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Despite being happily married for 13 years, Ray Chandler is one of the world’s most eligible bachelors.Single women can find him on the dating site Date Me Mate Me.com, where he confesses to being, “Very new to this dating thing and am looking to see where this takes me.” At Fish Meet Fish.com, under the username Real Chandler, he explains, “I would love my first date to be something special.” At Girls Datefor Free.com, Chandler describes himself as being 6-2 and weighing 158 pounds.At Adult he is 5-11 and weighs a worrisome 85 pounds. “The fact that people decided to use my image for their own personal gain, it felt like I was violated,” Chandler told me last week.He is on Google+, Linked In and Facebook, where as recently as last week a Kentucky woman named Lois had posted a note: “Hi baby just calling to see what you was doing.” Literally hundreds of dating profiles and social media accounts are illustrated with photographs of the same handsome, salt-and-pepper-haired military man. He’s a high-profile example of the military romance scheme, where West Africa-based scammers scour Pentagon Web sites, Facebook pages and other social media accounts to harvest photographs of troops.It was just such a picture that a reader of mine I’m calling Dede responded to when she saw it on in August. Using the images — and, often, real biographical information — they create fictitious profiles and prey on women. Although these cases do not involve CID — military personnel are not the scammers or the victims — Grey has taken it upon himself to spread the word. “I don’t want people to think a fellow service person is scamming them out of money.” The scammers typically work in teams and have different ways to extract their filthy lucre.As I outlined in two previous columns, Dede communicated via e-mail and text message for five months with a person who went by the name Mark Handle before he asked her for ,000 to ship a box of diamonds from London. By doing a reverse image search, I found the real person in the photo: Raymond Chandler III, who recently stepped down as sergeant major of the Army. “I’ve talked to people who’ve given up to ,000 and never met the person,” said Chris Grey of the U. Some, like Dede’s, ask for money to ship something.
She would punch in a few search terms, see what popped up and then try to get the bogus pages taken down.
“It was satisfying in that I knew there would be a result, so that scammer’s not victimizing anybody,” she said.
“It was like being a private eye.” But like a pernicious weed, every time an account is closed, more spring up in its place.
Photos of senior Army leaders have proved so popular that the Army’s public affairs office monitors misuse.
“They pop up in the 20s per day, usually with Facebook,” Master Sgt. Some victims have a tough time accepting that they’ve been scammed.