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Looking to start a new relationship? For some, that may mean meeting a new love interest online. Word to the wise: sometimes it’s best to lead with your head and not your heart.

Millions of Americans use dating sites, social networking sites, and chat rooms to meet people. And many forge successful relationships. But scammers also use these sites to meet potential victims. They create fake profiles to build online relationships, and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love.

The Federal Trade Commission receives thousands of reports each year about romance scammers who create fake online relationships only to steal their victims’ money.

Unfortunately, an online love interest who asks for money is almost certainly a scam artist.

The FTC’s new infographic, developed with the American Bankers Association Foundation, lists common signs of online dating scams and what to do if someone you meet online asks you for money.

Below are some tips to identify a real romance versus a scammer cruising for a target.

Online Dating Scams. Has an online love interest asked you for money? That's a scam. Scammers know millions of people use online dating sites. They are there, too, hiding behind fake profiles. Signs of a scam: Professes love quickly. Claims to be from the U.S., but is overseas for business or military service. Asks for money, and lures you off the dating site. Claims to need money — for emergencies, hospital bills, or travel. Plans to visit, but can’t because of an emergency. $220 million lost in 2016. $56 million lost in 2012. Reports to the FBI tripled over 5 years (4,476 reports in 2012; 14,546 reports in 2016) What to do: Slow down — and talk to someone you trust. Don’t let a scammer rush you. Never wire money, put money on a gift or cash reload card, or send cash to an online love interest. You won’t get it back. Contact your bank right away if you think you’ve sent money to a scammer. Report your experience to: • The online dating site • Federal Trade Commission: • Federal Bureau of Investigation: Learn more at and

Please share this information with others. Victims may be embarrassed to talk about their experiences, but you can help. A simple phone call, email or text, saying “Look what I just found” and sharing this information may make a difference in someone else’s life.

It is your choice whether to submit a comment. If you do, you must create a user name, or we will not post your comment. The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes this information collection for purposes of managing online comments. Comments and user names are part of the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) public records system, and user names also are part of the FTC’s computer user records system. We may routinely use these records as described in the FTC’s Privacy Act system notices. For more information on how the FTC handles information that we collect, please read our privacy policy.

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.

Fraud Stopper
February 01, 2018
It would be great if these could be generated in an easily printed format. I work at a credit union - and have member's falling for these types of scams regularly. This would be nice to get in their hands.
February 16, 2018

In reply to by FTC Staff

The man who scammed me money three years ago, contact me again, he said he was sorry and will repay the money to me. Of course, I know he is lying, what should I do? My case was reported to police three years ago, but finally closed file by police for further investigation impossible.
FTC Staff
February 16, 2018

In reply to by cherrykoko

If you were scammed by someone, and you get a call about a refund, that call is probably also a scam. Don’t give the person any personal or financial information.

March 17, 2018

In reply to by FTC Staff

March 31, 2019

In reply to by Maggie777Don't…

Someone claiming to be cruise ship owner has asked me to buy an iTunes card for the purposes of fixing the ships internet. How valid is this?
FTC Staff
April 01, 2019

In reply to by Yvelyse

You can't use an iTunes card to fix internet service.

People can use iTunes cards to buy music, apps or books online. That's it.

August 23, 2019

In reply to by Yvelyse

Is it this person also? He goes by Captain Johnny Freeman. The Cruise Ships name is Harmony Of The Seas.
September 29, 2019

In reply to by Jeanette

Why would a cruise ship captain need your money? The company pays for that out of their revenues.... Obviously a scam...
stupid widow
November 07, 2019

In reply to by Jeanette

Has anyone been contacted by a German man named John G. Connor? or a Russian man named Frankin Dechez - oil rig worker
November 18, 2019

In reply to by stupid widow

I have been contacted by a German man using the name John Aleksio. Please tell me some of the things he has been telling you. He suppose to be an architect. As soon as we started chatting he had a big job in Turkey. There has been one thing after another. I can’t find his name, email or phone number in any database but he does have a Facebook and LinkedIn Acct. I have denied anything he ask for but he still continues to call from a turkey number. He suppose to finish job this week than come back to states.
November 24, 2019

In reply to by Itzmecb

same here, same story but u can try catch them if they ask for money trought like western union cause u would need details like name of them or id , they don't ask but u can said they do so u have details of them .i did that when someone who was from us but working in turkey asked money but to be sent to Nigeria lol
August 01, 2020

