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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

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.

November 06, 2020

In reply to by David Mosley d…

David Mosley is alive and well. He claimed to be a drilling engineer. The wife dies of cancer and 16 years old in boarding school. He had been talking to me for 5 months before he hit me up for a loan to fix a drill. I couldn't understand how a company would be on an oil rig without insurance to cover damages for an explosion. Besides, how does he not have an accountant to transfer and manage his money. This low life pretends to be a Christian. Great writer so beware. Fortunately, I did not take out the loan he desired to "help" him. He still texted me a couple of weeks when I said no. So it did leave me baffled why he would persist in calling me and reaching out to me. He even has a website for his company. His profile pictures never showed up on image reverse.
June 15, 2021

In reply to by EZ

What is David’s co name? Where does he say he’s from?
July 29, 2021

In reply to by EZ

From Austria- pics and emails also from daughter- flowers ring Proposal! Pics of passport social security card DL $950000 chk Pd to him for me to hold! Then wanted me to go into his bank acct electronically to move money! I can go on and on!
January 01, 2019

In reply to by Scammer

I met the same person. What his company name is apex security company?
October 31, 2018

In reply to by Merrie

Wow that exactly what I being true that one send me a cheap Pandora ring as a engagement ring promess me a real one when he came back he fake a hospital emergency and ask me to contact someone for a family treasure box and told them that I'm is wife and I want the box send on his name jonathan garrettson this is such a scam
Peggy sue
August 16, 2018

In reply to by kat

Does anybody no a soner hill oh I really want believe he isn’t a scammer wife died baby girl died and back in oct son die of cancer I felt so sorry for him please does any one no him
November 10, 2018

In reply to by paevere

Wow I think I had the same guy a couple other years ago same name and job he said he was all very sweet he told me the company he worked for so I had him checked out he didn't work there and he was on LinkedIn site looking for his next target he was a smart dressed guy with a moustache I am on Instagram I get hundreds of fake people asking me for allsorts please be careful loads of army guy most all fake please do need send money cards like Amazon or iTunes charities it's all rubbish they also say my wife is died honestly I don't think they've got any women left in America I am In England this scammers took 36 million pounds in England least year alone from women they target 30 to 50 knowing they have money please be safe Rebecca
March 20, 2019

In reply to by paevere

Similar. I found a man which is older than me. He said he loves me, claiming to be polish. His son is in Spain and he currently lives in California city. He is an UN cargo Engineer. Everything was good for months til he just asked me for a iTunes card since he is overseas and he forgottake his credit card with him
March 27, 2019

In reply to by Letsha

I am a widow and have met over 50 guys on internet that say there engineers or work for U.N. ... There wives have all died they love you in days, there kids have Nannys or in Boarding school. My late Husband was an engineer, so they didn't ever seem to answer many or any questions I asked them. I was blessed with knowing right off there scamming people, how many out there is shocking. ... There stories are so much the same it's sad. Please don't send these men anything. They know woman are lonely when single and they play it up. The stories I've been told has really shocked me. be aware there also seems to be alot over seas they say. When they say there working for U.N. you can't always verify it. Don't believe anyone that starts talking love with out meeting you first. I know whatever they do they will get back in the end.
May 17, 2019

In reply to by paevere

I’ve just had the same thing happen to me by a young girl in Florida asking for amazon cards and really loves me and wants to be with me ( I’m 57 in the UK) I gave her money for her school program to better herself and now wants money to buy her mom new glasses she needs. Obviously preying on older men to make them feel good and special.
June 23, 2019

In reply to by paevere

Did the same thing to me sent him a lot of money Learned my lesson never again
March 10, 2020

