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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 01, 2020

In reply to by Kayla Schoentube

Was it the date of issue or the date of expiration that showed 2/2/17?
September 17, 2019
I met this guy on Tagged, an online dating site towards the end of May. He seemed very nice and legit at first. Now, he's claiming to be in Cyprus and works as a project manager. He said his workers were involved in a car accident and would need surgery. He also said his workers are there working illegally and have NO health insurance. He said he is responsible for his workers and asked me for $6,000 to cover the cost of the surgery. He also said he only had $4,000 on him and needed the extra $6,000. I quickly realized he was trying to scam me and changed my phone number and blocked him on social media.
September 17, 2019
My mother lost 60,000, because of this, I'm now really sad as my mom is broke
September 20, 2019
Watch for the name Marcus Dan Jarstein. Claims to be an engineer, private contractor, wife died of cancer, from Norway, and, has custody of his granddaughter Melissa. He claims to work for BP America, oil company. He is after alot of money. He has a woman involved as well. Her name is Dede, supposedly the nanny. Also, Andrew Davis. He goes on to dating websites. He is also an engineer, has an accent, his wife died of cancer as well. I have let BP know about Marcus.
September 22, 2019
Please someone help me, I'm talking to a guy name jeff, and I have to know, same story, in the military, aviation officer on a mission, cant tell me where, never talked, never video chatted, hes ask for money to come see me, so I pretended I was going to and he gave me an ladyship name Debra Cope shes in Washington, she was going to have to go to walmart to get the money for him, I lost her address, but googled her house and found it, but he never cleared up who she was. I'm probably talking to a women. I have pic if I can send them I will
October 03, 2019
Anyone have dealings with a 'Rick' Roberto Martinez? I have been chatting with him for about 3 weeks and he has just now started asking for money. Funeral costs for his mom who has died in Italy. Just curious if he has run this scam before.
October 03, 2019
Josiah (jos) medina is still on hinge. Luckily I googled and found this. But same m.o. combat medic. Has a son. Away at training. Gave me his kik smileypop44 I sent an alert to hinge. His Facebook is odd. Has a picture of him and his son but then the others pics are of a young boy that I believe maybe from Nigeria based on the comments of the pictures.
October 04, 2019
Check on woodhilton1978 instagram. He's portraying USAF, deployed in Lebanon. Asking me to send him 100 dollars on a Sephora gift card.
October 07, 2019
Yep...met him on Tinder. Posed as Martinssen Coop Medina and asked to use Hangout app almost immediately. Deleted his Tinder account. Claims to have a son named Josiah that lives in Florida with his "nanny". Laid it on thick. Video chat attempts approx 3 times, but no sound. Said the connection was bad. Sound worked once..short called, but couldn't see his face. Asked me for a steam card for his son who was upset. Told him to take a hike immediately. Then goggled the name to see these comments. Glad I shut it down.
June 12, 2020

