Soldier dating scam
The scam typically involves promising the victim a significant share of a large sum of money, in return for a small up-front payment, which the fraudster requires in order to obtain the large sum.If a victim makes the payment, the fraudster either invents a series of further fees for the victim or simply disappears.The scam involves an online scammer tricking a victim into believing he or she is "in a relationship" with an American Soldier and then hustling the victim out of his or her money."These perpetrators are definitely not American Soldiers, but they are quite familiar with American culture," said Chris Grey, Army CID spokesperson."The criminals, often from other countries, most notably from West African countries, are pretending to be U. Soldiers serving in a combat zone or other overseas locations."According to Grey, perpetrators take on the online persona of a U. soldier with photographs of a soldier off the Internet, and then begin prowling the web for victims."Another critical issue," Grey said, "is we don't want victims walking away and thinking that a U. Soldier has ripped them off, when in fact that Soldier is honorably serving his or her country and often not even aware that his pictures or identity have been stolen."TIPS FOR IDENTIFYING, DEALING WITH ONLINE SCAMMERSThe U. has already established numerous task force organizations to deal with these kinds of scams and other issues.Unfortunately, law enforcement's ability to identify these perpetrators is limited.The criminals who perpetrate these scams use untraceable email addresses on Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc., routing accounts through numerous locations around the world, and using pay-per-hour Internet cyber cafes, which often times maintain no accountability of use.
To get the process started, the scammer asked for a few sheets of the company’s letterhead, bank account numbers, and other personal information.
One variant of the scam may date back to the 18th or 19th centuries, as a very similar letter, entitled "The Letter from Jerusalem", is seen in the memoirs of Eugène François Vidocq, a former French criminal and private investigator. One of these, sent via postal mail, was addressed to a woman's husband, and inquired about his health.
Another variant of the scam, dating back to circa 1830, appears very similar to what is passed via email today: "Sir, you will doubtlessly be astonished to be receiving a letter from a person unknown to you, who is about to ask a favour from you...", and goes on to talk of a casket containing 16,000 francs in gold and the diamonds of a late marchioness. It then asked what to do with profits from a .6 million investment, and ended with a telephone number.
Scammers communicate carefully worded romantic requests for money to purchase computers, international telephones, or pay transportation fees -- always to be used by the "deployed soldier" so the relationship can continue.
They ask the victim to send money, often thousands of dollars at a time, to a third party address. In one version, the scammer poses as a service member who is moving overseas and must quickly sell his or her vehicle.
Other official-looking letters were sent from a writer who said he was a director of the state-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.