Army Veteran Andrew Lovato- Facebook Pictures Stolen by Con Man

By Faye Higbee

It’s hard enough to be deployed and away from home, it can be even harder when you return with the ghosts of war haunting you. But for Army Veteran Andrew Lovato, the situation become worse when he learned that someone had stolen his Facebook pictures and created a fake identity in order to lure women into giving him money while he was deployed. It’s called “catfishing.” And it’s very common.

Lovato, a combat medic, says that someone created fake profiles with his photos on dating sites and other social media. The person who stole his identity used his con game to steal money from unsuspecting women.

Fox reported,

“Posing as the uniformed dad-of-three, the scammer approached women around the world, including in the US, Canada, India, Costa Rica and the Philippines.

He says the impersonator showered them with compliments, lured them into a long-distance relationship and wooed them with offers of marriage to win their hearts. Then, in chats over Facebook Messenger, the fraudster spun lies about being injured in combat and his children back home being sick and asked them to send him money.

…One claimed to be in love with him, another scolded him for breaking her heart, and a third revealed she had sent the man she believed to him a sum of money. In total Lovato claims he is aware of around 30 women who fell victim to the conman, many of whom sent him money.”
For his part, Andrew Lovato is understandably angry.
“For someone to do this after everything I had been through – I was really angry. I served honorably in Iraq and Afghanistan and this dude swooped in and took my name and face. He used all I have done in my life honorably for dishonorable means.”
His case is by no means the only one. It happens all the time. Personally I’ve notified many military folks that their profile is being used by a fake person. How do you know when it’s fake? Be logical- why would a United States Military General contact you out of the blue and have only female “friends.” Or if you think they’re legit and suddenly they’re on a chat as soon as you click the accept button, and use stilted English. The lack of slang or colloquial language is usually a sign that they are from a foreign country. Money comes in too, sometimes at a later date, sometimes right up front.

“Catfishing” isn’t always about males, sometimes even females steal the identities of military women, as we reported previously. And they’re not shy about creating many different profiles with that identity.

For all military personnel, social media can be helpful or a disaster. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, all have issues with fake military identities. If you spot one, do some research, find out the unit of the real person and notify them of the contact.  You might save someone like Andrew Lovato from headaches they sincerely don’t need.

All photos screenshots via Fox News