Colonel Bryan Denny
I am Colonel Bryan Denny, A Retired U.S. Army Colonel. My pictures have been widely used by scammers on the social & dating sites for years. The thought of our military men & women being abused and disrespected is appalling!
Someone was telling me, 'Don't worry, as you get older, they'll stop using your pictures.' But the thing is, the pictures never age. They don't go away. This can go on for freaking ever if we don't do something about it.
To whom it may concern:
My name is Kliber Salinas, I’m a Sergeant First Class in the US Army; I’ve been in the service for 12 years. I’m originally from Florida but currently stationed in Illinois.
For the past several years the problem of scammers using my identity on social media has affected my life in numerous ways. Almost every single day I get contacted by people who have been scammed by people using my identity. The scammers don’t hesitate to use pictures of my family for their scams. The infuriating part is that each time I’m alerted to a new profile, myself and my friends report it and many times nothing is done—Facebook or Instagram notifies us that the profile doesn’t go against their standards. On top of that, my real Instagram profile is constantly being deleted and I’ve done absolutely nothing wrong.
I would love to wake up one of these days and find that Facebook, Instagram, and other social media have taken steps to stop this but for now, this is a huge problem in my life and it seems to get worse every single day. It’s abhorrent that these social media sites allow our military personnel and others to be abused in this matter, not to mention all the countless victims of these scams. I’m just one person speaking out, but I can tell you from experience that there are so many others in my exact same position. Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Kliber R. Salinas
Respectfully, Kliber Salinas
USAF Staff Sergeant (E-5) MARK WOLFORD
I'm USAF Staff Sergeant (E-5) Mark Wolford and scammers have been using my pictures to trick people. It sucks waking up every now and then to a message from someone who begs me to talk to them or is lashing out because they think they have been talking to me and are upset the scammer has deceived them and disappeared.
I even came across a couple accounts that were dedicated to hating "me". I was able to explain everything to those people and get them to remove it, thankfully.
I have had OSI from another Air Force base call my work to confirm who i am and warn me to see if my identity was stolen. All because a scammer cheated a woman out of thousands of dollars over a few months.
One lady messaged my dad and asked him if he knew what "I" was doing to her.
These scammers not only lie, cheat and steal from their victims but they drag my name through the dirt. Across all the various social media forms and dating apps, there are easily hundreds of places where I am known as a bad person, even though I didn't do anything.
Domenique Selby, LCDR (ret), RN, BSN
Over the last year, I started receiving many messages from men telling me they thought they were in a romantic relationship with me due to being lured in by fake social media profiles using my pictures. These men have collectively spent thousands of dollars, with one man claiming he spent tens of thousands of dollars thinking the money was going directly to me.
When I asked why they thought I needed the money, they stated the fake profiles came up with a myriad of reasons from I needed a plane ticket home, because the military abandoned me overseas, to I needed money for my kids because I was a single mother and stuck overseas with my kids.
These men thought they were in very intimate relationships with me based on what the scammers were texting them. They received photos that were photoshopped with my face on naked bodies, the scammers were also stealing pictures of my kids and sending them to these unsuspecting men to further play on their emotions.
I’ve noticed the age and population the scammers were targeting were those in their 50’s – 60’s. I believe they do this because they know most in that age range are naïve to social media, and are more trusting, especially when they see someone in uniform. This population are more likely not to be familiar with “catfishing” and what these scammers are capable of. Most of these men seem to be either divorced or widowed, and looking for companionship.
To avoid being scammed, it is important to recognize a potentially fake profile. Here are my observations on these fake profiles that you should look out for:
1. The profile is newer (within the last couple of months).
2. Most of the pictures/posts are uploaded within days of each other. Most real profiles will not have so many pictures and post uploaded the same day, or within days of each other. What is happening is the pictures are acquired around the same time the profile is started, and they upload many pictures all at once to make the profile seem real. Pay attention to the dates up the posts!
3. There will be a lot of broken English on the posts, or the same kind of verbiage in all of the posts. A lot of times it will be one sentence. Most real people who post will have a lengthy comment on their post, or at least on a few of them.
4. Look at who follows these people and who they follow. Many times these fake profiles will follow a lot of the same demographics (older gentlemen or older women). These is because they’re casting a wide net on this demographic and looking for anyone who will bite at the bait. The bait is usually a direct message with a “hello” or “you’re beautiful/handsome,”etc.
5. Follow your instinct. If you’re feeling like it’s too good to be true, it usually is. Try and research the person they’re claiming to be on the internet. I’ve been told by many they found me by simply doing a google search of my name.
6. Ask to video chat with these people Oftentimes they will always come up with an excuse as to why they cannot video chat with you. If this occurs more than once, you can probably guarantee you’re being scammed.
7. If someone you just met is asking for gifts, items or money, this is a sign they are scamming you. Real people who want to get to know you will never ask for money or gifts, especially if they haven’t met you in person.
8. Never send money on anyone you’ve never met. This seems like common sense, but I am surprised at how many people have done this. I believe people become so wrapped up in “the relationship” they want to keep it going by doing what the scammer is asking for.
Facebook and Instagram are not doing much to police and eliminate their sites of these fake profiles. The best way to stop this problem is to spread awareness. If people quit falling for the scams and stop spending their hard-earned money on these scammers, this business would go away. Please help us continue to spread this message and help others from falling victim to these crimes
Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Francisco Declet
Hi my name is Command Sergeant Major (CSM) Francisco Declet, Army active duty. I was given your contact information by Mr. David Leffler from Task and Purpose. I was reading his article about Military Romance Scams this past weekend and I have a similar and probably worst situation as COL Denny. About four years ago is when it really started for me when the command list was published. Hundreds of Facebook fake profiles started to pop out of nowhere for no apparent reason, later to find out why.
I was first contacted by a retire military member to give me the information of a friend, that I was, supposedly, in love with her. The story for her started when she send money to help my return from Afghanistan and she waited for me at Dallas. Little that she knew it was a scam. She actually find out the individuals, in Ghana, the story did not end there and it was the beginning of a long problem that has gone worst by the day. Now they have made hundreds of profiles, not only in Facebook, but other dating sites like Zook, POF and eHarmony. They started doing the free join sites, but I guess I'm profitable and now they move to the paying sites. The most recent case from last week is that they have used my information on an offshore account to request money (my name). These online sites are in no rush to help, nor to provide any assistance. It got out of control and is so much we can do. This is a small explanation of the problem.
If any help you can provide, or to guide me in the right direction, me and my family will be greatly appreciated. This type of scams degrade what we do for our country in one way or another, and affect our careers in the long run. My contact information is below.
Thanks for your time