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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.

December 27, 2017

In reply to by forum

How can i see it from you?
March 05, 2018

In reply to by Undercover

Oh my gosh!!! My Mom had a gentleman chatting her, telling her that EXACT story, he was going by the name of Bryan Marks. Now she's got another gentleman (or who knows it might still be the same guy, just going by a different name now of Chris Mark who has completely consumed my Mom. He's already conned her into sending him money, saying his son was in a car accident,a and sent her pictures of wedding rings saying he's going to marry her, and he's going to help her pay off her credit cards, and pay her rent for a few months. He had my Mom convinced that he was flying her to meet her in person, but had an excuse both times. The first excuse was his son got in the car accident, and his most recent excuse was that he had been robbed of $6000 and his laptop, so now my Mom is looking at laptops. This should be considered a crime!!!!!
April 02, 2018

In reply to by Concerned

Sounds very similar to a women senior I'm trying ruthless horrible con artit's pick on vulnerable retired people who have no way to make their money back. We need someine that's secure and safe to share pics and stories.
June 29, 2016

In reply to by Adaughter

I am so sorry from the story you told seems who your mom met is a scammer. Hope your mom realize and not keep sending money for any reason he gave before meet someone in real and know well.
July 01, 2016

In reply to by Adaughter

This German guy befriended me on face book says his wife is decreased daughter in an accident but just had a birthday, send money for her present. He's working for a company drilling oil as a engineer I know this must be a scam also. .
Same Here
July 20, 2016

In reply to by Sheila

Hi. Please don't trust. I just found out the guy I have been sending money to is 100% fraud. His name is Shawn Piere Cazier. Can someone tell me if the police or FBI can do something? I want this man caught and I don;t want him to do this to another woman again. I am emotionally and financially distraught. I want this man caught. Please Federal Trade Commission respond to this. I am also afraid to report if this is a big ring operation. I fear that he might come after me and my family. I completely got fooled by this man. Even his fake daughter called me and we texted for months...I thought I had a future with this man. I never given money to anyone like this before. I am also fearful I will be in trouble with the police...I did not know until July it was a scam. Please let me know if it is safe to report. Thanks.
July 20, 2016

In reply to by Same Here

If you think you're talking to a scammer, please report it to the FTC at

August 03, 2017

In reply to by ctressler

My German sounding scamme's name is Henrik Markud with an engineering job for Petronas Oil in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His wife died from cancer, his son had a brain tumor while at Boarding School in London, he cannot cash his check gor 2.7 million because the government tax agency is demanding $54,000 in taxes up front. Quite a scintillating story, huh? And Im much poorer.
August 09, 2017

In reply to by Shellbell54

this guy sounds familiar. Mechanical engineer dealing with corrosion control, Raised in Germany. Has not asked for money, but its been barely a week. Looked too good to be true and the accent on the phone was not German.
August 16, 2017

In reply to by upset

Its softer than a German accent. I called his bluff on Aug 1st and reported him to all Malaysian authorities. He says he's on the run, but keeps texting and phoning me. I also notified a woman in TX he was scamming as he had me send money through her bank acct.I've dried up some of his money sources. Do not send money!!!! Scammer!!!
February 16, 2018

In reply to by upset

Rusty. Women, Please do not fall victims of internet scams. Those people are wicked.We did not earned our hard earnings to give away,because of love.... It's been 6 yrs I haven't been with a man, I am 64 yrs old...Thanks god for life, you could do the same.. On the other hand, Once upon a time we could of used social media to communicate with family and friends, Unfortunately, We're dragged in by unwanted people who we do not know... Military officers don't have time to date no one on dating sites. They has their own e-mails and they're well taken cared of by the insurance and government...I got so afraid to come on line and chat with my friends. May the lord have mercy on those hands,and evil minded people.. May they burned in hell...

April 05, 2021

In reply to by upset

Do you have pictures of the German man mechanical engineer working on a submarine sounds Nigerian
October 20, 2017

In reply to by Shellbell54

Kuala Lumpur going on for a year now...called his bluff today. He sucked me in with my wife and child died during childbirth. Oilman!! Sweetest voice European voice you ever heard. Sending money all this. Only have myself to blame for being so gullible.
October 20, 2017

In reply to by Shellbell54

Hi Do you have by any chance his picture I am talking with someone with almost same words just he says he America. And asking me for money as he has a business deal.
December 27, 2017

In reply to by GotoPal

Guy talking to my sister is suppose to be french but i answered her phone once and he sounds Nigerian to me.
July 30, 2016

In reply to by Sheila

Sheila - This german guy sounds alot like my scammer. What's his name? My scammer's wife had leukemia and daughter's birthday was June 14. The name he used was Clark Gibson but I've seen him use the name Huffman Alfred Gibson. Same guy??
May 11, 2017

