Online Romance Scam Information

scam exampleArmy 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.

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.

If you feel you have been scammed by a person claiming to be a U.S. Army Soldier, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

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

What to look for

"Red Flags" - some of the words/phrases used by scammers

Saying they are on a Peace Keeping Mission, looking for an honest woman, parents deceased, wife deceased, child being cared for by nanny or other guardian, profess their love almost immediately, 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, or telling you they are sending you something (money, jewelry) through a diplomat. Finally, 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.

Here are answers to some of the most common types of scams:

Where to go for help

Report the theft to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) (FBI-NW3C Partnership). Online: http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx

Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your report helps law enforcement officials across the United States in their investigations. Online: http://www.ftc.gov/idtheft

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. Email: spam@uce.gov.

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