Americans lost $201 million in online romance scams last year. Here’s how to avoid the con artists

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.

Avoiding Scams – Send Money / Bitcoin

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.

A recent study indicates that 15 percent of American adults use online dating websites or mobile applications. As the number of people looking to meet new people.

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. We are sharing on more platforms. He recently discovered his own identity was being used on fake accounts on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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

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. It works like this: a scammer takes photos of someone like Sency, creates a fake social media account and develops a new online persona — sometimes using the real name of the person in the photo.

Then the scammer will strike up online conversations with women around the world, many of them older or vulnerable, and pretend to be in a hard spot.

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After years of bad luck with dating, she, like millions of people across the globe, started using online dating sites to meet new people. A few years ago, she received what appeared to be a promising email on the dating site Match. The man told her that he was a U. Air Force pilot deployed to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.

He said he was a widower with an adorable daughter — the type of man and family that she’d been looking for, and most of all, he seemed very interested in Schuster. The relationship quickly intensified, and Schuster fell hard, emailing multiple times each day. He sent her poetry and page after page of emails professing his love.

Locate Military Members, Units, and Facilities

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.

Military Romance Scams. 48K likes. This page was created to warn facebook users about military romance scams and how the identities of our honorably.

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.

And with more than 3. This is not surprising, as romance scammers are in for the long haul and see the process as a long term investment to establish intimacy and trust.

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.

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.

scammers use is to impersonate American military these websites by organized Internet crime gangs.

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. Job, Payroll, and Housing Scams.

5 Things to Know About Military Romance Scams on Facebook

Military members’ social media photos are being used in efforts to scam Americans out of money, according to a report released on Tuesday from Vietnam Veterans of America. The almost page report notes a range of attempts to target servicemembers online, including foreign efforts to promote the “Vets for Trump” Facebook page, Russian hackers making terroristic threats against military families and use of pictures of soldiers in so-called “romance scams,” in which scammers take on false identities and then seek to swindle their victims out of money.

The report said that romance scams, which the Federal Trade Commission said accounted for more lost money in than any other type of consumer fraud, often target “older, lonely Americans who are relatively new to social media and the internet.

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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. Unfortunately, in every situation presented to the DAO thus far, it has turned out to be an internet fraud. It is recommended that you read both of these documents:.

Meet the sailor who’s become the new face of military romance scams

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.

The victim and the scammer create an online relationship. To perpetrate this scam, the scammers take on the online persona of a current or former U.S. Soldier.

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.

Victims may encounter these romance scammers on a legitimate dating website or social media platform, but they are not U. To perpetrate this scam, the scammers take on the online persona of a current or former U.

Report a Scam

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Women in Kidderminster are being warned about an online dating scam ticket, for medical bills or even to set up a telephone link near a military base abroad.

Please enable JavaScript in your web browser; otherwise some parts of this site might not work properly. Their Hero Care Center will get information from you and relay it to the service member. You can reach the Red Cross:. Using its Hero Care app on your mobile device. You may need to provide the military member’s Social Security number for the locator to help you.

If they find the member, they’ll forward your request to them.

Some of the most used faces in ROMANCE SCAMS


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