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. Use trusted sources such as legitimate government websites for information.
Women warned of scam soldier dating sites
Investigators at the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said scammers are breaking hearts and bank accounts by gaining your trust only to leave you and take your cash. Romance scams are more common than some think. The Better Business Bureau estimated 1 million Americans have been victimized in romance fraud in the last three years. He even sent her flowers at one point in the budding relationship.
New Jersey man scammed $2M from women by posing as a soldier on dating sites, prosecutors say. Anthony V. Coppola. Vineland Daily.
Attorney Craig Carpenito. The following details from this case were taken from court documents and statements:. The most common story used by Sarpong and his conspirators was that they were military personnel stationed in Syria who were awarded gold bars. The conspirators told many of the victims their money would be reimbursed once the gold bars arrived in the United States.
In one case, a conspirator claimed he was a U. He sent her a fictitious airway bill showing that two trunks with “family treasure” would be sent to her, along with a fake United Nations Identity Card that identified him as an Israeli citizen and UN delivery agent. The next day she died by suicide.
5 Things to Know About Military Romance Scams on Facebook
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.
While many of us are trained to see the red flags for serial killers, catfishes and ghosts in that order , these are not the only villains lurking online for would-be matches. Scam artists are thinking of ways to woo you into sending them thousands—or millions of dollars. This is becoming such a problem in the U. In fact, romance scams continue to rise every year as more victims report financial losses.
Romance scams rely on meeting people online and wooing them with lofty promises and by saying all the right things. They prey on the basic human need for romantic connections. For this reason, romance scams can be some of the most difficult scams to rebound from.
How to spot online romance scams
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.
It’s a problem that’s affecting all branches of service — not just the Army.
Military romance scammers stole $ using Bryan Denny’s face. Now, the former U.S. soldier is fighting back against his ‘evil’ online clones. to create fake dating profiles amid a global surge in military romance fraud.
Military personnel and their families are attractive targets for scam artists and identity thieves. These criminals target service members for their steady paychecks and take advantage of their non-standard work schedules, length absences from home, frequent relocations, and duty assignments to remote locations. They also prey on veterans and their families, taking advantage of their patriotism as well as their hard-earned government benefits.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau receives thousands of complaints each year from military consumers that deal with debt collection issues. The most common type of debt collection scam involves continued attempts to collect a debt not owed. Other types include false statements or misrepresentations about a debt, as well as debt collectors threating illegal action.
These scammers have set their sights on members of the military
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.
The growth of online dating has led to an explosion of catfishing and the combination of lust, infatuation or love means that innocent people can get manipulated or exploited. These relationships can go on for years and often end in tragic emotional or financial consequences for the victims. Catfishers can be driven by anything from loneliness to obsession or revenge. They can be motivated by the desire to live vicariously through a fake persona, to extort money from a victim, to make mischief or any number of other intentions.
Other sinister cases can involve sexual predators or stalkers who use this online anonymity to get close to their victims. There are several truly bizarre examples out there, like the girl who was catfished twice by another girl who posed as two different men. Your date looks like a supermodel Online dating scams usually start with an attractive person initiating contact through social media or dating sites. A common theme is that catfishers use picture of models, actors or a member of the beautiful people club.
Most catfish scams will use an attractive profile picture to keep the victim hooked and to make them want the fictional person to be real.
What You Need to Know About Romance Scams
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.
You can help your service member guard against military scams by helping Many payday loan companies operate online and advertise “fast cash” and “no Your friend or family member says they have “met someone” on a dating app.
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.
Tell-tale signs your online date may be an online fraud
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.
Here’s how to thwart online romance scams which involve a criminal pretending to be a member of the U.S. military to rip off an unsuspecting victim.
Do you have questions about your vision health? Hundreds of times a day, women here and overseas complain about being scammed by con artists posing as U. Army Criminal Investigation Command. Grey has made it a personal crusade to warn the public about the online scams that are using men in uniform as bait to reel in women who hand over cash in the name of love. Most of the victims are women in the U. The 2,person command Grey serves is in Quantico, Va.
Thus it lacks jurisdiction to probe the barrage of incoming calls, since the service personnel are not victimized beyond having their names and photos misappropriated. Still, what Grey likens to a game of whack-a-mole has become a priority for him as he battles the problem through public education and media outreach. It will end not in. As an infantryman who later became a combat correspondent and served in the first Gulf War, Grey knows better. Grey has been battling military-romance scams for about six years.
Sometimes those who call the command are relatives alarmed by an online entanglement involving their mother or sister.