Army CID is warning 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.
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.
For more on the actual fraudulent acts, read the announcements released by Army CID:
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
CLICK HERE TO SEE EXAMPLES OF FAKE DOCUMENTS USED BY SCAMMERS
If you feel you have been scammed by a person claiming to be a U.S. Army Soldier, please read the attached letter and contact the FTC and IC3.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR:
- DON’T EVER SEND MONEY! Be extremely suspicious if you are asked for money for transportation costs, communication fees or marriage processing and medical fees. Use of 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.
WHERE TO GO FOR HELP:
Report the theft to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) (FBI-NW3C Partnership).
Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your report helps law enforcement officials across the United States in their investigations.
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
Report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission on Nigerian Scams.
U.S. Embassy Accra-Ghana