Anatomy of Online Dating Scams – How Not to Become a Victim of Cyber-romance

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. 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.

How I catfished my catfisher: a W5 investigation into romance scams

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?

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.

A New Jersey man was arrested Wednesday for defrauding more than 30 victims after wooing them on internet dating sites. Rubbin Sarpong, 35, of Millville, New Jersey has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, announced U. Attorney Craig Carpenito in a press release. Sarpong concocted online dating profiles mostly portraying US military personnel stationed overseas and looking for romance.

The profiles were actually made up, using fictitious or stolen identities federal prosecutors in Camden, New Jersey said. He told them he needed the money to ship gold bars to the United States, prosecutors said, but really kept it for himself and conspirators in Ghana.

‘It’s been hell’: How fraudsters use handsome soldiers to prey on lonely hearts over the holidays

Please enable JavaScript in your web browser; otherwise some parts of this site might not work properly. Sadly, millions of Americans are targeted by scammers every year. The most common, imposter scams, involve individuals pretending to be someone of trust to get money or personal information from a victim. This includes personal information like your Social Security number or access to your finances.

The top frauds reported last year were from people pretending to be from the government, a well-known business, or a romantic interest in need of help. A large portion of imposter scams are those pretending to be from the U.

Military romance scammers stole $ using Bryan Denny’s face. Now, the former U.S. soldier is fighting back against his ‘evil’ online.

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. Most of the victims are women in the U.

The 2,person command Grey serves is in Quantico, Va. Thus it lacks jurisdiction to probe the barrage of incoming calls, since the service personnel are not victimized beyond having their names and photos misappropriated. Still, what Grey likens to a game of whack-a-mole has become a priority for him as he battles the problem through public education and media outreach.

It will end not in. As an infantryman who later became a combat correspondent and served in the first Gulf War, Grey knows better. Grey has been battling military-romance scams for about six years.

New Jersey man scammed $2M from women by posing as a soldier on dating sites, prosecutors say

Attorney Craig Carpenito. The following details from this case were taken from court documents and statements:. The most common story used by Sarpong and his conspirators was that they were military personnel stationed in Syria who were awarded gold bars. The conspirators told many of the victims their money would be reimbursed once the gold bars arrived in the United States.

In one case, a conspirator claimed he was a U.

Here’s how to thwart online romance scams which involve a criminal pretending to be a member of the U.S. military to rip off an unsuspecting victim.

While many of us are trained to see the red flags for serial killers, catfishes and ghosts in that order , these are not the only villains lurking online for would-be matches. Scam artists are thinking of ways to woo you into sending them thousands—or millions of dollars. This is becoming such a problem in the U. In fact, romance scams continue to rise every year as more victims report financial losses.

Romance scams rely on meeting people online and wooing them with lofty promises and by saying all the right things. They prey on the basic human need for romantic connections.

Coronavirus: Romance scams, the Yahoo boys and my friend Beth

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.

Such online scams are known as “catfishing,” and can be used for The U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command receives hundreds of “Victims of these ‘romance scams’ report they became involved in an online.

An internet search for Mike Sency’s name immediately yields hundreds of accounts spread across social media and dating websites. Many of the profiles contain small differences, such as the photos used, the spelling of his name, even various details about his hobbies and interests. But they all share one common trait: They’re fake. Sency is used to it.

For years, pictures he posted online have been used to create fake profiles by people looking to scam others, often out of money, a practice generally known as catfishing. His problem isn’t a new one, but it is an issue that has proven nearly impossible to stop. I am worried about how this is going to affect my future and my family — even my mom gets calls from strangers claiming they know me because of these fake accounts.

Deception has been part of the internet since its earliest days as a consumer tool, but the practice of using stolen photos arose as more people began creating social media and online dating profiles in the early s. By , catfishing had become a cultural phenomenon with an MTV documentary show that year chronicling the deceptions of online dating. And as more of the world shifts online because of stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic, some cybersecurity experts are warning consumers to be on high alert.

There are so many dating apps.

Clover Medical

Online dating websites and apps can provide access to a vast dating pool. But be careful. They can also woo you with scams. Romance scammers prey on loneliness and trust. Scammers have been known to create fake profiles on dating sites and defraud would-be romantic partners out of money.

Romance-related scams are now the most costly form of online fraud, came across a man on dating app Tinder claiming to be a U.S. Army.

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:. Scammers tend to use similar stories to convince men and women that they have a legitimate need.

Here are common answers to those questions:. Never send money. Be extremely suspicious if you are asked for money for transportation costs, communication fees or marriage processing and medical fees via Western Union.

Military Scams | Common Tricks & How to Avoid Them

Romance scammers are fleecing vulnerable Australian women out of millions of dollars by pretending to be US soldiers or heartbroken widowers looking for love. Romance scammers are pretending to be US military personnel to appeal to Australian victims. Experts say people are attracted to those in uniform like those above stock photo , plus it also gives the scammer an excuse to contact their victim at odd hours. CSCRC Senior Research Fellow Cassandra Cross military profiles were popular with scammers who use psychologically abusive tactics including gaslighting and isolation to target vulnerable older singles.

You can help protect yourself by learning how online dating scams work. Fakers often pose as military members who are serving abroad, which would seem to logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.

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. Bad actors can steal service members’ identities and then use them to collect military benefits or file phony tax returns. In August, the Department of Justice charged five people in an identity theft and fraud scheme, wherein they allegedly used stolen identities to plunder millions of dollars in benefits from elderly and disabled veterans.

How to spot online romance scams

People are increasingly switching to more convenient means to find a connection, like dating apps and websites such as Tinder, OkCupid, Hinge or Bumble. That, unfortunately, may make them targets for dating scammers , who prey on their eagerness to find love. Scammers tend to use stock images of models, who may be styled to sell a specific product. Photos of them posing with beverages and electronics may feel staged and unnatural because indeed they are.

Alternatively, they have been known to steal pictures of real people, to make themselves seem more believable. If you feel something is off about their photos, usually stick with your gut feeling you may be right.

I was contacted by someone that has met a person online and was claiming to be in the US Army. There are some red flags and she is.

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. Other scam artists make their fake profiles look as appealing as possible and wait from victims to reach out and begin the conversation.

Once a scammer has you hooked, the possibilities are limitless, but here are a few of the most common variations:. Fraudsters may use the name and likeness of actual soldier or create an entirely fake profile. They send out legitimate-seeming emails, introducing themselves as being near the end of their careers, often with older children and typically widowed under tragic circumstances. The emails are riddled with military jargon, titles and base locations, which sound impressive.

In many cases, these scammers work with one or more accomplices who pose as doctors or lawyers to extract a steady stream of money. In many cases, military scams drag on for months or even years before victims finally get suspicious.

Romance scam

Army Criminal Investigation Command CID receives hundreds of reports a month from individuals who have fallen victim to a scam perpetrated by a person impersonating a U. Soldier online. Soldier who then began asking for money for various false service-related needs. Victims of these scams can lose tens of thousands of dollars and face a slim likelihood of recovering any of it.

Scam Haters United blog compiled photos of real scammers and the profiles they use to target people online.

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. We would speak every day. I just fell completely in love with him and we were soon discussing how we would build a life together once he was out of the Army.

He said he was happy to move to Australia as he was a trained accountant, so he would easily get a job here.

MIlitary facts and what a fake profile might be telling you


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