In reply to by Q

This is the same story Chris Apusen used on me, said he was stationed in Darwin RAAF base with his daughter living in Sydney with a nanny. Video called me but no sound which cut out and called again which made me question him, as it was the same video, exact same movements, where his eyes were looking as the previous one. I google imaged searched and found the pictures he sent me were on #soulapp
John Seth Hlavin
October 18, 2019
Said he read my profile on line .Never had one .Wife died car crash .Daughter in boarding school Been on the rig 29 months no break .Requested i tunes steam cards money to get off rig unable to phone as security risk not allowed too .Played him at his own game called hom fake Git abusive said i was stingy and put him in danger as needed money for equipment Blocked him .contact johnhl avin608 Instragram pictures Fake and photoshopped luckey escape a
October 18, 2019
my mum talking with some man just 1 month from USA but he working at Afghanistan and he said that he has a son whose name is Samson Willson and he said that he want to get family and I was a shock. Today he ask my mum can she sent photo of her ID and she sent what we must do I said to mum that she does mistake. I'm really scary please can u tell us what we must do
October 10, 2019
I am going through the same thing right now. I met him on Pof he said that he is from Brazil and He has a 12 year old Son and he says that he works for the CIA and he said that he lives right here in Pittsburgh in Shadyside I spoke to him Briefly on the phone, He has an accent! The guy in the pictures is cute, I don’t think it’s him! And he sent me a ring too! Lol I been talking to him since August 3rd and he says that he is coming home before thanksgiving promise to get me all kinds of stuff and to travel. I told him. I don’t trust him, Now with everything I done read, I really don’t trust Him really wish I can talk to the man in the pictures he done sent me so I can. Let him know what is going on.
October 10, 2019
This guy Brock Wyatt was matched with me by Hinge and he scammed me for $100 itunes cards. only chatted on whatsapp using this number +1 (415) 930-6947. no phone call, meeting etc. Good profile pic of whoever he stole from - I wish I could tell the actual soldier that he was handsome. I have pictures of him. lemme know if anyone wants to validate if it was the same guy. Anyways, this guy said he lived in cobble hill, Brooklyn. He claimed to be a soldier working for US army stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He said was 'E28 captain of the alpha squad of the 3rd batallion regional army'. did two tours of iraq, 1 of afghan and 1 of chad two months ago. Said he was on IRR leave to visit his son. His mother, father, wife were all dead and his 8 yr old son 'Kyle' was being raised alone by a nanny. said he had several dogs and cats. His dog 'Jack' would go with him on tours. said he caught his wife cheating on him several times. said she died an year after divorce after marrying another man and was sick. he was married for 10 years. he was raised by his father. Met him on Sunday night, scammed me on Wednesday. 2 hours into chatting on Hinge, he claims to have met 'the' woman and after another hour, he switches to whatsapp. Kept saying I love you and all sorts of flattering stuff. asked me if I was seeing other men. On Monday morning says, he has summoned urgently to report to duty. told me he was deployed to train the next batch in rural north carolina. several red flags on his against what he was claiming. But he said his 'disabled' friend set up his account to see him with a woman. And yesterday he scammed me into buying two $50 gift cards for his son and himself. I of course denied at first and asked to ask someone else, he said he already tried. I said I needed to talk to him before helping him. he said its against protocol at the military. Later asked him to send a selfie of him - he said, he was with his soldiers and commander and he dare not take a selfie but will send a selfie first thing in the morning after 'patrol'. something made me believe him even in the middle of immense doubt and my mistake was to buy his itunes cards before doing research on google which is invariably do!!! Please help track him down. we need to get our money back. Also lot of my personal information is with him. I am worried it might be misused.
October 11, 2019
I am going through the same thing right now. I met him on Pof he said that he is from Brazil and He has a 12 year old Son and he says that he works for the CIA and he said that he lives right here in Pittsburgh in Shadyside I spoke to him Briefly on the phone, He has an accent! The guy in the pictures is cute, I don’t think it’s him! And he sent me a ring too! Lol I been talking to him since August 3rd and he says that he is coming home before thanksgiving promise to get me all kinds of stuff and to travel. I told him. I don’t trust him, Now with everything I done read, I really don’t trust Him really wish I can talk to the man in the pictures he done sent me so I can. Let him know what is going on.
October 13, 2019
Martisseen Medina single dad with an 8 year old boy similar scam asked For name and phone number after a short exchange...Thank God for google and people who report
October 18, 2019
I have someone on hangout asking to buy him cell phones and he want to ship them over seas ..keithsweat 786 in return in 14 days I will get my money back ...
October 18, 2019
Be on the lookout for a Jeff Edward. He tried to scam me recently. Very quickly fell in love with me he said takes marriage etc. Says he has a 12 yr old son named Jake and he claims he is widowed wife died in childbirth. He has a bid in on a contract in South Africa many details about this. He finally wins the bit but now he needs 50k to do it. We talked for about 15 days. There were a few red flags but I tried to ride it out and see for sure. Once he asked me for money and wouldn't take no for an answer I knew he was a con. His email is Jeff.edward4me or Hangouts jeff2. edward 4me ,also on his PayPal his id of FreedLLC. And another email steven.nicholas14 His number is Austin TX 512 exchange. I deleted everything he sent me and blocked him all over. He did not get any money from me but he is good at romanving and the pics he sent were very believable. I met him on Farmers Dating Site. We started texting and Hangouts right away. He made threats to me when he saw I had his number lol. Leave this guy alone he's a heartbreak waiting to happen ladies. Oh one more thing he actually has a website pierce construction ltd
October 18, 2019
Does someone talk to a man introduced himself like Bravo Bryan, 46 years old, widower (his wife passed away 3 years ago from cancer) and he has 4 years daughter. He said he work in Geotek Engineering Nashville, TN. He is from Nashville, TN. He Asked me first to buy for her daughter Google play card for 150-250$. I've refused. Now because if his job asked me to find a way to help him out and pay his annual taxes which is about 5843$. But the bank accepts payment of 3000$ just to release his standing money in the bank which are for to buy the last purchase. However I didn't made any payments after when I've seen all this post for different type of same scams. I lied to him and said I already made the payment and he was happy.
Don't use your…
October 19, 2019
Some one using Dan jones money love scam
October 20, 2019
Any one hear of Alex Sigmon? Forifa daughter 9 named Mitchel. Special missions in Syria. Loves me unconditionally. Wants iTunes cards. Has 4 different phone numbers. Sent me a picture of his release of duty in Syria on the ,15th. Loves my kids. He's just a phony puke! Wants to live together when he's home. He's so phony. But he broke my heart,!!!!
October 20, 2019
Has anyone ever talked to a Dempsey Silva...from Utah ....miltary with a 12 yr old daughter....i have pics of him...a flight schedule and all....he is asking for money for a card activation ....plz let me know...
July 20, 2020

