New Jersey man scammed $2M from women by posing as a soldier on dating sites, prosecutors say
They move fast. This may not go for everyone, but typical military life usually means being away for months at a time. Because of this unique schedule, members of the armed forces tend to move on different romantic timelines than the average Joe. Often, that equates to getting a lot more serious a lot more quickly. There are plenty of young adults who opt to join the military all on their own. That said, it’s not uncommon for military life to be passed down through generations.
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I love your site. These are all really good points. I don’t get the culture that romanticises military relationships. They are hard, there is not a lot of money.
Nowadays, you have to be cautious of everything you do online. Scammers are always trying to get money, goods or services out of unsuspecting people — and military members are often targets. Here are some scams that have recently been affecting service members, Defense Department employees and their families.
In April, Army Criminal Investigation Command put out a warning about romance scams in which online predators go on dating sites claiming to be deployed active-duty soldiers. It’s a problem that’s affecting all branches of service — not just the Army. Scam Alert Military experts are constantly warning service members about social media scams that can affect them and their families. CID said there have been hundreds of claims each month from people who said they’ve been scammed on legitimate dating apps and social media sites.
According to the alleged victims, the scammers have asked for money for fake service-related needs such as transportation, communications fees, processing and medical fees — even marriage. CID said many of the victims have lost tens of thousands of dollars and likely won’t get that money back. Scammers will sometimes provide false paperwork to make their case, but real service members make their own requests for time off.
But what is it? What makes them different from the other men in our lives? Is dating a military man really that different?
Everyone knows: Being single sucks sometimes. Trying to find a relationship using dating sites. So I decided to try three of them for a month. In , while I was single and living in Washington, D. But I deleted them after about a week, because I could never bring myself to actually go on dates with anyone who swiped right. Recently though, I started to think about how hard relationships can be for service members and veterans. So naturally, I took to Google to see if there was an online service for military dating.
While I found no mobile apps, there were three promising websites: MilitaryCupid. In retrospect, the popularity of mobile apps most likely draws the use of eligible military bachelors, because unlike these sites, the interface is more friendly and the likelihood of meeting someone is much higher. A couple days into my quest for love, I was getting messages from some people who lived five miles away, and others who lived in Germany and Japan.
Those men who did reach out were often willing to share some fairly intimate personal details. In talking to them, I learned that a majority of the guys using the sites are in their late 30s, have a few kids, and are looking for a wife to settle down with. Overall, my experiences with the sites were varied, with one emerging as a clear winner. Since I find the notion of paying for online dates a little too similar to paying for sex, I gave up on the site.
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What is the main difference between a military couple, a military married couple, and a couple who are guilty of fraternization? Military relationships occur in abundance. In fact, for instance, within the Army, the Married Army Couples Program MACP was established in the s to help couples within the military handle their career and keep them at least together in the same state if possible, but avoid the same chain of command. According to the MCM, the “elements of proof” for the offense of fraternization are:.
The MCM goes on to offer further explanation of the offense:.
The date of rank of an officer of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps be determined by the Secretary of the military department concerned at the time of.
It might start as a friendly introduction on Facebook. There are pictures of your friend in uniform. Somehow, things have gotten serious, but something still feels weird. The truth is, scam artists target the military community —either by stealing identities or targeting folks with military affinities. Military terminology and policies can be confusing and unfamiliar, so the target may be less likely to question the answers the scammer is giving.
We know that some service members have a hard time making ends meet. Con artists will spend time cultivating a relationship that feels real—especially for you. While there are many legitimate online relationships, beware the person who never wants to meet in real life. Some scams can go on for a year or more while they bilk information and money from their mark.
The pictures they send and the profiles will be doctored or made up. Especially look at the name tape: Does it look manipulated or distorted? If you get a call from their commanding officer or someone up the chain of their command, hang up the phone. And sometimes, there are fights over stupid things. But watch out if you ask for simple things and are constantly turned down.
5 Things to Know About Military Romance Scams on Facebook
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United States military seniority is the method by which the United States Armed Forces determines precedence among commissioned officers, in particular those who hold the same rank. Seniority is used to determine assignments, tactical commands, promotions and general courtesy. To a lesser extent, historical seniority is used to recognize status of honor given to early United States military leaders such as inaugural holders of certain ranks or those officers who served as leadership during major wars and armed conflicts.
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Whether this is the first or the 20th time that your spouse has been called to deploy, relationships change when a spouse serves away from home. Luckily, there are ways to help you keep in touch and maintain a strong relationship with your partner. Here are some ways to nurture your love through deployment:. Plan My Deployment is a planning tool that helps service members and families manage and build resilience through every phase of deployment.
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At what sad point does one resort to a military-themed dating app? How many disappointments from other platforms must transpire to bring one to this stage? But it does come as a surprise.
This casual dating culture is creating headaches for many military health officers in their early-to-mid’s with high school education or less.
On Facebook and Instagram, there are lottery scams , celebrity impostors and even fake Mark Zuckerbergs. There is also a scheme where scammers pose as American service members to cheat vulnerable women out of their savings. To find victims, they search Facebook groups for targets — often single women and widows — and then message hundreds, hoping to hook a few. Once they have a potential mark, the scammers shift the conversations with their victims to Google Hangouts or WhatsApp, messaging services owned by Google and Facebook, in case Facebook deletes their accounts.
For months or weeks, they try to seduce the women with sweet talk and promises of a future together. Eventually, they ask for money. When victims send funds, they often do so via wire transfers or iTunes and Amazon gift cards, which the scammers sell at a discount on the black market. Internet scammers arrived with the dial-up modem years ago, conning people in chat rooms and email inboxes.
Now Facebook and Instagram provide fraudsters with greater reach and resources, enabling them to more convincingly impersonate others and more precisely target victims. Officials from the United States military and the F. When The Times followed the trail of one scam, it led to Nigeria, where six men said in interviews that they swindled Westerners over the internet because it paid far more than honest work, which they said was hard to find.
In Nigeria, the scammers are aided by plentiful internet access and fluency in English. There are also many willing teachers: In groups on Facebook and WhatsApp, they swap scripts for online chats with victims.