Fraudsters posing as US soldiers on dating websites have been targeting British women to con them out of money. [27 September 2010]
The fraudsters often take the name and rank of a US soldier who is serving with the Army and use photos of soldiers taken from the internet, including from genuine profiles on social networking websites.
How does the US soldier romance scam work?
After building up an online relationship with their victim, the fraudsters make a request for money. They often say that they have found themselves in a difficult or emergency situation, putting them in a serious financial position. Once the victim has paid some money once, more requests for money come in. The fraudster may say they are a single parent and need money for the child, they might say they have medical bills to pay or they are being detained in military prison and need money to get out.
Some fraudsters have also said they need to purchase special laptops, international telephones and transport fees to be used by the soldier when they are deployed to Afghanistan, or elsewhere overseas. There have also been reports of fraudsters asking for money to purchase ‘leave papers’ from the Army, or for financial help for flights home so they can leave a war zone. Many of these requests do not match up to how the US Army operates.
The US Embassy in London is issuing the following advice:
Read more about US soldier romance scams on the US Embassy in London’s website.
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To report a fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online fraud reporting tool.