In reply to by hh

That is a lie. Don't believe it. I experienced it before. They will wait for you to send money. Then you are done. There will be no trace of that man.
Bedfordrene com
March 25, 2021

In reply to by hh

Need help, need to break it off now, asking for money 1900. 1st time, now 1200....both for vet bc he is on oil rig in kuwait, been months, addicted to me ,wants to marry when he gets home, when we met me immediately, wanted to call me honey, switched me from fb to whatsupp, Says everything I want to another 5,000 because oil spill needs his Trenton, name is Mark Graham, lives Los Angeles calif, dog name pickle, always swears on his dead parents, loves eyes/lips.....silver hair, wispy, grey eyes, so handsome, kind, loving, 5'9, please what do I do, need to do it now, mon ago I broke it off, blocked everything last time, he still found me, says he will kill himself if I do it again, dont want to hurt anyone Please tell me what to do
November 30, 2019

In reply to by Itzmecb

I believe we have been scammed by the same person. Went by Richard Langham
April 02, 2020

In reply to by purtellcm

Totally sounds like the guy who goes by David Reyhan Wolfgang that tried to scam me out of money today. Met him on Words With Friends. Supposedly from Norway, living in San Diego. Wife died 3 years ago. Now on an oil rig off Ireland; his “machine” broke and he needs money to fix it and complete his “contract”. Asked for 8500 euros from me. He is one smooth operator. I’m keeping all the conversations from Hangouts...amazing!
cat 1975
May 17, 2020

In reply to by tired lady

i was in the same situaiton. A man named Duke beliant oil rigger at Total for 19 years connected me via Linkedin and asked me to join hangout messenger. He said he fall in love with me after some day chatting. I also feel love him because he all say very nice words to me. He asked me to call him but then he say just call, not video call. We chat and call everyday. Sometime he asked me about my job and internet banking, or whether the bank is opened or not during covid-19 restriction. Then this week he said there was an accident, one of his worker was injured and lost an index finger and his pump was broken and to fix this he need $75000. He only have 40000 so he have to borrow. a girl friend of a man in his team agreed to lend him $35000. But then he said she just gave him $27500 so he asked me for $7500. I said i dont have then he reduced to $5000. I realized that he would be a scam so i did not send him. He said i have no human heart to help when he is in trouble. I said I never send money to a person just meet online. He know my gmail. I blocked him in hangout. Hope he will not come back.
Double D
July 04, 2020

In reply to by cat 1975

I met someone on match. He said he was from Belgium but retiring to the location I was at after HIS project on the oil rig ended. He ended up losing all his ID & credit cards and his equipment charges increased due to Covid. I told him I would never send him $. Contact stopped. On the Online Zynga game Words With Friends, I had 4 different men message me & want to get to know me. All from different European countries, but lived in U. S. All independent contractors, self-employed, widowed, all on oil rigs .... I immediately saw a pattern and blocked them. After reading your story, which, thank you for sharing, I see these scammers are truly out there. I don’t feel so alone now.
April 13, 2021

In reply to by Obaid

Thank you for sharing , I had talk a with someone and almost the same story. He ask me for 21,000. To complete the payment of his machine . After reading the story that you shared I open my eyes that this armando is a scammer. I will not send him 20,000. Dollars.
April 21, 2021

In reply to by Mmiess

Hi dear. I have also fallen for scam and I think this guy is the same one. have you got his picture?
January 27, 2022

In reply to by Mine

Omg, being speaking with a guy with accent, says he’s from Cal, born in Iceland, has a dog named Marley… was going great conversation unit he gave me a story about his pipes breaking on the rig, it’s his last contract, he needs my bank to clear a check for his company to finish job, then we’ll meet…. He sent me a picture of him,
December 21, 2020

In reply to by Double D

I met someone on facebook that friended me. Got me to fall in love with him. He lived in California got a contract on oil rig. Said he's in Brazil on oil rig. Started asking for Google play cards. I sent him $600 worth. Then he said machine broke down he only had $20000 with him and needs $10000 more. I pleaded that I couldn't give up my life savings being a single grandmother raising 2 grandkids ony own. He said as soon as his company pays him he will give me money back. Life like that really sucks. He is from Europe originally. His name is Mark Dexter.
Just dian
September 17, 2021

In reply to by Double D

I also have someone trying to chat with me on hangouts from Belgium everyday, on an oil rig. He's not asked for money yet but he sure says all of the right things and his wife just passed away. Things are just too familiar with your story. Do you remember your guys name if I can ask please?
August 24, 2020

