A New Jersey man was busted Wednesday for running an international lonely hearts scam that turned deadly, authorities said. Sarpong is charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to the U. Sarpong frequently posted selfies on Instagram with large stacks of cash, expensive designer clothing, jewelry and luxury cars — all of which he allegedly bought with money that women sent him. Federal prosecutors said Sarpong and his cohorts created a variety of fake stories on their dating profiles, but the most common lie claimed they were military personnel stationed in Syria and who received, recovered or been awarded gold bars. They asked their victims for money to ship the nonexistent gold bars to the U. Sarpong, a citizen of Ghana and legal U. His Instagram photos often featured massive piles of cash, bottles of Hennessy, Gucci shirts and high-end cars.
Scammers target lonely hearts on dating sites
Online scammers who use lonely hearts schemes to bilk people out of money sometimes steal the identity of a military member to tug at their victim’s heartstrings. Usually, these scammers develop fake contacts, using easily obtained pictures from real U. The scammers often use internet cafes and reroute money multiple times to untraceable sources, making it difficult to track them or reclaim any money they manage to steal.
7 Signs of a Military Romance Scam | Military Dating Scams. Are you sure you’re really in a relationship with the soldier you met online? Learn.
But Sency, a petty officer 1st class stationed in Virginia Beach, has never met or even communicated with any of these people before. The year-old is the victim of a long-running series of scams that steal photos of service members and use them to swindle money out of people online. It works like this: a scammer takes photos of someone like Sency, creates a fake social media account and develops a new online persona — sometimes using the real name of the person in the photo.
Then the scammer will strike up online conversations with women around the world, many of them older or vulnerable, and pretend to be in a hard spot. Sometimes they solicit risque photographs and use them as blackmail. The U. In addition to being in the Navy, he co-hosts a popular military podcast called The Smoke Pit and maintains a sizable public presence for it online. Some of his social media accounts are public, allowing people access to plenty of photos of him.
Many lead back to Nigeria. That fits into a pattern documented in a New York Times investigation last year. And these scammers know the right words to say. Sency said he knows others in the military who have been similarly affected, including soldiers at Fort Bragg and Marines at Camp Lejeune. But not everybody is vocal about it. Still, the people who reach out financially or emotionally devastated are the hardest to stomach.
Online Dating Scam: ‘Military Guy’ Steals Widow’s Heart and Nearly $500,000
Avery Haines Investigative Correspondent, W5. I played along to try to get an inside look at the shadowy world of internet scammers. My game of cat fish – and-mouse with the man calling himself Oliver would have been entertaining, except for the fact that what he does is downright evil. I really wanna know you better hope we can be really close. Am always focused on my job. Oliver says he is a sergeant with the U.
one for the good guys, recently I was duped by a dating scam upon arrival in Ghana I could not give Ghana and The America Military Base: Let Us Be Warned!
Want to discuss? Please read our Commenting Policy first. Retired U. Army Col. The year-old husband and father spent half his life in the military. They use his photos to pose as soldiers on Facebook and dating sites, where they trick women into surrendering thousands of dollars in cash and gift cards in the name of love. Set boundaries and recognize red flags.
Military Scams | Common Tricks & How to Avoid Them
The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. At years-old, Exposto had fallen for a widowed special forces soldier doing his bit for his country. They have never met, which was easily explained — he was deployed in Afghanistan. Exposto recently walked free after facing a death sentence in Malaysia for attempting to smuggle a kilogram of ice five years ago.
image captionScammers often pretend to be military men. You may well think you’d never fall for a romance scam, that they’re cheesy.
Are you dating or talking online to someone who says they are a military member? Have they asked you for funds or documents? 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 email addresses, routing accounts 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.
Love scammers swindle MILLIONS from vulnerable women by pretending to be US soldiers and widowers
It might start as a friendly introduction on Facebook. There are pictures of your friend in uniform. Somehow, things have gotten serious, but something still feels weird. The truth is, scam artists target the military community —either by stealing identities or targeting folks with military affinities. Military terminology and policies can be confusing and unfamiliar, so the target may be less likely to question the answers the scammer is giving.
