Online scam uses soldier's photos to attract women

Posted at: 02/13/2014 10:44 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

At any given moment, it's estimated more than a billion people across the globe are online.

Some of them are looking for love.

For lonely hearts on Valentine's Day, there may be no better feeling than what seems like a chance for love.

One of KOB's staffers got a Facebook message from a man who said he is a U.S. soldier serving overseas, but it didn't seem right.

Our investigation led us through cyberspace, and directly to the soldier himself.

Talbo Costigan was a smooth talker. He carefully asked if our female staffer was interested in talking to a lonely soldier.

But we found four identical profiles for Costigan, each one created within the last week, and each one featuring photos of the same guy smiling with his buddies.

That was when we found the man in those photos.

They are of Army Captain James Costigan. They were stolen off the web, gathered together by scammers and used to woo lonely women online.

KOB broke the news to him about what his photos were being used for.

"It's disrespectful to the uniform, and it's disrespectful to those who've served in it," Costigan said.

One of the buddies in Costigan's photos lost his life in Afghanistan, now just another face to deceive.

Costigan said a woman tracked him down last week to tell him about the scam, but he thought she was also a scammer. Costigan has a message for her and other women.

"I'm deeply sorry that not only is there a sick person out there that is doing this, but that they're using my image and my name."

The scam is known to authorities, and websites are dedicated to tracking the fake profiles, made by scammers in Nigeria.

Once a relationship is established between the fake soldier and a woman online, the scammer asks for cash.

For information of battling scams like this, visit the following sites: