In­ter­net scam­mers steal iden­tity

Face­book fake of ex-NZDF boss

Taranaki Daily News - - News -

An in­ter­net love scam tar­get­ing lonely women has ap­par­ently hi­jacked the iden­tity of a for­mer top New Zealand mil­i­tary of­fi­cial, as well as Aus­tralia’s in­com­ing chief of the Aus­tralian De­fence Force.

The New Zealand De­fence Force is in­ves­ti­gat­ing along­side Aus­tralian au­thor­i­ties af­ter a Ger­man woman alerted Fair­fax Me­dia to the scam, which at­tempts to dupe women into hand­ing over cash to fraud­sters hid­ing be­hind the names and pho­to­graphs of top mil­i­tary per­son­nel.

An ac­count pur­port­ing to be­long to for­mer de­fence chief Rhys Jones has been set up by im­per­son­ators. This is the sec­ond time it has hap­pened.

A spokes­woman for

the De­fence Force said it had re­ported a fraud­u­lent ac­count claim­ing to be­long to Jones to po­lice in 2012.

‘‘This case in 2014 ap­pears to be a new im­per­son­ation page and the NZDF will now take sim­i­lar ac­tion,’’ she said.

Jones, along­side Aus­tralia’s Air Mar­shal Bin­skin, were among sev­eral high-pro­file in­ter­na­tional fig­ures whose iden­ti­ties were used to cre­ate the fraud­u­lent Face­book ac­counts.

On Thurs­day Face­book sus­pended sev­eral other profiles, in­clud­ing pages por­tray­ing toprank­ing United States and Euro­pean mil­i­tary com­man­ders and a fake pro­file of Amer­i­can as­tro­naut Mark Kelly, the hus­band of for­mer US con­gress­woman Gabrielle Gif­fords.

Anna Lin­den, 54, a wait­ress in West Ger­many said she re­ceived a Face­book mes­sage from a man claim­ing to be Bin­skin af­ter ac­cept­ing his friend re­quest at the end of May – less than two months af­ter he was named Aus­tralia’s new chief of de­fence.

Lin­den re­ceived mes­sages, seen by Fair­fax Me­dia, claim­ing Bin­skin was serv­ing in Kabul in Afghanistan, but he would soon re­tire and was look­ing for a part­ner as he had been sin­gle for eight years. The real Mark Bin­skin is mar­ried to wife Gitte.

The mes­sages, writ­ten in Ger­man, quickly es­ca­lated to dec­la­ra­tions from the im­per­son- ator that ‘‘I re­ally love you’’ and ‘‘I prom­ise you my life’’.

Then Lin­den re­ceived a mes­sage that Bin­skin was stuck in Lon­don with­out a valid visa and if she would pay for a plane ticket to Spain he would join her on a hol­i­day and re­pay her by sell­ing 5 kilo­grams of gold he had in his pos­ses­sion. Lin­den de­cided to re­port the im­pos­tor as she had been duped once be­fore by a fake Face­book ro­mance.

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