Scammers are using soldiers' pictures to swindle women

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by MEG COYLE / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on November 12, 2012 at 7:17 PM

They are the faces of war - soldiers on the front lines and many of their pictures online, making them perfect pawns in a sophisticated scam.
 
Joint Base Lewis-McChord says it's become a huge problem-- scammers using soldiers' pictures to swindle women looking for love.
 
These days, a lot of women want to be Army Major Gordon' Hannett's Facebook friend. In fact, they want to be more than friends.

"Two women asked me to marry them, just straight up in Facebook messages."

And who can blame them? In pictures they see a strong brave military man who loves his mom and always had a smile on his face, even on the front lines of war.

"My mother was really nervous about going to Iraq so made sure in every picture I smiled because she would see all these pictures," says Hannett.

But she wasn't the only one. Scammers saw them too.

"At some point some bad person out there must've said, 'Hey look at all these pictures of this person. Let's download these and pretend we're this person," said Hannett.

Soon, Major Hannett started showing up on dating websites and on facebook seeking "an honest, trust(ing), caring, nice woman to call my own."

The problem is Major Hannett never was looking for love. Scammers were looking for cold hard cash. And they got it - at the expense of Hannett's female suitors.

"They'll tell them that they love them then I wanna marry you and I wanna come visit you, that's part of the scam always," says Hannett.

So the women send money and wait. And Major Hannett unknowingly leaves a trail of broken hearts and bank accounts.

"Apparently. I mean I've heard from over 300 people on Facebook at this point," he said.

Major Hannett is hardly alone. Everyday the higher-ups here JBLM hear from more and more soldiers and civilians complaining that they've been scammed.

One of those women was Tammy Reynolds from Ontario Canada. Eventually she was onto the con so she didn't lose any money, but she did lose something else.

"They're taking your heart. They're not just taking your money they're taking your heart as well and it's devastating."

Major Hannett is doing his best to warn these women online and most of them now know of the scam. He's also contacted the FBI only to be told they don't have the resources to track down these scammers, many of them half a world away.
 
To learn more about the scam or to report a fake account:
 
www.romancescam.com
 
http://asp.militarygear.com/2010/07/28/the-wall-of-shame/

http://asp.militarygear.com/2010/01/15/anatomy-of-a-military-dating-scam/

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