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“I’ve been cussed out several times,” he says, describing calls from women who have “waited at the airport for someone who never showed up.” Sometimes those who call the command are relatives alarmed by an online entanglement involving their mother or sister.
Cybercrooks also fabricate official-looking “military” documents to further their scams, typically seeking money or financial or personal information from the scam victim, Grey says.
The 2,600-person command Grey serves is in Quantico, Va., and it investigates felonies in which Army personnel are victims or perpetrators.
Thus it lacks jurisdiction to probe the barrage of incoming calls, since the service personnel are not victimized beyond having their names and photos misappropriated.
Scammers create fake online profiles using photos of other people — even stolen pictures of real military personnel. And they tug at your heartstrings with made-up stories about how they need money — for emergencies, hospital bills, or travel. Here’s how it works: The scammers set up dating profiles to meet potential victims.
After they form a “relationship,” they come up with reasons to ask their love interest to set up a new bank account.
Hundreds of times a day, women here and overseas complain about being scammed by con artists posing as U. Grey, 60, a retired Marine master sergeant, says he’s heard from victims who have lost ,000 to ,000 to such scams and even taken out a second mortgage to foot the bills for an impostor feigning love.
There may be tens of thousands of victims, and only a small fraction report it to the FTC.“We see a lot of people coming to us now saying, ‘Hey, have I been scammed? ’ ” Some tips from the command to avoid being scammed: Outside the armed forces, misdeeds surrounding bogus military romances irritate Atlanta cybersecurity expert Lawrence Baldwin, chief intelligence officer for my Net He says hotspots for online romance scammers include Nigeria and other parts of West Africa. The largest loss he’s seen involved a woman taken for about 0,000.“It’s heartbreaking listening to these stories,” he says.