In reply to by Judy

Judy, this guy sent me a friend request and the name is Justice Wilson Huffman. His timeline says he is from Frankfurt, Germany but lives in SF, CA. He said he works for the UN and his wife died of cancer. He told me he is looking for a relationship. So I asked him why he is looking for it at FB? Then he told me he is leaving for Sudan, Africa. I reported it to FB then they took it down. He made another profile.
November 13, 2016

In reply to by Sheila

I also started talking to a german man about the same time and the story is very similar
July 26, 2017

In reply to by Mb17

What was his last name he used I think I'm talking to the same guy
August 16, 2017

In reply to by Jc

He uses many aliases. The accent is more like a Nigerian who attended British schools. He cries easily, chuckles and speaks very softly. Used an image of Richard Cravatts, Phd. Says hes German born, dead parents, a son in England. Be aware!!!
October 20, 2017

In reply to by Mb17

Alex is the one I have been sending money to...using the last name of Godson goes by the nickname of Jimmy
December 07, 2017

In reply to by Sheila

Hello I realize your post is dated last year, but I wanted see if your guy and the guy I'm talking to are the same your story sounds just like the story my guy told me. the guys name who found me on facebook is Roland C Albert. I told him I will never send him money or my personal info and he got made said I was mean not to believe him and so I set him straight but he still wants to talk to me cause he cares deeply for me blah blah blah he thought I could send his daughter a Iphone or Ipad I told him I cant't afford either one of those for myself. He's tried to get me to give him Itunes cards and then to transfer a large check he was going to send me and I could keep out of it like a thousand dollars and send the rest on to his sister who is taking care of his daughter for him. now he says he'll help me get work online If i Just send 500 I said no so he lowered it to 300 as he will pay 200 for me lol whatever not sure if your going to actually see my reply since yours is from a year ago but I thought Id try.
Senior woman
January 25, 2018

In reply to by slygal

This sounds like a guy who tried to scam me same story. His name is GregEl Hamil. Uses different alias

January 19, 2018

In reply to by Sheila

OMG I am talking to this guy named Alex also and he says the same about his wife but that his daughter is with his aunt and he is on a oil rig. So you have a pic of him I am so curious because I think he is a scammer
February 06, 2021

In reply to by LBee

Does he have a distinctive mole on his forehead right side? Dark brown hair and beard or mustache? Talking to an Alex Godson, haven't asked about his ex, his daughter is 9 and his Mom watches her when he is off shore, says his daughter lives with him but I never hear her in the background? Says he has a dog never hear the dog either, he says dog is always with neighbors since he is always working, seems odd to me. Started asking more specifics about his work and he only answers partially never gives me a straight answer. So since he just "left" for his contracted job for 6 weeks offshore I have kinda stopped texting him. Super quiet sweet european accent, mellow, cannot find him on social media anywhere! He found me through Linked in via our shared interest in Reiki work. Just strange.
July 12, 2016

In reply to by Adaughter

Did they send pic of daughter with her name on birthday cake?
Same Here
July 27, 2016

In reply to by SoTrue

No, one of the pictures I got was with him and his daughter in the car making what he called "Kissy Faces like fishes".
July 15, 2016

In reply to by Adaughter

I had the same thing only i new from the jump i google picture search the firat day i let him work for me for 6 weeks lmao hahaha i had him in tears i had to school him buffalo dont play that will be the day i pay any man to come to me haha on what planet is a man ask a women for money okay in the end i really enjoyed the attention lonley house wife my hes im house lol now i had crying i even got his real identity pics and much more jackson Williams 1988 oh yes what a sexy accent and a picture to dye for well guess what he ia no oil rig bull cant get off the ship unless you pay his 30 thousand dollara to his barrister lol wow not sure i would pay that even if he was real lol
August 08, 2016

In reply to by Wise1this1

Hi. How is it possible to find his real ID? Please answer.
August 28, 2017

In reply to by Swedish

I think this guy has been scamming me. same story about being an electrical engineer and had to go to cape town Africa for work said he will return in 2 weeks. also said his wife died of cancer 2 yrs ago and is looking to be loved again. he sends all these romantic love letters

Anallyn m
September 29, 2017

In reply to by garyvandal

I hve bf from usa los Angeles for 2months he said he send a box for me inside the box hve 2 jewelry he said until he ask my full adress and showing some prove that he really send a luggage box to me after 4days the company message me to i need a pay the dilivery charge worth of $240usd maybe this is scam too
FTC Staff
September 29, 2017

In reply to by Anallyn m

Yes, maybe it is a scam.  You can say no and refuse to pay. You are not required to pay. If he is giving you a gift, you are not required to pay.

