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. They are scam artists preying on desperate women. I met a sergeant in the Army on Facebook from the Zoosk dating site. We have been texting since May. His name is Sgt.
Military Dating Scams
Federal investigators referenced this Instagram post in which Rubbin Sarpong, 35, of Millville, posed with a stack of cash held up to his ear like a cellphone. Authorities allege he duped people out of cash in an online romance scam. Rubbin Sarpong, 35, of Millville, is charged with a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and will have a first court appearance on Wednesday afternoon, the U.
A military romance scam happens when a person claims that he is serving as a U.S. army person and stationed in far off countries like Afghanistan or Iraq. These.
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. CID said there have been hundreds of claims each month from people who said they’ve been scammed on legitimate dating apps and social media sites. According to the alleged victims, the scammers have asked for money for fake service-related needs such as transportation, communications fees, processing and medical fees — even marriage.
CID said many of the victims have lost tens of thousands of dollars and likely won’t get that money back. Scammers will sometimes provide false paperwork to make their case, but real service members make their own requests for time off. Also, any official military or government emails will end in. If you’re worried about being scammed, know what red flags to look for. DOD officials said task forces are working to deal with the growing problem, but the scammers are often from African nations and are using cyber cafes with untraceable email addresses, then routing their accounts across the world to make them incredibly difficult to trace.
So be vigilant!
Anatomy of Online Dating Scams – How Not to Become a Victim of Cyber-romance
On Facebook and Instagram, there are lottery scams , celebrity impostors and even fake Mark Zuckerbergs. There is also a scheme where scammers pose as American service members to cheat vulnerable women out of their savings. To find victims, they search Facebook groups for targets — often single women and widows — and then message hundreds, hoping to hook a few. Once they have a potential mark, the scammers shift the conversations with their victims to Google Hangouts or WhatsApp, messaging services owned by Google and Facebook, in case Facebook deletes their accounts.
It has become so widespread that the American military has issued a directive that soldiers make their social media accounts private, in an.
Two Army reservists have been accused of coordinating a fraud scheme involving business email compromises and romance scams against elderly women, according to a federal complaint in the Southern District Court of New York. Joseph I. Asan Jr. Ogozy, both of whom enlisted in the Army Reserve in February , were arrested Oct. An FBI agent said in the complaint that Asan and Ogozy defrauded victims and laundered their proceeds through bank accounts they had opened in the names of fake businesses.
The publication Quartz noted that only Asan has been indicted and some of the court records indicate Ogozy might be cooperating with investigators. Few details of their military service were released in the document, and while the romance scams they were allegedly engaged in targeted elderly women , the schemes did not appear to invoke their military service to help their cause.
The two men would gain unauthorized access to business email accounts or spoof emails and impersonate employees of a company in order to convince victims to transfer funds to bank accounts they controlled, the FBI agent said in the complaint. An email was sent in February telling the chemical distributor that payment for the sale should be deposited in a bank account owned by Uxbridge Capital, LLC, at a credit union for active-duty, retired and reserve U.
After the bank was alerted that the wire transfer was fraudulent on March 1, , the funds were recalled and the account was frozen.
Army reservists accused of $3 million-worth of romance and business scams
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.
A US soldier is the unwitting frontman for one of the world’s biggest Investigation Unit, said: “Online romance scams are happening daily.
She wants to use the social media network to inspire young women, but cybercriminals using her photos to engage in “romance scams” have made Vlastuin consider deleting her online presence. Sherri Vlastuin, Instagram popularity came quickly — and at a price. Vlastuin, 26, has used the social media network since to document her life as an Army combat medic at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, her home state. One post — a selfie after her graduation from Air Assault School two years ago — suddenly elevated her page.
Romance scams are part of a new page report released Tuesday by Vietnam Veterans of America, which has spent the past two years on a study of online trolls and their tendency to target veterans and servicemembers. Some expect her to repay them, others seek the same relationship with her that they believed they had with the impostor. She said she has reported hundreds of the fake accounts to Instagram and Facebook, but they continue to multiply.
The overall goal, he said, is to keep servicemembers, veterans and their families safe in cyber environments. The report urges social media networks and federal law enforcement, with support from Congress, to put more focus and resources toward stopping romance scams. Scammers tend to pose as veterans and servicemembers in romance scams for the same reason, Goldsmith said.
The FBI told the Times that the bureau investigates only a fraction of those reports because the amounts lost — typically a few thousand dollars — are too low. When her profile first became popular, Vlastuin would find accounts using her name and photos, take screenshots and report them to Facebook and Instagram. As her online status grew, fighting the imitation accounts quickly became a full-time job. This is crazy.
How I catfished my catfisher: a W5 investigation into romance scams
Two members of the US Army Reserve scammed senior citizens, widows, businesses, and a Marine Corps veterans association over the course of nearly two years, according to a now-unsealed federal complaint. Joseph Iorhemba Asan Jr. But it also shows that the threats can come from many different quarters. Attorneys for Asan and Ogozy did not respond to a request for comment, nor did the Army Reserve. After her husband passed away, a year-old widow in North Carolina began using an online dating service for people over
U.S. military officials have warned those involved in online dating to proceed with caution when corresponding with someone claiming to be a U.S. military.
