The U.S. Military has added a new line to our defence budget: Internet dating scam prevention.
Although it’s certainly not its only function, the army’s Criminal Investigation Command has seen its caseload boom with complaints from women who say they’ve been scammed by thieves passing themselves off as American soldiers.
By posing as troops stationed in countries like Iraq or Afghanistan, these scammers profess their undying love to hapless consumers on internet dating sites, the Daily Finance’s Loren Berlin reported.
Then they milk them for whatever they can.
Denise Tarramorse shared her story with the site:
“Tarramorse, a teacher in California and a self-described ‘hugely pro-military person,’ was excited when she met Peter Genthe online through smartdate.com. Communicating over instant message, Genthe told Tarramorse he was a sergeant in the Army, deployed to Iraq. They emailed and instant messaged each other frequently and Tarramorse quickly developed feelings.
One day, Genthe explained that his mother, who he said was from Mexico and currently living there with her family, was sick and needed money for prescriptions and surgery. ‘I have a college degree and a master’s degree,’ explains Terramorse. “I consider myself fairly intelligent. But the thought that this could be a scam never crossed my mind … she wired him $1,400.”
She’s not alone.
Christopher Grey, chief of public affairs for the Criminal Investigation Command, told the site his office receives thousands of complaints from heartbroken and infuriated consumers.
Here are the red flags Grey says you should look out for:
They want cash sent to Africa. Hard to believe people still need to be reminded about Nigerian Internet scams. But if your knight in shining camouflage asks you to send cash to an address in Africa, you can bet you’re talking to a fake, Grey says.
They need cash to pay for their leave overseas. Don’t believe it. Military personnel never pay for their leave.
Their address looks fishy. Military base addresses look different than residential addresses. If a scammer sends you a mailing address for cash, be sure to double check its validity with someone who would spot a fake, like a military officer.
For the rest of the story from Daily Finance, click here.