In the summer of , Bryan Denny received a peculiar message in his LinkedIn inbox. Recently retired after serving more than two and a half decades in the Army, including deploying as part of Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom, Denny had expected to encounter some uncomfortable situations in his transition to civilian life. But as they exchanged messages, he came to a more troubling realization: for several months, the woman had been in a full-fledged online relationship with a Col. Bryan Denny who, it just so happened, looked just like him. Ryan Elliott.
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In a statement released on Friday, the police force said that it had been contacted by a number of women in the region who had been targeted by scammers posing as soliders on online dating sites. After carefully building an online relationship with the women, the "soldiers" ask for money to help them, for example, pay medical bills or fund setting up a telephone link near their military base. The most recent report of such a scam was on January 4, when a woman from Kidderminster told West Mercia Police that she had been contacted by a man claiming to be a soldier. She became suspicious when she worked out some of the details he had given her about himself were false and decided to close the acquaintance.
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Online scammers who use lonely hearts schemes to bilk people out of money sometimes steal the identity of a military member to tug at their victim's heartstrings. Usually, these scammers develop fake contacts, using easily obtained pictures from real U. The scammers often use internet cafes and reroute money multiple times to untraceable sources, making it difficult to track them or reclaim any money they manage to steal. What's especially insidious about this kind of online scam is that many people legitimately want to help a member of the U. The scammers are exploiting people's good intentions toward our men and women in uniform, and exploit their good will.
Men and women in the military lead busy lives — to say the least. Not only are they fighting for our country and our freedom, but they can also be away from family, friends, and their homes for months or sometimes years at a time. They make a lot of sacrifices, which means their dating lives can suffer. The good news is there are dating websites out there specifically for them.