He is not the only service member whose name and photo were used to fool women into sending money to con artists. Richard Bartch had his photos lifted from a family morale Web site by a con artist who then asked women to send money to help pay for the shipment of his luggage as he made his way home from Iraq.
The real Bartch, who lives in Spokane, Wash., knows his name and likeness have been used in the scam, but the nature of the identity theft has limited his options. Just because the guy’s using my name, there’s not any real recourse,” Bartch said.
In an ironic twist of events — and as evidence that online scam artists are thriving — Hallenbeck’s name and photo were used to scam a 59-year-old British woman out of thousands of dollars.
The British woman who fell in love with who she thought was Hallenbeck said she, too, is embarrassed. The woman, divorced for 15 years, fell in love with the love letters, poems, flowers, e-mails and phone calls she received. The requests for money started a few months after they started corresponding, the woman said.She was first asked, by a fake commanding officer, for ,000 to ensure that her soldier would return to Afghanistan after visiting her in England. She was later told that he was ambushed on his way to the airport and shot in the back.On request, she sent money to pay for his medical flight out of Afghanistan.“I was a bit anxious about it, but Paul kept reassuring me,” the woman said.“I was out in the FOB for quite a long time on quite a few missions, and a lot of missions I thought I wasn’t coming back,” he said.
“When you’re out there, you’re lonely and you don’t think you’re coming back.” During the course of his conversations with the woman, Hallenbeck said he sent her the article and photo that appeared in “The Main Effort.” He said he also received e-mails from writers claiming to be the woman’s pastor and mother."Redden" even went so far as to try to influence what he thought was Krystene's daughter- telling the child her mother needed to send him money to help is own daughter in a Nigerian hospital. When Krystene finally called him on the scam- he was evasive, defiant, and insistant that she had the wrong idea. If you're communicating online with a man who wants a relationship, don't give out any personal information like your address, financial information or personal information about your family.Then finally, something she was not expecting- a threat. Wait for several months, at least to find out more about them.The online conversations with this woman, who said she was from Nigeria, were comforting, a distraction from combat.But after three or four months, Hallenbeck, 47, said he realized she was lying to him.Redden, is also James and at least half a dozen other men with the same picture. Instead of sending spam sob stories in your email - these scammers are hitting chat rooms and online dating sites, targeting women looking for romance. Krystene says she doesn't take the threat too seriously, but- she's not using her real name in my report- just in case.