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Be suspicious if you never actually speak with the person on the phone or are told you cannot write or receive letters in the mail.
Military serving overseas will often have an APO or FPO mailing address.
After the initial introduction, often through very personal, intimate conversations via instant messaging or email, the scammers attempt to manipulate and exploit their victims.
Tactics used by cyber criminals include preying on their victim’s emotions and appealing to their sense of empathy and patriotism.
Before long, the cyber criminal makes a request for money.
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. “It is heartbreaking to hear these stories over and over again of people who have sent thousands of dollars to someone they have never met and sometimes have never even spoken to on the phone.” Grey explained that the victims are most often unsuspecting women, 30-55 years old, who think they are romantically involved with American Soldiers on the Internet, when, in fact, they are being cyber-robbed by perpetrators thousands of miles away.
“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. The perpetrators often take the true rank and name of a U. Soldier who is honorably serving somewhere in the world, or has even left the service, and post that information with photographs of a Soldier downloaded from the Internet.
Many of them state they are serving in a combat zone or foreign country, most often West African countries.
The perpetrators give excuses for needing money, to include medical care, to return to the states, to sell their car or to help their children. They manipulate the emotions of their victims and will make claims about Army regulations that the public does not know are incorrect,” Grey said.
“The majority of the time, the service member is not even aware their name and photo is being used in this way.” Investigators urge the public to consider the following: Be extremely suspicious if you are asked for money for transportation costs, communication fees or marriage processing and medical fees. If you do start an Internet-based relationship with someone, research what they are telling you with someone who would know, such as a current or former service member.
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