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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.

March 05, 2018

In reply to by Margheritaelisha67

Is there a way you can send me a picture of him?
March 16, 2018

In reply to by Margheritaelisha67

omg this is the very same person but i had 2 of them doing it says his name is General James Williams of the US Army did he take the profile down soon after and get you to. and the other 1 is addy roberts. please if you have a photo would love to see if its the same person i have done a video call with james
March 20, 2018

In reply to by lisa

Hi Lisa, I also met James Williams, Please help me, how to contact with you? I cannot upload picture here
March 23, 2018

In reply to by lisa

this james Williams try to do to he was try to blackmail because he said if I did not give him 500.oo he would put these picture of me with none thing on facebook he want me to send him 500.00 to son in Nigeria because he son lost his atm card he is from Nigeria because I had friend to cheek him out and I told to go jump in the lake
March 25, 2018

In reply to by kathleen

I met a guy. He add me in Facebook. His last name that he told me is the same name written on the guy in the US Army Uniform. His story is almost the same like other ladies told here. He is widowed for almost 4 years and has daughter studying in London. His wife and parents died in the crush..We only chat for 2 days only. Pls. give some advise.
April 03, 2018

In reply to by lisa

Good evening Lisa, could take look at page 54 under GB 1030 March 22, 2018. The is a discreption of male Claiming to be a General in the US Army.
October 30, 2018

In reply to by lisa

OMG - I think I am being scammed by General James Williams who claims to be an American Naval eye surgeon in Afghanistan. He found me on Instagram and has sent several photos of him and his kids -Kelvin & Sarah. However there is a second Instagram account under a different name with very similar photos! This Jame Williams has just called me and does not sound anywhere near American, possibly Nigerian or similar! I feel like such an idiot, I thought I was smarter than this!!! I'm more cross at myself for being fooled into thinking someone was actually out there for me!!! I don't know how to share photos but if anyone has any of their scammer or can tell me how to share my own I will do so. I will also find the link for reporting him...
April 02, 2018

In reply to by Margheritaelisha67

Sounds like the scammer I just turned into Face Book as fake profile. Just turn them into Facebook. On their profile near the message freind bar there's a circle with 3 verticle dots click it it will say Report. Report thier profile there. This is easy to do and we all need to report these profiles. Warning !!!! AKEXANDER GEORGE WILLIAMS. OR GEORGE WILLIAMS. OR ALEXANDER WILLIAMS GEORGE. HOUSTON TEXAS CLAIMS HE'S IN CONSTRUCTION. FB PROFILE SAYS ENGINERE IN OIL/GAS. CLAIMS TO HAVE DAUGHTER BECKY OR VICKY IN BOARDING SCHOOL. WIFE DIED 3 YEARS AGO IN CAR CRASH. HAS NO PARENTS. IMMIGRATED FROM SPAIN AS A YOUNG BOY WITH UNCLE AND 2 YOUNGER SISTER. OWNS LARGE HOME IN HOUSTON TEXAS. WORKS ALL OVER USA ALLEGEDLY. Will ask for iTunes cards and get you to get a new credit card. Possibly even Walmart master card. He always has an excuse that he needs money. Will get fake daughter to ask for money as well. Has a very handsome 40 something year old man as pictures. Mostly pics of him drinking wine. Bright Blue eyes. Well groomed and clean cut. HE'S FAKE. HE'S A CON. HE will claim to want to marry you. He will say God has brought us together and call you his wife. As well he will confess he's only ever loved you. HE'S FAKE. HE'S VERY GOOD AT SWOONING MUCH OLDER WOMEN. SENIOR WOMEN BE VERY AWARE. DOESN'T CARE IF YOUR MARRIED HR WILL TRY TO CONVINCE YOU TO FILE FOR DIVORCE. HE WON'T TALK ON CAM. BC HE'S FAKE. A LIAR. A CREEP. PLEASE EVERYONE REPORT THE PROFILES. EVERY ONLINE SOCIAL MEDIA HAS A WAY TO REPORT. REPORT AND SHARE THE NAME ON THE PROFILE !!! THE PICTURES ARE OF VICTIMS AS WELL. DO NOT PUBLICLY SHARE PICTURES. SHARE PICTURES PRIVATELY.
Scammed by Man…
June 09, 2018

In reply to by Mybella99

Taking hrs n hrs out of my career as beatiful 43yr women w no kids This man I met 5 months ago on hangouts totally scammed me I have to money to fly to meet him n I sent 800 n then another 750 a month ago n now won't pick up phone. Looking at FB for hrs n days I believe 2 names could be him. Issah Laresse or Issah Dino don't know if pictures match up but these are the names I sent money too. Please beware of these people. They can't go make something like a career or open a store or do something with themself. Beware please Thanks Sandy from TX
September 19, 2018

