Americans lost $201M to romance scams in 2019, FTC says

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.

This Army Veteran Became The Face Of Military Romance Scams. Now He’s Fighting Back

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.

Brnovich said scam artists find ways to make their requests seem more plausible to victims. Luke Air Force Base in Glendale has received phone calls from civilians asking if a person they have met online is really stationed there, according to Maj.

A romance scam is a confidence trick involving feigning romantic intentions towards a victim, Monetary loss in the United States rose from $ million to $ million from “year ” to “year “. Number of cases rose The scam usually ends when the victim realizes they are being scammed or stops sending money.

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. His name is Sgt.

Larry Williams, and he was in Afghanistan from Fort Campbell. I tried to raise the money but was making myself sick trying.

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

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.

Dating-app scammers are posing as military members for service-related needs such as transportation, communication or medical fees, according to the U.S. Army. They ask you to stop talking to your friends and family.

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.

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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.

Here are some scams that have recently been affecting service members, which online predators go on dating sites claiming to be deployed active-duty soldiers. If people seem suspicious, stop communicating with them.

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:.

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

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.

Four men approach me online and they all claim to be US soldiers. Our catfish says he wants to stop being a romance fraudster. You can watch BBC Panorama’s Billion-Pound Romance Scam on Monday 19th November.

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.

These Social Media Scams Affect the Military

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.

Catfishing during coronavirus: How an old internet scam still tricks people Virginia, and serves as a chaplain bodyguard in the U.S. Navy. Some social media and dating companies have tried to put in place systems to stop catfishing. such as members of the military, veterans and other professionals.

Jane Watts became suspicious when the Army officer she friended on Facebook started asking for things. The Charlottesville resident, who had recently separated from her husband, accepted a friend request from a soldier named Jeff Galbraith. He seemed nice online, and it offered the chance to meet someone new. After two months, he asked for a care package to make life easier in Syria, where he was stationed. He wanted blankets, candy, a PS3, deodorant, a toothbrush and other things.

Instead, she bought the other items at the Dollar Store and sent along a more reasonable care package, minus a video game console. Jeff Galbraith wanted more. It told the story of Col. Galbraith is still serving there and attempts to reach him were unsuccessful. The real Bill Galbraith looked an awful lot like the Jeff Galbraith who had friended Watts on Facebook — that guy stuck in Syria with a thing for video games. Fighting back: ‘Champions’ needed to block military romance scams.

Military romance scams proliferate throughout the military.

Online Dating Scammers Pose as U.S. Military Personnel

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.

Military romance scammers stole $ using Bryan Denny’s face. Now, the former U.S. soldier is fighting back against his ‘evil’ online clones. “We know we have more work to do and we will keep sharing updates as we.

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

No, this Virginia Beach sailor doesn’t want your love or money. It’s a scam, and he’s a victim too.

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.

U.S. military officials have warned those involved in online dating to proceed with caution when corresponding with someone claiming to be a U.S. military.

Romance scams are different from other scams. They prey on lonely people looking to connect with someone, and can often take months to develop to the point where money changes hands. The emotional harm to the victim can be even more painful than the monetary loss. Because most people do not file complaints about romance scams with BBB or law enforcement, this may just be the tip of the iceberg.

Contacting victims: Romance scammers use dating websites, apps, Facebook, and other social media. Many use stolen credit cards to join the sites and post fake profiles. They meet victims, interact with them, and quickly try to get them to move to a different form of communication such as email or texting. This way, if the dating site identifies the scammer as being bogus and shuts them down, they are already in contact with their victims elsewhere. The scammers will often make fake Facebook pages for their aliases to help bolster their fake identity.

This stage can go on for months. It may include daily texts or messages.

I fell in love with a military man online! (not so fast)