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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

Angievicky
April 01, 2021

In reply to by Annie 11

Do you have a pic? My friend is being possibly scammed by a doctor, about same age, dead wife
Lejah
April 10, 2021

In reply to by Angievicky

Hi whats the story behind your friend who is possibley scammed by a doctor. Pls help me i might also being scammed
Don't use your…
October 29, 2021

In reply to by Lejah

I hope y'all find the better person y'all looking for.. and fr stay safe tho
anochepiscope
September 07, 2021

In reply to by Angievicky

Kindly send me a picture if it possibly scammed by a doctor, dead wife and 1 son
SKC07
September 18, 2021

In reply to by Angievicky

What is the name he's going by? I have a guy who's supposedly a doctor working on a contract in Alaska by the name of Alex. He's mid 40's, muscular, mustache with beard and is extremely handsome!
doberman18
November 22, 2021

In reply to by Stupid

Similar scenario. Eric Mathias, born in Finland, lives in Laguna Beach CA. Widowed and also divorced. Now in Istanbul, Turkey on oil pipeline project. Have been texting and talking for almost 5 months. Lost $5000 to his scam. Doesn't facetime , but did skype once with him. Blurry picture and bad connection. How do we exchange photos?
SassyCappy
December 01, 2021

In reply to by Stupid

I have a guy by the name of MICHAEL SHAWN..met him on TicToc and then he called me and I couldn’t understand wtf he was saying
Marielena
February 24, 2021

In reply to by Hssmiles

The Petroleum Engineer calls me "Sunshine" as well. This has gone on since early January, 2021. He goes by Daniel Williams. Claims he is from San Jose, CA. Daughter cared for there still. Working North Sea platform. Desperately in love with me.
annieB
November 05, 2021

In reply to by Marielena

Have had a scammer contact me through Allpoetry.com. Claims name is Luiz Macias and that he is an army surgeon in Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan! Wife died 2 years ago in a car crash and he has a son 9 years old Michael in boarding school. He put a poem on the website which he claimed he had written but when I googled I found this was written by a lady called Nicolette. He called me 'Sunshine' as well and claimed he lived in Oregon. I have a couple of photos but doubt it is him.
Esmerelda65
February 27, 2021

In reply to by Hssmiles

I had an oil rig guy.... Sunshine was frequently used..... Check out his photos on reverse images. If they're actually paulo brunetti, we had the same guy!! I never sent money in any form and caught him out on several lies. Got bored and blocked him.
FishingMo
February 10, 2021

In reply to by sunshine

What is that guys name on the oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. I have been talking to one on an oil rig and he asked me to get $400 iTunes cards, I didn't, but now asking for Steam Cards.
Lillyeb11
June 11, 2021

In reply to by FishingMo

My offshore oil rig guy is David Scott. Let me know if you’ve been contacted by him. Part of me wants to believe he’s real but the other part says he is scamming me!! I need to know!!!!!!!
Sunshine
March 07, 2021

In reply to by sunshine

Hi. Same here, but was not fooled and never sent money. Does the name Gabriel Morrison sound familiar? This was months ago, and he is probably trying to scam someone else.
Angel
June 14, 2021

In reply to by Sunshine

Gabriel Morrison, sounds like the guy i am chatting with. Widow, orthopedic surgeon, has a son in boarding school? Tell me more please, I have thinking he is a scam for a while now. Thank you ...
Not Stupid
July 04, 2021

In reply to by Angel

Sounds like the bloke I blocked yesterday. Orthopedic surgeon working in Syria has a boy in boarding school even gave me his son’s email address
Marylanderlady
July 24, 2021

In reply to by Not Stupid

OMG! I talked to an orthopedic surgeon stuck in Syria who has a son in boarding school. He tried to hit me up for $4400 to get out of Syria but I blocked and deleted him. Sounds like the same guy. I had to block him on Skype that he liked to chat on.
Candy
September 10, 2021

In reply to by Not Stupid

please what is his name my heart just dropped to my stomacheor a picture
cheryl
March 27, 2021

In reply to by sunshine

Sunshine was this man asking you for $50,000? because if this is the same man? he uses Google Hangouts? I do have a pic of this man if it is Matt Low
Queen
April 11, 2021

In reply to by sunshine

What is this guys first name? I might be talking and texting with the same guy! Only been 6 weeks for me.
Rob373
April 17, 2021

