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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.
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  • 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

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December 15, 2019

In reply to by Katy

I just git scammed..sent money tobget a bag thru customs...i spend 13k..there is no so pissed...
May 08, 2020

In reply to by Dontsend

All sound familiar....oil and gas engineer in Gulf of Mexico with a 15 year old daughter named Chantel in boarding school in Portugal. Very nice looking and sweet, all the typical names (baby, sweetheart, darling, wife Yada yada. Supposed to be on contract for 3 to 4 weeks and now is 9 weeks and had an oil rig explosion, needed new machinery needed from Turkey. First on Facebook showed up liking some of my posts. Picture on end of all posts now gone. Name Edger R Ortiz. Wife died 6 years ago from cancer and he lives in California...San Diego area. Same card needed etc. beware he is convincing
Silly me
May 31, 2019

In reply to by April 48

If u have a picture of this Frank would love to see if its the same guy
July 19, 2019

In reply to by Silly me

Does he go by mikefrank178 it chrixtopher_ryan 211 on Instagram? Engineer, with a 13 year daughter , went to turkey for a contact, needs money to get equipment , he’s good looking , says he’s Romanian,
August 28, 2019

In reply to by amsac

No Hungarian civil engineering lives in Hardford conn has a daughter in Italy 22 Darn he was good sole my heart just need to get a little harder sorry this happened to u also goes by alexagato567@ needs money do hospital bills was mugged in cyprus had an interpreter and a doc on on it supposley. Even used my faith
February 16, 2020

In reply to by amsac

Hi. I was messaging and talking to guy, engineer, works on projects involving replacing ships engines. Swedish (sounded Swedish), has lived in California for 30 years. Wife had affair with his best friend, separated and she died a year later. Son aged 11 years, looked after by a nanny called Erica when he works away. Had a contract in Turkey. Flight to Istanbul. Turkish customs had increased import fees from 10% to 35% and would not release equipment until paid. Says he paid with all he had, needed help with balance so he could complete contract and repay me within six days. Didn’t send any money. Checked out photos and they were of someone else. He denied he was lying. He didn’t get nasty when I didn’t send money, just said he hadn’t lied about his feelings. Probably a ruse to draw me back in. Anyway, blocked him, no further contact
May 18, 2020

In reply to by Phillyd

I think I was talking to the same guy in Feb/March. Swedish engineer in Istanbul, Turkey. Was his name Michael? Or what name was he using? Thanks
February 03, 2021

In reply to by amsac

Michael Jeffrey Nicolae another sammer talks about god have a13yrs old daughter live oin Canada but is from Romania's the biggest thief
June 17, 2019

In reply to by April 48

ive been talking to a guy named fred williams he says. is this the same fred? also a eric jack?
January 08, 2020

In reply to by April 48

Theres this man ive been talking to through email and now he wants to send me a package through DHL or Cargo..he has not yet asked me for money or anything , so should i receive them or not, i dont know if he is a scammer or not
June 07, 2020

In reply to by marta

You'll have to pay to pick up the package, this is something I have learned from reading this forum. And by the way however many dollars you spend to collect the package for him like I could be in the hundreds ,he'll get it
February 18, 2019

In reply to by Nettie73

I met this guy said his name was dr. Henry somewhere in yemen. He needed iTunes cards and $7000 usd for his sons medical bills. I sent the card but not the $7000. Every morning he would send me song, poems, and pics of flowers. Said he wanted to marry me but I blocked this scammer. I feel silly because I sent him gift cards but thank God I stopped while I was ahead.
June 23, 2019

In reply to by Alleycat69

Why do these scammers need money for family medical bills? Especially the military scammers??
July 16, 2019

In reply to by Alleycat69

My guys says his name is Adrian Humberto Rivera. He sends me songs and poems everyday He says his internet costs $500. he has a son Jaime his Grandma Elena and a nanny to take care care of his son. He claims he is stationed in Italy , intelligence so he cannot video chat or call me. Does he sound familiar to anybody ?
July 29, 2019

In reply to by Inuyasha1234

Yup, found this clown on pof. Same story. Wasted 2 weeks talking to him till I dug deep and realized he is a scam. Gave me the story he gave you. I got tons of pictures from him but can not find the real guy through google images. He didn’t get no money from me lol
February 21, 2020

In reply to by Grace

Me too a guy named sergeant Hanson he sounded awesome until he wanted me too send him money to get some boxes to me he was on pof
August 06, 2019

In reply to by Inuyasha1234

Omg, I just got flowers and chocolates and a teddy bear delivered by the local florist from Adrian Humberto Rivera, I’m freaked out!!
June 07, 2020

