An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

News | July 30, 2013

CID Lookout: CID Warns of Social Networking, Dating Site Scams

The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, commonly known as CID, continues to warn the greater Army community and the American public, to be vigilant of internet scams and impersonation fraud, especially within popular social networking and dating websites.

CID Special Agents frequently receive reports from around the world of various scams involving criminals pretending to be U.S. Soldiers. These scam artists often portray themselves as male U.S. Soldiers; then prey on the unsuspecting victim’s emotions, leading to nothing more than broken promises and an empty bank account for their victims.

Cyber criminals also continue to create profiles of senior Army officers and non-commissioned officers, to
include the use of official photographs, in an attempt to lure unsuspecting persons into revealing personal,
banking or financial information.

Scammers will often make contact with potential victims through various social networking sites. After
contact, often during instant messaging (IM) or email correspondence, the scammers attempt to manipulate
and exploit their victims. Tactics used by cyber criminals include preying on their target’s emotions,
appealing to the recipient’s sense of empathy or a desire for financial gain.

Complying with these requests often places the victim at risk financially and opens them up to the possibility
of becoming a victim of identity theft.

Those who actively facilitate internet scams can face criminal charges. Soldiers and civilians who knowingly
participate in the negotiation of fraudulent money orders or travel checks in furtherance of fraud schemes are
subject to Title 18 of the U.S. Code, Section 1343, Fraud by Wire, Radio or Television.

The title states that individuals, who devise schemes to defraud, obtain money or property under false
pretenses, representations and/or promises will be fined or imprisoned for not more than 20 years, or both.
Violators that affect financial institutions can be imprisoned for not more than 30 years, fined up to $1 million,
or both.

CID strongly recommends that Soldiers, civilians and family members who come across any known
suspicious social networking or dating site profile or are solicited in this fashion from a person posing as a
U.S. Soldier, immediately email CID at

U.S. citizens and residents who have suffered a financial loss should contact their nearest field office of the
United States Secret Service. Also, victims are advised to continue reporting these scam e-mails to law
enforcement agencies.

What to look for:
 Be extremely suspicious if you are asked for money for transportation costs, communication fees or
marriage processing and medical fees.
 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.
 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
 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 aware of common spelling, grammatical or language errors in the emails.
 Be very cautious when placing your personal photographs on social media sites.

Where to go for help:
Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your report helps law enforcement officials across the
United States in their investigations. Online:
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 theft to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) (FBI-NW3C Partnership). Online:

In cases where your identity has been utilized during the commission of these scams (i.e. photograph) with
no further Personally Identifiable Information disclosed, the following actions should be completed as
soon as possible to assist law enforcement:
Report the fraud to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) (FBI-NW3C Partnership). Online: