Internet Fraud and the Armed Forces
A romance scam is a confidence trick involving feigning romantic intentions towards a victim, gaining their affection, and then using that goodwill to commit fraud. Fraudulent acts may involve access to the victim’s money, bank accounts, credit cards, passports, e-mail accounts, or national identification numbers ; or forcing the victims to commit financial fraud on their behalf. Number of cases rose from to in only two years. Romance scammers create personal profiles using stolen photographs of attractive people for the purpose of asking others to contact them. This is often known as catfishing. Communications are exchanged between the scammer and victim over a period of time until the scammer feels they have connected with the victim enough to ask for money. These requests may be for gas money, bus or airplane tickets to visit the victim, medical or education expenses. There is usually the promise the scammer will one day join the victim in the victim’s home.
Online Dating Scammers Pose as U.S. Military Personnel
If you thought online dating websites are on the rise, than you would be right. However, not everyone who creates a profile on these sites has honorable intentions. Most dating scams start innocently enough. Scammers contact victims via social media sites or through email, claiming common interests or a distant, mutual connection—such as an introduction at a wedding or other large gathering.
Romance scammers are clever, well organised and have a number of tried techniques which make them highly successful. But there are ways.
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. He says he was deployed to Africa about three weeks ago, and kept asking about the money. I told him I just did not have it. His response was that he could not take the texting, so I said I guess that meant that we were over. He responded that he would rather forget about the phone than to lose me.
At first, it was three thousand and I sent it.
The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. At years-old, Exposto had fallen for a widowed special forces soldier doing his bit for his country. They have never met, which was easily explained — he was deployed in Afghanistan. Exposto recently walked free after facing a death sentence in Malaysia for attempting to smuggle a kilogram of ice five years ago.
Since she was caught, she has maintained she was a victim of a romance scam.
Victims may encounter these romance scammers on a legitimate dating website or social media platform, but they are not U.S. Soldiers. To perpetrate this scam.
Avery Haines Investigative Correspondent, W5. I played along to try to get an inside look at the shadowy world of internet scammers. My game of cat fish – and-mouse with the man calling himself Oliver would have been entertaining, except for the fact that what he does is downright evil. I really wanna know you better hope we can be really close.
Am always focused on my job. Oliver says he is a sergeant with the U. I believe when we start talking on the phone that will be so much better. Sadly, Oliver says, Kabul, Afghanistan has wonky internet, and because of the nature of his work, a video call is strictly forbidden. Oliver begs me to send money so we can use the satellite phone. The cost?
Military Scams | Common Tricks & How to Avoid 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.
Romance scams, also called confidence scams, are when a bad actor deceives soldier – The US Department of Defense has warned about romance scams in.
Online scammers who use lonely hearts schemes to bilk people out of money sometimes steal the identity of a military member to tug at their victim’s heartstrings. Usually, these scammers develop fake contacts, using easily obtained pictures from real U. The scammers often use internet cafes and reroute money multiple times to untraceable sources, making it difficult to track them or reclaim any money they manage to steal.
What’s especially insidious about this kind of online scam is that many people legitimately want to help a member of the U. 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.
Courtesy photo via The Virginian-Pilot. 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.
Relationships can bring joy and love, but online dating and sweetheart scams can be a U.S. citizen traveling or working overseas, for example with the military.
Two Army reservists have been accused of coordinating a fraud scheme involving business email compromises and romance scams against elderly women, according to a federal complaint in the Southern District Court of New York. Joseph I. Asan Jr. Ogozy, both of whom enlisted in the Army Reserve in February , were arrested Oct. An FBI agent said in the complaint that Asan and Ogozy defrauded victims and laundered their proceeds through bank accounts they had opened in the names of fake businesses.
The publication Quartz noted that only Asan has been indicted and some of the court records indicate Ogozy might be cooperating with investigators. Few details of their military service were released in the document, and while the romance scams they were allegedly engaged in targeted elderly women , the schemes did not appear to invoke their military service to help their cause. The two men would gain unauthorized access to business email accounts or spoof emails and impersonate employees of a company in order to convince victims to transfer funds to bank accounts they controlled, the FBI agent said in the complaint.
An email was sent in February telling the chemical distributor that payment for the sale should be deposited in a bank account owned by Uxbridge Capital, LLC, at a credit union for active-duty, retired and reserve U. After the bank was alerted that the wire transfer was fraudulent on March 1, , the funds were recalled and the account was frozen. For more newsletters click here.
