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You’ve heard of romance scams. But do you know how they happen? They start when scammers create fake profiles on dating apps or social media. Then, those scammers strike up a relationship with their targets and work to build trust. Sometime later, they make up a story and ask for money.

So how do you spot a romance scammer? Here are some things to watch for:

  • Any love interest who asks you to give them money on a gift card, by money transfer, or cryptocurrency is a scammer. Period.
  • Romance scammers profess love quickly. They might say they can’t meet you because they’re overseas for business or military service — but, during the pandemic, they might just say they’re locked down.
  • Romance scammers might try to lure you off the dating site.
  • Scammers will find a reason to ask you for money — maybe to buy a phone card to keep chatting, maybe to help with a “medical emergency,” or maybe something else. 
  • Romance scammers sometimes build interesting dating profiles. But try a reverse-image search of the profile pictures. Are any photos associated with another name, or with details that don’t match up? That’s just more proof that it’s a scam.

If you’ve spotted any of these signs of a scam, tell the online dating app or social media platform right away. And then tell the FTC at

Share these graphics with your family, friends, and social networks. You probably know someone who could use the reminder.

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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

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February 11, 2021
I've been asked to give someone my bank account number and routing information for them to return money I've sent to her. Is this a No No? So far I haven't sent it to her. because giving her those numbers would allow her access to drain my accounts. Is this true.
FTC Staff
February 11, 2021

In reply to by medprofessor

True. If you give someone your bank account number and routing information, they have the information they need to take money out of your account. 

February 11, 2021

In reply to by medprofessor

Total scam. Don't give this person the numbers; incidentally, it might not even be a "her" as scammers can feign gender as well as everything else, and you'd be best off cutting off communication with them entirely.
Been there
February 11, 2021
All of these statements are true! Especially immediate professionals of love, with additional requirements for children who probably don’t exist
February 11, 2021
Think about it logically. Do you really want to become emotionally involved with someone who can't financially support himself/herself? Tell them to get their life straight before starting a new relationship.
Tammy Boland
February 11, 2021
Yes I've had that happen to me on messenger, they friend request you by putting friends you know as their friends, so you think you never know what could come of it, they claim their widowed with child, and they want to find love again, and a good mom for their son or daughter, comes complete with photos that they photo shopped real families, and photos to make it look like it's them, then they claim to live here in United States, however contracted overseas, their either there for peace treaty, or their Doctors, or Military, again complete with pictures. Or building contracts, or drilling contracts. I got scammed by someone Claiming to be Army, complete pictures of them in Uniform, with their team in mesh hall or just hanging out, pictures of their fake children. I was scammed by him. I send him over 5 thousand dollars trying to get him a vacation leave, and he was going to pay me back, they the day he was supposed to leave I got a call his plane was shot down he didn't make, we talked for a whole year before I did that. I truly thought I found real love, my happily ever after, now if I personally don't know the person I won't accept, weather we know the same people or not.
February 13, 2021

In reply to by Tammy Boland

Same happened to my mother. Luckily I intervened when she showed me and told me he was persistant to giving him her bank details so he can claim monies from his daughters trustfund left by his dead wife.
February 15, 2021

In reply to by Tammy Boland

I too have allowed my "heart" to think for my head. Sent a laptop and wired $2.200. When he continued to ask for more at the tune of $89,000 for his business dealing with customs that's when my head told my heart to move over and let me take care of this. When I told him no and suggested his business partners/investors should step up and help. It was interesting the number of reasons he why he needed my assistance and didn't understand why I wouldn't want to support him if I was going to be his partner. I revisited the conversations and noticed a pattern. Sweet talk for a few weeks and then ask for money. Of course, we can't video chat...even with the brand new laptop...funny. I appreciate a forum to share my experience. Take care and be safe.
February 12, 2021
Each time I discover a scammer - and my goodness there are a lot of them - or only a few who are really good at creating multiple fake profiles - I report them, but it seems that some sites would rather not investigate or remove them. Fake profilers rarely read your profile & your likes or dislikes. They quickly tell you that by establishing boundaries that you are limiting your chances to find a real connection. They are willing to travel ANY distance to be with you. Ask all potential connections for very specific information to unravel their cover... "what part of XXX city do you live in?", "how far do you drive to work from XXX to YYY?", "how close is the nearest (insert local chain restaurant) to you? and what is your favorite menu item there?". This may confuse some, but will almost definitely irritate a scammer.
February 12, 2021
Just ask them for a telephone number so you call them or ask them to call you. Even better--ask to chat video face to face. If a scammer they will always refuse.
Just say no
March 10, 2021

In reply to by figmo6673

Not always I’ve had a scammer try to play a video of the person who’s image they stole in front of the cam claiming the sound was broken it look like the were trying to video chat but the recording stopped and a giant play icon appears on the face. Or they will have audio but no video THE BEST TIP I CAN SHARE IS THIS IF YOU FEEL SOMETHING IS OFF TYPE Alaye THIS IS A SECRET ABBR. MEANING A Thief Among Friends it stops them in their tracks but they may try to hack you after so be careful And tell every one about this
How elaborate …
February 14, 2021
I know the signs, but how far will someone go? I did get asked for money after these other things happened, I did not give any... I have received pictures from their past. I have Skyped with this person. The person asked me to get into his Esbankus account and when I logged in his picture was the picture I saw on the account. He gave me ss# and also his address. Is this still a scam?
April 01, 2021

In reply to by How elaborate …

I have been talking with someone who has sent me pics from his past also. He had me transfer money in his account. This all sounds so familiar. The name he goes by is Gregg Nowak. Has anybody else been communicating with him?
April 01, 2021

In reply to by How elaborate …

This story sounds very familiar with the person I have been talking with. He goes by the name Gregg Nowak.
February 23, 2021
I have been reading the comments here and they are so familiar. I have been in contact with someone in the Army, pictures in uniform and everything. It makes me sick to think how I was scammed out of nearly 12k over a period of 10 months. I always wanted to believe I would get the money back, but I have finally figured out how deep this scam is. So much is involved I can’t even list it all. It’s been hard during this pandemic. I feel like the biggest fool that ever lived. I just have to deal with what I have done and move on. This will never happen to me again. No one can ever fall in love with you after messaging for 2 weeks. I no longer have any pictures to try and trace him so I am stuck. These people have no soul!!
February 25, 2021

In reply to by Neveragain

I understand. I'm coming to terms with reality after reading all these posts and it's shattering. I have pictures but the tracing hasn't found anything concrete. I think the pictures I have are from a facebook account I found but for all I know that is another profile the scammer uses. I did get a name and address to wire money to, but I didn't send any money so of course everything ended. Maybe the wire transfer info will be helpful to authorities. You are not alone, many people have been duped, but I know that tid-bit doesn't make it any easier.