What particularly bothered Dede was the fact that her scammer draped himself in the patriotic mantle of the U. I asked Dede to send me the correspondence between Mark and herself. She also forwarded me the photos he'd sent her. I did an image search on the photos and found a hit. The man with whom Dede thought she was corresponding — he of the salt-and-pepper hair and friendly smile — was closer than she knew. He worked at the Pentagon, where he was the Army's top enlisted soldier. The man in the photos knew that women all over the world were falling in love with him, and he wished he could do something to stop it.
Despite being happily married for 13 years, Ray Chandler is one of the world's most eligible bachelors. Single women can find him on the dating site DateMeMateMe. Literally hundreds of dating profiles and social media accounts are illustrated with photographs of the same handsome salt-and-pepper-haired military man.
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Dede responded to just such a picture when she saw it on Match. The reverse image search turned up the real person in the photo: Raymond Chandler, who recently stepped down as sergeant major of the Army. Does this guy know that someone is using his ID?
He's a high-profile example of the military romance scheme, where West Africa-based scammers scour Pentagon websites, Facebook pages and other social media accounts to harvest photographs of troops. Using the images — and, often, real biographical information — they create fictitious profiles and prey on women. Although these cases do not involve CID — military personnel are not the scammers or the victims — Grey has taken it upon himself to spread the word.
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The scammers typically work in teams and have different ways to extract their filthy lucre. Some, like Dede's, ask for money to ship something. Others tell their victims they desperately want to meet in person but must pay to go on leave. Photos of senior Army leaders have proved so popular that the Army's public affairs office monitors misuse. They're emotionally attached to the thought of being in love. Some are convinced that they've been scammed by the person in the photograph. Chandler said a woman in Poland went so far as to find the address of one of his adult sons and send an irate letter.
Chandler said he was concerned because at the time he was on the hit list of an al-Qaida splinter group. If a broken-hearted Polish woman could find his son, well, that was worrisome. Said Chandler's wife, Jeanne: She sold her house because she was going to go live in the general's house and sent the scammer the money. While her husband served as sergeant major of the Army, Jeanne became adept at finding fake accounts.
She would punch in a few search terms, see what popped up and then try to get the bogus pages taken down. I sent Jeanne the photographs that Dede's scammer had sent her. Some were taken from Army websites, others from an official Facebook page.
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One had Chandler's head crudely Photoshopped on a different body. How did the couple meet? That method might not work for everybody. If you're involved with online dating, remember: They received an above average number of first contact e- mails, keywords, and were browsed more often than men in other occupations. In case you are interested, women who list themselves as being in law enforcement or the military are among the least successful in the online dating game—which probably tells you something important about their potential partners.
When it comes to dating, women have been shown to give the edge to profession and providership over appearance. The kind of person who joins the military has already passed through a certain number of professional gates.
They are at least high school graduates. Fitter than the average population. Willing to commit to a job for at least four years at a time. You also might be able to make a case that some women are looking for a knight in shining white armor to rescue them. Or that they were interested in the status implied by medals, ribbons and shiny brass buttons. I wonder if the advantage military men have in online dating is something more prosaic.
Last weekend at a Dining Out, one third of the couples at our table met each other online. These women said that the military guys they dated on line were more likely to call them back. They called when they said they were going to call.
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