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

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

If an online love interest asks you for money:

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

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

 

 

1,326 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

D smith
February 18, 2020
So this guy name Eric Smith contact me on Facebook and we were talking for a while and he just asked me to send him a stream card but I’m not stupid I’m not getting scammed I’m young asl in he deleted his Facebook after we got on the hangout app in I just knew it was fishy so I kept talking to him just to see when it was gone end but he thought he had one hey say his parents are dead and he have one child and he is in west Africa doing an Mission now
Purpose2020
February 20, 2020
I met a man by the name of Crawford Martinez. Has anyone heard of him being a scammer. He is a reservoir engineer.
chris
February 25, 2020
Beware chris Thomas from Cleveland Ohio is a scammer. States engineer interacting in Gulf of Mexico. Widow daughter 15 in boarding school and with a nanny.
Sradley72
February 28, 2020
Yes I used to talk to a guy that went by the name David Jones said he was a orthapidic Dr. In the military in Syria uk and yes I fell in love with him but he did the same thing started asking for money.,but I didn't send him any
RISK2020
July 17, 2020

In reply to by Sradley72

Sradley72. I’m talking with David Jones now. Does he claim to be from Denmark? Great accent, he wants 30k from me. I wish we could compare notes.
Szc
March 01, 2020
I've just been threatened that my child will be taken away if I do not send a steam wallet card to a soldier I been talking to for 3 days .should I be scared
forget
March 01, 2020
Eric Griffith doing the rounds on all dating sites atm too .,. First it was iTunes card now it a us bank account to pay his bill as his company is in lockdown in uk as he is in Yemen doing boarders without doctors ?? Etc etc etc I would add pic but it won’t let me :(
Katiewelshgirl
March 01, 2020
Hi my name is Katie I've be text thit man on hangout he said is name is jame Williams he said he in the army in Nigeria but since I've be speak to him for the last seven month that he love me that he want a future with me but he be ask me for money all the time bc he hasn't got any thing he said he had to go to the hospital bc he got an interal bleeding he want me to give him money to pay is hospital Bill's he be asked me everday when I tell him I've got no money he says or I'm crying now you spoil my mood you dont love me
BossBabeDon't …
March 05, 2020
Has anyone heard of a scammer named Lucas Amato? He lives in Chicago but on an oil rig in the Mediterranean Sea. He’s only called twice and does not sound American or Italian. He’s working with two other companies and he has to pay or lose the account. Unfortunately his bank account is frozen and needs large sums of money. He was married twice, second wife died in car crash and no children. Anyone recognize this info??
Simona
March 08, 2020
I have been talking to James Robert he followed me on twitter and said I m his soulmate. He suggested I should put my money on bitcoin. First he was a chemical engineer and then he said he is a broker. I just send the archieves to google. And even he added me on hangouts no e mail info was found. He says he lost his wife in a car accident and has a 11 year old son. I just put the pieces together and told him that I know he is a scam first he was silent and then he said he is sorry. And said he never wanted anything from me. I just reported him I dont know if gmail security could find an IP or even bother. When I told him he said he is dumfounded with what I say. He couldnt even deny. I think he deleted his account.
Don't use your…
March 08, 2020
Is alex thompson on a dating scammer list. He works on a oil rig. His home is dallas texas. I have photos.
Fool2021
July 24, 2021

In reply to by Don't use your…

I am talking to Alex Thompson says from Sweden ...one son 21 Christopher. Tall 6' .... Blue Eyes .....greying hair....clean cut swept to one side!? Sound familiar?
Sally Sue
March 09, 2020
Beware of the marine engineer that uses Grant Cardones pictures of him and his daughters. Uses the sad sob story of his wife died, never been with anyone else since because it was so heartbreaking, parents died when he was young. Kids are in boarding school in the states, I’m from America but I can’t tell you why I have an accent. Pathetic. Says you are his queen and will retire for you to spend forever with you. Watch out people
Mary
April 11, 2020

