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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.



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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.

January 04, 2019

In reply to by Sallyboo

I have been talking to someone that god by the name of Scott Jeffery he is us military a pilot very handsome is out on duty in Yemen and Libya lost both parents a few years ago in a car accident
September 05, 2018
Watch out for Jim David, Jimmy David, Jim McCord David, you get the idea. He just won a $4.2M contract from Shell. He needed money for proof of concept and then he was in the hospital for stress. I cut it off as soon as he wanted money wired. The crying and begging on the phone took the cake. It was so fake.
September 12, 2018
Do you have a Captain Richard Handover special Ops agent for the CIA who lives in San Francisco, CA. ( a senior officer) working with the US ARMY. I feel he is a scammer and impersonating officer, he uses the phone number 22225555 and e-mail Richandover1010 @gmail. com. If he is scamming me under the guise of CIA there may be others.
December 06, 2019

In reply to by Junr

do't know if he is the same man but same story. also said he needed me to receive a package for him but had to pay high taxes because of the tariffs trump has imposed. do you have a picture, gray hair, very good looking
God don’t like…
October 19, 2018
I was talking to a woman in the LGBT website called HER I meet her back in May we were talking for a few months on the google hangouts app after she asked me to sign up for it which I did she went by the name of Elie Nicole or Nicole Elie and also Elie Nicole Kimberly she said that she was from Dallas Texas she was adopted as a kid and both her parents died in a car accident and left her an inheritance in their will she also was sent to boarding school as a child and soon later went to military school where she was a special contractor for the Navy Department. I fell for the story how she doesn’t have any family left and no siblings family members nothing how stupid I can be I’m thinking to myself now she first asked me for a hundred dollars because she was shot by a pirate at sea then she asked me to get her a phone because she lost her phone at sea then she asked me for 321 dollars because she need to upgrade her topology device so that we may talk more private because she didn’t want the government all in her business then she asked me to pick up funds from all these shipmates supposedly family members because I was the only one who had the only available agent that was able to pick up cash as they were sending sending to me I feel so silly right now as I’m writing this telling you my experience then she needed 410 dollars for the clearance fee and upgrade fee for the phone she asked me for then she gave me a $15 dollar iTunes card with the code scratched off on the back then she gave me three dates that she was supposed to meet me at the airport on her coming home date Aug20/2018 September 8th 2018 and then September 6th 2018 then I I didn’t hear from her since September 1st I thought it was her all this time then I get a email from her personal email account saying that she has been shot and had died and that was on September 5th 2018 and in that email I was giving another email to contact back because apparently she and was supposed to be engaged so she put me down a her beneficiary on her fiancé form that she told me about and that form cost 400 dollars I have pictures emails WesternUnion receipts everything only thing is that google hangouts doesn’t save any conversations that took place when we first met I don’t know why but I tried to go back and it’s not letting me but we’ve been talking texting sexting and everything for about six months and I feel so stupid and stressed out I’m disappointed in myself be I let someone take advantage of me because I was very submissive to dating someone new I opened up my heart to this person I was gonna change my life because of this one person right now I still need to know who is the person in the pictures because if she doesn’t know that her pictures are being used to catfish other people then she needs to know.
September 15, 2018
Most common is by Joshua young. His pictures is all over the place. The guy that approached me goes by Young, from dallas texas. Its crazyness that is going on with all the scamming. Our servicemen has gave their all for our country and still do this day.. None of them needs to go through this. My heart breaks for many that is and for all the victims. I am on the list as well.
June 24, 2019

In reply to by Badluck87

My girl is trying to convince her best friend that she's getting scammed and she refuses to believe it. found you comment because it's "Joshua Young" or "Young Joshua." I was looking up the name and found your comment.
June 05, 2020

In reply to by Badluck87

I've been talking with him for about a month now under the name Lucas Gastelum (Young). So far he hasn't asked for anything yet. How can we stop him. It makes me really mad because of the fact this person started this again after the fact that the real Joshua Young passed away on 11/15/19(RIP). They used him when he was alive and still using him now that his dead.
September 15, 2018
IV been scammed by a guy named James jones or David Jones he told me he had to pay a family in syria 8000.00 because there son got killed and wants me to send him,the money
September 16, 2018
I have met several Army men who are scammers, Arroyo James, James Cagle, Sanders, all who appear to be in various countries. Jzmes needs internet. Arroyo & Sanders need food, itune cards, money to come home. I met another fellow who works bitcoin called Alex Guernsey who is actually a Nigerian named Havana. He just revealed himself because he was using Joe Cooks photo & I discovered that in a reverse image. Now I have met someone called William's Parker or Weilliams Paker who never asks for anything , lives in PA says he works for the FBI us German & is moving to the area where I live which us on the West coast. I have called the FBI here to see if anyone by that name is transferring here & they say no. I don't know what to think. Has anyone ever ran across that name. Also, James us asking me to pay for a leave form & airfare for Him to come home the end of October. Please let me know if you know these people.
January 28, 2020

