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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.
  • 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.

won't be conned
April 12, 2018

In reply to by Genesis77

The only comment I can have is that any self-respecting, proud man would never ask a woman for money. Plus I have never known an American man to profess his love or spill his guts in such a short amount of time. Keep that in the back of your mind when talking to these idiots. Also, trust your God given intuition, if it doesn't feel right, it probably isn't! Good luck!
Sad world
April 20, 2018

In reply to by Genesis77

I was chatting with a very handsome guy who said his name was Ethan davies and also went by Ethan Duffey. Said he was in new jersey and just got a big job as head on an oil rig in turkey. Sent me pictures every day. So made me think he was real. We tried Google search and nothing came up and a few other sights. I knew he wasn't real and when we talked on the phone he had big accent. But explained his dad was in the navy so he grew up in Belgium. He said he was on the rig and couldn't get Internet to check to see if the 500 million he got for contract went in his bank. And wanted me to log in to it to see. Because my divorce was not final I told him my husband's lawyer was tracking my Internet and emails so I couldn't. When he wanted me to go buy a new cell phone so it couldn't be tract I told him we were done and wanted nothing else to do with him. He messaged and called after that saying he loved me and I was the only one he could trust. I knew just a scam and never to contact me again. So thanks to the blog I figured it out before he could get anything from me. So thanks for this. I hope it helps someone else.
April 26, 2018

In reply to by Sad world

Thank you so much for posting this. I'm talking to the same guy. Red flags have been going off and I have been scouring the Internet for info. I finally got his full (fake) name, which led me here. Thanks for saving me lots of heartache.
Aussie Albert
July 21, 2018

In reply to by Genesis77

sounds like a scammer.. I work in a mine and they provide everything - I would think on an oil rig he'd be given warm clothing from work for free as well as a VERY good wage....
March 19, 2018

In reply to by tired of scammers

Put in google Google reverse image search it free to do it doesnt always show so click on simular pics I know scammers get us decent guys off chat/love sites and direct us elsewhere but dumb as they can be some ont realise their email address is in view grab it before hand if it goes down that road reverse check the email they think we are stupid come on guys lets show them how dumb they are
April 18, 2018

In reply to by Wend

Yes I have been so scammed by this guy in Nigeria, wants to come home and states that he gets no money the Military supplies all He needs. He is asking for money to travel back to state sidereleased from this camp 1600$ and he has claimed that he was shot in the leg yesterday, he wants my family to provide money for his travel back the Military charges them to travel????
April 23, 2018

In reply to by Scammednotdealingit

Hi this sounds like a man I’m talking to says he is a surgeon dr in Syria on a five year contract an needs money to break contract to come home he goes by tiger an I hear him say William to the picture he sent doesn’t match his voice he sounds like he is from Africa but his picture look Arabic

May 15, 2018

In reply to by Scammednotdealingit

I think I was talking to the same guy. I thought it was odd when he couldn’t live without me after the first post. He asked me not to talk to anyone else. He said his mother father and wife were killed in a car accident. His son lives with his mother in law, that he was in the Army and needed 300.00 for supplies. When I refused he got irate. I’m done with online. I received two emails from guys with different names and pictures but exact same profile.
April 17, 2018

In reply to by tired of scammers

YES. I've also had a long experience with scammers... They're using our pictures to scam other people so people be careful.
May 16, 2018

In reply to by tired of scammers

I have fallen for a scammer. I have done things for this man out of plain weakness.sadness, escape from my own life. We have had the scam talk. He of course denies it..we stop talking for a month. A week. Then he comes back. Wanting to go back to the same business. We have been talking for a year now. I have not lost a lot of money... but I have sent money to him from other people... and other ways. I fear nothing because I have had such a cursed life. And I am tired of the fight. However I do fear for my family. At times I feel he could be dangerous. Or if anything he could make me so paranoid that I lose my mind. I was reading the stories above and thought, such smart women. I am such an idiot!
same story
August 25, 2017

