Some people should not have Facebook accounts. And I don't just mean kiddies under, say, 16 or 17, who can only really get into Mean Girls-esque conflicts and sexting controversies because of the site. People of any age who have absolutely no "Internet street smarts," if you will, should steer clear of social networking. Because they're so darn gullible, they're being taken advantage of left and right by crazy, stupid con artists who are adopting the identities of military men.
This has been going on for awhile, it seems. These loser con artists steal photos of soldiers to set up Facebook profiles, then contact women on the site. In their message, they say they love the woman, they're hopelessly devoted to them (uh, even though they've never met before?), and then they ask if their potential victim can lend 'em some money.
According to the AP, some of the fake soldiers say they need money for special laptops and cell phones. Others say they need cash to buy special papers to come home on leave or a registration form because military officials won't let them talk to family.
Why would anyone with a CLUE think that a message like this could possibly be real? Are they the same people who have actually sent money to a man in Nigeria with hopes of starting a "business relationship"?
Don't get me wrong -- I'm not laughing. One woman who was contacted by a fake soldier lost $25,000. That's horrifying. Obviously, the person had a good heart and was taken for a ride by a con artist.
It's frustrating that con artists are not only stealing identities of soldiers, but that they're targeting women on Facebook who -- if they do fall for the scam -- are likely just very compassionate, potentially insecure people. But the way this scam goes down sounds SO ridiculously transparent! Well, at least I would think it would to anyone who has the slightest idea of what they're doing interacting with others online.
Unfortunately, because the impersonators appear to be operating from foreign countries, military officials can't really do anything to can their scams. And victims are left to weed through miles of red tape over at the Federal Trade Commission. Bummer. Then again, I kinda want to say to anyone who ends up in that mess, "That's what you get for lackin' Internet street smarts!"
Have you ever been messaged by a scammer on Facebook?
Image via The U.S. Army/Flickr