Officer: My identity was stolen to seduce and scam

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photo illustration: Bryan Smith/Army Times

Maj. Chris Haggard, a fire support officer at Fort Sill, Okla., picked up his office phone to an earful of cussing and yelling from a woman who said he had seduced her online and scammed her.

But Haggard had never heard of  the woman. His photos and personal information have been stolen and used over and over again by con men in Africa to suck in lonely-hearted women on dating sites and swindle them out of their money.

“She was very upset and she accused me of scamming her, and I finally got her calmed down and told her it wasn’t me, and it’s been going on for at least a year and a half, and she wasn’t the first one,” he said.

This week’s Army Times discusses these scams with a few broken-hearted victims and what the Army’s doing about it. Thanks to blogger Master Sgt. C.J. Grisham of  “A Soldier’s Perspective” for the introduction to Haggard, but we were unable secure him for the article *cough-public affairs-too-slow-cough*. We finally got to chat with him.

Haggard took to his Facebook page Monday to fight back, posting information about how the scam works and what victims duped by their ignorance of the Army need to know.

“The scammers use a family emergency as a vehicle to garner sympathy or their location is so bad–and I’m sure there are places in Afghanistan like that–that they don’t have access to money, and the civilians don’t know the Army has systems in place to take care of situations like this,” he said.

Since Fort Drum, N.Y., Criminal Investigations Command contacted Haggard in 2009 about the misuse of his image, he’s seen a number of photos of himself online, mostly from his OIF tour in 2007 and all lifted from his wife’s Facebook and MySpace pages:

Haggard at a restaurant in ACU’s and a cowboy hat,  posing with an Iraqi counterpart in East Baghdad, flying in a Blackhawk with his 10th Mountain patch visible. (That’s how  CID found him to tell him his photos were being misused.)

“CID told me they weren’t able to do anything about it, and that the FBI weren’t able to do anything about it either because they (the scammers) were in Africa,” he said.

Haggard now has credit monitoring, and he’s “sanitized” his Facebook profile of some personal details, but it sounds like a big headache.

He, his wife, brother and even one of his nieces have gotten phone calls from women claiming to have been in romantic online relationships with Haggard or, if they’ve already figured it out, someone posing as him.

“Personally, I haven’t had any repercussions but it does have the possibility of harming my reputation and I did get that one aggravated phone call that I want to avoid in the future,” he said.

“Someone’s using my name and my image in a criminal enterprise and that has the possibility of impacting my personal life and my career.”

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  1. F.A.O. MAJ. CHRIS HAGGARD WOW …. I am the British Kate Roberts that Joe Gould interviewed for the Army Times. I am so sorry this has happened to you and your family. It can destroy peoples lives from all sides. I am desperately sorry when thinking about the effects it may have had on the soldier used in my scam, but I don’t know who he is or even if he is aware his identity has been used. I am doing my best to raise awareness of this crime now, but it has taken me a long time to get myself back on track (a working progress), or to even accept what has happened. Please accept my best wishes to you and your family and I hope we can go some way to preventing this terrible crime. Kate

  2. Pingback: Outside The Wire – Soldier romance scam strikes again

  3. The scammers are active with MAJ Haggard’s name and photos once again. This time claiming the rank of Captain and using the first name of Leonard. Looking for money to buy a ticket out of Afghanistan so he can retire early.

  4. geary haggard live in sunnyvale california computer ip # 98 138 91 766 he has been inpersonating maj haggard. i read it on some sites regarding fake false indentification.. i hope you can use this and arrest him..give him life for this nasty crime and i hope this does not sit on someone desk ..please forward this to FBI…i cannot get through the telephone line…asap sos plese catch this person

  5. geary haggar he appears as ssg.gearyhaggard@yahoo.com he appears on there as well and he has asked me for large amounts of money he has sent me photos of himself but a few of the photos they dont resembles him at all you can tell they are someone elses photo…please look into this..i have kept picture on my yahoo page if FBI OR POLICE WANTS THEM

  6. Hi Cindy, Im not sure if its the same guy thats contacted me all seems the same including that I tracked his e-mails back to Sunnyvale and other places in USA, I’m in the UK, but he uses the name Major George Wilson, have some photos if you want a swap?? Is there anyone else who has had contact with this guy??

