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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.

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  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to 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.

Rell
January 06, 2020

In reply to by Zarao505

This guy contacted me through Instagram. Told me he worked on oil rigs and was interested I getting to know me. We had only been talking for a day or so when he said he had a job I Turkey and needed $15,000 to by a machine. It then dropped to $2000 Then $1000. I told him I couldn't he got angry. Then calmed down told me he loved me and not to worry. Then 20 mins later was asking me for $850 For a nanny to care for his son while he was away working, as he is a widower whose wife died of cancer
Justalady
February 15, 2020

In reply to by Rell

Under what name did you know him? I'm asking you because two weeks ago a guy called Mike Gascal contacted me on Linkedin. The story is very similar. He said that is seismologic engineer and showed me that he won a contract with Gazprom in Turkey, and today he called to tell me that he has problems with a machine and he needs money to repair it. He sent me pictures of him and his daughter, who lives with her nanny in London. I am not going to send him the money but I asked for his identity card and bank account. I'm curious what he will do because he wanted the money through Moneygram.
BbQon't use yo…
March 29, 2020

In reply to by Rell

Dang mine is a part of all comments it seems. Oil rig in Dubai Engineer 2 kids( boy& girl) Mom left to be with high school sweetheart Befriended him on Instagram Ray Google play cards $ 45. Did just see what else he asks for. Done delete WhatSApp twice. He won't seem to go away. Asks me for $2000. Cause son run outside to get ball. Nanny chased after him. Police fined them both. Oh needle on machine he suppose to fix costing more for him or some kind of fish story . Today he asks for $500. To send to Kids for groceries. What r U to do, they play on your loneliness...? Beware plzzz of course i didn't send any money passed google play card. I have all if ya want to know!
Scamconcious
February 21, 2020

In reply to by Zarao505

Hi, Your story sounds very similar to mine except this individual professes to be Italian and is an oilfield engineer for oil pipelines and storage. He had a profile on Linked In and that was how he established contact with me. He romanced me heavily and in an over the top manner. Of course I was flattered and hopeful. He stated he had just moved to Red Deer Alberta. We were supposed to meet on 3 different occasions however something always came up on his end preventing it. He has been using the name Enzo Perin and states he has a company called Enzo Construction. He apparently went to University in Milan. I have researched it and his particular company doesn’t exist although there are others with that name. The company emailHe used is a gmail. And now that I have called him out His profile on Linked In is now gone. His “situation “ is that he was awarded a contact through Exxon to complete out on the Hibernia oil platform within a timeline. Worksite is high security so he is unable to leave the platform etc etc. Cant access internet to resolve his banking issues. His account has been frozen and he cannot access payment for the shipment of the materials he has ordered from another company called Fortuna Metals out of Indonesia. I also looked up that company and it doesn’t exist. I had a receipt for the order with website etc. He is asking me for the shipment payment. Apparently I do not know how to “love “ because by not giving him money that is a statement of my inability to love and trust him. OMG this is unbelievably ridiculous. Funny thing is is that although he cannot access internet he was able to take down his Linked In profile lol! Other details are that he is 58. I have pictures which are more than likely not him. I have a phone number that is still live as he called this morning trying to emotionally manipulate me into giving him money. I am taking this information to the RCMP for them to look into.
No time for be…
October 08, 2020

In reply to by Scamconcious

It seems, "Enzo Perin" is back at it. Now he lives in, "Minneapolis". What a horrid excuse for a human.
Don't use youj…
March 06, 2020

In reply to by Zarao505

His name is now Michael M. Cooper. He found me on Facebook. Run!
Sister1
April 21, 2020

In reply to by Zarao505

Do you have pics of this guy, think he may be trying to scam me too. Has a multi million dollar contract with Shell Oil (yea right). They seem to like using Shell for some reason
Romance Scammer
May 18, 2020

In reply to by Zarao505

Zarao, I think i'm being hit on with this guy. So many similarities but goes by the name of Mac Dieter Neumann. I approached him on Plenty of Fish app. Love bombed me and made lots of references to God and our love. He says hes's a petroleum engineer - independent. He's just finally landed a lucrative contract and has flown to Norway then called me last night to ask me for £22k for municipality government registration. Then when i said i couldn't understand him and asked him to text me, he dropped it to needing 7k. He says he is German and has one daughter. Told me to go off dating app immediately and not to share his story with anyone. His daughter is called Dell. He WAS my dream guy. Told me to plan our wedding and all that was his was mine. .! I gave him no money and asked him to send me a photo of his passport or drivers license and suddenly has gone quiet. He used to send me very long emails full of love and devotion, songs and poems every day without fail and again in the evening. I am devastated but at least I avoided being scammed. Photos of him with his parents, his golden retriever dog, his daughter, on a bike etc none of which came up on reverse search. Please be aware ladies, he is SO convincing and gorgeous.
Lady Legal
October 20, 2020

