A young soldier who friends a woman on Facebook suddenly professes his undying love and devotion -- just before asking for a check to help with military costs. That's the newest scam hitting the social network, with con artists even using photos of real soldiers to create a legitimate-looking profile.
Christopher Grey, spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigation Command at Fort Belvoir, Va., told the Associated Press that the impersonators make ridiculous claims about needing money for special laptops or cell phones. Others say they need the money to pay for permits to visit or talk to family.
"Well, there is no such thing," Grey said.
While no military personnel have lost money, civilian women have, including one woman who lost $25,000. The scammers are likely operating out of a foreign country and cover their tracks with untraceable e-mail addresses and international routed accounts. They also lift photos from existing Facebook accounts to impersonate real people. One soldier, Army Sgt. James Hursey, 26, was discharged from fighting in Iraq and was recuperating at home when he found his photos were being used to lure women on a fake profile.
[Hursey] found a page with his photos on Facebook - on a profile that wasn't his. It was fake, set up by someone claiming to be an active-duty soldier looking for love.
The fake profile featured several photos of Hursey: After basic training, in Iraq and decked out in his military dress uniform. There was even a picture of his dog. Some of the photos apparently were taken from his mother's Facebook page, Hursey said.
"I think it's pathetic that someone is going to impersonate a soldier to try to get money from women," he said.