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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.
  • 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.

April 24, 2019
I had 2, lol! Similar stories that I’ve been hearing . Big contractor, never experienced love like this before . One from England, the other Italy. Goes overseas for big job and SUDDENLY runs into financial problems pertaining to the jobs and needs the money STAT. Crying and desperate. Harry Shepherd and Anthony Salerno. The biographies are so incredibly close that it’s almost comical .
April 25, 2019
Anyone ever corresponded with a Jim Beckmann. Met on LinkedIn. Says he is a Wine Merchant. Lived in California. Wife died in car accident 5 years ago. Previously lived in Colorado. Shortly after meeting him, he went to South Africa to complete a huge Wine and Spirits contract. The wine is now caught up in Customs and he asked me to help him by sending him $100,000 to help him get it out of Customs so he can get his wine contract done. Then, he will come to me in Houston, we will get married and live happily ever after. He is a very smooth talker, very romantic, tells me he loves me constantly. Very handsome pictures he has provided. Early 50's, Italian, Dark hair, salt and pepper, beard, mustache. I am torn between sending him the money and the possibility of spending the rest of my life with the man of my dreams, or if it is a scam, loosing $100,000 and never being able to retire from work. Anything sound similar to anyone else's experience, out there?
June 10, 2019

In reply to by LadyP

Jim Beckman has just contacted me via LinkedIn... seems like a total scam.
April 27, 2019
Im speaking with this charming beautiful gorgeous lady (10 hours by car from me (Us-Can)). She does not mind long distance relationship. Her photos look realy genuine except at couple occasion shes hiding her face, Anyways long story short, shes falling into love with me, after 5 days of talk she goes into a gym, falls breaks her shoulder, sends me a pic (hiding her face) with wrapped arm/shoulder and then asks me for drug money. I said. No. I have not met u yet nor i have proves that you are who you are. Done!
marie bono
April 27, 2019
Have been scammed have fake name and know who real person is. Reported it all over - no response. What lawyer can handle researching and connecting fake name to real name via subpeona of records? Have the account still active for proof! Why are criminals allowed to continue - this is a very dangerous person. TY
April 28, 2019
For 3 years I have been talking to a man that says he is General George Casey. I have lost thousands and thousands sending money to diplomat s. And hundreds on I tune cards. I fell in love and he says now that he is trapped in Syria and can’t get out if I don’t pay for a chopper to pick him up. I feel so stupid to have fallen for this. I know I will never get my money back ! Has anyone heard of this man. He was also using the name Klintin Cold.
April 28, 2019
Adding to my first comment from wis. He also says he’ll kill himself if I leave him. I am too embarrassed to admit I already sent a lot of money. How do I find out if anyone answers My submissions? Thanks
Experienced Advice
April 28, 2019
Online romantic interests that ask for money and try to hurry you are rank amateurs. The good scammers never ask for money they never hurry you. After establishing a love interest and an online only relationship they one day let a financial need slip into the conversation. They don't ask you for money they just explain the problem and let you know how bad things are getting. The pros wait for -you to offer- that's how they hook you. Never send money to anyone you have never met in person.
star spangled sky
May 04, 2019
I too have recently been through such an experience. The man posing to be an architect from new York sending pictures of himself his family sister nephews - expressing profuse love. He even emailed me his travel details from newyork to India. I missed the cue that it did not carry a pnr number. Finally lands in Delhi India and I get few calls from airport officials saying he is carrying a huge amount of money and needs about 1.8 lakh Indian rupees to get clearance. I’m his only contact. Then it hit upon me that I could be the one getting fooled here. And I told him that I will come and release him but he just refused. Very hard to come to terms thy what all he spoke over the months was all fabricated and lies - justfor a small sum of rupees. Very disturbed and down
May 05, 2019
Don't answer any "friend request" from ALL SERVICE PEOPLE...FRAUD FOR SURE!! Been there "BIG TIME"!
May 06, 2019
Beware of a Army man going by James Daniel he's not single, I think his identity has been hacked, or phlished, He's asking for money, to save his inheritance. it's a wicked world out there.
November 14, 2020

