Internet dating scam artists

"Another critical issue is we don't want victims who do not report this crime walking away and thinking that a U. serviceman has ripped them off when in fact that serviceman is honorably serving his country and often not even aware that his pictures or identity have been stolen," said Grey.

Also, report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission.

This will help law enforcement officials across the United States in their investigations. Or, mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, D.

Most of these fake profiles have several things that should stick out: 1. If they ask for items(care packages) they ask for you to send them to overseas addresses that are not affiliated with the Military, Nigeria etc.

They will have very few friends on the profile, of which most will be women or other fake profiles. Most of the posts will be short sentences, with broken English and misspelled words. They will not have many photos, and the uniform name tapes may not match the profile name. Military members almost always have other friends on their profile that are also Military, these fakes will not have any. The forms they are sending to these people are very convincing, especially if you are not familiar with the military and the way leave works.

These scams are outright theft and are a grave misrepresentation of the Army and the tremendous amount of support programs and mechanisms that exist for Soldiers today, especially those serving overseas, said Grey. One version usually involves the sale of a vehicle; where the service member claims to be living overseas and has to quickly sell their vehicle because they are being sent to another duty station, said Grey.

Along with the romance-type scams, CID has been receiving other complaints from people worldwide who were scam victims -- once again where a cyber-crook was impersonating a U. After sending bogus information regarding the vehicle, the seller requests the buyer do a wire transfer to a third party to complete the purchase.

In one extreme example, a woman from New York took out a second mortgage on her home to get money to help her "Soldier." She lost more than ,000. has established numerous task force organizations to deal with this and other growing issues; unfortunately, the people committing these scams are using untraceable email addresses on "Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail," etc., routing accounts through numerous locations around the world, and utilizing pay-per-hour Internet cyber cafes, which often times maintain no accountability of use.

More recently, a woman from the United Kingdom told CID officials she had sent more than ,000 to the con artists. The ability of law enforcement to identify these perpetrators is very limited, so individuals must stay on the alert and be personally responsible to protect themselves.

It is always some sort of story to make the victim feel pity for the fraudster.

They mainly target women that have no Military affiliation, or have never been around the Military, this way they know the women won’t pick up on their lies as fast.

The victims are most often unsuspecting women, 30 to 55 years old, who think they are romantically involved on the Internet with American Soldiers, when in fact they are being cyber-robbed by perpetrators thousands of miles away, they said. The perpetrators will often take the true rank and name of a U. Soldier who is honorably serving his country somewhere in the world, marry that up with some photographs of a Soldier off the Internet, and then build a false identity to begin prowling the Internet for victims, Grey said.