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The 2,600-person command Grey serves is in Quantico, Va., and it investigates felonies in which Army personnel are victims or perpetrators.Thus it lacks jurisdiction to probe the barrage of incoming calls, since the service personnel are not victimized beyond having their names and photos misappropriated.“They’ll make up every excuse they can.” As an infantryman who later became a combat correspondent and served in the first Gulf War, Grey knows better.“Military members are taken care of in a military zone,” he says. If they’re not on patrol or in a firefight, they have access to cybercafes, Skype, and can communicate with their family.” Grey has been battling military-romance scams for about six years.Still, what Grey likens to a game of whack-a-mole has become a priority for him as he battles the problem through public education and media outreach.His agency warns online daters about what the Criminal Investigation Command calls a “growing epidemic.” “It’s hard to put an exact number on it,” Grey says, “but it’s a booming business.” According to Grey, there’s an easy step to avoid getting swept off your feet by a military impostor: If you’re on a dating site or app with someone claiming to wear this country’s uniform, ask to be sent an email from his or her military account. “Privates to generals all have such emails,” Grey says.It’s particularly alarming, Davis explained, because romance scams have “evolved.”“What they’ve done now is extend the manipulation by turning the victims into money mules,” Davis said.
Common reasons include an , or a personal emergency like medical or legal expenses.The largest loss he’s seen involved a woman taken for about 0,000.“It’s heartbreaking listening to these stories,” he says.Social media, online classifieds, and dating websites and apps have helped many Canadians meet new people.While online dating can lead to successful relationships, fraudsters also use online dating platforms to target potential victims. They will often ask for your email or phone number, so they can contact you regularly.
As bad actors try to take advantage of women around the world — Grey says he has heard from victims in Great Britain, Japan, Australia and Canada — they’ll usually try to get around the email check by concocting another phony story, he says.