Skip to main content

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.

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

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.

February 12, 2019

In reply to by glenda

Hi I am chatting to a guy with the same situation as your sister. What is the name of the guy?
Blue eyes
June 14, 2018

In reply to by Caught ya

Your story is alot like mine. He says he is a orthopaedic surgeon also going by the name Dr. Theodore Miguel He says he is in Syria, that he was sent there with a group of other medical people. He says he has a 14 yr old son in boarding school. Wants me to send a replacement letter so he can come back to the states.
December 29, 2018

In reply to by Blue eyes

The story sounds familiar been chatting with Doc Williams, orthopedic surgeon stationed in Demascas. Has 17 year old daughters attending boarding school in Dubai. Divorced, three years. Claiming to be wealthy. English not bad, but sometimes not very good for Doctor. I looked him up, follows 100’s of other women. Also goes by Willy Williams, doc willams. Professed his undying love within a few days, tried to isolate me on Hangouts. Got nasty when I wouldn’t connect to hangouts, called me diseased, selfish and a host of other names...made me feel like I was the one to blame. A real player... scum bag loser
October 12, 2018

In reply to by Caught ya

I wonder if it is the same guy chatting with me in Hangouts. He also said he was an Orthopedic Surgeon in Yemen. He has white hair and he is from Spain. I wish we can compare pictures.
January 03, 2019

In reply to by Laura

I need some help please. I have lost a great deal of money and am being harassed by a person who swears that he is Stephen Murphy. While I know this isn’t true, this person will not leave me alone.
January 19, 2019

In reply to by Laura

I'm talking to a guy named William arvid oscar. Said orthopedic surgeon also in Israel at military site. White bearded gentleman sometimes shone with a blonde dog in pics. Maybe similar to most about 51 says widowed one son in boarding school. He also has tattoes and an earing. Quick so say how enamoured he is with me.
March 10, 2019

In reply to by Pia

On his picture, is he laying down hugging a dog? He is white bearded, 51 yrs old with a tattoo on his arm and earring. Said dog name is Bruno and he is a orthopedic surgeon working for the United nations. This is what he wrote to me "Cool am an orthopedic surgeon doctor presently working for the United Nations in a camp here in Eilat Israel"
March 21, 2019

In reply to by Yaya

I believe the real man is OP Dr Kerem Bikmaz, He is a real Dr in Turkey and has a verified instagram account. look him up and see. I had a man reach out with his pictures trying to talk to me, saying he was from Cypress working on an oil rig, with a child in the UK with a nanny as his wife and other daughter were killed in a car accident.
September 27, 2020

In reply to by CAH2019

I am talking with someone by another name, when I asked who Dr Kerem was! He admitted it and apologized. Do I continue to believe
February 26, 2019

In reply to by Laura

Oh my God! Laura, the man you described is the same as the one who is talking to me via Hangout, white hair and he said he was an Orthopedic Surgeon in Yemen under UN. He has a 12 -year -old son. Oh my God! Could you please share me his pictures?
March 03, 2019

In reply to by Lala

I also was contacted by someone saying he was an orthopedic surgeon in Sana’a Yemen. He is a widower of 5 yrs and his son was also killed in the car accident. He has a 15 yr old daughter that goes to boarding school in Lakeland Fl. He had 15 more months left on his UN contract and had asked me to send him $2000.00 so he can get out of his contract early. He sends me love poems every morning, professes his love for me etc. His name is Richard. The pictures he sent me are not him I was finally able to find that out. Of course he swears that that person stole his identity. We contact each other on Hangouts. Met on Instagram where he contacted me. I have not sent him any money, and don’t intend to no matter how sweet he tries to sound. Reading this site makes me want to put the screws to him but can’t figure out a way. No matter how good they make you feel ladies don’t send them anything. If you can’t play the game block them. If you do continue with them just tell yourself it’s a scam so you do get pulled in no matter what . Sounds like some of you may have been in contact with the same guy in Yemen. Don’t send anything.
In Alberta
March 12, 2019

In reply to by Scarlet

Mayer Wilson on Instagram - supposedly, wife died in plane crash 5 years ago, and son is in boarding school in Bristol. Wants my bank information so he can deposit a large amount of money and move here with his son and invest in a clinic :/
September 11, 2019

