Under the Radar

Is Your Photo Being Used for a Military Romance Scam?


The CNBC news program American Greed will be airing a special report "Soldier Scam" on Monday August 28th at 10pm eastern / 9pm central. Check out the trailer below.


Soldier romance scams are a grift that's as old as the postal service but the internet has made them easier to pull off and far more devastating. Scammers use photos of real soldiers to create false identities that lure lonely folks into online "relationships" that always end in a request for money. The con continues because it works.

Military.com's own Amy Bushatz and her husband Luke will appear in this report because Luke's one of the men whose photo has been used to scam others. Amy's become an expert on the subject. She offers this insight.

Not only do I hear at least once a week from women and men who are worried they are being scammed, but my husband’s picture and name are often used in the scams themselves. I have received several messages over time from women letting me know that my “husband,” Luke, is cheating on me. In these scams the person using his photo and part of his name has told them that he is an NCO of some kind and that I have died from cancer. “He” is often stationed in Detroit, Michigan, but deployed overseas. For this episode of American Greed, both Luke and I were interviewed about what it’s like to be on the other end of a military romance scam – and how those being scammed can tell that the person they are talking to is not real.
Obviously, the best way to combat this sort of ripoff is to get the word out about how it works. If you know someone who's susceptible to this kind of thing, set your DVR and save the report for some time in the future when you might need it.

"Soldier Scams" is the second report on the show, following one about Tracy Vasseur, a school supply vendor who scammed the Detroit city schools out of millions of dollars. If you tune in at 10:30pm ET, you should be able to catch the entire piece.


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