Colorado Springs

ScamBusters: Military catfishing fraud on the rise in El Paso County

ScamBusters: Military...

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Scammers are impersonating U.S. soldiers overseas with a lucrative dating scam.

How it works

Hackers are tugging at the heart strings of women who believe they're in a long distance relationship with soldiers working overseas.

It's usually done through dating apps or sites, where scammers will make a fake profile utilizing pictures of soldiers found on the internet.

The scam can work in a number of ways, but the most common scenario plays out like this: the fake soldiers ask their significant other for money, citing financial troubles, but are deeply in love and want to visit.

Meet Paul

After serving for four years, Paul Gutierrez is back home looking for that special someone.

"It's exciting, but can also be nerve racking," he said.

Those nerves built up after hearing horror stories from his fellow soldiers.

"I have friends in the service who would frequently find their pictures on dating apps that weren't their profiles," he said.

That's because those accounts were fake. Scammers pose as soldiers, catfishing women.

Catfishing is the term that refers to luring someone into a relationship by means of a fake online profile.

"Often times the women would believe that they're in a relationship and would fork over the money in order to see their supposed significant other," Gutierrez said.

Tips and tricks

Det. Jon Price with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office explains romance scams are on the rise countywide, although he didn't provide exact numbers. He explains the red flags are usually spotted early.

"It'd be a major red flag if someone asks you for money within the first two weeks of the relationship," he said.

Keep in mind, most dating sites will reject fake profiles after complaints of 'odd behavior'. But until then, look out for poor grammar, very few photos, and their inability to meet you in person.

Want to report a scam?

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