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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 28, 2019

In reply to by Carly

what did he tell you he does for a living and what's his life story, his age etc. Did he regularly speak with you throughout the day, skype etc?
Ms. CorvetteDd
December 24, 2019

In reply to by Carly

One and the same. Goes by different names. Not him in the picture. Block him. Do not send him money or let his sweet talk suck you in. It took me a year to find out the truth. Had me looking for houses in florida. Going to marry me and pay me back. Paybacks are hell. Be careful.
June 07, 2020

In reply to by Carly

Same common thread,. I am in LOVE with you. Need money for blah blah blah cause. Always has a different picture in his profile and a different name. Sometimes you can hear the same lines
July 11, 2019

In reply to by Nonni201

This guy on IG contacted me about seven weeks ago. His profile shows he is a US Marine and he is in Kansas. He is 34. He calls me queen, dear, baby. He has a 3 year old son he sent me a picture of. His mother has cancer and is in a nursing home. He keeps asking for STEAM cards to upload a map from his account as he needs data. He showed me his bank account and wants to transfer money to my bank. He wants more cards. He is super sweet and seems to genuinely ask the right questions and keeps up with details but I feel like something is off.
December 13, 2019

In reply to by Nonni201

Mine goes by the name Edward Richard and says the same thing wife died ...babe , honey and I believe it until he asked to send 500 for a fed x package ..These men are terrible to do what they do .
December 16, 2019

In reply to by Nonni201

Wow these scammers all have the same story.And I am just surprised how they make fake bank account details.The one I was talking to have me his bank details and there was 5 million USD in his account and after a while he told me it was hacked bla bla bla.I just wish I had done my research earlier and read about your stories cause now it's too late unfortunately,I made the mistake of sending thousands of dollars to him.Never again!!!
January 13, 2020

In reply to by Rishia

Today i blocked joshua dylan, he said he is a civil engineer then got a project in thailand.2 nights ago he asked me to access his account & i saw 4million dollars & i made a transfer to korea because he said he will buy an equipment. Last night he asked me & there was a problem. Now, he aaked me to send for him usd 2000. Thanks God, i fight with my emotion. I blocked him in skype
June 26, 2019

In reply to by Maui

Hey I was just reading about all the scammers and came across yours, my guy sounds Hispanic but says hes german and Hispanic. I know I'm being played but he hasnt gotten anything from me although he did try to get me to open a back account...nope not falling for that a bit...wonder if it's the same guy?
July 09, 2019

In reply to by Daisy75

How can I sent u a picture to Check if is the same guy that I have been chatting for 6 months. The similarities are Hispanic-German and soldier. But has not asked for money yet.
June 29, 2019

In reply to by Maui

My guy too but says he is Russian but sounds like a lack and he sent me his photo. How can we share to see if he is one
December 13, 2019

In reply to by Chori

mine says he is russian 2 big guy handsome about 50 works as a engineer
July 25, 2019

In reply to by Maui

Same thing happen to me... he went by the name George Philip... he is on instagram...have pics is it the same guy... would want to find out ...can you guys send pics so I can verify...
July 26, 2019

In reply to by sam

I spoke to him for 9 months, he has various names, George k, James George k, George Krantz, James K. He is definitely a scammer, I never gave him a dime. Thank God
August 28, 2019

In reply to by sam

Hi i hsve been chatting with this guy ..uses this name George Philips..has 15 yr old son..i have pics..please text me back so we can verify pics
September 02, 2019

In reply to by Sunny

Sounds like same guy i have been talking to.i have pics also please reply back..
September 29, 2019

In reply to by Sunny

Just spoke with my MIL and she believes she is speaking to an ortho surgeon working on a contract and will be home in Dec. she said he has a 14 year old son with a nanny in LA (whom she has emailed with several times) she hasn’t admitted to giving him anything but says he has lots of money and plans to buy a house (he wanted to transfer the money to her to purchase) she hasn’t given me a lot of info but said she can not tell me his name because he isn’t supposed to tell her anything. He has sent pics of himself in scrubs and pics of himself in OR. I didn’t want to make her feel crazy because she believes him and I don’t want to break her heart, she swore to never date anyone ever again! So sad! She says she has not given him a dime and he would never ask (according to her) but this story sounds way to similar and I know she is being scammed!
October 14, 2019