In reply to by Sally Sue

I'm speaking to someone know who is a Marine Engineer. I believe he is a scammer, story sounds similar. His daughter is in boarding school in UK. Everything else is the same. Do you have any photos are more details about him?
Hope
April 16, 2020

In reply to by Mary

Hi Mary Is the name of this engineer at sea Raymond Hood 50 or Powell Martin? At sea in Russian and home in North or South Carolina. As i had this Raymond we chatted a bit then left and when i was writing and send the message, the name had suddenly changed into Powell Martin!!!! Anyways there is NOT any lovers on line. There are ALL SCAMMERS ALIENS they come here to invade our planet, to fool you. If you would like a real lover it's better you know and meet this person see them face to face, the contact is better. As these aliens will promise you wealth, IF you help them such as asking you to get them gift cards and so on. Be aware they are ALL OVER. They will first ask you if you are married and work. Better say yes you are happily maried and don't work , don't have any bank account. Anyways try to find something creative. Be aware that the photos they display are stolen, their names are changed all the time. Also they will tell you they are widowers, single with a kid divorced (the first time i saw this one then after discussion it's changed as widower weird...) Here everything all of you need to know. Apply all of this they will go away. Good luck
Alpha191
March 17, 2020
Cade Walker (salt and pepper colored hair and beard, black eyebrows,muscular build) Marine Engineer, 6 ft, 42 years old. Richmond, VA went to St. Mary's and has a picture of a little boy who is his son. He's on dating sites, found him on Hinge.
Sradley72
March 22, 2020
Yes I used to talk to a guy that said he was a orthapidic Dr in Syria and his name was David Jones I never sent him any money but I did send him two iTunes cards
Someone
March 25, 2020
My friend was contacted by Lionel Richie on Facebook and they are gonna get married when he have enough money for a urgent transplant. She sold everything she has and will be moving to the US to marry him. They never met nor had a video chat and she refuse to listen to anyone questioning this husband to be. What can I do to help her?
Isoulful
March 27, 2020
Jennifer Oramas Trying to use army scam requesting itunes gift card LOL she cant wait. to hold me.
Chad James
March 29, 2020
He said his name is Nick Anderson and he is on TAGGED trying to meet women to get them to send him money that he is in trouble and we ill pay back but all along he not going to pay back and tells lies. He need to be stop. His contact phone is (214-997-9173 or (214-628-0985. Please help someone he ripped me off for $2100 .And i want my money back.
NoWay
March 30, 2020
ok I will start with most recent Willy Smith from houston has furniture store, son & daughter, needs help to get his furniture he ordered that is being held for tax treasury reasons or now he needs to update phone need applecard (lotsa pics and videoslooks like a latin jigalow..lol Leslie Scot he lost wife also(they all do) He wants to send you some gold and jewelry he found working in whatever country he is in. you get a tracking no. from shipping company, But then it gets stuck in mexico & they request a custom clearance fee. You get a nice formal letter & link to pay...NO way! Morriss Ben needs money for his daughters school clothes. Michael John needs apple cards so he can talk to daughter..geeze Micheal Cristo he needs your address to have stocks sent to you , in norway he cannot get stocks cashed out. eventually this will all lead to you opening a bank account at Birmingham credit union, there is a fake site & everything lol you will get official letters from Perpetual investments London Uk about amount being deposited & yes this man will send pics and have you ready to retire with him & his millions. Matt Gilbert needs apple cards or money for his accident where he was in a coma for months has 3 kids My take is if they need money & you have not met them face to face or even if you have , real men dont ask for money!!!! they all have thick nigerian accents & say their french..lol Of and yes Derrik Kess will need money, I worry for some of our elderly who could lose their savings, This is theft in its lowest form!
Rumbled
April 01, 2020
Bitcoin scam name of Tony klaus morthorst/klaus morthorst from idaho USA says he’s on rigs in Oslo Norway anybody
Not so easy conned
April 01, 2020
Tony klaus morthorst anyone? on ig 1k followers still on there now claims to be a engineer on rigs deals in bitcoin added me on ig then asked on hangouts talking for roughly 3 weeks always dropping bitcoin currency at me declared love within a week sending love songs photos wanted relationship words used were boo baby pretty face from Idaho USA working on rig in Oslo wind turbines asked me to download a bitcoin wallet obviously so he could get my account details! deleted me off both when I called him on scam
mary2175
April 03, 2020
Hi I’ve been chatting to this guy from the army and I think he’s useing to get money as been saying all nice things got me to give him my pof password and which I fool done then he delete my pof account and saying he can’t wait to be with me but ask me if I could send him card money but told him I was skint and ask when I could I said monday just to stop him asking as which he kept saying what should I do as he says he’s honest but I get the feeling he’s not
