‘It broke my heart:’ The cruelty of military romance scams

In short the immigration service was not involved and took it very personally that they were used in the scam. The police man assigned to protect me from the others is now one of my best friends and thought enough of me after all the crap I brought to their door step to introduce me to a woman that is a cousin of his wifes and we are now dating. What I should have done in the first place is go to Ghana on vacation and let it be known I was interested in a girlfriend and the whole country would have offered me their sisters. It would have been cheaper. As it is I know all of the immigration officers and all of the police at the airport police station and there are no dishonest immigration officials or dishonest police investigators. The arrested man had bought a car with my money and the reduced his sentince if he signed it over to me and I agreed after the uncle pleaded with me to show mercy. They released the man and is currently being watched to see if he will lead them to the rest of the gang and this the Ghana FBI is sure that there are others involved and experince has taught them its Nigerian men they have open borders and they cant keep them out of Ghana. I was told that at least 2 men getting off every plane that lands is being scamed. Go there it a great place to visit and a good place to invest in there future growth their economy is growing fast and there are good realestate investments, there are many honest business people there that are willing to help you from being ripped off. The scenario you recount is a classic.

Online Scammers Won’t Stop Impersonating This Four-Star Army General

District Court in Providence, R. It is alleged in Court documents that beginning in May , victims were contacted by scammers via online dating sites such as Plenty of Fish, Christian Mingle, and Our Time, and through social media platforms such as Words with Friends, often times feigning romantic intentions.

The perpetrators of the scams gained the trust of their victims through any number of fraudulent representations, eventually convincing them to send money to bank accounts controlled by members of the conspiracy. To date, 28 individuals in more than a dozen states have been identified as falling victim to the scams allegedly employed by the five individuals named in the charged conspiracy.

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.

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. Some of his social media accounts are public, allowing people access to plenty of photos of him.

Many lead back to Nigeria. That fits into a pattern documented in a New York Times investigation last year. And these scammers know the right words to say.

How to spot online romance scams

Millions of people turn to online dating apps or social networking sites to meet someone. But instead of finding romance, many find a scammer trying to trick them into sending money. Read about the stories romance scammers make up and learn the 1 tip for avoiding a romance scam. People reported losing more money to romance scams in the past two years than to any other fraud reported to the FTC. Romance scammers create fake profiles on dating sites and apps, or contact their targets through popular social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, or Google Hangouts.

The scammers strike up a relationship with their targets to build their trust, sometimes talking or chatting several times a day.

American soldiers have become unwitting stooges for West African online stopped since setting up her private Facebook page, “Military Scams: The US Marine called “Robert Sigfrid” contacted her on a dating site called.

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. Most people are very trusting of U.

I mean, everybody loves a man in uniform, right? Illinois chiropractor Lilo Schuster fell for it, and fell hard.

ACFE Insights

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. I met a sergeant in the Army on Facebook from the Zoosk dating site. We have been texting since May.

Romance scammers are fleecing vulnerable Australian women out of millions Romance scammers are pretending to be US military personnel to appeal Take steps immediately to limit the damage and stop future losses.

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. Embassy American Citizen Services section for assistance.

‘It’s been hell’: How fraudsters use handsome soldiers to prey on lonely hearts over the holidays

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.

You can help your service member guard against military scams by helping them the U.S. Department of Defense’s network of support for the military community Keep in touch with the cadence of military life, understand its rich traditions Scammers often post fake profiles on dating websites to attract service members.

On Facebook and Instagram, there are lottery scams , celebrity impostors and even fake Mark Zuckerbergs. There is also a scheme where scammers pose as American service members to cheat vulnerable women out of their savings. To find victims, they search Facebook groups for targets — often single women and widows — and then message hundreds, hoping to hook a few.

Once they have a potential mark, the scammers shift the conversations with their victims to Google Hangouts or WhatsApp, messaging services owned by Google and Facebook, in case Facebook deletes their accounts. For months or weeks, they try to seduce the women with sweet talk and promises of a future together. Eventually, they ask for money. When victims send funds, they often do so via wire transfers or iTunes and Amazon gift cards, which the scammers sell at a discount on the black market.

Internet scammers arrived with the dial-up modem years ago, conning people in chat rooms and email inboxes. Now Facebook and Instagram provide fraudsters with greater reach and resources, enabling them to more convincingly impersonate others and more precisely target victims.

Men in California oversaw a romance scam that targeted women worldwide, feds say

According to the Better Business Bureau , romance scams are different than cat-fishing. While cat-fishing typically only involves deception, romance scam artists are intending to take money from a victim. In August, an Arizona man was sentenced to more than 15 years for creating several profiles on dating sites to convince women to give him thousands of dollars for fraudulent investments.

Scam artists may try to make their victims believe they are in the military serving overseas and seeking a long-term relationship.

People reported losing more money to romance scams in the past two years than to any Stop communicating with the person immediately. For example, you could do a search for “oil rig scammer” or “US Army scammer.

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.

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

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. One of the most common romance fraud schemes in recent years involves impersonators using images of U.

“Victims of these ‘romance scams’ report they became involved in an online relationship with someone they believed to be a U.S. Soldier who.

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.

Military Scams | Common Tricks & How to Avoid Them

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.

We help keep people safe online. We’ve had cases of romance scams reported to us where people have lost substantial amounts of money.

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. If you find one, report them!

Townsend is a high-ranking example of the kind of identity theft currently plaguing the U. While many worry about high-end threats from Chinese and Russian hackers, a global army of crude identity thieves have targeted U. The U.

Justice News

Earlier this year, 10 people located around the United States were arrested and charged in an organized money laundering scheme as they were attempting to wash the cash that they illegally obtained. What was strange about the scheme is how the money was obtained in the first place. It wasn’t through the trading or trafficking of illegal goods or drugs, but rather cash that was sent by unsuspecting women who thought they were building relationships with the scammers.

The FBI says romance scams are rampant online, with an estimated $ million in “The M.O. is all the same,” said Christopher Grey of the U.S. Army “They spend hours honing their skills and sometimes keep journals on.

Relationships can bring joy and love, but online dating and sweetheart scams can cause problems for romance seekers. Sweetheart scammers are con artists who prey on lonely people by pretending to fall in love with them in order to win their trust and steal their money. While sweetheart scams can happen face-to-face, they often take place online. Scammers frequently create fake identities on dating websites and social media like Match, SeniorPeopleMeet, ChristianMingle, and Facebook.

Some scammers create phony dating websites to get your credit card number and other private information. Online dating has helped many people find relationships, but not all online dating websites and users are legitimate. Dating websites come in various costs and approaches. Remember that dating services are businesses designed to make money, not matches. Experts discount claims that dating sites are scientifically proven to help you find the right partner.

How African scammers collect money in Romance Scams


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