Military romance scams typically involve persons claiming to be U.S. soldiers who are serving their duties in Afghanistan or other countries abroad. They may meet someone on a dating site or social media site, and introduce themselves as a soldier. Their pictures might include images of them in uniform, military documents, and other information suggesting that they are in the U.S. Armed Forces.
After a while, the person posing as military personnel might then begin asking the other person for money in relation to “service-related needs”, which are invariably false. These might include requests for money for transportation, communication (phone bills etc.), medical fees, and marriage expenses. Some victims of military romance scams have been deceived into paying tens of thousands of dollars. This is similar to other romance scams that can happen online.
How can I Tell if Someone is Trying a Military Romance Scam on Me?
Military romance scams can be costly and can sometimes place the victim in very difficult situations. You should be wary of a person claiming to be in the military who:
- Requests money for expenses, especially through the use of Western Union and other money remittance services
- Requests that you send money or other information to third party companies; in some cases, the company might exist legitimately, but they might not know of their involvement or use in a scam
- Writes in a manner that contains spelling and grammar error uncharacteristic of their education or background (this could indicate that it is a foreign person posing as a U.S. citizen)
- Pledges their love or loyalty to you at a very fast pace
- Never allows you to speak to them personally on the phone or through video chat
- Does not display proper military conduct or protocol
Lastly, as with any internet-based dating situation, always do your research on the person to ensure that they are really who they say they are. In the case of potential military romance scams, you may want to speak with a military service person if you have any questions specifically related to the military or communication protocol with personnel abroad.
Are There any Legal Consequences or Punishments for Military Romance Scams?
As with any type of scam, instances of fraud may be met with criminal fraud consequences. These can include legal consequences like possible jail time and criminal retribution (paying back expenses to the victim). Civil consequences can also include payment of damages for losses caused by the fraud or scam arrangement.
One problem with military romance scams is that they can be difficult to trace. Scammers are often located overseas and may use untraceable emails and accounts. Thus, if you believe you may be involved in a romance scam, you should contact authorities or a legal professional immediately, as they will have access to resources for tracking down such culprits.
Do I Need a Lawyer for Assistance with a Military Romance Scam Claim?
Romance scams may involve a complex mix of different laws. It may be in your best interests to hire a criminal law attorney in your area. Your attorney can provide with assistance for your claim, and can represent you in a court of law.