In reply to by sunshine

Could you tell me his name...I also met someone who had beautiful plans and on an Oil Rig...it was all new to me. Single after 40 years it was nice to hear such beautiful words...nearly sucked in though. Put pulled the plug when he wanted money
Mrs. Smith
December 28, 2021

In reply to by Rob373

Same story for me, his name is Richard Raymond, 62, young voice, with a lingering French accent. Canada. He asked for a large sum. I pulled the plug.
Sunfloweron't …
June 24, 2021

In reply to by sunshine

I am texting and speaking on the phone with a man claiming to be an engineer on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. This is going on for 18 months. Claim his wife died and his daughter is 21 years old living in Florida. His name is Anthony Alister. Originaly from Turkey. Send him all my savings.Always have a life threatening crises
dontbeafool
August 30, 2021

In reply to by sunshine

Can you tell me if you are still talking to this person or not? I recently started talking to someone named Michael Hubbard who was in Germany when we met and after a couple days said to pray for him as he was going to for a contract in New Mexico. States he's a oil drill engineer. He has not asked for money but he tells me how much he loves me and wants to marry me and can't imagine his life without me. HMMMM. Do you have pictures of him? he's a very attractive man buti didn't keep any photos of him and deleted our chats as I've watched enough CATFISH to know when I'm being played. lol Just curious to know if it's the same person or not.
Hunter
October 06, 2021

In reply to by dontbeafool

Anyway you can view a picture? This story sounds very similar to one a friend is telling me. I'm sure he's a scammer but she is still caught up with him.
Bella
October 22, 2021

In reply to by Hunter

I just met a man on tinder with a similar story knew something wasn't right about him
Linda gonzalez
January 22, 2022

In reply to by dontbeafool

I also had a network engineer. He never ask for money. He called me on skype and he also has a face book. Says he loves me and he is Europe right now. He left from Las Angela's Friday to go to New York and they excepted his project. He wanted me to go meet him friday before he left but I couldnt because I caught covid. He sounds honest and he called me on skype and I talked to him. What do you think.
Lejah
April 10, 2021

In reply to by Don't uDiannes…

I think i am also being scammed with a name alex patrick does anyone know of this person. I met him on fb
gotscammed
December 22, 2020

In reply to by Concernedgirl

i was scammed by one in the gulf of mexico, he was going by William Cameron
Hopeless
November 20, 2020

In reply to by Dont mind what…

I love your response and wish I’d have known that when I was going through the same situation! I met a guy who got me to fall for him send him dirty pictures and then blackmailed me saying he’d post them to a porn site and let my Facebook friends all see, first wanted Steam and Apple Card’s in the amount of 200 saying he needed them to stay in contact with me I did it to buy time then went to the cops and turned him in continued to let him talk and reported everything he said until he threatened to post the pictures if I didn’t say something in thirty seconds so I responded he tried once again to blackmail me for more another 200 in gift cards I then decided I was done if he was going to do it I was going to deal with it and I blocked him! Nothing has happened I’m free of him !
Emily
January 07, 2021

In reply to by Hopeless

I met a man on fitbit by the name of Terrell Brendan we have been talking for a month. He has to go to Germany to buy cars for his business . And now he is stuck there becsuse they said he didnt have the proper work permit and he told me he had to pay 72,000 in fines to get his cars back and to be able to go back to the states. However he is still short 350 American and has asked me to send it to him using bitcoin. Has anyone else talked to this man or know of him..he says he is from San Francisco but has a very heavy accent. Tells me he loves me and wants to marry me some day...if anyone knows this guy pls reply...thanks
Firecracker
February 28, 2021

In reply to by Emily

Has anyone had someone named Richard Monroe he's working on a rig in Germany... How can I share pictures
WiseWomen
February 09, 2021

In reply to by JennyL

Some ask within weeks, others will wait a couple of months. Some who think you have a lot of money will groom you for six months to convince you that they "love you" before asking for money. Some will test you by asking for $500 or $1,000 but if they suspect you have lots of money they may start with 5k or 10k. Remember, just because you tell the truth doesn't mean they do.
Lana Hassan
June 08, 2021

In reply to by Hopeless

This equally happened to me. I was conned by a certain dude named Mike Cruise Bedlam but I later blocked him and I'm off from him.
Rose
April 27, 2018

