Local man's face used in fake profile schemes

See more of Lynn's story tonight on Live on 10 on TODAY'S TMJ4.

OAK CREEK -- Lynn Kennedy fell in love with Kevin Meyer through Facebook messenger.

"I gave my time, my personal information, my life, my interest, my heart," she tells the I-Team.

She spent hours messaging on Facebook. 

"Kevin came back and wanted to get married," Kennedy recalls.

Kennedy sent money- $500 she said she didn't really have to give up. 

"I thought he was a real guy who was in the real army and was in distress and needed help," she said.

But the profile of Meyer that Kennedy spent her time and money on, was not the real Kevin Meyer, who the I-Team talked with at his home in Oak Creek.

Meyer found out there were other incarnations of himself from messages that arrived from women who had been talking to the fakes. 

"I only got one at first. It was just like once a month, then three times a month. Now almost every single day," he said. 

It's a common scheme — people using another person's picture to lure someone into a romance before asking for money.

"I was like freaking out. I was like why would somebody want to take my photos," Meyer wondered.

"Why would somebody trick people into pretending they're me?"

For the answer, we look no farther than Kennedy's experience. She gave the fake-Meyer money. He asked for more, but she didn't have it. Then, he started sending her graphic pictures of injured American soldiers.

"I just kind of, I felt like I was leaving him to die like those pictures," she said. "Those pictures are so vivid and so real and I thought I was killing somebody, so I didn't want to live if I was killing someone," Kennedy shared. Those feelings drove her to a suicide attempt.

Ruth Grover connected with Kennedy through her organization, ScamHaters United.

"The victim has no redress who sent the money, she just feel stupid," Grover explained. "We've got to work on with them to convince them that they're not." 

ScamHaters United is comprised of 20 women world-wide who report fake social media profiles and support the men and women dealing with the fall-out. 

"They've been manipulated and controlled from day one because it is total control," said Grover.

"Scammers will say goodnight with romantic words, they'll say good morning with romantic words. They will become the friend and the lover that that woman wants."

Grover suggests blocking someone as soon as you have concerns and tells people they shouldn't be afraid to say no when asked for money.

She's learned the deep damage the schemes cause to the victims and the real military men, too.

"They're fighting ISIS and they can't fight scammers," she said.

Meyer is doing what he can to fight back from his home in Oak Creek.

"It's almost futile because every time I take one down, like three more go up," he lamented.

Kennedy has also blocked accounts and reported them. She agrees it doesn't do much.

We asked if there's anything she can do to get away from these schemes.

"Just go off of social media altogether," she said. "I shouldn't have to, but I guess I have to."

RED FLAGS YOU MIGHT SEE IN A CONVERSATION

From the Army

•Soldiers are not charged money to go on leave
•No one needs to request leave for a soldier
•An officer will not be on a dating site
•Soldiers do not need permission to be married
•Soldiers have medical insurance coverage- they do not need money for medial expenses

THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION WARNS ABOUT DATING SCAMS


 

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