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. The 2,person command Grey serves is in Quantico, Va. Thus it lacks jurisdiction to probe the barrage of incoming calls, since the service personnel are not victimized beyond having their names and photos misappropriated. Still, what Grey likens to a game of whack-a-mole has become a priority for him as he battles the problem through public education and media outreach.
It will end not in. As an infantryman who later became a combat correspondent and served in the first Gulf War, Grey knows better. Grey has been battling military-romance scams for about six years. Sometimes those who call the command are relatives alarmed by an online entanglement involving their mother or sister.
Suspect you or a loved one is being scammed?
5 Things to Know About Military Romance Scams on Facebook
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’.
Romance scammers often claim to be a U.S. citizen working or serving abroad, or give a similar excuse to explain their inability to meet in person. Gaining Victims’.
Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first. Retired U. Army Col. The year-old husband and father spent half his life in the military. They use his photos to pose as soldiers on Facebook and dating sites, where they trick women into surrendering thousands of dollars in cash and gift cards in the name of love. Set boundaries and recognize red flags. He reports every fake account he sees on Facebook, but new ones emerge faster than he can wipe them out. Denny is one of several soldiers whose photos have been used to create fake dating profiles amid a global surge in military romance fraud.
He gets tired of chasing down fake profiles. Last year, for instance, a handful of fake Facebook accounts were created using images of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, the Canadian military reservist killed in a terror attack on Parliament Hill in
Military scams online dating
In a tech-savvy world, it is common for couples to meet online through dating websites or apps. Unfortunately, not everyone joining these dating platforms is looking for true love. The frequency of online romances has caught the attention of fraudsters who manipulate people seeking companionship through romance scams. Fraudsters operating romance scams have recently taken to posing as members of the armed forces to lure their victims into a romance with what they believe to be a soldier.
According to the Better Business Bureau , romance scams are different than cat-fishing. While cat-fishing typically only involves deception, romance scam artists are intending to take money from a victim. In August, an Arizona man was sentenced to more than 15 years for creating several profiles on dating sites to convince women to give him thousands of dollars for fraudulent investments.
Scam artists may try to make their victims believe they are in the military serving overseas and seeking a long-term relationship. Brnovich said scam artists find ways to make their requests seem more plausible to victims. Luke Air Force Base in Glendale has received phone calls from civilians asking if a person they have met online is really stationed there, according to Maj. Becky Heyse. She said the Air Force base will look up the person’s name in its database to verify.
If the person is not in the database, the civilian will be reminded to use good cybersecurity practices. Brnovich said romance scams are terrible for all victims, but also affect service members. Military personnel must upload documents and provide service details to Zoosk for proof. The company warns users that there are signs to look out for when connecting with a new person. One example of a message the company said a scammer may send is:.
Meet the sailor who’s become the new face of military romance scams
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.
According to the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command, hundreds of women in the U.S. and overseas fall for fraudsters who pretend to be.
Attorney Craig Carpenito. The following details from this case were taken from court documents and statements:. The most common story used by Sarpong and his conspirators was that they were military personnel stationed in Syria who were awarded gold bars. The conspirators told many of the victims their money would be reimbursed once the gold bars arrived in the United States. In one case, a conspirator claimed he was a U.
He sent her a fictitious airway bill showing that two trunks with “family treasure” would be sent to her, along with a fake United Nations Identity Card that identified him as an Israeli citizen and UN delivery agent. The next day she died by suicide. Authorities say Sarpong and his conspirators used various email accounts and Voice Over Internet protocol phone numbers to communicate with the victims and instruct them where to wire money.
Authorities say the funds were then withdrawn in cash, wired to other domestic bank accounts and wired to conspirators in Ghana.
‘It broke my heart:’ The cruelty of military romance scams
If you thought online dating websites are on the rise, than you would be right. However, not everyone who creates a profile on these sites has honorable intentions. Most dating scams start innocently enough. Scammers contact victims via social media sites or through email, claiming common interests or a distant, mutual connection—such as an introduction at a wedding or other large gathering. Other scam artists make their fake profiles look as appealing as possible and wait from victims to reach out and begin the conversation.
Once a scammer has you hooked, the possibilities are limitless, but here are a few of the most common variations:.
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. The man even sent her a few pictures dressed in his military uniform, and he was very handsome. Schuster noticed that her suitor had bad grammar, but that didn’t really bother her because her immigrant father had poor grammar as well.
She asked to speak with him in person or via Skype, but the man said that wasn’t allowed. After a few weeks, the man told her he needed some money to help his daughter go on a school trip. The money requests didn’t stop there. Shortly after the first wire transfer, the man told her that he wanted to get out of the Air Force and join some of his pilot friends in starting a private company that flies charter planes.