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Love Scam Chronicles: The Curious Case of Colonel Brian Denny

Split screen image showing Colonel Brian Denny in military uniform with medals and flags on one side, and a shadowy figure behind a computer representing the scammer using his image on the other side. Background includes fake profiles, messages, and financial transactions.

Love Scam Tools

Split screen image showing the importance of a good dating site profile picture for romance scammers. On the left, a poorly lit, blurry profile picture of a Nigerian man with few messages and no interactions. On the right, a well-lit, attractive profile picture of a white military man with numerous messages and interactions
                                         Split Look of a Scam­mer

To pull off a love scam, romance scam­mers need tools of the trade to imple­ment their destruc­tive plans.  One of the top tools romance scam­mers need in their tool­box is a good face pic to attract vic­tims. The old cliche’, that “first impres­sions are impor­tant” is prob­a­bly some­thing scam­mers have on a tat­too on their arm.  This is because a good pro­file pic­ture is impor­tant to get clicks, oth­er­wise know as “click-bait.” Imag­ine open­ing your inbox to find a charm­ing Army medic, a dash­ing fig­ure claim­ing to be on a peace­keep­ing mis­sion abroad. But wait, there’s a twist! This isn’t your typ­i­cal love sto­ry; it’s a tale of stolen iden­ti­ties, fake pro­files, and a retired colonel caught in the midst of a vir­tu­al romance scam.

The Deceptive Web: Fake Profiles and Stolen Identities

Ah, the tan­gled web we weave in the dig­i­tal age! Let’s take a look into the intrigu­ing saga of Bri­an Den­ny’s online per­sona, a tale filled with twists, turns, and a hefty dose of vir­tu­al decep­tion. Bri­an Den­ny is a real-life per­son and a real-life for­mer mil­i­tary mem­ber.  Mr. Den­ny served as an offi­cer in the U.S. Army for 26 years, retir­ing at the rank of Colonel. In 2016, Bryan’s pho­tos were stolen and used to build thou­sands of fake pro­files. From main­stream social media sites to obscure dat­ing ser­vices, he became the face of a mil­i­tary romance scam. Pic­ture this: you log into your favorite social media plat­form only to be bom­bard­ed by a pletho­ra of fake accounts claim­ing to be the enig­mat­ic Bri­an Den­ny. It’s like stum­bling into a vir­tu­al hall of mir­rors, each reflec­tion more deceit­ful than the last. As you scroll through these imposters’ pro­files, you can’t help but mar­vel at the audac­i­ty of indi­vid­u­als mas­querad­ing as Bri­an in var­i­ous roles. From a charm­ing Army medic to a suave busi­ness­man, the cre­ativ­i­ty knows no bounds in this dig­i­tal cha­rade. But wait, it gets even more bizarre! Imag­ine receiv­ing mes­sages from con­cerned indi­vid­u­als who have unknow­ing­ly fall­en prey to online romance scams orches­trat­ed by these imposters. The finan­cial toll on these unsus­pect­ing vic­tims is not just heart-wrench­ing but wal­let-drain­ing as well. Online romance scams, the mod­ern-day equiv­a­lent of high­way rob­bery, have turned Bri­an Den­ny’s stolen iden­ti­ty into a cash cow for cyber­crim­i­nals. The vir­tu­al land­scape is rife with love fraud, fake pro­files, and tales of vir­tu­al woe that would make Shake­speare blush.

