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. Foreign victims often fall for the scam, and really do think a U.
Someone who pretends to be a sailor, soldier, airman, or Marine looking for love but really is looking for cash will count on you not investigating them too deeply. This is where you can get the upper hand. Here are a few cautionary measures to try and protect yourself against these scams if you decide to try to find love online. First, avoid giving out your personal information and pictures to someone you don't know. The person could be from any part of the world and could use your personal information and images to impersonate or even blackmail you.
Do your best to research every detail and verify what you can. Remember, pictures from the internet could be as simple as "copy and paste" from the Facebook page of an unsuspecting military member. How are you supposed to know what an official military document looks like? It's not that hard to print an authentic-looking duplicate with a home printer.
That's part of the reason the Army Criminal Investigation Command has an example page for commonly used false documents to aid in detecting a scammer. Watch for African countries. Be very suspicious if the person you are corresponding with wants you to mail anything to an African country. While some U. Someone claiming to be in a place where we have few troops is suspect. Many scams originate in Nigeria. Watch for grammar. Be aware of common spelling, grammatical or language errors in the emails.
Be guarded. Be very suspicious of someone you have never met and who pledges their love at warp speed. How do you get help if you are the victim of a military scam or think you have found a romance scammer posing as a military member? Unfortunately, if you've given money to a scammer, you're unlikely to get it back since scammers are often located overseas and are untraceable.
You can also report identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your report helps law enforcement officials across the United States in their investigations. Finally, report Nigerian scams to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission by email at scam efccnigeria.
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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. CID said many of the victims have lost tens of thousands of dollars and likely won't get that money back. Scammers will sometimes provide false paperwork to make their case, but real service members make their own requests for time off.
Also, any official military or government emails will end in. If you're worried about being scammed, know what red flags to look for. DOD officials said task forces are working to deal with the growing problem, but the scammers are often from African nations and are using cyber cafes with untraceable email addresses, then routing their accounts across the world to make them incredibly difficult to trace.
So be vigilant! Hand Held For those looking to stay abreast of news, events or even just basic information about the base, Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. Sexual extortion — known as "sextortion" — is when a service member is seduced into sexual activities online that are unknowingly recorded and used against them for money or goods.
Often, if a victim caves on a demand, the scammer will just likely demand more. To avoid falling victim to sextortion, don't post or exchange compromising photos or videos with ANYONE online, and make sure your social media privacy settings limit the information outsiders can see — this includes advertising your affiliation with the military or government.
Be careful when you're communicating with anyone you don't personally know online, and trust your instincts. If people seem suspicious, stop communicating with them. DOD officials said sextortion often goes unreported because many victims are embarrassed they fell for it. But it happens worldwide and across all ranks and services.
Here's what you should do about it if it happens to you:. These people often steal the identity or profile images of a service member and use them to ask for money or make claims that involve the sale of vehicles, house rentals or other big-ticket items. Lately, fake profiles of high-ranking American military officials have been popping up on social media websites using photos and biographical information obtained from the internet.
Scammers often replicate recent social media posts from official DOD accounts and interact with official accounts to increase the appearance of legitimacy. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. These accounts are also interacting with Joint Staff account followers in an effort to gain trust and elicit information.
Social Networks Military crime experts continue to warn service members to be on the lookout for social media scams in which cybercriminals impersonate service members by using actual and fictitious information for romance scams and other impersonation crimes such as sales schemes and advance fee schemes. Scammers are making these profiles to defraud potential victims. They offer to transfer significant amounts of money into the victim's bank account in exchange for a small fee.
Scammers that receive payment are never heard from again. The Department of Defense provides the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation's security. Skip to main content Press Enter. Romance Scams 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.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Con artists will spend time cultivating a relationship that feels real—especially for you. While there are many legitimate online relationships, beware the person who never wants to meet in real life. Some scams can go on for a year or more while they bilk information and money from their mark. The pictures they send and the profiles will be doctored or made up. Especially look at the name tape: Does it look manipulated or distorted?
If you get a call from their commanding officer or someone up the chain of their command, hang up the phone. And sometimes, there are fights over stupid things. But watch out if you ask for simple things and are constantly turned down. Maybe you want to talk on the phone, and they avoid it like the plague. Maybe you want to see more than one photo of them. Scammers often save photos from the Facebook profiles of unassuming service members, so they may only have one or two.
Maybe you want more details about their life than the few they continue to parrot. The internet is forever. So are digital photos and videos. Scammers who are posing as military members often will plead with their targets to send them money.
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They know if someone is lonely, grieving a lost child who died in the service, or who might be looking for a new relationship after losing a spouse. This information allows scammers to say all the right things, which in turn throws victims off their games. When a scammer begins the hustle, he will often start small.
Can you wire some money to help pay for new boots? If you agree, the scammer will have bank accounts ready for you. These accounts are usually based overseas unless they launder it through someone else. Though primarily based in foreign countries, military romance scammers have a complex network of people to help launder funds.
In doing so, the money becomes harder to trace and infinitely harder to recover. If you continue to send money, they will keep asking. Even if you say you have nothing more to give, they will continue to ask and beg and send you compelling reasons why you should help. In some cases, if you refuse to send anymore money you might even get threats of being exposed for criminal wrongdoings.
All of a sudden your friend will become an enemy and try to extort money from you. Even if you ask for proof of their identity , keep in mind that they will probably already have documents prepared from senior officers, or photos from their deployments.
One of the best ways to identify a scammer is to insist on an in-person meeting prior to sending funds. If you suspect that you have been communicating with a scammer, the best course of action is to stop communicating with the individual and alert local police.
Even if they issue threats against you or your family, you need to get the authorities involved. It is important that you perform a quick background search on who you are actually speaking to on the internet you can do that here. The common questions that spring to mind are:. To help the users of this site we have partnered with BeenVerified so you can check exactly that. This checking service reveals everything about this would be romance scammer and if they are a real person!
Helpful Information Available on BeenVerified :. If you have the slightest doubt about who you are speaking to… Please use this service! Military romance scammers are all over the internet. As soon as the conversation turns to requests for money or assistance, be prepared to stop all communication immediately. Playing it safe, then, is definitely the best course of action. Final Takeway: If you believe yourself to be in a potential scam, make sure to run a background search on who you are speaking to online by going here.
Also, if you are looking for the best military dating sites that have good scam-management practices then check that out as well. She joined and took over operations of RomanceScams. She brings first-hand experience in studying romance scams, and also experience in vetting dating sites for legitimacy. Is your significant other cheating on you? Did your child secretly make a Tinder account? No matter what your dating situation or dilemma, read this a Have you ever wondered how to find out if someone has a dating profile, like your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse?
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