Who do you report online dating scams to

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Fast forward to a few months later, when you start receiving phone calls and mail from people who allege that you scammed them, owe them money, and broke their hearts. Criminals scour the Internet and social media searching for pictures of in-uniform Veterans — some are found online through image searches and others are taken from social networking sites, like Facebook.

But you weren’t involved in any of these interactions — you do not even know who they are. Searching the phrase “online dating scam and military” returns multiple threads posted on popular dating sites and various blogs about men and women being scammed by “Officers and the Enlisted.” However, most Veterans are unaware that someone is using their pictures without permission. And with 15 percent of Americans embarking on the adventure of online dating, according to a report by the Pew Research Center, this forum provides criminals with easy access to personal information to determine their next victim. Then they establish fake profiles at various online dating sites and social networking sites.

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Other times, the victim is asked to coordinate with a third person — the “lawyer,” “financial advisor,” “close friend” — regarding the transfer of money to the criminal to support paying for flights home or medical expenses.Our community is at double risk by either being the target to be scammed or by having a Veteran’s likeness used to execute the scam.There are steps you can take to better protect yourself from falling for such a scam or having your image appropriated, as recommended by fellow victims, as well as the criminal investigative commands in each service branch, such as the U. Army Criminal Investigation Command, in its report, Online Romance Scam Information: What should I do if I am a victim?Know that hundreds of complaints related to online dating scams involving Veterans are being reported every month — you are not alone. D., PMP, Program Analyst, Identity Safety Service, Office of Privacy and Records Management, Office of Quality, Performance and Oversight, U. Find local support groups and share your story so that others may become more aware of how to recognize the signs of this online dating scam.

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