In reply to by Annie

They always change their profile pictures and their names, one cannot prove to another victim that that's the guy because he's got a new picture/name
September 07, 2019

In reply to by Grace

He wants to send me flowers , too. I want to see his photo please
May 30, 2020

In reply to by Gold

What do you mean he's real?
December 27, 2019

In reply to by Inuyasha1234

Yep got that guy in early October telling me the same thing. Using attractive pictures of someone claiming to have a deceased wife died from a car accident which resulted in a coma never came out of it. Sends poems and says, darling alot.
January 23, 2020

In reply to by Lo123

Did this guy go by the name James? German accent? Said he owned a mining company, stuck in Dubai?
February 15, 2020

In reply to by triedtoscambutfailed

that guy said he is a mining engineer contract diamond in Turkey. way to going home USA and stuck in Dubai, need help money to pay customs clearance for his diamonds?
January 03, 2020

In reply to by Inuyasha1234

Yeah came across whoever the person behind the photo 3 or 4 weeks ago on Instagram and did the same thing. Switched from a text to using hangout to talk. When I question about us video chatting it all was some excuse after excuse. Once I became adamant about it he became angry and stated why was I acting this way when he gave me no reason to do so. I said I'm not going to continue this until I actually see your face. It was the end of the conversation.
February 13, 2021

In reply to by Inuyasha1234

It sound familiar. I just discovered it a few days before Chinese New Year. I have a copy of his passport, from Australia with the name of Frankie Ronnie Frederick. I was scammed all my savings and I was devastating. He told me he moved to USA and changed his name. I checked he is very active in Instagram since 2016, he has a lovely family. Ladies please check out both names in Instagram: Frankie Frankie and Dave Asprey.
September 22, 2019

In reply to by Alleycat69

I’ve been speaking to a man called Mark Henry working for the US military but working in Yemen with a 12 year old son. I’m watching for him to ask me for money
November 29, 2019

In reply to by Alleycat69

I also talk to doctor base in yemen too and his name is dr. James henry too he ask me to send his money around 450 dollar to give to barrister to tranfer his funds to my account.... He said he want to me as he trust me being conjoin parners... He want to send to my account his funds cause its allmost expired already. If they not take the funds goes to the bank and never give to him... So he begging me for sending the barrister the money so he can process his funds Asap.... He's 50years old and a son too name kevin 13 years old now...
February 26, 2019

In reply to by Nettie73

May I ask what the scammer goes by?Does he say he’s in the military deployed to Syria? I’ve been talking to someone for over a year now. He messaged me on Instagram then asked me to go to Hangout. Yes I’m feeling like a fool woman too. Thanks.
WTH seriously
March 02, 2019

In reply to by MeToo2018_2019

That same exact thing happened to me today and two of my friends... We all got together and realized and blocked him... I think he stole someone's photos and is up to no good. He goes by Steve Gonzalez... Same Syria military story ☹️
Angel anne
March 04, 2019

In reply to by MeToo2018_2019

Does he go by the name Cooper George xvi or Cooper fresh in Instagram
March 13, 2019

In reply to by MeToo2018_2019

Hi Ladies! I’ve been chatting for. A couple of days to a scammer with the same army/Syria story. Immediately I knew he was fake and my first question was ‘are you real’ the conversation continued with me pointing out all the mistakes he’d made on his photos/profile. He knew I knew but we continued to chat.. it was hilarious and great fun! Fb blocked him as o guess someone else reported him. Best laugh I’ve had for ages! Like my own little detective game.. such fun! I miss him :)
April 13, 2019

In reply to by Why-so-gullible

The same thing with me only Afghanistan. He knew I knew he was a scammer but we had the best time. Hilarious fellow. Then he just disappeared. I miss him. I lost no money.
kidney gurl
May 03, 2019

In reply to by Entertained

Right now I'm talking to 2 guys. One is on an oil rig the other is in Afghanistan and is a Lt. General. Here's a question for ya..... Why would a Lt. General be talking to me? I'm sure he scammer.
May 15, 2019

In reply to by kidney gurl

I just busted a man, claimed he was a seargent major in us army...found me on is Ryan Luke quinn...I can't find his pics anywhere...never asked for money, was sweet and acted caring...wanted to come home to me when deployment was over...finally got him to email me, located the ip, Nigeria...
June 09, 2019

In reply to by Aleo71

I heve been contacted by by a man who says he is in the army stationed in Afghanistan transfering to Iraq. Wanted to send me a big box with gold bars money and supposedly all his military papers and pictures of him when he was a kid. Mind you this was after he tells me he wants to come back to me in the states and marry me and be a family. When he tells me about this box he wants me to borrow money from any one that will give it to me to get it. Conversation were never about "US" anymore it was all about the box and getting the money to ship it. Anyone have any helpful infromation it would be greatly appreciated.
June 17, 2019

