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. Soldier, and then, using photographs of a Soldier from the internet, build a false identity to begin prowling the web for victims. The most common scheme involves criminals, often from other countries -- most notably from West African countries -- pretending to be U. Soldiers serving in a combat zone or other overseas location.
These crooks often present documents and other "proof" of their financial need when asking their victims to wire money to them. Such scams, when they involve dating sites, pose a unique challenge in the fight against impostors and identity thieves, because on such sites a dating profile is often required to conduct a search for fake s.
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In addition, it is not possible to remove dating site profiles without legitimate proof of identity theft or a scam. If you suspect fraud on a dating site, take a screenshot of any advances for money or impersonations and report the on the platform immediately.
The following scams affect military members:.
The practice of impersonating Soldiers for financial gain is common. When impostor s are identified, it is important to report the s to the host platforms.
If you suspect you have identified an impostoryou should confirm the is not registered on the U. Army Social Media Directory. It is important to know the warning s of a scam or the common identifiers associated with an impostor. Official s will not send friend requests.
If you receive a request from an claiming to be a senior leader, report it. Remember, anyone in the U. Army Family is vulnerable.
Soldiers, especially leaders, are prime targets for identity thieves who will use images posted online to create the fake s. It is good practice to search sites regularly for impostors.
Report a Facebook impostor. Report a Twitter impostor. Google recommends filing a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
Never send money to someone claiming to be a Soldier! Be suspicious of a person who Asks you for money for transportation costs, communication fees, marriage processing or medical fees. Asks you to send money or ship property to a third party.
Often times the company exists, but is not part of the scam. Claims a lack of support or services provided to troops overseas. Communicates only via social media or. Doesn't use an address ending with ". Uses common spelling, grammatical or language errors.
Keeping in touch
Speaks with a foreign or regional accent that does not match the person's story. How do I report a scam?
Local law enforcement agencies. Army Criminal Investigation Division. Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.
Internet Crime Complaint Center. Impersonations The practice of impersonating Soldiers for financial gain is common. Identifying an impostor If you suspect you have identified an impostoryou should confirm the is not registered on the U. The has very few photos. The photos are posted in the same date range.
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The has few followers or comments. The name and photos do not match. There are obvious grammatical errors. Key information is missing.
Reporting impostors Soldiers, especially leaders, are prime targets for identity thieves who will use images posted online to create the fake s.