New Jersey scammer wooed women by posing as soldier on dating websites, netting $2.1M: feds

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. It’s a problem that’s affecting all branches of service — not just the Army. Scam Alert Military experts are constantly warning service members about social media scams that can affect them and their families. CID said there have been hundreds of claims each month from people who said they’ve been scammed on legitimate dating apps and social media sites. 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.

NJ Man Posed as Soldier to Scam Online Daters Out of $2.1 Million, Officials Say

Thanks to online dating scams, each year thousands of Americans who are searching for love end up with nothing but a broken heart and an empty wallet. While online dating and social media sites have become increasingly popular tools to find love and friendship, they’ve unfortunately also become popular tools for fraudsters known as romance scammers. These con artists create fake profiles to lure in victims, establish romantic relationships and eventually, extort money.

According to the Better Business Bureau, victims in the U. Older users, in particular, are more often targeted by this type of scam — and most don’t realize they are a victim until it is too late. We also have information about how to report a dating scammer if you or someone you love has fallen victim to one.

or social media messages (Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber, Kik, dating apps, etc) from To back up their fake stories, they often steal real soldiers’ or models’ photos and Once they have gained their victim’s trust, the scammers create a false.

To perpetrate this scam, the scammers take on sites online persona of a current or former U. Soldier, and then, using fake of a Soldier from the internet, build a false identity to begin prowling the web for victims. The most common scheme involves criminals, often from other countries — most notably from West African countries — pretending to be U.

Soldiers serving in a combat zone or other overseas location. These crooks often present documents and other “proof” of news financial need when asking their victims to wire sites to them. Such scams, when soldier involve dating sites, pose a unique challenge in the soldiers against impostors and identity thieves, because on such sites a dating profile is often required to conduct a search for fake accounts. In addition, it is sites possible to remove dating site profiles without legitimate proof of identity theft or a scam.

If you suspect fraud email a dating site, take a screenshot of any advances for money or impersonations and report the account on the platform immediately.

How to spot a scammer

The growth of online dating has led to an explosion of catfishing and the combination of lust, infatuation or love means that innocent people can get manipulated or exploited. These relationships can go on for years and often end in tragic emotional or financial consequences for the victims. Catfishers can be driven by anything from loneliness to obsession or revenge.

Follow this simple advice to make your dating experience as safe as possible. Job based overseas, e.g. Pilot, Soldier, General military personnel. Scammers may go as far as sending fake documentation to corroborate their claims such.

Millions of people turn to online dating apps or social networking sites to meet someone. But instead of finding romance, many find a scammer trying to trick them into sending money. Read about the stories romance scammers make up and learn the 1 tip for avoiding a romance scam. People reported losing more money to romance scams in the past two years than to any other fraud reported to the FTC.

Romance scammers create fake profiles on dating sites and apps, or contact their targets through popular social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, or Google Hangouts. The scammers strike up a relationship with their targets to build their trust, sometimes talking or chatting several times a day. Then, they make up a story and ask for money. Scammers ask you to pay by wiring money, with reload cards, or with gift cards because they can get cash quickly and remain anonymous.

They also know the transactions are almost impossible to reverse. If you paid a romance scammer with a gift card , contact the company that issued the card right away.

5 Things to Know About Military Romance Scams on Facebook

Your military friend or family member serves our country with integrity and honor. Unfortunately, there are scammers out there who try to take advantage of that service to cheat them and you. You can help protect your service member against military scams by learning the warning signs of schemes that target those in the military community.

Unfortunately, these scams prey on fears about the coronavirus disease, trying to trick service members and family members into revealing sensitive information or donating money to a fraudulent cause. Bogus emails that look legitimate can offer fake alerts or information about the outbreak, fake workplace policy updates, or fake medical advice. By clicking on links in these emails, you could download malware or have your identity stolen.

7 Signs of a Military Romance Scam | Military Dating Scams. Are you sure you’re really in a relationship with the soldier you met online? Learn to spot the signs.

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. Read more: From catfish to romance fraud, how to avoid getting caught in any online scam.

Romance Scams

The FBI is advising consumers to be wary when using online dating sites after the agency saw a 70 percent annual increase in reported romance scams. Cybercriminals are reportedly using online dating sites to trick victims into sending money, providing personal and financial information, or even unknowingly acting as a money mule by relaying stolen funds.

Learn these tips for keeping yourself—and your financial accounts—better protected when meeting people online. Romance scams, also called confidence scams, are when a bad actor deceives a victim into believing they have a trusted relationship and then uses the relationship to persuade the victim to give money, personal and financial information, or items of value to the perpetrator.

The initial grooming phase can last for days, weeks, or even months , and by that time, the victim may be extremely vulnerable to the scam. Techniques of romance scammers are varied and may include:.

Online Dating Scammers Pose as U.S. Military Personnel and it advances to requesting money from the fake love interest for some phony, dire need. using the ruse about being a U.S. soldier to have money sent there.

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. Most days we will come in and there are a few cases that have come in overnight.

DS Dalgleish, who has been investigating these types of crimes for the past five years, said women were often targeted via dating websites with fake profiles but also via social media. And before they know it people have parted with substantial sums of money. In some cases the loss of the relationship was far harder than the loss of money. Politicians yesterday demanded urgent action to regulate online sites and impose greater responsibility on operators to identify suspicious behaviour.

Critics say tighter vetting and checks on applicants to join dating sites and a greater use of facial recognition and other security technologies could help curb fraudsters. Internet platforms have a responsibility to their shareholders and to wider society to ensure checks are made. It does not actually require legislation. These platforms must take responsibility for the content other people publish on their websites.

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

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.

With the person to lure western women they are verified scammers. Often post fake soldier named jeff galbraith. Military-Related dating scams cheat how you.

Clues for spotting fake profiles. One day Georgina received a friend request from a serviceman on peacekeeping duties in Afghanistan. She decided to accept the request and allowed ‘Jim’ to be her Facebook friend. Soon after befriending her, Jim told Georgina he had lost his wife to cancer and his story of looking after her was similar to her own experience when her husband had died of cancer. S military was nearly finished. He sent me pictures which I now know were stolen from someone on the internet.

We became very close and he emailed me every day saying it was easier for him than using Facebook. He said this was the best part of being in Nigeria because it was close to where the precious stones were being mined and he could buy them very cheaply. It was a lot of money to send but she figured he was a good and honest serviceman and if things worked out they would spend the rest of their lives together.

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

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.

Since starting the website in , I have received emails at least once a week from someone who believes they are dating a soldier when, in most cases, t.

Yet, many are asking, how do I know if a soldier is real? Well, first of all, many people say that if you have to question it , you probably already know the answer. Still, far too many people fall into this trap and delude themselves into thinking that they love this person and that this could never happen to them. There are some surefire ways to know if a soldier you met online is real or not. All of these reasons are lies. When on deployment, the military pays for soldiers to have everything they need including internet access, phone service, and travel to and from their deployment locations.

The soldiers in Special Forces are often the most patriotic and take their jobs incredibly serious out of anyone in the military. Just to be clear, all military members have an email address that ends in. People will usually say this when you suggest a care package instead of a money transfer. On deployment, service members have an APO address where they can receive physical packages.

There are lots of programs within the military to help soldiers and especially while on active duty, service members are pretty well-taken care of. Saying that everyone around them is dead is just trying to toy with your emotions as a compassionate person. Resist the sob story! No matter where they are in the world, soldiers are able to get into their bank accounts and make any purchase they desire.

Dating in the military