In reply to by TigerT

That just happened to me and he hoped I would never be in a desperate situation like his.
November 10, 2020

In reply to by Spunky32

I had a gentleman get a hold of me on plenty of fish and he began talking to me and asked me to go to Google hang out which I did and he talked and sweet talk to me for eight or nine months and never asked me for money but sweet talk to me to the point that I offered to him and he said he was paid in gold in the UK gold bars And he asked to ship it to my address and the US even talk to my daughter on the phone and said he had two girls and that he left me that it just went all out and ended up breaking it off with him because I felt that this was not real and I was going to help him ship this so-called gold bars to the United States but he sent me some fake emails from the shipping placeAnd he was German and his name was William Smith but that could probably be his real name or not if anybody has had this same experience please let me know
February 06, 2021

In reply to by Checkeditout

Yes I’ve been talking to a woman and she goes by the name of Catherine Hansen and we’ve been talking for like three months and she told me her father died in a car accident a couple years ago and left are these gold bars 21 kg and that she would be sending them to my house from Turkey and that she needed to pay $2450 to pay for the shipping to get them to my house and that when they got here I could sell one of the gold bars But she told me that her dad left her inheritance and she was retrieving the inheritance from a place that was holding the gold bars for her and she didn’t ask me for money for the first three months I was talking to her until she said she had to fly over to turkey to get her gold and that she had everything paid for and I didn’t need to worry about her and she had enough moneyBut now all of a sudden to get to go back here and to get her back here she’s asking me for $2450 and tell me how much she loves me and how we’re going to be together it’s crazy how far they’ll go
February 28, 2021

In reply to by Naive

I was told a familiar story by a Sgt. Harry Wilson Smith who claimed he was paid an award by the US Army for leading a dangerous mission in Syria of $600K and 4 gold bars. He asked if he could ship it to my address but the parcel was held in Turkey Customs for not honoring shipping instructions. I was then asked to take out a loan of $3500.00 to save his parcel, which I did not do. I was then told I am the reason he lost his parcel and I owe him google pay gift card of $100.00 and then reduced it to $50.00. I did not send any gift card and now he disappeared on hangouts after claiming he still loves me and would chat later. He makes the person feel bad about not helping him.
January 05, 2022

In reply to by disopcib

Anyone who has been talking to Harry Wilson (or a version of Harry Wilson) with the same story, did he provide a phone number, Facebook profile name, or any other identifying information? Thank you.
March 24, 2021

In reply to by Naive

Have been in a relationship with a guy who calls himself Harry Mayer, he sent me a friend request on fb from there we went to hangouts 8 months ago. He has scammed a lot of money out of me, claiming to be an orthopedic surgeon for the UN, talked really sweet in the beginning and quoted a lot poems, very romantic, called me his “wife”, claims to be an American, very sensitive, will cry, have pictures of him. I really fell for this guy..
July 20, 2021

In reply to by mimi

I fell in love with a handsome man who is in Afghanistan in the Army. He is an orthopedic surgeon and has been sending me texts from Hangout three to four times a week for about a month now. He was very fast to profess his love. He told me about money he earned that he hadn't received from the UN and needed money to retrieve the package. He asked me to help and that I would receive the money back. I paid 3500 for a UN diplomat to bring me the package and he was very grateful. Today the UN agent calls me asking for 10,500 dollars to change ownership of the package to me because of customs problems. I told agent to contact the doctor. The doctor asks for my help again and I would get money back. I cut all communication with these people. I feel it's a scam. Live and learn people.
February 28, 2021

In reply to by Checkeditout

I have the same thing and I have lost my money $11050 from pay delivery for box he told me pay for him but after that nothing
June 12, 2021

In reply to by Lyly

I was friended by a “General” in the Army currently stationed overseas in a war zone. For the past four months he has been perfect. Now he says he is being sent home and can’t wait to see me. The same day, he told me he has a suitcase in another country and the company is closing down and he has to get it right away because he has $100,000 in it plus family papers. The company sent papers to me stating that it would cost $2000.00 in cash to ship the suitcase.
November 21, 2021

In reply to by Lyly

Can I have somehow the photo and the number of the General? I am a victim too.
Jordan Ryan
January 29, 2022

In reply to by Papaya

A General in the Army????? Oh no. A General in the US military would NEVER ask for money. Nor does he have the time to be scamming.
October 28, 2020

