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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.

in lu my
May 24, 2017

In reply to by Andreab

is anybody ever chat to a guy name eric oslon ,american guy from oslo ,norway
August 17, 2017

In reply to by in lu my

Can we set up a private FB page for all the people here and others like me, who are in the thick of this with men at the same time? There needs to be a save way for us to reach each other and others before they lose everything. Post pics, names, occupations, phone numbers.
lost not found
December 01, 2017

In reply to by Stacia

I would like a Facebook page set up for these scammers to be found out. I think I'm in the middle of a scam right now. Help.
February 07, 2018

In reply to by Stacia

Hi been speaking to a Canadian working in Nigeria . Parents killed in accident Vancouver. Sent me a painting of my daughter along with red roses. Terrible accident on site 4 people dead which he had compensated the families. Needs to get back to London to see me. Cannot pay his hotel bill. I just feel like a total fool.i have picture of him. How do I check this
February 15, 2018

In reply to by Stacia

That is a great idea to start a Facebook page for everyone to exchange names and photos. I surely have a list of names and some photos to add! I have been chatting on dating sites for the past two years and it is absolutely ridiculous how many scammers are on there. I've been asked all the same things too, money transfers, bank account info, Amazon and Itune cards,credit cards,pay pal accounts and was even sent a counterfeit cashiers check, which I knew was fake before I even took it to the bank and they verified that it was. I've been proposed to and asked to sign documents for marriage certificates for military and United Nations workers for them to be able to get out of deployments, which there is no such thing. The oil and gas workers are the worst, have come across many of them. If anyone wants any info on who I have encountered, just message me. Too many to list on here now. I want so badly to have these people locked up, but don't even know where to begin. I also look them up on sites like reverse phone lookup, been verified, and such. The scammers use prepaid phones and have their numbers usually through Google Voice Subscriber and they can't be traced. So if you do a look up on the number it's not found. I found out too that once you help them out your name is given out to more scammers as a potential hit. Try to do as much research as possible if asked anything to do with money and especially if they proclaim their love right away, usually within a week.And more often than not they are widowed with dependant children and working out of the country or on an oil rig. Good luck ladies. Be smart but most importantly, be safe.
February 25, 2018

In reply to by Marie

Please contact me I have been speaking to a man who calls himself Carl Breigner says he is from the Netherlands wife left him and he has twin daughters. I would like to know if you have any information on him. Says he is a geologist working on a rig in the gulf of meg Mexico.
April 16, 2018

In reply to by Duped

Hello! I believe my mother was duped by this same man. I want to help you both nail him....
March 07, 2018

In reply to by Marie

Hello I have somebody saying he is working on a oil rig. What information do you have on them?
March 21, 2018

In reply to by Melissa

I had a gentleman, working as an Engineer on an oil rig at Gulf Mexico. Lost wife 6 yrs ago due to auto-accident on her birthday comig home from shopping. Has 1 son. Guy's name is: Daniel Thomas & son's name is: Junior.
April 16, 2018

In reply to by asiLLisa66

Same history only change daughter 8 years use clark_edward on instagram account, i am from México
April 12, 2018

In reply to by Melissa

Hi melissa i would like to chat with you. I think my mother is being scammed by someone that is using that same story. Id like to contact you.messege me at
March 19, 2018

In reply to by Marie

Hello Marie. I was wondering if you have come across the name of a Travis Gary who claims to be working on an oil platform in The country Georgia out in the Black Sea. He tells me that he has 2 sons and is widowed. His wife was in a car accident in Germany February 2013. He also claims to be an engineer. I would appreciate any information that you can pass along to me
August 22, 2017

In reply to by in lu my

Chatted with a guy named James Stevenson - also from Oslo Norway - widower - wife had liver failure. Son in colleg e- big scammer!!!!
August 28, 2017

In reply to by marilyn

I've been chatting with a Bobby Stevenson, widow, one daughter, born in the Netherlands but moved to Minnesota, now lives in Philadelphia. Do you have a photo to share? Sounds an awful lot like the same person.
Southern Miss
September 29, 2017

