulnerable, they look for that, prey on it, hope for it. NEVER EVER SEND MONEY, you won't get it back. They don't love you, they have never met you. I asked him for a picture holding up 4 fingers. He kept asking what I was wanting proof of. He couldn't because it wasn't him. Ask for a photo you know would be difficult to find in someone profile for them. Don't be so trusting. I just hope my experience can help educate someone else. Meet someone locally who wants to get to know you not your money
Sue1
August 12, 2021
Anybody talk to a David Nicholas Bohren? Asked me to get off Tinder right away and he would email me or text and call
Peter R. FrommII
August 13, 2021
I have bin on Hangout for about 3- months now and I had met this lady named Sarah Smith & she said how she loves me & how she won'ts to come down to my home & marry me, but here are late she is asking me for money , untill she can sell her property, and her three houses, and yet she lives in an apartment in New York and pays $1,200 a month rent , and and she also told me that she self-employed and she only lives three r's and 11 minutes from my home, and I care about her too, she also send me pictures of herself and she held a piece of paper up with my name across the top and her age underneath my name to prove to me that she is real but she asked me for money all the time and she also starting to tell me who I can see or who I can chat to she also knows that I'm single and never married and I live alone ,.
Joey
August 13, 2021
Has anyone talked to a man called "Antoine Krystallos "? He's a mechanical engineer originally from California now working in Kuala Lumpur. He claims he uses Dell Windows phone. We never got to do video call. He asked me to open bank account for him because he didn't want to open it in Malaysia. We've been talking over a year. He hasn't asked me to wire money or ask for money but I just think there's something weird...
Hannah
September 12, 2021

In reply to by Joey

I've talked to this guy! He said he was in Europe on a work trip (this was before COVID) exchanged few photos - exact same story and working for a Dutch company but he is not real! He never insisted to do video calls or anything live. Asked him to send me some photos to proof that he is real and always came up with excuses. Do you still talk to him?
Hannah
September 13, 2021

In reply to by Joey

Hi Joey, tried to reply to your comment but for some reason it’s not posting :( Yes, I know ‘Antoine Krystallos’ exact same story working for a Dutch company in Springfield, MA got a contract in Malaysia, originally from California and very good looking guy. This guy is not real. Are you still in contact with him?
Joey
September 21, 2021

