by Pam Zubeck
How ’bout a date with a war hero?
The Southern Colorado Better Business Bureau has issued a warning that scammers on dating websites are pretending to be soldiers, even using photos of dead soldiers, so they can get money from women.
According to the U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command, these scammers are using real military photos to create fake profiles, and they have received hundreds of complaints in the last year about the scam. Some scammers have even used photos of military members that have passed away.
The Command reports that con artists build relationships with women and then start asking for money for things like Internet use, phones, leave papers, money to enable them to come visit the victim, etc. Once the women send the money, they never hear from the “man” again.
“To play on someone’s emotions and respect for the military is extremely appalling,” said Carol Odell, CEO of the Southern Colorado BBB. “Online dating is popular. Scam artists know that. So, be cautious when using this service. Don’t be too trusting.”
Many of these e-mails have been traced back to cyber-cafes in Africa, making it difficult to track down the individuals operating the scams. Dating services have seen this scam on their radar, so be careful when on such websites and never, ever send money to someone you’ve never met, the BBB advises.
If you feel you may been a victim of such a scam, report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov or 800/251-3221, and the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov or 877/438-4338.