SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Scammers are using service members' social media profiles to con unsuspecting victims out of money.
Service members have been targets of romance scams for years, but the activity has seen a recent surge.
"People are using my pictures - a lot of times, my name, sometimes with a fake name or different name, but at least 20 times I've reported it," said Command Sgt. Major Doug Wortham.
Here's how this scam works: using the stolen social media profile of a military member, the scammers establish an online relationship with the victim before eventually asking for money.
"They are telling them that the soldier needs money for transportation or medical costs overseas, and those are all things covered by the military, but people don't know that," said Master Sgt. Blair Heusdens, Minnesota National Guard.
Facebook has a process to deal with fake profiles. Once proven fake, they're deleted, but that hasn't stopped the scammers from coming right back and trying again.
"I remind my service members, my soldiers, and airman, that they ought to be very cautious with their own profiles in particular," Sgt. Maj. Wortham said.
That may be the best advice. The criminals behind the romance scams are often in Africa - making it next to impossible to prosecute them.