In reply to by Lala

Sounds so familiar. What is so sad is how these men can say someone died. That is so sad. Run never give out your phone number never never give out your address
Mama jo
March 31, 2019

In reply to by Laura

I think I've been chatting to this guy. Is he called Alex?
October 14, 2019

In reply to by Laura

I was chatting with a Dalen Van on hangouts. A vascular surgeon he said, stationed in Yemen. I am no longer chatting. Professed deep love in less than a month. Ask 4 different ways for money. Each time I told him no.
October 24, 2018

In reply to by Caught ya

I also have been chatting with this Mr. Bliss. He also goes by John and Johnson Bliss and Robert Bliss Perez. He has a bunch of Facebook accounts but the Johnson Bliss has the same picture but all his friends live in Nigeria and the pic is a guy as white as snow. Im stringing him along but will not send the money for the "package" he is sending me which supposedly has a gold bar in it worth 500 thousand dollars...Good luck Mr. Bliss lol
August 20, 2020

In reply to by Acidpink

Can you tell me more about this Mr.Bliss. Does he go by James Robert Bliss? Says he's in the military base, parents past away, kids in boarding school and says hes sending a package then says there is important papers in the package and money in it. But he doesnt have money to pay the fees for sending the package. If so please tell me more information i think my friend is being scammed but she wont believe me.
Jjjon't use yo…
February 18, 2019

In reply to by Caught ya

Just heard from an orthopedic surgeon in Yemen named Alex whose daughter is 12 and lived in Fla.
Mama jo
March 25, 2019

In reply to by Jjjon't use yo…

I think I've been talking to the same guy What does he look like?
July 14, 2020

In reply to by Caught ya

So he/she is at it again. "CHARLES WALKER, orthopedic surgeon in Yemen"friended me on FB yesterday, and I saw that he was friends with someone I knew so I accepted. But he had little info and only one friend, mine. I looked at his FB page and I could see a teenager, apparently his son who he said was 15. We chatted last night and a this afternoon. His chats were obviously headed to romance, and he said he unfriended my friend because he wanted to be exclusive with me. I told him that made no sense because the whole point of FB is to have multiple friends. He changed the subject, so I went looking for him on google and that's how I came upon this page. I went back to chat and told him I believed he was a scammer and then unfriended and blocked him. No need because when I looked for his FB page, many other Charles Walker's showed up, but not his. Glad I only waisted 2 days.
October 13, 2020

In reply to by done

"Charles Walker" just hit me up!! Jerk....I knew it was a scam. Went from casual chatting to asking about my relationship status. Be careful out there folks and ALWAYS do your research.
April 18, 2018

In reply to by Hilary

Hilary, did he have an orange ball cap and was there a second picture with Christmas lights and him holding a baby? Really goodlooking guy? He's currently trying to get $400 in iTunes cards out of me. I wish I could attach his picture to this email so you could verify.
February 03, 2019

In reply to by Roy007

I do have photos could send for verification ... please tell me how it can be accomplished.
January 23, 2019

In reply to by glpblues

Sounds like a man whose trying to do the same to me Been chatting to him possibly just after me on Instagram Says he wants out of the navy and he’s just sold his shares in gold cos they were fleesing him, he’s going to send it to me and then he wants to buy us somewhere to live together. Kedi Walker Bliss is the name he goes by same pic as Jonathon Bliss on fb
May 19, 2018

In reply to by Hilary

Sounds like the same guy said he's a surgeon in the United nations wanted an iTunes card he went by Maynard adalbert
Maria Sky
September 06, 2018

