Army Impersonators Scamming Women

Scammers are using the names of dead soldiers to trick women into sending them money. Sometimes they tell victims that they need thousands of dollars for new computers, shoes or international phones. This is about as low as you can get. reported on the issue:

"The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command has received frequent reports of scams involving individuals pretending to be U.S. soldiers, who get romantically involved on the Internet with female victims and then steal their money.

" 'We are seeing a number of scams being perpetrated on the Internet, especially on social, dating-type websites where females are the main target,' said Chris Grey, Army CID's spokesman.

"The fraudsters are pretending to be U.S. servicemen, often serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. They will often take the true rank and name of a soldier and then combine that with photographs of a soldier found on the Internet to build a false identity to lure victims."

Investigators say the scammers are often in Ghana, Angola and Nigeria, which makes these cases next to impossible to trace and prosecute.

The Army CID distributed a release [PDF] alerting the public:

" 'Army CID is warning people to be very suspicious if they begin a relationship on the internet with someone claiming to be an American Soldier and within a matter of weeks, the alleged Soldier is asking for money, as well as their hand in marriage.

" 'Many of these cases have a distinct pattern to them,' explained Chris Grey, Army CID's
spokesman. 'These are not soldiers, they are thieves.'

"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.' 
" '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.
"All lies, according to CID officials."

CNN found plenty of victims, including family members of dead soldiers who now are being victimized again.

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    Al Tompkins

    Al Tompkins is The Poynter Institute’s senior faculty for broadcasting and online. He has taught thousands of journalists, journalism students and educators in newsrooms around the world.


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