In reply to by Glory

Exactly told the same story. Thanking God, that I caught on when asked to send money with money services for gift iPhone for daughters birthday. Called himself NelsonQuan. Supposedly father from Texas and mother from India. As with you, warning signs such as poor English, texts had many errors for "such a well educated man. While in the throws of the "relationship" l fell for calling him on the phone. That song "I've got that loving feeling" described how I felt all the time it was like a drug. I think I was hooked by my need to love as well as feeling loved. Now that it's done, I am working on loving myself and my lord Jesus. I reported him to Instagram and got rid of all messages. At one point he asked to not tell family until they could meet him.
Wiseto them.
March 07, 2018

In reply to by same story

So last November I had an instant message through instagram. After having my original instagram account hacked and pretty much stolen from me, I have become more weary.This message was off a serving lady in a US military uniform called Hannah Kylia-Kelso. The story was she is in was in Syria serving the final leg of her tour and we chatted on and off for a while. She never asked for anything and would message me on and off for a few months. She then asked me to add her on WhatsApp which I did then she said when she leaves the military she wanted to do Humanitarian work. A few weeks before she mentioned how she was struggling because she had been sending her money over to a Swiss account(which I thought was just a tax fiddle). Then she came on flustered static that her friends who were sorting out her money had let her down. You this time I knew this was a scam but if they are messaging me they are leaving someone else alone. I said they only have two weeks left of service just sort it out when you get home and stop sounding like my Nigerian Millionaire Uncle who needs to move money out. I knew this was coming to a crunch, so they said they needed to fly straight off when they get home. I then mentioned that to get to an area of humanitarian aid she would need to join a charity because these countries won't just let you in without all the correct visa in place, also with a link of how to spot a scam. I was blocked by them on WhatsApp. So the next morning I messaged them on Instagram telling her if she really wanted to help to set up a charity to help returning vets with a step by step guide and about crowd funding to get them started and help in anyway I can whilst they get started, because the way they are going they will end up getting 3-5 years for fraud. There reply was that they have been doing this for 10 years. My returun was that they weren't very good and in turn sent a block and spam on instagram, and WhatsApp. I hope this story will let you know that these people will have lots of others on the go, check how recent their accounts are made and I watched themy add to their account 300 more people in a couple of days.
October 18, 2017

In reply to by Glory

My friend has been talking to a Frank Lashen who is calling her his wife and needs help to get out of Togo. He says he is eating much and needs to pay hotel bill so he can leave and come home to her. Has anyone else talked to a Frank Lashen?
February 04, 2018

In reply to by Jan

He is an African scammer. Always asking for ITUNE CARDS. Claims he is a U.S.MARINE, stated his wife and son died in a car accident. All lies!
August 07, 2018

In reply to by February

I am currently talking to him now. He goes by Harris Cattely. He sends me pic of some man in a military uniform. I am guessing he person he is using to catfish others has no idea his identity is being used in a bad way.
February 08, 2018

In reply to by Jan

He is a scammer. Goes by the name Frank Harris Cattely, Frank Cattely and Frank Harris. DO NOT SEND ANYTHING AT ALL PLEASE.
February 26, 2018

In reply to by safaritx

Claims he is on a ship on the Gulf of Mexico. He is a nigerian scammer. Tried to scam me out of $2000. Always wanted ITUNE CARDS. Stated his Wife and Son got killed in a car accident about 6 years. YEA, right. LOL
helping my friend
April 23, 2018

In reply to by safaritx

what can you tell me about the guy in cyprus? My friend is communicating with a guy from usa, owns construction company, and is on a job in cyprus. Now can't get paid for job because of some paper missing. His mom emails my friend. This guy sends her love songs and even a video of himself singing in shower.
May 17, 2018

