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Woman warns of military romance scam after man pretends to date her

Posted at 1:16 PM, Sep 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-05 06:24:50-04

LEE COUNTY, Fla. -- A North Fort Myers woman warns of a military romance scam after a man impersonating an Iraq soldier attempted to scam her out of $3,400.

"It was so real," said Judy Schumaker. "Then he would tell me how much he cared for me; how much he loved me."

Judy Shumaker never planned to be dating again. "I was married 33 years and my husband left me," said Schumaker as tears streamed down her face. "You get to a vulnerable state," she added.

It was with her guard down that she became friends with a man on Facebook who claimed to be an Army Major deployed in Iraq.  A man who pretended to be in dire need of emotional support.

"I felt bad for him. He told me his two buddies just got killed," said Schumaker.

She says within days of messaging each other on Facebook, there conversations became romantic. Then he told her he was being sent to a dangerous part of Iraq.

We asked if she thought it was possible that they could be together.  "Oh yeah! I sent him pictures," said Schumaker. "He even told me he wanted to marry me  and he said I want you to start planning your wedding right now."

He then sent her a series of forms to fill out, telling her it was how she could help him get an honorable discharge which also included a fee of $3,400.

The United States military has warned about these types of scams; known as, military romance scams, where people impersonate military servicemen online to extort money from unsuspecting singles.

Realizing something wasn't right Schumaker called a scam hotline, which confirmed her suspicions.

"It's so sad that people would do this to women and service men who fight for our country, I think this is  terrible," said Schumaker.  Schumaker is fortunate she caught on when she did; she hopes her story will prevent others from falling victim.

"How can you use service men," said Schumaker. "It's just not right, it's not right."