Libra Ladie
April 05, 2020
i have been dealing with a Willaim Rodger Park and a Clifton Mendoza. parks told me he’s in the army on a special mission in. Nigeria. met him on messenger. Shortly after he met me he took down his facebook page and started talking on watts app. Always asking for amazon or itunes n now google play cards. he also got his friend to pressure me to send money for something. now i have a female hacker invading my phone. i had to buy a new phone new number n sim card. i blocked everything n deleted apps and they are back in my phone again. i can’t get rid of them. he wants me to send him a phone so he can video chat with me but now wants me to send $300 dollars to get my phone encrypted to get this female from hacking into my phone. so tired n stressed from all this. these guys are on hangouts n wattsapp n be careful cuz they will get into your phone n see who you are talking to your messages your pictures n emails. please be careful if these two
ray ray
April 05, 2020
I have been talking to a guy online and he says that his name is Micheal Harper, but when I do a google search, the picture shows up as Ruben checks. He said that he is from the uk and works in New York, for work, he has an accent and he said that his account is frozen and if I help him pay his hotel bill. But he is in turkey at the moment.
Mrs t
April 10, 2020
Scam by Bryan Williams, stationed in Iraq, widow w 6 year old daughter, retiring soon. Use babe, honey.
Maya Morales
April 10, 2020
Has anyone been talking to a military man. That goes by the name Thomas Jones. Same name as the football player.
Cdavenport1926
April 11, 2020
Hi my names crystal I'm in need of someone's help here I been with this army man for 5 years all he does ask for money I've sent alot all thease years and it's got me in a mess plz someone email me that can help
sadlymistaken
April 17, 2020
Be careful of Daniel David, screen name was Danielkozimuik. Supposedly from Hungary, moved to us at the age of 18. Tried to scam me with two weeks of alluring chat, and then off to the oil rig in Alaska, where he was offered a contract for five million dollars but to apply he had to come up with $800. Fortunately at the time I didn’t have it. My friend suggested I try to reverse search his pic. There I found his picture on a number of dating websites, most of them foreign and pretty raunchy. Yuk.
laway
April 20, 2020
Have been approached on IG by several men in the past couple weeks. There is one in particular Patrick Holland. Sounds very familiar ladies. Widower which he won’t really talk about a 7 year old son David. He is on a oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Many restrictions about communication. Same ploy unable to connect on IG asked to go to the Hangout apps . Says he is in love, hehe. Tried to video chat on Hangouts and it was blurry and the voice sounded Indian. I confronted him. Reported on IG, they didn’t care. He became irate about it. But then came back, so funny !! He sent many pictures but never in real time. He is a good actor for sure. Hasn’t asked for money at all, not yet, but I’m waiting. I tried to search (verify) him, says he is from LA. No records. I did find a match of a picture that traced back to a dating site with a new name John Smith ( so original). That John Smith came up on searches he also has an IG but very similar to the other, I’ve reached out in the dating site and IG and no response. This is such a scam and with stay at home, it is fun to play scam the scammer. Let me know if you’ve been approached too. I have many theories about these scams. Let’s talk ladies!! I will keep you posted.
Tristian
April 21, 2020
This cute guy just jumped in my Dms on Instagram. He was cute as hell! He told me that he has a daughter. And then tried to wo me..... Then he asked me to send him a gift card out of the blue. So I checked his page. Only 6 pictures all posted on the same day. So I blocked him.
Kristina
April 23, 2020
I long in to POF dating up today., after long time I got a guy from Army who’s right away giving me his whats app number which starting with American code +1 (314) 885-3688 and following number +44 7781 470659 which is dodgy, after talking like few hours later asking me for Steam gift card £20 £50 to pay for internet because He is in Afghanistan but moved to Scotland,Aberdeen. He was born in Bristol. I right away checking online those things because sounds weird. Previous He gave me the name which I couldn’t find on any social media, Tommy Darren Acosta so His dating profile is gone too in afternoon. I have received txt from UK number with of his with Skout code to delete account using my number to give him code
jmarcial
April 24, 2020
Hello Anyone here received any messages from David Mcnall. His Instagram is david_mcnall . We have been chatting for two weeks and he claims he is a US Marine station in Detroit and today he went out for groceries but apparently forgot to buy a game card Steam. He knew I was out and had ask if I could purchase one for him because he couldn’t go back out because it’s so crazy in Detroit due to covid. That he would have to wait for another week. I didn’t buy one of course just wondering if anyone has talk to this guy. Let me know appreciate it thank you
Concerned
May 26, 2020

