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If you’ve seen the news, ‘romance scammers’ are among the eighty defendants indicted today by the Department of Justice in a scheme that stole millions from Americans.

Check out this video about how to spot and protect yourself from romance scams. Then share it with your friends.

Illustration of a woman using a dating app

People reported losing $143 million in romance schemes last year, more than any other type of fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission. But there are steps you can take – and then tell someone about. So watch the video, learn more, and pass it on.

530 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.
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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.

whosethefool
November 13, 2019
anyone talking with a Mariam Nico. She says she's in the medical supply business and won a bid to supply medical equip. After weeks of "romancing", her medical deal goes through and in order to get back to states to see you says she is stuck in Brazil & didnt know tariffs on shipping toJapan increased.Then she asks for money so she can get back to "be with you". Once money is sent, via bitcoin, she's able to "travel" to Brazil where her equip is supposed to be set up. Then the next part of scam, the fees have once again gone up in Brazil and she has most of money, but needs just a little more & then the 2 can meet for first time and be together.
BrendaBcGrn
November 20, 2019
Has anyone talked or texted with someone pretending to be Sasha Banks from WWE WRESTLING ? They are out there ! I just don’t know the one to report this to
AlmostScammed
November 21, 2019
Some guy that named himself Oliver Quinn said he was half Jamaican and half American. Texted and talked when we could. He said he lived in Seaside, Oregon and was an Independent Contractor. After a week, he said he had to do some work in Dubai but that he would fly straight to me. Something didn't feel right. I started investigating and turns out it was a scam. No one by his name or son's name was found anywhere. I reported him to Plenty of Fish and blocked him from my phone. It was a close call. Beware. If it doesn't feel right, it's probably not.
tlamm
December 02, 2019
So, I am talking to a guy I met on instagram...Matt Roland...sweet as can be, contracting in Kabul Afghanistan, I am his queen, he wants to marry me and have me raise his 4 year old daughter. His wife passed away giving birth to her and her twin brother whom also died and the little girl, Belinda, is living In Lincoln Nebraska with her Nanny....anyone dealt with this fellow??? He hasn't gotten any money out of me yet but he is trying to get me to go get him some kind of gift card from walmart and he will give me info to get it into the hands of the military welfare to get to him , to get him off the list to have to go into the battlfield. He even se the date for our wedding, can you believe its 12/20/19- he will be home....lol.lol.lol.
NotDavid
December 06, 2019
I was scammed by mylocalcrush.com It's a romance site with the typical inventory of men and woman looking for matches. To chat with someone costs about $1.50 per message. The responses come quickly and seem legitimate, but you soon realize it's not the person you think your chatting with. They use either a very sophisticated algorithm or a live responder to string along the conversation, but will never agree to a live meeting that would expose the scam. Got me for about $50 before I wised up.
hannah7
December 08, 2019
I met a "man" online at Plenty of Fish dating site, 11/24/2019. It became obvious very quickly where the conversation was headed. I played along until I was given accounts in four international banks. Pretended that I was going to send money even going to the bank and putting funds on a legit wire transfer slip. No intention of actually wiring it! I called the scammer out letting them know that I was fully aware of their intentions. The amorous lover disappeared. I notified one of the banks. I decided I should report it to the FTC and let them handle it. Done! There were so many red flags throughout the entire process. A person who starts out praising and complimenting you beyond normal. Texts in English that are greatly grammatically incorrect. ie. using improper verb tense or word arrangement. Professing their love or wanting you to profess yours. Telling you they have no family. Few friends, are all alone. Telling you they have no phone access. Imperative that you trust them. Giving you access to their "email" which if you look at the inbox was just created for your scam. Giving you access to their "bank account" to transfer funds for them so you see that they have a lot of money and do not need theirs. Using a bank outside of the USA. Using guilt if needed. "you said you loved me" "talk to me" "do you not trust me after all I have said" There is more but I am sharing what my scammer tried to do in just one week!! DO NOT EVER SEND MONEY TO SOMEONE THAT YOU DO NOT KNOW.
For a Friend
December 12, 2019
My friend is in a scam and will not listen to me. He is from Nigeria, wife died while giving birth, parents dead, yada yada. She swears he has never asked for money and is coming to visit her once he is off his oil rig in a few weeks. He also told her he needed her to log into her computer and use his User name and password on a computer to complete a transaction for him. I think it is money laundering and told her not to do it, but she did it anyway. He now has her IP info. Has anyone else fallen for this and has anything bad come from it. I am afraid her computer is now being tracked for some illegal transaction.
dumbgurl
March 06, 2020

