Internet dating scams using american soldiers

Internet dating scams using american soldiers

Each week, I get letters by email, on my website, by Twitter and on Facebook from women who are sending money to Africa and Afghanistan to help service members come home. This is a scam!! These are not men who are in the United States military. They are scam artists preying on desperate women. Military Romance Scams: Are You a Target?

Online Scammers Pose as US Soldiers to Rob Unsuspecting Women

Lilo Schuster was in her mids, single, and looking for love. 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. Shortly after the first wire transfer, the man told her that he wanted to get out of the Air Force and join some of his pilot friends in starting a private company that flies charter planes. She was told the military wouldn't let him access his bank accounts, so he needed her help to make his dream happen.

Schuster had her doubts, but said she was so scared that she might lose him that she was willing to keep wiring the money through Western Union. His office has received calls from the United States, Japan, Britain and Australia — all from women who thought they were in love with a U. Grey says many of these criminals work out of cyber cafes in west African countries such as Nigeria and Ghana. They steal soldiers' photos from social media, create a fake backstory and profile for the photographs and then target unsuspecting women on online dating sites.

The scams tend to pick up around the holidays, Grey said, so women dating online need to be careful. Grey told VOA there are several red flags to watch for when cyber scammers are looking for targets. Grey said his office recently received a letter from the Sergeant of Arms for the "Senate Forces Command," but no such entity exists. Army logos, but that the dating profile may say the person is in the Navy. The military does not freeze members' bank accounts or credit cards and provides health care for deployed service members.

Schuster said she was encouraged to use personal email immediately rather than the site. The faster the scammer is off the dating site, the lower the chances of being caught using a fake profile, according to Schuster. Schuster turned her anger into action, and by sharing her story, she says she helped a woman in New Zealand and a fellow American in Boston discover that they were being duped. If you suspect you're being scammed, do not send money abroad and contact local authorities or postal inspectors.

They may be able to trace the emailer's IP address to stop the person from playing on women's emotions to steal their savings. Carla is VOA's Pentagon correspondent covering defense and international security issues. Search Search. Home United States U. VOA Africa Listen live. VOA Newscasts Latest program. VOA Newscasts. Previous Next. February 10, 1: Carla Babb. More US Stories. Nicolas Maduro Only 'Ruling for the Moment'. The Day in Photos. May 5, All About America. VOA Connect: Telling America's Story.

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Victims of these “romance scams” report they became involved in an online relationship with someone they believed to be a U.S. Soldier who then began asking. Usually, these scammers develop fake contacts, using easily obtained pictures from real U.S. soldiers. The scammers often use internet cafes.

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. 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. Clues for spotting fake profiles.

Lilo Schuster was in her mids, single, and looking for love.

Army Criminal Investigation Command CID receives hundreds of reports a month from individuals who have fallen victim to a scam perpetrated by a person impersonating a U. Soldier online.

ARMY SOCIAL MEDIA

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 good will. Not only does this kind of fraud this hurt the victim, but it damages the reputation of the United States Military member.

Dating & romance

Not everyone using online dating sites is looking for love. Scammers create fake online profiles using photos of other people — even stolen pictures of real military personnel. They profess their love quickly. And they tug at your heartstrings with made-up stories about how they need money — for emergencies, hospital bills, or travel. Why all of the tricks? The scammers set up dating profiles to meet potential victims. The scammers transfer stolen money into the new account, and then tell their victims to wire the money out of the country. Here are some warning signs that an online love interest might be a fake.

Not everyone using online dating sites is looking for love.

If you feel you have been scammed by a person claiming to be a U. Army CID is warning anyone who is involved in online dating to proceed with caution when corresponding with persons claiming to be U.

The American Greed Report: The latest twist in dating scams will make your blood boil

Are you dating or talking online to someone who says they are a military member? Have they asked you for funds or documents? You might be looking for true love, but chances are good that you are the victim of one of thousands of military romance scams conducted every day. Officials and websites like Military. Victims of these online 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:.

Online Scammers Pose as US Soldiers to Rob Unsuspecting Women

Romance scams are big business. Sadly, 82 percent of romance scam victims are women, and women over 50 are defrauded out of the most money. Fraud like this involves emotional betrayal that can be even more painful when the scammer poses as a member of the military. While many romance scams are perpetrated from social sites like Facebook, online dating sites are a direct route for these scammers to reach their most vulnerable targets. Zoosk , a global dating community with 40 million online profiles, saw the pain this was causing its customers and decided to tackle the problem head-on by launching Insignia , a program that fights back against military romance scams through military verification and increased awareness. Zoosk members who are in the military can earn the Insignia badge by having their pictures verified and submitting their branch of service and driver license information.

ARMY SOCIAL MEDIA

The internet has revolutionized the world of dating, but it is also a new breeding ground for scams. In the latest twist, reported on the next episode of CNBC's " American Greed ," con artists are exploiting Americans' respect for the military. Army Criminal Investigation Command. I'm a widower. I'm raising a five-year-old girl. And they play on the emotions of the victims.

Faking it — scammers’ tricks to steal your heart and money

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Dating & romance

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I fell in love with a military man online! (not so fast)
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