The Defense Department is warning "patriotic women" to be aware of individuals posing as members of the military on dating sites who are running scams. In a press release issued on Thursday, the department related a story of a woman named Shelley who "was thrilled to meet a handsome Marine on a dating website she frequented." Making a long story short, the guy, presumably not a Marine, tried to swindle her out of some money with a sob story.
The scam, Defense said, is similar to the Nigerian e-mail ruse, in which a person receives a message from someone in the West African nation who is in financial trouble and needs to unload some money.
All this is certainly disturbing, and the public should be warned. But what's odd about the press release is how it links love with patriotism, as if that drives the attraction. We learn Shelley "was deeply patriotic and had a great admiration for service members." Later, Defense tells us, "These cyber criminals, posing as military members, prey on patriotic women seeking love online, . . . ." And again, Paul Sternal, the acting cyber crimes program director for the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, says: "It's not a bad thing to be patriotic, but people are trying to distort that for personal gain."