In reply to by Hannah

Hi Hannah, yes, we're talking about the same man. I'm still contacting him. Would you like to share how did you find he is not real?
Suspcious
August 14, 2021
Watch out for Kevin Gric; army green beret; lots of social media accounts; Russian native; lives in Atlanta Georgia Hinesville; widowed; has twin boys; oh and sometimes a daughter that passed away sometimes though he spends time with her, moves fast wants pictures and to chat on hangouts; looking for a life mate: met on a game site *. I did not get scammed’ we had 3 conversations and; I knew- peace out, be safe
Gerald Siery
August 14, 2021
Has anyone been contacted by Helena from G
ChrisW
August 14, 2021
Hannah Banana will ask you to PayPal her money, under the name Hannah Boonana. This is fake, just a warning. She is on tinder and snapchat. Just a warning, stay away, it's a scam to get money.
bitter bitcoin
August 14, 2021
If anyone asks you to use any cryptocurrency including bitcoin, dogecoin, Ethereum or visit a BitCoin ATM, there is no doubt it is a scam.
Country girl
August 14, 2021
Met a General, in Facebook, but now asking for money, because he got shot coming hone, now asking for money 5,000$ he was in Afghanistan,
Needhelp!2
August 14, 2021
Been talking to man from POF for few months now. Very romantic says starting new business and ran out of funds and Cant ship product. Been asking for money and now computer and phone for office to complete job. Says stuck on island. Any one hear if Garrett Kaufmann
Bluesky
August 14, 2021
Anyone talking to a peacekeeper in Kabul using the name Simi Simi Ahirwar (Sam Jones) from Albany NY. He says he graduated from West Point and has two adopted children whose mother died four years ago from a brain tumor.
Don't use your…
August 15, 2021
Just contacted by an alleged doctor "acting as an abdominal surgeon" with private contract for project in Indian Ocean 58 years old, widowed 8 years, wife died of cancer. 12 year old son living with nanny in USA. Handsome, salt and pepper hair, with a large poodle. Told him right off I was old enough to be his mother and I would not be sending him any money or my SS#.
LITTLEBIT
August 15, 2021
Has anyone had to deal with a guy who is claiming to be a 2nd lieutenant in the military and his name is Johnny Hernandez Or A guy who is claiming to be VICTOR Howard Adams, E5 staff sergeant , both of them are claiming to be in THE MILITARY and have been telling me that they can't access their OWN MONEY in their bank accounts
Siatelea
August 15, 2021
Has anybody heard of a sergeant in Oman Dubai by the name Clinton Shock?
Silly123
August 15, 2021
Does anyone one know a steven williams on Instagram he goes by callme Steve he says he is in Kuwait in the marines and that his wife and mom were killed in a car accident 6 years ago he says he has 2 little boys that are being taken care by a nanny he asked me to buy a amazon card so that he could hack into the nanny phone to talk to his son.
Cida622
August 15, 2021
I have been talking and texting with someone working overseas for over a month. He has not asked for any of my personal information or money. But when I search online for his name, I can’t find him. We also video called. I am perplexed since I can’t seem to be able to prove his identity. What do you think?
Broken 5050
August 16, 2021
Sofie, run away from Marcus Williams he is totally a scammer, he got me good.
DJ
August 17, 2021
Has anyone talked to a Jeffery Selles? Says he works with the UN. He's porta Rician. I have had video calls with him . But something just does not feel right.
Isabella313
August 18, 2021
Does anyone has been scam by Grayson Schofield from Liverpool, uk with company Grayson Enterprises, inc.,divorce 2 kids.Tall 6' 2" skinny ,bear mustache. Very handsome pics. Has a profile in LinkedIn with his name and pic.Please be aware .He ask for last of money. Has a fake license, company and divorce papers
CAS
August 18, 2021
I have been scammed,the other day,a guy I was involved with,Claimed he owned a company in Atlanta,Georgia it looked legit,after telling him not to text me anymore, Annde Paul conractor was taken down,he had a thick accent sounded African. He wanted me to transfer money from his offshore bank account. He Claimed his offshore bank account wasn't working for him. His name wasn't on the bank account he claimed to own it didn't work. please don't ever open a second bank account or send money or gift cards to anyone online .
I hate a scammer
August 18, 2021
The same thing happened to me and he use the name Harry proctor. He had a woman involved in this scam named lois stachelrodt. There was another party involved he went by the name of George he had a picture of himself and a girl whatever the heck he was and then Harry who comes up the name on Google Kyle w Norman was the one who was scaring me and scamming me they scare me out of $6500. I lost my friendship people didn't understand I was being scammed I went to the police about this in 2019. I was on a game words with Friends and they started messaging me on Hangouts.
Jes
August 18, 2021
Anyone in contact with a Russian guy named Shaun Ivan Avros? He says that has a son named Kelvin, living Dubai, his wife died 4 years ago and he is 6 years old now
awels
August 19, 2021
Anyone else talking to a David “Dave” Wood? He was born in Spain but lives in the USA (Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma), with other homes in Australia & Spain. Says he’s a gemologist. Met on a dating site. Handsome, early 60’s. Talk and text and did a zoom call once. Pictures and zoom call all matched up. Has a heavy Spanish accent. Professed his love quickly and took down his dating profile after 3 days. No social media accounts and nothing comes up on a reverse image search. He’s divorced. Wife cheated, no children. Never met in person. He had to leave town before we met and go to Denmark for work. Has asked for money several times to help with his work project because bank account is on hold due to hackers. Emailed me the notice from his bank that is account is on hold. Tried to verify the bank but didn’t get very far. Presently in Australia to take care of his bank account. Now says he has Covid which he honestly sounded very sick. Didn’t hear from him for over a week. Located him in a public hospital in Australia but was discharged. Communication has been spotty throughout the whole time until recently when he said he needs money to pay for a doctor & medical care. Either he has the worst luck or this is a very elaborate scam.
TexasPrincess
August 19, 2021
Anyone heard of Raymond Anderson He reached out via LinkedIn Says he lives in Philadelphia
Jes
August 19, 2021
Anyone in contact with a Russian guy named Shaun Ivan Avros? He says that he has a son named Kelvin, living Dubai, his wife died 3 years ago and his son is 6 years old now
Linx24
August 20, 2021
I've recently dealt with someone similar. He was on a US gov contract, on a ship drilling for oil in the sea. He claimed his son and wife were killed in a car accident. Always asked if I've eaten. He wanted access to my Netflix account and I said no. He asked what would I say if he asked me to marry him within a few weeks of talking and then he asked me again about a month later. Both times no. He said he would buy me my dream car and kept asking for a picture of it. Said we were meant to be together, blah, blah, blah. Religious, supposedly. Two months into the chatting he starts asking me for money. He has twin granddaughters, one with an eye condition. He needed to get money to her so she could get the "lens" she needed before going blind. Then after a week of me not helping him out with that issue, he asks me for an iTunes card for his network. I told him no and that you can't use an iTunes card for networking. I've done some research on the photos he sent me and I called him out. I told him I was done and blocked him. Funny thing, he said he was going to have me arrested for calling him a scammer...lol.
Linx24
August 20, 2021

In reply to by Linx24

Name of my pursuer was Harry Anthony. Please beware of anyone who might be talking up a story similar to above. Check the photos, image search on Google.
Miamia
August 20, 2021
Guy named Aron James said he’d pay me $1500 a week just to talk to him. He made me show I deleted my seeking arrangement account and now is saying he is going to add me to his payroll once I fill out jotform. I haven’t filled out anything. It sounded too suspicious to me. Has anyone else had encounters with this man. And do you also believe it’s a scam?