In reply to by Hilary

Hi, I’m also want to confirm this guy that I’ve been chatting with for 3 weeks now. I’ve met him on tinder actually in his profile he doesn’t have a photo wearing a uniform all 5 photos were normal pictures. But in his short description he said that he’s a navy not looking for a hooks ups. That’s why I swiped right without thinking he would swiped right for me as well. When we matched he didn’t actually message me first. I’m the one who started the conversation asking him whats the color of his eyes. Then after 2 days he replied a very long message saying sorry to me that he replied so late because he can’t use his phone a lot because of restrictions at his work. he said if I still want to talk to him I can send him an email (which is a gmail account) so he gave me his email add and his number though I didn’t get his number only his email. I sent him an email telling that I'm the lady he met on tinder. In these 3 weeks we can’t communicate daily since from monday to wednesday he’s not allowed to send messages because he said his comrades are there and they were not allowed to use systems. He said he’s 29 years old working as an army staff sometimes in survaillance sometimes in IT. And from thursday till sunday he can send me long emails, long because he only send 1 email per day. He gave me his skype using his gmail I saw it with a different photo but the same face, though we haven’t use it yet. He always sends me his pics on his uniform with his last name printed on the right side. He said he doesn’t use any social media because of restriction they are not allowed to have any. Though I’ve searched his name, email, even those photos he send to me thinking he might just grab it (using google image and other image searching tool I found online I’ve search his photos) after many tries I have'nt found any information of him or relating photos. I can’t locate any social media aside from his skype which has the same email as what he was using now. I even used linked in but I found nothing. Actually he’s a very nice guy and he’s very articulate. He also telling me sweet words in which how happy he was whenever he received an email from me. Though he doesn’t talk much about his job I just cant help it but be worried if he’s lying to me or not. I don’t want to fooled as much as possible do you think he’s actually telling the truth?
September 13, 2018

In reply to by Maria Sky

Don't send him any money! If he asks for it then cut it off.
Me too
November 06, 2018

In reply to by Hilary

I think this is the same clown asking me to pay for his "container?" Now he wants over $1250.00 + Of course I will do nothing. But I feel he is the same scammer. With the same story, only had a son rather than daughter. Scammed me for ITunes cards I am ashamed to admit...
November 24, 2018

In reply to by Hilary

I got a message from an orthopedic surgeon in Syria working for the UN, too. His name was different. He got mad when I told him I had no money to send for him to come to the States. I told him that he was the "doctor" an I was just an old retail worker. I had read a few comments about Hangout scams so I was leary from the beginning...especially when his Facebook account disappeared right after he asked me to go to Hangouts. Glad I had learned about it all before I got taken.
December 07, 2018

In reply to by Nancy

DONALD E WATERS ON HANGOUTS & TINDER In September I met a guy on Tinder as I was deleting my profile. He’s 39-40, 6’0 tall, nice build, dark hair, and eyes; extremely handsome and said he was a Libra. Nationality was half German and Spanish. Spoke with an accent. He told me he was an Orthopedic Dr working in Pediatrics from CA and lived in Northern Eureka. Says he was in Madison County GA working with his colleagues and eventually moving to GA. Few days later him and his colleagues flew back to CA. He sent me a lot of photos and would call mostly in the mornings before going to work. Two weeks later he started with questions: Are you in love? Would you marry me? What is the craziest thing you did for love? He says he was married for 5 years and divorced because his wife cheated on him; had no kids. Fast forward to October he and his colleagues worked for UNICEF and supposedly sent to Syria. Things were ok until he started asking for STEAM, iTunes, Sephora, and Amazon cards. He claims that he had a replacement and the cards were for the replacement’s kids, which made no sense. He claims he paid for the replacement’s plane ticket and the replacement wanted $300 in cards before he could leave. Then, I asked him for real-time photos and he would send me pics that had been previously taken. He kept telling me he had sunburns and didn’t want to take a photo until it cleared up. Finally, he sends a photo weeks later, then I recently got another one of him at a Charity function, but he changed the background to make it look more lavish. Now its November… I asked him when he planned on coming and he said he needed $440 for his flight to leave. I said give me your information and I’ll book the ticket. He says I don’t think its secure to do that or made up some bs. Every time I tried to get information out of him he either had an excuse or ignored my questions. Then he kept telling me in 2 weeks he could leave. That 2 weeks turned into another month. Now its December and I put my foot in his rear end. I told him I had enough of the bs and didn’t believe anything he said. So he turns it around and said I hurt his feelings and he was so emotional. We would talk on Hangouts when it was convenient for him. As the communication started to dwindle I told him he needed to fix it. We could never video chat because he didn’t have privacy. I called bs again. He got mad and said I talked to him like an angel, but come at him like a devil. He called this morning and didn’t want to listen to anything I had to say. Said I needed to listen to him. I told him I wasn’t listening to crap he had to say and hung up. Another thing I noticed in one of his photos was the name that I could partially see on his medical coat was different than the name he was using on Hangouts & Gmail. Plus his accent was too thick. He finally said that he couldn’t build his life around me and I was too short tempered. Then he says he gave some of his clothes to the people in Syria so he didn’t have many clothes. Then tells me he’s working for the government with war victims. 4 months of bs and my time being wasted seems to be the norm with guys on these dating sites. Also, he had a 209 area code and said he drove a 300C Mercedes. He goes by the name of Donald E Waters. If you come across this person beware because he is more than likely catfishing. This group of Orthopedics in Syria working for the UN, UNICEF, or whoever needs to be shutdown. Meeting people in real life is hard enough, then to deal with this crap is even more frustrating.
Love hurts
April 24, 2019

