Online Dating Sites Nightmare: N.Y. Girl Scammed Out of Thousands by ‘Soldier’

Joan Romano thought she ended up being assisting a soldier that is handsome need.

June 22, 2011 — Match.com, one of several country’s hottest websites that are dating takes credit for “more relationships and much more marriages than just about other web site. ” Not every connection made on Match.com includes a fairytale ending — and Joan Romano discovered that out of the way that is hard.

Romano, 53, from Lynbrook, N.Y., a busy and divorced woman that is single stated that she don’t have enough time to head out and fulfill people. From the advice of buddies, she joined up with Match.com. She quickly discovered by by herself online that is chatting with guy known as “Austin Miller. ” Miller identified himself as an embellished soldier situated in Kabul, Afghanistan. When Miller sent her a photo of himself in uniform, Romano ended up being impressed.

She thought, “Wow, we hit the jackpot. (He was) a guy that is nice-looking” Romano stated. “I’m like, this really is too good to be real. “

As Romano and Miller remained in contact, Romano discovered by by herself falling “deeper and deeper” in to the online relationship. Whenever Miller asked for the brand new laptop, she had been desperate to assist a soldier in need of assistance.

“I have always been very patriotic and I also worked on the planet Trade focus on 9/11, ” she stated. “therefore for me, whether or not it’s for a soldier to simply help, we’ll do whatever I can. “

She was cost by the laptop $1,000. Miller instructed Romano to deliver it through FedEx to Ghana. Romano said she ended up being a small dubious of this mailing target — Ghana is a continent away from Afghanistan — but Miller shared with her that a person in Ghana would deliver the laptop ultimately to him.

Romano’s generosity into the “soldier” did not end here: She delivered him an overall total of $25,000 within a time that is six-month before realizing that she had dropped victim to a scammer.

“Everyone can develop their opinion that is own you may never understand until it occurs for you. And unfortuitously, it simply happened if you ask me, ” she stated.

To create some closure to Romano’s tale, “20/20″ posted the image that “Austin Miller” delivered Romano on the internet and now we asked people to greatly help us find him. We received a lot more than one hundred responses in just a matter of four hours, plus one regarding the communications led us to our solution. Angie Gordon, a viewer kind Northern Virginia, picked through to a clue that is subtle.

“I happened to be in a position to inform which branch he had been connected to when you look at the Army plus it sort of narrows the industry, ” she stated.

With Gordon’s information, “20/20″ surely could monitor down the person in the image. Their name that is real was Miller therefore we discovered him during the Wainwright Army Base in Fairbanks, Alaska. He was a lieutenant when you look at the U.S. Army whoever identification had been taken, quickly MySpace, and had been more or less to be implemented for a tour that is second Afghanistan.

Miller ended up being surprised to find out that some body had evidently been utilizing their photo to operate a scam.

“It is a pity, it really is disgusting, that even somebody might even as little as to betray a U.S. Soldier and utilize that as a reason to make the most of these ladies or anyone for instance, ” he stated.

To aid Romano find her scammer somewhere in Ghana, “20/20″ asked her to deliver one last e-mail to the alleged “Austin Miller. ” By having a few plans from a “20/20″ undercover producer in Ghana, we monitored down her scammer. He admitted to your undercover producer which he had been a conman and also attempted to persuade him to become listed on him in the scam.

“we could also get fully up to $15,000 to $20,000 more from her, ” he told our producer.

The FBI stated it gets 1000s of complaints per year from individuals like Romano, who’ve been scammed by individuals they meet on online dating internet sites.

Greg Blatt, the CEO associated with the moms and dad business that has Match.com, stated the website has invested vast amounts to safeguard its people. Not as much as one 50 % of one % of the customers have ever reported a profile that is debateable, he stated, however when they are doing, the pages are obstructed within two hours, taken have a glance at the link from the website and investigated. Match.com’s security guidelines.

“We do every thing we are able to to ensure it is since safe as you possibly can, ” Blatt stated. ” by the end regarding the we additionally realize that, that many it rests in the possession of of this people by themselves to prevent this type of thing, and now we try everything we are able to to help them. Time”

How could you stay protected from getting scammed on online online dating sites? On the web dating recommendations from cybersecurity specialist Hemanshu Nigam.