Hook, Line and Tinder: Scammers Love Dating Apps

I was a victim of an online dating scam

Jasonville, Indiana CNN -- Wcams Christmas, Stacey Chapman hung a stocking, anxiously awaiting the homecoming of the all-American soldier she had met online and planned to marry. But he never came home. After some research, Chapman discovered the cjn blond in onlinee pictured in the online dating profile, Spc. Brian Browning, had died in Iraq three years ago. And the man she had been e-mailing and chatting with cnn online dating scams the last six months, who went by the name "Christain Browning," was really a scammer posing as an American soldier.

Chris Grey, a spokesman for the Army's Criminal Investigation Command, told CNN his division has received hundreds of complaints of scammers using the oline of U. CNN has learned the scammers have used photos of both living and dead troops, including high-ranking Army officials and even generals assigned to the Pentagon. Many of the soldiers are fighting overseas, unaware that their photos -- stolen off the web -- are being used unless they're contacted by the duped victims.

But often, as in the case of Stacey Chapman, the impostor uses a variation on the soldier's name, making the real soldier hard to find. And cn the financial hit hurt, it didn't compare to the emotional toll. Grey said the military can't do anything to stop the scam because U. The best solution, he said, is to cnn online dating scams the word out.

Grisham, a military blogger and active-duty soldier, is doing just that. Grisham receives up to 10 emails a day from victims duped by the scammers. Through his blog, www. Grisham said the scheme often starts out small. After capturing the attention of a woman online with a fake profile of a man in uniform, the scam artist teases the victim with chocolates, flowers and teddy bears.

Soon after sending the gifts, the impostor starts asking for money to pay for Internet or phone service. From there, the money requests grow. Loyalty or patriotism is a very powerful emotion. And people do a lot of stupid stuff in the name of love and in the name of patriotism," Grisham said. CNN contacted the Cnn online dating scams family in Astoria, Oregon, after learning that the photo of their fallen son had been used in the online romance scam.

Brian Browning's father, Perry Browning, didn't take the news lightly. Browning's father had a message for Stacey Chapman, the woman who planned to marry his "son. My son was a worthy person. He was worth falling in love with," Browning said. Chapman is "every much a victim in this as my son Brian was," he added. Crappy bastard," he said. Mixx Facebook Twitter Digg delicious reddit MySpace StumbleUpon LinkedIn Viadeo.

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Online dating scams - Jan's Story