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While plenty of successful relationships begin online, scammers also use online dating sites, apps, and chat rooms to trick you into sending them money. These imposters create fake profiles to build online relationships, and eventually convince people to send money in the name of love. Some even make wedding plans before disappearing with the money. It’s a big problem: reports to the FBI about online romance scams tripled between 2012 and 2016, and imposter scams were among the top reports to the Federal Trade Commission for both the general population and the military community.

These scams can take a military angle with imposters stealing servicemembers’ photos to create phony profiles. They might claim to be servicemembers who can’t get into their accounts overseas or who need money fast. The first sign of a scam is an online love interest who asks for money. But the Army’s Criminal Investigative Service (CIS) says that the military doesn’t charge servicemembers to go on leave, get married, communicate with their family, go online, or feed and house themselves on deployment. We have also heard of scammers re-using servicemembers’ photos again and again, so it can be helpful to do some online research on the love interest’s name, photos, and details to check the story out.

If an online love interest asks you for money:

  • Slow down and talk to someone you trust. These scammers want to rush you, often professing love right away; or pressuring you to move your conversation off the dating site.
  • Never wire money, put money on a gift card or cash reload card, or send cash to an online love interest. You won’t get it back.
  • If you sent money to a scammer, contact the company you used to send the money (wire transfer service, gift card company, or cash reload card company) and tell them it was a fraudulent transaction. Ask to have the transaction reversed if possible.
  • Report your experience to the dating site and to the FTC.

For Military Consumer Month, share this video to help military consumers steer clear of online romance scams.

 

 

1,326 Comments


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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 ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

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.

Don't use your…
May 16, 2021

In reply to by Dobutfulfreind

I'm talking to a guy name David Martinez and sounds the same
jean
December 07, 2018

In reply to by Friendinneed

How can I send a pic to see if you and my sister in law have talked to same person ?
Ah1232
December 20, 2018

In reply to by Friendinneed

They use western union so they can't be traced. Also the man not wanting to talk on the phone is also a big red flag. I have dealt with many men that have tried ti scam me... I got scammed once and si now i have learned but they are always ciming up with new tactics. Just don't send money to anyone..period. Gift cards are very common and iTunes cards. Also western union is a top concern for big sums of cash.
Sasha
January 16, 2019

In reply to by Friendinneed

Can you send me a pic of this Guy you’re talking to and his daughter? I’ve been talking for 3 months with a guy in Afghanistan who has a daughter and a son. I would love to compare pictures
Bella1234
August 03, 2019

In reply to by Sasha

Have you got any photos think i am being scammed by the same person
hulsmichele
May 31, 2020

In reply to by Friendinneed

Please get a hold of me. I think I'm being scammed by the same person claims to be in the military has a daughter and is over in iraq. Wife died of cancer and he was in an orphanage please help me I think he's scamming me.
Trying to help…
July 26, 2018
Does anybody know the name of Wale Wilson? He supposedly owns a small construction business in Dubai and moving to Johannesburg South Africa. She is very private and does not tell me a lot, but from what I have heard it is BS and I am worried about her. Can someone help?
NotThe1
February 04, 2020

In reply to by Trying to help…

It’s a scam if these men were successful they wouldn’t be asking lonely women for all this money they’d be helping them sending them money!!
Debra S
August 16, 2018
I had a guy call me and said he was from TD Canada Sercurity he said my account had been hacked and he said someone had taken 380.00 d0llers out of my account and spent it on Ebay and then he said that they had taken 1100.00 out of my account and that they where going to try and get it back from Western union but the only thing they could do was put 2100.00 in my account but I would have to go to Western Union and pay them back a thousand the kicker is that they had my account number and my debit card number he read it off to me so i called the bank and they said that nothing had happened to my account but because they had my account and debit card number they had to change my accounts i have been calling people all week to change everything over to the new accounts so after I contacted the bank i called them back because they left me there number I told them that I have just called the police and gave them there name and phone number and that they would get a call from the police to wait for there call The scamers wanted me to call them back to let them know that I had made the Western Union transfere so i did and told them that the police would contact them sounds stupid but it made me feel better you live and you learn It was a hard lesson.
May I Know
July 28, 2018
I would like to inquire. If someone is scammed a big amount of money. And wants it back, a certain private agency offered help to get the money back to scammer/government of the nationality of scammer. But they are also asking a fee of 500$ , is this legit? What if after the payment is sent, then they are just another scammer?
FTC Staff
August 22, 2018

In reply to by May I Know

Sometimes, after you have lost money to a scam, another scammer will contact you. He will offer to help get your money back. But the offer is really another scam. If someone wants you to pay money before they will help you, that is often a warning sign that they are not legitimate. Before you give money to someone who promises to help you, check on the person and the company. Ask questions about their experience and their business. Do they have a license or business record? Will they return your payment if they do not get your money back?