In reply to by jmarcial

That sounds sketchy but if I were you I change your number and cut all ties from this scammer and block him. I had went through the same ordeal my scammer used my number to let one of his friends use it to set up a dating profile on pOF . I still have my Pof profile but I’m sure my scammer will be back. My scammer had a number that was +234 814 011 0189.
Broken Heart W…
April 28, 2020
Instagram scammer goes by name of Graham Malcolm. Said he was a doctor in Syria and his head of department needed money. Because he was overseas, he couldn't access his account. Promised the money would be refunded back to me. I didn't send the money ($5000) because the address/bank info was in Texas. Please don't interact with scammers. Even sending them a penny allows them to scam another victim. Gather information and report every one!
Trusting
May 02, 2020

In reply to by Broken Heart W…

Same guy that was trying to scam me. He went ALLEN Swanson and was so in love with me. His Queen, sent me utube songs everyone. We going to marry me and would neve leave me. Well when I didn’t send him “little money” 2150.00 for his son in boarding school after a week he dumped me. I was so Hesitant in the beginning pulled me in and made me believe he wasn’t a scammer like I Accused him of. Well I took him all of nine or 10 days to ask for money. Definitely a scammer says he’s a orthopedic surgeon ladies beware.
vey0702
May 05, 2020
Hi I meet this guy online on Tinder and been chat with him for 2 weeks now, after reading all the stories about this type of scam. I reach to a friend to check on this guy he's saying he's in military and I gave him the name and a friend told me his name is real and he's in military. I did told him that he's not real and I can't trust him so he ask me to call him when he's in patrol to see him directly and spoke with him less than 3 minutes. We done it twice and I did see him in the middle of desert in Kabul Afganistan so kinda believe him. He send me his pictures in military uniform and match with the person I been chat. 2 weeks after that he's starting ask me if I can get him Amazon gift card so he can use it for exchange data so he can keep the conversation with me. I told him I'm not sure I want to do that and he's kinda upset and I told him I'm single income and he's want the gift card he have to wait until I get paid just to see what his reaction is. Please tell me if anybody have same experience with me. Thanks
Scammed and anxious
September 23, 2020