Unraveling the Scam: Brian Denny’s Discovery

Bri­an Den­ny is actu­al­ly a real retired colonel who has a rep­u­ta­tion as a man with a heart of gold. But sud­den­ly poor Mr. Den­ny dis­cov­ers that his online per­sona has been hijacked by an army of imposters. It’s like a bizarre episode of cat­fish­ing gone wrong, with a touch of vir­tu­al decep­tion and a sprin­kle of inter­net crime. As Bri­an nav­i­gat­ed the treach­er­ous waters of social media, he had the unfor­tu­nate cir­cum­stance hav­ing to dis­cov­er a shock­ing rev­e­la­tion – his iden­ti­ty has been scat­tered across the dig­i­tal land­scape like con­fet­ti at a vir­tu­al par­ty. He would even­tu­al­ly dis­cov­er that thou­sands of fake accounts, each claim­ing to be the real Bri­an Den­ny, pop up like mush­rooms after a rain­storm. Mr. Den­ny’s sto­ry helps por­tray the fact that a love scam actu­al­ly starts out with at least one vic­tim; the per­son whose pho­tos are actu­al­ly stolen. These vic­tims often suf­fer con­tin­u­ous­ly for years because of these stolen pho­tos.

Love Scam Chaos

Imag­ine the chaos that ensues when unsus­pect­ing vic­tims, lured in by the charm of a man in uni­form and a heart­warm­ing sto­ry of farm life, reach out to the real Bri­an Den­ny. The impact on Bri­an’s per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al life is noth­ing short of a roller­coast­er ride of emo­tions and mis­un­der­stand­ings. But amidst the chaos and con­fu­sion, there lies a glim­mer of hope and resilience. Bri­an, the unsus­pect­ing hero of this dig­i­tal saga, ris­es to the occa­sion with wit and humor. He tack­les the online scam­mers with a blend of charm and cun­ning, out­smart­ing them at their own game. In 2016, Den­ny, who’s a dec­o­rat­ed vet­er­an, was liv­ing in Vir­ginia with his wife and son when he received a strange mes­sage from a woman on the pro­fes­sion­al net­work­ing site LinkedIn.  This woman told Den­ny that she had been talk­ing to him (Den­ny) for sev­er­al weeks. She also informed the per­plexed Den­ny, that she thought he was on a human­i­tar­i­an mis­sion in Syr­ia and I was com­ing to Mon­tre­al to spend time with her. Den­ny had to break the news to her that none of this sto­ry was true. Heart­bro­ken, the woman told Den­ny that he should go in to Face­book and search for your name. The scam­mers real­ly didn’t try to hide the fact that they were using his name or my image.  These pro­files were all fake and being uti­lized by scam­mers to find poten­tial vic­tims.

It’s been tough for my fam­i­ly to have to deal with to a degree, because they reach out to my wife, reach out to my son, Bri­an Den­ny

After Den­ny lat­er did a deep dive into the use of his pro­files online, he  found pro­files using his pic­ture and back­ground on Face­book, Insta­gram, Twit­ter, Chris­t­ian Min­gle and a litany of oth­er sites. Names used by romance scam­mers on these fake pro­file pic­tures include Bryan Den­ny, Scott Den­ny, Craig Den­ny and Ricky Sanchez. Over the course of  two years, Den­ny has report­ed over 3,000 accounts to Face­book of scam­mers using his pic­tures to steal mon­ey from women.

The Victims Speak: Heartbreak and Financial Loss

These female vic­tims, were noth­ing but unsus­pect­ing and hope­ful for love. Instead, they found them­selves entan­gled in a web of finan­cial scams and emo­tion­al tur­moil. Imag­ine the roller­coast­er of emo­tions they must have expe­ri­enced, from the highs of new­found romance to the lows of real­iz­ing it was all a vir­tu­al decep­tion. In some cas­es the vic­tim’s late-hus­band  was a sol­dier, their broth­er was a sol­dier, etc., and they just want­ed to do some­thing nice for some­one in uni­form. By the time they real­ized that they have been scammed, and gave away my their kid’s inher­i­tance, they had noth­ing left. Not only was their scam­ming a finan­cial dis­as­ter, it was emo­tion­al­ly embar­rass­ing and very hard to come back from.

