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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.

June 18, 2018

In reply to by Don't use your…

Hmm, maybe the same guy. I got the oil rig story not military but it's also a NY phone number.
July 15, 2018

In reply to by Kramwh8

i know a derek from twitter nahgout and instagram says ame thing to me
Don'Sedona t u…
July 28, 2018

In reply to by tammy

Yes this sounds exactly what I have experienced. Yes two times. So first Oil worker second Afghanistan A master sergeant. Definitely a romance scam.
September 20, 2018

In reply to by Don'Sedona t u…

I had an experience with an oil rig worker who said his name was Rex Ford. I met him on Insta"scam" (my new name for it ). Said he was on a rig in the Gulf off the coast of Mexico City. Talked about God bringing us together. Said his wife passed 6 years ago from cancer but he didn't want to talk about it ever. Said he had a 13 year old son who was living with his 80 year old mother in England & going to school there. Oh he did finally tell me the name of the oil rig..the Julia. Anyway we talked 3 months & I was the love of his life & he wanted us to spend the rest of our lives together. To make a long story short, he sent me a "trunk" which supposedly was on it's way to me. I got an email from "the diplomat" which had typos & bad sentence structure. Then got another email saying the diplomat had to be paid $1320 to cover his travel costs. I replied to this diplomat & the scammer that I'm disabled & on social security & I don't have $1320 to pay someone I don't know. I immediately cut all contact with him..AFTER I told him exactly what I thought of him & thanks for wasting 3 months of my life. Pond scum. They will tell you ANYTHING. Don't be tricked like I was. Now not too long after I cut ties with Rex Allan Ford or Allan Ford, I had a follow request from a military man. Now believe me, I have blocked & deleted MANY men when something just didn't add up or there are red flags. So #2 looked legitimate, said he was an USAF Major from Pasadena CA working in Afghanistan for NATO Resolute Support. Says wife died of leukemia 4 years ago, has a 9 year old daughter & that his father had moved from AZ to CA to take care of her. Then he said his dad had a stroke (even showed me a pic of his dad in a hospital room on a ventilator, well some old man). Then the dad passed away, leaving the daughter with only the nanny. He didn't go home for his dad's funeral. Says he signed for the mission he's on & the only way out is to win against the Taliban. Talks pretty intelligently. Says he can't get to any of his money because his account has been frozen/charged off. Said his IG acct got hacked so he's not on it anymore. Funny..the guy above...I reported him to IG & it took them 9 weeks but they removed his account. I won't say how much I've given him but he says he tried to send me some money & I've never gotten it. He wanted me to send half of it to his daughter in CA. I'm thinking he's a scammer. I prayed he wasn't because I fell in love with him. But I'm afraid my gut feeling is unfortunately correct. Has anyone else talked with him? His initials are RP & his daughter's name starts with a W. He has asked me to write to the general at a private email address & plead with him so he could leave & go back home because his daughter needs him. The letter I got back seemed to be questionable with lots of typos & punctuation mistakes saying he sent my request. No answer yet. My soldier wants me to send the Gen. another email. It's only been a week since the first email. I have a sinking feeling he's not real & this really hurts. We haven't texted in over 3 days now. I'm certainly remaining silent! Anybody else had contact with either one of these men? I'm done with talking to men online. I already had trust issues because of my ex husband cheating. Now I REALLY have trust issues, in a big way!
September 21, 2018

In reply to by Kramwh8

Wow...its a scam...the guy i was talking to name was Kelvin Rozenman Ford..he had claimed to have a 4 yr old daughter name Sharon. Met him off Instagram
Ash87on't use …
October 13, 2018

In reply to by GOLDIE

Wow he sent me a request on IG last night saying his wife cheated on him with his best friend and she left Texas while leaving the child. He is deployed in Afghanistan and a nanny is watching their 4 year old daughter. He told me to download a “cool” app name “Hangouts”
May 26, 2020

In reply to by GOLDIE

Really tell me more . I have the same guy contact me today . Same name and he states that he has daughter that is 5 yes old and the mother cheated on him and his from Dallas TX deployed in Afghanistan. Lol
Learned My Lesson
May 22, 2018

