Skip to main content

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.

 

 

1326 Comments


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 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.

mommy123
March 29, 2020

In reply to by Single mom

William Sampson from Zoosk gave me the same exact story as well.
Not Scammed
February 15, 2020

In reply to by NotStupid

This guy contacted me. Everything exactly the same...IDENTICAL, all while emailing me I was doing my homework on him as too good to be true. I did keep emailing a couple times but when started professing he had feelings for me after 4 nights i knew something was up plus would only contact late at night. All happened through Zoost, in Phillipines, wife died 6 yrs ago from breast cancer, parents dead, Interior Architecture business blah blah blah.... DO NOT TRUST A WILLIAM SAMPSON AGE 46, 5' 11!!!!!
cheatingspousemvd
July 19, 2019
Valuable information,Thanks lots for sharing them with us. Nowadays it is very common.
Scam
July 23, 2019
I was scammed by elvin larsson says he was working in Dubai.
Candice 2
July 27, 2019

In reply to by Scam

Beware of Roland Erik Moore. Says he is an Electrical engineer, widowed. He is an only child and both parents are deceased. Wife died of cancer. Working at an oil rig of the Gulf of Mexico. He needed money for the mobilization of his contract.
Rose
July 26, 2019
Last week, I met a US Army sergeant named James Lewis,10 years in army, working in the Engineering department, has a monthly salary of 12,000 US Dollars per month. After a day, he professed love and told me to delete the online dating app. He said he is 33 years old born July 27, 1985. He said he is now deployed in Egypt. He said that he put a limit to his Master Card hence, after he reached his limit he could not access his card. He asked for a leave to visit our country. But he said I need to pay for his flight ticket. Then he will just refund. I became suspicious so I read articles about online romance scam. I stopped communicating to him and blocked him.
jaylieno
August 02, 2019
I wish I would of come across this thread before my guy scammed me! I met him on POF in June. He told me that he just wanted to be friends. After a few days texting back and forth, he told me that I was his Queen and he wanted to take me to the alter! He was too busy working on a presentation for a construction engineer job and couldn’t be distracted to meet in person. The next week we were supposed to meet, he got the job but had to go to Oman in 2 days to start, thus we couldn’t meet. The whole time he was filling my inbox with love letters how I made him feel like no other woman ever had. After a week in Oman his bank account got locked and he needed to link his Oman account but didn’t have the $15k to unlock his US bank account to transfer. He has needed gadgets such as a cell phone, iPad, I watch, and AirPods for his job. I helped him buy those but told him I didn’t have $15k just $5k. He said he would try that. He wanted for me to send cash to TN overnight in a book, which I stupidly did to some intermediate person who could instantly transfer it to him overseas through some ex patriot network. He also had me buy $1150 worth of gift cards and text him the pictures so he could feed himself because American food was so expensive and the local food made him sick. Needless to say, I was blinded by his love and words and wasn’t thinking clearly until I almost drew out my home savings of $23k for him so he could link his account. He told me that he would make me a beneficiary so I could draw out whatever I needed for me and my daughter, there was to be over $150k in there. But he would need some confidential information from me. The name he was using was Steven Sims. I had him send me a copy of his drivers license. Today I googled the address and a different Steven Sims picture popped up, not his. I did a reverse search on the pictures he sent me, but none of them showed up in google. I broke it off tonight and told him he was a scammer. He was upset at me and was blaming me for hurting him! He said he was 41, spoke with a heavy Spanish accent? Maybe something else. Claimed to be from Argentina originally but moved to the states when he was 19. His accent seemed liked he learned English a year ago. Always talked about his dead mother and how much he missed her. Sobbed many times on the phone to me how life was just so unfair to him. Anyways now I am over $10k in debt, he told me he was going to pay me back to prove that he was not a scammer and I was the crazy one! This man had my heart and soul and now I feel like the fool.
Alisam1316
July 07, 2020

In reply to by jaylieno

jaylieno. If you get this reply, I would love to talk to you. My friend has encountered him and he said the same thing. The problem is, she believes him. I would love to exchange any photos you might have of him?
Alisam1316
July 07, 2020