In reply to by Mybella99

A George williams has contacted me through words with friends yes from Houston texas widowed parents killed in a car crash amn oil rig engineer a son 11 in boarding school probably same one asked for money but I never sent very handsome smartly dressed all photos in a restaurant too
Anonymous Mom
December 09, 2020

In reply to by Mybella99

I think this man has been speaking with me for some months. Are you willing to share his picture?
April 02, 2018

In reply to by Margheritaelisha67

Same here. Is the same guy. He's supposed to be british, 61 years old and has a 6 year old son who is sick in a country in Africa, during school trip. The boy attends boarding school also in UK. Uses the name Jack Williams on FB and Jack Norman on TWI. On the pictures which are not really his, as all we know....He has grey/blueish eyes, grey/black hair, dark beard on the middle and grey on the sides. He is very cute. His wife as for what he said died giving birth to her son. ),beber believed that. He's an oil engineer working at sea, near UK. Started very fast professing his love and bla bla bla. I cut him weeks ago and all in peace, but stated to chat again and then it was when told me the fairy tale about his son sick at a place where the phone doesn't work. I called,I could talk to the ambulance paramedic and got a new number of the hospital, to confirm there's no boy of those characteristics admitted there. He said he had been asked to send them money to cover his son's treatment. But there was I don't know what issue with his account....but he's supposed to be super wealthy. The fake doctor emphasized that the most important was the oxygen for the boy....was about to finish and needed $700 through money gram, to get the replacement asap. But everything looked so odd to me, that I didn't move until I made some calls and check ups online. Thank God I did not write any money. Careful, ladies.
October 09, 2018

In reply to by Raspberry34

My wife's Aunty is currently being scammed by a Jack Norman also. She will not listen to reason. Just wondering if by any chance you had pictures of him?? Maybe then we can lay it all out to her.
June 29, 2018

In reply to by Margheritaelisha67

did he use the name Donald? Did he ask for money or cards? just curious because I am sure he is the one I am talking to now.....seems genuine but very wary after being scammed before. Any info would be appreciated.
March 11, 2018

In reply to by Sean

Sounds like the same guy. Says he's a doctor and has a son in New York. He's in Juba Sudan. He tells me he loves me and I'm his wife. Really!! His son is in boarding school. He hasn't asked for more money yet.if he's really a doctor he wouldn't Patients....patience!!! Do you have any pictures of him. Im still playing him. I've already caught home using a picture from another guys account. If you have a picture please send it.
March 21, 2018

In reply to by Firestone

I've been talking to a Robert Henry he say he's a doctor. And as a son named kelvin best. I do have pictures
Michael C
January 19, 2018

In reply to by lovetotan

I have been talking to him for over 9 months yes he tells us love me and will help me with my divorce. I have given his 40.00
February 21, 2018

In reply to by lovetotan

Rim talking to a chrisxwilliams. Gorgeous pictures even baby pics look exactly like him. Son took a trip to uk. Had a horrible accident needs funds Says he’s a dr for UN. This is in indtagram
December 30, 2018

In reply to by lovetotan

Sounds like the Dr I was chatting with also, stationed in Syria. Had a daughter in boarding school. He is definitely a scammer, he never got anything from me, I played along to see ow far he would go. I’d like to exchange photos. Posted 6 photos of a handsome whiteman, name doc Williams, says he German and is an Orthopedic surgeon on contract. How do I contact you to exchange photos?
October 11, 2016

In reply to by CAPTCHA

Sounds like the guy I have been talking to. He says he is in Iraq, and he has no way to his money. Son is In Africa and his Credit Card Is not working.. Even though I told him my profession, he still was not getting it. By the way this one goes by the name 'ANTHONY BRANDON"
April 28, 2017

In reply to by SPARKLES

This sounds like the man I am talking to. He is an geological engineer. I am a geologist, he won't "talk shop" he says it's classified, he's on a military base in Turkey and can't send me photos. I was able to get 5 photos from him. Including a photo of a passport. One of the photos is from the top of a dam near Incirlic AFB. The reasons he is asking for money is due to an work accident and needs to replace equipment. The terminology he is using is incorrect. His name he says is Michael Anthony and lost a wife and son in a car accident 10 years ago. He says he went to highschool in a boarding school. He claims to have spend most of his life in Italy but his accent is not Italian. He says his mother is Hispanic but he can't speak or read Spanish. ( I know because I am Spanish) Not sure what to do about this. I am not wanting to date anyone now. My previous long term relationship was physically abusive and now this? It's hard to believe there are good men out there anymore.
October 24, 2017

In reply to by Angelfae

Hi , can you give me some more details , I was contacted by someone as well , with sort of the same story about his workers being injured.
March 13, 2018

In reply to by Angelfae

Yes this has happened to me twice. But i was clever and caught them out. The first time was one Facebook. He told me the same storythat his wife died and he is a soldier in Afghanistan and he has a box full of moneyto which the key is at his home address in the uk and that he needs to send it to me so that i can look after it. Then he said he wants some money from me so that he can ship this box over to me. The second one guy was a Nigerian telling me his wife died and he has 2 boys in Canada but he his working in Ghana and he needs to send his money to me until he reaches the uk. What a prat !!!

