Jane Watts became suspicious when the Army officer she friended on Facebook started asking for things. The Charlottesville resident, who had recently separated from her husband, accepted a friend request from a soldier named Jeff Galbraith. He seemed nice online, and it offered the chance to meet someone new. After two months, he asked for a care package to make life easier in Syria, where he was stationed. He wanted blankets, candy, a PS3, deodorant, a toothbrush and other things. Instead, she bought the other items at the Dollar Store and sent along a more reasonable care package, minus a video game console. Jeff Galbraith wanted more.
Here’s how to know if you’re being catfished by a fake military member
Military combat isn’t the only battle service members are fighting. Those were the findings of a recent data analysis by Comparitech. The consumer technology website analyzed scam data through the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau. Below are the fraud schemes that have led to the steepest losses for military personnel, according to Comparitech. In one notorious example, Colfax Capital Corp. Impostor scams can run the gamut from fake employers to fraudsters impersonating authority figures.
7 Signs of a Military Romance Scam | Military Dating Scams. Are you sure you’re really in a relationship with the soldier you met online? Learn.
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.
Top Scams That Hurt Military Families
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.
A military romance scam happens when a person claims that he is serving as a U.S. army person and stationed in far off countries like Afghanistan or Iraq.
Clues for spotting fake profiles. One day Georgina received a friend request from a serviceman on peacekeeping duties in Afghanistan. She decided to accept the request and allowed ‘Jim’ to be her Facebook friend. Soon after befriending her, Jim told Georgina he had lost his wife to cancer and his story of looking after her was similar to her own experience when her husband had died of cancer. S military was nearly finished. He sent me pictures which I now know were stolen from someone on the internet.
New Jersey scammer wooed women by posing as soldier on dating websites, netting $2.1M: feds
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.
Bank and lender scams, romance scams, employment scams, benefits scams, identity theft scams. Active-duty service members and veterans.
Romance scammers are fleecing vulnerable Australian women out of millions of dollars by pretending to be US soldiers or heartbroken widowers looking for love. Romance scammers are pretending to be US military personnel to appeal to Australian victims. Experts say people are attracted to those in uniform like those above stock photo , plus it also gives the scammer an excuse to contact their victim at odd hours. CSCRC Senior Research Fellow Cassandra Cross military profiles were popular with scammers who use psychologically abusive tactics including gaslighting and isolation to target vulnerable older singles.
Dr Cross said the scammers can then contact people at any time of the day or night because they ‘work in the military’. The military profile works on victims.
Army reservists accused of $3 million-worth of romance and business scams
In short the immigration service was not involved and took it very personally that they were used in the scam. The police man assigned to protect me from the others is now one of my best friends and thought enough of me after all the crap I brought to their door step to introduce me to a woman that is a cousin of his wifes and we are now dating. What I should have done in the first place is go to Ghana on vacation and let it be known I was interested in a girlfriend and the whole country would have offered me their sisters.
It would have been cheaper.
New Jersey man scammed $2M from women by posing as a soldier on dating sites, prosecutors say. Anthony V. Coppola. Vineland Daily.
Avery Haines Investigative Correspondent, W5. I played along to try to get an inside look at the shadowy world of internet scammers. My game of cat fish – and-mouse with the man calling himself Oliver would have been entertaining, except for the fact that what he does is downright evil. I really wanna know you better hope we can be really close.
Am always focused on my job. Oliver says he is a sergeant with the U. I believe when we start talking on the phone that will be so much better. Sadly, Oliver says, Kabul, Afghanistan has wonky internet, and because of the nature of his work, a video call is strictly forbidden. Oliver begs me to send money so we can use the satellite phone. The cost? When I log back on, I see this:. Na guy man you Dey follow dey waist him time since You no go just talk say you be work man.
dating scams – Ghana Forum
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. The U.
Women in Kidderminster are being warned about an online dating scam involving men claiming to be British soldiers serving abroad and in need of cash.
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. Criminal networks defraud lonely people around the world with false promises of love and romance.
Some romance scammers seek out a victim with an obscure fetish and will make the victim think that if they pay for the scammer’s plane ticket, they will get to live out their sexual fantasy with the scammer. Other scammers like to entice victims to perform sexual acts on webcam. They then record their victims, play back the recorded images or videos to them, and then extort money to prevent them from sending the recordings to friends, family, or employers, often discovered via social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter.
The pro-dater differs from other scams in method of operation; a face-to-face meeting actually does take place in the scammer’s country but for the sole purpose of manipulating the victim into spending as much money as possible in relatively little time, with little or nothing in return.
What You Need to Know About Romance Scams
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.
“Victims may encounter these romance scammers on a legitimate dating website or social media platform, but they are not U.S. Soldiers.” Similar to the Spanish.
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.
Bogus emails that look legitimate can offer fake alerts or information about the outbreak, fake workplace policy updates, or fake medical advice. By clicking on links in these emails, you could download malware or have your identity stolen.
HELP YOUR FRIENDS AND FAMILY DATE SAFELY ONLINE
Military personnel and their families are attractive targets for scam artists and identity thieves. These criminals target service members for their steady paychecks and take advantage of their non-standard work schedules, length absences from home, frequent relocations, and duty assignments to remote locations. They also prey on veterans and their families, taking advantage of their patriotism as well as their hard-earned government benefits. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau receives thousands of complaints each year from military consumers that deal with debt collection issues.
The most common type of debt collection scam involves continued attempts to collect a debt not owed. Other types include false statements or misrepresentations about a debt, as well as debt collectors threating illegal action.
Many of those photos have been used by scammers to create imitation profiles to lure unsuspecting people into “romance scams” — a problem.
Attorney Craig Carpenito. The following details from this case were taken from court documents and statements:. The most common story used by Sarpong and his conspirators was that they were military personnel stationed in Syria who were awarded gold bars. The conspirators told many of the victims their money would be reimbursed once the gold bars arrived in the United States. In one case, a conspirator claimed he was a U. He sent her a fictitious airway bill showing that two trunks with “family treasure” would be sent to her, along with a fake United Nations Identity Card that identified him as an Israeli citizen and UN delivery agent.
The next day she died by suicide. Authorities say Sarpong and his conspirators used various email accounts and Voice Over Internet protocol phone numbers to communicate with the victims and instruct them where to wire money. Authorities say the funds were then withdrawn in cash, wired to other domestic bank accounts and wired to conspirators in Ghana. According to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday, Sarpong was active on social media and “bragged about his wealth. Authorities say on March 2, , Sarpong posted a photograph of himself sitting in a car with a large stack of money up to his ear like a cellphone with a caption that read “WakeUp With k