In reply to by Wildfire

Yup James arroyo 512 instagram just tried the same thing. Reported and blocked him. After I caught him lying. He isn't to happy said hes gonna use my picture and post nasty things now. Smh
February 29, 2020

In reply to by Agravated1

Yes I’m know know William J Parker on Whats App asking for Money
December 03, 2020

In reply to by tiffanystokes

Yes.Ryan parker Bald, weight lifts, claims lives California but has a relative in Illinois. European accent claims was born in the netherlands. email at pterry161 and ryanparkyy7? We matched on tinder, then he was deployed. Scammed me out of a care package and $100, had a commander terry reach out to me about buying out his contract to come home. Would audio cam call and could see me but i could never see him.
September 22, 2018
I was chatting to a Military man from U U SA CALLED HIMSELF Kenneth Boston . tried to extract$1,600 dollars from me for sons education. iNSULTED ME WHEN I REFUSED. Saw his photo on Scammers list using the name Lt jEFFERY mILLER. hE IS eVIL
September 24, 2018
just so everyone knows watch out for a guy named Samson Luis claimed to be in the military , scammed my gf out of money and almost made us break up
Need advice
September 25, 2018
Did your scammer have video calls with you before asking for money? My one is asking for money to buy food at deployment base because he forgot to bring his atm card with him.
December 05, 2018

In reply to by Need advice

Good or bad, better or worse, to have done video calls? I didn't, but almost suggested it.
September 27, 2018
Met someone on instagram. He went by the name of Nicolas Mixon. He says that he’s a single father raising his daughter by himself. His ex wife cheated on hip with his best friend and she up and left. He asked me to get him to I tune cards and also asked me to get him a self phone. Says he loved me . Ha ha ha . I wouldn’t budge. I finally found the persons pictures and real Instagram account alerted him and he has since been blocked. Be careful ladies. When In doubt. Investigate the person.
September 28, 2018

In reply to by Michelle

Yeah i met this guy name Andre Rodriguez from LA and also Detroit...has 2 kids single father help with as gym instructor and also artifact buyer so he must fly overseas to find artifacts...after I month he flew to japan ..there he asked me for itune card cause he couldn't find any in japan ...and then after that he wanted to borrow $500 for upfront payment surgery of his sick dog...I didn't give any cent
Been there too
October 26, 2018

In reply to by Ri

“My” Andre Rodriguez is a soldier in Syria. Wife is deceased has one child that stays with the nanny. Hurry to go to hangouts. Typical scam.
Sharona mendez
July 07, 2019

In reply to by Been there too

I was also talking to Andre Rodriguez Who was stationed in syria.. he posted me his personal belongings.. and it was hold doen by the boarder in Turkey.. he asked me To paye €900 .. I wasnt that stupid to believe the mail that I was sent to.. When I exposed him than he wanted to blackmail me with pictures.. But unlucky for him I dont do social media not even FB.. I met him on Tinder.. and the Andre account is still active on Tinder.. I never heard from him again..
January 08, 2019

In reply to by Ri

Hi I’m talking to an Antonio Rodriguez Sounds very similar to me
August 09, 2019

In reply to by Jmw1826

Hi! in what dating site are you talking to Antonio Rodriguez
September 29, 2018
George Roland, also Georg (no E at end). Claims to be US Army communications in Yemen. I looked at one of the profiles he has and asked him what language he was speaking on it and he said Arabia. Ok. So I responded in Arabic that I knew he was a scammer and it went right over his head... Knew was a scammer the minute he asked what I was doing then when I said feeding the hubby and kids it didn't faze him. 2 days later professing love shares a photo of a engagement ring. I thought to myself... "Ok. Lets play.!" I've actually had fun with the reverse psychology I've played on him the last 2 weeks. After getting bored finally I told him I didn't have money to bring into a marriafe3, no home no savings ect. He talked that " oh baby no worries on that" then no communication.. It was fun phishing him as I knew I would go through loops reporting it. Be on the lookout for those names. If you look on FB there are 3 different profiles. All same guy but looking at the name on Army uniform clearly does not say Roland
Don't use your…
October 01, 2018
there is a guy his name is Jeremy V. Gosset saying he is in the military post in florida and after he rommances you he asks for steam cards and then a Iphone with servvice to be sent to him. Please stop him he is on face book now .
October 05, 2018
My sister is being conned by someone calling himself David Sanders. Lives nearby in Southern California, allegedly, owns a construction business, has a daughter in medical school and is in South Africa waiting to get a bid from Shell. Sent her flowers. Talks to her hours a day. Asked for a cell phone and $150 so far. She says she hasn’t given anything to him. She is angry at anyone who tells her he is scamming her.
October 06, 2018
Girl on dating site asks me for $150 says she needs it an pushes me to give her it. Looked up the name an the girl was scamming guys from dating sites for money. Reported to the feds!
October 06, 2018
Just had the same experience. When I received a message that I needed to write an email for his leave to be approved... To a UN email address which is a Gmail address.. That was already very fishy. Then they claimed that we need to send money for a certificate that he may leave the camp and will be sent by UN private jet. That made mevery curious and I started doing research. After I accused him of scamming me he tried to video call me. However the heck he did that I don't know.. Poor picture quality with the actual soldier but pure and clear voice quality. How can the real soldier be informed and warned about this? That his pictures are stolen and used by scammers?
Shortest Straw
April 06, 2020

