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07-Jun-2020 23:00

Thompson divorced 17 years ago, and after more than a decade without dating, she joined in January.

In March, she connected with Robert Parker, an Army man serving in Special Forces based in Cairo, but soon to retire. "When you’re messaging people multiple time every day and actually praying for their safety when you think they’re fighting for our country, you develop a closeness pretty quickly," she said.

“There aren’t any silver bullets, but a few habits — for example, keep anti-virus software up to date; always remember that, if something or someone appears to be too good to be true, it probably is, and don’t click on things you aren’t sure about — can help avoid becoming a victim of cybercrime.” It’s also important to look for friendships and social networks in the real world, he said.

“Everyone gets lonely sometimes, and that’s especially true for young warriors, but finding companionship on the net is a risky bet,” he said.

"It was wired to Citibank in New York, which I felt comfortable about," said Thompson.

But on a whim, she asked a friend in banking if one of Robert Parker’s financial institutions was legitimate.

They connected and soon enough, the Syracuse resident was getting little requests for favors— he sent a i Tunes card before finding out that the profile is fake.

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Online military romance scams are so commonplace that military officials have posted warnings to civilians not to fall for them. CID receives hundreds of allegations a month from victims of people they met online who claimed to be soldiers, according to a warning on the CID website.Since then he’s found more than 120 fake Facebook profiles that combine his photographs with false identities.