In reply to by Macerbe

That’s my scammer. His daughter is Lisa. Block and delete!!!!He goes by name of Antonio Giovanni.
May 16, 2018

In reply to by Suzer

sounds like David Brown french widowed with a daughter. oilfield contract
May 28, 2018

In reply to by Suzer

has anyone heard of a guy named Greg George? Said he is from Mexico, living in California, working a rig in Mexico Gulf. He lost his wife in a car accident and she was pregnant. Has a 16 year old daughter in school in FLA. When I got wise to him I let him have it and he begged me to leave him alone and he would never get in touch with another woman online again. Said I was wicked!!!! I said, yes, I am, and I put a spell on you, beware" he freaked out.
December 09, 2019

In reply to by suspicious

Yes sounds familiar and the one I met wanted 60000usd for daughters life saving operation - these guys need locking up! Wouldn’t send a penny and have delete hangouts and cut all communication - these scammers are the lowest of the low taking advantage of vulnerable women.
March 01, 2018

In reply to by PamC

I met David through aN online game site. We'd talked for only a couple of weeks when he told me he was leaving for the oil rig and wondered if I'd keep in touch via Hangouts so that's what we've been doing. But I've caught him 2 different times telling me discrepancies - his birthdate & his daughter's age. Plus, we've talked on the phone a few times, and he sounds more like a 20-something man than one in his 50's.I admit that I'm starting to fall for him, but there's been a nagging little doubt in my mind.I did a Whitepages search for him via name, city & state, & his phone. Nothing comes up for the phone at all, & no one w that name is anywhere near his age. He hasn't asked me for money, but he just doesn't add up. And i was shocked to discover that its probably a scam. Has anyone ever talked with this same man?
Tired of trash
March 02, 2018

In reply to by Suzer

I think I know this guy too. He thinks I'm stupid, but every time I call him he never answers immediately, he always calls back. Oil rig for BP? Sound familiar?
March 20, 2018

In reply to by Tired of trash

John Williams? Engineer on oil rig in Gulf; widowed; 12-year-old daughter in boarding school in Orlando. Needed iTunes cards for daughter’s birthday b/c his bank funds were secured. Eventually needed $$ to replace a broken pump. Sound familiar to anyone?
April 04, 2018

In reply to by Nancy

Hi Nancy, I was talking to a guy name Powell Macaulay he was an engineer too he had a 8 year old daughter and a widower his wife die three years ago from breast cancer. He was on a oil rig in Gulf of Mexico his drill bit broke and needed money to fix it and then he asked for a iTune card unfortunately for him he didn’t get any money from me. He contacted me though Facebook at the beginning and from there we started talking he came into my life at the right time. My husband asked me for a divorce Last year so I thought why not talk to this guy he was nice looking my husband moved on why shouldn’nt I and yes I fall heads of heels for him I was heartbroken and still am. You ask yourself why did this happen? There’s s lot of people out there trying to take advantage of other people especially women! I’m so sorry the outcome wasn’t what I wanted
April 15, 2018

In reply to by Debbie

Debbie and Nancy, I have been talki g to Jack who lives in Alabama. he is a widower, 8 year old son. Jack says he works on a rig and is on Alaska right now. second day there says his machine broke needs money. so won t give it. I did send him 2 I tunes cards because he said he needed them for his iPhone I have Android phone so I did n t know. he professes his live daily and even has time set up to meet me. he remembers everything from day 1. he messages me so many times a day. I am heartbroken. he even sends me tons of his pictures. or I think it s him. my marriage is in shambles so it was perfect timing. last night rd him I can t find him anywhere and if he wants the money give me his social security number and my cousin in fbi will verify and when they happens I 'll send the money. I figured he d leave me alone. he just text now like nothing happened. I realize now it s a scam. I'm going to play him back, just figuring out how. is love to talk to you guys about this
July 20, 2018

In reply to by Cynthia

I have seen a couple posts on here now about men working in the oil field saying they need money for broken equipment. The workers in the oil filed DON'T EVER pay for broken equipment. My brother actually does work in the oil field and the oil companies take care of all broken equipment. I get men trying to scam me on FB almost daily. If it says they are military or oilfield workers with some sob back story like a dead wife of child, don't even start talking to them............ it is a scam.
November 20, 2018

