Tuesday, 28 May 2019

MILITARY ADVICE... caution and education to combat social media scammers

MILITARY ADVICE... caution and education to combat social media scammers


EVERYTHING HERE IS TAKEN FROM OFFICIAL WEBSITES OF THE U.S. ARMY
Army stresses caution, education to combat social media scammers
You just signed up for a Facebook profile and a four-star general already wants to be your friend. Good thing right? Not likely.
If you are a scammer who wants to build someone’s trust and then con them into sending you money, doesn’t it make sense to steal the identity of someone America trusts -- and nobody is held in higher esteem than our military members, so they make a lucrative case to impersonate. People inherently trust the military and wouldn’t imagine being conned by a Soldier or a general with a chest full of medals, It happens to deceased Soldiers, active Soldiers and even Army leaders.
it’s important to always be on the lookout for scams. He said that you should never “friend” someone you don’t actually know in person on Facebook.
Victims of these “romance scams” report they became involved in an online relationship with someone they believed to be a U.S. Soldier who then began asking for money for various false service-related needs. Victims of these scams can lose tens of thousands of dollars and face a slim likelihood of recovering any of it. Victims may encounter these romance scammers on a legitimate dating website or social media platform, but they are not U.S. Soldiers. To perpetrate this scam, the scammers take on the online persona of a current or former U.S. Soldier, and then, using photographs of a Soldier from the internet, build a false identity to begin prowling the web for victims.
Never send money to someone claiming to be a Soldier!
The most common scheme involves criminals, often from other countries -- most notably from West African countries -- pretending to be U.S. Soldiers serving in a combat zone or other overseas location. These crooks often present documents and other "proof" of their financial need when asking their victims to wire money to them.
Army CID is warning anyone who is involved in online dating to proceed with caution when corresponding with persons claiming to be U.S. Soldiers currently serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria or elsewhere.
What to look for -
DO NOT SEND MONEY! Be extremely suspicious if you are asked for money for transportation costs, communication fees or marriage processing and medical fees via Western Union.
- If you do start an Internet-based relationship with someone, check them out, research what they are telling you with someone who would know, such as a current or former service member. - Be very suspicious if you never get to actually speak with the person on the phone or are told you cannot write or receive letters in the mail. Servicemen and women serving overseas will often have an APO or FPO mailing address. Internet or not, service members always appreciate a letter in the mail.
- Many of the negative claims made about the military and the supposed lack of support and services provided to troops overseas are far from reality - check the facts.
- Be very suspicious if you are asked to send money or ship property to a third party or company. Often times the company exists, but has no idea or is not a part of the scam. - Be very suspicious if the person you are corresponding with wants you to mail anything to an African country.
- Be aware of common spelling, grammatical or language errors in the emails. - Be very suspicious of someone you have never met and who pledges their love at warp speed. Saying they are on a peace keeping mission, looking for an honest woman, parents deceased, wife deceased, child being cared for by nanny or other guardian, profess their love almost immediately, refer to you as "my love," "my darling" or any other affectionate term almost immediately, telling you they cannot wait to be with you, telling you they cannot talk on the phone or via webcam due to security reasons, or telling you they are sending you something (money, jewelry) through a diplomat.
Finally, they claim to be a U.S. Army Soldier; however, their English and grammar do not match that of someone born and raised in the United States. Here are answers to some of the most common types of scams:
1. Soldiers and their loved ones are not charged money so that the Soldier can go on leave.
2. No one is required to request leave on behalf of a Soldier.
3. A general officer will not correspond with you on behalf of a Soldier planning to take leave.
4. A general officer will not be a member of an internet dating site.
5. Soldiers are not charged money or taxes to secure communications or leave.
6. Soldiers do not need permission to get married.
7. Soldiers do not have to pay for early retirement.
8. Soldiers have medical insurance for themselves and their immediate family members (spouse and/or children), which pays for their medical costs when treated at health care facilities worldwide - family and friends do not need to pay their medical expenses.
9. Military aircraft are not used to transport Privately Owned Vehicles.
10. Army financial offices are not used to help Soldiers buy or sell items of any kind.
11. Soldiers deployed to combat zones do not need to solicit money from the public to feed or house their troops.
12. Deployed Soldiers do not find large sums of money and do not need your help to get that money out of the country.
The majority of the "romance scams," are being perpetrated on social media and dating-type websites where unsuspecting females are the main target.
The criminals are pretending to be U.S. servicemen, routinely serving in a combat zone. The perpetrators will often take the true rank and name of a U.S. Soldier who is honorably serving his country somewhere in the world, or has previously served and been honorably discharged, then 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 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. 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.
"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 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.S. Army and the tremendous amount of support programs and mechanisms that exist for Soldiers today, especially those serving overseas, said Grey.
CID special agents continue to receive numerous reports from victims located around the world regarding various scams of persons impersonating U.S. Soldiers online. Victims are usually unsuspecting women, 30 to 55 + years old, who believe they are romantically involved with an American Soldier, yet are being exploited and ultimately robbed, by perpetrators who strike from thousands of miles away.
"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.S. military," said Chris Grey, Army CID's spokesman.
"It is very troubling to hear these stories over and over 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," Grey said.
These scams are outright theft and are a grave misrepresentation of the U.S. Army and the tremendous amount of support programs and mechanisms that exist for Soldiers today, especially those serving overseas, said Grey.

Army CID continues to warn 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 discussing marriage.
The majority of these scams have a distinct pattern to them, explained Grey.
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.
"We've even seen where the criminals 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.
Military members have an email address that end in "@mail.mil." If the person you are speaking with cannot sent you at least one email from a ".mil" (that will be the very LAST part of the address and nothing after), then there is a high probability they are not in the military.

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