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Zoey, JD
Zoey, JD, Criminal lawyer
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 23980
Experience:  Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
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Hello, please can you help. For the last four months I have

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Hello, please can you help. For the last four months I have been messaging a soldier in Afghanistan.He told me that his father was Italian and his mother was from Bristol. While he was in Texas, America that he joined the USA Military. We have become very close, because he was deployed to Afghanistan, for him to come home he asked me to pay just under£10,000, as I was recently made redundant I had this money. The date and time of his flight were given to me by the USA MOD, then last minute the flight was cancelled because my money went through a day late as we had a bank holiday. Now the MOD are saying I need to send another £5000 out so that my soldier friend has money on him when he gets on the connecting flight in Hong Kong to the UK.By the way the MOD have me as his next of kin, they are saying that once my friend lands in Heathrow they .will be putting his bonus in my account. Please can you let me know if what he is saying is true or have I already been cheated out of my redundancy by him. I will feel so stupid. Thank you for your help. Carole
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Fraud Examiner
Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 2 years ago.
Hello,

My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be assisting you with your question.

I hate to be the one to tell you, but you are the victim of a US military scam.

US soldiers don't need to pay for their flight home. The military transports them for free. And in any case, £10,000 is wildly expensive for a ticket from Afghanistan. He is not a soldier, and though you think that you are getting official communcation from the USA MOD (whoever and whatever that supposedly stands for) you are only in touch with a scammer and his confederates whose job it is to bolster his lies.

Here are a few things you need to know:

- US soldiers in Afghanistan cannot internet date.

- US soldiers in a war zone cannot reveal their actual location.

-- US soldiers in a war zone are not allowed to use mobile phones.

-- They must use their official military email addresses for all communication, and they only get a half hour on line per week for all of their computer correspondence.

All of the above restrictions are required for national security reasons and they get enforced. You'd have never have heard from this scammer in the first place were he really in Afghanistan.

Any time you get involved online with a so-called soldier in the US military who immediately wants to involve you in his financial matters, it is a scam. Each and every time. Any time a US soldier needs you to send money, he is a phony. US soldiers make a very fine living and have access to their funds everywhere in the world.

Here's a warning from the US Army itself about such scams, and if when you finish reading my answer you are still not sure whether to believe me, hopefully you will believe them and break off all contact now. (see link)

Meanwhile, try these tips:

1) Ask your "soldier" for his official military email address. This is not classified information. A real US soldier may have a classified email address as well, but he also has a regular military email address with which he writes to his friends and family. Every soldier does because it is the only one he is supposed to use. When he gives his email address to you, it should end in .mil It will NOT end in .com In other words, it should look like john.doe @us.army.mil

If the email address doesn't end in .mil on the right side of the @ sign, he is a fake. Only US servicemen can get a .mil email address, and if he can't produce one that you can email him back and forth with, he's scamming you. Period.

2) Ask him for his APO address. Tell him you want to send him a surprise and need to know where to send it. If he won't give it to you for any reason, he's scamming you. If he gives you an APO address it will look something like this:

John Doe
23rd Battalion
Unit 1234, Box 56789
APO, AP
96522-1215

Note how there's no address listed. That's because members of the US military serving abroad in a war zone are not allowed to give out their locations for security purposes. The mail goes through military channels and they know where he is and will get it to him.

3) Get his name, social security number and date of birth and enter it here on the US Military's website. This too, is not classified information and, in fact, would be information he'd have to disclose if he were ever captured. The site I have linked you to should tell you if he is a soldier. If he won't tell you, then you know he's a scammer. He has no reason to refuse to give it to you. If he does but the site doesn't recognize him or contradicts what he's told you, that tells you he's a scammer too.

The above are foolproof. If he can't or won't give you what you ask for then he's a fake, no matter what else he tries to say or show you or how many of his buddies he gets to write or call you. Most military scammers are West African and working their con game from Nigeria. They know a great deal about how to charm a woman, but they don't know the first thing about the US military, which is why scams are pretty easy to spot. All you have to do is know more about the US military than a Nigerian.

This last doesn't always work, but when it does it's really dramatic:

4) Upload his photo to Google's Search by Image and see if the same photo is being used all over the web on a bunch of different names and profiles. If you can't figure out how to use Search by Image you can send the photo to me through customer service and I can do this for you or upload his picture with this response using these directions:

http://ww2.justanswer.com/how-do-i-send-photo-or-file-expert


Once you realize he's a scammer, cease all contact with him. Send no money. Report him to your local police, to Actionfraud.police.uk and because he claims to be a US soldier, to the FBI at IC3, gov and the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov.

I
Zoey, JD, Criminal lawyer
Category: Fraud Examiner
Satisfied Customers: 23980
Experience: Active member of the NYS bar since 1989
Zoey, JD and other Fraud Examiner Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Zoey, Thank you very much for your advice. even though I am heart broken as I`ve been in touch with Phillip since Jan/Feb, and talking to him every Saturday and Sunday for about 6weeks, and even worse sent nearly £10,000 to an address in Texas through the Halifax.


I cannot believe I was taken in by him, but he could not provide me with his social security number or APO, stating that he was unable to provide these details in case his Yahoo messenger was being checked .


As you can imagine I am gutted, not only for the future I was promised, the £10,000, but also for being such a fool to be taken in.


Thank you once again, I know I must report this, but I do not want to tell anybody close to me,as my family would only worry about me. He certainly will not be getting another penny from me.Cry Carole

Expert:  Zoey, JD replied 2 years ago.
The one thing you shouldn't do is to beat up on yourself. This isn't your fault. Romance scammers are very, very good at what they do.

The FBI released data that last year Americans lost $50 million to romance scammers. That's just one country!

They work in teams and together juggle many different men and women. So they can afford to be very patient. It's not unusual for scammers to wait months, or more than a year even before dropping the shoe and asking for money. Meanwhile, the victim is sure he or she is in a real relationship, and so they wire the cash.

I'm sure you're upset. But this person is not, was never who, what and where you thought he was. He's not using his real name. He's not telling you his real background. And his photo belongs to someone else too.

Report him to your authorities. Expose him on on sites like Romancescam.com, Scamwarners.com, Scamdex.com, Pigbusters.net and any others in that vein that you can find. Yahoo has a group for romance scam victims that gets pretty wide exposure. You have to join it but once you do, you can post there as well.

And be careful. There are many men on the web who are for real and who are available and really in the market for a relationship. But when they've got one hand in your bank account before you have even met, that's when it's time to do a runner.

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