In reply to by PhotoLady01

This happened to me, but just deleted them. But I play the game Words with Friends, this is what they are targeting now, start a game with you, then come in and start a chat, the usual , where you from, what sort of day you having, then the want to know you more, can you go Hangout, they do persist, then when you say you don’t go in there, then it’s WhatsApp. I’ve made the mistake twice, last time was a guy working for Exxon Oil out diving to check oil pipes, and finding more oil, he was running the crew never done it before, he’d secured his house against it. Wife and son died in car crash 8 months ago, daughter of 7 he had to put her in a boarding school as no one to look after her. Then he asked if I could help him get his daughter Christmas present, he would get money to me when he could get home, he couldn’t access his account because he’d met a woman who scammed him out of thousands of pounds, told him no i was not an idiot. He apologised profusely then a week later told me his daughter was ill, he needed me to go and buy him Steam Packet Wallet because he needed it to find how his daughter was. When I said no, he hit but cross, said I was uncaring as his daughter I’ll and couldn’t find out how she was., I asked him to send me the phone number of boarding school and I’d ring them for him, he couldn’t do that because his iPhone had fallen in the sea. Things just weren’t adding up. He tried ringing me on WhatsApp but when I answered he said he’d borrowed a friends phone, but hung up.! Good job I have my guard up, because many people would have sent them money or whatever he needed. Those two people both came through playing the Game Words With Friends, seems they are targeting people through that now.
April 16, 2018

In reply to by Debbie

Debbie or Nancy id really like to talk to you guys especially Nancy. this sounds like Jack Robertson. My god he calls and texts all the time. how can we get in touch with each other?
April 25, 2018

In reply to by Cynthia

Hi does anyone know about eric fallon. An engineer in uk, widow, has 14 yold daughter, ask me he need vacation so he can visit me here, i was falling in love with him alread will still talking. I heard also about itunecards, school exam, bday, and coat of vacation. Still thinking its not a scam bec i seem Him good guy and good looking too. He send pictures of his daugthwr and late wfe. I dont know but i love him really.

May 05, 2018

In reply to by abilgosdoris

I wonder if we can display photos. He sent me a plenty. A chinese guy with a daughter
June 06, 2018

In reply to by Linda

I got the "do you mind if we share photos through email?" Contacted me through online dating site and also mentioned his daughter. I felt something was off from the beginning. I am contacting the guy on the pics that he sent me and let them know what is going on. Didn't get a thing from me.
June 23, 2018

In reply to by lucimill40

Hi lucimill40, Can you describe what he looks like in the pictures he sent you? also how old is his daughter? I have been talking to this guy I met also on an online dating site. He too sent me “do you mind if we share photos through email” too.
September 01, 2018

In reply to by lucimill40

Please contact me, I think someone is trying to do the same to me.
July 11, 2018

In reply to by abilgosdoris

Please don't believe it. So many people have the same stories...including someone I know. If it is REAL LOVE and a REAL PERSON they would not ask you for ANYTHING other than your companionship. The "guys" start off as sweet and kind, gaining your trust but sometimes months after, needing money from you. Common qualities that should put up red flags: -A son or daughter in boarding school. -Their occupation makes it easy for them not to always be available (overseas, oil rig, secret agent, etc). -Their lives have a lot of drama. Often times, an illness, someone else dying, their kid is sick, etc. -They have their "friends, coworkers, family" build relationships with you so they can build up his "character", make him look good and real! -They always end up needing something from you. -Photos sent to you mainly don't show their face. It's very easy to get stock photos or the really good ones even photo shop! Go with your gut! You are worth love, real love. Be smart about it. Best of luck.
Russian woman
July 16, 2018

In reply to by YouAreWorthMore

Some days ago someone tried to cheat me telling that he is alone in his cargo in the hospital in another country. His name is Alexis Martinez.
July 15, 2018

