Friday, May 5, 2017

Soldier Impersonators - Romance Scams using Fake Dating and Facebook Profiles

At least three times a week, I receive comments posted to my blog
entries from women claiming to be in a meaningful, romantic relationship
with my son and Army Ranger veteran. Women like Barb, who wrote this...

Fortunately for Barb she knew better than to believe the stories told to her by
the person(s) claiming to be my son. She also checked photos her Catfish used
in their profile/sent to her using Google's reverse image search tool,
which instantly matched them to photos I have posted here at my blog!
As for my blog, I have gone back and deleted nearly every post
featuring Ranger's photos or have watermarked them in an effort to
stop these fake-warrior, scumbag impersonators from using them...
Still, his photos and videos are being lifted from his Instagram page...
And, his Facebook profile has been duplicated hundreds of times,
using different variations of his name mixed in with other names!
Trust me when I tell you... You are NOT Dating this US Army
Ranger and he has not asked you to send him money!
What is happening is older than Shakespeare's tale of Romeo and Juliet... Boy
meets girl, girl falls for boy hoping to live happily ever after. However, with
the Internet, where dating websites such as, eHarmony, Tinder,
Zoosk and others have normalized the experience of forming instant attractions,
attachments and relationships without actually meeting the other person first,
it goes more like this: Boy meets girl, girl falls for boy, boy asks girl to wire
him a few thousand dollars, then boy disappears without a trace!
These professional scammers, usually based in West Africa, are very cleaver to
steal the identities and photos of our soldiers and claim they are either deployed
or stationed overseas because women are often more sympathetic towards men in
uniform claiming to be far from home, lonely and in need. These victims are also
less likely to question the randomness of their beau's availability to make contact
due to time differences and the very demanding missions as a soldier. Remember...
If you think it's only women falling victim to this crime, think again! Male
soldiers are reporting falling for similar honey-traps set by these crooks;
allowing the enemy to hack their phones to access photos, passwords, and
other information while posing as beautiful women on on-line dating apps!
Facebook is flooded with fake warrior profiles. And worse, Facebook does not
care and will not remove a fake profile, even when notified. I have reported
dozens of these profiles using Ranger's photos along with his name or some
variation of it. However, despite being able to match the stolen photos to the
real profile of someone with a very active and well established page, Facebook
chooses to protect the fake profile, which often has very few posts, comments or
associated friends. Facebook's standard reply is always to recommend that you
block the person if it upsets you that much. It has gotten so bad for our son that
even his real e-mail, home address and phone number are now compromised. But
instead of going after the impersonators, Facebook has now deactivated HIS page!
It is easy to feel sorry for those who fall victim to these fake warrior profile
scams. They often lose tons of money they cannot afford to lose, they suffer
broken hearts, humiliation and lose the ability to trust. But there's something
else at stake; the security and privacy of our soldiers' identities. After all, every
fake profile is using the name and stolen photo of a real person. What happens
to them not only hurts them but affects their families and our proud military as
a whole. No one wants these victims believing that a soldier has manipulated
their feelings and stolen from them when in fact, all he's doing is serving his
country honorably and in many cases, doesn't even know! However, in our
Ranger's case, he is all too aware, because his profile and photos are being
stolen to create so many fake warrior profiles on dating apps and Facebook,
that he's contacted nearly every day and sometimes multiple times a day. And,
sadly, by the time these women reach the point in their "relationships" with the
fake version of our son, something has happened to cause them to investigage...
Either they have paid to travel somewhere to meet a man that never showed up,
discovered their identities have been stolen so that they are receiving payment
demand letters for accounts they never opened, their bank accounts have
been drained or they have wired away thousands of dollars. Like Julie...
If he tells you he is in Special Operations and cannot provide
you with any information, it's a lie/scam. While it's true Special
Operators like our son won't discuss their jobs, they also don't
run around telling random strangers they're Special Ops...
If he tells you he's deployed overseas and mentions a specific
country, it's a lie/scam. While we do have military and contract
personnel deployed/working all over the world, communication
between soldiers and their friends and families is monitored. Any
revelation of location or mission specifics and the line is cut. If he
tells you he's been given special permission to discuss his location
or his job to convince you he is who he says he is, it's a lie/scam!
Every solider has a mailing address. So if he tells you he has no
way to receive your mail, it's a lie/scam. If he tells you he cannot
come see you because he is not authorized to take leave, it's a lie/scam.
The military pays for all travel to and from a war zone so if he tells you he
needs travel money to get home, it's a lie/scam. If he tells you he needs
permission for leave and needs your e-mail address or other contact
information to give to someone that will verify you are waiting for him
or traveling to meet him, it's a lie/scam. If all it took to bring Ranger
home from any of his five deployments to Afghanistan was a note
from me to his team leader or Commander authorizing him to come
home, I would have done it! Even in the case of a death in the
family, it must first be verified by officials at the Red Cross!
If he tells you he has no family stateside or that everyone in his
family, (especially his mother or wife!) is dead or that they were
killed in some horrific accident, leaving his child/ren without care
at home and he only stops crying with worry about how to pay for
their nanny and meals long enough to e-mail you, it's a lie/scam. If
he tells you he needs money to buy a phone to call, it's a lie/scam. If
he tells you he is a high ranking military officer, it's a lie/scam. Real
officers have no time to chit-chat on-line to develop meaningful and
"lasting" relationships with total strangers. And, if he tells you he is a
General, try to remember that less than 1% of the people in the military
ever make it to General. Educate yourself on rank for the branch of service
he claims to be in... There aren't too many 25-year old full bird Colonels!
Ask him for an e-mail address. If it is not a military e-mail address
with his first name, dot, last name and .mil at the end, it's not a real
military address. If he give you a private e-mail address, try sending
e-mails. If his profile mentions a rank, it's a lie/fake. Search the name
he is using. You would be surprised how many fake profiles are using
the same exact photos. If he wants to wire money to your bank account
or asks you for a loan, promising to pay you back, it's a lie/scam! If he
claims that his paycheck is directly deposited into a bank in the States
and that he has no immediate access to his money, it's a lie/scam!
If he has told you something I have not mentioned, remember
this... 99.99% of our men and women in uniform do not have time
for this bullshit! But if you still don't believe me, read this and this
If you or someone you know has fallen for or been taken advantage of by
someone impersonating a soldier, please file a complaint with the FBI here