In reply to by For a Friend

This exact story except from a guy named Harry in Germany on a contract for construction happened to me.
gotscammed
December 15, 2019
My scammer is Reade John Kelly. Totally caught me off guard. Instagram DM’d me and profile seemed legit. Petroleum engineer on a leave, independent Contactor with a multi million dollar contact. John was from Bulgaria, he had a strong accent and we chatted on the phone a few times. We video chatted once. I had no idea about this scheme until it was too late. Two weeks into chatting he started asking me for google play cards. I am embarrassed as to how many personal things I willingly gave to him! Forever thankful to the guy at the Apple store who wouldn’t sell me a gift card. Made me see the light. Out 4K and the scammer has a new iPhone! Tough lesson learned!!
Nascar fan
December 24, 2019

In reply to by gotscammed

I was approached by someone claiming to be a race car driver I follow. He needed help with filing for a divorce. It sounded legit for awhile. He seemed to know quite a bit about the driver, until I caught him not knowing details I knew about him. He wanted cash then my credit card info. He started paying off my debt with a supposed friend. Then asked for Google play cards, iPhones, watches, etc. He scammed me for $40,000 I now owe to my credit cards. Scammed me into selling my jewelry and giving him my paychecks. He really seemed like the driver at times but then I started looking into scams. When confronted to him with the info he got defensive. I could never talk to him personally. Only texts. When I asked for a selfie I refused and made excuses. We were supposed to meet today. Of course the texts stopped once he got the last money I had. I will now be forced to file bankruptcy. When texting a couple weeks ago I received a call from someone in Nigeria. Of course I didn't answer the phone call. It made me think this could be him but of course when I said something he shrugged it off. I ruled it out because I didn't think someone from Nigeria would know this driver. Now I am out all my money and jewelry. Everyone should watch for this scam. All the payments he made on my credit cards were all taken back. Some for invalid account numbers. I was told by my credit cards that they steal accounts to do this. Beware of these scams.
Anne
January 02, 2020

In reply to by gotscammed

Do you have any photos of him or can you describe him. This sounds like my scammer - petroleum engineer with multimillion dollar contract, we’ve talked on the phone once and he has a very heavy accent. Contacted me through FB dating on Christmas Day, we’ve been texting extensively ever since. Sweet, charming, but mysterious. Won’t let me see his Facebook profile or send me recent photos. Wants to buy me a car because mine is not working. Will be flying in to see me on the way back from a business trip overseas. I’d love to know if your scammer and mine are the same.
Ph_Jeep
February 13, 2020

In reply to by Anne

Hi. I also have a chatmate. He said hes petroleum engineer living in NY. wife died of cancer and he's only child. We talked and weve done video call. He has a strong accent too and told me hes from Belgium. Its almost a month, he hasnt asked for money yet, but im still skeptical. Geez.
Squrlee
February 20, 2021

In reply to by Ph_Jeep

Just contacted Valentine's day by a person on Facebook messenger. Says I was a friend suggestion. From East Point NY, wife died with cancer, one child. Oil rig engineer off Louisiana coast. No phone calls yet. Sends same photos so far on Facebook acct. Getting ready to retire in 5 months. Sound familiar?
Phyllis
March 11, 2021

