An internet search for Mike Sency’s name immediately yields hundreds of accounts spread across social media and dating websites. Many of the profiles contain small differences, such as the photos used, the spelling of his name, even various details about his hobbies and interests. But they all share one common trait: They’re fake. Sency is used to it. For years, pictures he posted online have been used to create fake profiles by people looking to scam others, often out of money, a practice generally known as catfishing. His problem isn’t a new one, but it is an issue that has proven nearly impossible to stop.
5 Ways to spot an online-dating scammer
Since the large adoption of the internet, the online dating industry moved to set a new standard in the way we find our soulmates. And it worked. According to a study from the University of Chicago, compared to marriages between couples who meet in real life, marriages between couples whose relationships are formed through an online dating site are more likely to last.
Romance scams are big business. Sadly, 82 percent of romance scam victims are women, and women over 50 are defrauded out of the most money. Fraud like this involves emotional betrayal that can be even more painful when the scammer poses as a member of the military. While many romance scams are perpetrated from social sites like Facebook, online dating sites are a direct route for these scammers to reach their most vulnerable targets.
Zoosk , a global dating community with 40 million online profiles, saw the pain this was causing its customers and decided to tackle the problem head-on by launching Insignia , a program that fights back against military romance scams through military verification and increased awareness. Zoosk members who are in the military can earn the Insignia badge by having their pictures verified and submitting their branch of service and driver license information.
It also gives Zoosk members peace-of-mind that the soldier they fancy is verified military. The Insignia program has put Zoosk at the forefront of combating military romance scams, protecting potential victims from the financial and emotional trauma of falling prey to a catfisher posing as a person in uniform.
Military verification from SheerID makes it possible. The company not only offers 50 percent discounts on family lines for all military and veterans, they also support career readiness programs, and actively recruit and hire veterans and military spouses.
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.
scammed $2M from women by posing as a soldier on dating sites, as United States military members attempting to ship gold bars home.
The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. At years-old, Exposto had fallen for a widowed special forces soldier doing his bit for his country. They have never met, which was easily explained — he was deployed in Afghanistan. Exposto recently walked free after facing a death sentence in Malaysia for attempting to smuggle a kilogram of ice five years ago.
Since she was caught, she has maintained she was a victim of a romance scam. Read more: From catfish to romance fraud, how to avoid getting caught in any online scam.
Military Dating Scams
Scammers take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, often via dating websites, apps or social media by pretending to be prospective companions. They play on emotional triggers to get you to provide money, gifts or personal details. How this scam works Warning signs Protect yourself Have you been scammed?
As the number of people looking to meet new people online grows, so does the opportunity for fraud. Some scam artists use bogus profiles to con the people they.
A growing epidemic in the world today is the online romance scam. Generally, a victim is contacted by someone online through various social media or a legitimate dating website. The victim and the scammer create an online relationship. While the victim may become suspicious over time, the scammer lures them in with pictures, hardships, promises, excitement, and claims of love. Eventually, the scammer will ask for help, for various reasons, involving the victim sending money.
After the scammer gets all the money they can from the victim, the scammer drops communication, leaving the victim dumbfounded, hurt, confused, and out of a lot of money, which is rarely recovered. So, what can you do if you’ve found yourself in Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance? Army Criminal Investigation Command As the Army’s primary criminal investigative organization and DoD’s premier investigative organization, CID is responsible for conducting criminal investigations in which the Army is or may be a party of interest.
E-mail Address to report information: info publicintelligence. Naval Criminal Investigative Service is the federal law enforcement agency charged with conducting investigations of felony-level offenses affecting the Navy and Marine Corps. NCIS also performs investigations and operations aimed at identifying and neutralizing foreign intelligence, international terrorism, and cyber threats to the Department of the Navy. Air Force Office of Special Investigations is the federal law enforcement and investigative agency operating and conducting criminal investigations and providing counterintelligence services.
Anatomy of Online Dating Scams – How Not to Become a Victim of Cyber-romance
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.
Women in Kidderminster are being warned about an online dating scam involving men claiming to be British soldiers serving abroad and in need of cash.
Attorney Craig Carpenito. The following details from this case were taken from court documents and statements:. The most common story used by Sarpong and his conspirators was that they were military personnel stationed in Syria who were awarded gold bars. The conspirators told many of the victims their money would be reimbursed once the gold bars arrived in the United States. In one case, a conspirator claimed he was a U.
He sent her a fictitious airway bill showing that two trunks with “family treasure” would be sent to her, along with a fake United Nations Identity Card that identified him as an Israeli citizen and UN delivery agent. The next day she died by suicide. Authorities say Sarpong and his conspirators used various email accounts and Voice Over Internet protocol phone numbers to communicate with the victims and instruct them where to wire money.
Authorities say the funds were then withdrawn in cash, wired to other domestic bank accounts and wired to conspirators in Ghana. According to a criminal complaint filed Tuesday, Sarpong was active on social media and “bragged about his wealth. Authorities say on March 2, , Sarpong posted a photograph of himself sitting in a car with a large stack of money up to his ear like a cellphone with a caption that read “WakeUp With k
Internet Fraud and the Armed Forces
Military combat isn’t the only battle service members are fighting. Those were the findings of a recent data analysis by Comparitech. The consumer technology website analyzed scam data through the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau.
After registering on a dating website, the victim meets a hacker military, or, in the case of high-profile romance scam out of Australia, sailing.
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.
How to stay safe on dating websites and apps
According to the Better Business Bureau , romance scams are different than cat-fishing. While cat-fishing typically only involves deception, romance scam artists are intending to take money from a victim. In August, an Arizona man was sentenced to more than 15 years for creating several profiles on dating sites to convince women to give him thousands of dollars for fraudulent investments. Scam artists may try to make their victims believe they are in the military serving overseas and seeking a long-term relationship.
Brnovich said scam artists find ways to make their requests seem more plausible to victims. Luke Air Force Base in Glendale has received phone calls from civilians asking if a person they have met online is really stationed there, according to Maj.
The scammer and the victim meet online – often through Internet dating or However, before they do, he must travel overseas to serve his country in the military.
The U. Armed Forces and they have been asked to send this service member money. In many cases, the money has already been sent and the inquirer is seeking to verify if this is standard practice in the U. Armed Forces. Unfortunately, in every situation presented to the DAO thus far, it has turned out to be an internet fraud. It is recommended that you read both of these documents:. If you believe that you have been the victim of Internet fraud, please follow the advice presented in the above press release.
How can fraudsters create fake IDs? There is a vast amount of information that is within the public domain on the Internet.