Romance Scam: Online imposters break hearts and bank accounts

A security alert for people looking for love. Scammers are pretending to put on a uniform to pull at your heartstrings, and ultimately get their hands on your money.

The scammers are posing as military and using dating apps to lure lonely people into relationships.

Once they build up your trust they’ll ask for money.  Money to come home, or ship goods, or to pay for leave privileges. They’ll use fake documents like these to support those requests.

The army has gone to great lengths to try to educate soldiers and civilians at home about this.

Lt. Chad Parker with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office warns, “It’s often taking of a tall, dark, and handsome soldier from Google images. A good point would be to FaceTime the person, Skype. There are now features that the scammer will almost always avoid those types of interaction because the picture is not really them.”

Here are some ways to protect yourself:

  • Research the photo and person online. Use the google reverse image search to see if the photo is real.
  • Watch out if they try to “Separate” you from family. For example, they’ll tell you not to check first with your kids before sending money.
  • Don’t sent explicit photos. They could use them to extort you for cash.
  • Beware of promises to visit. They’ll always have an excuse and won’t show up.
  • Never send money.

There’s nothing wrong with dating apps, just be wary and do your research.

Resources:

Online Romance Scam Information from U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command

Examples of false documents from U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command

More tips of what to look out for, by the U.S Army 

Warning from the FBI – Online Imposters Break Hearts and Bank Accounts

Reporter:Rich Kolko
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