In reply to by Dawn

Seems the Netherlands is a hot spot now. I am emailing with a guy, Michael), who says he lives in San Jose Ca, a widow (lost his wife 10 yrs ago to lung cance), has a 15 year old daughter..he is a telecommunications engineer, etc. He wanted to email first--got off of dating site as soon as I responded..broken English..and we email now. He says he will text me on my phone now..and I hate textn..I want to run google image..have not done that before plus I use computers at a library, etc. I will find a way to do that as I have 4 pics; then I may try to locate the guy he is victim of stolen pics. For some reason, back in June I started getting messages on dating websites from tons of engineers and many were in other countries. This all started after I had met a guy who was a real engineer (he checked out). His pic was with the company he told me he worked for. We seemed to have a good rapport, had several long conversations but then I did not hear anymore from him.
Too hot to handle
April 06, 2018

In reply to by Dawn

I Been talking to a guy goes by the name abdul aziz seidu from ghana i no he got to be a scam he asked one time about some money and i went off on him then he said his wife passed away last year 2 months after he married her then he said he has a daughter name lil Amina i didn't believe him he said he wants to marry me i love you so much he sent me photos of him three look different he said that hes 42yr old look like he is in his 20s when i ask a ? he got a p with it tells me to think positive i told him am always thinking positive i told him to go away because i no its a Scam i haven't sent any money or any item am nobody fool he haven't asked me for anything since am playing the game right along with him i ask can he send me some funds through western union he said they don't that here we just can receive funds through western union i said you lying because it world wide he didn't say anything else lol
February 06, 2018

In reply to by marilyn

I think I shall report this swindler from zoosk. His profile is not searchable now. (account name was"charles", Sacramento, CA) but I think to avoid other ladies becomes his victim, His linkedin profile is : https: // www. linkedin. com/ in/ charles- kovac-86458598/, however it's possible also fake. Saying he had a project at Malaysia in mining business (he is Geotechnical engineer), born in US, lived in UK... The email he use is: c. kovac 1970@ outlook. com, full name in" Charles Kovac"

February 16, 2018

In reply to by marilyn

Hi Marilyn I wanted to let you know you are not alone in this scam.I am from Australia and was contacted by James Stevenson on POF. Same story, same details provided of Deagon oil products, cheques, letters etc. I also sent money. I am devastated as needed money for medical procedure and lent it as it was Christmas, I was ill in hospital and vulnerable and was told money would be given back in a week when the engineering job complete. This person is very calculating and no heart or soul. He seems to of stolen the profile from JS Urban Engineering. This website has been deleted but I kept copies of it. I have provided all the information I had to police, banks etc in the hope he is caught. PLEASE if you have any details could you send to police in Australia, Illawarra Police Station Oak Flats. Notify all banks etc that you dealt with over this matter. I truly hope he can be stopped as he is destroying peoples life. I hope you find the love you are searching for.
Mollie J
March 14, 2018

In reply to by Australia

Hello I'm sorry to intrude but I have been talking to a guy says he lives in Australia and he is an engineer wife died no children and he went to Kenya to get work orders and was mugged and in hospital needs money for surgery name Anthony Silva
March 18, 2018

In reply to by marilyn

I've been chatting with a guy he says on a oil rig says this is his last he's going to retire in May says he needs me to send 4 100 amazon cards so we can talk on the phone said he can't buy them in the sea and he has a daughter in boarding school in Oslo Norway he's a widower
FTC Staff
March 19, 2018

In reply to by Cheryl

You can't use iTunes cards to talk on the phone.

You can use iTunes cards for music, apps and books on the iTunes cards. Some scammers ask people to send them iTunes cards, or the codes from the back of an iTunes card. They use the cards, or re-sell them.