In reply to by Possum

Yes, that same person contacted me, asking me $ 2,500 to pay a fee for his deployment from the military base. This happened May 2020.
July 20, 2020

In reply to by Possum

Yes, I know a friend of mine who is involve in this situation with someone name Dempsey Silva, from Utah, she is constantly looking for money to send to this person, specially to buy bitcoins or give cards. because he needs to pay some gate fees at the military base in order to get out. He give her a ring at the military base in Massachusetts but they never can talk due to some restrictions at the military base, she is been sending him give cards and buying bit coins since may 2020. I can't find the way to tell her this is an scammer. what did you do?
falling out of like
October 23, 2019
Be ware of Micheal Author. Reached out to me via LinkedIn. Same MO. Widowed, has a daughter in boarding school. Working on an oil rig in Turkey. Started asking for Amazon gift cards. Has a gmail under james Parker too.
October 25, 2019
Has anyone came in contact with a Selpulveda Ben Ryg, claims to be in army based in Kubal Afganistan. Been talking to him for 4 months he is asking help for a emergency leave. Has a daughter 10 nanny takes care of. Wife was a drug addict in a wreck and was killed.
October 29, 2019
This has been happening to me for about 4 weeks now His name is George W. Robertson, his pictures are military except one. I think he stole this man's identity. On Facebook, friend request, make a long story short same thing fast moving wants to come to my home live w me, tells everything any woman would love to hear after 2 weeks asked for 650 to get home he says he's stuck in Turkey. He got 0 from me told him absolutely no, but will not stop trying. That's what I couldn't figure out. No money, you would think he would give up. Nope Why does he not go elsewhere. He lives nowhere near me. I would like to send the pics and profile to the military or somewhere to let the real person know. Anyone have any ideas
October 29, 2019
I am currently being scammed by someone on instagram named allen_peters01. He was quite the charmer until he asked me to send him $1000 ebay gift cards to update his devices since he works doing offshore surveillance in Florida. I have several pics and actually I would like to find the real person in those pics, because i am pretty much in love with him now. lol. I did not buy any money and then he got nasty pretty quickly. I asked him for proof of who he is and he always avoided questions. Ugh. I have pictures if anyone else has been scammed by him. He also said his wife died.
October 30, 2019
Has anyone been scammed by a Natasha West, claiming she is a Dutch American orphan with a fortune that she wants to make you the sole beneficiary of and asked you to go to Dubai to claim it? Her “lawyer” is William pate, speaks with a Nigerian accent and they both use google hangouts. Also Jamie Scott from Ohio? And a Laurel Michelle? All google hangouts and all asked for gift cards.
October 31, 2019
I’m pretty sure I’m being scammed by a man who is 62. Met him on Match. Has an 18 year old daughter who works the scams with him. His mom is English and father is from Spain. He’s from Lakeland Florida. He has a solar panel company there (couldn’t find the name of it). Currently he says he’s in Dubai with his daughter and she broke her leg and the hospital won’t discharge her til he pays her bill. He says the bank put a hold on his credit card due to the different places he’s charged things. So, I called his bluff. Now he wants my Verizon account info so he can buy phones and sell them but charge it to my account. He’s pretty stupid!
November 04, 2019
Just want to follow up on comments that I posted on 10 September. I've been reading all comments everyday to see if mine was posted but yet I didn't see it. Please let me know. Thank you
Ester use your…
November 05, 2019
Can someone sent me a picture cause I'm on whatup app with a Josiah Medina and he is really cute has tattoos and a 10 year old son.he sent me his army id and other pictures.
February 04, 2020

