Portland, OR — Judy Mezzatesta is pretty savvy on the internet.
She said she knows to ignore requests from strangers on Facebook. She got plenty of those when she changed her relationship status from ‘married’ two years ago, KPTV reports.
“Men contact you on Facebook, I think once you put you’re ‘separated,'” Mezzatesta said.
But she broke the rules for an Army man whose profile said he was also from Ohio. His name was Master Sergeant Troy D Turn.
“He just messaged me back this crazy story how he was in the army and his wife had died,” Judy said.
The story sounded strange, so Mezzatesta started doing her research.
“He told me needed money to get out (of the army). I think when someone asks you for money, it raises a red flag,” Mezzatesta said.
Mezzatesta found out there are a lot of Troy D Turns on Facebook, as well as Troy D Turners. They claimed to be from all over the country. They were all Master Sergeants in the military.
“We just started talking back and forth,” Mezzatesta said. “Right away (he said) ‘I love you. I want to marry you.’ and I was just like, ‘who is this guy?”
She found the answer online. It was all a scam.
It’s a problem so rampant on Facebook, there’s an entire page dedicated to busting fake profiles.
Women from around the world have lost thousands of dollars believing they’ve fallen in love with men overseas. The US Military calls it the “romance scam.”
The servicemen are victims too.
FOX 12 caught up with the real Troy D. Turner. He has no idea who is behind all the fake accounts.
“I just hate to think how much this person has gotten from using my picture,” Turner said.
For more than five years, Troy has struggled to stop the scam that relies on using his name, real pictures of his kids and lies about his military service.
“It’s like going into your house and finding everything has been taken,” Turner said. “They do that with your emotions.”
The Stayton Police Department has opened a fraud case on Turner’s scam, but officers say it will likely never be solved since the accounts are opened in foreign countries.
For now, all Turner can do is scan Facebook for fake accounts using his name and report them to Facebook.
Over the years, dozens of victims have tracked down the real Troy D Turner, including Mezzatesta. One thing led to another, and now the two are engaged to be married.
“As much as I hate this guy, I also got to thank him too for introducing my future wife to me,” Turner said.