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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

purealoha214
January 25, 2022
I have met a very handsome man online and have been talking with him for about a month now he says he lives in the USA but is over in Indonesia for work and will be back to the US next month. I have always been very guarded when it comes to online dating but he has only brought up money once for his phone and I told him I couldn't help him out and he seemed fine but the pictures he sends me are sometimes dup and I call him out on it and he sends me another one but the guy in the photo is (sorry to be stereotypical) way to hot to be saying what this guy is saying.... He goes by John Evans anyone else talk to someone by that name? And is there a way that we can post the photos to warn other people????
Lynn
January 28, 2022
These comments are right on. Send for info through Area on Aging or Other Agencies no matter Your Age. I was 55 when They sent Me a Huge Pkg of info on ID Theft, Romance Scammers etc. What a Eye Opener. The Men pay To go to classes for 6 months learning how to Scam Women. It contains All the same info on how to do it. I was nearly scammed until He gave asked for a Itune Card. I didn't send one but had fun playing Him. All these Men are widowed, have a Young Child, are in dire need because of a snafu in Their Life. They are in the Military, work on Oil Rigs or Ships. Some say They are Dr's working thru the UN or Dr's without Borders. Most only Text because They say it against Our Military. Their Child is in a Boarding School etc. My so called Friend has been in a relationship with a Ortho Dr. For over 2 yrs. They are being investigated by the FBI. Amazing that His Daughter is in boarding School in the UK & name & nickname is exactly the Same as the Guy I corresponded with, right down to same DOB. He's promised to come, getting out of His Contract at least 5 times. Funny thing is that He claims to be with an Agency but is in Yemen. We have no troops or Military personnel there. Through this Agency They make about 1,200/m if that. Live in extreme poverty as far as Housing, food etc. The Airport there is a closed and a dump. Injured People are rarely transported to a umane Country. Yemen is one of the worst Countries. Completely inhumane and at War between 2 factions. She showed Me a Photo of Him and Co-workers in Scrubs yet the Door sign said Exit plus others things were all in English. She recently Fell twice and was injured. All He replied, Did You put the Money in the Cerrain Cash App. One of many. Out of Her mind!! Oh His Daughter had Her Appendix out and She said the Girl was in Hospital for 2 wks & They have to pay the Bill. She Lives off SSI/m. ??????. Me and 2 Other. Ppl tried to tell Her to do a Photo receive search. No Go. Being Single of course We All desire to be in Love, feel needed, attention etc yet to be in a relationship on a phone is wrong. Oh He can'r talk cause restricted because of the Govt????????. Sad. I feel for All of You.
Sylvia
January 28, 2022
anyone heard of Christopher Jones or a Bryan Jones. On an off shore rig in Turkey. Says wife died several years ago of breast cancer and has a young son with nanny in Florida
help_plz0021
January 29, 2022
Anyone heard about Francesco Tyler ... works on a cruise ship as an engineer ... italian lives in UK has a daughter taken care by grandmother ? i wish i could post a picture
CountryGirl
January 30, 2022
I am talking with Gunnery Sgt Michael Leal. Stationed in Syria. Been talking since Nov 2021. He did ask for cards but I said no and he said ok. Then later he said he was able to get them himself. He hasn’t asked me for anything since. I already had told him I will never send money, buy anything or give any info. He said he was fine with that. He has professed his love etc. So is he really a scammer since he hasn’t asked for anything else?
Joey
January 31, 2022
Seeing a couple posts wondering if so and so is legit. Here's a recipe of what's not: 1.Name is made up of two first names or other simple traditional U.S. names 2. Widowed or divorced 3. Currently outside of U.S. for Job Job is lumber, oil rig, construction and Military 4. Meet on dating app and he or she wants you switch to Google meet, WhatsApp or hangout 5. Internet not good for video calls or video calls is not allowed 6.Lives in U.S. however, Live meet ups fall through 7. Sends photos and ask that you reciprocate. 8. Chat in early AM or late PM only, 9.Seems perfect friendly or romantics then gradually asks for small amount of money or gift card$$$$ 10. Money must be cashiers check or gift cards 11. Sudden emergency need for money to settle bills, or he wants to send a package filled with Gold dust or money, all you have to do is receive it by paying little tax 12. Manipulative, voice tone sounds weird. 13. Ask you of vital personal information 14. Ask you to open a Bitcoin wallet These all means disaster for victim. Don't fall for it. Be Smart
Concernedmember
February 02, 2022
Here is one that is happening to a family member I’m wondering if anyone else has heard. She met him playing Yahtzee on her phone. He started messaging her. He says he has a condo in Tampa, FL, but is in Germany because he helps build gas stations. Wife died of blood cancer or something of the sort, has two kids 12 and 14. Son and daughter and that they are in a boarding school and their aunt helps take care of them. Already backed out on coming to visit her once, but claims he will be home for Easter and that she should meet him in FL to meet the family because he wants to marry her. She started buying LOTS of gift cards and bitcoin, even using . She has been using Bitcoin atms ect. Once we found out about the bitcoin and confronted her, she claims transferred it to him to “hold onto.” She has given up her 30 year relationship and kids to take off to go live with and marry this man she has never met! It all sounds like all the other scams and I’m hoping (sorry ladies) that someone else has the EXACT same story so we can show her! I don’t know his name or number or kids names. She has sold off lots of stuff to buy gift cards.