In reply to by helping my friend

Is he called Antoni have been talking to a us guy for 4 months who has finally showed his true colours .. says he is in Northern Cyprus now .. in construction .. just booked tickets to go see him now he asks for money .. have asked all the right searching questions have phot and video deiscof what he looks like .. aged 57 allegedly
May 27, 2018

In reply to by Pat

Hi Pat, I’ve been talking to guy in Cyprus as well. He goes by the name of Mcgregor lancelot. Wife died of cancer and son in Barcelona at school. Do you have pic to share?
July 29, 2019

In reply to by safaritx

I am talking this guy now. His name is Frank Harris and he claims has an adopted 18 year old daughter that lives in Moscow with his mother and his lost his wife about 3 years ago. He's an engineer and is currently in Cyprus right now working on this retail remodeling project. He hasn't asked for any money but did ask for me to buy him an expensive phone and watch for his birthday. I told him no that I wouldn't. Claims that I hurt his feelings and doesn't know why I couldn't support him. I'm wondering if this could be the same guy everyone is talking about. I have photos of him so can someone please reach out to me so we can compare photos.
August 06, 2018

In reply to by Fungirl

I have been contacted by a guy named Harris Cattley. He sent me pictures of himself in a uniform a military uniform. Same story his wife and son were killed six years ago in a car accident. He said he had to go on deployment and is now on the ship. Similar story.
April 24, 2019

In reply to by Momof3

Is this scammer still trying to contact you. On Monday April 22, 2019 the same scammer that tried to scam me before sent me a message on messenger and I knew it was the same guy. This time he went by the name Johnson Miller. Said he lives in Texas and was on the gulf of Mexico on a Oil Rig or something. Change his line this time and told me he had a 11 year old son and that his wife of 28 years died. Had the nerve to have one of my girlfriends as a mutual friend. I contacted her and told do not talk to this scammer if he tries to contact her on FB or any other social media site. How in the world did he list my girlfriend as a mutual friend of his??? How did he gain access to my friends list on FB ???
September 08, 2019

In reply to by fungirl

I just blocked and oil rig scammer, davis Miller widower with daughter in boarding school needing and Amazon card for school. We had been chatting for three weeks. For the last four days it was your my love ,taking you shopping etc when I would tell him I had to go he would say so I'll get my card tomorrow? I finally blocked him and he had a friend start messaging saying davis couldn't sleep or eat please unblock him, my comeback I'm from a family of cops and lawyers and you'll never guess what my son does for a living, poof haven't heard from them in two days
May 17, 2019

In reply to by Momof3

I have been talking to this same Creep. He told me his name is Harris Brooks Cattley from Atlanta, works for the Military. I was married to a Military Man for 21 years - they know exactly what is going on before they leave shore. When I caught him in the lie I told him to have a safe trip to Syria, enjoy his time there. Asked if he was going via Nigeria and to make sure he ducks. Was I upset yes. I hate liars. I have blocked him. Why send them money for any reason? Yes I have pictures of the man he was supposed to be. I would like to meet the real man in the pictures face to face and tell him how I feel for him having his identity stolen by creeps like these. These creeps are destroying that man’s life.
December 26, 2019

In reply to by Kaligirl

Hi Kaligirl are you able to post the pictures that this Harris Brooks Cattley from Atlanta sent you. I am asking because I have been chatting for a while now and I have fallen hard for him. And before it goes any further, I need to know if this is the same person that you were talking to. Please I am desperate.
Jennifer s
April 10, 2018

In reply to by Janie

Same situation here. They ask you for friendship request. You add them they talk to you after a while they ask for ITunes card an money to help them. Sometimes you let them know that you can't help them they get angry I have several of them asking for help. They say they love you then use you. If they love you then they wouldn't hurt you. They want you to support their kids.These scammers give real military men and women looking for love a bad reputation. They also get angry when you can't help them.
April 16, 2018