Split screen image showing the heartbreak and financial loss experienced by victims of romance scams. On the left, a woman looks heartbroken and devastated, sitting alone with a broken heart symbol above her head and sad messages in the background. On the right, a pile of money is shown fading away, representing financial loss, with bank statements and bills in the background
     The Dual Impact of Romance Scams on Vic­tims

The preva­lence of online romance frauds and love scams in this dig­i­tal age is like the Wild, Wild West out in cyber­space, with scam­mers lurk­ing behind fake pro­files, prey­ing on the vul­ner­a­ble hearts of indi­vid­u­als seek­ing com­pan­ion­ship. The inter­net crime wave of love scams is real, and it’s time to arm our­selves with cyber­se­cu­ri­ty aware­ness and enlight­en­ment on the nev­er-chang­ing tac­tics of scam­mers! These preda­tors exploit emo­tion­al vul­ner­a­bil­i­ties, weav­ing intri­cate tales to gain trust and ulti­mate­ly, finan­cial gain. By stay­ing informed and vig­i­lant, we can pro­tect our­selves and our loved ones from falling vic­tim to these heart­less schemes.

You’ve got to know that you’re stepping into a jungle, and you’ve got to step into that jungle armed with the tools to help you survive, Brian Denny

Fighting Back: Brian’s Mission Against Love Scam

A powerful graphic titled 'Fighting Back Against Scammers,' featuring a determined individual standing confidently with a shield and a sword. The shield has a cybersecurity symbol, and the background shows faint images of broken chains and defeated scammers
                       Togeth­er, We Fight Back Against Scam­mers

As you reach the final chap­ter of Bri­an’s saga in the world of online romance scams, it’s time to reflect on the whirl­wind jour­ney you’ve just heard about. Being the type of upstand­ing per­son Bri­an Den­ny is, he is now using his expe­ri­ence with romance scam­mers, for the good of oth­ers. Colonel Den­ny is now com­mit­ted to expos­ing the scam­mers. As part of online group Advo­cate Against Romance Scams, he has been lob­by­ing Face­book to move faster to shut scam­mers’ pages down. Colonel Den­ny is also push­ing the US Sen­ate to force Face­book to police the scam­mers.

“I’m angry, to say the least. It’s huge­ly frus­trat­ing know­ing that you’re talk­ing to a com­pa­ny like Face­book and you’re work­ing to [make them] enforce their own com­mu­ni­ty stan­dards”, Bri­an Den­ny

He has trawled through pub­lic groups on Face­book where scam­mers trade skills, fake iden­ti­ties, and even day-to-day scripts to run their scams. Scam­mers also adver­tise pho­to-doc­tor­ing skills for fab­ri­cat­ing IDs, and even med­ical emer­gen­cies.

In secret groups on Face­book’s instant mes­sag­ing ser­vice, What­sApp, fraud­sters trade bank accounts for laun­der­ing stolen mon­ey. Even when the Face­book groups are shut down by the social media giant, scam­mers estab­lish new ones which quick­ly accu­mu­late mem­bers.

Accord­ing to Den­ny, scam­mers offer Face­book pro­files for sale, they offer pic­tures of uni­formed ser­vice­men for sale, they offer the back­sto­ry and kind of how you get start­ed. So it’s all right there. It’s in plain sight, it’s not hid­den, Den­ny said.

Con­clu­sion As we con­clude this intrigu­ing saga of Colonel Bri­an Den­ny’s bat­tle against online romance scams, and the vic­tims left in the romance scam­mer’s wake, we all need to remem­ber to stay vig­i­lant, stay cau­tious, and stay safe in the ever-evolv­ing land­scape of vir­tu­al inter­ac­tions. This sto­ry of Bri­an Den­ny is poignant reminder of the impor­tance of trust, resilience, and the ongo­ing fight against dig­i­tal decep­tion. With the intro­duc­tion of AI and an ever-evolv­ing tech­nol­o­gy land­scape, it seems as if the fight against scam­mer has only begin. But let’s band togeth­er and beat the scam­mers at their own game. Edu­ca­tion is our tool in the war against heart­less scam­mers world­wide.

Helpful Links

A computer screen on a desk in a cozy living room displays a list of helpful website links for seniors, with icons representing security tips, educational resources, and hotlines. The top of the screen reads "Helpful Links".