  7. I am currently in communication with “Sgt. James Haggard” who claims to be in Iraq. (All the same pictures). I discovered quickly he is a scammer and decided to play along. We have been on Yahoo IM everyday, and within the first 5 days, he professed his love to me, which I did to him as well. Finally, the day after that, he asks for a care package for his birthday for him and for the poor orphans (he has been talking about the poor orphan kids since day one). I told him I would be happy to send him a care package and asked for a list. He gave me a long list of items and I offered to include an iPad! He wanted me to write to his “diplomat” to get an address where I could mail the packages. He claims there is a problem with APO addresses. I told him I didn’t want to write to the diplomat so he said he will do it and send me the address. Oh, the diplomat’s name is Fofo Babington. REALLY??? I am going to tell him I mailed the packages and insured them. When he doesn’t get them, I’ll be real upset and tell him it is going to take 8 weeks to get my money back. If I keep him on the hook that long, I’ll start all over again. He professes his eternal love to me on a daily basis, even swearing to God that he will never cheat on me or leave me. I really wish somebody could catch this guy!!!!

  8. Bobbi Lynne Baker on

    I have been in touch with “General” James Haggard, email address is jameshaggard 4545@hotmail.com. It took 4 days of writing to me, and I realized “This cannot be real” He did not ask me for money, and told me that trust and honesty are the most important things in a relationship. He said he was from Brooklyn New York, originally from Miami. Anyway I Google d him, and here I am. I did not give this person time to ask for anything. All I can say is thank God for Google! If it seems too good to be true, it more likely than not is! Be careful ladies.

  9. I encountered “Chris Haggard” on Match.com this past weekend. He waited several days before trying to hit me up for a birthday package that was to be sent via Ghana. I, too, am sorry that the real Chris has to go through this. Wish we could burn this scammers like they’ve burned others. I was lucky, I googled the name and found out about the scam. I also WILL NOT send money to anyone.

  10. this clown thought he was going to get more money from me. i did get gotten of 300. $ but no more. i realize it was a scam after i sent this. i erased all photo he sent to me. he white with a smile that nice, standing in front of a dryer, sitting down with a cowboy hat. wow he is sick. i cancelled my yahoo account. didnt want him to instant message me anymore. everytime i would be online he would pop up . so i deleted my yahoo account. i notice one thing about yahoo sites, all scammers love to invaded that site, i came into a large amount of money and he really thought i was going to send him more money and he sent me a nude photo of him and i wanted to puke he looks horrible with a very very very small penis lol. nothing i can use at all. i believe it is some african working with american scammers, accidently someone sent me a photo and i asked him who was that and he told me to delete it and i truly believe it was one of the scammers. the guy was a white guy, and i truly believe they split the money from there victims when they get it. but i will admit, i purchased that lesson of scammers on the internet. and i will never do that again. im shock that i did that. i must have had a out of body experience, and that is not like me at all. but i truly learned. he was asking for too too much info from me suchas, my bank accout and what bank to go to my social security number, wow i knew this haggard must have shit for brains, ive heard about 419 scams, didnt realize i was already stung. but never again. ive learn from 300 dollars and spider man junk sent to africa. never again. thank GOD he didnt get nothing else. and yes it is the same white haggard with the same fake smile and cowboy hat. never again ive learned

  11. Ladies, thank you for keeping this thread running. I am the real MAJ Chris Haggard and I have just recently realised that this scam is still on-going with my photos and now my real first name. Thank you all for the concern. Please rest assured that this has not affected me or my family in any adverse manner. I have tried to keep my Facebook page secured, but they (the scammers) may still be able to see certain info (my mother’s parents lived in Sunnyvale). I will be montoring this thread now and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding the US Military and how to ID flasehoods in the scams… i.e. APO addresses, emergency leave, etc. The quickest and easiest way to ID these scammers is to ask for an e-mail from thier official US Army e-mail account (@us.army.mil or mil@mail.mil); if they refuse or say they cannot, they are scamming you.

