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Online dating service scams involving

"We cannot stress enough that people need to stop sending money to persons they meet on the Internet and claim to be in the U. military," said Chris Grey, Army CID's spokesman. "We have even seen instances where the Soldier was killed in action and the crooks have used that hero's identity to perpetrate their twisted scam," said CID Special Agent Russel Graves, who has been fielding the hundreds of calls and emails from victims for months."It is heartbreaking to hear these stories over and again of people who have sent thousands of dollars to someone they have never met and sometimes have never even spoken to on the phone." The majority of the "romance scams" as they have been dubbed, are being perpetrated on social media dating-type websites where unsuspecting females are the main target. The scams often involve carefully worded romantic requests for money from the victim to purchase special laptop computers, international telephones, military leave papers, and transportation fees to be used by the fictitious "deployed Soldier" so their false relationship can continue.

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The victims are most often unsuspecting women, 30 to 55 years old, who think they are romantically involved on the Internet with an American Soldier, when in fact they are being cyber-robbed by perpetrators thousands of miles away. The perpetrators will often take the true rank and name of a U. Soldier who is honorably serving his country somewhere in the world, marry that up with some photographs of a Soldier off the Internet, and then build a false identity to begin prowling the Internet for victims.The perpetrators often tell the victims that their units do not have telephones or they are not allowed to make calls or they need money to "help keep the Army Internet running." They often say they are widowers and raising a young child on their own to pull on the heartstrings of their victims. "The criminals are preying on the emotions and patriotism of their victims," added Grey. , AOL," etc., routing accounts through numerous locations around the world, and using pay-per-hour Internet cyber cafes, which often times maintain no accountability of use."We've even seen where the crooks said that the Army won't allow the Soldier to access their personal bank accounts or credit cards," said Grey. "These perpetrators, often from other countries, most notably from West African countries, are good at what they do and quite familiar with American culture, but the claims about the Army and its regulations are ridiculous," said Grey. The ability of law enforcement to identify these perpetrators is very limited, so CID officials said individuals must stay on the alert and be personally responsible to protect themselves.Ignore the emails and if your online banking goes awry, call your bank.The criminal on the other end will convince an individual they have been a victim of fraud and will ask for personal information to gain access to accounts."We've even seen instances where the perpetrators are asking the victims for money to "purchase leave papers" from the Army, help pay for medical expenses from combat wounds received, or help pay for their flight home so they can leave the war zone," said Grey.

These scams are outright theft and are a grave misrepresentation of the U. Army and the tremendous amount of support programs and mechanisms that exist for Soldiers today, especially those serving overseas, said Grey.

If the item or service worth more than £100 (and less than £30,000) then you will be protected by the Consumer Credit Act, which means that the credit card company will be liable for any defects.

Alternatively, you can make purchases using Paypal.

The scams include asking the victim to send money, often thousands of dollars at a time, to a third party address.

Once victims are hooked, the criminals continue their ruse.

This service also allows you to use different currencies, such as US dollars, Canadian dollars, euros and yen.