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Are you dating or talking online to someone who says they are a military member? Have they asked you for funds or documents? You might be looking for true love, but chances are good that you are the victim of one of thousands of military scams conducted every day. Officials and websites like Military. Victims of these online military scams often think they are doing a good deed by helping a military member.
Instead, they have given their money to a scammer, sometimes losing thousands of dollars, with very low possibility of recovery. The U. Unfortunately, the people committing these scams are often overseas -- using untraceable addresses, routing s through numerous locations around the world and utilizing pay-per-hour Internet cyber cafes.
See examples of fake documents used by scammers. There are a variety of words and phrases used by scammers to hook unsuspecting men and women into relationships. Here are some examples:. Scammers tend to use similar stories to convince men and women that they have a legitimate need. Here are common answers to those questions:. Never send money. Be extremely suspicious if you are asked for money for transportation costs, communication fees or marriage processing and medical fees via Western Union.
Do your research. 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 service member. Communicate by phone. 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. Internet or not, service members always appreciate a letter in the mail. 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. Don't use a third party. Be very suspicious if you are asked to send money or ship property to a third party or company. Often, the company exists but has no idea or is not a part of the scam. Watch for African countries. Be very suspicious if the person you are corresponding with wants you to mail anything to an African country. While some U. Someone claiming to be in a place where we have few troops is suspect. Many scams originate in Nigeria. Watch for grammar.
Be aware of common spelling, grammatical or language errors in the s. Be guarded. Be very suspicious of someone you have never met and who pledges their love at warp speed. How do you get help if you are the victim of a military scam or think you have found a romance scammer posing as a military member? Unfortunately, if you've given money to a scammer, you're unlikely to get it back since scammers are often located overseas and are untraceable.
You can also report identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your report helps law enforcement officials across the United States in their investigations. Finally, report Nigerian scams to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission by at scam efccnigeria. For the latest military news and tips on military family benefits and more, subscribe to Military. Like most parents, I'm plagued by the idea that my Army husband and I might be screwing up our. It's Valentine's Day week and romance is on everyone's mind, particularly people in the dating world.
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