In 2013, my boss’s spouse got an email. It went something like this 😛 TAGEND

Dearest *** ******,

You husband told me not to write to you, but I decided I must. It is inauspicious what will happen to you, and I feel I have to say something to you in advance. ****** and I are in love, and he is going to leave you to be with me. He has continued the affair from you a secret, and “hes having” continued it a secret from the other people in the military, but it will come out soon. Please be strong, and are well aware that I do not wish you any ill will .

Regards ,

Suzy ******

At this point, I had been an Army officer for about 10 years. My boss was a general, and I was his speechwriter. His spouse forwarded this email to my report, so it fell on me to confront him with the news.

“Oh, deity, ” he told. “Not again.”

This is something Army folk go through all the time. No , not having affairs and getting ratted out to their spouses — they’re actually being impersonated by scammers who use their fake identities to seduce unsuspecting women.

The scammers( from Africa, principally Ghana) start by snagging real troops’ photographs and personal information. When you’re an army policeman — specially a high-ranking one — this info is all public, even more so than with normal people who simply share too much online. The scammer uses this info to make a fake Facebook profile, and then they add various old, single girls as friends.

You, dear reader, are Internet savvy. You’re here. The best place on the internet. It’s obvious. So when you get a Facebook request from someone who has a Chippendale dancer avatar and a grand total of five working friends, you know it’s a sham. Perhaps some of the older wives these scammers target are as savvy as you are. But others aren’t and simply think that a uniformed stranger wants to be their friend.

The scammers likewise make fake email addresses and multiple Skype profiles 😛 TAGEND

And then, after countless late nighttimes texting sweet nothings to each other, they ask the woman to mail fund to Ghana.

What is an American Army officer doing in Ghana? Army stuff, of course! And what does he necessity fund for? Body armour, rations, stuff to keep him alive — you’re ever hearing about people in the military forces dying from a lack of good gear, right? So send your secret boyfriend money via Western Union. You can’t fulfill him in person because he’s currently deployed, but you are able to help keep him alive . And if you ever want to see him in person, well, then it’s all the more important that you mail him that fund. Plus, maybe one day he can purchase a leave shape and take you on a romantic honeymoon.

Purchasable leave forms? I-is that a thing? You don’t know that’s not a thing .

In Ghana, the scammer accumulates the money utilizing some hastily made, janky fake ID … which doesn’t have his actual depict on it, but Western Union people don’t care.

In the case of Suzy, who was thoughtful enough to contact the general’s wife, it fell on me to explain to her that she’d been clowned. She wrote back to her online boyfriend, telling she’d talked to the military and now knew “hes not” who he said he was. His reply 😛 TAGEND

I know that I have hurt you for what I’ve done and I am asking for your forgiveness and hoping that we could start all over again. I genuinely cherish those instants when everything was going great, and you’re so cool. I could hardly take the reality of losing you. I genuinely want you back my Love .

Here is my true-life identity I’m Army Captain ****** this is the fourth-highest in command in that limb of the armed services. The rank is designated as O-9 on the military pay scale, which intends a wage of virtually $45,000 a month. A Captain general sports a row of one starrings as an insignia on his or her shoulder. Typically, this rank is not achieved before 20 years in the service .

The reason for my foolish act is because General ****** has been my role modern and i genuinely want to be like him, And i said that he hoped that have not change the Love you have for me, Because i know true love is what i feel for you, I know what my heart feel for you, I don’t know you because i saw you from your illustration, I love you because my heart feel and beats for you my Love, Please don’t use this medium as an proof to judge me, because I pretend to be General ******

Like i said I’m Captain ******. I will send you a picture of myself along with this mail for you to magistrate me on your own point of view .

Yes. He had a reserve identity all ready. I didn’t know whether to be impressed by his resourcefulness or baffled at his belief that he could still salvage this with a backup personality. With this last email, the scammer likewise attached personal pictures of himself had demonstrated that he truly, definitely was this army captain — this time for-realsies.

Somehow, this convinced her. Yes, again. Chat log from before 😛 TAGEND

Scammer: Okay honey since you know and said i am not ****** why then did you come to me for chat? then keep forgetting about me because i am tired of this whole thing okay .

Suzy: then saw it was you, where we went to eat? because I want you , not him, but I want to know you’re there

Scammer: Honey you don’t want me okay, if you want me you will not being doing all this rubbish .

Suzy: I had too many doubts and wanted to understand …. But I have talked with you, I read your letters, your face does not interest me , nor medals. I have loved you , not him, he is another person. he is not like you, do not tell me what you tell me…. you be able to understand me? I want to know your age, if you’re married, and where are you ?

Scammer: I am not married

Suzy: if you are a humankind, or a woman ?

Scammer: Okay promise you will enjoy me and stay with me .

Suzy: promised if you are not a kid .

Scammer: although i am a kid promise you gonna stay with me and desire since you said you love me .

Suzy: if you’re 20 years old I can be your mommy

Scammer: what if i am 25 yrs age-old? well i want you to promise me and since you say you enjoy me you don’t need to know my age, you will keep on desiring me and caring for me so promise me and then lets discuss .