In reply to by Nancy

What about a man who a surgan in Syria he has a 15 years old son and is handsome
Don't use your…
April 02, 2020

In reply to by Nancy

Hello Nancy, I was wondering if you could sent me this man's picture I feel like I have come across with him.. please respond to my request thank you
November 26, 2018

In reply to by Hilary

Do you have a picture of him? I was approached by a Graham Kingsley. He said he was an orthopedic surgeon working for ghe UN in Syria, too. He has a beard and said he was 47. His children were with tbeir grandmother.
January 29, 2019

In reply to by Hilary

Hillary I believe this same guy is using the name Ruben Mendoza. He contacted me on EH. Orthopedic surgeon widow 3 young children and also said he does work with the United Nations.
February 13, 2019

In reply to by Hilary

Hilary; I had the same man contact me, but he went by a different name. He said he was an orthopedic surgeon, (his picture sounds just like the one he posted and sent to me.) He lived in Houston, but worked for the United Nations in Syria. He told me he was originally from Scotland. He was a widower of 5 years had a son that was in boarding school in Florida, his son was 12. He said he has been there for the past 5 years. I asked him why he sent his son off to boarding school after his mom died and why he took an assignment in Syria. He would never answer my question. I asked him many questions about the orthopedic field (since I am in that field also) he could not or should I say avoided the question. I found another picture of him on the same website and questioned him about it and he denied it was him. I called it off before he asked me for money. He never tried to contact me again. I think he knew I was onto him. Now I have someone that says they are from the area where I live even named the neighborhood and we have not met and he had to fly to NYC on business and then his friend died and he is out of money. He says he is in imports of coco beans and his agent died and he had to fly to Ghana to bury him and check on his investments. The agent didn't have any family or friends. (RED FLAG) but I gave him the benefit of the doubt. He asked me to send him $5000. cause he ran out of money and that they don't take travelers checks over there. (BIG RED FLAG). I told him I didn't have that kind of money then he asked for $1000. and still didn't have it. Now it's down to $200. I told him to pay with a credit card and he said he only pays things with cash. I challenged him on that and he got very offended. I don't know of any business man that pays in cash only. I have been leery of this for the past 2 weeks and after reading this the RED FLAGS are everywhere. I am now going to block his number from my phone. Thank God my eyes were open after reading all these stories. I feel so stupid for falling for such a JERK, because I know better.
June 12, 2019

In reply to by Hilary

I just recently have an instagram account & a picture of a man in surgical scrubs n cap says he is from CA and is an Orthopedic Surgeon. working in Libya to help soldiers who lost his wife 6 years ago and has son named Brian, 14 years old in boarding school and sent me pics of him in a sportscar then golf course taken 1 day ago? I ask him why he wants a $100 iTunes card the 2nd day talking to him. He says for research. His parants and older brother died in a plane crash. My heart broke. John Henry Williams with the same dark silver hair w/ trimmed beard. I googled about iTunes card and read your story! I told him yesterday That I'd send him $50 on his birthday June 15th. Ive read alot of stories about him changing his name & childs. All in boarding school, 1 child, no family, Orthopedic Surgeon working out of the states. This guy needs to be locked up!!
June 14, 2019