Isabella
December 22, 2019

In reply to by May I Know

Sounds like a scam. Anytime they ask for money, don't believe them
Lin
July 29, 2018
I've been talking to a guy called Robert Davidson who says he's in the waters on the Gulf of Mexico. He's got a contract with Exxon Mobile Company. Then he comes up with a story about a machine tearing up and needed $6,000 for 3drums of diesel. I told him I didn't have any money. Then he wanted to know if I could get him a iTunes card. Needless to say I didn't fall for it. He says he's a drill engineer. He started talking about loving me after a week!
Fullofdoubt
September 16, 2018

In reply to by Lin

This sounds very similar to a gentleman I have been chatting with. Can you describe him? Does he have children? Did he send you video of the rig he is on in the Gulf? This man has not yet asked me for money but asked me to contact an equipment company to order equipment for him.
James
December 16, 2018

In reply to by Fullofdoubt

Does this guy have 2 kids lives in NJ says He is very sensitive divorced wife cheated on him.
RMPHW
January 16, 2019

In reply to by James

I have been corresponding with a man since November who has a similar story, said he caught his wife cheating on him and She chased after him and was killed in a car wreck. Said he has two children in boarding school and that he is an engineer on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. He tried to get me to send money to the kids for Christmas. I know he is a scammer, and I am just screwing with him.
Mandy8424
February 27, 2019

In reply to by James

Yes this is the same guy just the state is different
Bella
April 29, 2019

In reply to by Fullofdoubt

I think my aunt is being scammed by the same guy. Name is James. Works on oil rig. Asked for cell phones, lap top, iTunes card
Lovenomore
July 30, 2018
So I have also been scammed by someone name of Lynn N Dang. It was hard to let go but came to sense that this ain't realality. We tell each other how much we love each other. She calls me king, honey, love of my life , she even calls my son , our son. She avoids questions .. .and to dodge it she finds ways to go . She start her story like this, she work for Catholic relief service. She on a ship travel in Syria , Nigeria, Kenya aiding the refugees. They get attack by pirates , loses everything. Now she works on getting the first lump of money, she will lead her story into asking for me and so on. . by the way her phone got stolen her lapttop is no good , only for messenger. Constantly complaining of internet service. She is only child ,cparents are dead, and at this point she has flight book to come to me. Send me a fake iternary which I research and it was a fake. Question her she get in her shell and disappear. I finally give up . Supposedly on her way to airport one day later she still there because of custom . She got held up because she does not have documentation for her$ 50000 diamondjewel. And ask for a lump sum to pay custom 850 for a dam certificate .she disappear quick when I said no no no I don't have it and she wasn't having it she quickly disappear. She be back later to try again. They just don't stop or give up don't they?
Moon
September 07, 2018

In reply to by Lovenomore

Iam so sorry for you... This happen with me tooo...i feel love and started trusting this man...ohhh iam so disapointed and feel no gud again...he talk of love and trust and he find the right words into my heart...and now iam so confused and depressed...
Help
August 03, 2018
Hi. i am being scammed by a Nicholas Rodriquez, who claims to be a US soldier in Syria. Any of you ran into him?
Ibells
January 08, 2020

