Courtesy photo via The Virginian-Pilot. But Sency, a petty officer 1st class stationed in Virginia Beach, has never met or even communicated with any of these people before. The year-old is the victim of a long-running series of scams that steal photos of service members and use them to swindle money out of people online. It works like this: a scammer takes photos of someone like Sency, creates a fake social media account and develops a new online persona — sometimes using the real name of the person in the photo. Then the scammer will strike up online conversations with women around the world, many of them older or vulnerable, and pretend to be in a hard spot. Sometimes they solicit risque photographs and use them as blackmail.
Romance Scams: The Email Threat That Breaks Hearts and Banks
Your military friend or family member serves our country with integrity and honor. Unfortunately, there are scammers out there who try to take advantage of that service to cheat them and you. You can help protect your service member against military scams by learning the warning signs of schemes that target those in the military community.
Unfortunately, these scams prey on fears about the coronavirus disease, trying to trick service members and family members into revealing sensitive information or donating money to a fraudulent cause.
Us military online dating scams. Eventually, the mailman to Some of US soldiers have stolen phone calls from overseas. Tips For Real hi, Ms vicki all from.
Military combat isn’t the only battle service members are fighting. Those were the findings of a recent data analysis by Comparitech. The consumer technology website analyzed scam data through the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau. Below are the fraud schemes that have led to the steepest losses for military personnel, according to Comparitech. In one notorious example, Colfax Capital Corp.
Impostor scams can run the gamut from fake employers to fraudsters impersonating authority figures. Romance schemes are the most commonly reported fraud , according to the U. In this case, predators may impersonate active-duty soldiers on dating sites and then sweet talk victims out of their cash. Predators have also lured service members into sharing compromising photos and videos, and then demanded money in exchange for not publicizing the embarrassing images.
Scammers have also impersonated employers in a bid to get veterans to purchase work equipment from a third party and then abscond with the money. Bad actors can steal service members’ identities and then use them to collect military benefits or file phony tax returns.
Recognize Me? The fake and real faces of scammers
It really wasn’t much of an exchange. Jared Johns had met a young woman on a dating site , swapped messages, and sent her a photo of himself in a baseball cap. She’d responded with one of herself, lying down in a lacy bra. Jared grinned as he typed out a message on his iPhone’s scuffed screen. They swapped a few more messages; she asked Jared how old he was and he told her he was
Telephone Scams: Scammers try to steal money and personal information or someone posing as a doctor or military officer stationed far away. Be aware that people can create fake profiles on dating and social media sites.
Online scammers who use lonely hearts schemes to bilk people out of money sometimes steal the identity of a military member to tug at their victim’s heartstrings. Usually, these scammers develop fake contacts, using easily obtained pictures from real U. The scammers often use internet cafes and reroute money multiple times to untraceable sources, making it difficult to track them or reclaim any money they manage to steal.
What’s especially insidious about this kind of online scam is that many people legitimately want to help a member of the U. The scammers are exploiting people’s good intentions toward our men and women in uniform, and exploit their goodwill. Not only does this kind of fraud hurt the victim, but it damages the reputation of the United States Military member. Foreign victims often fall for the scam, and really do think a U.
Someone who pretends to be a sailor, soldier, airman, or Marine looking for love but really is looking for cash will count on you not investigating them too deeply. This is where you can get the upper hand. Here are a few cautionary measures to try and protect yourself against these scams if you decide to try to find love online. First, avoid giving out your personal information and pictures to someone you don’t know.
The person could be from any part of the world and could use your personal information and images to impersonate or even blackmail you. Do your best to research every detail and verify what you can. Remember, pictures from the internet could be as simple as “copy and paste” from the Facebook page of an unsuspecting military member.
Top Scams That Hurt Military Families
Weeks later, the U. Department of Justice DOJ filed charges against 80 members of an organized international criminal network composed primarily of Nigerians dedicated to romance fraud and several other cyber schemes. Even more recently, in early September, the DOJ announced the arrest of a New Jersey man for his involvement in a separate international criminal network that defrauded more than 30 victims in romance fraud schemes using fake online profiles of U.
The suspect allegedly carried out the scheme with help from co-conspirators in Ghana. Many of these types of fraudsters feature common characteristics that anyone looking for love on the internet should know.
Today’s romance scams have a military flavor that you should learn they cannot meet in person or converse over the phone or video chat.
Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first. Retired U. Army Col. The year-old husband and father spent half his life in the military. They use his photos to pose as soldiers on Facebook and dating sites, where they trick women into surrendering thousands of dollars in cash and gift cards in the name of love. Set boundaries and recognize red flags. He reports every fake account he sees on Facebook, but new ones emerge faster than he can wipe them out.