In reply to by Jennifer s

hi I met this man his name is Michael Jacob I know it was only a couple weeks or a couple of days everything was smooth he kept saying this and that to me about all he wants to be with me he loves me so I go along with it I told him I would like to get married I want to marry him and he says oh wow I would love that and next you know this is where he's going to throw iTune I told him I don't know you from the hole in the wall this is the same man that I see on every Facebook to come on friend request but different name I don't know what's going on with these people out there why they doing this to us they need to be stopped the messing things up for every woman that trying to look for the love of their life that's what I'm trying to find but everytime this what's going on they keep popping up friend request and I keep taking them but then after that I delete them I wish to God that all this needs to be stopped I'm so tired so now all these comments and starting to wake me up more more each day and I thank God I didn't sent any money or iTune I'm aware about that now but it's sad how they do this to us thinking that we are so stupid so beware thank you so much for me and reading this have a blessed day

May 04, 2018

In reply to by anna.c

I have met many scammers on line and now can pretty much spot them within minutes. But don't think you would be stupid, very intelligent people who are vulnerable after divorce, death etc fall for it. I have now gotten all but one to admit they are from Africa. I don't think it is right at all what they are doing, but I have learned that there are many many healthy young men in Africa who are jobless and really are on the street trying to survive. That is not an excuse but I do feel for some. I gave money once about 4 years ago, after a divorce, married 37 years and not since, big mistake, because it will never be enough! They will always need more.. Most are between ages of 21-47 years old regardless of the American picture they claim to be.
Played Patty
March 31, 2019

In reply to by kjms

I sure now that I'm being scammed by a guy calls himself Antonio Bernado for 5 months. Says he is a Geologist and is currently working off shore in Russia. Says he has a son being taken care of by a nanny in the states. I've fallen in love with him and have given some money and iTunes cards. About a month ago, i got a call from his assistant stating that he had been shot and was in a coma. He is now out of the coma but now needs physical therapy and needs $20,000 for it...I'm not going to give him anything. Anyone hear about this man? He is 49
December 09, 2017

In reply to by Glory

Dear Gloria, please this sounds very familiar to me. Could we share pictures? My mans name is Henri ! And I have tons of pictures and now he is I the country Georgia , needing money for a attorney!
April 10, 2018

In reply to by Suspicious

Wow this sounds like same man that's been trying to scam me too.
February 19, 2019

In reply to by Suspicious

Hi my guys name is Henry as well he’s a dr. In Yemen asking for iTunes and cash.
February 03, 2018

In reply to by Glory

well in the first place there are no Missionary schools in England I've lived here 62 years and have never heard of this. However the first part of his tale of woe should have made you do research for yourself, the more you know the less chance of being scammed and whilst I know everyone wants to be loved. Be alert if you have access to a computer use it type in scams read for yourself how low people can get when they want your money
April 04, 2018

In reply to by Lindamary

I NEED to know about the email I got from a FRIEND on Messenge! He said to forward to 50 people and I would receive mpney
wild stang
February 12, 2018

In reply to by Glory

i believe I have the same man scamming me now. can you send me a pic of him and his daughter. he tells me his name is Mark Robert and daughter is Belinda..
February 16, 2018

In reply to by wild stang

I think I am talking to the same guy and have been for almost 2 years. Can we exchange pics please?
Sad and lost
February 27, 2018

In reply to by FTC Staff

Hi Bridgett how can we exchange photos if we can’t post them? Can we give out our email address or any other contact?
FTC Staff
February 28, 2018

In reply to by Sad and lost

Our Comment Policy explains that we don't post personal information. The comments you post here become part of the public domain.  A scammer can change the photo on his  accounts in a few seconds. Seeing a photo won't tell you who you are really dealing with.

If you're chatting with someone who promises a relationship but asks you for money or iTunes cards, or to help him transfer money, notice the warning signs. You could be dealing with a scammer.

April 03, 2018

In reply to by FTC Staff

just spoke to a guy said he was from tampa working in military overseas send his son Itune cards, then him $ for food cause the food sucks he said. As soon as he asked blocked him. really.. he asked me after 3 days.