Beware scammers pretending to be GIs looking for love
Published: March 23, 2010
Dozens of people in the last couple months have been bilked out of thousands of dollars each by scammers masquerading as lovelorn solders downrange, according to U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command.
Claiming to be serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, the fiends strike up a romantic relationship with women and then ask them for money, usually to buy special laptop computers, or other means to continue their relationship. They also claim that they are unable to access their bank accounts or credit cards, or they need to buy leave papers from the Army, or they need money for a flight home.
One woman took out a second mortgage on her home to pay the scammer, CID spokesman Christopher Grey said.
The scammers troll the internet for pictures of servicemembers from Web sites such as Facebook, which they then use on dating sites using a false identity.
Many of these scams are run out of foreign countries such as Nigeria and Ghana, making them tough to track, he said.
Theyre definitely predators, and their preying on the emotions of unsuspecting female victims, he said.
CID offers the following tips to people corresponding online with people claiming to be servicemembers:
- See if their story checks out by touching base with someone you know, such as a current or former servicemember.
- Be very suspicious if someone says you they cant receive phone calls or regular mail.
- Also be very suspicious of someone asks for money for things such as transportation, marriage processing or medical expenses, especially if you are asked to send money to a third party, such as a company.
- Be aware of spelling and grammatical errors in e-mails.
If you are victimized, here is where you can go for help:
Federal Trade Commission: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) or TTY, 1-866-653-4261
Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) (FBI-NW3C Partnership).