In reply to by Cindy

Told me SAME exact story!! Pictures, son, parents, iTunes card for his birthday, never ending love. Have had doubts about him from beginning. Finally starting doing my own research and came across your post. He needs to caught and put away!
June 30, 2019

In reply to by Lisa

I do have a pic or go on Instagram and just type in john_henry554 and Bam , Thats one of his fake pics! Also another guy stating he works out on The Rigs and misses his son who also is in boarding school. He tried to get me to talk through e-mails or more private places so we can get to know one another better , then His story really got me upset! Asking for Giftcards when his son looks maybe mentally challenged. ( Very little )but either way he talked to me like "We want to talk to you more". This guy on instagram type in charle8102 & he is holding his 7 yr. Old red head boy. Now look there is no "i" in that charle. Ladies if they talk & aren't hesitant to bring up Love very quickly you are most likely wasting your time. Dont fall for guys that want or need Your hard earned money!
September 17, 2019

In reply to by Cindy

The same guy reached out to me, said he's name is john, medical doctor, born and raised in San Francisco currently in Libya working as the Head Doctor in the UN Military Base. Said he’s only family was his 14 y/o son Brian, lost his wife to cancer, etc. We chatted just for a few minutes and had a feeling he was a scammer and decided to google he’s name and came across your post. This confirms my suspicions! Thanks for the info!
June 16, 2019

In reply to by Hilary

Do you have a picture of him. Because I might be in the same situation
June 30, 2019

In reply to by Hilary

He contacted me and then my friend. Same exact story, different name! Travis Miller! We didn't fall for it. Blocked him!
October 11, 2019

In reply to by Caymoo

Could you please send me a picture of this Travis Miller He said he is an orthopedic surgeon and is in Ahhafgastand for 8 months has a 12 yr old in boarding school and when school is out or on holidays stays with best friends family his wife died 5 yrs ago he has sliver hair Hasn’t asked for any money But just want to make sure he isn’t a scammer
July 04, 2019

In reply to by Hilary

I have a guy I think may be doing about the same his name is Jefferson Hudson he says his age is 55 a trauma doctor in Syria and is son is in boarding school in new york. He asks only for Google play cards of 50 or 100 but he said erly on his son is stranded and needs 1000 cash cards sir school payment till he comes home but does not have a return home date as of yet says he wishes to have a family with me and my kids but I'm not sure he is true
November 21, 2019

In reply to by Hilary

I also am talking with an orthopedist in Syria. His wife died of cancer. Has a son in UK in boarding school. He wants me to receive a box delivered to me by this foreign security company. His friend is putting the delivery fee on a debit card. I'm not paying him anything. Is it illegal to hold this sealed box for him to pick up?
March 28, 2020

In reply to by Susan

I have a similar situation being asked to hold a parcel for someone but not asked for any money. Am I doing anything illegal by receiving this and will I get charged with any delivery fee?
February 28, 2020

In reply to by Hilary

Too close to my experience: name Jamee David Thacker. From Albania, but optometrist living in MN, widowed, both parents died, working for UN in Turkey, 13 year old son in boarding school in NY..asking me for $2000 in cash because MC got lost because “he couldn’t stop thinking about me” and needs to buy medical equipment for his patients. Even had some 2nd friend “Mark” vouch for his character! He contacted me on LinkedIn. Asked to go offsite. I tried tracing numbers, reverse image search,...nothing. Very “religious”...telling me I needed to have absolute faith in him. Poor and inconsistent English and when we tried to Skype he “couldn’t get camera to work”. Be careful ladies.
April 19, 2020

In reply to by Hilary

Yes. His the one. His name is also Gerhard Kim. He is on Instagram (gerhard12e). Check it.
May 25, 2020

In reply to by Hilary

I think he’s still at it. Mine was also an “orthopedic surgeon” working for the United Nations in Syria. His name is George Hoffmann, widowed, with a 15 yr. old daughter in boarding school in the U.K. Said he’s 52 and has a goatee beard. Sound familiar? I think i’ll Play along awhile to see how far he goes. Then, BYE,BYE!