    I hope this helps, Chris.

  12. I have names, numbers, addresses for these people, I dealt with “Major General James Haggard for 5 months. Please contact me I will give you them. He claimed to have a daughter Nina, lived with a man named John in Accra, Ghana. I have numerous names, I saved everything.

  13. I feel sorry for you Sir. And for all of the soldiers and high rank officers whose photos have been stolen by those lowly Africans to get money. I’m a victim of the scammers who used BG Becker’s real name and photos as their bait with the twisted stories. I didn’t lose too much fortunately, thanks God. And I finally realized that this was the fake BG Becker through Google.

  14. SO so sorry this happened to you. It really sickens me that our troops are being scammed this way. I was currently in communication with a “Caption John Jefferson”. I have some of his pictures, even in uniform and pics of him and his daughter at chucky cheese. Now sure how to let the real person know that someone is using his pics to try and scam people. I was told he was in Afghan. Of course he told me he loved me and was getting an early leave to come home so we could be together. And of course when he got stuck in London he needed money to help him get home….jerk.

  15. I have been talking to a staff sgt. in the army trying to get me to western union him $1,850 to get him home.I met him on a dating site and he’s even sent me pictures in uniform .says his name is daniel smith . Thank you for this site I would have sent him money and been ripped off but not now . He went as far as sending me a leave form and place to send money .God I hope they all get caught before someone else is suckered .

  16. I have a question. When you ladies send them money through western union how are they able to pick the money up? Dont you have to put there name on it and they have to have an ID to pick it up right? So if there not the real person how are they able to pick it up? Im confused ha

  17. I am currently in communication with “General Greg James Washington from USA” who is serving in my last military assignment. Last weekend he was “embarking in a dangerous mission in Syria” and after that he moved to a base in Pakistan. He was wounded in that mission and waiting for his retirement in this month. I realized that “it is too good to be true” when he was ready “to build happy family with me” after 2-3 letters. I understood that I was right, when in next letter he told me that while on patrol he found Taliban’s hiding with lots ammunition and “huge amount of cash in US dollars”. He decided to take the money and he wants to send a box with $500000 to me. I just need to tell him my full name, address and telephone number and some diplomat will deliver that box to me.
    He is using email greg.washington1968@yahoo.com and all letters came from different IP address. I can send all pictures which I got from him.

  18. Have been chatting with davidgary@ymail.com, claims to be a SSGT in afghanistan since february this year. He has had me request a leave of absence for him and it cost money…also cost money for the flight home…is this actual? Can someone please let me know if this is actual? I really need answers soon! All the information i have are recent. and can forward if you need to look at the documents . the look legit but why is it so expensive to come home ..or to request a leave? PLEASE HELP!!!

  19. Thank you so much for this info. MAJ Chris Haggard, This who claimed to be you is now on my IM messenger and he call him self Sgt.Mark Burkott and presently in Benin, claimed he has a daughter name Monika and she is 11yrs. Thank God for google search image, this is how I found out about this guy. He left me a message on Confirio and I found out he is also active in Baboo. Thank you for letting us know that you do exist and you are real. Please check this guy out and he claimed he is in Benin oh and here is the number he gave me to call him cause I did not believe he is who he claimed he is: 01122968293923. If you read this, this is the number I called to speak to this man who clearly sound like Nigerian. I hope this help. I also have his email address that he use to send me email. He was asking $900.00 to get him out of Benin. No sir, I got suspicious, did not send a dime.

  20. Listen to Meghann Judy, you are being scammed. Do not in anyway shape or form send these people any money! go to the site that Meghann advised and you will see and better protect your self from future scammers. Good luck and right away delete their IMs and email address in your account. I know..it hurts…but lesson learn. We just have to be extra careful and before you get serious with anyone online in the future, check your guy out in: Google image search first…

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