In reply to by Kieckie

Email was to "Ryan McCarthy" at a gmail address but was spelled wrong. Then the so-called commander emailed me from Yahoo account. I laughed at him when I told him these were fake emails. And he got angry!
October 07, 2018
A person is trying to pull the "military scam" right now. She's using a fake photo, claimed to be an E-7 and is now an O-3 currently on an embed as a Medic in Syria. Videoed with her with no sound. She asked me for an iTunes card and I sent a screenshot of one on the BX/PX website, gave her the link to it and the link to this page. Currently she's telling me that I should trust her and that she's not a scammer.
November 01, 2018

In reply to by Doc

im currently talking to E8 staff sgt. staioned in kabul in a peace keeping mission she asked for an I-tune card the second holding off after reading all these comments and her babe now...i even told her i was married but im still her babe,,wow...she goes by the name Melissa Rico
October 08, 2018
Currently, speaking to someone by the name of Sgt. Landry. Claims he is on special mission in Afghanistan and that he is very stressed because his computer broke. He asked me to send him money and promised me he would pay me back when he is back in the states. I have not sent him the money. I told him I was not positioned to send him money.
October 09, 2018
In July I was approached on Words with Friends by a number of men that were all on oil rigs. One off the coast of Scotland, one off the coast of Alabama, another off of Louisiana. I spoke with the smoothest talker ever. Fell pretty hard until he said his daughters Nanny didn't have the money for his daughters heart med. I left the conversation. He reached out saying that all was well. The final straw was his bank had locked his account and He needed $30k to get equipment fixed. Another fellow was nice, polite, but eventually said his account was locked because the bank didn't recognize an IP address. I asked if there was a script these guys were following. Edward Henry says he's from California. Very attractive. The other goes by Remy Freeman. In His picture he is wearing a Canada shirt. Ed says he has a Turkish accent. Could be. Remy says his is Canadian, but I've never heard a Canadian accent anywhere like that.
Same thing hap…
November 25, 2018

In reply to by Emsmum

What does your guy look like? Mine had nice salt and pepper beard and hair. Round happy face, great smile, green eyes, broad muscular chest (like someone who swims), looked like he was over 6'6''. Pictures he sent to me have clues: 2 showed himself on rugged coastline (selfies), 2 flying an airplane, and 2 in bed- one with a long haired grey cat on head board, and the other himself wearing 2 medals from Disneyland. The most promising was one in front of a control tower wearing a lanyard with NAV CANADA lettering. I gather that these pictures were stolen from a real person. Anyone know how to find the real person to warn them?
January 04, 2019

In reply to by Same thing hap…

If you have any pictures you can use the Google images to search for other names and to find the "real" person. I took a picture of his profile picture and used that. I found that the person scamming my sister has at least 8 different names and backgrounds that he is using. I was able to identify the real person who the scammer stole his images from.
October 11, 2018
If they promise marriage a sure way to find out if they are lying is to tell them you are opening a bank account in both your names and need their full name and SS along with past or current address. If they ask for money for something specific never send cash just offer to pay for it yourself. The one scam that is almost 100% always a trick that so many people fall for is to send money with a promise of getting double or even triple amount back, sometimes cars, property, houses and expensive jewelry is promised in return. Tell the person that your mom is gravely ill and needs an operation and you have to come up with a lot of money and then ask them if they can help with some money and that you will pay them back then watch what happens
Should’ve know…
October 11, 2018
I was scammed by Liam Neesom. Hahaha. I called the number and it wasn’t him but it was too late as I sent 1000 to a supposed secretary of a church for an orphanage.
October 13, 2018
Watch out for a Matthew Scott on instagram. Tells you he is an oil rig engineer, smooth talker. Loves hangouts. Says he is from the Netherlands.
October 16, 2018
I was scammed by a man in Cali I sent him $700 dollors on different things too find out he was all about the money he played me
August 27, 2020