In reply to by Ph_Jeep

Is he on an oil rig? Mine is I fell in love with him. I sent him phone cards so we could continue texting I did not believe he was a scammer until he request 6500 to get drill repaired. He called 4 times today when I quit texting him even if he couldn’t call from the rig because of the first damage. Brace yourself. He is a scammer
snowgrrrl
August 30, 2021

In reply to by Phyllis

I think they all work on oil rigs, lol Mine was the same send gift cards, he has a guy in China that sends him the money for them. Needed money to get the drill repaired. Lost $180,000
TARI
December 23, 2020

In reply to by Anne

Similar. Petroleum engineer, oil rig, from Copenhagen. will not send recent photos bearing my name as I asked cuz of oil rig security he said. Wanted to buy me a car, bitcoin miner, dont take leave on christmas for his family (i guess he is afraid I ask for pictures). So far no money involved since 40 days ago. His name Henrik Jessen. I got 50 pictures of him on his IG.
Meema25
March 06, 2021

In reply to by TARI

I too have been talking via phone, texts, email, a few Skype calls which were short due to connection issues. His name is Robert Gauthier, I have several current photos. Claims he just won a 6M dollar contract with BP in Houston, even sent me the contract with his name on it, plus pictures of him negotiating the deal. I have tried to do numerous background searches to no avail. He too speaks of wanting to marry me, calls me his Queen. He claims to be widowed for 7 yrs with a daughter (26) getting her Masters in Scotland. All of the sudden, his project has stalled due to maintenance issues. Starting to get a gut feeling.
Ismellarat
July 16, 2021

In reply to by Meema25

Sounds like my guy who goes by the name George Dean. Met him on Tinder. Supposedly born in Italy but moved to Atlanta, GA in high school. Currently lives in Miami, FL. Working on a rig in Turkey. Divorced with a son in Texas. Hasn’t asked for anything yet but I’m sure it’s coming. His Instagram is georgy_dean. He “business” website looks professionally crafted. He even sent me a pic of a FL drivers license that looked legit. So I’m guessing he’s invested a lot in his scam. I’m Just waiting for him to ask for money, gift cards, shipping assistance, anything! Then the tables will turn as I play my own “the check is in the mail” game.
mich78
February 05, 2020

In reply to by gotscammed

Same story with a guy named Chris Lewinsky on Instagram. Same story but in Russia. Even video chatted once. Never sent him any money...mostly because I didn't have it but wow! This is some crazy stuff.
Prissy2019
December 21, 2019
I am currently talking to this guy name Willow Moore .. he says he loves me and I met him on instagram and now we talk only on hangout he can not video chat because something wrong with his phone .. even on hangouts today I ask for a video message he like always got some reason and then he sent a video already in his phone.. he supposed to be this rich kid who his dad left him his business... he had to travel to Italy for business...he says he began a project there and now left all his documents and credit cards in cab by mistake and finally got around to asking me for $1000 to pay the workers before they do him harm...I lied said I don’t have it..he want me to apply for a credit card for him but I am stalling
Anne
January 02, 2020
Well I’m in a bit of a different situation and am not sure what to do. Some typical hallmarks of a scammer: educated, a widower, has a grown son, travels a lot for his work (leaving soon for a trip). Very romantic, knows all the right words to say. Also knows I am on a fixed income with no money to spare. And, he wants to buy me a very expensive gift. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?
WiserNow Don't…
January 14, 2020

In reply to by Anne

Be careful. Sometimes they start up saying they will send an expensive gift. Then they have your address, name, etc... You may receive a trinket and they will soon ask for money. Just be careful. Tell him he can bring the gift to you in person.
mich78
February 05, 2020

In reply to by WiserNow Don't…

Yes....I remember this and forgot to post in my comments here. Wanted to send me a gift either to my home or office.
Neveragain
July 06, 2020