In reply to by Daughterinlaw

Hi, I have been talking to this guy who seems so genuine, I'm one of the ones the scammers hate. Why? Because I'm so difficult, I ask questions, and question everything! I make life difficult for them, and not a " easy" Target to get money from. Yeah they try, but until now haven't succeeded. At the current moment, the guy I'm talking to is in Italy on a job. From the US he says but Korean mix with a 11 yr old son. He knows exactly what to say at the exact right time. If he is a scam, they done broke out their big dog for me, cause the guy has me gone for him bad.. first he said he had credits go no more on his phone. He has a VNIP number it's free call & text anywhere, so he switch to email. Then he switch to hang outs because he fears loosing me. Idk it's just feel right one moment and next I question is it real or scam.
December 10, 2019

In reply to by Wondering

Omg!! I’m the same way. My scammer is really good. I’m having a hard time breaking him. He send pics and calls. Wants to meet but I’m expecting him to cancel when I do agree. He doesn’t call me baby or queen but call me sweetheart sometimes. I can’t find his photo. He’s really attractive. Why I think he’s a scammer. Because his wife died of cancer he has a daughter that lives with his mother in NY. He sounds convincing! I can’t catch him in a lie. He did finally ask me to send him a gift card... I gave him he run around. He still hanging on. I guess he’s working on plan B. Very good looking brother but has an African ascent. Says was born there came to states when he was 12.
September 06, 2019

In reply to by sam

George Philips..15 yr old son..wife died car accident ..son in boarding school..needs money to fix computer ..retiring soon..wants i tunes money..scammer!!..have many pics ..but its Dr Jones real life! Run!!
March 05, 2020

In reply to by sam

Same guy.. george philips from manchester.. working in cruize company.. have daughter aged 5.. Plz share pic to verify if he is same..
May 14, 2020

In reply to by Simi

I met a guy on IG, Mike George, from Manchester. He said his daughter was 7. Super attractive, dark brown greyish hair, beard with grey in it as well. Blue-grey eyes. Told me he was 40. Working on a rig in Scotland. Sound about right?
September 23, 2019

In reply to by Maui

Do you perhaps have a name and description, sound familiar.
March 09, 2020

In reply to by Budgal8

The guy I'm talking to is Jefferson Colbert, but has a cat name Pryor... I wonder if he's jeff Pryor??
June 15, 2019

In reply to by Gullible

same thing happen to me n he told me he is an orpharage and worked in offshore. anyone encounter the same ?
June 22, 2019

In reply to by littlelamb

Yes me. £2,400 later he still in contact wants to marry me! I’m married my husband is sick. Goes by the name Henry Brown! American rig contractor needs flight money home but things go wrong and he always needs more!! USA Italian accent I had one call pics are from another man who said he is a scammer and got him blocked on Instagram but he remains it is him He’s a liar
June 25, 2019

In reply to by littlelamb

Yes Little lamb. Mine was on a rig, orphan with daughter in boarding school
November 08, 2019

In reply to by WhyMe?

Do you have picture I think he might be same one talking to me
Don't use your…
March 06, 2020

In reply to by Consuelo1956

Send me a pic and i will send you mmy guy
July 05, 2019

In reply to by littlelamb

Offshore, as in on a rig/big boat? He’s a contractor of some sort?
July 06, 2019

In reply to by littlelamb

He goes by multiple names, he is a scammer, same story grew up in orphanage, I talked to him for 8 months until he asked me to send money!
November 24, 2019

In reply to by CaroleS

Mine is Chulo sounds Spanish at times then straight african American he says he is both. Needs a Steam card and money to fly from overseas yet in Air Force
Havadale 1
July 11, 2019