In reply to by aeropostale_gi…

What was his may i ask. I didn't give anything but he said he would destroy my life
October 17, 2018
I was scammed by a man named Javier Fong, an independent contractor. I'm sure that was not his real name and not his real job. He claims to live in Tyler, TX. He sounded Russian when I first heard his voice. Yes, he did call me various times. I even saw a video of him playing with his dog. He sent me pictures of his kids. He still has a Facebook page and yes, I do miss his chats. He claimed to be a widow. He begged me to be his friend on Facebook and I gave in when I never used to do that. I don't know why I did it. Immediately he fell in love with me and he wanted me to tell him that I loved him. He wore me down with beautiful songs and poems. I did fall in love with him! He asked me to change to the site Hangouts. That is where most of the scammers go. I tried terminating my friendship with him but he made me feel I was his lucky charm and convinced me to not leave him. He told me he got a multi-million dollar contract on a rig in England somewhere. He had to leave. (What a surprise) He even sent me a picture of him in the airplane. Videos of the rig he was in and the helicopter that was bringing his crew in. While on the rig he had a problem with his pump so, he asked me for a $100 iTunes card to get an app that he needed to get his pump working because his credit card did not work there so I sent it even though a little voice in my head said "don't do it" because this guy is a scammer. (That was all he was going to get from me!) I started reading about romance scammers and I took its advice. He would send me beautiful songs and would talk to me every day and profess his love for me continuously. We would even sing together on the phone and we would even view movies together on Netflix. I was falling in love with him because I was lonely. I wanted to believe him but I knew there was something wrong. I was 16 yrs his senior yet he didn't care! Really!! One day he began to give me his story about his pump machine not working and he needed a loan to get another one or they would cancel his contract and sue him. He needed $30,000 and he would pay me back at a 15% rate. Right!!! I gave him suggestions on other ways he can get his loan. Told him how I couldn't help him and why? Yet, he kept insisting that I could help him. If I loved him I would help him. He even wanted me to accept a check from his company so as to put it against my credit card. All I needed to do was give him my credit card information and he would get the money out and replace it with the company check. (Never ever do that!) I told him that sounded like money laundering! By the way, it is money laundering and you could get in trouble for that. I learned that from the Romance Scamming sites. He was upset that I thought that. I told him I didn't trust who he was and I needed something to help me see that he was for real. He sent me his ID from the rig and I noticed it was fake. The name of the company was misspelled. What company would misspell their name on an ID card? Really! He also sent me his driver's license from Texas and it had the same picture on his company ID. Who goes with a suit and tie to the DMV to take their picture? Most licenses expire on your birth date and his did not. I told him the information did not jive. He was upset. Our relationship lasted one month, a wk and a couple of days. He finally decided to blackmail me with pictures I sent him during an intimate moment on the internet and that was it. (Never send intimate photos via the internet to a person you have never met!) I received an email that said my site had been hacked and if I didn't text them at a certain number they would disclose to my friends and family my affair with my lover. It included the pictures I sent him and he also gave me names of people on my Facebook page. He claimed to have been hacked too! He was upset that they might find out about his off shore accounts. (Funny that he has off shore accounts when he had no money to get a new pump!) I knew it was him even though he denied it. I did not give in to his blackmail. I closed all my social accounts for a couple of days. Changed all my privacy security settings and then I came back on. I blocked him from every social network site I had including emails. You need to educate yourself to ensure you don't fall into the hands of these con artists. Listen to that little voice in your head even though you want to really believe what they are telling you. Don't do it if it sounds too good to be true. I miss him still but I know I'm in a better situation now than I would have been if I had given in to his requests.
November 26, 2018

In reply to by Dee

Hi dee, looks like we got the same kind of guy trying to scam me , lol. But just curious , is it of asian descent pics he is sending u? Thanks.
December 26, 2018

In reply to by Dee

Dee, can you post the IP address from his emails to you? It sounds very similar to a scammer that scammed me
October 19, 2018
Hi I have been approach by a guy called Albert Whitney. He told me his wife died 6yrs ago & a 16 yr old that is living with his mum while he is serving in Hawaii. After a couple of days he asked me if I had some money to send to him to buy some meds to get rid of his migraine. He asked me to send the money through to western union or money gram. I didn’t send the money then he started talking about how he was falling in love with me . Now he is asking me to send him $3500 for a plane ticket to come & visit me next month . I’ve sent no money to him but he know how to pull the heart strings . I don’t know what to do do I believe him or block & move on?