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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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August 21, 2018

In reply to by candy

How can we do an image search? I believe I’ve been contacted by fake person to asking for iTunes gift cards to pay for Internet data to be able to chat ..
Don't Dixie 60…
September 07, 2018

In reply to by fiona

Hi I had a a man trying to contact me claimed to be a private doctor in Kabul wanted me to send iTunes card to the value of £100 . Is name was Jackson Murphy I did not send it . After two weeks he said he loved me was going to come over to U.K. so be ware of this man
Leslie Smith's mom
December 09, 2018

In reply to by fiona

Your story sounds like mine to he wanted a card so he can call me from Isis but I made the mistake of giving him my number and he has a Google account number I hope I'm not being scam now I blocked him from Facebook and I put him on hold on the phone number he gave me from Google. He says he's scared over there but he is a doctor and won't let him leave till he pays his debt from his wife dying and bills
December 09, 2018

In reply to by Kelly

I believe you are talking about a scammer named MD Alexander Wealth says he lives in Houston Texas and is a contractor for Halliburton?! Got mad because I would not send him $200.00 on a iTunes Gift Card
Bigeyes 6086
November 02, 2020

In reply to by Kelly

Same guy he says he cannot find a place in Syria to get a iTunes card so he could talk to me or chat with me. I asked to see his face when the problem started I said just go on FaceTime and we can see each other he kept saying he couldn’t do that without an iTunes card that’s why he wanted me to go to Walmart to buy one.
concerned brother
September 28, 2018

In reply to by candy

my sister met this guy on facebook going by the name brian kelly frederick. he poses as a milititary guy and she let me speak to him told her he was german but he was muslim . he told her he was 63 and getting out of airforce in a couple of weeks . i know she lied about not giving him money. first of all 55 is the age limit . has any woman talked on facebook with this scammer.
afghanistan surgeon
January 04, 2019

In reply to by concerned brother

same..U.S. military working as a surgeon in Afghanistan except went by Frank Kelly..62 years old says he's from Norway..wants to get married..has a 14 year old son in boarding school..polite, never inappropriate..asked me to join Hangouts and then his FB profile disappeared marked spam and abusive..
December 07, 2018

In reply to by candy

I have met someone who approached me on Instagram ask me for talk on hangout and then on Vibe and I do have a picture of this guy cause he again tried to talk to me can we share those pictures ? This guy called Jackson and nick name stonecold from US Navy.
December 23, 2018

In reply to by Simone

Jackson have a picture of him and his friend Brian Scott Wilson in a bird on facebook public?
March 20, 2020

In reply to by Simone

Hello im searching a guy hes mexican working in L.a california oil rig engr. He ask me to chat in hangouts then we do vediocall hes really the guy i know from instagram name is Jackson rodriquez can you reply my comment if u know also this guy
May 24, 2018

In reply to by Don't use your…

Can I see a pic of him I swear he sounds like mine but he goes by the name of Phil
July 10, 2018

In reply to by me

I’ve been chatting with a guy that goes by the name of Philip Greg. I have pictures. Also asked me to download hangouts to chat. Says he’s from Berkshire, NY but works in the oil industry and is a civil engineer.
July 19, 2018

In reply to by AprilH25

I am talking to the female name Juliet fry she told me that she is working in U.S army on peacekeeping in Afghanistan i am emotionally attached to her but she is also asked me to chat on hangout... i am sad what i should do now.
December 29, 2019

In reply to by rizwan_shoukat0

I’m going through the same, I’ve had doubts but she’s got me falling in love, goes by the name, Faith Duncan, sent a picture with that name on her uniform but some things don’t add up
September 13, 2018

In reply to by AprilH25

Did he tell you a country he is in working as a civil engineer?
October 22, 2018

In reply to by MyMomsBeenBurned

Civil engineers 2 From Syria United Nations House in new York and Canada at 2 different occasions Asking to get married soon and insisting on falling in love before that through messages A few days after talking their profiles disappear on matrimonial sites
December 03, 2018

In reply to by MyMomsBeenBurned

I am worry about the same. This handsome guy follows me on instagram. I totally in love now. But he don't want to call me. Just texting. He said he is a civil engineer. His family die in a car accident he said. How can i scan his photo ti find out if is a fake profile? Thank you
February 23, 2019

In reply to by Macha69

Don't fall for it - I had a similar man who would only text - no calls. He turned out to be a black man in Ghana, hiding behind a white military man, so that is why he did not want a video call. He was not who he portrayed. He, too, had a son in boarding school & family died in accident. I caught him red-handed. Now he confessed & he is trying to get back in my good graces. Dont fall for it! That is a other ploy to scam you or get you involved.
September 21, 2018

In reply to by AprilH25

My mom is talking to a guy that sounds the same except his name is Jeffery Ascult. I'm not sure the last name is correct. I got his picture from her. He looks younger than me & my mom is 69.
September 23, 2018

In reply to by AprilH25

That sounds so much like Mark Egbert. Can we exchange pictures? How can I send you pictures ?
October 27, 2018

