The Basic Training Scam - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

The Basic Training Scam

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METTER, GA (WTOC) -

It's a scam based in reality, and military families tell WTOC that crooks are preying on their Facebook pages and exploiting personal situations for financial gain.

It's called the Basic Training Scam.

A mother in Metter sent her 17-year-old son to basic training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri earlier in the year. Last week he sent a letter to his mother telling her his things had been stolen and that he needed money.

The mother turned to Facebook to talk to other moms about the best way to get money to her son, when another man, posing as a soldier, offered his help.

"Well he called me and said he talked with someone on base and my son had been kicked off base and it would take $2,500 to get him back on base," said Windy Williams. "But he didn't have any reason as to why he had been kicked off, what happened, anything. He just wanted the money.  

Williams quickly realized the helpful soldier from Facebook, who was now calling her, was a fraud going by the name of Frank Walker. She said the scammer stole the picture of a major general, but the name plate was the biggest giveaway because it just said Frank.

Williams found out her son was safe and on base after a call to the National Guardsman who recruited him. Metro Police say the scam claiming soldiers are getting kicked off base and can only return for a price is a new one, with scammers basically stalking Facebook pages for personal information and preying on Family emotions.

"A mother of a 17-year-old child who had never been away from him, it scared me to death," said Williams. "That's what he played on."

"It's pretty dirty to use someone's son or daughter who is in the military to rip them off of their money," said SCMPD Financial Crimes Det. Ray Woodberry. "Being a parent, and worried, they figure they have to get this taken care of in a hurry, and they will fall for the scam."

Under no circumstances should anyone be giving money to strangers. Police said don't panic and let your emotions get the best of you. Call the proper channels and check on your soldier.

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