If you need to report a scam, please vis­it our “Report A Scam” web­site page.  On this page, you will find the var­i­ous agen­cies you can report scams to with web­site links.  It is rec­om­mend­ed that you also report scams or attempt­ed scams to your local police depart­ment.  To iden­ti­fy your state or local report­ing agency, vis­it this excel­lent Wikipedia guide to deter­mine who and where you should report for your par­tic­u­lar U.S. loca­tion. In addi­tion, please vis­it our “About Us” page to learn more about our non-prof­it scam pre­ven­tion orga­ni­za­tion. Also, please vis­it our YouTube Chan­nel, ScamTV, for more scam-relat­ed news and scam pre­ven­tion guid­ance. Stamp Out Scams is also excit­ed to announce its new sep­a­rate web­site for our YouTube Chan­nel, ScamTV.  This web­site can be found at www.scamtv.org.  While this web­site is new and still being devel­oped, we have big future plans for this site. We hope to great­ly expand our scam pre­ven­tion offer­ings on our new ScamTV site in the very near future.  We want to be your trust­ed source for “must-see” scam pre­ven­tion pro­gram­ming. To read an actu­al love scam sto­ry, please read out blog post page “Unveil­ing the Dark World of Online Love Fraud: Lau­ra’s Sto­ry.” Addi­tion­al­ly, edu­ca­tion is a fan­tas­tic tool for com­bat­ing romance scam­mers. Be sure and read out oth­er blog post­ing enti­tled “The Scam­mer Play­book: Beat­ing Scam­mers With Their Own Book.”  It pro­vides insight to the romance script scam­mers use dur­ing the decep­tive scams.

Donate To Support Scam Prevention

A diverse group of people standing around a donation box labeled "Donate to Scam Prevention," placing money and checks into the box, with a community center background showing scam prevention posters.

We are a reg­is­tered non-prof­it scam pre­ven­tion orga­ni­za­tion.  Donat­ing to Stamp Out Scams Inc. helps pro­tect vul­ner­a­ble indi­vid­u­als from falling vic­tim to deceit­ful schemes. Your sup­port enables us to edu­cate the pub­lic, raise aware­ness, and pro­vide cru­cial resources to iden­ti­fy and pre­vent scams. By con­tribut­ing, you play a vital role in safe­guard­ing com­mu­ni­ties and empow­er­ing peo­ple with the knowl­edge need­ed to stay safe from fraud. Join us in the fight against scams and make a last­ing impact today. Please con­sid­er donat­ing to our scam pre­ven­tion mis­sion by vis­it­ing our Dona­tions Page and con­tribut­ing what­ev­er you can.

Conclusion

By under­stand­ing the curi­ous case of Bri­an Den­ny and the theft of his pho­to and sto­ry, we get a lit­tle insight into the lows romance scam­mers will go down to.  This can help us gain a deep­er under­stand­ing of their tac­tics and bet­ter pro­tect our­selves from falling vic­tim to their love scam and oth­er decep­tive prac­tices.. Scam­mers like John are cun­ning and relent­less. How­ev­er, with knowl­edge and vig­i­lance, we can stay one step ahead of them.

Remem­ber, skep­ti­cism and ver­i­fi­ca­tion are your best defens­es against scams. Always be cau­tious with unso­licit­ed com­mu­ni­ca­tions, pro­tect your per­son­al infor­ma­tion, and stay informed about the lat­est scam trends. Togeth­er, we can cre­ate a safer, scam-free world.

For more infor­ma­tion and resources on scam pre­ven­tion, vis­it Stamp Out Scams on a reg­u­lar basis. We have a scam feed at the top of most every page on out web­site. Like a stock tick­er, these scam feeds dis­play the most cur­rent scam data. TL;DR: Colonel Bri­an Den­ny’s iden­ti­ty theft leads to a web of fake pro­files, finan­cial scams, and a glob­al net­work of deceived vic­tims, shed­ding light on the dark real­i­ty of online romance fraud.

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