Denny is one of several soldiers whose photos have been used to create fake dating profiles amid a global surge in military romance fraud. He gets tired of chasing down fake profiles. Last year, for instance, a handful of fake Facebook accounts were created using images of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, the Canadian military reservist killed in a terror attack on Parliament Hill in The photos sparked widespread outrage in Canada, prompting Facebook to step in and delete the accounts.
Romance scams are the most financially devastating type of fraud to affect Canadians every year, although their full financial impact remains unknown, according to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre CAFC.
Avoiding Scams – Send Money / Bitcoin
Online dating works. There are millions of singles online in the UK, seeking what we all look for: love, companionship and a long-term future. I met my gorgeous husband through online dating, and during the ten years I worked for Match. Figures published by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau show a scary upward swing:. It was thought that women were the main targets for online-dating scammers.
But men are increasingly duped.
‘It’s been hell’: How fraudsters use handsome soldiers to prey on lonely hearts over the holidays
But Sency, a petty officer 1st class stationed in Virginia Beach, has never met or even communicated with any of these people before. The year-old is the victim of a long-running series of scams that steal photos of service members and use them to swindle money out of people online. It works like this: a scammer takes photos of someone like Sency, creates a fake social media account and develops a new online persona — sometimes using the real name of the person in the photo. Then the scammer will strike up online conversations with women around the world, many of them older or vulnerable, and pretend to be in a hard spot.
Sometimes they solicit risque photographs and use them as blackmail.
Fraudsters camouflage themselves as military members online: Be prepared while also providing a cover story as to why they cannot communicate via phone or Falling for a military romance scam can leave you feeling victimized in more.
Embassy Kabul frequently receives inquiries from people who have been victimized by Internet scammers. These scams are attempts by con artists to convince you to send them money by developing a friendship, romance or business partnership online, and then exploiting that relationship to ask for money. The most common scam we see involves calls, texts, or social media messages Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber, Kik, dating apps, etc from a person claiming be a U.
Armed Forces, a military contractor, a U. Embassy diplomat, or an employee of an international aid organization. These con artists are very convincing and troll the Internet for potential victims, spending weeks or months to build a relationship. Scammers can be very clever and deceptive, creating sad and believable stories that will make you want to send them money. After the person receives the money, they disappear and do not respond to messages.
The U. Embassy strongly cautions against sending money to persons whom you have not met personally prior to their purported travel to Afghanistan. For actual emergencies involving a U.
New Jersey man scammed $2M from women by posing as a soldier on dating sites, prosecutors say
In a tech-savvy world, it is common for couples to meet online through dating websites or apps. Unfortunately, not everyone joining these dating platforms is looking for true love. The frequency of online romances has caught the attention of fraudsters who manipulate people seeking companionship through romance scams. Fraudsters operating romance scams have recently taken to posing as members of the armed forces to lure their victims into a romance with what they believe to be a soldier.
This scam commonly begins on a social media platform, but it can also start through matching on an online dating website. After the impersonator has built up a rapport with their target and earned his or her trust, they will ask for money.
Military romance scammers stole $ using Bryan Denny’s face. First, save a copy of the person’s photo to your desktop or phone, then.
Recognize Me? The fake and real faces of scammers. Scam Haters United blog compiled photos of real scammers and the profiles they use to target people online. This scammer uses the account “Christian Onyeakporo” to scam women. This is a fake account using photos of Dr. Maximilian Krah. Andrew H. William is a fake profile using photos of Dr.
Women warned of scam soldier dating sites
Be on the lookout for some of these operations that have fooled more than one person into giving money, personal information, and worse. Below in the following section you will find descriptions of scams that have been used on military members and their families in the past. But no matter what kind of con artist you encounter, there are some similar things you should watch out for that can alert you to a scam.
Pay close attention anytime someone you do not know does any of the following online or in person:. The Spanish Prisoner scam is a very old confidence trick that has been updated for the 21 st Century. The old-school version of this con trick was done face-to-face in many cases, but today the scam is run by people using social media.
Scammers steal photos from service members’ Facebook and Instagram profiles and use them to create impostor accounts. To find victims, they.
If you thought online dating websites are on the rise, than you would be right. However, not everyone who creates a profile on these sites has honorable intentions. Most dating scams start innocently enough. Scammers contact victims via social media sites or through email, claiming common interests or a distant, mutual connection—such as an introduction at a wedding or other large gathering.
Other scam artists make their fake profiles look as appealing as possible and wait from victims to reach out and begin the conversation. Once a scammer has you hooked, the possibilities are limitless, but here are a few of the most common variations:. Fraudsters may use the name and likeness of actual soldier or create an entirely fake profile. They send out legitimate-seeming emails, introducing themselves as being near the end of their careers, often with older children and typically widowed under tragic circumstances.
The emails are riddled with military jargon, titles and base locations, which sound impressive.