Scammers prefer to use the images, names and profiles of soldiers as this usually inspires confidence, trust.
Nowadays, you have to be cautious of everything you do online. Scammers are always trying to get money, goods or services out of unsuspecting people — and military members are often targets. Here are some scams that have recently been affecting service members, Defense Department employees and their families. In April, Army Criminal Investigation Command put out a warning about romance scams in which online predators go on dating sites claiming to be deployed active-duty soldiers.
It’s a problem that’s affecting all branches of service — not just the Army. Scam Alert Military experts are constantly warning service members about social media scams that can affect them and their families. CID said there have been hundreds of claims each month from people who said they’ve been scammed on legitimate dating apps and social media sites.
Us military dating
Learn more. Hundreds of times a day, women here and overseas complain about being scammed by con artists posing as U. Army Criminal Investigation Command. Grey has made it a personal crusade to warn the public about the online scams that are using men in uniform as bait to reel in women who hand over cash in the name of love.
It has become so widespread that the American military has issued a directive that soldiers make their social media accounts private, in an.
Each week, I get letters by email, on my website, by Twitter and on Facebook from women who are sending money to Africa and Afghanistan to help service members come home. This is a scam!! These are not men who are in the United States military. They are scam artists preying on desperate women. I met a sergeant in the Army on Facebook from the Zoosk dating site.
We have been texting since May. His name is Sgt. Larry Williams, and he was in Afghanistan from Fort Campbell. I tried to raise the money but was making myself sick trying. He says he was deployed to Africa about three weeks ago, and kept asking about the money. I told him I just did not have it. His response was that he could not take the texting, so I said I guess that meant that we were over.
He responded that he would rather forget about the phone than to lose me. At first, it was three thousand and I sent it.
We’re going to be happy together. You’re the woman of my dreams. To make matters worse, she was recently laid off from her job as a financial analyst after 17 years with the same company. Her house is in foreclosure and she’s declared bankruptcy. That was when Ortiz-Rodeghero discovered a website called seniorpeoplemeet.
Soon after, a man claiming to be an Army major general named Wayne Jackson contacted her.
Petty Officer 1st Class Mike Sency is the victim of a long-running series of scams that steal photos of U.S. service members and use them to.
A romance scam is a confidence trick involving feigning romantic intentions towards a victim, gaining their affection, and then using that goodwill to commit fraud. Fraudulent acts may involve access to the victim’s money, bank accounts, credit cards, passports, e-mail accounts, or national identification numbers ; or forcing the victims to commit financial fraud on their behalf.
Number of cases rose from to in only two years. Romance scammers create personal profiles using stolen photographs of attractive people for the purpose of asking others to contact them. This is often known as catfishing. Communications are exchanged between the scammer and victim over a period of time until the scammer feels they have connected with the victim enough to ask for money.
These requests may be for gas money, bus or airplane tickets to visit the victim, medical or education expenses. There is usually the promise the scammer will one day join the victim in the victim’s home. The scam usually ends when the victim realizes they are being scammed or stops sending money.
Meet the sailor who’s become the new face of military romance scams
This article looks at how to spot the signs of an internet dating scam, how to protect yourself from internet dating scams and most importantly, how to avoid internet dating scams. Insight have taken on many such cases and, on occasions, have been able to reunite the client with some or all of their money. Once this happens they will fade away never to be heard from again. Irrespective of where they are based the fraudsters have accomplices around the world to facilitate the collection of monies.
Military scams claim svictims every day. Are you one a military romance scam victim? Read more.
Clues for spotting fake profiles. One day Georgina received a friend request from a serviceman on peacekeeping duties in Afghanistan. She decided to accept the request and allowed ‘Jim’ to be her Facebook friend. Soon after befriending her, Jim told Georgina he had lost his wife to cancer and his story of looking after her was similar to her own experience when her husband had died of cancer. S military was nearly finished. He sent me pictures which I now know were stolen from someone on the internet.
We became very close and he emailed me every day saying it was easier for him than using Facebook. He said this was the best part of being in Nigeria because it was close to where the precious stones were being mined and he could buy them very cheaply.