In reply to by jaylieno

Did you get my reply? I need to help my friend see he's not a good person?
caught him out
August 02, 2019
For anyone out there talking to a Josiah Medina or Nelson Medina please be aware he is a scammer. Met via Hinge and he told me he was about to retire the army and only had few weeks to go. Told me his ex lady with another man and doesn’t see there Son anymore. At first it seemed quite real until............. he asked me if I loved him? WHAT? No I don’t know you??? So then I thought OK this is weird. Then it came........ he needed money for his retirement ceremony £2000. When I called him out and said oh I see you are one of those he tried to convince me he was not. I told him I had no money and even if I did he was not getting any. Then I sent ...... so I guess I won’t hear from you again? Lol. Not that I wanted to of course, and he replied...... No. trouble is I know there will be woman out there falling for it right now and I can’t do much about it. He sent me pictures even one of a driving license, he video called me to Try and prove he was real. Still not sure if he was real but his intentions not or he was using some way of using someone else’s identity. The video call was him saying he had just finished in the gym then it cut off. Didn’t actually get to talk to him. So ladies be warned
angelwings
August 03, 2019
Question has any females talk to a soldier by the name of Shane Petro in the army meet him on POF
Blindsided
August 03, 2019
Has anyone talked to Randy Clark Jones supposedly from Syria. Please let me know i think im being scammed
Disheartened
November 12, 2019

In reply to by Blindsided

I have been chatting with Randy Clark Jones on hangouts. Did he say he wish he could talk with you but needs permission? And, proceeded to ask for your full name, address, and SSN? Please tell me your experience.
Sadbuttrue
December 21, 2019

In reply to by Disheartened

I've been texting and emailing a person who calls himself Randy Clark Jones. Says he's about to retire from the US Army in February 2020. I found his name on here and I'm curious about whether it's the same individual and other experiences. I won't send money. I have none to send.
ivonnix
February 23, 2020

In reply to by Sadbuttrue

I was texting with a guy that I met on a dating app. The dating app is Zoosk. He was saying all the right things, and then occasionally would ask if I owned a home, and what car kind of car I had. He sent immediately a lot of pictures of himself. Which was interesting and also stated he was in the army and about to retire. He gave me the name of Randy Clark Jones and even sent me his military ID. It was very suspicious he was saying all the right things, so I found his name on this site. Be careful ladies
4sureDon't use…
February 08, 2020

In reply to by Blindsided

Yes, Randy Clark Jones is a scammer. If that is who he says he is. He said he was doing a special mission with the United Nations, but he needed money to come home. We met on Plenty of Fish in December of 2019. Beware!
Maria
May 29, 2020

In reply to by 4sureDon't use…

He hasn’t asked me for money yet, maybe because I told him some stories of my life probably he assumes I don’t have much which is true.
Maria
May 29, 2020

In reply to by Blindsided

Yes I just found out he is a scammer I emailed him a few times texted him and I received pictures I sent him pics of me I feel really bad cuz I trusted him.
Confused
August 04, 2019
Currently talking to a woman whom I met On tinder. She goes by the name Maldonado and says she’s in the navy. She is asking for money to come home on leave to help her sick mother. Apparently her bank accounts are on hold so she can’t access money. She is quite pushy and claims she’ll repay me and cannot wait to build a home with me. She said she loved me about three weeks into our conversation. I am a Woman too. Anyone have anything similar?
Mother in Wyo
August 05, 2019
My Mother has been scammed by a man by the name of James Laurentz. He is out on a rig( in water) near California. Has told her that he is in love with her and that he needs funds for retirement. He is also building a church and needs her help. Meanwhile, she is without running water and electricity. I've reported this before and got everything back on, only to find out that she is back in the same situation. I've had the police involved and no one seems to be able to help. Now she has told me that this is the Lord's plan for her. She has asked me to turn my life over to Christ right now because a big shift is about to come to the world and her situation should be the least of my worries. Does anyone have a similar event going on right now with this apparent criminal? I need help fast!
Poppyred
August 06, 2019
I was talking to so called marine ..using name of Harrison Robert..he was going to come see me in Scotland when on leave from ship...that was until he asked for money to help him get here...he got upset and said I should be willing to sell my belongings to get money for him...and how much he loved me??really?I had to prove my love for him by sending money!when I didn't he said I didn't love him enough...PLEASE TAKE CARE GIRLS DO NOT SEND MONEY...please...
Bun2
August 08, 2019
Said his name was Michael Williams with picture of him with puppies and his daughter. Said he lost his wife in a car accident 4 years ago. Scammer - thankfully I didn’t send any money.
Mission 301
August 09, 2019
Anyone being scammed by a patrick moravan or a brandon collins?
Candy
August 09, 2019
I was scammed with a supposed American military man named Justin Fisher saying he was in Afghanistan, I paid everything, his leave form, his replacement and the medical examination of his replacement, the last amount was lost, he mentioned to me the name of his general support of the name cliftonwastterston I also have the name of the madam who was recovered the money i all lost , yes am stupid
Nvrnoption
August 09, 2019
My Mom met a man on POF named John Martin. He has had people wire her money and then she transfers it to Bitmoney(?), no idea, and sends it to him. He is currently telling her he loves her and has never met her. He has asked her to send him money for a plane ticket to come back and meet her. I have tried to find him on-line but have had no luck. I think the money being wired to her is from other women and then she is sending it to him without her knowing it. I am very worried about her. She becomes upset anytime someone tells her it is a scam. Has anyone else ever had encounters with this guy?
Jennifer S
August 09, 2019
Guy I have been chatting with claims he is a surgeon working for the United Nations in Somalia. He is in love with me and wants to visit me and marry him. However he claims he has no money for food! I sent $100.00 to an address in Ghana..where I was instructed to send it. Money has not been picked up now wants it changed to a money gram. Any advise. I'm on to the guy but really want to believe him. Goes by name Jason Allen.
Maddie
August 10, 2019
I man pretended to be Bradley Adam contacted me on Tinder. Very charming and educated.He writes pretty well!! He says he is an engineer and has a cable car company. He traveled to Dubai on business and asked me to transfer $3,000 in bitcoins to support his daughter.I didn’t. He insisted. I blocked him.
Candy
August 10, 2019
someone heard about Justin Fisher, claims to be a captain in Afghanistan and he says he has a daughter on behalf of Chelsea, he's still in my contact list, I got scammed by him, and I have to have him a picture of another woman, I'm afraid she's doing the same thing he did to me, I want to protect this woman
Don't use your…
June 09, 2020

