Wednesday 30 January 2019

I fell in love online with an American soldier

With just two messages your new virtual friend fell in love with you so strongly that he is too eager to see you. The only problem? He needs your money to buy airline tickets to get to know you. Unfortunately due to the loneliness of many women, mainly in good financial situation and between 40 and 60 years old, they become victims of internet fraud.

The "Nigerian scam" is the most recently arrived in Spain. The idea is to supplant the identity of American soldiers, stealing real photos of the military to put them in fake profiles and swindling their victims. The soldier manifests his love and devotion very quickly in messages or emails, taking advantage of the affection shown by the woman to ask for money based on false stories. The truth is that these scammers have a very high imagination and creativity since all the stories invented are authentic Mexican novels.

Many times they start asking for money for basic things like emergencies, hospital bills or plane tickets, by way of testing if the person will transfer money without thinking twice. If they are lucky, then the misery of the victim will begin, as they will rob her to the bone.

One of the stories reported indicates that a supposed American military has usurped, together with his unit, a fortune from a terrorist group, so he asked his "girlfriend" to send him money to expatriate the fortune. A simple story without great imagination, we know it. But stories tend to improve over time. Another, this time a little more elaborate, the false American soldier survives a bombing and due to the sublime work exhibited is awarded with gold ingots. But as gold cannot be kept in the country where he is, the woman will receive it at her address, but for that she has to send him 2000 dollars since it is necessary to put the customs stamps. After the stamps, other customs complications arise that always involve the transfer of money by the victim. The gold never reaches the destination.

Finally the story that reaches the heart of any woman, a US military man found a treasure and wants to try to get it out of Afghanistan in order to build orphanages in America. But he need to start by moving the money to Europe and for that he ask for help from his victim, guaranteeing that part of the money will be for her and the other part will be for the construction of orphanages. Many lonely and sentimental women do not think twice before doing it, it is the perfect trick.

To prove the veracity of their stories, the scammers send passports, war photographs or honorary titles, but all the papers they use are bad falsifications of real military documents and the unfortunate soldiers whose identity was stolen have nothing to do with this type of scams. So, whenever you receive a request of friendship from a Stephen J. Townsend, Nicholas Patrick Carter, James Hursey, Nathan Fish, Kevin James, George Donald, James Maner or Tom Davidson James, you need to be careful because it is likely that you become a victim of the "Nigerian scam".

To avoid suffering this type of fraud the best advice is never send money to anyone you met online. You can also avoid contact with any American soldier that you don’t know, evade online dating pages and check the English spelling of the alleged US military.

Even under the anonymity of the network, every day that passes more people are working together to eradicate this problem. And, if a similar situation happens to you, you can ask for help from private detectives to solve your problem, since they are equipped with the maximum capabilities to prevent or investigate fraud, providing concrete evidence about the scams. With the support of criminalistics techniques they can, for example, evaluate the veracity of the documents sent by the scammers and thus avoid that you become a victim of these love delinquents.

So, beware of new requests for friendship on social networks, something that may seem innocent, can actually be a scam resulting from a false profile.

Sindia Alves and A. Oliver
Anthropologist and Detective
of Oliver Detectives


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