How I catfished my catfisher: a W5 investigation into romance scams

Each week, I get letters by email, on my website, by Twitter and on Facebook from women who are sending money to Africa and Afghanistan to help service members come home. This is a scam!! These are not men who are in the United States military. They are scam artists preying on desperate women. I met a sergeant in the Army on Facebook from the Zoosk dating site. We have been texting since May.

The latest news on romance scams

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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. We became very close and he emailed me every day saying it was easier for him than using Facebook. He said this was the best part of being in Nigeria because it was close to where the precious stones were being mined and he could buy them very cheaply. It was a lot of money to send but she figured he was a good and honest serviceman and if things worked out they would spend the rest of their lives together.

Cease contact with an online admirer if they ask you for financial help , no matter how genuine they sound. Customs officials seized the gemstones and demanded payment to have them released. I told him it would take some time to get the money and I had to borrow against the family home.

Internet Scams Warning

Online dating is a lot like rolling the dice: You make a connection and take your chances. The nice looking man, whose picture Eckenreiter was instantly drawn to, wrote he was an Army Sgt. After their initial contact on the dating website, they started to only text.

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Before long, the woman started sending Nasirahmad private messages. As she soon learned, many young Afghan men and women from cities and villages alike have begun using Facebook to skirt strict social rules governing interaction between the sexes. In fact, posing as a member of the opposite sex online has become a popular pastime.

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Army Criminal Investigation Command CID receives hundreds of reports a month from individuals who have fallen victim to a scam perpetrated by a person impersonating a U. Soldier online. Soldier who then began asking for money for various false service-related needs. Victims of these scams can lose tens of thousands of dollars and face a slim likelihood of recovering any of it.

Victims may encounter these romance scammers on a legitimate dating website or social media platform, but they are not U. To perpetrate this scam, the scammers take on the online persona of a current or former U. Soldier, and then, using photographs of a Soldier from the internet, build a false identity to begin prowling the web for victims. The most common scheme involves criminals, often from other countries — most notably from West African countries — pretending to be U.

Soldiers serving in a combat zone or other overseas location. These crooks often present documents and other “proof” of their financial need when asking their victims to wire money to them.

ARMY SOCIAL MEDIA

Embassy Kabul frequently receives inquiries from people who have been victimized by Internet scammers. These scams are attempts by con artists to convince you to send them money by developing a friendship, romance or business partnership online, and then exploiting that relationship to ask for money. The most common scam we see involves calls, texts, or social media messages Facebook, WhatsApp, Viber, Kik, dating apps, etc from a person claiming be a U.

Armed Forces, a military contractor, a U. Embassy diplomat, or an employee of an international aid organization. These con artists are very convincing and troll the Internet for potential victims, spending weeks or months to build a relationship.

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You can upload photos by clicking on the images tab. You can fill out your additional data on right side of your profile by clicking on it and answering the questions. However, your BMI, zodiac and chinese zodiac is calculated based on your data. Does Free Online Dating exists? Username or email Password Forgot your password? Free dating even to the real life rendezvous. Join Devoted! Help Welcome to Devoted You can change your primary data age, location, etc by clicking the text below your name.

You can change who you look for by clicking on the relevant text. Fill out your self-introduction to make your profile more interesting. We wish you good luck.

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Nowadays, you have to be cautious of everything you do online. Scammers are always trying to get money, goods or services out of unsuspecting people — and military members are often targets. Here are some scams that have recently been affecting service members, Defense Department employees and their families. In April, Army Criminal Investigation Command put out a warning about romance scams in which online predators go on dating sites claiming to be deployed active-duty soldiers.

It’s a problem that’s affecting all branches of service — not just the Army. Scam Alert Military experts are constantly warning service members about social media scams that can affect them and their families.

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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.

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KABUL Reuters – Frustrated by strict social rules, young and educated Afghans are quickly learning that taboos can be sidestepped at the tap of a mobile phone. In deeply conservative, Muslim Afghanistan, social media is opening a new route for men and women to communicate in private. Some even find love in a country where most marriages are arranged and strict rules make it tough – and dangerous – for men and women to interact even in the most liberal circles.

A recent explosion in Internet use has opened a new frontier, and many are using tools such as instant messaging to approach each other and set up dates. Social media websites such as Facebook offer a rare opportunity for couples to learn about each other before marriage, he said. But there are problems. Online messaging exposes young women to abuse by influential officials.

Some officials say they are approached on social media for a job or even romance. One government official said women regularly approached him online, most for work but sometimes looking for romance. As with anywhere, women say they have to be vigilant online. But in Afghanistan, even postings that would be considered ordinary elsewhere can lead to problems. Even though her liberal family supported the decision, she ended up deleting it after a barrage of comments.

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The scammer and the victim meet online – often through Internet dating or employment sites. •. The scammer asks for money to get out of a bad situation or to.

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