In reply to by Candy

He's still there Justin fisher asking for the same things yeah his daughter Chelsea and his dogs Teddy scammer I'm just saw that I'm getting sick he's on Instagram and hanghout
sallyAnn
August 11, 2019
Please be aware of jrjamesarthur. Scammer asking for money. Construction worker from South Africa living in Texas. Contact made from Instagram. Very attractive and convincing. Like other posts I cannot find the source of the photos
tevco2
August 12, 2019
Has anyone been contacted by an Adrien Van Lepori or a James Lepori? Says he’s a sgt in the Army with the UN Peace peacekeepers. He’s not asking for money yet but I want to make sure!
Queen of My Heart
April 05, 2020

In reply to by tevco2

I too have been contacted by Adrien Van Lepori. He ask for gift cards for his son in boarding school in Texas. He too is a sergeant in the US in the army with the US peace keepers. He’s also asked for money to secure his box with all of his papers. This is been going on for several months. Don’t get sucked in. He has promised to marry me and wants use me as his next of kin. He claims to have a ten year old son in Houston Texas in a boarding school. I have even gotten emails from his “son” calling me his new mother. Don’t get sucked in. Never see his face on phone calls.
TS
August 12, 2019
Hello all, I've recently stop talking to a guy by the name of Medina Martinseen who has a son name, Josiah. I met him on Hinge and he immediately wanted to chat on Whatsapp. He is in Army and says he is a combat engineer in Ft Lewis. He just moved from Florida and wants to move his son once he buys a home. Within 5 days of chatting with him, he asked me to do him a favor because he is too busy at work and ask me to buy a Steam card for his son. I told him I was uncomfortable doing this and he was upset/disappointed. I few days later he ask again and this time I laid into him. I also sent him image about Steam card scams. He was so upset that I would excuse of him being a scammer and what kind of mother I am for not helping him out for his son. He told me not to contact him. I hoping this will anyone out there that has encounter this guy.
NM
February 02, 2020

In reply to by TS

I have the same history with Nelson Medina here in North Carolina . But your history open my a eyes . Thanks
Jackie 1954
August 13, 2019
I am presently messaging back and forth with Roland Erik Moore. He is now living in Orlando, widowed, parents are a dead and only child. He has not asked for money because we have been messaging only a few days. Last night, he requested that I text him to move the relationship to the next level. This morning a little bug suggested that I google Roland Erik Moore' name. His name appeared on this website attempting to receive money from the young lady. I am thankful, she took the time to share her story with this site. I do not believe sending anyone money that I have never met. It does not matter how sad the story maybe. I am going to block his name and make contact with the online dating company. This is horrible that individuals are experiencing this type of deception.
Pink
August 31, 2019

