The online world is a difficult place for anybody to navigate – particularly the online dating site. For every genuine person on the internet, there seems to be a scam artist waiting to take advantage of you and steal your personal details. Of course, this is not true of everyone, but it pays to be diligent when speaking to others on the web.
Before you try dating someone online, read these reviews and articles on dating platforms so that you can make an informed choice on which one(s) you can trust.
More than ever, it seems these scammers target military personnel in a variety of ways. If you want to stay informed and alert, be sure to check out the rest of our article below.
Identity Theft for Military Personnel
Identity theft is one of the biggest issues facing military personnel today. Scammers see this as a great disguise when trying to extort money from their victims. These criminals often steal images and a service member’s identity, then use their false profile to ask for money and pretend to sell big-money items such as cars and rental houses. They often send victims fake information and request a wire transfer through a third party. The victim thinks they are getting a good deal on a lucrative item, but really they are being conned out of their money.
More and more fake profiles are cropping up on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter, using actual photos and information taken from the internet. The scammers will often interact with official US Department of Defence (DOD) accounts to seem even more legitimate.
Romantic scams are rife in the online dating world and usually consist of a scammer targeting individuals and pretending to be soldiers. Victims of such crimes report that they became entangled with somebody who told them they currently served in the military and asked for money for service-related needs. Many of these unsuspecting people lose thousands of dollars and face great difficulty getting their money back – in fact most see little, if any, of their money again.
Most cases start on online dating sites and social media platforms. This is quite a robust scam, as scammers often spend time building their false identities and even have fake documents as proof of their financial requirements. They usually target senior and elderly profiles on otherwise legitimate documents, which is why you should always check the reviews for dating sites first.
Internet Extortion and ‘Sextortion’
One of the most notorious scams usually targeting soldiers and other personnel in the military is the “sextortion” scam. This usually involves criminals engaging in online sex acts with active service members, followed by a demand for money under the threat of publishing the sexual images, videos, and conversations. These scams usually occur when a soldier signs up for a dating site. It is difficult for authorities to discover which profiles are fake because legitimate proof of the scam is sometimes hard. If you are a soldier and you come across a fake profile, or somebody tries to blackmail you into giving them money, be sure to screenshot the exchange and report to the dating site administrators.
Military spam scamming has been going since as early 2007. This involves criminals sending bogus emails posing as rogue US service members. They usually ask their targets to help remove loot out of a foreign country, with the promise of a hefty reward. These emails are made to look as though they have been sent by criminal soldiers looking to share their illicit financial gains.
Fraud/Impersonating Military Personnel
Scammers use fake profiles, posing as military personnel to defraud innocent victims. They claim to be well-placed in the military or even a widowed spouse, promising huge sums of money in exchange for your assistant in moving a certain commodity. They offer a big reward for a small fee, usually sent by write transfer. But once they receive your money, they are never heard from again.
What Can You Do?
The best thing to do when participating, or thinking about, in online dating or using social media is to remain vigilant. If anybody asks you for money or seems suspicious, report them immediately. Take screenshots of dodgy conversations and alert the relevant authorities. Online dating can be a lot of fun for people – both young and old; but remember to be careful and always be sure of who you are speaking to on these websites.