In reply to by mich78

So he goes by Robert Clifford he msgd me on words with friends. Then lured me to hangout app. From spain, went to college in Madrid where he met his wife of seven years who divorced him because he could not have kids. Lives in NY working as a supervisor on an oil rig in Alaska company called Doyon Drilling which is a legit company who I will be calling tomorrow No family needs money steam cards to help finish his work. Needing to buy software yet says he has been doing this for 23 years. I was a confused and desperate for love who fell for his loving words and sent 100 dollars on a steam card. Then wanted $400 more. Nope not going to do it and he says I will have to block you and I said ok bye . Immediately texted back were you really going to let me go so easily. Long story short. He got upset because I did not want to send it tried to do more sweet talking then got mad and said I had trust issues. He said you won't hear from me again. So I blocked him deleted hangout and deleted my alternative email. I was dumb enough to give him my phone number when we could not connect on a video call or reg call on the app. He also had asked for my address to send me a gift. I ignored the comment and had no plans to give that info. He sent many handsome photos of himself. I even made him take some of his Work ID and holding a note with the date and my name which he did but nost likely photo shopped. Even sent me one of him brushing his teeth. All very convincing when you don't want to see the truth. I was enjoying the way he made me feel love, marriage soulmate etc. I even called him out on trying to scam me. All I can say this is a sad world we live in when people do this type of thing. I have learned my lesson to always trust my gut. Anyone know how to share these photos? I know this was not his first time.
Northrose
December 30, 2020

In reply to by Neveragain

I just realized I’m communicating with a guy that sounds just like this Clifford guy. How can these scammers be stopped?? Infuriating
Xxxoo
June 13, 2021

In reply to by Northrose

Me too i have talking mr robert clifford. Eye candy . But good at scamming
Sarah
June 11, 2021

In reply to by Neveragain

I am talking i to the same man now. Robert clifford word with friend 2 lured me to hang out. Loves me he claims soulmate. Ect... but now he is getting mean. Because i wont send him money for food and supplies. He wants me TO take it out of my savings. I told people dont have savungs they have IRA and 403 k plans. I had to explain what they are. For a man who is retiring ,he claims to marry me., Would you not have something saved? He showed himself. It is funny if he was truthful i probably would have given him because he real did make me feel special Sad! He also me feel more positive about myself. He is a real good scammer but he needs to be educated about the American ways of saving. He was real good looking eye candy for sure
sunshine
July 05, 2021

In reply to by WiserNow Don't…

i sent someone my id card, what should i do to protect my self?i'm really scare to death
ajnikki2020
February 16, 2020

In reply to by Anne

Yes people will still probably tell you it’s a scam.
Jean
January 25, 2020
About a month ago I read about a person who stated her scammer wore a blue shirt with the name “Mark” on it. I was new to this site at the time and did not catch her name or the date of the post but I have a picture of the same guy and would appreciate any help finding her to see if it’s the same man. A very romantic guy who can talk you into almost anything.
JM
October 13, 2020

In reply to by Jean

I’ve recently been contacted by someone named Mark. Supposedly. Working on oil rig. Any way we can se e if photos are same guy?
Misty
December 28, 2020

In reply to by JM

I got scammed out of thousands of dollars by a Mark who was supposed to be working as an independent contractor on an oil rig. Very good looking with blue eyes. Do you know his last name? He was from Bulgaria.
Castrol
January 05, 2021

In reply to by Misty

Just started talking to this guy. Goes by Alex, 58 years old, blue eyes, strong accent, but doesn’t sound like a German accent, more like French/Canadian. 17 year old Daughter living with Nanny in NY. His wife died in a car accident. Says He’s from Germany, moved to CT when he was 18. Both parents are deceased, no siblings Loves me already. He’s Just going to finish this project on oil rig in Mexico and he’ll be back in the states. Can’t send me pics of him or where he is because the job is private and they’ll think he’s selling secrets Only wants to talk on Hangouts. Same guy?
Girlnamejo
December 30, 2020