In reply to by paevere

Oh goodness, yes, I too have been scammed, met him on dating site, his name is Thomas William Jones. Supposedly from NY! NY. He said he was a mining engineer.We txt and email and phone for 2 months, then he says he has to go to Kenya for a 3 month mining project. He asked first for ebay gift card...did not do. He still continued with the sweet talk. Then he asked for moneygram, saying he lost his wallet and his bank in NY would not issue new cards until he was back in country. I told him would not, am on fixed income, and pay all my bills first...hardly ever money left. I did not answer his phone calls for two days, he is this morning, asking me to let him send check into my bank acct from one of his investors...and then I would send him money gram and have not answered him...all the while he is saying all the beautiful words he figures will keep me...nope...Icannot find him anywhere, have not paid on any sites todo a people search, a phone number search only showed from name
March 20, 2020

In reply to by paevere

Hi. May I know which reverse phone search you are using? is it free? I found some on google, but it does not seem to find the number. He said he is from California, but his phone code is 917, which is NY
March 16, 2021

In reply to by paevere

Interesting story. Somewhat , his name was Michael (cant remember last name). He was from Switzerland, grew up with nuns bc his mum was drug addict. He got married and had a daughter. His wife died, so now he is widower. Of course he doesn't live close, so we can't see each other jet. His daughter is homeschooled (2017) bc he is traveling a lot with his company, construction company, they are building all over the world. At some point he is going to this other country with daughter to finish this construction, he is engineer of course,. He is traveling, constantly updating from his trip. He arrives, send me picture from hotel balcony. Many details in between but few days after he arrived and started construction, inspectors closed his building site, were asking for a lot of money for license he didn't know about. He cant believe this is happening, never happened before in last 20 years. It just happened that he is short, and his daughter is there, and workers, lots money at stake. He is not asking a lot bat few bucks could help him, nothing much but $2500. Yes, I was supposed to stop texting before, but didn't. However the moment he asked for only $2500. I was certain what's happening.
Anndyna Jeffery
December 13, 2018

In reply to by Amber1

Might be the same guy with the one was message me,cos he said he's wife passed away because of car accident,he's got two kids n he's from england..We've been chatting each other on whatsapp about two weeks,then he said he's traveling to Benin Republic for his work contract and he also said he's gonna send me $15000 USD for me and my kids,ended up he asked me that he needs money to activate his master card in Benin,and the cost of it is $200USD same as XOF $114,148 and its gonna be $300NZ ,I've trusted hom as he promised me that he will be here for me n my kids...I've send money the next day,when he got the receipt I haven't heard from him again,the first time he went offline,but I was so lucky as western union just called me in the afternoon and says this details Im using to send money to is a #SCAM in BENIN REPUBLIC ,but on that same time it was a daytime in New Zealand but its a nightime in Benin,I went back to Western Union and refund back my money,then the night time he called and said he went to the WESTERN UNION,but they said money is not available,I was just said to him that he got the receipt so its his job to go and sort out with Western Union in Benin..I was so lucky that my money is back...He's using heaps of names ÷>First Name- Nnamdi Second Name- George Last Name -Okafor Country-Benin Republic First Name- Lameck Middle Name-Omari Last Name Minyiega Country - Benin Republic ÷> First name- Anayo Second Name- Peter Last name- onyeakonuche Country Benin Republic He's under the name of Philip Williams on facebook ,or Steven Williams but once you accept him as a Facebook Friend,he'll ask you for your number to contact you on whatsapp, when he got your number he'll blocked you on facebook
March 06, 2019

In reply to by Amber1

I understand! Probably same scammer i had fallen victim to same time in 2017! 2 kids wife dead. Of various thing. I cought it change. He cause of death. Waa going to qork in Africa aakes to Marry Me Had faxed me next of Kin for the 1.2 million dollars he waa going ti earn. Then had he said he needed money for the unexpected taxes....ob and on. My life will nevwr be tge same. He got me hook line and almoar sunk me. 30k plus. Now trying to pay off Credit cards and earn the trust of my husband.
November 04, 2019

In reply to by Amber1

I think this may be happening to me as well. This guy is really good if it is. I really liked him till he asked me for money!
August 11, 2020

