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. Bogus emails that look legitimate can offer fake alerts or information about the outbreak, fake workplace policy updates, or fake medical advice. By clicking on links in these emails, you could download malware or have your identity stolen. There are safety measures you can take to protect yourself: Avoid clicking on links or attachments in unsolicited emails.
No, this Virginia Beach sailor doesn’t want your love or money. It’s a scam, and he’s a victim too.
Romance scams have become a billion-dollar international epidemic, and victims may be unwittingly helping organized criminals launder their money. Most crime victims go to the police for help, but not victims of a romantic fraud. They are often too embarrassed or too invested in the fantasy to talk about what’s going on, and that can make it difficult — if not impossible — for family members to stop it.
A US soldier is the unwitting frontman for one of the world’s biggest dating site and Financial Investigation Unit, said: “Online romance scams are happening daily. “They need to invest in better algorithms that find and stop.
The photograph of the handsome soldier, in full dress uniform, has been doctored and used countless times by crime gangs as they persuade victims, from around the globe to send them money. I never thought people could lie and cheat like this. He made me feel special and I gave him all I had. No one does. Most days we will come in and there are a few cases that have come in overnight. DS Dalgleish, who has been investigating these types of crimes for the past five years, said women were often targeted via dating websites with fake profiles but also via social media.
And before they know it people have parted with substantial sums of money. In some cases the loss of the relationship was far harder than the loss of money. Politicians yesterday demanded urgent action to regulate online sites and impose greater responsibility on operators to identify suspicious behaviour. Critics say tighter vetting and checks on applicants to join dating sites and a greater use of facial recognition and other security technologies could help curb fraudsters.
Internet platforms have a responsibility to their shareholders and to wider society to ensure checks are made. It does not actually require legislation. These platforms must take responsibility for the content other people publish on their websites.
Online Scammers Won’t Stop Impersonating This Four-Star Army General
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.
Dating-app scammers are posing as military members for service-related needs such as transportation, communication or medical fees, according to the U.S. Army. They ask you to stop talking to your friends and family.
After years of bad luck with dating, she, like millions of people across the globe, started using online dating sites to meet new people. A few years ago, she received what appeared to be a promising email on the dating site Match. The man told her that he was a U. Air Force pilot deployed to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. He said he was a widower with an adorable daughter — the type of man and family that she’d been looking for, and most of all, he seemed very interested in Schuster.
The relationship quickly intensified, and Schuster fell hard, emailing multiple times each day. He sent her poetry and page after page of emails professing his love. The man even sent her a few pictures dressed in his military uniform, and he was very handsome. Schuster noticed that her suitor had bad grammar, but that didn’t really bother her because her immigrant father had poor grammar as well.
She asked to speak with him in person or via Skype, but the man said that wasn’t allowed. After a few weeks, the man told her he needed some money to help his daughter go on a school trip. The money requests didn’t stop there.
Military Scams | Common Tricks & How to Avoid Them
Romance scammers are fleecing vulnerable Australian women out of millions of dollars by pretending to be US soldiers or heartbroken widowers looking for love. Romance scammers are pretending to be US military personnel to appeal to Australian victims. Experts say people are attracted to those in uniform like those above stock photo , plus it also gives the scammer an excuse to contact their victim at odd hours.
CSCRC Senior Research Fellow Cassandra Cross military profiles were popular with scammers who use psychologically abusive tactics including gaslighting and isolation to target vulnerable older singles. Dr Cross said the scammers can then contact people at any time of the day or night because they ‘work in the military’.
The military profile works on victims.
Victims may encounter these romance scammers on a legitimate dating website or social media platform, but they are not U.S. Soldiers. To perpetrate this scam.
Are you dating or talking online to someone who says they are a military member? Have they asked you for funds or documents? Officials and websites like Military. Victims of these online military scams often think they are doing a good deed by helping a military member. Instead, they have given their money to a scammer, sometimes losing thousands of dollars, with very low possibility of recovery.
The U. Unfortunately, the people committing these scams are often overseas — using untraceable email addresses, routing accounts through numerous locations around the world and utilizing pay-per-hour Internet cyber cafes. See examples of fake documents used by scammers. There are a variety of words and phrases used by scammers to hook unsuspecting men and women into relationships.
Here are some examples:.