In reply to by Debbie

Your story sounds similar mine goes by James Daniel from Houston saying he's in love. He hasn't asked for money yet.
Anita Hill
May 07, 2019
Hello, I just want to give a warning to everyone: Right now, my friend is under some sort of hypnotic spell, as she is sending this online figures, whom my friend has never met, currently operating under the names ADA VILLAFUERTE with a Co-conspirator named STEVE COHEN. They are also claiming that my friend who lives in New Jersey, is operating a ghost student (under my friend's name) to acquire a bachelor of science at University of Santo Thomas. I do not know why my friend cannot realize this, to the point that is has now caused her to have marriage problems, and now under the brink of divorce. My friend sends through REMITLY at the Canadian Sife, and claimed at MLULLIHIER in the Philippines. Please kindly provide input how to stop this as my friend is very adamant that this is the real deal for her. Please help!
Texas lady
May 16, 2019
I stay away from dating sites for a reason but do enjoy words with friends. I was approached by someone named Michael James after we played a word game. Very nice looking man, my age and a simple and convincing life story. He moved pretty fast asking for a date after returning from his business trip. He claimed to be an artist living in Austin TX dealing ancient artifacts and helping setting up exhibits in museums and doing business with private art dealers. He planned to retire after his business trip to Istanbul Turkey this week and was looking for a special lady to settle down with. He was financially well off and I would not have to worry about finances. Nothing sounded alarming at first except he was very handsome and unusually attentive and smooth for a man , wealthy and so available. Prior to his departure to Turkey his phone fell into water and he was no longer able to send pictures and stated now we won’t be able to FaceTime until he gets back, which we never did in the first place. After he arrived in Turkey his phone was no longer able to receive calls and we moved to WhatsApp and he called me from a different number, stating he had a second cell phone as back up for travel. I traced both his cell and the new number at that point since I never heard airport background noises even though he stated he was at the airport. Both numbers traced to 2 different land line locations in Texas. He sent me photos and videos from Istanbul little did he know I have a keen eye for detail. His shirts didn’t match his story and neither did his tan, but I didn’t ask questions, I was waiting how this would all play out. I enjoyed talking to him, he was extremely charming and funny. Of course his plans were interrupted when he tried to pick up his ancient sculptures from the sea port in Istanbul. For some reason his bank access was denied and he paid the port $7000 cash in customs but the cost was $11000. Stressed as he was and upset he told me he didn’t know what to do. I waited for the punchline and there it was. We had multiple conversations and he went as far as crying and asking me to take out a bank loan if I didn’t have the cash at hand, get advanced pay from my job, ask my friends ... and then all of a sudden I started hearing a different accent. He was definitely an African American male with a very sophisticated vocabulary, all his photos he looked middle eastern. I also received a photo of his passport and his home address. The address he gave me in Austin TX matched a Michael James however the house he claims he lives in was sold by Michael James last year. Long story short, there was no money exchange and he gave up. He was tired dealing with me lol I would love to know if the gentlemen who’s photo he used is single and available though ... I let him take me out on a date. With all seriousness, ladies be smart and stay safe.
July 26, 2019

In reply to by Texas lady

Hi texas lady, Your Michael James sounds like mine middle east face with an african american on the phone . He says bei g in Belgium but the phone number is Houston Texas. Will go to a project in Turkey when this one ends. Very loving, and caring. He said when he comes back from Turkey hexwill settle and live with me. He will buy our dream house. Is it possible that you show me which photo you have. Because i have one and when i asked for another one he asked me which one i gave you... he might have many different ones for each ladies.
ray ray
April 05, 2020

In reply to by Andrea3

I met him on hinge, claim that he is from Ukraine, has a Texas phone number, says his wife died, in turkey for work and that he needs help paying his hotel bill, $ 4,000 and when he comes home in a month that he wants to move on with me.
September 11, 2019

In reply to by Texas lady

sound a lot like the scammer I was talking to but he was French and used the name Jon. This guy is all over dating sites. He was supposed to live in Austin - same story. Art and artifact dealer but had items coming into the county but the person he used to facilitate the customs stole his money. Lies about everything and story changes. I have 100's of pictures of real man. Very nice. Once I crossed him he became very ugly.
Don't Kittyuse…
May 18, 2019
I have a boyfriend we been talking for two years now. He has a 16 year daughter she is very SWEE I've seen pictures of her. Well he says he loves me he asked for iTunes cards AMAZON CARDS and Google play cards. I have sent his daughter 50 dollars ITUNE CARDS so we can talk on Hangouts we have talked but have not met. COULD this be a Scam I LOVE THIS GUY BUT I WANT TO BE SURE HE IS BEING TOTALLY HONEST WITH ME. BECAUSE IVE BEEN HURT TO MANY TIMES IN MY PAST. PLEASE I NEED ADVICE THANKS
May 21, 2019