In reply to by Lost and confused

Please be aware that a scammer who recently used the name of Scott James Moreau on Facebook and Google hangouts is on several scammer lists on the internet using the same photos. He says his picture was stolen and he is a victim but that’s not true. He does use different names but he is the person in the photos. He speaks highly of his moral character and frequently quotes religious texts. He targets elderly women and soon convinces them he is in love with them and will marry them. He asks for iTunes cars, for smart phones and to create a banking account in the victims names. He encourages the women to discuss private matters about themselves. He speaks with very broken English and said he is from France but doesn’t know French when it is spoken to him.He appears to have been scamming for over five years and is quite practiced in how to get his victims to believe him.
Kathryn
November 22, 2019

In reply to by Rose

I too have been scammed I think by the same guy. Says he is French. Supposedly went to Turkey to work on Government contract. Is owed huge sum of money but they will not pay him until he pays the taxes on it first. This guy is quite good. Uses God as bait to get you to send money to him so he can eat as he has no money! I pray they catch him so he cannot take advantage of anyone else!
Katie
November 26, 2019

In reply to by Kathryn

Yes, says he works overseas. Needs to get money to pay parcel. Needed to get iTunes. Romance, sends. Romantic stuff.
Stop heartbreak
September 17, 2020

In reply to by Katie

When people ask for iTunes cards its a scammer .if he will show himself and said he can't make it where you live its a scammer. Tell you him and his kids mother is not together but you he a lady in the background he say it his house keeper it might be his girlfriend or wife. Its a scam he can never facetime you he is a scammer
Susan
November 27, 2019

In reply to by Kathryn

Kathryn I believe this is the same guy who has been communicating with me. He is on a project in Turkey and an engineer. Short money to get home. As soon as he get the remaining 10,000 he will come back to the states. Wants to marry me. Asked for money to get bitcoin, then asked if I could open new account because his bank is frozen because hacked, then asked if I could wire some money to help with the 10,000 owed so he can finally come home and marry me. Said he has a son and mom dying. He said he could not webcam or Skype because he could not from Turkey. Cancelled flying to see me 3 times because of this project and the money he has to come up with. The photo looks young but his voice sounds like an older man in his 60's. Says he is French but sounds like he is Mexican.
Lost and out $
February 06, 2020

In reply to by Susan

I met a man he says he is 54 engineer for Ships has a son is widowed. he was in Germany wanted $$ , then in Mexico got caught smuggling drugs lmao and is still talking to me from google hangouts. Always asks for the money in bitcoin! I have given this man so much money very good looking man with grey hair brown eyes. No more how do I report this man?!
Jackie
May 29, 2020

In reply to by Lost and out $

Yes I have been conned by a gentleman stating he is on oil rig , wants to marry me, wife and son in car crash and killed has a 12 year old daughter elizabeth but cannot leave as bank account frozen, wants me to pay to get him off the oil rig....calls himself Dr Chris Evans...real name José carlos
Little Johnny
June 13, 2020

In reply to by Jackie

I found a woman named Shelley no last name tried to search her online by her cell phone number she lives in New York but has a California cell number she did ask for my address said she wanted to send me a ring I told her I wanted nothing from her she does know my birth date also and I told her I wanted nothing to be sent to me and so far so good but the other night she said she was sick and needed rest and I haven't heard from her since she said she had a friend taking care of her I just find it different she says she lives me and wants to be with me but I can't get her to talk to me on the phone but she says she wants to hear my voice I just find the whole thing strange I know she could forward my mail as she knows the address but there is nothing that comes to my mail box such as bank statements and I just paid my only credit card bill that is paid off every month I just find this strange. I did report her on the dating site as a scammer but if she isn't a scammer then she doesn't need to go on the site anymore anyway if she has really found me.
chocorottkennel
June 25, 2020

In reply to by Little Johnny

He is a scammer. Some of them won’t want to do voice cos or video call cos they are not real.
rj042565
July 15, 2020

In reply to by chocorottkennel

But some scammers also make video calls and are not real. I am not a scammer and mostly have not made any video calls. I think it is important that none of the partners ask for money, that is a good prerequisite for a relationship
Vanny
December 22, 2020

In reply to by chocorottkennel

I matched with someone name Johnson on Tinder. A Spanish and Indian mix he said. He had a video called. He asked me gave him a gift for his birthday. A gold chain with our names. Anyway, I can't afford it. He got angry then blocked my number.
Helen
June 15, 2020

In reply to by Jackie

Hi, how did you get his real name? I have the same scenario, he’s working in thr North Sea oil rigs and his crane is broken down. Calls himself Mack Jarden.