In reply to by JM

Is this Mark from NY originally Rome... on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mx?
WIH
January 26, 2020
This person contacted me through facebook, he stated that he is working as a marine engineer located in an offshore oil platform somewhere in Ireland and contract is about to expire. His parents died, no siblings and his 12 yrs old son is in a boarding school with a nanny. He professed love to me from day one and through his texts kept calling his wife. On day one he asked me to move to hangouts but I told him no so he asked me to communicate with him through Viber because it's easier for him since he doesn't like to spend time on facebook. He told me that his son birthday is coming up soon and asked me to can send money to the nanny to celebrate son's birthday at school with friends because since he is at sea his accounts are inactivated. He asked me to send the money through western union or money gram. His 12 yrs old son also started sending me emails calling me mom, how much he loves me since his mum died, I am the best mom ever and he can't wait to come and live with me. After doing online scam research and reading this one has red flags all over.
Oil Rig Scammer
April 27, 2020

In reply to by WIH

I was also contacted on Instagram by the Ireland Oil Rig Scammer with the son whose birthday is coming up. Moved from Instagram to Hangouts. After 3 days he professed his undying love. Details of his life were inconsistent--son with his brother, no actually has no brother, son with a nanny. Became agitated when I started asking questions. I ended up blocking him.
Godloveyou
April 16, 2021

In reply to by WIH

Same man is a scammer, he told that he love me so much, he want to married me, and son call me Mom, and is in boarding school. He start asking me for google card, put pressure on me, I blocked him.John Jackson is his name.
butterfly warrior
February 02, 2020
I am talking a man that claims he is in Nigeria Africa working on communication towers, his company is sky tech. I have heard all the same from stuff from being sick to the Immigration is try to keep him there and going to put him in jail and he needs 4000. Funny it comes at income tax time. His name Luis della or David Scott. Please comment if anyone else knows of this. He has a daughter which is true and his wife died in a car accident and claims as soon as he gets here he will sort stuff out if I get him home
sandy
February 02, 2020
Nick Harrison supposedly from Los Angeles. Teenage daughter, wife died in plane crash. He never once ask me for money but he is working in Turkey and we’re attacked by some guys in black with rifles so the company said send your valuables home. He wanted to send to me. I said fine. He sent it out and told me he paid all fees. Nextthink I know I am shelling out over 36K for custom fees. Package gets to US and then I am told IRS investigated and no crime committed but the shipping company tells me I need to pay 60k to IRS. I do not do it so then Nick wants to get out ofTurkey but needs money for helicopter to take him from the middle of the ocean somewhere off the coast of Izmir almost 40k but the money actually went to the helicopter company in Ohio and the custom fees all went to the siping company. He gets to airport and he is arrested because he owes IRS ( arrested by Turkish officials) so now I just to not know what to do. Is he scamming me, is the shipping company scamming me. The pictures I have of Nick are of different ages and different places he has been. Having a hard time believing that this man is scamming me since NO MONEY went to him but yet there were questions I ask of him and he never answered or his answer just didn’t sit right with me. I am thinking of going to FBI BUT if I am wrong and he is not scamming me then I will lose this man and his reputation would be ruined but if it is a scam I want to see that everyone involved, the shipping company , the helicopter company and him pay for their crime. I am out over 75K. This guy knows everything to say to make a woman feel like a young sexy woman. I feel head over heels in love. I do not want to lose him but I do not want him to run free if he is scamming. near Izmir
FTC Staff
February 27, 2020

In reply to by sandy

This sounds like a scam. Many of the things you describe match the stories that scammers tell people to trick them into sending money. The story about sending you a valuable package is a common scam. The surprise demand that you pay expensive "fees" or "taxes" to customs is a common scam. The story about someone getting injured or attacked, and needing an emergency loan is a common scam.