In reply to by Don't Kittyuse…

Hello iTunes cards big red flag. I had a young beautiful woman approach me on POF she told me she loved me in two messages then she says her phone needs to be reactivated and she needs$250 in iTunes cards. I immediately smelled a bad rat. I sent her nothing she asked about 5 more times and I stop replying. I saw her profile again same young lady different name.
May 25, 2019
Has anyone got a scam from John Walter who says he was a marine engineer that got stuck in Italy Rome and his two sons are 17 and 9 and they are in a private school in Florida , his wife died 5 years ago and he want to come back to the states but needs money !! well our family member fell for him and already sent him $5000 dollars and now he is wanting $30,000 more and she is trying to refinance her home and she will not listen to any of us that this is a scammer , please if any one is talking to John Walter on instagram or google talk please let me know , the pictures he sent of "himself" is a tall 72 yr old man wears glasses , tan and always on a boat or waters of some sort , never any video chats always calls or text , thank you all in advance
don't fall for…
May 30, 2019
Jon Fitzpatrick claims to be an art collector, photographer, living the high life in New York. Has two children a son and a daughter. Ex- wants money from him all the time. Needs money for antiques he is bringing in from Brazil. Very smooth, has an accent and claims to be French. Asked me for a lot of money!!! But has homes in Paris, France and Austin, Texas.
May 31, 2019
A few months ago , I met a widower from IG with the name of MichealMarcon1121. He calls himself Trevor, a General in the Military on a Peace Seeking Mission in Afghanistan. He has a son who is 14 yrs.old and lives in Nevada with the Nanny . We became fondly close with one another where he professed his love to me very quickly and wanted to marry me . In order for me to continue to communicate with him I had to send $500 in Itune cards to fix his Iphone . He said I had to send the payment through a Money Gram to a woman named Kathy Hirtler . When I questioned him on this payment, he said she was the one to receive the money and send it to the engineer to fix the phone . But meanwhile he claims he was communicating with me through his friend's computer or phone until he got his phone fixed. So after I made the payment within two days later he got his phone back. But two weeks before this second payment, I sended $500 in Itune cards to fix his computer so he can file his documents for retirement and be home in July so we can be one happy family as husband and wife and I was to be a mother to his son . But being the good girl that I am with a heart I felt sorry for him and believed every word he said to me , like You can trust me , I will pay you back and I am a man of my word . I thought I met the love of my life , where we would constantly text every day where he would send me love messages , voice record of himself crying and begging me to pay for his phone and computer to be fixed along with sending photos of himself . I must say he was a handsome guy with dark hair and brown eyes. I also had asked him to Skype with me and he shut me down completely and said No due to security reasons we are not aloud . I kind of felt that was odd. Our online love relationship gotten serious were he didn't want me to go on IG nomore . He wanted me to stay focus with him . I told him sorry I communicate with my family and friends . But the asking of money didn't stop there . Just recently , he wanted me to send $2700 to a courier company where I was to pay a vat fee so he can send me his life savings which consisted of $235000 by parcel in a brief case . I completely called him out on it and said This is a Scam and No way in hell I'm not sending more money to a fake company that doesn't exist . He kept saying No I am not scamming you , this is 100% safe and the company is valid . Yeah right ... I looked up this company online and had red flags all over it . He was so mad that he called me bad names and kept saying , I love You Honey , I want to be with you etc , pay the vat fee and once you receive it you can take back your money of $1000 and also book my flight home and the rest was for my upkeep to pay off debts that I had told him . What a liar !! Now after a week not talking to him , he sends me a text and says he is staying on in Afghanistan because he is finding it difficulty to come home now since he has no money . The money I sended you is on hold and I'm rethinking to renew my contract . So there you have it , I did not send money and he is not coming home . What a shame !! I cannot believe what I got myself into . If I have known about this FTC site I would of NEVER sended money . This so called General had me fooled where he led me to believe that I found the love of my life and that he was coming home to me to marry me . Lesson learned and I am not engaging with a man on these social media sites no more . They are all Fakes !!
June 03, 2019
I'm seeing the same stories that I'm getting from a George Derrick and a Derek Kess. Fell in love practically overnight, need a gift card to stay in touch, no readily available cash, etc. And I shared so much personal information with them. I feel like a total fool, which I am. They both claim to work on oil rigs in different countries. One is divorced, the other lost his wife in an accident. Gave me an email address for his son, etc. I 'm going to tell both of them that I'm doing a background check on them.
July 17, 2019

In reply to by KK-NY

I have talked to the one that calls him self George Derrick before and told me he lost his wife to cancer and has a son that’s 9 years old he was showing me pictures it was very believable and I also was talking to one by the name Johnson Maxwell that had me so fooled with that being said We are both foolish because I was scammed in to sending money as well but I figured it out and blocked Maxwell and Derrick as well.
July 03, 2020