In reply to by Ester use your…

Please contact me I'm talking with Jordan Josiah medina I have pics of his military id son Jerry wife died in car accident
November 05, 2019
I just met Martinssen Medina on Hinge today 11/5/19. Within a few minutes of chatting he wanted to move our conversation to Google Chat. I was busy with work but as soon as I finished I Googled him and found this site. I'm glad everyone is getting the word out. I called him out on his b.s. and glad I didn't waste longer than a few hours on him. *Ladies, safety first! There is an entire internet at your fingertips ...check these guys out and never send anyone money.
November 06, 2019
November 06, 2019
Know this guy online by east meet east dating app. His name is mason zhang. He just got an engineering project in alaska and his valuable thing just got stolen. Ask me to pay $ 3800 to pay to the agent so he and his crew can get some food. Is this a fraud? Anybody know this guy?
Richard Hoffman
November 08, 2019
Says he is from Minneapolis and has own business. Told me he loved me within one week. Wanted to come meet but had a sudden business trip to London. He then contacts me regarding a business deal that he didn’t have enough cash for. Needed around 12,000. Continues to ask me. I asked for proof of which he had none. Asked for his passport that looks legit but when comparing to mine it isn’t the same. Did second check against my husbands passport as well and also still doesn’t match up. He is quite handsome but has the same M.O. as the others, wants to text or talk on phone. Tells me he loves me, life together, then hits me up for money. He will not see a penny from me. He even sent me his flight itinerary which looks quite legit. Be careful everyone. If it’s too good to be true it probably is!!
November 09, 2019
Anybody know mason zhang?Met him in east meet east app. He is from california, leave in rancho dominiquez. Claimed to be an engineering to build tunnel or train. He is in alaska now for a 3 weeks project with his crew.Just got robbed and do not have money to buy food and water. Stuck in alaska, need money to buy food and drinks. Anybody knows him? Is he a scammers?
November 12, 2019
Has anyone meet a man in the army that's located in Iraq says his name is oh wait this is how he spells his Name -(Mattias Johnsen) he is a SGG Security Gunner and said his Birthday was November 5th and wanted a ITunes or steam card and now asking for my full name and also my mother's info. As soon as he asked me for something I new he was not real, so what do you think? Thanks
November 14, 2019
I’m talking to a supposed marine named Jeffrey Bristol Marcos. He’s on a peace keeping mission in Libya. Met on POF. Says he’s from NJ. Yesterday was asking about my salary. Asked for a steam gift card today to buy a sandwich. Very attractive pictures. Anything here sound familiar?
November 16, 2019

In reply to by rhodey96

It all sounds to familiar! There all the same. When you call them on it then your the bad guy. All of them are the same. They all use someone else's profile pictures and what ever they can get there hands on. There all scammers just different place they say anyway.
December 06, 2019

In reply to by rhodey96

I met a Jeffrey Bristol Marcos on Mutual, he also asked me for a steam card (to play video games). He's using the pictures of a Marine.
December 26, 2019
Martin Med is the latest name he’s using. Talking about Bitcoin and let’s text on our cell #s. It’s the same # 3015392985 Maryland. Total Scammer. Nigerian
November 19, 2019
Anyone had communications with a Brian Walker ?
November 20, 2019
Anyone on here heard of an army nurse in south africa with the world health organization? goes by the name Seth B. Cooper. Met him on pof then he asked to talk on whatsapp. he was talking normal then one day he said he neeeded 200 bucks for him and i to keep communicating becaused his commander threatned to remove the wifi. then he said he has no money to buy meds. and now he said he needs money over there and asking me for my full name and mailing address so he can have the army mail me a check of his. i asked how i would then get it to him he said i send it through money order? does that sound fishy? oh and he keeps calling me sweetie alot
November 23, 2019
I met this man on uniform dating. He claims to be in the military.. the army! And, stationed over in Cameroon Africa.! He needs money for food every week!? Am I being scammed!? His name is John Brown..
November 23, 2019
I recently received some emails from a girl in Russia. We talked for about 2 months before she started asking for money she says it will be $510 usd to get here from Russia. She professed her love for me after about a month of contact. I’m not sure what to do but I have told her that if she wants to see me I will come to her and I will not send her any money because I think it’s only fair that if she actually loves me she will not ask me for $$$$. She had at first said that she had savings and she would be able to afford her flight to the u.s. and all the paperwork involved but then all of a sudden her grandmother died and it took all of her money to bury her so now she’s saying she only has $200 left but why would she be talking in u.s. dollars anyway she should be talking in rubbles right??? So I’m not sure if I’m doing the right thing and she is very beautiful or at least I think she is. If anyone could help me out on this I would be very great full.