The Better Business Bureau is warning people to beware of fake soldiers on social and dating Web sites. Women are being tricked into sending money to "love interests."
The BBB says scammers are pretending to be members of the military and are wooing women on internet dating and social networking sites, but they aren’t looking for love --- they are looking for money.
"According to the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command, these scammers are using real military photos to create fake profiles and they have received hundreds of complaints in the last year about the scam. Some scammers have even used photos of military members that have passed away," says the BBB.
The Command reports that con artists build relationships with women and then start asking for money for things like internet use, phones, leave papers, money to enable them to come visit the victim, etc. Once the women send the money, they never hear from the scammer again.
“To play on someone’s emotions and respect for the military is extremely appalling,” said Carol Odell, CEO of the Southern Colorado BBB. “Online dating is popular. Scam artists know that. So, be cautious when using this service. Don’t be too trusting.”
Many of these e-mails have been traced back to foreign cyber-cafes in Africa, which makes it hard to track down the individuals operating these scams.
If you feel you may been a victim of such a scam, report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center: ic3.gov / 1-800-251-3221 and the Federal Trade Commission: www.ftc.gov or 1-877-438-4338.