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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.

December 10, 2019

In reply to by unsure72

Hi it sounds like a guy I'm talking with, just without Italian accent. James from CA, working in the gulf of mexico. Are you still in contact with him?
December 27, 2019

In reply to by Andnow

I have had a guy from Mingle dating messaging me on Kik this last week. Suddenly messages came to an abrupt end cos i was suspicious & questioned. Name James or Marcus Liam in Texas. Said his wife died in a car crash, was very sad, his two sons left him not long ago to live with his mum in Chelsea, UK, he was born & bred there! Said babe this & that all the time, how instantly loved me cos i looked so beautiful in my pic. Wanted spend rest of life with me. Said was bday Xmas eve & wanted a gift card! When i mentioned age it didnt match to his mingle profile. Pics he sent didn’t add up. Things did not seem right. And is a very good looking guy. Now complete silence from him after I said just be honest. Cut me off by saying am ending this now cos u dont trust me. Wouldnt video call or speak to me even after saying all he did & was in a relationship with me! And was born & bred in UK & would come back here for me & his boys. I have been trying to find him on other sites without any luck
January 28, 2020

In reply to by unsure72

Hi he around 50y old? Blond/light brown hair. His daughter is in boarding school. Its a similar story. He talks about God, but he told me that he is security works for UN. His name is Jams Willis. He is half Italian. Never called me or make video call because of security reasons.
March 17, 2020

In reply to by Hanna

Can we share photos here ? I have the same story, contacted me on IG. His parents passed and daughter boarding school in Turkey. Said he loves me a few days after we started taking, refused to vidoe chat until he asked for money to help his daughter then he agreed to chat on google hangout
April 05, 2020

In reply to by unsure72

Can I see his picture? I had same story but he has no kid and work in Turkey. Using whatapp with turkey number
Not falling fo…
March 01, 2020

In reply to by Broken heart

I have someone sending me the same sort of B.S as we speak. Calling me constantly, sending many photos, on an oil rig currently in India jut lives in Australia he is calling himself Micheal.Harry he is 53, a widower who has 3 kids. Sends me love notes copied from the internet. He has done 2 brief video chats before he left for a three month contract on an oil rig in Mumbai India. Claims that he cannot take pictures or video for safety reasons. This guy is very good looking, says he is from Sydney but has an odd accent. He has sent me a few videos that at very brief. He contacts me on mainly on telegram but also on hangouts.
October 13, 2020

In reply to by Broken heart

Stay away best thing u can do only using u.
May 19, 2019

In reply to by Joda45

Same, he said he’s a pilot and pictures and vid seemed to be the same person, then asked for ring size and shoe size, and said I will need to pay taxes when receive the packages.
June 20, 2019

In reply to by Katy

Katy the pilot guy you are talking about..where does he live and what name did he give you?
June 20, 2019

In reply to by Katy

Hi katy i want to send you the picture of the guy who scammed me.he said his a pilot in can we share the picture ?
July 02, 2019

In reply to by Chen

Hi chen.I think its the same person who almost scammed me.He use the name Fred max .And he said he works in netjets as a pilot.He said he will send a package ,and someone emailed me that in order to claim it i need to pay for taxes before the package will be delivered.I can sense that there's something wrong.Good thing i was not able to fall in his trap.I want to let you see the videos and pictures that he sent me. I actually send a message to Netjets if they can let the real pilot know that a scammer is using his pictures and videos.
July 07, 2019

In reply to by yen

Hi yen, he told me the same, Fred max, pilot of NetJets, he send me videos and pics. Thanks you because when I read your text and Katy texts I realized that he was totally a fake.
July 22, 2019

In reply to by Marcy

Hi marcy!i was able to find the real account of the pilot.when in told him thats someone is using his pics and videos he blocked me.i think the real account is handled by the the way,how can we be able to share pics and videso?i want to send it to you lets see if its the same person
September 12, 2019

In reply to by Chen

Hello, I’ve recently talked to this guy on Instagram, can you share the photos of the guy and we can compare whether it’s the same guy or not? Thanks.
dollcuten't us…
September 19, 2019

In reply to by Blurloon

can i get the name and how to share photos to see if i am dealing with similar guy. hope for your reply
September 25, 2019

In reply to by dollcuten't us…

Hi. Was the pilot’s name Alex Hansson? How can we exchange the photos and vid? British Airways pilot training students in Turkey? Widowed, 5yo daughter???
February 07, 2020

In reply to by Marcy

Hi, Im talking to a guy who messaged me from IG and goes by the name Maxwell Francesco Fredrick. Claims he is a pilot from Netjets. How can I send his photo and videos? We chat on Whatsapp.
February 19, 2020

In reply to by Anna

This "pilot" tried to me too. Sent pics and videos..some looser. Be careful.
February 22, 2020

In reply to by Anna

Same name Maxwell Francesco Fredrick pilot from Netjets. I don’t know he is real or not.
May 25, 2020

In reply to by Anna

Totally the same guy. He is using the same name the same story. Good looking pictures. I knew something was weird when he keep talking about having serious love relationship. I blocked him right away after reading your post.!
June 30, 2020

In reply to by Anna

hi, a guy from Ig named MAxwell francesco Fredrick dm too, told me the same a pilot and wants serious relationship how can we share the photos
August 28, 2020