In reply to by TigerT

Yes, agree. Anyone know why they asking my bank account, some one transfer the money to my account and then I transferred back to his account?
April 04, 2021

In reply to by Alex

So they can get you account number to use to get more money off of you
Louiseon't use…
August 10, 2020

In reply to by cat 1975

It sounds like the man I have been talking with for 3 weeks. He says he is an engineer on an oil platform, in the Gulf of Mexico. He says there was a big explosion, two men injured, drill broken. Cost $700,000.00 to replace.the drill. (Sound familiar)? He wanted me to agree to let his Cutts bank trans. $3,000,000.00 into my account I said “no”. Next, he wanted me to give him $20,000.00 for deposit on the drill. I did not give him any money. I ended the relationship yesterday. I told him in an email that I knew he was a criminal and that I knew he was using me as a mark. It hurts though. Said he was Swiss and moved to States with wife, she is dead, adult son. He is a very good looking older man. Mustache, beard, glasses, green eyes blond hair. He says he is 75, but looks closer to 60. He told me his name was Don Sergio Alberto, which is certainly not his real name. This guy could get you into a lot of financial trouble or legal trouble, if he is laundering money. Stay away from him.
Fiffy Maps
September 18, 2020

In reply to by Louiseon't use…

I am actually in the same situation right now. He is 55 and started by sharing with him his big contract with millions of euros. Said they are working on an oil rig. We met on a Christian dating site and he asked me to leave. Said he is an only child, has a daughter back in the states whose mother left when she was young. Already wants marriage and to come to where I am residing in Asia. Says he is in Turkey. But just this week he had one of his employees made an error which then caused an explosion. So now he is asking for 1600USD so that his insurance company can replace his important machine that was burnt. He sent me his passport and I want to believe him but am not sure how to verify his identity and all. We have only dated a week and never video called.
January 07, 2021

In reply to by cat 1975

I have been talking to this guy saying he's an oil rig in China and he's now off the oil rig On the Border in Beijing and says he can't get out of the country back to the United States unless he has $35,000 to pay the back taxes for the money that he made over there he sent me a check for $70,000 and the bank just notified me that it was a bum check and that he's a scammer his name is Marco Piper age 62 curly hair blue eyes 5-6 nice-looking claims to be widowed 2 years ago has a son 11 years old is anybody know this man he supposedly says he lives in Buckeye Arizona
Catfish bait
April 14, 2021

In reply to by Don'tsummer59o…

Hi! This sounds similar to my story! Michael Joe, 45, blonde, blue eyes, gorgeous, Engineer on a rig in China! From LA has 2 sons. Wife cheated with his bf, divorced 5 yrs. wealthy but bank shut down bank card when he flew to China suddenly! Gone for 2 months and can’t get any $ until he gets back to the US! Supposed to come home any day now, for the 3rd time now! The 3rd time he was supposed to come here and hasn’t! Parents died when he was young. Lived with aunt/uncle on farm in AL. From UK. Grew up in Birmingham, UK and Birmingham, AL! Sound familiar? Have pics and videos! Thanks for sharing
Conspiracy lad…
June 03, 2020

In reply to by tired lady

I have the same experience I am riding out right now but I have been totally naive. Hes already got £1,570 - $1970 out of me. I'm haemoradging money loss now. A smooth operator in the name Ambrose. Got me from Instagram. Sounded so genuine. Took me off to WhatsApp. We texted everyday till Thursday 28th May 2020. Hes blocked me. But I'm doing my own investigation and screenshot face of young man in Turkey he asked me to send $500 I'm on to something massive. I've got 3 names from this young man now. I just need police corporation now. Thanks for your sharing stories ladies. My love interest also claimed wife died of pancreatic cancer 6 yrs ago. His parents died in plane crash when he was 19. Originally Norwegian, now lives in US California. But his nos is from Dallas Texas. What a joke.
July 08, 2020

In reply to by Conspiracy lad…

I have been corresponding with a man for over a week. He asked me to go to Google Hangouts. I did, the next day he asked me for money. His wife died years ago. He is a UN doctor on contract in Syria, he needs his personal items from Iraq. He asked for $5,500 US dollars then when I said I didn't have that kind of $ it was dropped to $3,200. He has professed his undying love for me. He is so handsome. I did a reverse photo search and didn't find much. I am supposed to MoneyGram $700 to him. I didn't want to be a fool but I he sounds so great. He's from Dallas TX. Sounds too similar.