She wants to use the social media network to inspire young women, but cybercriminals using her photos to engage in “romance scams” have made Vlastuin consider deleting her online presence. Sherri Vlastuin, Instagram popularity came quickly — and at a price. Vlastuin, 26, has used the social media network since to document her life as an Army combat medic at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, her home state. One post — a selfie after her graduation from Air Assault School two years ago — suddenly elevated her page. Romance scams are part of a new page report released Tuesday by Vietnam Veterans of America, which has spent the past two years on a study of online trolls and their tendency to target veterans and servicemembers. Some expect her to repay them, others seek the same relationship with her that they believed they had with the impostor. She said she has reported hundreds of the fake accounts to Instagram and Facebook, but they continue to multiply. The overall goal, he said, is to keep servicemembers, veterans and their families safe in cyber environments. The report urges social media networks and federal law enforcement, with support from Congress, to put more focus and resources toward stopping romance scams.
New Jersey man scammed $2M from women by posing as a soldier on dating sites, prosecutors say
Weeks later, the U. Department of Justice DOJ filed charges against 80 members of an organized international criminal network composed primarily of Nigerians dedicated to romance fraud and several other cyber schemes. Even more recently, in early September, the DOJ announced the arrest of a New Jersey man for his involvement in a separate international criminal network that defrauded more than 30 victims in romance fraud schemes using fake online profiles of U.
Scammers tend to pose as veterans and servicemembers in romance scams for the same reason, Goldsmith said. “The American people are.
Most of the defendants are Nigerians, the Associated Press reported. Attorney Nick Hanna told a news conference. Army captain in his efforts to smuggle himself and his friends out of Syria. The woman met him online and had been emailing for 10 months. There was no such army captain. Romance-related scams are now the most costly form of online fraud, the Federal Trade Commission warned earlier this year. In many of these scenarios, people are convinced by strangers they meet online — often on dating apps — to fork over money.
The number of romance scams reported to the FTC increased to more than 21, in , up from 8, in In a typical scenario, a victim meets someone through a dating website or other online space. Case in point: A woman came across a man on dating app Tinder claiming to be a U. Army captain and quickly fell for him.
Online Dating Scams and How to Protect Yourself
A New Jersey man was arrested Wednesday for defrauding more than 30 victims after wooing them on internet dating sites. Rubbin Sarpong, 35, of Millville, New Jersey has been charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, announced U. Attorney Craig Carpenito in a press release. Sarpong concocted online dating profiles mostly portraying US military personnel stationed overseas and looking for romance. The profiles were actually made up, using fictitious or stolen identities federal prosecutors in Camden, New Jersey said.
He told them he needed the money to ship gold bars to the United States, prosecutors said, but really kept it for himself and conspirators in Ghana.
Military Romance Scams. 48K likes. This page was created to warn facebook users about military romance scams and how the identities of our honorably.
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. CID said there have been hundreds of claims each month from people who said they’ve been scammed on legitimate dating apps and social media sites.
According to the alleged victims, the scammers have asked for money for fake service-related needs such as transportation, communications fees, processing and medical fees — even marriage. CID said many of the victims have lost tens of thousands of dollars and likely won’t get that money back. Scammers will sometimes provide false paperwork to make their case, but real service members make their own requests for time off.
Recognize Me? The fake and real faces of scammers
In a tech-savvy world, it is common for couples to meet online through dating websites or apps. Unfortunately, not everyone joining these dating platforms is looking for true love. The frequency of online romances has caught the attention of fraudsters who manipulate people seeking companionship through romance scams. Fraudsters operating romance scams have recently taken to posing as members of the armed forces to lure their victims into a romance with what they believe to be a soldier.
This scam commonly begins on a social media platform, but it can also start through matching on an online dating website.
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.
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.
According to the alleged victims, the scammers have asked for money for fake service-related needs, such as transportation, communications fees, processing and medical fees—even marriage. Scammers will sometimes provide false paperwork to make their case, but real service members make their own requests for time off. Also, any official military or government emails will end in. DOD officials said task forces are working to deal with the growing problem, but the scammers are often from African nations and are using cyber cafes with untraceable email addresses, then routing their accounts across the world to make them incredibly difficult to trace.
So be vigilant! Often, if a victim caves on a demand, the scammer will just likely demand more. If people seem suspicious, stop communicating with them.
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.
U.S. military officials have warned those involved in online dating to proceed with caution when corresponding with someone claiming to be a U.S. military.
On Facebook and Instagram, there are lottery scams , celebrity impostors and even fake Mark Zuckerbergs. There is also a scheme where scammers pose as American service members to cheat vulnerable women out of their savings. To find victims, they search Facebook groups for targets — often single women and widows — and then message hundreds, hoping to hook a few.
Once they have a potential mark, the scammers shift the conversations with their victims to Google Hangouts or WhatsApp, messaging services owned by Google and Facebook, in case Facebook deletes their accounts. For months or weeks, they try to seduce the women with sweet talk and promises of a future together. Eventually, they ask for money.
When victims send funds, they often do so via wire transfers or iTunes and Amazon gift cards, which the scammers sell at a discount on the black market. Internet scammers arrived with the dial-up modem years ago, conning people in chat rooms and email inboxes. Now Facebook and Instagram provide fraudsters with greater reach and resources, enabling them to more convincingly impersonate others and more precisely target victims. Officials from the United States military and the F. When The Times followed the trail of one scam, it led to Nigeria, where six men said in interviews that they swindled Westerners over the internet because it paid far more than honest work, which they said was hard to find.
In Nigeria, the scammers are aided by plentiful internet access and fluency in English. There are also many willing teachers: In groups on Facebook and WhatsApp, they swap scripts for online chats with victims. Many of the men in Nigeria told The Times they planned to give up the scams because of their conscience.
No, this Virginia Beach sailor doesn’t want your love or money. It’s a scam, and he’s a victim too.
AARP Rewards is here to make your next steps easy, rewarding and fun! Learn more. Hundreds of times a day, women here and overseas complain about being scammed by con artists posing as U. Army Criminal Investigation Command.
Online romance scams cost Americans millions of dollars every year. Online The Internet Crime Commission (IC3) of the US Federal Bureau of such as missionary work, military service or any number of other excuses.
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. Maka still go Dey bomb Na ogor go finish you there”. In the course of researching this phenomenon, many women around me, colleagues and friends, have also been approached on Instagram by good looking, uniform wearing U.
Romance Scams: The Email Threat That Breaks Hearts and Banks
Recognize Me? The fake and real faces of scammers. Scam Haters United blog compiled photos of real scammers and the profiles they use to target people online. This scammer uses the account “Christian Onyeakporo” to scam women. This is a fake account using photos of Dr. Maximilian Krah.
Romance scams occur when a criminal adopts a fake online identity to gain a the U.S. That makes it easier to avoid meeting in person—and more plausible.
CNN Online romance scams are growing at a dizzying pace, raking in millions of dollars from unsuspecting victims across the United States. All the tips discussed here came from the Federal Trade Commission’s website, which monitors reports of fraud in the US. For more on romance scams and how to report them, click here. Chat with us in Facebook Messenger. Find out what’s happening in the world as it unfolds. More Videos Dozens charged in global online fraud scheme bust Some of the scams drag on for months or years, and leave the victims crushed emotionally and financially.
Romance scammers start off with fake profiles using someone else’s identity. Their alleged location is never in your city — they claim to be deployed in the military, working at an oil rig overseas or a doctor embedded with international groups, the Federal Trade Commission says. That way, they can ask for money to pay for seemingly legitimate costs such as travel visas, plane tickets and hospital bills.