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

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

June 22, 2011 —, one of several nation’s most widely used websites that are dating takes credit for “more relationships and much more marriages than some other web web site. ” Yet not every connection made on 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 did not have enough time to head out and fulfill individuals. Regarding the advice of friends, she joined up with She quickly discovered by herself online that is chatting with guy called “Austin Miller. ” Miller identified himself being a embellished soldier situated in Kabul, Afghanistan. Whenever Miller delivered her a photo of himself in uniform, Romano had been impressed.

She thought, “Wow, the jackpot is hit by me. (he had been) a guy that is nice-looking” Romano stated. “I’m like, this really is too good to be true. “

As Romano and Miller stayed in contact, Romano discovered herself dropping “deeper and deeper” in to the online relationship. Whenever Miller asked for a brand new laptop computer, she ended up being wanting to assist a soldier in need.

“we have always been extremely patriotic and I also worked on earth Trade focus on 9/11, ” she stated. “therefore in my experience, whether or not it’s for the soldier to assist, we’ll do whatever we can. “

The laptop computer are priced at her $1,000. Miller instructed Romano to deliver it through FedEx to Ghana. Romano stated she ended up being only a little dubious regarding the mailing address — Ghana is really a continent far from Afghanistan — but Miller shared with her that a guy in Ghana would deliver the laptop ultimately to him.

Romano’s generosity towards the “soldier” did not end here: She sent him an overall total of $25,000 in just a time that is six-month before realizing that she had dropped target up to a scammer.

“Everyone can develop their opinion that is own you might never understand until it occurs to you personally. And unfortuitously, it just happened for me, ” she stated.

To create some closure to Romano’s tale, “20/20” posted the image that “Austin Miller” delivered Romano on line so we asked people to greatly help us find him. We received significantly more than one hundred responses in only a matter of four hours, and another regarding the communications led us to your answer. Angie Gordon, a audience 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 into the image. Their genuine title had been Jeffrey Miller so we discovered him at the Wainwright Army Base in Fairbanks, Alaska. He had been a lieutenant when you look at the U.S. Army whoever identification ended up being stolen, next to MySpace, and ended up being more or less to be implemented for a 2nd trip in Afghanistan.

Miller ended up being surprised to discover that some body had evidently been using their image to run a fraud.

“It really is a pity, it’s disgusting, that even someone may even as little as to betray a U.S. Soldier and utilize that as a justification to benefit from these ladies or anybody for instance, ” he stated.

To aid Romano find her scammer somewhere in Ghana, “20/20” asked her to deliver one email that is final the alleged “Austin Miller. ” With an arrangements that are few 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 convince him to participate him inside the scam.

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

The FBI stated it gets numerous of complaints a year from individuals like Romano, who’ve been scammed by individuals they meet on online websites that are dating.

Greg Blatt, the CEO associated with the moms and dad company that has, stated your website has invested huge amount of money to safeguard its users. Significantly less than one 1 / 2 of one per cent of the members have ever reported a profile this is certainly dubious, he stated, nevertheless when they are doing, the pages are obstructed within couple of hours, taken off your website and investigated.’s security guidelines.

“We do every thing we could making it because safe as you are able to, ” Blatt stated. ” at the conclusion associated with the we additionally realize that, that the majority of it rests in the possession of regarding the people on their own in order to avoid this type of thing, so we do every thing we could to assist them to. Day”

How will you stay protected from getting scammed on online online dating sites? On line dating recommendations from cybersecurity specialist Hemanshu Nigam.

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