Understanding Fake Soldier Romance Scams
Online Romance Scam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. Information About Stolen Soldier Identities
Useful impersonation An impersonator is someone who imitates or copies the behavior or actions of another. There are many reasons for impersonating someone, such as: part of a criminal act such as identity theft, online impersonation scam, or other fraud. This is usually where the criminal is trying to assume the identity of another, in order to commit fraud, such as accessing confidential information or to gain property not belonging to them. Also known as social engineering and impostors. about military romance scams & identity theft Identity theft is when someone uses another person's personal identifying information, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. In both the U.K. and the United States it is the theft of personally identifiable information. Identity theft deliberately uses someone else's identity as a method to gain financial advantages or obtain credit and other benefits, and perhaps to cause other person's loss. The person whose identity has been stolen may suffer adverse consequences, especially if they are falsely held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. Personally identifiable information generally includes a person's name, date of birth, social security number, driver's license number, bank account or credit card numbers, PINs, electronic signatures, fingerprints, passwords, or any other information that can be used to access a person's financial resources. of United States Army Soldiers and other Military Personnel!
If You Suspect Someone Then They ARE A Scammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the 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 In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements.
A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim. 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 A gang is normally a group or society of associated criminals with a defined leadership and internal organization that identifies with or claims control over a territory or business practice in a community and engages, either individually or collectively, in illegal, and possibly violent, behavior. Online gangs are not limited by territory and may operate side by side with other gangs while engaging in crime online. Some members of criminal gangs are initiated (by going through a process of initiation), or have to prove their loyalty and right to belong by committing certain acts, usually theft or violence, or rituals. Gangs are usually rougher and more visible than scammer cartels, and more often arrested. 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
- See below for how to properly report them.
This helps your government understand the problem, and allows law enforcement to add scammers on watch lists worldwide.
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 oftentimes maintain no accountability of use.
Read the Joint Service Sextortion Brochure for more information and see examples of fake documents used by scammers.
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:
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