In reply to by KK-NY

My mother has been talking to Derek Kess for 3 years, she has sent him money numerous times, we ended up losing a family home because of back tax pay, also my father died last year because it really made him so sick. My mother claims that Derek Kess is a Dutch person from the Netherlands, she believes he is real, they talk a lot on WhatsApp all day and everyday, we tried to talk her out of it and she will not listen, she’s living in the fantasy world, when my grandpa died 2 years ago, she got the inheritance money and sent it all to “Derek Kess” as we were moving, while my mother was working I went through her bedroom and I found transactions for transfer from Chase Bank, the money transfers were sent to the person named Stella Oghenekewe. Because “Derek Kess” says he can not or does not have a bank account in Nigeria, so the money has to be sent to his care taker. “Derek Kess” says he has a son named “Morris” a young teen who’s mother died of an accident or cancer. “Derek Kess” also claims he works off shore in the oil field and claims to be a millionaire. When he said he is having money problems my mom sends him money immediately, she thinks she’s going to meet him one day, she believes that he’s going to sweep her off her feet, he made so many promises and that she’s going to be rich. Someone needs to help this woman and needs to wake up!!! And STOP sending strangers money and stop believing everything people say online. 3 long years and has never met him.
March 28, 2021

In reply to by Sapphire

Tell your mother not to send him any money! I've been talking to this same man for almost 2 years. Everything about this post is the same with me. I'm poor so I can't send him any money but he has had other people send me money to send to him thru bitcoin. Until recently, I asked for a video conversation and he got mad. The communication ended very quickly. Yes this man that was going to sweep me off my feet and marry me. A Netherlands millionaire on an oil rig with a son named Morris. Is a sweet talker but a fake. Have your mother asked him if his son now leaves in the USA-maybe Texas?
June 03, 2019
I encounter this kind of senario..i meet a guy in online dating site..he has a lot of plan for us we have a good conversation everyday but through chat only he call sometimes but i never saw his face even i exist that i want to see him so we can have a video col but sad thing is he always have some excuses..and it comes to a time that he went to huston for a meeting that was he said and then he has a story he ask my help to send him a money bcoz he got in trouble and all his money and credit card are he ask some money to me to send to him..but i never do it even he has a lot of talks that can convence me..lucky that i talk to my sister about the situation and she advice me not to follow what he the way i did is i ignore him..and never talk to him anymore..thank God
concerned daughter
June 05, 2019
Has anyone heard of Daniel Peter or his attorney Bryan Smith from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia? Posing as a retired NCO American originally from Utah. My 72 yr old mother has wired hundred of thousands and still will not believe the persons are one in the same and fake!!
June 10, 2019
Has anyone talked to a man named William Cross. He said he is in Scotland at the moment working as an architect on a highway there. He is from Cuba and currently lives in Miami with a daughter named Ashley. He wants me to send him money for an airline ticket to come home and be with me. We gave been talking for almost a year now. He professes hos live for me and wants to.make me his wife.
June 14, 2019
Have any of y’all video chatted with these men ?
June 15, 2019
Just wondering if anyone has heard of a man called Hilton Elvis from london England. He says he's on a big ship that has broken down near malaysia. And he needs money to get his lockbox recovered from a delivery company. I have a strange feeling this giy is a professional scammer.
June 17, 2019
If a military person has said that there account has been hacked and they need a gift for there son because it is there birthday on Wednesday ! Can they still access money to send over to him
June 20, 2019
Katl Gerald lives me and eantse to send information to China to receive a suitcase of money 4.8 mil. That is wow not that dumb bit still hurts. Dating site POF lots of scammers on that site I have reported many
Don't use your…
July 01, 2019
A man with the last name of Richie from the UK asking for money for the last 3 years first an accident than hospital bills now passport issues telling me every day that he loves me but he can't get out from his debts to get here has home in Texas and two in London say they are tied up with the government for money he owes have sent several thousands already
July 21, 2019

In reply to by Don't use your…

Been talking to a guy goes by the name of Aleks (Serbian), great looker, strong accent, cooperate type of guy (not military). On a New Zealand Dating site, living in Australia, working out in USA, developing the 5G project. Ordered $1,240,000.00 worth of equipment but the company needs $25K up-front for delivery, he said he was short of $5600.00, asks me to help him... Bam! He got a straight out … That's bad behaviour and hell no are you going to get money out of me. No matter how charming your words are. Never met him face to face... I left a message, such as preying on woman's emotions and vulnerability is disgusting.... Be Careful out there everyone... Listen to your gut instincts and the slightest doubt, check , check again and double, triple check.... Oh and he was using female names: as his PA. If I wanted to send money via Western Union - Shalonda Palms and Alicia Truesdale.
August 27, 2019
Can we post pics here, I have been tried by about 5 of em in 2 weeks. I want to help
FTC Staff
August 27, 2019

In reply to by tisheena.donnell

No, this site doesn't have the capacity to let you post pictures.

