Advice from the Federal Trade Commission on combating dating scams

Not every woman who uses online dating sites is searching for love. Scammers register fake profiles using photos of other women, including stolen images. They fall in love with you very quickly. And they play on your emotions by making up stories about why they need money – for an emergency, hospital expenses, or vacation. What’s the point of all these cheap tricks? They intend to take your money.


Here are several red flags that an online love interest is a scam. They want you to do the following:

  • Use personal email, text, or phone to talk outside the dating site right away.
  • Send money using Western Union.

Did you know you may use your preferred search engine to run an image search of your love interest’s photo? If the woman’s photo shows under multiple different identities in an image search, you’re certainly dealing with a scammer. Another red flag is if the lady’s dating profile vanishes a few days after you meet.

Always follow this rule to stay safe while dating online: never, ever pay money to someone you meet online. If the woman you met on a dating site asks for money, it’s probably a fraud.

Online dating scams are unfortunately all too widespread. There might be tens of thousands of victims, but just a small percentage of them disclose it to the FTC. If this happens to you, please file a complaint at and pick Scams and Rip-Offs, then Romance Scams.