In reply to by Jackie 1954

I’ve to been talking to Roland he made plans for me to come to Orlando in September now supposedly he’s coming to California in October for his birthday he’s never asked me for money I knew something was fishy about this guy I’ve been googling his name and nothing came up until today I googled and it was the first thing that popped up I am so thankful for this site he’s been exposed
Kitty
August 17, 2019
Has anyone been asked to give a person your Apple ID code claiming it won’t cost you a cent?
boxer2019
August 18, 2019
I think I may be talking with a scammer. He reached out to me on POF and we ended up moving out of the site and messaging through the "hangout" app. He says he is in the army currently stationed in Pakistan. I have already been cautious of the whole situation because of scams I have read about. I checked all of the photos he had through google images and nothing came up but a fb account that didn't show any activity since 2017. I told him I didn't believe he was real so he sent me a video of him and a fellow soldier in one of the military vehicles. I'm not sure if that is something that a scammer can fabricate? The conversation was going great until he said he had lost his wallet while on patrol. He said he was carrying not only his stuff but his friends money. He asked if I could send him money so he could send to his mom. I asked him why I couldn't just send the money to his mom instead of it having to go through him. He said because anything he gets from friends and family will be reimbursed when he returns home. I told him at the time I couldn't help with anything because I had to take care of my family first. Every conversation we had after that was about when I would be able to help.. Finally I said I was going to stop talking to him because I was tired of being hounded about it. He told me he was sorry and that he wouldn't ask again. I told him I didn't believe he was real and he ended up giving me his mom's phone number.. I researched that and didn't get a name associated with it just where the area code was from (san diego)even though thats not where he said she lived, although I have a different area code number than where I live so I didn't question it too much. I texted the number asking if she was his mother and she said yes and without me saying my name she did ask if i was me. Sorry for such a long post... Could I be being scammed? I haven't sent anything to him but he did give me an address to send the money to through moneygram
Aimee
August 21, 2019
Am currently speaking to a Guy name Peter Lawson from Kentucky and blood Romanian that is abroad in Nigeria in a construction company Julius Berger in Nigeria. He is an engeneer supposedly. Been reading about scam since last night and scare. He has not ask for money. But, all story here are so similar to mines. He is has been in love with me since august 18. Am so confused. This Morning i confronted him and he stated he will be in a field work today.
Don'Simonet us…
August 26, 2019
Same here, but I figured out how to do Face Recognition. Stolen pictures and I block them. So many out there doing this!
talk2simoncheng
August 29, 2019
please beware of this scammer! he uses Simon Cheng and repeatedly gives excuses and ask for money through iTunes card, work permit and equipment damages. Claimed to be an oil pipeline engineer, divorcee with a 9yo son.
Beargirl
September 04, 2019
Does the following names been in contact with anyone? Steven Macray oil rig raymondship217 , business man Have any information on these 2 people?
BigDawg1207
September 03, 2019
My mom is 67 years old and I believe she is being scammed but this person has her so convinced he loves her and wants to marry her but they have never met or talked on the phone or anything she don't even have a number to contact him. He is wanting her to send him money to come see her and I believe she is falling for a scam his name is Jerry Bryan ...has anyone heard anything of this name asking for advice thanks
Beware uk
September 09, 2019
I have been talking to campbellmason45 on Instagram for a few weeks. Marine engineer working in deep sea off India. He seemed really nice and genuine and he tells me he loves me. He tells me it’s his birthday and wanted some wine to celebrate but his friend was getting him some but ran out of money so he asked me to help. Said I couldn’t send money and after being made to feel mean I sent him £25 ITunes card. Now he says he is in financial trouble and needs to return to Texas can I send money. Then he says he wants to send me money to look after for him, now warning bells ring and i say no can do. Again he is asking me for £200 and saying all sorts of things like I’m his only hope and how I am letting him down by not helping him when he loves me so. I know what he is up to but cant block him just yet. Beware of this guy. I may yet report him on Instagram.
krashevka
September 18, 2019

In reply to by Beware uk

Did you manage to report him? I was talking to a guy who told me to be called David. I told him I was scammed before and yet, after ten days he asked me to help "my man". He was close to finish his 50 mil contract but he was 10k short. I reported him to IG and they replied that his account is not breaking their rules. They don't even have a category "scammer", asking for money etc
IG80
September 10, 2019
Username David_Gonzalez141 on Instagram is an online scammer!!! DO NOT ACCEPT HIS FOLLOW REQUEST OR SEND HIM MONEY! He asks for gift cards and bitcoin refills in 4, $500 cards totaling $2,000. He tried to scam my mother and she reported him to Instagram and the FTC!
TT
September 11, 2019
Hi has anyone spoken to Raymond Bentley? In US army based at Lakenheath ?
concerned coworker
October 15, 2019

In reply to by TT

I personally haven’t, but my coworker is!! He’s sent her all kinds of photos of this dude, and even faked a passport.
Hi
November 06, 2019

In reply to by concerned coworker

Did you see the passport pic. Did you notice his middle name is incorrectly spelled?
Kayla Schoentube
February 18, 2020

In reply to by Hi

MY Friend met someone by the name of Raymond Anthony Bentley on Tinder this past week. He sent her an expired passport ID (2/2/17) with his picture but is refusing to Skype with her or send any photos that would believe him to be true. Can anyone else collaborate on this? She hasn't sent any money or threatening personal information.