Phoenix woman warns of online dating scam - WNEM TV 5

Phoenix woman warns of online dating scam

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© CBS 5 © CBS 5

A Valley woman who became a victim of an online scam is sharing her story in hopes that what happened to her doesn't happen to anyone else.

Like many before her, Jill Walker was looking for love online. She was using as a dating site and thought she found a keeper in a sergeant named "Joel."

"I was thinking, 'oh my God, my dream's come true, I'm going to meet an army soldier,' you know, be happy," Walker said.

"Joel" told Walker if she sent him $200, they could chat more easily. She did, but a friend quickly told her she was being scammed.

"I was like, 'no, this guy can't be a scammer, it can't be, it can't be,' I wanted this guy to be real, I started to cry," Walker said.

But her tears quickly turned to anger, and Walker started spending her time not looking for love but looking for crooks. She found picture after picture of stolen soldier identities - some of them still fighting overseas and some of them killed in the line of duty.

"It's sad, it's pathetic, it's sickening," Walker said.

The photo of "Joel" was really Staff Sgt. Shawn Mollenhour. Walker was able to track him down in Oregon.

"(I) told him the whole story, that I was dating his picture for a month," Walker said.

"I'm a married man, I have a daughter, I went to Iraq," Mollenhour said in a phone interview with CBS 5. "I guess I got hacked on Facebook. I'm not on myyearbook."

"It makes me very angry, especially a person that's lost their life doing something they believe is right and someone is using them to make money," Walker said.

If you've been the victim of a similar scam, the attorney general wants to know about it. Click here to file a complaint.

Copyright 2012 CBS 5 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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