In reply to by Sienna

Hi Sienna, I got same DM as you did. I want to know if this is the guy. How to share ? Thank you
November 04, 2020

In reply to by Anna

Same here,I want to talk abt this person with u,such a can we exchange our contact?
December 20, 2020

In reply to by Anna

This guy is a professional, contacted me as well same name Maxwell Francesco Frederick how do we contact each other here to tell each other details of this crazy thing.
April 07, 2021

In reply to by Judy

Hi can we exchange pics on this guy , I want know it’s same guy or not , I need call police
December 20, 2020

In reply to by Marcy

Hi Marcy How do we contact each other on here I have the same guy Maxwell Frederick contacted me on Instagram first and then on WhatsApp. He told me he’s a pilot for NetJets
MellyDon't use…
November 24, 2019

In reply to by yen

Can someone pls post a pic of this guy. My friend is being scammed. He goes by Alex. I’m trying to convince her but she doesn’t believe me. It sounds like the same guy
November 15, 2020

In reply to by yen

Omg I am talking to the same guy. Maxwell Francisco Fredrick. He said he grew in Liverpool and his dad’s American, mom’s British mix Italian . Live in Magala. In the beginning he said he wanted a serious relationship and even talked about the future and having kids. Then he said he would like to send me some bags and shoes and jewelry to make me up(he even asked me for the shoes size) but I have to pax the tax. Then I think the delicious company is weird as well so I contacted with them told them don’t send it to me .it might be cat-fishing and I printed screaming your massage and texted to the pilot .it seems that he didn’t get shocked
December 20, 2020

In reply to by Chen

Hello I have the same pilot contacted me with pictures and videos Please contact me I want to share details and try to put it behind me.
May 25, 2020

In reply to by Katy

OMG, I am talking to the same guy. First through IG but now he added me on WeChat. I am totally blocking him. We just started talking very recently and he keeps pushing for a serious relationship. The funny this is that I live in SH and he is in Spin. I told him I don’t like long distance and he said he can come to visit me. I’m like, hello, it’s still COVID19 out there!
July 25, 2019

In reply to by Joda45

Hey this same thing happen to me recently.... when i told him i donot have that money to pay for customs he got angry ... Thank God I didnot fall for it
November 06, 2019

In reply to by Joda45

I also have the same experience.. this month.. he update using video.. claims he is a pilot widow with a beautiful daughter.. update me based on video.. suddenly want fo send ring all jewellery...then i block him
December 01, 2019

In reply to by Anynomous

Bro same call coming for me she ask. I send gift for you.. Kindly collect your country... She sent a photo with one kid.. Please help me to saw
December 04, 2019

In reply to by Anynomous

Same experience with the name Harrison Alexander.
got scammed also
January 05, 2019

In reply to by Got scammed

Me too. 50,000 over a year. I'm so lost and confused at my own actions. I believe I need a psychiatrist to see why I'm so soft hearted.
January 31, 2019

In reply to by got scammed also

I am right there with you, mine is asking me to send him steam cards to help pay for groceries while he is overseas waiting for a contract to finish that will probably never finish because he's waiting for me to send him money which I won't send, I already tried to wire 10,000 but luckily the bank suspected fraud and stop the process ... he's still talking to me and we use Hangouts but that is the only form of communication, no phone number is given. Every morning he sends me a poem along with a picture of flowers and tell me how much I mean to him and I'm the only one besides his mom in his life and without me he would probably kill himself..... and absolutely tears me up inside because if it's real I would be devastated but in my mind I know that it's not real especially after reading all these stories... Stay strong women
April 48
February 09, 2019

In reply to by Nettie73

My heart is racing reading these stories. I have a picture of a man I've been talking to Goes by Fred and Franklin. How can I share his picture.
Sad & hurt
February 23, 2019

In reply to by April 48

These stories are true I'm a victim to please block them don't send no money or iTunes cards. These people are heartless will steal your heart it's real. I wish I would have know about this to read it please save ur self. Two months and I have took 2 payday loans to help and 1300 in cash
September 29, 2019

In reply to by Sad & hurt

What would happen if I blocked him!? I already sent 15 dollars Apple Gift card, I don’t mind the money it’s not much, I care about my integrity. I am just reading his messages and being suspicious about everything he says. His name is Paul Bendall. Am I in danger? Thanks for sharing your story.
January 06, 2020

In reply to by Menarevictimstoo

I'm chatting with a scammer named carol anderson his user name is caroland10 he be on kik everyday
Lorettaon't us…
April 17, 2020

In reply to by Julia

I’m talking to a carol Anderson oil rig worker in Ghana one daughter can this be same man He’s on messenger
May 06, 2019

In reply to by April 48

Was this Fred, a doctor in Iraq? The pictures of the man, that talk to me, was a Fred. He wanted to send me $2.85 million dollars. He said he’d be coming home in a week. I blocked him.
June 19, 2019

In reply to by Sassy12

Sassy12, I have a good friend who is talking to a Freddy in Jordan, so he says. He wants to send her a lot of money he has "found". Did he say where he got the money he wanted to send you, how he was going to send it? I am worried, she said she has researched him, but this is just to similar and she has to pay to get the money here.