August 27, 2020

In reply to by marilyn

Do you have pictures. A friend of mine is being catfished by a person claiming to be James Stevenson from Georgia USA. When I researched his picture was using Steven Gern from Dallas, Texas.
August 27, 2020

In reply to by marilyn

One of my friends is being scammed by someone claiming to be James Stevenson. I looked the pictures he sent her. When I up loaded his picture on google images he is Steven Gern. What photos do you have. We just can't convince her she is being scammed. She has already sent $1000 and he is asking for another $450 more.
August 22, 2017

In reply to by in lu my

Also, do you have a picture? I have pictures (possible they are him) of James Stevenson.
August 27, 2017

In reply to by in lu my

Similar story... widower from Oslo, Norway. Sent a few texts, but would not talk on the phone. I told him several times that I preferred a phone call. He continued to text, so I stopped replying. He went by the name of Gary Knight.
February 01, 2018

In reply to by Angie5

Also talked to same person I think said he was frank daniels from oslo Norway.travels to USA to work. Was in China for a year trying to get money to get home.
March 07, 2018

In reply to by Momoblev57

I have one stuck in China also..he has no money to get back to USA
April 12, 2018

In reply to by Tobieye

Tobieye what is his name? and what is he doing in China, and where does he live?
Finding truth
April 19, 2018

In reply to by leenie

Whats the background story with they guy in china? Ive been talking to a guy for a while and he is in china for work for an it engineering company. His credit cards have been frozen and can’t buy a plane ticket home. So he wants to send me his paychecks so I can wife money to him to get home.
FTC Staff
April 19, 2018

In reply to by Finding truth

Some scammers use people to help them transfer stolen money. They meet someone online, create a relationship, and then ask their new sweetheart to use her bank account to receive and transfer money.


If you do this for a scammer, your name is on the bank account and on the money transfer forms. If you get involved with one of these schemes, you could lose money and personal information, and you could get into legal trouble.

February 24, 2018

In reply to by Andreab

I’m talking yo the same guy but he said he was a surgeon working for nato in Syria. His son is in boarding school and wife died of breast cancer. Said he’s retiring at the end of the month and moving back to the states. Gave me his sons contact number to get to know him. Within 3 days it was his sons birthday and he was upset cause dad couldn’t make it for his birthday. Asked if I would send him$500! I blocked them both
March 02, 2018

In reply to by Deanna101

Any chance this fellow is bald, kind face (great bod), 45-48 years old young son with dark brown eyes, and devastatingly romantic??
March 17, 2018

In reply to by AZMamaBear

I have been talking to a fellow with a 23 year old son who is working as an engineer on a contract on a rig. He said he is danish and does have an accent. Romantic, kind, says we will meet soon as he will retire soon. Plans to relocate. He is bald, kind face.
May 26, 2018

In reply to by Deanna101

Do you have any pics this sounds like the same man scamming my mom and I can't get her to believe it.
March 24, 2021

In reply to by Deanna101

Yes this person I'm talking has basically stop talking hes using williams hannet has a son in boarding school lost his wife having his newborn sons in boarding school in uk
March 24, 2018

In reply to by Andreab

Omg I've had a man talking to me for the last two weeks told me he loves me in a matter of days. He said he worked on an oil rig in Kuwait now he's asked me to open a bank account get a one vanilla card but I don't live in US and now he asking me to buy him an iTunes card so after asking me to spend my money to a man I've never met thought he's scaming me he said his name was Ellison and he had a daughter who is 17 living with an aunt in the US wonder if its the same man
June 30, 2016

In reply to by Undercover

Sounds familiar but not exact. My scammer sent me a message from Match. Dylan Carson claimed he is originally from Austin, Texas but lived in Sydney Australia for the past 15 year with his daughter Ruby after the passing of his beloved Sue who died in a car crash while 3 month pregnant. He claimed he moved to Kitchner, Ontario, Canada while his daughter moved to Texas with his parents to attend university. Says he is a technical engineer with Estisilat in Dubai and travels constantly for work. He said he just got back from Dorset in UK and will have to go back in to complete the job. Long story short and too many facets to this story, I wired him over $300K and never got back a penny. I lost my house and all my savings and trying to build back my life. I never met him, but I will leave him in the hands of the good Lord!
pogi wowo
July 18, 2016

In reply to by Devastated

I know how you feel. I was scammed by a guy Wilhelm Gerhard Krumwiede They have different stories some times the same person. All of them are liars. Ireported him to FBI already and to the police . This person is in the USA but use the address of foreign Countries. Maybe if you can share his pictures to me we might have the same guy. He uses Wells fargo and Bank of America so i have all the records of the transactions and the address of his contact here in the US maybe the police can raid that house and maybe the police can catch them.
Carmela 86
July 20, 2016