November 02, 2017

In reply to by Anallyn m

Is this guy going by the name of Brian Wolfe or Ronald Brian Wolfe? I got scammed too. Heart broken and broke!
October 04, 2017

In reply to by garyvandal

Sounds exactly like the same person who tricked me. Dead wife of cancer, did he mention a son? Or plans to retire and buy a vineyard?
October 12, 2017

In reply to by garyvandal

Tell me more! This sounds just lile a guy I am dealing with right now!
January 05, 2018

In reply to by Swedish

if you are trying t to find his real id. it can be done entering email address into search in google .if you want to know where the peson is really from when chatting with you hide light there name and it will tell you where they are at .also id you start getting phone calls with real long numbers that is him trying to track you , call phone company and have them blocked .

August 30, 2016

In reply to by Wise1this1

I just had the same thing going on for ew days only. The very handsome Williams Jack is using photo of a polish actor... He hasn't asked for monies yet though. Watch out girls
July 30, 2016

In reply to by Adaughter

I feel very foolish that I fell for this scam. My scammer's name was Clark Huffman Gibson. His pictures are of a very handsome man. He is widowed with a daughter who is in boarding school. Because I refused to send money to Dubai or Nigeria, he requested I send it to one of his agents. I found out they would then send it to Nigeria. I found his 'agent' on Facebook and discovered that Clark Gibson was shown as her friend but as Huffman Albert Gibson. On any given day, there are approximately 20 men named Huffman Albert Gibson listed on facebook! Almost all are either widowed or divorced, approximately 50 years old and in the oil or gas exploration business. Out of all of them, only one shows friends - the rest have their friend list blocked.
Won't be foole…
August 15, 2016

In reply to by Judy

Robert Derrickson is the name this scammer used. He claims to live in Florida and works in Dubai . He found me on Got me off the website quickly and began romancing the stone in his third email to me . His email is drrkbrt        Claims his wife died 8 years ago and his son is in Califormia in an institution. I could smell the scam when I couldn't find him living in Lauderdale in his house he owned. I asked him so many questions and got little answers. His email address is with gmail which makes his IP address appear to come from Mountain View, California . I'm sure he or she is in Nigeria. Just today, after not hearing from him in a week, he emailed me the bombshell. He wants $3,500 to get his paperwork ready to leave Dubai. No way Jose. Advice to ladies on match is not to give your email address so easily and check out him name thoroughly.

August 29, 2016

In reply to by Won't be foole…

I met the same guy, he used a Chinese profile with name Ritchie Cheung. He said he had both lived in mountain view, ca and Jacksonville, Florida . He even shown his family pictures, his son with him, I'm sure he used other people's. Key words: pipeline, self employee, mechanical engineer, Thai land, have you eaten, how was your day, never call you name...  I'm luck I knew he gonna ask me money since he mentioned his dad died in Hong Kong and left him 11M, hahaha. I played with him couple of weeks util he asked money 3000 from his Thailand project, which he was granted a couple days after we met online, a multimillion, hahaha. Actually I like the profile he stole, who can tell me how I can find my real dream man in that picture?

Daydream Believer
November 24, 2020

In reply to by Mindy

Same is happening to me, he calls himself John Albert, engineer on an oil rig with a 9 year old daughter and wife died 2 years ago from a disease. I blocked him on FB after 2 weeks but still keep on chatting on WhatsApp. Wants me to send him a Google play card. I won't do anything like that unless I can have a video chat to see him live and get proof of his identity, which will obviously not happen as they only have the pictures. He sent me pictures and I know they are stolen but I like the man on these pictures so much and would like to find him. Reverse picture search didn't help. Does anyone have an idea how to find the real person on the pics?
February 04, 2021

In reply to by Daydream Believer

Does he have a distinctive mole on his right side forehead?
Another scamme…
September 04, 2016

In reply to by Won't be foole…

Found another scammer from match. Goes by the name oh Kelly Ozill. Great pictures and he has an aol account using his so called name Kelly Ozill. Claims he lives in Florida and works on an oil rig. He has texted me, but won't call. He just sent me a long love letter stating his wife died from cancer three years ago and he is claiming his true love for me. This is the second scammer I met from match. Lesson learned is when a man from match claims his account is ending soon and he's a widower, just delete or contact match right away.
March 04, 2017

In reply to by Another scamme…

did he say what oil company he worked for and that he had a child in boarding school?
Nancy G
March 07, 2017

In reply to by mitzishadow201…

I started talking to a guy says he works overseas in a oil company has a daughter in boarding school. His wife died. He says his home base is in OK. He want to send me money so I can order a part for his job.I know its a scam . His name he uses is Walter David. I am not doing it.
September 23, 2017

In reply to by Nancy G

Same exact scam artist story. He uses the name Bruce Nelson.