In reply to by AprilH25

Y scammer is Stephen Murphy. Asked me to download hangouts and is now asking me to buy him iTunes cards because he can’t access his account on the oil rig he’s on
November 01, 2018

In reply to by Kristina

Sounds a lot like my guy. Stephan Davis on a rig for Shell. Needs me to send so called Shell $1500 to have him transported home. I have pictures as well.
March 26, 2019

In reply to by Bree8

please send photos. I have something similar. She also works for Shell. Thank you Pavlina
Cold out there
November 29, 2018

In reply to by Kristina

My scammers name is carlos Williams, said he was in the United States army. Started out on Facebook and soon asked me to go to hang out to talk. Unfortunately I have sent him a lot of money and iTunes cards. He also had me picking up money at money gram from a lot of other women. He was supposably in Syria and helping new recruits out by having their girls or mother send me the money to wire transfer to them. In Nigeria. Because Syria didn't have a place to pick it up. The military base in Nigeria would send it to him. Have many pictures of him. Said he is in Aleppo Syria.
October 30, 2020

In reply to by Cold out there

Omg I believe it happened to me as well Via google hangouts sean hernandez713
December 30, 2018

In reply to by Kristina

I have a similar story. Scammer's name is Benjamin. What does Stephen Murphy look like? Brown hair and beard?
March 23, 2019

In reply to by Kristina

He has tried the same with me. Professed his love then got angry when I said no
December 07, 2018

In reply to by AprilH25

I think this guy whats talking to April could me the same person I was talking from Virginia and placed on an Island on Duty and need an ITunes card from Amazon to his nanny.
January 11, 2019

In reply to by Jen

I Met one name is Nick Anderson he said he is a military soldier deployed to Ukraine but he is from California told me his ex girlfriend cheated on him and got pregnant by another guy when he wad going to married her he is using a navy veterans picture to scam women into thinking he love them and he send me a picture of a guy he said its his bestfren but its a lie the guy is married to the person he is impersonating
shoshoDon't us…
December 16, 2018

In reply to by AprilH25

i have been chatting with this guy he said his name is mike philip morgan 41years,never been married, father died and mother lives in london. he said he's us marine stationed in poland coming to cote d'vore for one month contract, also he wants to come to visit me in kenya. he said he bought things for me and will send me while in cote d'vore.He hasn't asked for money yet.He said he wants to marry me. is this a scam?
January 12, 2019

In reply to by shoshoDon't us…

Ask him to do a video call with you (assuming he calls). He will probably give you excuses. Another trick I just learned is to ask him to write your name in the palm if his hand, take a selfie and send it to a keepsake. Probably more excuses. He can go to Kenya on vacation, but not because he wants to marry you.
March 22, 2019

In reply to by Tami49

So I have a situation. A lot of this sounds true of my situation but the soldier did take a pic with a piece of paper with my name and hearts on it “I’m confused” everything I asked him to do he has and sent a picture. But the other stuff family dying, etc is true. Haven’t sent a dime and won’t!! But still really confused!!
shoshoDon't us…
December 16, 2018

In reply to by AprilH25

i have been chatting with this guy he said his name is mike philip morgan 41years never been married, father died and mother lives in london. he said he's us marine stationed in poland coming to cote d'vore for one month contract, also he wants to come to visit me in kenya. he said he bought things for me and will send me while in cote d'vore.He hasn't asked for money yet.He said he wants to marry me. is this a scam?
February 16, 2019

In reply to by AprilH25

Do you still have the picture of the guy that scammed you I want to see if is same guy I am chatting with
Zounds Familiar
April 26, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

I'm texting with calls me his Queen and goes out to patro He says his phone can't take pics because his on a secret mission I dual by mistake and he texted 3 days later that THEY had cut his network due to security He sent me a package that now has fees of thousands and does have enough I asked him if that was the find print. He send me a pic of the notice and word where missed spelled So I decide to tell him I had money because I received my tax return and he responded Oh you want to help me my love He sent me account and to deposit only cash I didn't He says he is military That alone is the worst I have pics is simliar stories
Don't use your…
April 17, 2018

In reply to by paevere

Dear paevere! Your story sounds identical to mine! He is a sergeant in the US army and stationed in Syria. He first asked me to send him I tune cards for his children living with their OLD aunt and FAT LAZY UNCLE because their mother had an affair and went back to Italy. He said he was having difficulty accessing his money. I DON'T THINK SO! He also had very broken English and said the same things day after day that He was SO in love with me and I was his QUEEN! He even said he went out on patrol. I called him on it one day and he didnt talk to me for a vouple of days, then he was back sayimg how much he missed me and my silence was killing him!!!He has spent 18 years in the military! It really really angers me that they pretend to be in the U.S. military and portray themselves as the men who are protecting us...putting their life on the line for our freedom!!!! Next he wanted my user name and password to my cell phone account so he could order a new iPhone and iPad so he could order it EASIER with my information! A. N.O.! He again tried to throw me a big guilt trip about not really loving and trusting him!!! I told him I didn't trust anyone I had NEVER met and spent time with! Boy did he ever use harsh words with ME! I just laughed because 2 can play his little game! He was on INSTAGRAM AS SERGEANT REGNALD MAY out if the Battalion Brigade of Tennessee. Be careful ladies his picture is of an attractive military man with his photoshopped pictures of him in his army attire carrying a large assault rifle!
May 06, 2018