July 11, 2019
Has anyone been contacted by a man named John Edwards on instagram?
Lotus Moon
July 16, 2019
I was fortunate. I'd already been scamed for a small amount of money somewhere else. So when the money factor came up I said absolutely not. I never gave him any money. We communicated for 2 weeks. But I started doing research. And then I found out there was no base where he said he was based, and one of the pictures the guy had a ring on his left hand. So anyway it's over. You said his name was Michael Johnson from Hopewell Virginia. He sent me a picture of his cars and himself. But a number of questions went unanswered. So I'm glad I did my homework.
July 17, 2019
Hi Has anyone one heard of a Deigo Rowell , Italian army , retiring December has a young boy called Jerry lives in lake Como
November 02, 2020

In reply to by milly

Helo Milly I have been contacted by this same guy Deigo Rowell. Its been about two months now. He is from the military and has a son named Jerry about 6 yrs old. I have never talked to him in person, although he has sent a video of him working out. I asked him to send me a video of him talking. I dont trust him! The reason for requesting the video is because I know scammers use a handsome picture, but when you hear their voices, the accent sounds like african. If someone says is fluent in English, how come the have a strong accent? So , I wanted to hear how your experience with this Deigo ended up.
July 17, 2019
I’ve been speaking to a guy since beginning of March , he says he’s in Italian army and have photos , he is due to come out the army in December and told me he would have to do a tour before he came out , we speak for 2 to 4 hours a day though the day and evenings , he now been sent to Syria apparently before he went he asked if he could make me next of kin has he as no living relatives so I said yes he could at least this way if anything happened to him I would know I have received emails fro The army about the change in next of kin and that is paid for it how do I know if these emails are real and if he’s real ?
July 17, 2019
There’s a guy on IG by name andrew_smith504 posing as a medical doctor in syria. Said he is orphan, no family and need money to get back to NY. He asked to send him money and will compensate me later. I said no and he disappears.
July 17, 2019
This sounds like the scammer I have been taking too as well telling me he’s in Syria for a peace mission in the Army using someone in the military’s picture he also told me his parents are both dead and asked me to help him with a package because he has no one to help him and he loved me, as well as asking me for gift cards because his commander needs him to do his job with the code to change it to help him crack some other codes. I was stupid and fell for it the 1st time now after doing my research I found out it’s a big scam and took money from me and they have it set up so well you wouldn’t know till you look in to it more and more. I don’t want others to fall for this scam like I did at 1st they need to be stopped.
July 18, 2019
I met a guy named William Sampson on zoosk. He said he is a widow and an interior architect and laid it on thick. We were talking for a couple weeks. He told me he wanted a relationship and he was going to fly here to see me after his project in the Philippines was done. I didn't hear from him for a couple days and he finally sent another message saying his permit was too much money and he needed $4,500 now or he would lose the contract. Then he asked if I could help him out. I told him no and that I would report him if he came to see me. He told me I was rude and he regretted meeting me and that he was going to block my number. So glad I didn't send the money. So many creeps.
September 03, 2019

In reply to by Singlemom003

The same person William Sampson approached me on Zoosk dating site through his friends’ account. He claimed he fell in love with me and wanted to correspond through email and phone calls. We emailed each other for 3 weeks. He even sent me a copy of his contract with the casino in the Philippines, copy of his passport, and shirtless pictures of himself (highly doubt that he’s the real person). But when I first spoke to him on the phone, he didn’t sound German as he claimed to have lived there since he was 4 yrs old. He sounded more like he was Nigerian. I knew he was scamming me after that. So I beat him to the punch and asked him for money. He told me that he couldn’t trust me and he didn’t want to be with a gold digger. But I’m glad I wasted his time.
Single mom
October 11, 2019

In reply to by NotStupid

Same jerk, William Sampson, same EXACT story, from the same site zoosk!
January 28, 2020

In reply to by Single mom

I think I’ve been talking to the sane guy except mine said his name is Tyler Patrick and he traveled to Lagos.