May 20, 2010
A few weeks ago, we posted a blog about romance scams, “Army Warns of Internet Romance Scams,” perpetrated by criminals pretending to be U.S. servicemembers.
Since then, we’ve received a flood of comments from women around the world who are concerned they’re being scammed.
One woman wrote, “This evening a man that claims to be a captain in the U.S. Army Special Forces asked me to go to my bank and withdraw $2,000 for application of his leave papers.”
And another, “I too have been in touch with someone in the Air Force in Afghanistan and is a sergeant. We have been e-mailing each other for two weeks and (he) tells me how much I mean to him, until recently he asked me to communicate via a phone for the military, which I would need to purchase an installation fee for over $900.”
Although we printed the warning signs before, they’re worth repeating:
– 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 servicemember;
– 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 serving overseas will often have an APO or FPO mailing address. Internet or not, servicemembers always appreciate a letter in the mail;
– Be extremely suspicious if you are asked for money for transportation costs, communication fees or marriage processing and medical fees;
– 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; and
– Be aware of common spelling, grammatical or language errors in the e-mails.
For more information on Internet romance scams please visit the Federal Trade Commission’s “Fighting Identity Theft” website, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s website and the Internet Crime Complaint Center.
If you think you might be a victim of an Internet romance scam or other types of identity theft, report it to the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338).