A romance scam is a confidence trick involving feigning romantic intentions towards a victim, gaining their affection, and then using that goodwill to commit fraud. Fraudulent acts may involve access to the victim’s money, bank accounts, credit cards, passports, e-mail accounts, or national identification numbers ; or forcing the victims to commit financial fraud on their behalf. Number of cases rose from to in only two years. Romance scammers create personal profiles using stolen photographs of attractive people for the purpose of asking others to contact them. This is often known as catfishing. Communications are exchanged between the scammer and victim over a period of time until the scammer feels they have connected with the victim enough to ask for money. These requests may be for gas money, bus or airplane tickets to visit the victim, medical or education expenses. There is usually the promise the scammer will one day join the victim in the victim’s home. The scam usually ends when the victim realizes they are being scammed or stops sending money.
Online Romance Scammer
Are you dating or talking online to someone who says they are a military member? Have they asked you for funds or documents? Officials and websites like Military.
It works like this: a scammer takes photos of someone like Sency, with someone they believed to be a U.S. Soldier who then began asking for.
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.
Sarpong and his co-conspirators, several of whom live in Ghana, ran the scheme starting in January until this week. They set up phony profiles on various online dating sites posing as U. In one of the scenarios, the scammers would then ask for money to ship gold bars they had recovered while stationed in Syria back to the United States, authorities said. There were no gold bars and the scammers kept the money, authorities said.
The victims, who met the scammers via sites including Plenty of Fish, Ourtime. What followed was an elaborate story about how she could help get the gold to the U. She was told her money would be returned once the gold arrived. The scammer allegedly put her in touch with a co-conspirator who posed as a diplomat and she was presented with fake documents to back up the story.
Most of the money this victim wired was sent to a bank account controlled by Sarpong. Sarpong was born in Ghana, but is a legal permanent U. Investigators noted that Sarpong bragged about his financial success on social media, including posting photo of himself posing with wads of cash, jewelry and fancy cars.
But Sency, a petty officer 1st class stationed in Virginia Beach, has never met or even communicated with any of these people before. The year-old is the victim of a long-running series of scams that steal photos of service members and use them to swindle money out of people online. It works like this: a scammer takes photos of someone like Sency, creates a fake social media account and develops a new online persona — sometimes using the real name of the person in the photo.
Then the scammer will strike up online conversations with women around the world, many of them older or vulnerable, and pretend to be in a hard spot. Sometimes they solicit risque photographs and use them as blackmail.
If it hadn’t been for the coincidence of our joint military connection, Beth probably former romance scammer interviewed by New York Times.
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:. Fraudsters may use the name and likeness of actual soldier or create an entirely fake profile. They send out legitimate-seeming emails, introducing themselves as being near the end of their careers, often with older children and typically widowed under tragic circumstances.
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.
Romance scammers often create a phony profile. The scammer may use photos from magazines and portray himself or herself as talented and successful.
Milwaukee Brewers join Bucks in boycotting Wednesday’s game, report says. Recognize Me? The fake and real faces of scammers. Scam Haters United blog compiled photos of real scammers and the profiles they use to target people online. This scammer uses the account “Christian Onyeakporo” to scam women. This is a fake account using photos of Dr. Maximilian Krah.
HELP YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY DATE SAFELY ONLINE
Embassy Kabul frequently receives inquiries from people who have been victimized by Internet scammers. These scams are attempts by con artists to convince you to send them money by developing a friendship, romance or business partnership online, and then exploiting that relationship to ask for money. The most common scam we see involves calls, texts, or social media messages Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber, Kik, dating apps, etc from a person claiming be a U.
Armed Forces, a military contractor, a U. Embassy diplomat, or an employee of an international aid organization.
Victims may encounter these romance scammers on a legitimate dating photos, official photos, and even changing the nametape on Soldier’s uniforms.
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 accounts.
In addition, it is not possible to remove dating site profiles without legitimate proof of identity theft or a scam.
Your military friend or family member serves our country with integrity and honor. Unfortunately, there are scammers out there who try to take advantage of that service to cheat them and you. You can help protect your service member against military scams by learning the warning signs of schemes that target those in the military community. Unfortunately, these scams prey on fears about the coronavirus disease, trying to trick service members and family members into revealing sensitive information or donating money to a fraudulent cause.
Typically a swindle starts with a scam artist stealing a service member’s name and photos from various sites online, and it advances to requesting.
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.
Meet the sailor who’s become the new face of military romance scams
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.
Romance scammers often steal photos published online and use these identities to approach people. Photos of models and uniformed soldiers.
The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. At years-old, Exposto had fallen for a widowed special forces soldier doing his bit for his country. They have never met, which was easily explained — he was deployed in Afghanistan. Exposto recently walked free after facing a death sentence in Malaysia for attempting to smuggle a kilogram of ice five years ago.
Since she was caught, she has maintained she was a victim of a romance scam. Read more: From catfish to romance fraud, how to avoid getting caught in any online scam. Like Exposto, victims of romance scams tend to be between 45 to years-old, impulsive, respond to elaborate stories and are well-educated. Romance scammers prey on people to build a relationship and defraud their victims. They are clever, well organised and have a number of tried techniques that make them highly successful.
The extreme emotional ties formed can make victims easy to manipulate and leave them vulnerable to knowingly or unknowingly engaging in criminal activity. More than 10 million Australians are exposed to at least one personal fraud scam each year.
Military Scams | Common Tricks & How to Avoid Them
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.
Scam Haters United blog compiled photos of real scammers and the profiles they use to Shoaib Memon poses as Eberhart North for military romance scams.
Estimated reading time is 6 minutes. Do you have suspicions that a friend or family member is involved in a romance scam? Do you ever wonder why people fall for romance scams? While this figure may seem high, this is just what gets reported; many victims never make a report due to fear or embarrassment. She found she could join groups and play games via the social media channel. This interaction was the start of what Grace thought was an exciting new romance.
Over the next 18 months, the person claiming to be Malcom James drew Grace into what she thought was a loving relationship. It was in fact a scam leading to a series of escalating requests for money. We would speak every day. I just fell completely in love with him and we were soon discussing how we would build a life together once he was out of the Army. He said he was happy to move to Australia as he was a trained accountant, so he would easily get a job here.
He said his accounts and credit cards had been shut down due to a computer issue, so he needed me to send a wire transfer to Nigeria where he had been transferred. He was meant to be getting a big payout from the Army due to an injury, so I knew he was good for it.
Courtesy photo via The Virginian-Pilot. But Sency, a petty officer 1st class stationed in Virginia Beach, has never met or even communicated with any of these people before. The year-old is the victim of a long-running series of scams that steal photos of service members and use them to swindle money out of people online.
Words With Friends, Fake Friends, Scammer Pictures, You Better Stop, Stolen Image, About US soldiers’ scam CID warns of Internet romance scams Pls.
Running romance scams is a full-time job for some scammers and they can be very good at it. In reality, actual losses are likely much higher. A scammer pretends to be in a relationship with someone online in order to scam them out of money. They do this through email, social media, dating websites and other website and apps. They will have a fake backstory, family, friends and job. They may start by requesting small sums of money to test the waters, and then build up to requesting larger amounts.
In some cases the scammer may try to get the person targeted to unknowingly help launder money for their criminal activities. Some scammers are more than willing to play the waiting game.