Military romance scams are not a new thing. Scammers have been posing as military service members to cheat well-intended people out of their savings for quite a while, but the complexity of the scheme has changed and the targets have increased.
The United States military has been reducing its troop strength in Afghanistan over the past year, but despite the reduction there are still 13,000 troops in this country. This means there is still an important presence of military members (even when considering only U.S. military). This fact is being used by online scammers as an excuse to drain victims’ bank accounts. The fake stories of military people in need for help continue to grow by the day, and the scammers’ wallets keep getting bigger.
According to private investigators in Afghanistan, the victims of military romance scams tend to be women between 45 to 54 years-old, who respond to elaborate stories and are well-educated. However, many other people who do not belong in this group are falling victim too. Afghanistan romance scammers are also posing as female military service members, increasing the scope and the potential amount of victims. The techniques have evolved to very complex stories that are hard to uncover without professional help and local expertise.
What do you need to know to stay safe?
Romance scammers prey on people to build a relationship and defraud their victims. They are clever, well organized and have a number of tried techniques that make them highly successful. The extreme emotional ties formed can make victims easy to manipulate and leave them vulnerable to knowingly or unknowingly engaging in criminal activity. The key to the success of their criminal operation is in this bond that is formed with the victim.
“Knowing the facts before there is an emotional tie with the criminal is the key to stop military romance scams,” says John Wallace, Director of Background Checks at Wymoo International. Once a victim has developed feelings for the so-claimed soldier, it is harder to see the truth. Most victims have a feeling that something is off in their relationship, or in the requests that the scammers make, but have developed such strong feelings for them that they deny the possibility of being scammed. Deep down, many victims feel that something is wrong, but decide to ignore this gut-feeling and go on with their relationship. Getting a proper investigation early can keep you safe.
Be cautious! Get a background check investigation.
If you meet someone online who claims to be part of the military and deployed in Afghanistan (or anywhere else), be sure to hire a dating background check investigation. Professional investigators recommend not to wait for red flags to appear, since many of the signs can go unnoticed. Instead, have an expert local investigator look into the facts and verify the person’s identity.
In military scam cases it is especially important to hire a global investigation firm, as the investigation will have to take place in different countries at the same time. It is most likely that birth records, identity documents and military service information will have to be checked in one country, while entry in Afghanistan, travel records and other pieces will have to be verified locally.
If you want to avoid being victim, do not try to outsmart a possible criminal. They know how to play their game. The best option is to obtain evidence soon. Contact us for a free quote!
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