In reply to by littlelamb

Same mine said works on oil rig ready to retire, father of twins Susan and Henry who r in boarding school UK since they where 9 and he lives in Miami, currently working in Turkey at Batman oil refinery. Wife died 2 days after childbirth, mother brother died. Wanted to buy me a car for my bday a Lexus. Said he’s wealthy then asked me for $1200 to buy food on the ship because he doesn’t like food there blah blah. Said I had to send money to his colleague. I asked why and he said he would bring him cash. Then asked me why I was being insulting when I said ur a scammer. He Advised to get an app called hangouts for chats only because he’s very private man. Called me honey, babe, wanted to marry me after 4 weeks blah blah He was on Instagram then removed his account. Goes by Johnson Lawrence
January 04, 2020

In reply to by littlelamb

Wow, were same.. he said he is from orphanage and worked in offshore with son 12 yrs old in boarding school and he is civil engineer and his name is steven jones..
Not me too
February 20, 2021

In reply to by Mbatisla

Wow. Ok mine is Norwegian and owns a company that actually exists. He is a contractor who is about to retire. On his last project. Wife died after a long illness. Lives in Utah when he is not out on the rig.
July 19, 2019

In reply to by Broken heart

Does he look younger than he says? I had a man from Ghana tell me he was from Europe. He said he was 38, he was actually 23. We face timed so zi believed him. He was a singer who played keyboard. But he was a scammer who asked me to help him with a box full of documents and gold. I laughed and hung up on him. And that was after 8 months of communication with him.
July 21, 2019

In reply to by Broken heart

They will tell you anything to get you to send money or iTunes cards or gift cards. Some ask quickly others wait months. Most use untraceable phone numbers through services like Google Voice. Most tell you they are Engineers or Oil Workers etc. (which begs the question... why do they need your money then?) Use your instincts. If he said he’s from Canada then really look at the pictures he sends and see if it matches the location he told you he lives. Google has a reverse image search. Use it. Never take what they say at face value. Maybe after meeting them face to face and actually dating... but not with video chats (which can be faked by the way) and not with phone calls or texts. It’s quite alright to use them as friendship and share music, movies, etc. but never lose sight of the fact that they are working to scam you. It’s a harsh reality.
Wondering Too
December 13, 2019

In reply to by Loveisnot$$

Have been talking to man named Larry Jackson from florida . Says his wife died and his son lives with his mother in Texas .Never asked for money and we video chat . Just have a funny feeling.
September 24, 2019

In reply to by Broken heart

Does he live in CA but works as an engineer and is out of town on a job. Widow with a 12-13 year old daughter. I’m talking with someone who talks about God and how he brought us together. It’s been since middle of June. Has video chats and they match with his photos and he’s from Italy with a STONG Italian accent which is the same on video and phone calls. Does this sound like your guy. BrokenHearted? Or has any one else come across him? His name is James. If anyone has any advice I’d love to hear because it all has been consistent but I’m scared.
September 26, 2019

In reply to by unsure72

Yes hes contacted me quite convincing says hes in wyoming
Baby girl 47…
November 15, 2019

In reply to by unsure72

Yes I've been talking to a man named James for several years now always wanting money gift cards do you have any pictures of him has a son and a daughter mother got killed but he works in a oil rig out in the ocean
December 29, 2019

In reply to by Baby girl 47…

Hi do you gave a pic of him please really need to see if it's the same person scamming my auntie
November 22, 2019

In reply to by unsure72

Same thing different name, Steve Marco, italian raises in the states. Civil Ingenieer. Widower with a 14 yr old daughter Anita. Travel around the globe for work. The nanny takes care of nanny when he is out working. He works out a lot. He bikes, hikes. And also rides motorcycles.. he has excuses to not make face call, or video chat ever. Because his camera is messed up . Even though he says he is italian he can’t speak Italian. He sound like a middle easter person or Nigerian. He also prefers “hangouts app” for communication , he calls you honey or dear all the time. He apparently falls in love with you too quick. So silly. He uses words like soul mate. Or wants your soul and tour heart ... pretty good liar. Diplomatic.