In reply to by pogi wowo

I am writing for 8 months with a doctor who works for UN in Syria an his so. Is in Norway in school his name is Dr Michael Wooden don't know know if he is the same person.
July 22, 2016

In reply to by Carmela 86

I've been talking to a stunning looking young woman I met online. She said she was a student working on a project with WHO and got stranded in Nigeria. She needed money to get out and continued to say things like the money she had was stolen or the money was scammed from her. Her name is Elizabeth (Betty) Pugh.
March 17, 2017

In reply to by Jermaine

OMG! This happened to me too! Thank you for posting this.
Devastated and angry
April 04, 2017

In reply to by BeenBetty'ed

I met him on He claimed to be an engineer and had to go to Texas to work on securing a contract. He gets the contract but it is to work on a rig in Alaska so now it would be 6 more weeks before we could meet. Said he was widowed his wife and son died in a car accident. Said he just moved to Canada two months ago but has a 213 area code? He has a problem at the rig in Alaska, one of his vital team members trying to get cell service fell and had to go to hospital. He is in serious condition. Now Charles Jason does not know what to do...He asks me to send an email to another engineer to come and help him at the site. I had to do the email as he said there was no internet...he could only text. I email this engineer Stevens Green and he replies very quickly stating he just finished a job in Dubai but wont go to the site until payment is secured. Charles texted me to ask if I could send Stevens 20 thousand US dollars so he could come to help on the rig. That is the last conversation I had with him. I said NO. since then I have blocked him from my email and cell phone. I reported this to the police and every on line site I can He is so very convincing and smooth like all the others I am sure. Claimed he loved me, wanted to marry me etc etc I have also reported to yahoo his and his buddy's email address. He also goes by the name James Candam He only went by Charles Jason with me. His accent does not suit his picture. Ladies be aware!!! He is so damn good at making you fall for him says everything you want to hear and more. I am trying to find out who the person is in the picture he uses on facebook, lavalife and the ones he sent to my email. Does anyone know how I can contact the poor guy who's picture is being used?
April 26, 2017

In reply to by Devastated and angry

Sounds like someone who was trying to scam me. We emailed, did google.hangouts,etc After 1 month, he was professing his love for me, etc. He was an oil geologist, whose wife had died 6 years earlier from ovarian cancer. Said he was deeply religious (Catholic) and had a daughter going to college in Leeds, England. He, too, took a 6 week contractor job in the Baltic Sea. His drill broke and he told me he had already purchased one in PA, but could I pay for the shipping fee of $1500. He had locked his accounts while he was out of the country and the bank wouldn't let him unlock his account unless he was physically there. Started smelling a scam. I told him I couldn't afford the $1500, then he said his daughter could come up with $500, could I do the $1000. He wanted me to give the money on a gmail account with no other information on it. I called the company who supposedly had the drill and gave him the invoice numbers. The owner said not to give him any money because that same scam had been played about 2 years earlier. I went along with the scam - wanted him to give permission for me to contact the airline that he flew over on (airline would not release a yes he was on that flight or no he wasn't - have to protect the scammer). He refused to give permission - I didn't trust him. Told him I would give him the 1000 if he would give the permission - he still wouldn't. Unfortunately, before all this had occurred, I sent him 2 nude headless photos of myself at his request (hey, we were in love). Now he is threatening me that if I don't give him $300 (for the cost of him sending me roses ) he will put those photos the internet. But once I pay, what will stop him from coming back over and over again requesting more money. I have alerted Facebook and google over this scam. I have one week reprieve until he goes public with the photos (told him I needed to wait until I get paid). His name he uses is Mark Ferguson, also goes by Mark Roberts, originally from Edinburgh, but now in San Jose, CA. He is very good looking and writes exceptionally well. What a con artist. He also uses Facebook, but has either blocked me from seeing his profile (so I couldn't post that he is a scam artist) or he has stopped using Facebook. Who knows what he really looks like because I'm sure he hacked into another guy's Facebook account. I guess it's the live and learn. You can bet that I will never correspond with another unknown person from the internet wanting to be my friend.