Dating a deployed soldier online
QUANTICO, Va., Oct 18, 2011 -- Special agents from the U. Army Criminal Investigation Command are once again warning the American public, as well as citizens from other nations, to be extra vigilant and not to fall prey to Internet scams or impersonation fraud -- especially scams that promise true love, but only end up breaking hearts and bank accounts.CID continues to receive hundreds of reports of various scams involving persons pretending to be U. Soldiers serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, according to Army CID special agents.The victims are most often unsuspecting women, 30 to 55 years old, who think they are romantically involved on the Internet with an American Soldier, when in fact they are being cyber-robbed by perpetrators thousands of miles away. The perpetrators will often take the true rank and name of a U. Soldier who is honorably serving his country somewhere in the world, marry that up with some photographs of a Soldier off the Internet, and then build a false identity to begin prowling the Internet for victims."We cannot stress enough that people need to stop sending money to persons they meet on the Internet and claim to be in the U. military," said Chris Grey, Army CID's spokesman. "We have even seen instances where the Soldier was killed in action and the crooks have used that hero's identity to perpetrate their twisted scam," said CID Special Agent Russel Graves, who has been fielding the hundreds of calls and emails from victims for months.For the last few months this has been by far the question I’ve received most often from readers.I had touched on a similar topic last year in my post my boyfriend has kept his online dating profile active."We've even seen where the crooks said that the Army won't allow the Soldier to access their personal bank accounts or credit cards," said Grey. "These perpetrators, often from other countries, most notably from West African countries, are good at what they do and quite familiar with American culture, but the claims about the Army and its regulations are ridiculous," said Grey. The ability of law enforcement to identify these perpetrators is very limited, so CID officials said individuals must stay on the alert and be personally responsible to protect themselves.The Army reports that numerous very senior officers and enlisted Soldiers throughout the Army have had their identities stolen to be used in these scams. "Another critical issue is we don't want victims who do not report this crime walking away and thinking that a U. serviceman has ripped them off when in fact that serviceman is honorably serving his country and often not aware that his pictures or identity have been stolen," said Grey. Be extremely suspicious if you are asked for money for transportation costs, communication fees or marriage processing and medical fees.
"We've even seen instances where the perpetrators are asking the victims for money to "purchase leave papers" from the Army, help pay for medical expenses from combat wounds received, or help pay for their flight home so they can leave the war zone," said Grey.
You can report scams by mail at Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580.
Report the fraud to the Federal Trade Commission on Nigerian Scams via email at spam@
While I still believe what I wrote there, I’m finding that many of the women who are contacting me are not at the point where they are sure if the man is their “boyfriend” or not.
With that in mind I wanted to review one of the recent emails I’ve received from a reader and offer some additional advice for this problem.