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.
Internet Scams Warning
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.
These tips from Western Union and the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command will help you identify romance scams.
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. Investigators with TBI said scammers are looking to rush people into relationships by gaining your trust first.
WATCH: With ValentinesDay fast approaching, we’re highlighting the warning signs of romance scams, so your heart — and your wallet — don’t fall victim! But they send you a photo and they actually wont call you on video. Send cash, checks or anything like that. If they want, you to send a gift card or something unusual that is obviously an indicator,” said Christian.
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For crying out loud, Jon Louis was even teaching a class on fraud when he got taken in — hook, line and sinker — by the dreaded internet species known as catfish. Looking back a year or so later the scam is obvious to him, but oh my, how joyful it was to feel his heart flutter again. It seemed like a reasonable investment in a long-term relationship.
Victims are commonly between the ages of 40 and 69, but those over 70 lose the greatest amount of money to the cons, the FTC reports. Be sure to protect your heart — and your money. Even the skeptical among us can, like Louis, let our eyes get too starry to see straight. And professional scammers know how to make those chemicals flow. As long as social isolation exists, some measure of danger will be there, Dodson and Van Deusen say. Social-media pressures can lead people to seek fulfillment from external sources rather than internal ones, a self-defeating strategy, Van Deusen said.
It starts with a friend request, or a match on a dating site or app. The kind stranger seems smitten, even in love, and eager to start a committed relationship. Then, almost always, they suggest you move your conversation to a private channel such as email or a chat app. He or she will promise to pay it back, but that will never happen.
Louis, the Spokane widower who got catfished last year, said he met his pretend paramour through a Facebook friend request from someone who claimed to be a year-old female Army sergeant working in Yemen.
Army reservists accused of $3 million-worth of romance and business scams
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.
(CNN) In March , a man claiming to be a US Army captain stationed in Syria reached out to a Japanese woman on an international site for.
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:.
Online Dating Scammers Pose as U.S. Military Personnel
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.
There is also a scheme where scammers pose as American service “I am 90G military officer with the 1s infantry 62nd battalion army,” said.
She wants to use the social media network to inspire young women, but cybercriminals using her photos to engage in “romance scams” have made Vlastuin consider deleting her online presence. Sherri Vlastuin, Instagram popularity came quickly — and at a price. Vlastuin, 26, has used the social media network since to document her life as an Army combat medic at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, her home state.
One post — a selfie after her graduation from Air Assault School two years ago — suddenly elevated her page. Romance scams are part of a new page report released Tuesday by Vietnam Veterans of America, which has spent the past two years on a study of online trolls and their tendency to target veterans and servicemembers. Some expect her to repay them, others seek the same relationship with her that they believed they had with the impostor. She said she has reported hundreds of the fake accounts to Instagram and Facebook, but they continue to multiply.
The overall goal, he said, is to keep servicemembers, veterans and their families safe in cyber environments. The report urges social media networks and federal law enforcement, with support from Congress, to put more focus and resources toward stopping romance scams. Scammers tend to pose as veterans and servicemembers in romance scams for the same reason, Goldsmith said. The FBI told the Times that the bureau investigates only a fraction of those reports because the amounts lost — typically a few thousand dollars — are too low.
When her profile first became popular, Vlastuin would find accounts using her name and photos, take screenshots and report them to Facebook and Instagram. As her online status grew, fighting the imitation accounts quickly became a full-time job.
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.
Military Romance Scams. 48K likes. This page was created to warn facebook users about military romance scams and how the identities of our honorably.
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.
Scammers have also impersonated employers in a bid to get veterans to purchase work equipment from a third party and then abscond with the money.
American soldier internet dating scams’
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.
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The FBI is advising consumers to be wary when using online dating sites after the agency saw a 70 percent annual increase in reported romance scams. Cybercriminals are reportedly using online dating sites to trick victims into sending money, providing personal and financial information, or even unknowingly acting as a money mule by relaying stolen funds. Learn these tips for keeping yourself—and your financial accounts—better protected when meeting people online.
Romance scams, also called confidence scams, are when a bad actor deceives a victim into believing they have a trusted relationship and then uses the relationship to persuade the victim to give money, personal and financial information, or items of value to the perpetrator. The initial grooming phase can last for days, weeks, or even months , and by that time, the victim may be extremely vulnerable to the scam. Techniques of romance scammers are varied and may include:. However, elderly people, women, and those who have lost a spouse are often targeted.
Fraudsters have used dating sites to find and target victims for some time, but there is a new twist on romance scams that involves international criminal networks using dating sites to recruit money mules. The victim is then asked to receive and send money from that account. These bank accounts, the FBI says, may be used to facilitate criminal activities.
Even if the account is flagged and closed by the financial institution, the scammer may continue to scam the same victim by asking them to open a new account or may begin grooming a new victim. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep yourself—and your financial accounts—better protected when meeting new people online. If you believe you have been a victim of a confidence or romance scam, the FBI recommends the following actions:.
Report a Scam
AARP Rewards is here to make your next steps easy, rewarding and fun! Learn more. 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.
Online Romance Scam Information. Scam examples If you feel you have been scammed by a person claiming to be a U.S. Soldier, contact the.
Estimated reading time is 6 minutes. Do you have suspicions that a friend or family member is involved in a romance scam? Do you ever wonder why people fall for romance scams? While this figure may seem high, this is just what gets reported; many victims never make a report due to fear or embarrassment. She found she could join groups and play games via the social media channel.
This interaction was the start of what Grace thought was an exciting new romance. Over the next 18 months, the person claiming to be Malcom James drew Grace into what she thought was a loving relationship. It was in fact a scam leading to a series of escalating requests for money.
Washingtonians are falling for romance scams — here’s how to protect yourself
From midnight until dawn most days, Tracee Douglas sits in the garden of her Bundaberg home with her iPad in her lap, and her iPhone and cigarettes beside her. With only the knock-knock-knock of geckos for company, she scours the web for clinching evidence to convince women who are sending money to “soldiers” abroad that the men they love are fakes. She’s lost count of the number of scams she has stopped since setting up her private Facebook page, “Military Scams: The Fight Back”, but they’re likely to be in the thousands.
A woman on a mission, Douglas tries to grab as much sleep as she can during the day – she gets by on a part-time job – shuttering her home against the harsh Queensland heat and glare. Douglas, 49, set up her Facebook page more than a year ago, after a friend bluntly told her she could either “lie down and die, or fight back”. It now has members, who track, trick and bait scammers.
New Jersey man scammed $2M from women by posing as a soldier on dating sites, prosecutors say. Anthony V. Coppola. Vineland Daily.
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. They use his photos to pose as soldiers on Facebook and dating sites, where they trick women into surrendering thousands of dollars in cash and gift cards in the name of love. Set boundaries and recognize red flags. He reports every fake account he sees on Facebook, but new ones emerge faster than he can wipe them out.
Denny is one of several soldiers whose photos have been used to create fake dating profiles amid a global surge in military romance fraud. He gets tired of chasing down fake profiles. Last year, for instance, a handful of fake Facebook accounts were created using images of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, the Canadian military reservist killed in a terror attack on Parliament Hill in The photos sparked widespread outrage in Canada, prompting Facebook to step in and delete the accounts.