In reply to by Heatherrae1111

I know the feeling I did my research before it went any farther
August 11, 2020

In reply to by Amber1

I think I am being romance scammed as well . Received friend request on IG and immediately get a message to chat then was asked to download google hangouts. Sweet talked said everything right stared he loved me like 3 days into conversation... can’t live with out me I am the best thing he has ever had stated hi wife passed and is in the military has a daughter in the state’s with a nanny ... now I am starting to get suspicious. IG account is no longer he’s telling me that he is the real thing ... said he can’t access bank account over seas lol ya I believe that ... also can’t make calls or have photos on base another red flag... then boom asked me to send a card called Steam ... ya not happening with this woman I was a military wife I know what can and can’t be done he also asked me to apply for emergency leave no civilian can apply for that . He really had me believing in love again . Until I called him out on his MIL email every solider has one and I asked for his POA address so I could send a care package... I also asked for a call said he can’t . I did my research on military romance scams and everything that was talked about was what he was doing . Finally deleted him from hangouts his name is Jonathan Larry .
October 29, 2020

In reply to by Amber1

Well looks like I got tbe same guy 3 years later going by Richard James. Asked me to do the same, buy iTunes cards and Amazon. When I was unable to do it anymore he had me give him my login info for my bank so he could transfer his money from offshore bank. But apparently its fraud because bank closed my account and said he's linked to several fraud cases. Smh. He's quite good at convincing you to follow it. A real charmer.
December 11, 2021

In reply to by Amber1

I was also contacted by a Richard Walle military in Iraq whose wife had died also he wanted me to send him 3000 dollars to pay for his flight ticket and also 500 dollars for steam wallet card to have internet He said he wanted to marry me and was using very sweet words But i noticed his english was really bad for a supposed "american guy"
Don't use yfak…
November 05, 2017

In reply to by aly

I too had a Ben Hodges asking me to transfer money i deleted him quickly
December 27, 2017

In reply to by Don't use yfak…

I have been readind these for awhile now because im worried about my sister. This man sent $9,000 to her bank not in her account just to the bank they called her so she could puck it up. Hes suppose to be some kind of dr. In syria he needed her to wire the money to nigeria. He has not asked her for no money what she wired wasnt hers but she went through alot of red tape and aggravation the money was for him to come to her in us that was two weeks ago and he claims hes stuck in dubai and i know she has bought him couple i tune cards. His picture to me looks like ryan Gosselin in a couple hes wearing that white jacket i hate to be the one who breaks her heart but i have to shut this shit down. Name is keith henry.
betty boop
March 06, 2018

In reply to by Sunshine

Sunshine do you by chance have a picture of this man. I like to see it cause I have a friend going thru the same thing her guy is stuck in Dubai says he is a construction engineer?
April 11, 2018

In reply to by betty boop

There is an engineer in Dubai name Alex Williams. Can't pay hotel bills because of bank problem with credit card. Be aware
April 17, 2018

In reply to by Lolly

Hey! I have a guy named Ryan Hofmann who just flew over to Dubai for work... he says he’s a civil engineer He has been doing everything but asking for money, but i’ve only known of him for two weeks, how do I check out his photos?? His English is very bad, and he won’t tell me what his other language is!

September 16, 2019

In reply to by Lonnie

Hi, how can I get access to other guys pictures on this site? So I can match them for the Civil Eng/ that he claims to be. Can anybone guide me to search his face online. Thank you!
May 23, 2018

In reply to by Lolly

No his name is Paul Henderson. Poor guy is stuck in Dubai and wants your itunes and credit card info as the bank is messed up....yada yada yada.
May 26, 2018

In reply to by Lolly

Please be aware of Alex Williams He is a smooth talker and tells you how much he loves you and can't wait to be with you. After 2 weeks he promised to visit me and then he went to Germany for a job and wanted me to SEND HIM MONEY Wow what a fool I am SO DON'T FALL FOR THIS LIKE I DID
July 05, 2018

In reply to by sassysnookie25

Do you have a picture of him? I think we may have been talking to the same guy.
July 06, 2018