Suzy: I do not want to suffer for love, if you are so young, in a few years you leave me for another woman

Scammer: Okay so you don’t love me and lets forget about it. well i am not a young boy okay

And, after, he sent these pics of “himself” 😛 TAGEND

Scammer: Now that you discovered me do you still adoration, e Me ?

Suzy: yes

Scammer: Thank you so much, Because i can’t live without you in my life I’m so happy now

Suzy: now I rest, Because the hospital induced me care and I have to rest until tomorrow

Scammer: So you believe in me now ?

Suzy: yes

Scammer: Okay Honey get some rest not we talk tomorrow we you feel much better .

Suzy: Tomorrow morning I Moving my office the move, perhaps I can get online but in that place “were not receiving” line even for mobile phone

Scammer: Okay honey please take good care of yourself for me and remember that i love you so much. Kiss and desire always, bye for now :*( nerve )

Suzy: I love you too …. A little tip-off, it deletes all ****** there are too many ******

If you couldn’t make it through the entire transcript, it’s like if you are able somehow read a vehicle crash .

I spoke with Suzy on the phone and persuaded her that this was still a ludicrous scam. A little later, members of the general mailed me an email that mentioned, “Steve: Fix my Wikipedia page.” I went to Wikipedia and saw this 😛 TAGEND

Sure; it’s in no way suspected that “Marital Status” is the first segment listed for a general .

The page is supposed to say that members of the general is wedded, and include his wife’s epithet, but the scammers deleted her from the internet’s most trusted information source. I reverted the edit and added “monitor the general’s Wikipedia page” to my listing of duties. Later still, a scammer edited the page to say the general’s wife and children had all died in a flame. I overwrote that as well. It generally falls to me to be the point man on this battle, because I’m the young guy in government departments — it’s the “grandma on Thanksgiving” rule. I’m technologically adept, and that intends I have to “volunteer.”

I have a colleague at the Pentagon( another younger “Thanksgiving volunteer”) who fields calls from these scammed girls. When she answers, the women usually cut the conversation short. I asked her why this was.

“It’s pretty easy to guess, ” she said. “It’s the same reason they fall for these defrauds in the first place. These are age-old, lonely women who got lost in the fantasy of talking to mysterious, sexy military men. So when they think something’s going well, they call the Pentagon — because scammed or not, they are continuing want to talk to mysterious, sexy military men.”

“You signify …? “

“Yep. Some girls keep ‘falling’ for the purposes of our strategy, in the same way some women ‘accidentally’ determined their home on fire simply to have firemen show up at their house.”

Consider this, from Suzy’s chat logs 😛 TAGEND

Scammer: Hello honey are you there? Hello honey are you there ?

Suzy: I’m here

Scammer: Honey how are you ?

Suzy: I was in Texas U.S. Army *****

Scammer: Oh okay so what happened ?

Suzy: I gratified Major ****** and ******

Scammer: Okay so? why are you now telling ?

Suzy: Now what do you say ?

Scammer: What do you are willing to to mention? What did ****** “ve told you” ?

Suzy: I ate with him and talked with an interpreter

She lives in Italy — she never came to Texas to speak with me, or anyone.

Of course, maybe that’s okay in a “to catch a thief” sort of style. But then you get the women who ask us for fund. They call, and at first it seems like they’re simply informing us about this scam that they were victim to — but then they claim to really be dating one of our humankinds, and further claim to be entitled to some kind of compensation.

And no, these weren’t more Ghanaians posing as American ladies. These are American girls, and some of them legitimately believe that they can trick us into dedicating them fund. Others get it in their chiefs that they’re actually helping the US military track down an international felony echo and feel very important doing so. Of the ones demanding fund from us, some insist they are complying with their fake boyfriends in person. Some might be mentally ill. One of these backed up her assertion with a Photoshopped image 😛 TAGEND

It’s nothing more than sad, honestly … until they name-drop me in conversations with the scammers. Because that’s how I got on the scammers’ listing of eligible bachelors. Now, every so often, I find that I’m the one on the fake Facebook profile luring in age-old ladies. And I’m the one fielding calls about me . One of these swindle victims called the Pentagon, and I intervened. Here’s the unofficial message I sent the scammer 😛 TAGEND

I am the LAST person you want to impersonate. I’ve become very adept at deleting these accounts. You can probably turn a better earning impersonating someone else. You can expect this account to be deleted within 24 hours, and you will have to build your entire network again .

I am well aware that you reside in ******, Ghana, or somewhere nearby. Please note that the United States are exactly no difficultly drone striking people in all corners of Africa. You may want to reconsider impersonating US military personal .

I know you have an obligation to pay your boss. But please, you can probably find some other behavior to turning a profit .

That was the last I heard from that guy.

And boy, do these women love to fall for Fake Me. It doesn’t help that I happen to share a name with the brooding enjoy those who are interested in a Harlequin romance novel. Every few months, I’ll get a Facebook message from some random wife informing me that she fell in love with one of my fake scam profiles.

It does not work out.

Ryan Menezes is an editor and interviewer here at Cracked. Follow him on Twitter for bits cut from this article and other material no one should appreciate .

For more looks into the world of rending people off, check out I’m Not Really Royalty: The World Of Nigerian Internet Scams and 6 Stupid Crowdfunding Scams That Should Have Been Obvious .

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