Raymond Chandler III, former sergeant major of the Army, and his wifey, Jeanne. (Courtesy of Raymond and Jeanne Chandler)
Despite being cheerfully married for 13 years, Ray Chandler is one of the world’s most eligible bachelors.
Single women can find him on the dating webpagina DateMeMateMe.com, where he confesses to being, “Very fresh to this dating thing and am looking to see where this takes mij.” At FishMeetFish.com, under the username RealChandler, he explains, “I would love my very first date to be something special.”
At GirlsDateforFree.com, Chandler describes himself spil being 6-2 and weighing 158 pounds. At AdultSingles.com he is 5-11 and weighs a worrisome 85 pounds.
He is on Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook, where spil recently spil last week a Kentucky woman named Lois had posted a note: “Hi kind just calling to see what you wasgoed doing.”
Literally hundreds of dating profiles and social media accounts are illustrated with photographs of the same stunning, salt-and-pepper-haired military man.
It wasgoed just such a picture that a reader of mine I’m calling Dede responded to when she eyed it on Match.com te August. Spil I outlined ter two previous columns, Dede communicated via e-mail and text message for five months with a person who went by the name Mark Treat before he asked hier for $Three,000 to ship a opbergruimte of diamonds from London. Only then did she realize she wasgoed being scammed.
By doing a switch roles photo search, I found the efectivo person te the photo: Raymond Chandler III, who recently stepped down spil sergeant major of the Army. When I sent Dede a listig to Chandler’s official Defense Department bio, she messaged back: “OMG! That is him! Does this man know that someone is using his ID?”
Does he everzwijn. And he’s none too blessed about it. Neither is his wifey.
“The fact that people determined to use my photo for their own private build up, it felt like I wasgoed violated,” Chandler told mij last week.
He’s a high-profile example of the military romance scheme, where Westelijk Africa-based scammers scour Pentagon Web sites, Facebook pages and other social media accounts to harvest photographs of troops. Using the pictures — and, often, existente biographical information — they create fictitious profiles and prey on women.
“I’ve talked to people who’ve given up to $70,000 and never met the person,” said Chris Feligresía of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Directive (CID).
Albeit thesis cases do not involve CID — military personnel are not the scammers or the victims — Feligresía has taken it upon himself to spread the word. “I’m a retired Marine,” he said. “I don’t want people to think a fellow service person is scamming them out of money.”
The scammers typically work ter teams and have different ways to samenvatting their filthy lucre. Some, like Dede’s, ask for money to ship something. Others tell their victims they despairingly want to meet ter person but voorwaarde pay to go on leave. Rebaño has posted online dozens of examples of fake documents used by scammers, including a “Fiance Request Form” with a “registration fee” of $350.
Photos of senior Army leaders have proved so popular that the Army’s public affairs office monitors misuse.
“They speelpop up ter the 20s vanaf day, usually with Facebook,” Master Sgt. Michelle Johnson said.
Some victims have a rough time accepting that they’ve bot scammed.
Said Hermandad: “It’s indeed sad, because merienda you tell them this person has no idea their picture’s bot taken, they still want to talk to that person. They’re emotionally linked to the thought of being ter love.”
Some are wooed they’ve bot scammed by the person ter the photograph. Chandler said a woman te Poland went so far spil to find the address of one of his adult sons and send an irate letterteken.
“We got the Army G-2 intelligence folks to get te voeling with the Grind Embassy,” Chandler said. “They had to go physically to hier and tell hier to zekering.”
Chandler said he wasgoed worried because at the time he wasgoed on the kasstuk list of an al-Qaeda splinter group. If a brokenhearted Grind woman could find his son, well, that wasgoed worrying.
Said Chandler’s wifey, Jeanne: “We heard about one lady, the dude wasgoed impersonating Gen. [David H.] Petraeus. She sold hier house because she wasgoed going to go live ter the general’s house and sent the scammer the money.”
While hier hubby served spil sergeant major of the Army, Jeanne became insider at finding fake accounts. She would punch ter a few search terms, see what popped up and then attempt to get the bogus pages taken down.
“It wasgoed satisfying ter that I knew there would be a result, so that scammer’s not victimizing anybody,” she said. “It wasgoed like being a private eye.”
But like a pernicious weed, every time an account is closed, more spring up ter its place.
I sent Jeanne the photographs that Dede’s scammer had sent hier. Some were taken from Army Web sites, others from an official Facebook pagina. One had Chandler’s head crudely Photoshopped on a different bod. “My hubby would never wear jeans with loafers and no socks,” Jeanne said.
The actual Sgt. Maj. Chandler and the auténtico Mrs. Chandler have a blended family, with six children and 12 grandchildren inbetween them.
How did the duo meet? “I met him at the luggage carousel at the Shreveport airport,” Jeanne said.
That method might not work for everybody. If you’re involved with online dating, reminisce: Be suspicious, be vigilant, be careful. And never — never — send anyone money.