In reply to by Girlinterrupted19

Hi I had the same thing happen to me. This box with his treasures and papers from the military. Money too! He tells me he is sending it to me and that I will be arrested because I am helping him with laundered money. His name is Garth Hestilow. He is very charming and smart. I have been reporting him to the FBI. Also there was a Dr.Wilson Potter and a Priest named Charles Nelson. Plus a company called Excel Parcel in London. I thought these people were liget. I am naming these people on this site so others will not be taken in like I was. When all is said and done I was left with just a heartache and I am trying to recover from it all.
June 22, 2019

In reply to by Ginger

I was just contacted by a Hispanic man 2 days ago named Wilson Potter who says he was adopted, raised by a priest And is stationed in the Philippines right now. He says he’s about to retire and move back to his home in California. Is any of this familiar to you?
July 29, 2019

In reply to by Helpme

I knew Chris Harrison. But he said he’s adopted by a priest. Originally from Berlin, Germany. And now in Florida. He said he’s a electro-petroleum engineer.
November 24, 2019

In reply to by Ginger

Hi I had the same thing happen to me is lieutenant General caused by the Army and another General they were all both stationed over in Kabul Afghanistan said something about an investigation in the boxes and needed to be shipped out but what do you needed was $2,400 to secure commercial flight.. what's he got here to the states and he was being held Ransom until all these papers from customs got cleared out. then he went over to his house in Miami Florida was there for a couple of days with these boxes that he had me paid Ransom from the director over in Kabul so then he had to get another guy just to drive him up here I want to go to my you have three cars at your house once just drive up here to Ohio and just come meet me now he's like will the cops found out about Peter some other guy that was holding him Ransom and I got caught by the cops here in Ohio is it really what gel are you out I'll come get you you wouldn't tell me. Goes by the name Jeff Edison and his friend's name is Robert Petersen. both generals but what Jeff did not realize the pictures that he sent me he says he's arming I'm ex-military myself my dad is a military guy makes husband's military for all retired sends me a picture of this guy in Air Force uniform so I did a reverse search on picture he's the superintendent of the Air Force academy in the only reason I know this is because my little brother graduated from the Air Force academy and is a fighter pilot so I called him out on it next thing I know he deleted that account dang gone. so his commanding officer was supposed to come get him Friday I got a message on Hangouts of from his commanding officer and they both both of them gave me a fake email to the Head General of Afghanistan and it's John F Campbell I looked them up he is legit. Cbut it's Scott Miller that is in head of the generals of all the generals in Kabul sonnen bees and I have stacks and I lost $12,000 to all these scammers saying we've got a hold hostage you need to send $400 in gift cards it has to be this kind of cord or we're not going to have him in your face and he saying that he's being tortured all this stuff and I'm like way too many of your military trying just snapped their necks cuz I know I will cuz I'm ex-military your hand and comment trade and you're a special ops and you're a dcis agent. I'm looking at 4 years of prison because of all these cards because they think I'm doing some kind of money laundering or wire fraud or something like that so I'm going to be having a Jag and os I'm here in Ohio along with the FBI help me track everything one of these people down and I want them in prison the biggest mistake he gave me was two girls with their bank accounts phone numbers and addresses in Atlanta and that's when it all started back in April supposedly he's been held captive since the 12th of August he's supposedly just now leaving Friday when I told his controlling officer daddy stole the boxes and smuggled them out of Afghanistan they know about the boxes and he's like wait a minute you know for a fact that he took the boxes out of Afghanistan because we were investigating a Chief's death over these boxes and I said yes of course I know about it I said you should go and talk to Nelson your director I'll tell you all about the boxes cuz that's what the ransom note was to clear customs for and is that his house in Miami his controlling officer neither one of them are answering my emails and he said that he was going to have Jeff Edison arrested and put in prison well that's great if you can find them cuz I don't even know where he's at. and the pictures that you sent me the wrong uniform if you're going to claim that you're in the Army at least rocker army uniform and not an Air Force uniform especially a super attendant supervisor of the Air Force academy you ding dong like I'm stupid I was stupid enough to believe the hostage situation cuz I was getting emails from these different people demanding if you want him released then we need this in this in this I'm like nah just give you cash how about that you got zelle isn't know we wanted in the gift cards or said I don't do gift cards. Search history mailed his latest scammers supposedly in Cleveland and I told him I said if he is still there take a picture with your phone I want proof of life if you're going to kill him just drop them off at my front door so I can see for myself no response from none of them.