In reply to by sassysnookie25

@Sassysnookie25 Oh yeah, I had one encounter. His name is Alex Williams Jackson. He pretended to be a civil engineer from England. I know he is a scammer because his English accent is not British. Second, he professed love so quickly and cannot videocall. He shared photos of a very handsome white guy. He was like in Lome Togo for a government project and asked money again. So beware, no matter what, do not send money.
Trying to help her
July 13, 2018

In reply to by SMARTY

I'm trying to get info to show my friends that the guy she is talking to is fake. This guy says he is a civil engineer, has an accent, says he is in Malaysia currently and will be here with her in 4 weeks. He asked for money. He is a romantic. Does this sound like same guy? Hugo is his name.
July 15, 2018

In reply to by Trying to help her

Does he say he needs money for a tractor repair? From austin texas? He is also going with the name frank miller
October 17, 2018

In reply to by Cat

The man I met online has asked me for tractor repairs. He claims to be an engineer on a project. Need pictures?
September 29, 2018

In reply to by Trying to help her

Is anyone in contact here with Lionel Nolan. He is in contact with my friend for around 6-8 weeks. They met via cherry blossoms dating site. He says he's from Switzerland but lives in Scotland and works as structural engineer. He claims to be a widower with an eight-year old daughter. He will be travelling to Malaysia this week for business then to the Philippines to meet my friend. He sends text messages via telegram app.
October 21, 2018

In reply to by Rue

I am in contact with him. Can ur Friend send me the pic of that guy or how could I keep in touch with ur Friend? We are chatting since July up to now and currently he is in Sarawak Malaysia. Her child is 7 yrs old and I do also spoke his mom before he flight in Malaysia last sept 22, 2018. I need info ASAP pls and want to talk ur Friend to with whom he is chatting.
December 15, 2018

In reply to by Trying to help her

does the "engineer" claims to be from UK but is currently in kuala lumpur ? john is the name
August 15, 2018

In reply to by SMARTY

Thomas L Harry on words with friends is a scammer asked me to open a bank acct so he could get paid for a project he did in London .because he's an engineer and out to sea. Don't do it he is using another persons picture.he talked to me for weeks before asking
August 29, 2018

In reply to by Twiggy

The reason I’m responding to you is that the name he used was Leo Harry on words with friends. Quickly gained my trust and ended up losing thousands of dollars about six months ago. Very hard to get over. The actual profile picture on the site was leo harry. That obviously was not him. Contractor on oil rig in gulf. So many hard luck stories that I believed. Ironic thing is that I always research everything, but this I didn’t. I paid dearly.
September 19, 2018

In reply to by Faith

Most of the scammers use pictures of men they feel you can be attracted to mostly white guys.The fact is that most of them are might be Indians or Africans and they see many women as gullible and confused.The truth is that it is better to love a man you can see with your own eyes than the one that you dont know if he exist.There are million of men around the world and physically present on the street,at your work place and near to your homes.Do not look at race,nor nationality,nor status.Give attention to physical men who stare at you daily and you will find love in the one you see rather than the invisible men who claims different stories.I think many of the scammers this days are aware that women tend to fall easily for white guys and then they are using the pictures of what you want to see and believe.Reality is better than illusion.
January 23, 2019

In reply to by Faith

I’m in contact now with Leo Harry. He is an engineer in Turkey. Hasn’t asked for money yet but claims his love for me. I trying to figure out what this guy wants. Funny thing is his phone seem timed works but no camera.
September 13, 2018

In reply to by Twiggy

I was speaking to a Thomas Downs for months and I stupidly opened several accounts before I realized I was being scammed. I have photos of him but cannot find any information on the web. Does the Thomas you are speaking to have an accent? Thank you in advance for your reply.
March 10, 2020

In reply to by RDM

Mine is Thomas Jones, and yes, he says he was born and raised in France, but has been inNY for 12 yrs. very strong accent, not sure if french or not
September 17, 2018

In reply to by Twiggy

Omg. Ive been talking to this guy for 2 months. He hasnt asked me for money. Yet. I think its the guy yout talking about. Geez.