Facebook Scammers Use Identities of Top Australian, NZ Military to Ask Women for Money

A smartphone user shows the Facebook application on his phone
A smartphone user shows the Facebook application on his phone in the central Bosnian town of Zenica, in this photo illustration, May 2, 2013.

An international Facebook scam has reportedly made use of the IDs of top Australia and New Zealand military. According to officials, Australia and New Zealand are currently investigating whether the identities of top military officers were being used in an online scam.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Australia Federal Police had confirmed the creation of a fake Facebook profile of incoming Australian Defence Force (ADF) chief Mark Binskin. The fake page account was allegedly used to contact a German woman and ask her for money.

Anna Linden from western Germany told the paper she received a Facebook message from the person who posed as Binskin. The man said he will soon be retiring from service in Afghanistan. He said he was looking for a partner in life after remaining single for eight years.

Linden said the man continued to befriend her and sent messages expressing his love. One message reportedly said, "I promise you my life." After the man asked her to send US$409 or 300 euros to his account and promised to repay her with 11 pounds of gold, Linden went to the newspaper.

She said she knew the man will only ask for more money and revealed she had been a victim of a previous love scam.

The Australian Federal Police said they were aware of the fake profile page and has coordinated with defence department to take it down.

Another fake Facebook account was discovered to be impersonating Lieutenant General Rhys Jones from New Zealand. Kiwi authorities said they were aware of the fake profile of the former chief of the New Zealand Defence Force.

The former chief's profile was also used in a similar online dating scam in 2012. In the statement of NZ Defence Force, it said the department will implement the same action in referring to the police and reporting to Facebook for the violation.

Reports said, Kiwis have lost almost $3 million to various online scams in 2014 while Australians were scammed of $23.5 million in 2013.

Aside from dating scams, many have fallen for other types of social media scams. NetSafe's chief technology officer Sean Lyons said social media scammers often take advantage of people who trust content when delivered through a friend's account or profile. 

Join the Discussion