Another business scheme involved an email compromise at a Marine Corps veterans organization. The transfer went through and the victims began cooperating with law enforcement. Asan and Ogozy would also scam women into believing they were in a romantic relationship using fake identities and dating websites.
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.
Foreign victims often fall for the scam, and really do think a U.S. soldier stole their money. Military Members and Romance Scams.
In a tech-savvy world, it is common for couples to meet online through dating websites or apps. Unfortunately, not everyone joining these dating platforms is looking for true love. The frequency of online romances has caught the attention of fraudsters who manipulate people seeking companionship through romance scams.
Fraudsters operating romance scams have recently taken to posing as members of the armed forces to lure their victims into a romance with what they believe to be a soldier. This scam commonly begins on a social media platform, but it can also start through matching on an online dating website. After the impersonator has built up a rapport with their target and earned his or her trust, they will ask for money.
The scammer will often claim the money will be used to cover transportation costs to go on leave, pay for medical fees, food or supplies, even pending marriage plans. In the end, this is all a lie, designed to rob the victim of their money. Falling for a military romance scam will drain you financially and emotionally. These tips from Western Union and the U.
Protecting yourself from the online romance scam Scammers take advantage of well-meaning, intelligent people all the time. Ways to identify if you are being targeted for a military scam Falling for a military romance scam will drain you financially and emotionally. Asking for money.
New Jersey man scammed $2M from women by posing as a soldier on dating sites, prosecutors say
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.
Romance scams are part of a new page report released Tuesday by Vietnam Veterans of America, which has spent the past two years on.
The safety of our customers is of the utmost importance to us. LibertyX constantly monitors new scam and fraud tactics to find new ways to prevent any being used on our platform. Here are a few common scams being used by fraudsters, and red flags to look out for. Dating, Marriage, and Romance. Online Dating Apps and Websites. Overseas and Out of Country. Money Forwarding and Check Cashing. Payment for Goods or Services. Tech Support Scams. Time-sensitive and Emergency Situations. Airport and Travel.
Overseas Bill Payment.
Avoiding Scams – Send Money / Bitcoin
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.
The safety of our customers is of the utmost importance to us. LibertyX constantly Online dating and marriages are some of the most common scams on the internet. A popular scam is to create the illusion that the scammer is in the military.
District Court in Providence, R. It is alleged in Court documents that beginning in May , victims were contacted by scammers via online dating sites such as Plenty of Fish, Christian Mingle, and Our Time, and through social media platforms such as Words with Friends, often times feigning romantic intentions. The perpetrators of the scams gained the trust of their victims through any number of fraudulent representations, eventually convincing them to send money to bank accounts controlled by members of the conspiracy.
To date, 28 individuals in more than a dozen states have been identified as falling victim to the scams allegedly employed by the five individuals named in the charged conspiracy. United States Attorney Aaron L. Scammers will confuse, lie to, and steal from their victims with total disregard for the financial and emotional ruins they leave behind. The Department of Justice and federal, state, and local law enforcement have made it a priority to root out such scammers and hold them accountable.
Cronin of the U.
Anatomy of Online Dating Scams – How Not to Become a Victim of Cyber-romance
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.
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.
Be on the lookout for some of these operations that have fooled more than one person into giving money, personal information, and worse. Below in the following section you will find descriptions of scams that have been used on military members and their families in the past. But no matter what kind of con artist you encounter, there are some similar things you should watch out for that can alert you to a scam.
Pay close attention anytime someone you do not know does any of the following online or in person:. The Spanish Prisoner scam is a very old confidence trick that has been updated for the 21 st Century. The old-school version of this con trick was done face-to-face in many cases, but today the scam is run by people using social media. Then, the scammer contacts these people who assume their Facebook or Twitter friend simply opened up a new account.
And that is because once you DO think about it, you may start to realize that there is something not quite right about the entire situation. Always ask the scammer for a contact phone number so that you can call back in a few minutes with payment information. Do not call this phone number if it is unfamiliar to you; contact your friends on social media who have reached out to you in this way on their ORIGINAL ACCOUNTS or via a different means of communication which is the safest way in circumstances like these that is not linked to the social media account.
Always report these incidents to the social media platform and to your friends list. The key to not getting scammed in this instance is not to give any money or data to the person reaching out to you UNLESS you have positively identified that the need actually exists it likely does not or that a third party that is personally known to you can verify the information you have been given.