Donna Amador was enjoying her new online friendship with a man named Ryan Stewart, who made contact with the Granbury woman when she started tinkering with Facebook in an effort to connect with old school chums.
Stewart told Amador he is from Michigan and lives in Daytona Beach, Fla., but is serving in the military in Afghanistan.
Shortly after the online friendship between the two began to grow stronger, however, little alarm bells began to ding for Amador.
Stewart posted a photo of a boy in a Cub Scout uniform, telling Amador that the boy is his son. He asked her if she would purchase the boy an iPhone.
Then he began coaxing her to send money for his gold business. Amador started asking questions, but received few answers in return.
Stewart wanted her bank account information, and gave a strange explanation that involved the Department of Defense. He misspelled Defense – another clue that Stewart was perhaps not the military man he claimed to be.
Nothing about his alleged inability to access his own personal funds made sense to Amador.
But what did make sense was that Stewart was trying to finagle his way into her heart and her bank account.
She didn’t fall for it – and she wants to make sure others don’t either.
A Google search for “military money scams” opened Amador’s eyes to those who don’t hesitate to use fake military service to try to scam American citizens.
Amador said Stewart began communicating with her “shortly after Christmas.” She was dealing with a difficult situation in her life, she said, and the friendship “gave me something to look forward to.”
Within a month, however, Amador had put the clues together. She confronted Stewart online.
“I haven’t talked to him for a couple of weeks now – and I miss him,” she admitted.
Amador’s brief foray into social media made her realize how easily one can become addicted to online relationships that can prove harmful.
When she began researching military scams, Amador found a number of sad stories. One woman, she said, took out a second mortgage on her house to help a serviceman.
“She lost $70,000,” Amador stated.
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