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For Military Consumer Month, let’s talk a little about how romance scammers target people who support the troops — and sometimes servicemembers themselves. These scammers can be any age, gender, or sexual orientation and may approach you on dating sites or on social media platforms. In 2022, nearly 70,000 people reported a romance scam to the FTC — and losses hit a staggering $1.3 billion.

These scammers may steal photos of real military personnel for their profiles. They might say they need cash to apply for a “leave request” to visit you. Or to pay for food and medical treatment during their deployment. One recent twist involves romance scammers pretending to be U.S. troops deployed to Ukraine where there’s no U.S. military presence. The scammers ask you to send them care packages by wiring money through an official-looking (but fake) military website. (Servicemembers never have to pay to get packages, food, medical treatment, or to take leave.)

How can you avoid a romance scam?

  • If someone appears on your social media and rushes you — to start a friendship or romance, or to get into a “great” investment opportunity (maybe in crypto) — slow down. Talk to someone you trust before you respond. Try a reverse image search of profile pictures. If the details don’t match up, it’s a scam.
  • If you suspect someone is a scammer, cut off contact. Tell the online app or social media platform right away, and then tell the FTC at

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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.

November 30, 2023

Has anyone had a steven walter be intouch with them, he's a surgeon and in the Ukraine he has a 13 year old daughter

December 12, 2023

In reply to by Sarah

I have he's been talking to me for the last 6 months now he's now gone very quite

December 07, 2023

I have been getting messages from Lt Col THomas Turner,He says he is retired and went back to Iqra To help.He has not asked me for anything.He just wants someone to talk to.To me this is a Scam.

December 07, 2023

I’ve been chatting with a marine in Baghdad who asked me to advance him money for a leave. I emailed his command and they said I had to pay 4820 for 6 month leave in bitcoin. I did that and then they said I had to pay for the ticket home 3850. I did that and then they said 9700 for a certificate of appreciation before he can leave, but he is approved. I feel scammed. I cut off contact but feel so embarrassed.

S Gates
December 07, 2023

I have reported to Facebook many fake accounts using the photos and names of US military officers. It is absolutely clear they are not from the real men. Of all I have reported only one has been removed. How do we get oversight of Meta yo stop this?

Make j
December 11, 2023

I have a friend in Oklahoma, Oklahoma that uses three people checks monthly to pay this ghost for a romantic relationship. now he playing her like he held for ransom

Brenda Taylor
December 13, 2023

Be very careful of a military man calling himself Waltz Steve Anderson. He’s a big time scammer on lots of dating sites.

December 18, 2023

I think I am being scammed by a woman who I've been talking to for months. She keeps saying that her "commander" isn't letting her leave and they are gonna send me money to help them leave. I think it isn't right. The government usually pays for soldiers to leave

December 18, 2023

Anyone talk to an Innis Michael? 38, in the Air Force, deployed in Ukraine for the past 5 months. From California, and has an 11 year old son? His story hasn’t added up from the beginning, and is now asking for a $25 apple gift card.

Elaine Flores yap
December 27, 2023

I'm the victim of love scamm he telling about him self he is a military and he assigned at Israel and all he doing he update me untill on the operation he said badly because he got a shot with wounds and he is on the military hospital and he want a steam card he can contact the major about her retirement we want steam for a mail her major for retirement but I didn't give the steam card the name he using is filiazo Ferro fair and he send the pic of the person he using for scamm .

January 02, 2024

I met someone who says he is in Poland he is in the army but has been asking for money first it was for internet cost then it was for food . Then he got hurt and told me u guys don't pay for anything he needs to pay for medical, medication and services.... Is any of this true? He has two kids twins 11 years old now a girl and boy and they have been asking for money for food cuz they don't have any... Without saying his name can he do this am I getting scammed and what do I do

Jean Taber
January 26, 2024

I am reporting a Romance fraud via Facebook by someone who asked me to be their Facebook friend.
This showed up with the stolen picture and credentials of a
high level Navy Vice Admiral.
The name claiming to be the Navy Official was: Herbert F Campbell from SanDiego, California.
When I asked him why he was using Messenger- that I thought this was a possible way for scammers and I did not think the Navy might approve .
I have not heard back from him in two days now
Todays date is January 1, 2024
He never asked for money but I thought this Service man and I should be protected or I should be advised what to do. The man who is the fraud could have my email since the initial friend request came via Facebook.

January 04, 2024

I have a family member that has been in contact with a Major General William Laneve and I am concerned that he is trying to scam the person. I don’t think they asked for anything yet but they are moving way too fast. He wants to buy a house and move in and have not even met Seems like a scam but I am not certain.

Kattie Tarvid
January 04, 2024

My friend/coworker was contacted by a guy staying in February 2022. Explained away his accent by saying his parents were international & he spent time all over the world. Said he was stationed in Ukraine. Claimed to be inheriting big money after military service. Had her communicating with his, “lawyer”. 3-4 months back was the first time she told me he wanted her to transfer bitcoin. We work in retail & just had recently completed a training on money scams. She couldn’t see past their, “love”. Now he has her deposit a check through the lawyer. Her bank shut stuff down on her. She’s still talking to & texting with him though. Still referring to him as her Wayne. I’ve been trying to tell her since Day 1 he’s not real. A scammer. His address on Facebook now lists her city as his current place. It’s gross. I want him caught!!!
He says he’s been in Ukraine for 2 years. Can’t get away. Fighting a war. 🤣
He uses the name Larry Wayne Knudsen. I have pictures.