In reply to by Romance Scammer

I met a guy on Zoosk, also a rig engineer who is an independent contractor currently under contract with Chevron assigned at Aberdeen, Scotland,UK. He has certain similarities with your stories. His name is Richard Jameson. Does it ring a bell? He is very intelligent, has a dog name Max and a grandchild who lives with him in Glendale. His writing style is very poetic, fond of using verses from the Bible. He gave me all of his information including date of birth, favorite color etc. He was asking for my phone number and personal information. He sent me several photos. I suspected he was a scammer. I really don't know but your stories have similarities with this guy.
Jackie
June 02, 2021

In reply to by Lady Legal

Just caught RICHARD JAMESON aka Sirrichard on Zoosk, reported and blocked him. Same story, prayers, love chat and I spotted him immediately with poor English and “won’t be back home (west palm beach Florida) for 3 weeks. No mention of money yet but in Aberdeen Scotland too, under contract with Chevron. Red flags everywhere. Told ZOOSK to shut him down.
Interested in a Guy
June 05, 2021

In reply to by Lady Legal

Yes, Richard Jameson, is now in West Palm Beach, with his grand daughter, Nora. Born in the UK, moved to LA. His wife died of cancer, his son and daughter-in-law were killed in a car crash, so he is raising her with the nanny, while he is on the oil rig. Oh ! and his parents died when he was young. What tipped me off was too many tragedies. He hasn’t gotten around to asking for money. I should have realized something was up sooner, when he started spouting bible passages.
faithfulrose
January 16, 2022

In reply to by Zarao505

My best friend in Florida is corresponding with a Greg Roland who is originally from Germany but now is living in Winter Haven. He claims to be an oil engineer and is currently working on a big contract in Canada. He is devout Catholic- sending her scriptures everyday, also sends her sing lyrics, and saying she is the love of his life. They speak on the phone, but he makes excuses that he doesn’t have FaceTime because he has an older phone- which he will upgrade when this contract goes through. I’m very skeptical of this guy. Could this be the same scammer? He has sent her pics of himself. Was wondering if we could compare? Thank you for posting - I really do think this is the same scammer!
Saddened
May 26, 2020

In reply to by Don't use your…

I am getting the same sob story from a guy who calls himself Adrien Rover
Saddened
October 21, 2020

In reply to by Saddened

I have been getting the same stories from Adrien rover. Can u seen pictures
E
April 30, 2019

In reply to by msjulia86

I’ve been talking to a man, super romantic, he’s supposedly a businessman from Poland, currently working in Dubai, he’s telling me he wants to marry me after 10 days of talking to him. He says he’s sending his money on parcel and wants me to receive it, but I need to pay for it and then buy him airplane tickets so he can join me. I said no, and he got really pushy. He said “why would you not help your man,” “you’re making it hard for your man.” I found out that the person (agent) from the courier delivery company has the same passport (which looks fake) online saying is a scam.
Stan Clark
April 14, 2019

In reply to by Sandi

Anyone heard of this name...saying he is deployed and in the air force...2 kids..wife passed
Sha sha
July 07, 2019

In reply to by Sandi

Actually ive been using google images.. unfortunately none of the sent pics appear in the site. How they are able to do that. Tsskk. Stolen pics but cant find the source via google image.
Lovely35
April 19, 2020

In reply to by Sandi

Hi where can we post photos of scammer so everyone will know and aware of it. I a Can proved that he is a real scammer and bad for him i got best evidence by recording our video call so he cant denied that his pictures was being stolen from social media and someone used it not him am talking.. I think this rare to recorded clearly the video call showing his face while talking to send him money again. Can someone tell me how to and where to upload it so he must learn his lesson?
Rose's full of…
July 14, 2020

In reply to by Sandi

What if the pictures dont come back with any profile links or any information o n the internet does that mean they are real?
Crimeinusa
July 10, 2018
As you know online dating can be risky and dangerous. Never give into the asking of money on any occasion.Save yourself time and aggravated tension. Be safe.
Hedge.
August 22, 2019

In reply to by Crimeinusa

It is so easy to fall into the traps these scammers use! They will tell you just what you want to hear and profess their forever love.... than they will set you up with a fake emergency until you don't think twice about sending them money. Remember - these are fake people using fake stories for the sole purpose of separating you from your money. Don't do it!!!
Betty
July 10, 2018
I've been scammed by a love interest of over 10,000 before I realized it was a scam.
IBCRAZY
July 10, 2018

In reply to by Betty

Me too. Don't beat yourself up......like I have a thousand times, over and over again. I'd love to be there when they have to answer to the Big Guy upstairs.
seattle rain 49
April 08, 2019

In reply to by IBCRAZY

i live in seattle washington and my man scammed me for three years . his name is Michael Bernard Dugaw very attractive charming trickster. i am embarassed that i could experience this at my age 49 i want to warn every one about this liar. be careful .
Trece33
December 06, 2018

In reply to by Betty

My sister is being scammed by a Joshua Williams who claims to be in the military. He says he’s from Florida. She sends him 25 dollars a week in iTunes cards for his phone bill! We had he ask him what branch he was and he didn’t know! We convinced her not to send money and he has her crying all day now! Please help!,
CPAdair
January 05, 2019

