RSN™ Guide: U.S. Army Scammers / Fake Soldier Romance Scams
Online Romance Scam Information About Stolen Soldier Identities
If You Suspect Someone Then They ARE A Scammer
You may have a suspicion about someone you have met online. You may not know it yet but your instincts picked up on something out of place (below we explain the Red Flags in more detail). Go with your gut – if it feels wrong it is!
IF ANY SOLDIER DEPLOYED OVERSEAS ASKS YOU FOR MONEY THEY ARE 100% A SCAMMER!
With over ONE BILLION (more than 1,000,000,000) fake identities online there are plenty of scammers to go around. 1 Billion is AFTER the social media companies delete nearly 1 billion a year! That is how big this all is! And there are nearly a million new victims a year. You are far from being alone in this.
The Odds Are Nearly 100% That The Soldier Who Contacted You Out Of The Blue Is A Scammer!
What To Do About Fake Soldiers Or Soldier Scams?
Scammers around the world have been stealing the identities and photos of United States military personnel for more than a decade. These are used by scammers because of the immediate trust these add to online fraud and confidence games of African-style romance scams in scamming women and men. This “Stolen Valor” helps put the minds of the victim at ease initially so that the scammer can do their worst.
If you feel you have been or are being scammed right now by a person impersonating or claiming to be a U.S. Soldier, there are several things you must do, not only for yourself but also to help limit the number of future victims.
How Do You Properly Report Scammers?
It is essential that law enforcement around the world learns about scams & scammers, even though there may be nothing (in most cases) that they can do immediately. By reporting the scammer you are helping in several important ways:
- Governments can accurately track the number of scams and the amount of money being lost by victims – this help prioritize efforts to combat this crime
- It compiles data that can be used to track activities of scammer gangs and cartels that can lead to future arrests, and place individual scammers on watch lists when they may cross borders, such as entering Europe or North America
- It helps local law enforcement better understand what victims’ assistance resources are needed to aid victims
- It helps Advocate organizations, such as the Society of Citizens Against Romance Scams [SCARS] command more attention before politicians and the United States Congress in changing or enacting new laws to better address global online fraud
- Reporting, while painful initially, actually is a major step forward in your own recovery – you not only did your duty as a citizen but it will be the first time you fully express what happened to you and this will truly help you in your recovery after the scam
Always Report Scams Involving Money Lost Or Where You Received Money To:
- Local Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance – this is because they will tell you there is nothing they can do, but they will create this kind of report and it helps them add these crimes to their reporting
- Your National Police or FBI (www.IC3.gov) and
- The Federal Trade Commission – By phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) or TTY, 1-866-653-4261; By mail: Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580; by email: Federal Trade Commission on Nigerian Scams. Email: [email protected].
- The SCARS Worldwide Reporting Network HERE or on www.Anyscam.com
This helps your government understand the problem, and allows law enforcement to add scammers on watch lists worldwide.
Why Report To SCARS On www.Anyscam.com or HERE?
Entities like the FBI and the FTC do not share the data you report with other agencies around the world. Reports go into their system and end there. While it helps them, scams are far from just an FBI problem. The SCARS Anti-Scam Reporting Network provides feeds of their data available to law enforcement and government around the world. With over 7,000 scammers arrested in 2018, and over 11,000 just arrested in India in October 2018 these governments need information that your reports can provide.
What Does The U.S. Army Say?
The U.S. Army CID warns anyone who is involved in online dating to proceed with caution when corresponding with persons claiming to be U.S. Soldiers currently serving in Afghanistan or elsewhere.
The Army CID receives hundreds of allegations a month from victims who state they got involved in an online relationship with someone, on a legitimate dating website or other social media website, who claims to be a U.S. Soldier. The “Soldier” then begins asking for money for various false, service-related needs such as transportation costs, communication fees, marriage, processing and medical fees. Victims of these online scams have lost tens of thousands of dollars, with a very low possibility of recovery.
The U.S. has established numerous task force organizations to deal with this growing epidemic; unfortunately, many times the people committing these scams are from African countries using untraceable email addresses, routing accounts through numerous locations around the world and utilizing pay per hour Internet cyber cafes, which often times maintain no accountability of use.
You can also learn more about identity theft, romance scams, sextortion and online impostors at the U.S. Army’s Social Media Resources site.
For more on these fraudulent acts, read the announcements released by Army CID:
- U.S. Army CID Warn Citizens to Be Vigilant Against Internet, Digital Scammers
- With National Spotlight on Internet Romance-Type Scams, Army CID Makes Additional Attempts to Warn Unsuspecting Victims
- U.S. Army CID Pleads with Public, Warns Against Romance Scams
- CID warns Army community about social media impersonation of Soldier accounts
What To Look For With A Fake Soldier:
- DO NOT SEND MONEY! Be extremely suspicious if you are asked for money for transportation costs, communication fees or marriage processing and medical fees via Western Union.
- If you do start an Internet-based relationship with someone, check them out, research what they are telling you with someone who would know, such as a current or former service member.
- Be very suspicious if you never get to actually speak with the person on the phone or are told you cannot write or receive letters in the mail. Servicemen and women serving overseas will often have an APO or FPO mailing address. Internet or not, service members always appreciate a letter in the mail.
- Many of the negative claims made about the military and the supposed lack of support and services provided to troops overseas are far from reality – check the facts.
