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Scammers Steal Service Members' Pictures

Active Military
Active Military
April 14, 2020
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Type the name "Mike Sency" into the app TikTok. You will find over 3 dozen profiles bearing the same likeness. That just accounts for ones using the real Mike Sency's exact name, not for the countless scammers using his picture with a fake name. This happens frequently to Mike, and many others. These pictures are used to "catfish" lonely singles. They become emotionally attached to the fake profiles, and dish out money.The actual Mike Sency is an active duty sailor. He currently has over 20k followers on Instagram. Several comments under posts on his real Instagram account show that many women, and some men, consider him to be "easy on the eyes." Additionally, Mike has been a model for several clothing brands. This makes his pictures a prime target for scammers. The crooks also use dating apps such as Tinder, Grindr, and others.Mostly older women, the victims believe they hit it off with an attractive younger man. The fake accounts profess false love and make hollow promises in order to gain sympathy, and trust. The victims have lost thousands of dollars to these scammers. Sometimes, the duped singles turn their anger on the real Mike. Thus, turning him into a victim of this fraud as well.

The Sailor of over 10 years goes on to tell us that most of the scams he hears about are implausible. "He (the fake Mike) said his unit left him in Afghanistan and he needs money to get home," one of the scammed victims told him. Mike goes on to say, "The scammed individuals thought they were helping a stranded service member. My heart goes out to them, but that's not my fault."Furthermore, he says a quick reverse image search or a conversation with a real Veteran could dispel most of the fake stories he hears. "These scumbags target those who don't know much about the military, but are still patriotic," Mike tells us.Some of the victims have even demanded Mike reimburse them for the loss. "It's so frustrating to wake up in the morning to a bunch of messages of angry people." We asked if he explains the situation, and Mike says that people are either too heartbroken, or angry, to care.We also asked if he has reported the fake profiles. "We report a lot, but they don't always get taken down," he responds. Despite meeting all the requirements, he has been denied a verification badge several times.This is a pervasive problem that people who are considered "influencers" or potentially even just "good looking," male and female alike, face on a daily basis. Ending with this, Mike advises everyone to have conversations with friends and relatives to spread awareness. He also hopes everyone will do their due diligence before handing over money to strangers online.

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