Scammers pretending to be members of the military are wooing women on internet dating and social networking sites, but they aren’t looking for love – they’re looking for money.
According to the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command, these scammers, who are using real military photos to create fake profiles, have been the subject of hundreds of complaints in the last year. Some scammers have even used photos of military members that have passed away.
The Command reports that con artists build relationships with women and then start asking for money for things like internet use, phones, leave papers, money to enable them to come visit the victim, etc. Once the woman sends the money, they never hear from the man again.
“To systemize a scam based on someone’s pure emotion and admiration for our troops is extremely appalling,” said Kim States, BBB President. “While the environment of online dating has become very popular, it has simultaneously become much too trusting.”
Many of these emails have been traced back to foreign cyber-cafes in Africa, but the individuals operating these scams are difficult, if not, impossible to track down.
- Never send money to someone from an online dating sight whom you’ve never met.
- If a possibly love interest does not live close to you, suggest that you both chat over a free video chatting services such as Skype, AOL Instant Messenger, Google Talk or another service.
- In all interactions online with people whom you’ve never met, always go to any lengths you can to verify that they are who they say they are.
If you feel you may have been a victim of such a scam, call BBB at (520)888-5353 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center: ic3.gov / 800-251-3221 and the Federal Trade Commission: www.ftc.gov/ 1-877-438-4338.