Have you met someone online claiming to be a military member? Have things escalated quickly and they’ve started asking for money? While many of us have pure intentions when using dating apps, scam artists continue to use the name of the military to fool people online. To help you avoid becoming the next victim, we’ll explain what military romance scams are, how to report military scams, and how to avoid this type of scam. Keep reading to stay informed!
What Are Military Romance Scams?
Military romance scams usually happen on dating sites and social media platforms. The scammers pretend to be part of the military, even sending you images in their uniform. Once you’ve built that online relationship with them, they start requesting you to send them money for different military needs. These include medical expenses, transportation costs, communication fees, and even marriage processing fees.
Because you think you’ve found true love or that you’re helping the community, you end up sending them money. According to the US Army Criminal Investigation Command, victims of these scammers have lost thousands of dollars with a slim chance of getting their money back.
How To Detect Military Scams
While scammers pretending to be service members are rampant online, there are signs you can look for in case you encounter one on a dating site or social media platform. Below are some examples:
- They tell you they want an honest partner.
- They establish that they’re on a peacekeeping mission.
- They always say they can’t talk over the phone or take a video call for security purposes.
- They declare their love too soon.
- They ask for gift cards.
- They say that their husband or wife is deceased.
- They call you the most endearing names too soon.
- They make you believe they’re sending money or a gift through a specific diplomat.
How To Report These Romance Scams
You may be wondering how to report military scams if you’ve been a victim or you think you’ve met a military romance scammer. Immediately contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). When filing the complaint, you need to include details, like your name and email address as well as the name and other relevant information about the potential scammer.
You can also contact the Federal Trade Commission for identity theft cases. Submitting a report helps with the investigations of law enforcement officers across the US.
How To Avoid These Scams
For you to not fall into the trap of these military scam artists, practice the following steps:
- Do not share your personal and financial information. They can use this to impersonate or blackmail you and drain your bank account.
- Do not send money. If they start asking you for money to cover communication fees, transportation costs, or even marriage processing fees, you should start suspecting that they’re not someone they claim to be.
- Perform some fact-checking. While you’re entering an online relationship, you might as well do your research when they start telling suspicious stories. You can also ask a current or a former military member to verify if they are telling the truth or just trying to con you.
- Try communicating by phone. If they always have excuses whenever you ask to talk over the phone or have video calls, then you have more reason to be suspicious.
- Be very careful, especially when the one you’re “dating” asks you to send something to an African country. There are only a few US troops assigned to these countries and note that romance scams are rampant in Nigeria.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You!
Military romance scams continue to be one of the most common tactics that scam artists use. That’s why you should know how to report military scams and how to avoid them. Social Catfish is with you in this battle against scammers. Just enter the name, phone number, social media username, or email address of the suspicious person and do a reverse search on our platform to verify their identity.