In reply to by paevere

My scanner sounds just like yours! He sent a facebook friend request and I accepted. Said he was an oil rig engineer and there was a fire and could I send him $300 in iTune cards. Said his wife was dead and had a daughter Alandre in boarding school. After a week he "loved me" called me babe. This guy went by the name of Antonio Giovanni from Italy and now living in Delaware. Said his wallet fell into the sea and lost his credit card. (lol) said he needed $3500 to buy a drill so he could finish his contract. He was very convincing at first but I am no longer naive. I didn't send it and he blew up saying I had broken his heart and he went away mad. Accused me of not trusting him. Wanted me once to send his daughter a birthday gift. This all happened over a period of about 5 weeks. He was a looker and sexy as could be. Sweet and he also sent me a description of a "dream" he had that would be the envy of a writer for dirty paperbacks. Ladies, beware of these scanners. I lost about $900 to this crook. What a shame that people CA.n do these things!
May 09, 2018

In reply to by Tangosmom

Oh my god, I think I am being scammed, I read Tangosmoms blog on here, same desctiption as my guy. Oil Rigger, told me he had so much preparation that he got got to load his phone with minutes, asked me to send mon y cards iTunes also or from amazon, so sweet, said he loved me, text me everyday and night, said he is Frenvh, talked to him on the phone and he is french, but also told me he had investors that send their money to nigeria, which is where he is at now for 3 months, supposedly, wife died of heart disease 4 yrs ago and has a son in boarding school. He sent a pic from the airport, same pic he first sent, I wanted so much to believe him, I fell in love with him, but it is too similar to everyone's stories on here, oh god, I am sick to my stomach, he is so sweet and kind, I am going to try and do a background check. This guys name is James Markson, if anyone knows of him please send me a message back on here. Thanks, this is unbelievable.said he loved in Baltimore maryland, with a 10yr old son in a boarding school and has 1 sister.
May 13, 2018

In reply to by MomD313

Hi MomD313. The same story and name. He is James Markson from Houston Texas. He told me he is 54 and his birthday is on Sept 24. He first was in Syria and th3n to Kabul Afghanistan. He told me to have a 14 yrs old son and he was exactly as you said onboarding school in Nigeria. He fiest asked me money cause his son lost his credit card. And I badly sent him almost 200 euro through western union to a lady in Spain. ANNE WITT was her name. He told me that he had a lot of money but due to conduct zone his bank account was locked and he could it use his money from there. As you told he was texting me day and night. He told me he loves me too much I was his darling wife a s his queen. He told me his wife passed away 3 yrs ago for cancer. The second time when he asked no at it was his son always on Nigeria lost his mobile and he asked me to send money for buying an iPhone X. I told him I could afford that expense so he asked me to send whatever I could send him. Always through same woman in Spain. After that his son had a car crash and he was brought to st. Mary hospital in Lagos Nigeria. He was in coma and the doctor was asking 850 euro for blood transfusion. I didn't send this money since I had no more. He told me he could fix this expense with a contact he could find. He never told me who he was. At very end he asked me to help for paying the rest of hospital bill of 500 euros. A d that was the last money I sent him always through western union but not anymore to Anne Witt but to Belgium to his son teacher. Then when he asked me to pay his document retirement of 1850 usd it was when I told him I didn't have anywhere else to look for money. Up to him he had his compensation fund of 700,000 usd and he asked his bank to transfer that money to my account but I first had to pay the 1850 usd. I refused to use a western union name this time and asked for a real bank account. When I definitely told me I found nobody borrowing me that money he just deseappear and said no more. No what app no hangouts no Skype no Instagram Vanished.
Almost fell for it
June 23, 2018

In reply to by TLL2007

He used james lee. He dropped his phone in the water. He needed money to pay the fee to shell corp for emergency leave to come home to be with me.
October 10, 2018

In reply to by Almost fell for it

I also have been chatting with a James Lee says he is a doctor with US army and is Syria and will be home soon is retiring..widow no one month has tried 4 times for me to send money and professes his forever love for me
November 21, 2018

In reply to by Dmeri2018

Does anyone know of a Adrian morlanne? He goes my the name Adrian Marino??
July 31, 2019

In reply to by Primabella

Adrian Rodriguez AKA Adrian Morlanne, complete scammer. Uses women, for money, plays the devoted father and the victim.
December 30, 2018

In reply to by Dmeri2018

I think I’ve been chatting with the same guy. His name is Ryan James an orthopedic surgeon assigned in Kabul. He is ready for retirement and wanted to build his Medical Center. Widower with 11 years old daughter schooled in England. He wanted me to his beneficiary of the goods the President of Afghanistan given to him as gift. And yes professed his love In just a week, we met form worlds with friends. I went along with him but I knew already he is a scam. Let us see if he still wants to corresponds after I said no to his request.