In reply to by vey0702

I dont know how they edit a video. Had one too.
hmarrotte59
May 08, 2020
I am so tired of all these scammers
Rose
May 09, 2020
this man Mateo Samuel is an structural engineer. Was born and raised in Australia. No parents, no kids. Divorced. Claimed his love after seven days he asked for money. Said he was on an oil rig in the ocean in turkey? Needed to get home soon but also needed money to hire other men to take his place so he could come home. With there was a way I could post his pictures. He is very handsome but I don't think the person I was speaking to was the same man. He sounded Asian. After telling him I would not send money he became very upset and I never spoke to him again.
Don't use your…
May 10, 2020
Yes i have been talking to a so called Military Man from Seria for a week you at first I really liked him until within 3 days he already asking me for money to Get him out of the Military if i pay 35,000 to a money transfer bank there we’re definitely all kinds of red flags so i pretended i was going to send him all my credit cards and he wanted me to take a picture of my credit card number and all info on my cards. I said ok i will but of course i did not do that be careful ladies he is very cute and full of tricks he says all kinds of love words and right away wants to get married and needs your money to get out of Marine Corp His name is SGT Brian Johnson sweet talker very cunning with his words be careful warning he’s good but i was smarter thank god hes on instagram and he is still there
Keglos
May 12, 2020
A James Logan started talking to me on Scrabble go. American with bad grammar, claiming to be an eye surgeon for the navy and he is in Afghanistan. Widow, his wife died in a car crash 2 years ago and has a 10 year old son living with his sister in NY. Asked me to buy a gift card for his son's birthday, but I refused. He was charming, but something not quite right. So I googled Scrabble scam and there I see similar stories. I told him I knew he was a scammer and removed him from Instagram. So sad there are people like this, I almost fell for his charm
Kazzren
May 14, 2020
Has anyone heard of or been talking to a man who goes by the name Mark Olghar, widowed with a son who is currently stuck on an oil rig in Turkey and needs money to get his machine released so he can finish the contract and be with me.
Karen
May 22, 2020

In reply to by Kazzren

His name was Peter Jones, first the problem was with customs... then, because of the money he paid he didn’t have money for his daughter and asked for 400 usd. Came from LA and was in Ankara.
Sa77
May 14, 2020
I was texting a service man IT General John Allen Bradley claim he loved me couldn't live without me and etc. He is station in Kabul Afghanistan. I believe everything he said sent pictures of flowers, music from You tube. Sent picture of his house in Tenn. And I sent him picture of my house. He really had me convince U was the one. Then he stated here needed $2200. To obtain a box from Oceanwave Security Company located in Turkey that if I didn't immediately sent the money he would loose the box and money it contained. I feel so stupid. I have since blocked him.
michicago3
May 18, 2020
I recently met an "E9 marine, 3-tours in Iraq, CIA special forces..." guy through Facebook. He sent pictures that looked somewhat believable. It sounded too good to be true, and I should have trusted my instincts. After 2 days of chatting through Facebook, he urged me to only message him through Messenger. He would write long notes about wanting a serious and long term commitment. After 3 days of chatting, he said that in order to pursue a relationship with him, I would require a background check FOIA/FBI because of his position in the military. I thought it was weird, but it could be possible. He asked me for $600 to do the background check. I thought, why is he asking me to pay for it? He's the one who requires it. Well, I work at a law firm and we send out background checks to the government all the time. I told him FOIAs are free and FBI prints have a processing fee of $18, so what's the $600 for? He quickly said that I must not be that interested and said good bye. Boy am I glad I didn't send him that money. These guys will try any angle...trust your instincts!
Gerdupednot
May 19, 2020
Well it’s happening all of the time I guess, Twitter to Hangouts, undying love and affection. Pictures sent and messages of love! Staff sergeant in Syria called Ema Wilder and then 4 weeks on, she needed some money for a sick child in the USA. Tbf I enjoyed the conversation however I was waiting for her to ask for money and boom it happened. I’ve laughed it off and also kidded her I guess, she’s very clever but clearly not clever enough. You can never kid a kidder so my advice is minute every conversation and keep asking questions. Sad for everyone who have been duped as I can understand why it happens, just let your head rule your heart as I almost fell for it initially but the undying love made me think it’s not for real! Stay safe and cautious everyone,
Maria Maria
May 20, 2020
Anyone taked to Jones Bryan lagle? We've been chatting for a while but now he's asking for money so he can buy a ticket to come see me, he's stationed in Germany. What should I do?