What is a real soldier

Brazen love affair with a “soldier trick”: Secret US war millions for a woman from Basel

A friend request on Facebook, first chats, then an email exchange, later regular electronic nightly conversations and even calls. Then the flowers and the chocolates are delivered to your home. "Anyone who knows a little bit does not normally assume that people with the wrong profile are so empathetic and that they build trust in the normal way." The commercial clerk Mirjam Marrer * remained suspicious for a long time despite the romance. She had only met the American soldier on the Internet. He told her that he was 50 years old and that he was currently working in Afghanistan.

The electronic conversation between the American soldier and the 41-year-old was about everyday things. The story went on for weeks. The soldier gained their trust more and more. He was interested in how she was doing, wanted to know what she was doing. He sent her photos. She made it clear to him that there was no money to be got from her. In the beginning, colleagues would have warned her, but after the story went on for weeks, the doubts disappeared more and more.

Understanding soldier

«Internet contacts are usually merciless, and you can tell very quickly what someone wants. The pick-up is brutal, ”explains Mirjam Marrer, who has not only had good experiences on dating sites. It was different with the American soldier: "We talked about God and the world". Her doubts vanished and she let herself into the flirt. Today she is amazed at how much patience and how circumspectly the fraudsters were. “They could remember everything, remembered everything, knew when and where I was despite the time difference. That is very sly. "

In the USA, the "wrong soldiers" were for years an extremely successful variant of the "grandchildren's trick". Only when more and more soldiers came forward whose photos had been misused and the media picked up the stories more and more, did light come into the darkness. The way it works is that of the grandchildren's trick: This is where the crooks sneak the trust of old people. The easiest way to do this is to pretend to be a long-forgotten relative. As soon as there is trust, it is time to pay. The reasons are mostly a reflection of the scammers' creativity. From debts to one-off business opportunities, there is everything in it. Money and grandchildren tricksters usually disappear quickly after transfer or handover.

Flood of false friend requests

While the Facebook inquiries with fake profiles are increasing and the men apparently mostly only need crisp, pretty women, the procedure for female victims is a bit more complex: They then get an American soldier on duty. While American military websites consistently warn and make it clear that soldiers deployed overseas hardly have time for long chats or e-mails because they have to do their job.

"Suddenly it got hectic," explains Mirjam Marrer. Her soldier said he was being transferred to the Syrian border. The mails no longer came regularly. In a top secret operation, the soldiers excavated an IS hiding place. In doing so, they would have stolen money. He wants to send her 2.5 million dollars. At Marrer the alarm bells were ringing. She said she didn't want anything to do with it. She got the air waybill anyway. And a call from Mister Louie telling her that if she wanted the package with the money, she'd have to pay $ 5,000 up front.

The millions and Mister Louie

«The tension was built up cleverly. Two or three days before I found out that he had been shot in an ambush and that he had to tell me something. " Now the contacts would have taken place a lot during the night, always with a certain urgency. The pressure increased and the fictional soldier made it clear to her that everything had to be done quickly. Especially if you wanted to walk towards the sunset together with the 2.5 million who were on the way with the diplomatic mail.

But Marrer kept a clear head and went to the police. With a certain disappointment in her voice, she explains that the officers laughed at her and said to her: "You must have too much time." The statement also reflects the helplessness of the security forces. Because apart from warning about the scams, there is not much they can do. The American scam was perfectly thought out in the case of Marrer. There was talk of a daughter who goes to school in Holland so that you can get together there after your military career. «What I was led to believe was unbelievable. I'm embarrassed too. "

While she says in conversation that she has already fallen in love a little, she now wants to warn against such tricks. She is still amazed today at how much effort the fraudsters would have made. She later found her admirer's picture on an American website. It was from a soldier who had long reported his photo stolen. “It was a painful experience,” she says. Your soldier, the real one, has actually been married a long time.

* Name known to the editor.


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