St Jude
March 15, 2018

In reply to by Roxy

Hi i was recently chatting with a man who claimed to be a widowed and all his family died so got only 2 kids as his family. He is an engineer as he said based in Australia but an American and then travelling for a project in Malaysia. He looks very good and sents photos too of him and his kids and parents event had his linkedIn profile and Instagram and a roaming US number. But i never had a chance to see him on video or really except his voice twice. His voice and accent doest sound him on the photo but all he talks on chat arr very sweet and like all real. Recently i had doubted as he claims to be in a bad situation unable to use his card and needs to pay some bills and asked for help. He sent his full name and address where he is staying but then again after a week asking again for help and for a much bigger amount. I am confused and do not know what to feel or think. Have you ever came accrossed to similar man. I met him in tagged.
March 30, 2018

In reply to by St Jude

Hi i think i have same guy as you. He added me on instagram. He used photos with his 3 kids, widowed, asked me immediately to use hangouts says he will be deployed to Yemen. Says his christian too. Then he said his laptop is not working and need to be replaced so He asked me to send money to someone he knows in Us and he will buy the laptop and will send to yemen with their carrier. He seemed like a nice guy really, half italian and american. After his father died he moved to US with his mom and she passed away too. He gave me his roaming number but he sounded like Nigerian or so
April 16, 2018

In reply to by Confusedlady

Sounds like the one scamming me right now. He's a doctor in Yemen, we talked hours, Hangout, I let him see me on video chat but he can't let me see him for security reasons. Yea, right. His wife died in childbirth, has two kids in US in boarding school. All charm and love, and yes, I fell for his loving ways. Calls me Juliet and he's Romeo, he's wealthy with house in SanFransico. Bought him iTunes, mailed him the pictures of the UPCs. Wired him $1250 Western Union for his son's soccer tournament registration. Every time he slips up, he has an excuse. And everything he claims has some truth. Now he finally got paid, he's buying medical equipment for the UN and hadn't been paid for a long time but soon as he gets paid he's coming to me and, well, you get the picture. I've heard these guys try and blackmail us for money, I bet he has some pretty hot phone calls taped that I sure don't want anyone to hear! His name is Steve Arthur. He found me on Facebook and the only reason I accepted his friendship is because there was a man in my high school class with the same name. I fell in love, and have to admit, after reading so many similar stories that he is a fake. You're the first one I've seen use Yemen, that's why I'm replying to you. He sent pictures, very nice looking, but probably not him. I find people with his same email, and also with his phone number, but that was all fake anyway. Good luck to you, we have to stay strong against these awful good for nothing money sucking creatures!
October 14, 2019

In reply to by Brody

I was chatting with supposedly a Dr Dalen Van in Yemen got close to a month. Pictures of him, a good looking Dr. with greying short curly hair with a stethoscope around his neck. He said he had 2 daughters back in Germany. All kinds of sweet talk, cute little messages. Gd had found his soul mate, etc. After 2 weeks asked me to get stem cards, then later bitcoins. Both times I told him no. Beware, he is a smooth talking scammer. I deleted him
CountryDon't u…
October 25, 2017

In reply to by SPARKLES

Sound like guy I've been talking to, he's sergeant & In Afghanistan, wanting food , so send him 100$ .. Not In the world's,, lifetime.
February 18, 2018

In reply to by CountryDon't u…

CountryDont us, is his name Bryan Mason?
October 16, 2017

In reply to by CAPTCHA

I just met so called Dr. Working for understanding with a son in the uknee what pic do u have does he have a lab coat
Taken before
March 30, 2018

In reply to by Pissedoff

I was taken for 20K by someone named Paul Anderson. Called police, FBI others to no avail used others ID and name and sent presents to my home address. Very good looking guy, about 55 years old. Nothing was done to help me. Said he was in the gold, silver trading business. Asked for shipping money as he was short in Lima, Peru. Bad news. Now I have a doctor named Dr. Michel Brown who had to leave suddenly for a month in Saudi Arabia. Says he has a daughter in boarding school in Arizona 15 years old. Hasn't asked for anything yet so I am playing him. If anyone has been contacted by him please reply to me.
April 09, 2018

