Originally Published: 02 FEB 20 13:47 ET
OMAHA, NE (WOWT) — A warning that comes from the military. Photos of those serving are being hijacked off social media to fool victims of romance scams. In a Six on Your Side investigation, we’re not identifying the victim to keep scammers from making her a target again.
A widow several years Ann thought she found love again only to have both her heart and bank account broken. Ann the romance scam victim said, “Damn right he did, he ruined me financially and broke my heart into a million pieces.”
Ann never met the dashing captain or so he claimed but she surrendered to his online charm. Ann said, “I thought we were going to be together and live a happy life. I mean he sent such beautiful letters to me.” Usually laced with requests for money. Like paying fees so he could go on leave and finally meet her.
Ann said, “A perfect target, he knows I have a house. He knows I’m single living alone.”
The pretend Army Captain even promised to bring home gold if she paid customs fees and taxes. The gold never came and Ann realized she had been scammed for several months.
The Army has posted a warning that romance scams have increased using photos grabbed off social media. A Douglas County Sheriff’s detective found that the victim’s captain should be demoted to an imposter.
Douglas county sheriff’s sergeant Nate Kovarik said, “We did learn the military unit that he claimed to be from doesn’t actually exist and this person isn’t a real military service member it’s still an ongoing investigation.”
But the detective says out of country scams make it hard to track and recover a victim’s money. The widow has lost $45,000 and she sent a final email to a scammer who is not an officer or a gentleman.
Ann told us what she wrote, “You are without heart and one day it’s going to catch up with you. They’re going to get you. You’re going to pay one day.”
The sheriff’s detective helped the victim remove apps and email addresses used to target her. This case is a reminder for relatives to watch social media contacts with their elderly loved ones.
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