In reply to by abilgosdoris

Hi, we are talking to the same person. I have been talking to him, for 4 months. Called & texted me every day, all day! He gave me the exact same story that he gave you! He started asking me to send him money, for various reasons. I told him I didn’t have it, & that I felt we should end things, because I knew he was just scamming me! He got so upset, because he said that he Loved me so much! That’s when he confessed to me what he was really doing. He is actually in Nigeria! And, he is Much younger than he said he was And, this is how he makes his living. He meets older vulnerable women, on Instagram & online dating sites. He also uses FB! He has a distinct accent! He said he was an Engineer, on a ship, in Scotland, Hus 14 yr. old daughter was in boarding school.His wife died 3 yrs. ago , from cancer. He was going to retire after his contract was finished. And, he wanted me to request his vacation, so he could come to the states & marry me! He also, wanted me to receive his Consignment Boxes, that contained several million dollars! These people are in a ring! They all work together! Please Do Not send the man you are talking to money! He is just scamming you! They are extremely good at making women fall in Love with them! They get you to tell them all about yourself. That’s how they know what your vulnerabilities are! And, that's how they reel you in!! I am so sorry that you are also a victim, of this scam!!
September 05, 2018

In reply to by abilgosdoris

Had guy also very good looking raised in uk but marine engineer in China at moment widowed with son in boarding school in Uk Nicholas brown anyone heard of
Peter Nicholas
December 12, 2019

In reply to by Dma8083

Yes I have been scammed by this se person this year
April 18, 2018

In reply to by Debbie

Key words that bother me: itunes cards to buy software, engineer, oil, young daughter, wife that passed away, bank funds tied up. He's in Dubai now on a job and needs money cause the bank froze funds lol...wants a credit card transfer. Weird thing is he has a local number. Daughter is living with Grandma in London but moving here this summer. Anyone else have this situation?
April 21, 2018

In reply to by Deb

Deb just read your story I've talked to the person you described. Yes A total scammer. Impersonating a celebrity chef. Wants $ for an airline ticket home to Cle.NOT!!!
May 23, 2018

In reply to by Weena1

Even after he wanted my credit card and I said no, we still talked for a few more weeks. He said I would never hold that against you, but just last week he stopped texting. I am going to tell him that my gf and I won $44,000 at the casino and I want to go on vacation etc. And just mess with see if he starts up again with the conversation.
worried about MOM
May 29, 2018

In reply to by Deb

My mom is getting scammed I know it, I feel it, but she insists on talking with this scum dog: My story is about the same, Oil Rig worker, young son 14 yrs old in UK -- has a briefcase stuck in customs needs 5,000 to release and his life savings is in the case over 2mil 00 Right! ! ! ! the story is long and drawn out but it is the same cookie cutter as all of you... How do I post his picture on here so you can get a look at him ????
FTC Staff
May 30, 2018

In reply to by worried about MOM

You can use the FTC article about online dating scams to help your mother. It lists common stories the scammers tell about themselves, and common excuses they use to try to get money. 

Please tell her that the FTC, the FBI and the Attorney General in her state want to protect her from criminals   Sending money to criminals helps them continue the scams. You can report a scammer to the FTC at The information you give will go into a secure database that law enforcement uses for investigations .

July 03, 2018

In reply to by worried about MOM

Omg!! Hi I have been reading these and I just knew it!! Mhy mom has been talking to this guy David Georgie on Hangouts for over a month now. He started saying I Love you by week one. She has been widowed for 4 years and has been through so much! What a scum! I would give anything to catch him He is supposedli on an oil Rig and and has 2 daughters in boarding school who supposedly email her and call her mom. This is crazy! He just asked her fopr money about a week ago and when she said she didnt have $7500 he asked her to see if she could get a loan so he could get his rig fixed so he could come see her. Im disgusted
July 08, 2018

In reply to by MomsGIrlIsMad

Do u have any pictures ? I have a guy messaging me saying he is on a oil rig off Greece till September has twin girls who are in boarding school in Texas. He says he is from South Carolina ? Does this sound like same guy ?
July 30, 2018

In reply to by worried about MOM

My son's ex girlfriends father was scammed over 60,000.00 same exact story
September 10, 2018

