Experts warn of soldier scam in the Grand Strand

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Better Business Bureau and the Myrtle Beach Police have received reports of a scammer targeting people in the Grand Strand area.

The BBB says that it's a wave of new scams they've seen in recent months that use social networking sites to find their victims, and are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

"We see it on all the social media sites," says Kathy Graham of the BBB. "We also see it on Craigslist and all the dating sites."

These scammers are targeting people that put themselves out online seeking a meaningful relationship. They initiate conversation and can take up to several months of building an intimate relationship before asking for money or access to a bank account.

"It could be a potential husband, or girlfriend or wife," Graham says, "But these people learn what strings to pull and make you fall for them. But as soon as they start asking for your personal information, you need to put on the brakes."

Recent reports to the Myrtle Beach Police detail an individual posing as a soldier deployed in Iraq, who needs a large sum of money to get home. Colonel Pete Brooks of the South Carolina National Guard says that such a request doesn't add up.

"If a soldier is deployed overseas, by all means his transportation is taken care of," Brooks says.

Experts say any time an individual asks for personal information, even if it's someone you believe to know, you should refrain from giving it out.

Copyright 2011 WMBF News. All rights reserved.