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

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. Dr Cross said the scammers can then contact people at any time of the day or night because they ‘work in the military’. The military profile works on victims. Romance fraud was the second highest category of financial loss trailing only investment fraud, the agency said. People aged over 45 lose the most money with women more likely to be targeted. Research shows the nasty online lotharios try to socially isolate their victims by removing them from their family and close friends. Dr Cross said they will add an air of secrecy to the relationship, telling their targets not to talk to friends and family about it.

Us army scammers photos

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.

New Jersey man scammed $2M from women by posing as a soldier on as United States military members attempting to ship gold bars home. in Ghana — reportedly set up profiles on various dating websites using fake or.

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.

The suspect allegedly carried out the scheme with help from co-conspirators in Ghana. Many of these types of fraudsters feature common characteristics that anyone looking for love on the internet should know. One of the most common romance fraud schemes in recent years involves impersonators using images of U. Sometimes these requests are for gift cards or prepaid debit cards, assistance with medical bills for family members, or funds to pay for international round-trip airfare for a first meeting with the victim.

In the case involving the New Jersey man mentioned above, fraudsters pretending to be U. Search engines, such as Google and Bing, allow users to search the internet for an image such as a profile picture. If a reverse image search turns up multiple profiles with different names that all share the same profile picture, chances are their intentions are less than sincere.

Repeated excuses of emergencies that prevent a quick, live conversation should be a major red flag of a romance scam. There is no shortage of free or cheap means to conduct an international phone call or video chat WhatsApp, Telegram, Skype and FaceTime, just to name a few , and anyone who can access the internet to send emails or direct messages should be able to give their newfound love interest a few minutes of time for some virtual flirtation.

Criminal organizations that dedicate themselves to online romance frauds often operate using scripts and might recycle language on multiple victims. Many sites and organizations dedicated to exposing romance frauds, like Advocating Against Romance Scams , post messages from scammers that victims have shared.

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

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.

U.S. Army CID Warns Against Romance Scams (PDF /2 pages). If you believe that you have been the victim of Internet fraud, please follow the advice presented.

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.

Romance scam

Beret and international conflicts dating someone in afghanastan? Read this: Beret asked me to use the latest gadgets and hobbyists. These red flags for online dating guide. Beret asked me to give up college.

SCAM ALERT! Scammer: ALEX DONALD JONES Fake account on FB. Stolen photos. False info. Claims to be in US Special Forces deployed to Syria.

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.

Top Scams That Hurt Military Families

The U. Armed Forces and they have been asked to send this service member money. In many cases, the money has already been sent and the inquirer is seeking to verify if this is standard practice in the U. Armed Forces.

Romance scams, where fraudsters target deployed military personnel or money, are the most commonly reported complaints, according to the U.S. Army. according to data from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Embassy Kabul frequently receives inquiries from people who have been victimized by Internet scammers. These scams are attempts by con artists to convince you to send them money by developing a friendship, romance or business partnership online, and then exploiting that relationship to ask for money. The most common scam we see involves calls, texts, or social media messages Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber, Kik, dating apps, etc from a person claiming be a U. Armed Forces, a military contractor, a U.

Embassy diplomat, or an employee of an international aid organization. These con artists are very convincing and troll the Internet for potential victims, spending weeks or months to build a relationship. Scammers can be very clever and deceptive, creating sad and believable stories that will make you want to send them money. After the person receives the money, they disappear and do not respond to messages.

The U. Embassy strongly cautions against sending money to persons whom you have not met personally prior to their purported travel to Afghanistan. For actual emergencies involving a U. Embassy American Citizen Services section for assistance. Footer Disclaimer This is the official website of the U.

Internet Fraud and the Armed Forces

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.

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.

Red flags for love and relationships. I took to iraq or deployed military members should be meeting military romance scammers with other online dating scams are thousands. Memorize these are identity theft cases. Every year. Discover military singles as well as the highest financial losses five years ago, photos. Militaryspot personals is different than the u. It all works. So naturally, scams and wind up with photos.

Army buddies accused of scamming Marine Corps vets online

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.

Veterans Charities Scams: Fraudsters posing as veterans or U.S. Army CID Phishing Scams: Online Dating Scams: On online dating Internet/​Cyberspace.

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.

5 Things to Know About Military Romance Scams on Facebook

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.

Romance for money. Most from West Africa. Scam,romance scam,military,​engineer,fraud. Internet, Usa.

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.

ARMY SOCIAL MEDIA

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.

Typically, once a connection is made, the correspondent (who may claim that they are an active duty military service member) may ask the U.S. citizen to send​.

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. Like Exposto, victims of romance scams tend to be between 45 to years-old, impulsive, respond to elaborate stories and are well-educated. Romance scammers prey on people to build a relationship and defraud their victims.

They are clever, well organised and have a number of tried techniques that make them highly successful. The extreme emotional ties formed can make victims easy to manipulate and leave them vulnerable to knowingly or unknowingly engaging in criminal activity. More than 10 million Australians are exposed to at least one personal fraud scam each year.

Men used in Military Romance Scams July 2017