In reply to by Trece33

May I ask where in Florida he says he is from and also what name he is using. I have a guy that I believe is trying to scam me. I’m trying to see if it’s possibly the same person. He even gave me a Florida cell phone number.
Zedleee
February 22, 2019

In reply to by CPAdair

Hey I'm being scammed by a chick who says she lives in Florida. Hihali. Her name is Marieny Diaz. I asked how she says that and she didn't answer.
Beebee
March 13, 2019

In reply to by CPAdair

I was also scammed by a man claimed to be from Florida but working in Africa claiming to be a contractor making a large sum of money. Asking for money for his flight to get home.
Baby1983
March 24, 2019

In reply to by Beebee

What did he say his name was? I bet its the same guy that tried scamming me??
Kissy. address
April 08, 2019

In reply to by CPAdair

I have a man who claims to be a doctor working for the US in Syria . Says he needs money until he gets states side His name that he uses is DR. Walker. Bryan. Anybody else been contacted by this guy. He says he owns a home in Jacksonville FL.
Betterbreather
October 31, 2019

In reply to by Kissy. address

That Bryan Walker contacted me about a year ago. I just quit talking to him so nothing ever came about me giving him money.
Worried sister!
November 30, 2019

In reply to by Betterbreather

Ho I think my sister is getting scammed by a miller walker... he says he is a mechanic from austria vienna & just before he was due to book plane his mother passed away & then lost his job & had no where to live ect, hes constantly asked for money & is very pushy saying he has no food & if she dont sent money he obviously dont care for him! Hes sent pictures that I believe are fake, he wont do video call & has a Nigerian accent... I believe shes being scammed but she dont believe me! She has been talking to him for over a year now
mwaller007
December 11, 2019

In reply to by Betterbreather

Does anyone have a picture of this Bryan Walker from Syria?
Jill Franco
May 13, 2020

In reply to by Kissy. address

I think we have the same guy only he says his name is Dr.Frank Henderson says he is a doctor in Syria under contract with the UN says he has a daughter who is here in the states living with her teacher and his parents are dead I'll bet we have the same guy I found tons of pictures that match the picture he says is him I really wish we could find out I'd love to catch him
Jill Franco
May 19, 2020

In reply to by Kissy. address

I think we have the same guy only he says his name is Dr.Frank Henderson says he is a doctor in Syria under contract with the UN says he has a daughter who is here in the states living with her teacher and his parents are dead I'll bet we have the same guy I found tons of pictures that match the picture he says is him I really wish we could find out I'd love to catch him
lostintheconfusion
June 17, 2020

In reply to by Jill Franco

Please please contact me I know we’re talking to same guy and I need verification. We have been talking for over a year and he’s gotten over 5000$ from me
ZoieDon't use …
September 07, 2020

In reply to by Jill Franco

Well, he’s now Frank Weston and he’s been bothering me. He found me on Facebook said though a friend of mine which had just died( he did do some homework). Asked when my husband passed I said he hasn’t he’s right here. That hasn’t bothered him a bit. Dr. In Syria. Young daughter, boarding school head teacher taking care of her, really? Wife died 3 years ago, parents died. From Sweden, works for the US government his a diplomat all money is frozen. Right away wants to use hangouts gov took him off Facebook because of security. Needed $200.amazon card to talk with daughter, (yes right) tried to play on my sympathy as a grandmother and mom) then tried to sweet talk me as a man, texting me all day long about his feeling, extremely pushy. Then phone calls. Then he went to 50.00 again I would not do it. I had my husband answer the phone. He would not talk with him it finally stopped! What a coward! Trouble was he did know some personal stuff scary guy!
Jerri.hunter
July 02, 2019

In reply to by CPAdair

I’ve been talking to a Florida man (Orlando) he claim is on oil rig in Norway his name is Daniel Anderson age 56 I do have a picture of him if you want to see. Thank you
Paanona
July 09, 2019

In reply to by Jerri.hunter

Can I please have the picture of Daniel the oil rig man
Andrea3
July 20, 2019

In reply to by Jerri.hunter

Hello Jerri. I don't know if my message was sent but if you habe a photo lf this Daniel Anderson i would like to see it as they change their names and the initials are the as mine but with a different last name . Almost the same age mine is 55. They won't tell you where they live either. I don't know how we can get the photo neither how to send Thand you bery much
Sallyo
September 29, 2019

In reply to by Andrea3

I think I’ve been talking to the same man... do you have a picture?
kimmy
February 15, 2020

In reply to by Andrea3

Hello. I have been contacted by a Daniel Anderson about a month ago off Instagram. Says has 1 son who’s mother passed away in a car accident. Says he is from Houston TX, based out of Georgia and is in Syria right now on deployment. Can I see a pic of who u have so I can see if it is the same person?
marsha
March 16, 2020

In reply to by kimmy

Hi, I think I’m talking now he has got a lot of money from me. Goes by W. Bill has a large bank account but can’t get in it. Wants you to pay money promises to pay back.