In reply to by Help

Hi, iam being scammed bg jimmy lin136, he saud he work at drilling company in london and he sent a gift for me and he put a lot of money and the courir call me and i tranfsr 1400 usd and very stupid they didnt sent the gift,
Karea82
August 04, 2018
I'm on Instagram and there are guys on there pretending to be famous person or a average person. They started following me and message me asking questions of all sorts then they ask do I use goggle hangouts told them no, they begged me to get saying its safer to message on there (whatever) so installed it and told them, after that they were telling me can send them $100.00 itunes card I said no I'm not stupid to spend my money on a stranger. Another he needed $1300 to book a flight back to the states told me a story saying his dad died leave 2million and the army won't let him leave I called bs and told him to find the money These are the people to watch out for Imposters of Luke Bryan, Dustin Lynch, Tyler Hubbard from Florida Georgia line Jason Aldean Direks Bentley, then there really people who just steal pictures pretend to be you. Watch out cause they throw a guilt trip
Notgood
August 11, 2018
I realized I was being scammed and was suspicious before the money came into play. His name was Robert Benjamin and his picture was of a minister from South Carolina. His cousin (older) had written me on a dating site and asked me to contact his handsome cousin. He wasn't on the dating site but had seen my profile and was impressed. Well this Rob was a phony ended up at a meeting in NY and got a contract in Cape Town, South Africa. The warnings came before he wanted money. I let him know whose picture he used. He still called from a S.African # then. He said he would explain when he came home. Finally he stopped calling. Be Aware
Isabella
December 22, 2019

In reply to by Notgood

OMG. I think I've been talking to the same guy. I used POF and a women responded begging for my address to give to his co-worker. I finally did and he emailed me right away. An engineer, wife died of cancer 5 years ago, has 10 yr old daughter. Goes by the name of RAYMOND DONALD . HE first called me from a Colorado #, then from a # in South Africa. He stated he Got a 3 million dollar contract in Cape Town South Africa. Got the "loan" approval from the bank in Colorado and within 3 days, he was in South Africa. First he had promised to o come visit me..haha. well the airport in South Africa"lost his luggage" that had his laptop, iPhone and iPad. He wanted me to buy them and he would pay me back when his"project"was completed, 3 months. Needless to say I did not buy anything and told him he was a scammer. Very heavy accent. I have pictures.
scammed
August 11, 2018
Has anyone had any contact from a guy that goes by the name Morgan Patrick? Says he is from Texas but is in Africa , can’t remember the name of the area other than Lima. He’s a real piece of work? Says he is stranded there because the hospital equipment he was installing got broke and they took his passport till he pays for it. Needs money so he can pay for the part so he can get back home to Texas. He even showed me a fake US passport.
Yes, so sad
September 26, 2019

In reply to by scammed

My Aunt is dealing with someone named morgan too. His number is six six 2- 9 one 2 six nine twenty three
NotMe
March 05, 2021

In reply to by scammed

Watch out for a Harry Schneider on Hinge. A great writer, voice has a British accent. He claimed to be working as an engineer / construction. Profile says Allandale Austin. Photos were of someone who looked younger though he said he was 40. Extremely good at being sweet, with a few slip ups. Mentioned a possible video call that never happened. Sent photos of fake contracts for a construction site in Japan. The contract wasn’t even photoshopped correctly in the Japanese section. Asked for money to secure the contract. Oh, and is a great singer.
Jshoes
August 14, 2018
Mine is Dr. Jamise Smith, working in Syria, wanted a cell phone...not happening, then wanted a cash card, not happening. Whom ever his photos are he is gorgeous!
Pink
December 02, 2018

In reply to by Jshoes

Is he dark hair, beard and has a armenian or turkish look? Maybe we have the same scammer. I was scammed by someone sayimg he s a doctor went in a peacekeepening in Sudan. Suddenly he wanted Itune cards. After some days...I understood that I was scammed . I falled for his pictures. Still looking for the real guy.
Ggmax
January 03, 2021

In reply to by Pink

Do you happen to have a pic still I wonder if it the same American doc in Syria professing his love to me?
Nandosgirl
May 11, 2021

In reply to by Jshoes

Was he Airforce . I spoke to a guy gorgeous. And his phone was messed up needed new Iphone. Then just $50. He has an amazing body. Dominican. From AZ no parents no wife 1 boy but adopting his nephew.
SLH-ST
August 17, 2018
Watch out for so-called entertainers (actors, singers, etc)...so many fakes out there. Some seem real, even when you ask specific questions, but look out. Even several months down the road, you can get hit with....donate to my charity...accept a package for me...I can't trust my manager, please let me courier something to you...iTunes or Amazon gift cards. Never ever give them anything no matter how sincere they may seem. Trust me. I haven't but have come very close. Samples of fakes: Pierce Brosnan Keny G, Lionel Richie, Jordan Feliz, Steven Curtis Chapman, (yes, they even use Christian singers), Jeff Bridges, Johnny Depp--anyone you enjoy seeing posts of, beware.
Pia
February 08, 2019

