Valley Woman Almost Falls Victim to Internet Romance Fraud

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EDINBURG - A Hidalgo County woman said she almost became a catfish victim after talking to a man she met on social media.

The woman asked not to be identified. She said she fears the person behind the computer screen could retaliate against her.  

It all started when she responded to a simple friend request. Days later, she realized the man she was talking to was not who he said he was.

 “He looks like he could be a friend, you know. He’s a soldier or something. That’s interesting,” she said.

After several messages, she said the friendship quickly turned suspicious.

 “We started talking about regular stuff until it quickly made a turn. Like when you search for more personal information,” she said.

She said the man introduced himself as a U.S. Army soldier stationed in Afghanistan for 30 years. Within days he started asking her for personal information. He asked for her address, contacts, cell phone number and email.

After looking into the situation, CHANNEL 5 NEWS discovered the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command issued a warning about internet romance fraud. According to the organization, an average of $15,000 to $20,000 is lost due to these types of schemes.  

We also found out the photos in the man’s social media page do not belong to him. They belong to another soldier with a different name.

The man provided a Social Security number. However, we found out that number belongs to a child. Also, the home address he provided her with is actually a middle school near Rockport, Texas.

The woman said the man is still trying to contact her despite her request to end the relation.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS also tried to contact U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command spokesman Chris Grey. He was not available. We will continue to make contact with him to find out what’s being done about the case.

The woman said next time she’ll think twice before responding to someone she doesn’t know.

“You think it’s valid when in reality if you’re not researching, it’s just lies,” she said.

She said she also plans to report it to the U.S. Army.

Anyone that finds themselves talking to someone who is impersonating a U.S. soldier can take precautionary steps to avoid these schemes.

U.S. Army CID investigators urge the public to consider the following:

  • Be extremely suspicious if you are asked for money, for any reason, including transportation costs and communication fees. You should never send money.

  • If you begin an internet-based relationship research what they are telling you.

  • Also, be aware of common spelling, grammatical or language errors in messages.

You can visit the Internet Crime Complaint Center to file a report. The U.S. Army CID said your report helps law enforcement officials’ investigations across the U.S.