The American Greed Report: The latest twist in dating scams will make your blood boil
Jane Watts became suspicious when the Army officer she friended on Facebook started asking for things. The Charlottesville resident, who had recently separated from her husband, accepted a friend request from a soldier named Jeff Galbraith. He seemed nice online, and it offered the chance to meet someone new.
They claim to be a U.S. soldier stationed abroad. Interested in investigating and stopping romance scammers and other online fraudsters?
Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details. How this scam works Warning signs Protect yourself Have you been scammed?
More information. Dating and romance scams often take place through online dating websites, but scammers may also use social media or email to make contact. They have even been known to telephone their victims as a first introduction. They may use a fictional name, or falsely take on the identities of real, trusted people such as military personnel, aid workers or professionals working abroad.
Dating and romance scammers will express strong emotions for you in a relatively short period of time, and will suggest you move the relationship away from the website to a more private channel, such as phone, email or instant messaging. They often claim to be from Australia or another western country, but travelling or working overseas. They may take months to build what may feel like the romance of a lifetime and may even pretend to book flights to visit you, but never actually come.
They may also ask you to send pictures or videos of yourself, possibly of an intimate nature. Often the scammer will pretend to need the money for some sort of personal emergency.
According to posts on Facebook, U. Army four-star General Stephen J. Townsend is looking for love. And money. The account is fake, of course. But the distinguished general, who served in command roles in Afghanistan and Iraq, is a remarkably popular target for scammers.
We help keep people safe online. We’ve had cases of romance scams reported to us where people have lost substantial amounts of money.
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. The U. In addition to being in the Navy, he co-hosts a popular military podcast called The Smoke Pit and maintains a sizable public presence for it online.
An internet search for Mike Sency’s name immediately yields hundreds of accounts spread across social media and dating websites. Many of the profiles contain small differences, such as the photos used, the spelling of his name, even various details about his hobbies and interests. But they all share one common trait: They’re fake. Sency is used to it. For years, pictures he posted online have been used to create fake profiles by people looking to scam others, often out of money, a practice generally known as catfishing.
His problem isn’t a new one, but it is an issue that has proven nearly impossible to stop.
Sextortion Schemes and Romance Scams. Townsend is a high-ranking example of the kind of identity theft currently plaguing the U.S. military.
According to posts on Facebook, U. Army four-star General Stephen J. Townsend is looking for love. And money. The account is fake, of course. But the distinguished general, who served in command roles in Afghanistan and Iraq, is a remarkably popular target for scammers. There are so many fake social media profiles claiming to be Townsend that yesterday the U.
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.
After years of bad luck with dating, she, like millions of people across the globe, Online Scammers Pose as US Soldiers to Rob Unsuspecting Women that she was willing to keep wiring the money through Western Union.
Nowadays, you have to be cautious of everything you do online. Scammers are always trying to get money, goods or services out of unsuspecting people—and military members are often targets. Here are some scams that have recently been affecting service members, Defense Department employees and their families. In April, Army Criminal Investigation Command put out a warning about romance scams in which online predators go on dating sites claiming to be deployed active-duty soldiers.
According to the alleged victims, the scammers have asked for money for fake service-related needs, such as transportation, communications fees, processing and medical fees—even marriage. Scammers will sometimes provide false paperwork to make their case, but real service members make their own requests for time off. Also, any official military or government emails will end in.
DOD officials said task forces are working to deal with the growing problem, but the scammers are often from African nations and are using cyber cafes with untraceable email addresses, then routing their accounts across the world to make them incredibly difficult to trace. So be vigilant! Often, if a victim caves on a demand, the scammer will just likely demand more.
Love me don’t: the West African online scam using US soldiers
Bryan Denny’s military photos are ubiquitous on scam social accounts. Fighting back has proven hard, even for the combat veteran. Recently retired after serving more than two and a half decades in the Army, including deploying as part of Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom, Denny had expected to encounter some uncomfortable situations in his transition to civilian life.
The spread of online dating sites and apps has made this fraud even easier to commit. Victims in the US and Canada have reported losing nearly $1 billion over.
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. The scammer will often claim the money will be used to cover transportation costs to go on leave, pay for medical fees, food or supplies, even pending marriage plans.
In the end, this is all a lie, designed to rob the victim of their money. Falling for a military romance scam will drain you financially and emotionally. These tips from Western Union and the U.