It might seem like you aren't sending money to the man you're talking to. He might have accomplices that help him collect the money. Or he could have bank accounts in several locations. If you keep sending money, he will probably keep making up stories and fake emergencies to get your money. You can block him and stop sending money. 

Betty Boop
February 19, 2021

In reply to by sandy

Hi There, I think I'm talking to the same Guy now. Was the shipping company Regional Logistic Handlers ?
Betty Boop
February 26, 2021

In reply to by sandy

Hi Sandy- I think I am being scammed by the same guy. 1 have payed $7,000 in US CUSTOMS , and CBP fees through BITCOIN. Shipping Company is REGIONAL LOGISTICS HANDLERS? Is this the same company?
mich78
February 05, 2020
Wow! Spent three weeks talking to this guy. Chris Lewinsky chrislewin023 on Instagram (crazy, later saw the same photo under mark_1._) Plenty of red flags. Said he has 4 kids, wife left him for another man and she's living in Sweden. Independent contractor for working for Lucas Oil and Chevron. Said has a $10 million/6 month contract in Russia with his other workers now. Said he lived in Indiana. Sent me a video after I pressured with NO accent in it (said he was born in Slovakia and came to the US at 14 years old.) However, clearly had an accent when he called me on the phone though. Every time I called him out on something, he'd get mad but ALWAYS come back. Following red flags came: Phone isn't working well - please get a phone contract and have it sent to Russia; I said NO. His 17 year old son needs a laptop - please get a bitcoin account and withdraw the $300 from his account to put down on a laptop from HSN or QVC; I said NO. Need $500 to give to kids in case of emergency while their nanny is taking care of them while in Russia - I said NO. I tried to call his cell phone but it won't accept calls. He's a freak! I can't believe I fell for this as long as I did. Anyone else on here heard of this name or same story?
Julmzz
February 06, 2020
Hi ive been contacted by a leanardo Crockett who is a widow with a 14 year son. He said he owns and working on oil rig . Anyone else heard of him too . I know its a scam i just need to get his name out there.
Sugar Banana, …
February 19, 2020
n I maybe take out an equity loan on my house . Thats when I pulled the reins to a stop. He took enough of my money which I really cant afford, but I know I will never see it again and I hope he some day gets caught, What kind of a business is this anyway. oh and btw.. he went under the name ofJacob Grayson,but I found out later that sonmetiems he uses Wiliam Lund, or Jacob Grayson Dolan.. Ladies... run from this pitiful excuse of a man. He will make you feel like he reall loves you.. whaet he loves is your money once it's gone he's off to another unsuspecting lonely woman who has a bit of money or even a lot of money.. he will take it all!!!
Candice H
February 22, 2020
I'm dating Michael John his brother is Jose Tores. Michael is 32 yrs has a 5 yrs old son Alex. His wife died 4 yrs ago in car accident. Son lives with grandparents. Been talking for 4-5 months. When first talked he worked in a hotel now in road construction in NY. Tells me he need money to get to Colorado to head office to fill out paper work to get his money before he comes to Australia. He tells me he gets paid monthly. He is poor his parents are asking him for money for Alex and wants me to help. I've only given $200. I'm not sure if true or not but when he gets his money from work he wants to help me start a business and future for us in Australia? Can anyone help me is he a scammer?
cke
April 16, 2020

In reply to by Candice H

I’m talking with a Mikel John. 50 from New York. Has a son in Scotland. Electromechanical engineer. Works on oil rig supplies oil. Needs money now cause he is stuck in another country. Even asked me to marry him then he asked for money.
T a t t m a n z z
February 25, 2020
Good morning gentleman look out for the lady named Kate ivy he is very very good at what she does she will work you for over a year to get every dime you got to get you to sell everything you have so that she can come live with you and make you feel happy and loved make you feel like a man when you're lonely and old you got to watch out for she's out there looking for you right now he was looking for her next victim she got me for about $5,000 so I'm not first and I definitely won't be the last