The probability of getting involved with an online scammer gets higher as technology advances. Nowadays, a popular dating scam method is the military romance scam.
If you’re talking to or dating someone online and they say they’re in the military, they could be lying to you.
These dating scams usually follow a particular pattern: the scammers contact their target and pretend to be military officials, form a relationship, then start asking their target for money to cover expenses like feeding and transport.
Please beware of online dating someone who claims to be a military official serving in Afghanistan or other places. Scam victims are tricked into believing that they’re helping a military member out but end up being defrauded of their money which they don’t get back most times.
The US has created task forces to deal with this specific issue, but unfortunately, most of these perpetrators are outside the country and cover their tracks relatively well.
How to Know if You’re Being Scammed
Almost as if they have a handbook, these military romance scammers use excuses that seem genuine to fool their targets into sending them money and documents. Some examples are:
- They profess their feelings for you surprisingly fast.
- They tell you their parents or significant other is dead.
- They tell you they can’t make phone or video calls for safety reasons.
- They claim to be on a peacekeeping mission.
- They tell you they want an honest partner.
- They call you by a term of endearment almost immediately.
- They tell you they’re sending money, jewelry, or other valuables to you through a third party.
- They tell you they have a child or children that a nanny or other parent is taking care of.
- They talk about how they can’t wait to see you and be with you.
- Although they claim to be American, their grammatical constructions don’t look fluent or even remotely correct.
Frequently Asked Questions About Military Romance Scams
As we said earlier, these dating scams usually follow the same routine, so to further avoid confusion on if your person is a scammer or not, here are answers to FAQs:
- A general officer won’t be on an online dating site.
- Members of the military don’t need permission to get married.
- Military officials don’t pay for early retirement.
- Every military member has medical insurance for them and children/wife/husband.
- Military officials don’t find money that needs to be moved out of the country they’re in.
- Military personnel doesn’t beg for money from civilians.
- Military aircraft aren’t used to transport private cars.
How to Avoid Military Romance Scams
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when talking to a “military” member on an online dating site. To avoid being the next victim of these online dating scams, keep the following in mind:
- Research on the person: Search the person’s name, picture, email, and location on the internet to make sure that you’re speaking to an actual military member and not a scammer.
- Don’t send money to anybody. If a supposed military member asks you for money, beware. Military officials don’t ask for money from civilians, and they don’t ask them to send the money through channels like Western Union.
- Beware of third parties. If your “military” member asks you to send money through a third party, don’t send it. You probably won’t ever get the money back. If they ask you to send money or other items to them through a shipping company, be suspicious.
- Try to talk to them on the phone. If your online suitor refuses to talk to you on the phone by giving excuse after excuse, be suspicious, you could be dealing with a scammer.
- Beware of African countries. If your person tells you they’re in an African country, or they want you to ship something to an African country, make sure it’s one of the few countries that the US army has troops in. Be especially careful of Nigeria; a high number of these scams are from there.
How to Report a Military Romance Scam
Do you suspect that you or a loved one is falling victim to one of these dating scams? Are you worried about the situation and confused about your next move? Here is what to do when you suspect you’re being scammed by someone you thought was your love interest:
First of all, know that if you’ve sent any money to the scammer, it’s virtually impossible to get the money back because most of these scammers are outside the country and untraceable.
Instead, you can report the incident to the following task forces:
- The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), on their website.
- You can file a report on identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Do this by dialing their number 1-877-ID-THEFT or on their website.
Reporting a suspected military romance scammer will make you feel safe and save someone else from falling victim to them as well. Please be sure to report these suspected activities as soon as you notice them.