- Be very suspicious if you are asked to send money or ship property to a third party or company. Often times the company exists, but has no idea or is not a part of the scam.
- Be very suspicious if the person you are corresponding with wants you to mail anything to an African country.
- Be aware of common spelling, grammatical or language errors in the emails.
- Be very suspicious of someone you have never met and who pledges their love at warp speed.
Fake Soldier Or Service Man / Woman “Red Flags”
Here Are Some Of The Words Or Phrases Used By Scammers:
- View our guide to United States Military
- They say “United State” instead of United States (plural)
- Saying they are on a Peace Keeping Mission
- Looking for an honest woman (or man)
- Their parents are deceased
- Wife deceased (or husband)
- Their child being cared for by a nanny or other guardian
- They profess their love almost immediately (in less than TWO WEEKS)
- Refer to you as “my love,” “my darling” or any other affectionate term almost immediately
- Telling you they cannot wait to be with you
- Telling you they cannot talk on the phone or via webcam due to security reasons
- Telling you that when they are on webcam or Skype that their microphone is not working
- Telling you they are sending you something (money, jewelry) through a diplomat
- They claim to be a U.S. Army Soldier, however, their English and grammar do not match that of someone born and raised in the United States
- They have no detailed knowledge of their hometown – main streets, restaurants, local time, amusements, etc.
- Sends you a photo of their military ID – this is a crime for members of the U.S. Military to photograph or copy their IDs for any purpose
Here Are Answers To Some Of The Most Common Types Of Scams:
- NO Soldiers and their loved ones are not charged money so that the Soldier can go on leave
- No one is required to request leave on behalf of a Soldier – soldiers apply for this internally on their own
- A general officer will not correspond with you on behalf of a Soldier planning to take leave
- A general officer will not be a member of an internet dating site – it violates their security clearance
- A general officer will not be a member of social media without a verified profile and it will be managed by their staff not them personally
- Soldiers are not charged money or taxes to secure communications or leave
- Soldiers do not need permission to get married (this used to be true a half-century ago!)
- Soldiers do not have to pay for early retirement
- Soldiers have medical insurance for themselves and their immediate family members (spouse and/or children), which pays for their medical costs when treated at healthcare facilities worldwide – family and friends do not need to pay their medical expenses
- Military aircraft are not used to transport Privately Owned Vehicles or other “cargo” for private business deals by soldiers
- Army financial offices or officers are not used to help Soldiers buy or sell items of any kind
- Soldiers deployed to combat zones do not need to solicit money from the public to feed or house their troops
- Deployed Soldiers do not find large sums of money and do not need your help to get that money out of the country – if they did it would be a local crime – would you want to talk to a criminal?
Where To Go For Help
SCARS is a registered Crime Victims’ Assistance and Support Organization in the United States and elsewhere. It provides certified victims assistance support professionals to help victims recover from online fraud.
If you have been or are the victim of one of these scammers, SCARS has a number of its own approved support groups around the world through its RSN Division and through its member groups. These are on Facebook for your convenience.
To join a SCARS support group go here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RSN.Military.Victims.Support.Group/ or look for other SCARS Member groups in almost 50 countries worldwide.
Scam Victim Recovery Resources:
- What Can You Expect After A Scam [Infographic]
- What Does Recovery Mean For A Scam Victim?
- After The Scam Comes Disaster
- When You Need To Talk To Someone Now
- Journaling And Recovery From Scams
- How Did You Get Captured In A Scam
- The Amygdala Hijack! [Infographic]
- Gaslighting – Destroying A Victim’s Sense Of Reality
- Romance Scam Victims & PTSD
- Scam Trauma Syndrome [STS]
- Infographic: Understanding Scam Victims
- You Can Still Be Scammed!
- What Is A Scam?
- This Is What It Feels Like To Be The Victim Of An International Romance Scam
- Leave The Real People Alone!
VICTIM SUPPORT WARNING:
Being the victim of a romance scam is a traumatizing experience. These scams can cause profound emotional distress and you are well advised to see a local professional to help you through it. It is now known that many victims suffer from Post Traumatic Disorders (PTSD) as a result.
DO NOT participate in amateur anti-scam groups – look for SCARS Members – since these amateur groups can cause more trauma by their unprofessional hate based approach to constant exposure to scams and scammers. You can recover, but how long it takes is based upon the way you approach it and who you ask for help.
Articles And Useful Links Regarding Online Romance Scams
Now You Know The Truth
Follow These Steps To End It:
- Do not confront the scammer – do not tell them that you know – they will just lie or try a different tactic, including threats and blackmail
- Save your evidence – it will be potentially useful to law enforcement, plus if you live in the United States you may be able to use it as a Tax Deduction
- Report the scammer – see above
- Completely block the scammer – social media, chat, email, phone – everything
- Don’t worry about exposing the scammer – it was a fake identity – there are a billion of them
- Focus on your emotional recovery – this is a long road and the more focused you are on yourself the easier and shorter it will be
We are here to help you every step of the way!
a division of SCARS™
Miami Florida U.S.A.
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Visit our NEW Main RSN Facebook page for much more information about scams and online crime: www.facebook.com/RSN.Main.News.And.Inromation.Home.Page
To learn more about SCARS visit www.AgainstRomanceScams.org
Please be sure to report all scammers HERE or on www.Anyscam.com
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