In reply to by Taken before

Hi Taken before, My mom is being scammed by a man right now who claims his name is Michael Brown. She met him on Words with Friends. I don't know many details, but I do have a photo of him.
May 18, 2018

In reply to by AnnGrace

I would love to see that picture
October 16, 2018

In reply to by Taken before

Dr. Michael Brown - I think I'm chatting with a scammer... briefly: He's claiming that he's a doctor in U.S Army on a mission in Afghanistan..he had an ex-wife but she died in car accident and his son is with nanny right now. I've got pictures. I'm playing in his game, for now, because I'm curious If he will ask me about money. Oh, and he's from Chicago. I don't trust him from the first sentence he wrote to me.
February 20, 2018

In reply to by CAPTCHA

hi, we have same story here in the Philippines, MARCUS JONES.
December 13, 2016

In reply to by pogi wowo

Pogi wowo, your story is exactly same as mine. Please send me address to report this to FBI. Thank you!
February 17, 2017

In reply to by pogi wowo

Pogi wowo, did the FBI caught this criminal? I want to know, please because I lost a lot of money dealing with this scammers. Their stories really sounds legitimate. Thank you
July 12, 2017

In reply to by pogi wowo

Hi does any one knows Alfred alonso on Facebook we text each other for three months know he said he wants to marry me and that he is a widow and he did bought the engagement ring and earrings and the is a business contractor he said he is going to turkey to transport cars and he said his cars got. Rung down he showed me the video I believe him and few weeks later he will beg me for money that costs millions and he wants me to send him 500 dollars I said know I don't know u I have to know u face to face and not far distance I'm glad I didn't send him the money I have to think twice I have a child to raise he took off his face book completely I ask him what is wrong with your Facebook he said I don't know so is a scamm and he tried to use me on what's up and use his daughter phone saying my dad is crying calling my name is a lie I tried to call his daughter back didn't respond my. calls
August 31, 2017

In reply to by gbebo12

Omg girl,for some reason this name sounds very familiar. He was supposebly a friend of this person nd his name first was Bryan hunter then it became kelvin scorth then last it was Kevin woodruff Scott. The last three names are the same person, he supposebly is in the army he also has been asking money from me as well as a Jeff( Jeffery) Julian Coleman. To this day I still dont know if both of there profiles are fake or not.. I wish I knew..
September 06, 2017

In reply to by Snowflakes53

you lease tell me more about kelvin. I'm talking to a guy named Kelvin who's gay in the army and is on base in Phoenix yet his google hangout screennane is Richard Lucas
Don't use your…
February 08, 2018

In reply to by davidandrew

Kelvin carter is his name,military in Afghanistan trying to get money to get out.A scam for sure. I deleted him!
Don't use your…
February 28, 2018

In reply to by Don't use your…

Mry77 was texting a BobieWalters000 at Insta gram said he was in the Army war zone in Afghanistan. Lots of sweet talk then asked 4 an Itunes gift card.
November 05, 2017

In reply to by pogi wowo

To all the women in this post please know that no man you would ever want would ask a women for money- ever!!! There are good men out there but when a woman is desperate for love men can tell and the bad ones will take advantage if you let them. Never ever give money. Please stop and think. Doctors, engineers, geologist, these type of professional men are not in need of your money and if they do you shouldn't want them. Again think about it- if he needs YOUR money, why do you need HIM. We as women have to stop being desperate for a man at any cost. Love yourself first.
March 09, 2018

In reply to by Enlightened

And to all the men, don't fall for a gold digger. Marry for love and not money.
November 09, 2017

In reply to by pogi wowo

I had a guy called Stephen Clark also a doctor in Syria widower with a 15 yr old daughter soon cottoned on when he starting asking to many details about my marriage etc; he is now blacklisted and blocked and in the few hours we chatted via Facebook he had befriend another 5 women all blonde and around my age. when I spoke to him his english was not good and he was suppose to be from California with an American father and a Cuban mother. Just be careful ladies he (they are up to no good)
stupid me
March 04, 2018

In reply to by pogi wowo

his name is micheal gurry suppose to be on an oil rig drilling in the gulf, born in LA grew up in austrila and went to school in uk sny one know yhat name,
C p
March 05, 2018

In reply to by stupid me

I have a friend talking to a micheal qith same story but lives in north carolina
March 26, 2018

In reply to by pogi wowo

I was approached on Tinder yesterday by a man claiming to be named Kennedy Preston, a doctor from Chicago (where I live), but working in Syria on a UN contract helping victims. He asked to chat via a different texting app pretty quickly. He also said that he's searching for a mate and will return home as soon as he finds "the one". So many red flags! I've already cut all communications with him before he goes any further.