KERNERSVILLE, NC --It's back to work and whether you went to grandmother's house out of town or down the street, chances are you re-connected with friends and family and you met new people at work parties and neighborhood get togethers.
Now you have to remember the names with faces. So if you get a facebook friend request from someone that sounds
familiar, you might say, "Yes".
A Kernersville woman friended someone she thinks is trying to scheme people out of money and the U.S. Military thinks she's right.
"I have other friends on facebook in the military. I didn't recognize the name, but I thought maybe it was someone I knew."
For a couple of days Melia Venny and her new army friend "Raymond Hulk" messaged back and forth about his deployment to Afghanistan.
The posted pictures are real, but they're not of a soldier named "Raymond Hulk". The military believes someone stole a soldier's pictures, created a fake identity and is now using them together to scheme people. Melia was a target.
"He said he needed me to send $1,700." With family members in the military Melia was willing to ask what he needed the money for. He said he lost his retirement papers and needed to pay an attorney.
"He went on to tell me that if he couldn't get the money for the papers he couldn't come back from Afghanistan."
In a facebook message he walks her through going to the bank. That's when Melia started really looking into who her new friend "Raymond Hulk" really was.
"The name tag is on the opposite side so you can't really distinguish what's on that side, " she says while looking at a picture.
A quick look at his profile shows he's only had this page since late November and his friends, all 15 of them, are all women.
With those red flags, Melia knew better than to send any money and to warn others.
"Somebody may honestly and truthfully think this man needs help and may send this man money." Melia reported her conversations with "Raymond Hulk" to facebook. 2WTK contacted the U.S. Army to see if "Raymond Hulk" did indeed exist.
You guessed it, they didn't find a "Raymond Hulk" in the global system. And told 2WTK "its likely it's a made up name and someone pulled a photo from a social media site and trying to impersonate a soldier. "
The Department of Defense sent another statement. "Our service members earn their medals through hard work and tremendous sacrifice. It is shameful that some individuals fraudulently claim to be combat veterans or war heroes for personal gain."
The schemers are out there.
Sometimes they use a military member's pictures sometimes they use the picture of a kid. The schemers don't have boundaries.
But you should.
You tell your kids not to friend people they don't know, but that goes for you too.
Two main reasons: 1-schemers don't try to pull a trick on you
2- schemers don't pretend to be your friend just so they can use your pictures and your info to make a false profile and scheme someone else.