In reply to by worried about MOM

I'm in the same boat. My mom's been talking to the same guy for a year. I've showed her evidence that he isn't who he says he is (US Military sites with pictures he's sent her and his various alias' kind of proof) and he's convinced her that those pictures are his and that someone's stolen his identity. He goes by the name Johnson Cooper, aged around 45-50. A Sargent in the US military based in Nigeria (or a US base in the North-east region of Africa, I can't remember specifically), and he has a teenage daughter that lives with his mother in California. They do the whole "honey, i love you" "wish you were here" stuff, and it breaks my heart. He has her communicating with him on a separate app. Maybe google? The texting screen on the top is green if that can help identify the app. Unfortunately, I can't get into her phone cause it's face recognition. If anyone knows what I can possibly to do to save her, please tell me!! I don't know if she's sending him money, but for him to be around this long, I'm assuming she is. I don't know what else to do.
Melissa Don't …
September 14, 2018

In reply to by ts2192

To clarify their identity... It will be better call them thru video call to make sure they are the real person.
November 16, 2018

In reply to by ts2192

My mom is in the same boat. I showed her the evidence but the scammer is a pro
July 10, 2018

In reply to by Deb

Deb. Ive got one now on Facebook basically saying the same thing. Lives in Arizona. Financial advisor, contract engineer, widow of 4 years, born in Rome Italy Mom Italian dad American. Both died when he was 12. He’s really good because he keeps his story straight. Has 15 year old daughter 4 year old son. Just happened to get a contract he needed on an offshore oil rig to retire on. Even talked about moving closer to me and can afford to buy a house for $400,000. Says the bank froze his account because of hackers. He’s sweet and has an accent that is not African but has 5 out of the 7 red flags of a scammer. I’ve tried to do a background check and couldn’t find him. I’ve done reverse searches on all pictures and nothing(which is good because he’s not stealing them from others)
August 31, 2018

In reply to by Wowjustwow

What's his name as I've had a similar ordeal but he says he's now in Australia?
August 11, 2018

In reply to by Deb

I have the exact same scenario his name from Instagram is Troy spencer, very good looking with young daughter with health condion, wife died a few years ago, daughter living with grandma in UK, has San Francisco phone number On an oil rig in Africa, says was robbed, needs iTunes gift card now wants bank info getting mad at me now cause I won’t do it. Threatening me with I don’t care about him bla bla Does this guy sound familiar
December 02, 2018

In reply to by Fooledmeonce

I'm not a lady but seriously every time I try to talk to someone it's some kind of scam. All they want is your money they become rude if you call them on it. Almost every one is from Ghana or Russia. But on these dating sites I've even ran into some in the US. And what's worse you think your talking to someone who lives near you or even in your same city and bam nope another scammer from overseas. Why is it so hard to meet someone online. I finally just gave up.
April 21, 2018

In reply to by Debbie

Hi, Debbie. I, too, was scammed by a man with almost the identical information - on an oil rig, drills broke, wanted iTune cards, on and on, how much he loved me and wanted us to meet, travel the world together when he retired from the oil rig business, sent pictures and gifts, on and on. Yes, I sent money because sometimes people are truthful, but he was not. The impact this all had on my spirits and heart have been awful and painful. I still miss him and am now at the angry stage. We have been ABUSED and it seems like we don't have any recourse except to report it to the police who hear this stuff all the time. We need to form a large group of women who will work together and support each other so this won't happen to others. A medical professional, Lynne.
April 25, 2018

In reply to by 3goldkats

So I read these comments and its helped me. I was just taken by someone on Instagram and I thought I was someone that this would NEVER happen to. I haven't dated in the real world for these reasons and it took me months to get to know this person who contacted me out of the blue and was sooo charming and sincere... and its turns out to be a scam. It was so nice to be treated like a lady for a few months and I guess I can be grateful for that..BUT I was about to message him and say WHY ME until I read these comments. BEST for me to leave it alone and just accept that I was the loser and NEVER EVER let this happen again. I am sorry everyone. We all obviously have good hearts and believe the good in people and have let these low lives into our hearts. I hate that...and I apologize for them to you have helped me in reading that I am not alone.
May 06, 2018

In reply to by TotallyTakenForARide

I'm sorry you have the same experience as me. A charming captain of commercial airlines. In my case. It's nice to be treated like a lady, I have to agree. I'm still playing the game. Wondering when it will end.
June 11, 2018

In reply to by Sweetnie

@sweetnie just out of curiosity, did he tell you he’s divorced and his ex cheated on him? That he lives in LA or Dallas? Sometimes in Miami, Atlanta, Key West? Was left an inheritance?