In reply to by SLH-ST

I don't know why, but I get that on Instagram a lot. I play along to expose them. After they get exposed, they'll get super unfriendly and mean. And I can add Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman to this list. Whenever an actor or singer is approaching you, girls, pls check for the blue checkmark. If he doesn't have it, block and report this fraudster immediately.
Melissa
August 20, 2018
A man on POF tried to scam me He goes by Michael Rafael Ortiz.Says he is sergeant major in US army stationed in Izmir,Turkey.was in love with me two days after first text. Wanted $350 for fiance form so he could come visit me.Said the army wasn't feeding him well and he needed money to eat,he had no access to his banking. Talked to him for two days trying to get info to give authorities. Have saved all info an text.Said he was from Austen,Texas.Finally grew tired of it and told him off.Said his daughter was in college in South Africa,been married 23 yr,widowed for 3.
Rachel 2002
July 28, 2019

In reply to by Melissa

Can you send a pic of what he loooks like ? He has the Same MO for the guy who is scamming my mom
babyboo
August 21, 2018
Recently I discovered I was scammed from someone who says his name is Ray Anthony Sanchez, he told me he lives in Jacksonville and he works in a base there. suddenly he told me he are going in deployment to United Arab Emirates to Abu Dhabi, which I believed. he asked me for money because he forget to carry his wallet with him, he treat me like a princess it's like a dream come true. later I starting having doubts about him and starting to searching on the internet until I found the real person. It's more painful to me because the person I fall in love is a completely strange to me, yes he was a soldier, and now have a civil live. I'm broken and all the stories I read here are the same like mine. I hope all of you can recuperate for the loss of money, self esteem, betrayed, pain and guilty.
d 8a
April 03, 2020

In reply to by babyboo

Do you happen to still have the # and social media associated to this individual? I think this is the same guy i'm dealing with
Ellen60
August 21, 2018
My daughter is being scammed now from a guy John r wagner who claims to be in the military, a Marine. She will not listen to us. I even messages him. He said he had no idea what I was talking about. It was broken English. So frustrating. She is behind on stuff because if this jerk.
Tired5
December 05, 2018

In reply to by Ellen60

Have her ask his birthday and Say like oh your a cancer or whatever he is. The guy I'm talking to asked me why I'm calling him names for. I new when he was fake when he asked for money. Anyway, for me I investigated more and in his profile under followers didn't make any since for being a soldier. A little more investigating and I found the BOY that was msg me, lol, 1st he friended me on fb then onto hangout THEN whatsapp.
juicylucy
April 11, 2021

In reply to by Ellen60

Hi ive jut been scammed by guy claiming to be Dr Alex Wagner do you have any photo Hes good really good even though ive caught him out hes still contacting me which i weird
RavensDoor
August 22, 2018
My mom is being scammed by a guy named Bradley Daniel who is supposed to be a fighter pilot stationed in Syria. He has asked for money to come home for leave to San Francisco. She met him on Facebook. Please let me know if anyone else has spoke to him.
Ciara
September 06, 2018
Scammer going by the name Calvin Abraham, Romance scam, pretends he is in the military, stationed in Afghanistan and cannot tolerate another day in the front lines and needs leave permit money. He is now scamming someone who thinks they are in love and planning to meet soon and has received thousands of dollars from this person. Uses email account: calvinabraham12 @gmail. com. He has convinced this lady to send money to a man who supposedly is his commander named KITTISAK PAAIKUN, however the Western Union wires must go to Bangkok Thailand. The woman is desperately in love and only wants him out so they can be together and has been continuously sending money to him. He also changed his story saying his financial struggles which are only temporary because he is unable to access it are worsening because he got involved in drugs. Obviously the stories he has been giving are really absurd and you cant imagine anyone gullible enough to fall for it but unfortunately some people do. Individuals who are from countries that are not familiar with basic US military financial protocols and quite frankly lack in knowledge of banking procedures are vulnerable to these types of scams.
Don't use your…
August 23, 2018
Has anyone had a man named Charles Enrique North try to scam them? Been talking to him for a few weeks. Claims to be widower and have a young daughter. In Army deployed don’t know where?
Tired5
December 05, 2018

In reply to by Don't use your…

Every soldier has pics, most all have fb or something. Look at his followers in his profile. If it looks like it don't belong to a soldier it isn't. And with just a couple pics of himself, no
Sallyboo
August 27, 2018
Anyone heard of Scott Jason. A real charmer after gift cards.